Wednesday, October 11, 2017

You Better Work

I don't live in a very large house. It's perfect for my family of four, don't get me wrong. But, it also ends up looking quite cluttered when you add in the toys of two four year olds who are very, very spoiled loved by their extended family. I put up new curtains...OK, J put up new curtains this weekend. I LOVE THEM! But, it also became one of those "hmmm, look how nice the living room looks with curtains WHAT ELSE CAN WE DO?!?" kind of moments.

In August of 2014 we had flooding in our area. Honestly, this was nothing like what people have experienced in Baton Rouge, or Houston, or other areas of the country. But, at the time, it was devastating to us and our community. I would work all day, then come home and J and I would spend hours tearing up carpet, dragging ruined furniture and memories up to the curb. It took us almost a week to get everything cleaned up.

We were fortunate, and didn't lose out furnace or washing machine or freezer. Others were not so lucky.

For the past three years, the basement has been a mishmash of crap. Old clothes, holiday bins, old toys, workout equipment, the usual crap one tosses down there to keep it out of sight. As the boys have grown older, so has their collection of toys and the amount of SPACE they take up. Finally, three years later, I started work on the basement. Because my new-curtained living room looks great, except it is full of toys.

I started Monday night, because Tuesday is trash day. I didn't finish in time, so I still have some bags and old shelves and crap to take out next week. The guys helped as much as four years old with the attention span of four year olds can.
And finally, after J put down carpet tiles (much easier to remove in case of flooding), I brought down toys. There are still more to bring down and sort through. I have to do that when the boys are asleep because y'all know that broken truck will be their favorite toy in the whole wide world if I try to throw it out in front of them.
I counted the basement cleaning as my workout on Monday. While, I cleaned and hauled a ton of crap up and down the stairs on Tuesday, I still managed to use my brand new weight bench/treadmill set up. Funny enough, I didn't take a picture of that. I will take one and share next time. I ran two miles on the treadmill (sprints ugh) and then spent an hour doing full body weights. Between the hauling and the running and the weights, my muscles are feeling it today!

Hope this week has been good to you so far!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Five Hundred Twenty-five Thousand Six Hundred Minutes

I have been battling a wicked seasonal cold for the past week. It's been a blast, let me tell you.
Camping essentials

What that means is my brain is essentially mush. Today is the first day in ages that I can actually breathe through both nostrils.

It didn't help that last weekend, I went camping with my family. We had a wonderful time, but it was cold and I was sick, so maybe not the BEST time ever.
After our first night. Don't I look thrilled?

The kids loved it and that's really all that matters.
Throwing rocks into bodies of water is their favorite game!
Playing with ALL the glowsticks!

Meanwhile, I'm not training for anything so I am working on a Running to Lose Weight plan. It's interesting not to have a long run. It's been a while since I've done that. But, this also works really well with my busy schedule. I can get the shorter runs and sprints in without spending hours pounding pavement.

I've also been focusing on my weights, which I constantly let slide and then remember how much better I feel and look when I use them. Use the weights, Meg. Just use the damn weights.

My life right now is work, rehearsal, hang with the boys, hockey for the boys, occasional me time, family time. It's busy, but I love it.

Happy October!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me


You prepare as much as you possibly can.

You train, train, train.

You spend hours on a treadmill or running loops in your neighborhood.

You do all that and still, come race day, you have to leave certain things up to the Universe.

Mainly, the weather.

The weather on Sunday was hot and sunny. A lovely day to spend at the pool or at the beach with the family. A horrid day to spend running loops on an island with ZERO breeze, humidity, and limited shade.

You know it's bad when the course marshals send medics out on bikes with gallon jugs of water. After I finished, there was an ambulance heading out on the course. Sending good vibes out into the universe for that person. When I got in my car after the race, the outside temp was 84 degrees.

The photo is not blurry. That is, in fact, the haze.
Was it a tough race? Absolutely.

Did I have fun? I sure did.

Was it my fastest half? Nope.

Does that matter? Not. At. All.

I got to see my boys and cross the finish line with them. I got to listen to Hamilton and run along Belle Isle which was lovely. It was hot and sunny and miserable, but I did it and I am just happy about the training cycle and the run.

Note to self: Only run races in March and November from here on out.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Getting It Done

No idea where August went, but it's gone and now we move on to September.

I run my half marathon next Sunday. I'm excited for it. I feel properly trained. I haven't missed that many runs. In fact, I seemed to struggle the most this PAST week. I think it was a combo of school starting, work struggling, and life.

I got my last long run of my training cycle in. Funny story, I was supposed to do twelve miles. But, life (IE TWIN BOYS) intervened. I got 10.37 miles in and that will just have to be enough. This week I do 4 miles on Tuesday, a thirty minute tempo run on Wednesday, and 2 miles Thursday and that's it until race day.
When your treadmill only goes in 60 minute cycles you do what you have to to get it done
Did I lose all the weight I wanted to before this race? Nope. Did I still buy my Wonder Woman outfit? You can bet your sweet ass I did. I'll post pics on race day.

I joined a Back to School Biggest Loser challenge. Here's hoping I can stick to it this time. NO, not hoping. I'm going to stick to it. End stop. Whew.

Hope your end of summer was great and you are ready to kick butt this fall!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

We Hope You Understand Your Wish is Our Command

For some reason I can't motivate myself to get up in the morning to do my runs. I need to get back to that. Our pool closes on Labor Day and I REALLY want to get some swimming in before it does. Come on, Meg, move your butt.


This week was fun. Something big happened on Monday. Was there something going on? Having to do with the sun? Who knows. We didn't get totality in MI, but it was cool to see it get a little grey out. The boys came up to see me at work since there are welding shields where I work.
"I see the moon!"

Then Monday evening I auditioned for Annie at one of our community theatres. I don't know how much I post about the failed auditions, but I have had a few of those. Singing makes me nervous, much more so than acting. When you don't get cast in a part you really want, it can be pretty heartbreaking. It also makes me feel like maybe I'm not that good. Yet, I keep auditioning. Why do I do that to myself?!?

Well, Tuesday, they posted the cast list and I got the part of Grace. If you're not familiar with the show, Grace is Daddy Warbucks' secretary. She gets some songs and I bet I get some dancing, too. Which is great. At the audition we spent about 20 minutes working on and doing a dance for the director/choreographer and it was awesome! Very Fosse, and yet also doable for a woman (me) who has zero dance skill.

I had every intention of doing my Tuesday run on Tuesday. Then I had a kid who didn't want to go to bed. By the time he was asleep I was starving. I can run on an empty stomach, but I knew if I tried to run when I was that hangry hungry it would be miserable. Which is how I ended up doing my Tuesday run on Wednesday. It counts as long as you do it!

Four more long runs until the half marathon! I ordered the outfit I'm going to wear for it so I can get at least one or two runs in with it to make sure it's comfortable. I'll share pics and links when I have it.

Hope your week has been great so far!

Monday, August 21, 2017

All This Whinin' and Cryin' and Pitchin' a Fit Get Over It

You know your weekend is going be a good one when you start out like this:
Double margaritas!
This should come as a surprise to NO ONE but I didn't do my scheduled Saturday run. Because see above picture showing how I spent my Friday evening.

Funny enough, it wasn't even the booze that did it. On Friday I did the weight workout I was supposed to do on Thursday. And somehow I strained my shoulder muscle. It hurt like the dickens when I walked and I wasn't about to torture myself for a run. Thankfully, by Sunday it had mellowed out enough for me to run.

Ten miles on the treadmill on Sunday. Here's how I accomplished that. My treadmill has a max time of 60 minutes. Here was my first sixty:
Then I started again. Stopped after two miles to wrangle a kid in the middle of a meltdown. Got back on it. By then I had paused it so long it reset itself, but I rounded DOWN to two miles, even though I know I was past the two mile mark. Got back on the treadmill. Made it over a mile before I needed to help get the kids breakfast. Paused it again. Stayed away so long it reset itself. Again, rounded up just because I couldn't remember how far over a mile I was. Got BACK on the treadmill and finished out with a 2.5 miles. All of this done at a 13 minute/mile pace.

I figure I deserve all the extra credit in the world for getting back on the damn treadmill every time I was forced to stop. My 2 hours and 10 minutes of running took me almost three hours with all the stops.

But, it's done. And I felt pretty good.

The downside to a treadmill run? My phone thinks I was sitting on my ass the whole time.
Gee, thanks, phone.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

I Come Running Home to You

Week Ten
Weekly weigh-in: -0.4 pounds
Pounds to go: 49

My swimming has officially ended. I'm sad. I really did enjoy the classes, even if I did bitch and moan occasionally complain about the early wake up.

The swim coach very kindly stopped me as I was leaving. I have to leave about fifteen minutes before the rest of the class. So, he stopped me and told me what an improvement I had made since the start of the class and how impressed he was with me and my whole lane (aka the Turtle Lane). It was very nice of him to say that and I left looking forward to next summer.

I've been researching Masters Swims in various swim clubs in the area. I could join the Y and I honestly may end up doing just that. But, it would be nice to get an organized workout in a few days a week. I sent an email to one. The term Masters doesn't mean a master of the sport, but the age. Even with that, I just finished a Masters Swim and I was clearly one of the slowest swimmers there. I don't want to sign up for one, pay a bunch of money, and feel like garbage and that I'm holding people back. That's not a good feeling AT ALL. We'll see what the swim club has to say about that.

As for my weight loss. Meh. I didn't lose any in July, but I found some momentum once August hit. I'm seeing the scale slide slowly down. I have to remind myself over and over: it's not a sprint, it's a rest of your life marathon.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Now I Know I Can Be Happy as a Clam

Proof that I really do get up that early to swim. Hello, Moon!
It's getting darker and darker in the mornings. I've decided--at least for the rest of the month--I will just swap my swimming and running. Since class will be over, I'll run in the mornings and swim laps at night.
And it's that light by the time I'm done swimming.
I haven't been in the pool around 5 (when I get home from work) so I don't know how busy the lanes are. I guess I'll find out.

Today's workout (for my own records):
250 warm-up
16 x 25 kick sprints
12 x 25 freestyle sprints (1st and 2nd focus on stroke, 3rd sprint)
3 x 50 freestyle sprints on the 1:20

I leave about ten minutes before cool down so I miss out on finishing up the last set. I did three, most of the people there probably end up doing ten.

I'm really packing on the running mileage now. I cannot stress how much I hate speedwork. But, speedwork makes the dream work, right? I've got a time goal and I am going to hit that goal!

I've already done strength training once this week. Gotta buckle down and make sure I get to it tomorrow night as well.

Monday, August 7, 2017

So Let's Dance the Last Dance

So starts my last week of early morning swimming outdoors.

Not going to lie, I'm going to miss it.

It's interesting to compare my fitness level from when I first started to now. I can barely do the sprint workouts the coach throws out at us while staying on the interval. When I first started I was taking ten seconds rest because I couldn't even make the intervals. I am also able to keep ahead of or pass the people in the next lane over, at least when start at the same time. Yes, I know it isn't a race. But, since we are set up by skill level, with the fastest swimmers at Lane One and getting slower until you get to me in Lane Eight, it is nice to know I can at least beat Lane Seven.

Today's workout:
150 free warm up
16 x 25 sprints kick of choice
16 x 25 sprints stroke of choice
2 x 100 stroke of choice, sprinting one 25 out of each 100

The last part of the workout I was able to get two in before I had to leave. Thank goodness I'm not working early this week. It's nice to be able to do most of the workout!

Running slipped a little this weekend. I was supposed to do six on Sunday, but had family time instead.
How can I turn down a chance to hang with these two?
 I'm OK with that. I'll just adjust and do my six tonight on the treadmill with Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood to keep me company.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

She Works Hard For the Money

I had a 40 minute tempo run on the training schedule but had to switch it up since my kids got home from a big camping trip in the middle of my run.

Instead, I just did sprints for three miles. I ended up with my fastest three mile run to date: three miles at a 10:15 per mile pace. Trust me, by the end I was a ball of sweat and ready to cry. But, I did speed work, it felt awesome, the end.

Well, not quite the end. I also did a whole bunch of weight lifting after the boys were asleep. I have to brag for a second, one of my sons was in the basement with me while I was on the treadmill. He sat on our weight bench and watched TV and was talking about the weights. He asked, "What's this one for, Mama?" I said, "So I can have big muscles." Then I showed him my bicep and he smiled and said, "Wow, you DO have big muscles, Mama!"

With that on my mind, I couldn't resist working on those muscles.

I got up early to swim. It's the last day of my early training at work (thank goodness) and also the second to last week of early morning swimming. Thankfully, I shouldn't have any issues getting my full swim in next week. I'm going to miss it. I'll try to take advantage of the lap lane in the pool while it is open but after that, I'm not sure. The YMCA? We shall see.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Sometimes I Run Sometimes I Hide

Sometimes you stumble.

Sometimes you take an extra forty-five minutes of sleep instead of getting up to swim.

Sometimes you run 2.5 miles instead of 4 because that's all you can fit in your schedule.

Sometimes you eat cereal for dinner.

Sometimes you go out to eat and try dragonfruit for dessert.

Sometimes you struggle.

But, most importantly, you never, ever quit.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Don't Forget the Motor City

I signed up for the half marathon I have been training for for over a month now. Figured I might as well do that before it got so expensive I couldn't afford to run it.

Has anyone else noticed how effing expensive races are theses days? Here's the deal. This particular half marathon is a women's half. Add to that, I have done the half or the 5K of this race since they started it five years ago, I have a bit of a soft spot for it. However, the prices are stupid expensive. I know in some areas races are always pricey. But, here, they aren't so bad, especially if you sign up early. This one, the price increases in a few weeks up to NINETY BUCKS! I paid less than that for the Flying Pig FULL marathon!

Honestly, I am going to call it quits on this race. I will run my fifth year of it, and that will be that. At least the t-shirts are super soft and comfortable!

One of my reasons for signing up TODAY of all days is just for the boost of "YOU CAN DO THIS" I get whenever I sign up for a race. I am exhausted, emotionally drained, and about to start Shark Week so I need some sort of mental boost. Hopefully this helps.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Word to Your Mother

I have had an early start at work all week which means no swimming.

Add to that family in from out of town (Not complaining, I love the family visits) and my workouts have suffered.

Life will even out soon!

Until then, I will keep tracking my food, workout when I can, and be happy that I am so lucky to have such good people in my life.

Happy Tuesday to you!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

If at First You Don't Succeed Then Dust Yourself Off and Try Again

I did two running workouts yesterday, one in the morning and one at night. Probably not the wisest decision, but I wanted to get my tempo run in. The guys went to sleep easily (thank you swim lessons and hours spent outdoors with the hose) which didn't leave me much of an excuse.

I hate speed work. I'm not a fan of doing things FAST. I like my slow and steady approach to running.

Speaking of speed work...

Tempo run done, then I did weights because I didn't think I would have time to do weights tonight. No big, right?

Wrong. This morning at swimming we did...drum roll, please...speed work.

Oh, sprints, how I hate you.

I almost didn't go swim this morning. Sleep has been such a struggle lately. Seriously, I got up to let the dogs out and thought, "I can go back to bed for another half hour."

Look at this face:
This me sitting on the back steps trying to convince myself not to swim.

It doesn't help that as the summer moves on, it gets darker and darker in the mornings.

Somehow, I just kept moving. I put on my suit. I brushed my teeth. I drove to the pool. I swam. That swim was brutal. I already had tired legs from my TWO runs yesterday. Add to that sprints, and you can imagine how wobbly I was when I got out of the pool.

Weak and tired, yes.

Grumpy? Nope.
Flushed red cheeks from sprinting, but smiling. Endorphins are no joke.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Don't It Always Seem to Go You Don't Know What You Got Till It's Gone

Week Seven
Weekly weigh-in: +1.4 pounds
Pounds to go: 49.4

Ugh. Let me repeat that. Ugh.

My eating wasn't BAD this past week. My workouts slacked a bit, but that's mostly because I took a break from running because of my bum ankle. 

I would say I'm not sure where the weight came from, but I'm an honest person, so I'm sure the ice cream I had a couple of times last week, the extra handful of snacks here and there, all contributed to my gain.

It happens.

In the immortal words of Florence + the Machine "And it's hard to dance with a devil on your back so shake him off". 

Shake him off.

Focus on my running and my swimming and my eating. This is not an excuse for me to backslide. This is my first gain in SEVEN WEEKS! I would say that's pretty darn good.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

But I Come Back to the Water, No Matter How Hard I Try

I'm sure it's a sign of a good workout when your arms and legs and even abs (thank you butterfly stroke) are wobbly almost two hours after you finished. It's a good sign AND it is also a little exhausting.

I've had issues falling asleep and staying asleep the past few nights. For a while, I was doing no screens after 8PM to help with my sleep. It worked, but then I got lazy and now I'm all over Instagram at 10 o'clock at night and that does nothing for my beauty rest. Beauty rest I desperately need if I'm going to wake up at 5:45 four days a week.
I was supposed to do weights yesterday. Once the boys fell asleep my brother, who lives out of town, called. I spent an hour and a half on the phone with him instead of lifting weights. Nurturing family connections is just as important as physical health, so I'm OK with a missed workout.

Tonight is a 3.5 mile run. It's not super humid out, like it was last Tuesday. I might do it outdoors before my husband leaves for his weekly skate. Or, I'll be lazy and just do it on the treadmill after the kids are asleep. I have the most recent episode of Great British Bake Off calling my name.

So many choices! Hope this Tuesday is amazing for you!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Just One Look

Last week's new recipe (sadly there was only one) was Cheesy Zucchini Enchiladas from Skinnytaste cooked on Tuesday.

My husband loves enchiladas with a passion. He even makes his own enchilada sauce, because he is amazeballs.

He made them, so I didn't get a step by step photo process. He doubled the Skinny Taste recipe so we could have leftovers and packed the baking pan tighter that in the Skinny Taste picture. In case you look at hers and look at this and freak out. I did get a finished photo.
These were delicious! I highly recommend them. I can't tell you how difficult they were to make, but I can tell you my husband liked them so much he made them again on Saturday.

This week, I'm debating between a shrimp recipe (I am the only one in my family who really likes shrimp. I KNOW!) and a taco zucchini thing. I'll let you know!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Downtown, No Finer Place For Sure

Week Six
Weekly weigh-in: -1.4 pounds
Pounds to go: 48

Funny story. I weigh myself weekly as soon as I get back from my morning swim. I didn't think about it last week, just did it and grumped about my crappy loss. This morning I stepped on the scale, and again, crappy loss.

Cue long, dramatic sigh.

I took a shower, dried off, wrapped my hair up in a towel and a little light bulb when on over my head. When I get out of the pool I don't dry my hair. At all. I live super close to the pool, so it drips a whole bunch, but it's just going to get wet anyway, once I shower and I don't care. I don't have super long hair, but it's thick and it soaks up some water.

Just for shits and giggles, I towel dried my hair, and weighed again.

Son of a biscuit, the loss almost DOUBLED! I went from a .8 loss to a 1.4 pound loss!

HA!

So now I know for next week. Take a shower first, towel dry, THEN weigh yourself.

This is the first week where I have made it to swimming each morning. It's the third day of that, and I have to tell you, my arms are reminding me I am not used to this crap. I carried my coffee cup into the office this morning and my arm trembled.
I really love the swimming. Even when I have to force myself to get up because there were storms last night and they woke me up at midnight and made it hard for me to fall back to sleep. We are working on butterfly this week, which is a pain in the ass stroke, that's for sure, but I struggled through it.

Midway through the week! Hopefully we all survive!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Oh Thursday Doesn't Even Start

Half marathon training Week 2 - complete!

I did my three miles pace run on Saturday on the treadmill. I'm aiming for 12:20/mile for my goal pace so I can beat my current half marathon PR which is 2:43 and change. Saturday I ran my three at an 11:20/mile pace. I busted my ass for that, so maybe I should slow down to prevent injury. Sunday, I had six on the schedule. One of my runner friend's is in from out of town, so we picked a 5K to run together. She isn't trained enough for the six I needed. Instead, I met up with a different runner friend, ran three with him, then met up with her and ran the 5K. 6.1 done for the day.

And this morning I got up at the ass crack of dawn and swam for fifty minutes.

All of that, and I still feel like I am struggling with my weight. I took measurements last week just so I can have something to compare with, because the scale is a dick.

In between workouts, we had family in from out of town so plenty of cousin time, and then my guys, husband, and I all went to our city pool for a couple of hours Sunday afternoon. My little fishies had a blast!

How was your weekend?

Thursday, July 6, 2017

But If You Try Sometimes You Might Find You Get What You Need

Week Five
Weekly weigh-in: -0.6 pounds
Pounds to go: 49.4

Trying not to get too frustrated this week. I busted my ass over the holiday weekend, I stayed away from the treats (within reason), I tracked like a mofo and I end up with just over a half a pound lost.

I know. I can hear it right now. Believe me, I would say the same things to you.

"It's a loss. That's all that matters."

"It's better than a gain."

"It will work itself out."

I get all that. It's just hard not to be frustrated at the way my body works. I've been crushing my swim workouts, and my running. I worked out TWICE yesterday. My eating has been on point! This is just...frustrating!!
It didn't help that I just made the mistake of going back through my weight loss on My Fitness Pal and realized I am about ten pounds away from my lowest weight recorded. I am literally not even close to my lowest fattest weight. 

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

There's Still Dinner on My Dinner Jacket

One of my goals last week was to try two new recipes. I made one early on in the week and saved the other one for Saturday. The recipe involved the spiralizer, and it's always easier to do slightly more complicated recipes when I have time and I'm not starving.

I chose Spiralized Turnip and Potatoes Au Gratin from Skinnytaste.

First up, spiralizing turnips and potatoes.
I couldn't spiralize my carrots, so I grated them.

Then I steeped some thyme in my milk. I was supposed to use half and half and skim milk, but I only had whole milk, which I think balances out.
Next up, sauteing my onions, garlic, and adding in the ground turkey.
The I combined everything and cooked it in the oven for an hour.
Fun fact, my husband did the grocery shopping for this and couldn't find gruyere cheese that didn't cost an arm and a leg so I went with the shredded mozzarella we had in the fridge.

I didn't take an after picture. The recipe serves six, so I divvied it up and chowed down. It was really good! I added some cut up veggies for a side, to get that bite of freshness and really enjoyed it. In fact, I liked it so much I had some for my post-run breakfast the next day. I poached an egg and had that on top for some added protein. I highly recommend this one if you've got a spiralizer!

Now to come up with two to make this week. Hmm...

Even with the holiday, I had a pretty active weekend. I ran on Saturday and Sunday, I swam on Monday, and I ran on Tuesday. This half marathon training plan seems to be working out. My long run on Sunday was interesting. My husband had a tee time, so I ran as much as I could outside, then did the last mile on the treadmill.
Getting on that treadmill for one more mile wasn't easy, let me tell you.

I am loving my early morning swimming. Monday was a true test. I didn't have to work on Monday, so getting up at 5:45 to go swim when I could have slept for another hour (if not more!) was tough. It was funny, there were actually less people at our swim today than there were at the swim on Monday. I think people celebrated a little too hard last night.

Hope you had a great holiday. Here's to kicking some July butt!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Drop It Like It's Hot

Week Four
Weekly weigh-in: -0.4 pounds
Pounds to go: 50

I am officially done weighing in for the month of June. Not much of a loss this week, but nature and biomechanics and being a woman have all conspired against me. Since this is just a fact of life, I will let it go. 

Doesn't mean I can't grumble about it for a little while.

I had my first two-a-day yesterday. I swam in the morning, then did a three mile run in the evening. Thankfully, I had a friend come do the run with me. Not so sure I would have done it otherwise. This morning I couldn't get to the pool, my husband had to work early. I just did my running workout (5 x 400 at 5K pace) on the treadmill in our basement.

Not sure what my 5K pace is, exactly, so I ran the 400's at a 12:00 minute mile. I'm supposed to walk or slow jog in between, though it didn't say for exactly how far. I guess I should read Hal Higdon's book? I ended up doing just .05 in between each 400 at a walk because I ran out of time.

With that over with, I can enjoy my haircut this evening without figuring out how to get a run in before bed. Such a nice feeling.

Hope June has been awesome for you! Let's kick July's ass!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

You Won't Get No Dessert 'Till You Clean Off Your Plate, So Eat It

Try Two New Recipes This Week
Recipe #1

Last night I made Skillet Chicken and Broccoli Tot Pie from Skinnytaste. I'm going to let you in on a little secret, I loathe cooking. I hate cutting things up, I hate multiple step recipes, I hate sweating vegetables. The list goes on and on.

Thankfully, I have a husband who LIKES cooking. He did a lot of the prep for this, which explains why the vegetables look all neat. My husband has honestly said to me, "I can't watch you chop things, I don't want to witness you cutting off a finger." It's not that I'm bad at it, exactly. It's that I have no technique and no desire to develop one.

He chops, I cook it. It saves us hospital bills time and arguments.

It was a cool evening last night, which meant turning the oven on wasn't going to overheat our entire house.  While the oven preheated I cooked the veggies in our cast iron skillet. Another secret, I am a delicate flower have weak wrists and honestly, cannot lift the cast iron skillet so my husband has to do it for me.
The recipe was easy to follow, as most of hers are. Once the onions were translucent, I added flour then chicken stock. Cooked that for a bit and added the rest of the ingredients (chicken, broccoli, herbs). Once that was cooked down, I added the broccoli tots on top and into the oven it went.
It came out looking like this:
This was marked down as four servings, which made it easy to divvy up. I took my quarter of the "pie" and gave my husband his.
I am a big fan of using small plates. It really does trick your brain into thinking you are eating more. Not that I needed it. I finished this off and was pleasantly full. Next time, I might add a salad with this, just to have a fresher element.

It tasted delicious, a lot like a chicken pot pie. My only complaint is the Green Giant Broccoli Tots are hella expensive. I'll keep an eye out for sales, but might not make this again until I can find them cheaper. My husband really liked it. My kids did not eat it, but that's because I started cooking it late, not because they didn't like it.

Overall, I would absolutely make this again and recommend it. Especially if you have a coupon for the broccoli tots!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Smoke on the Water

I woke up this morning to go swimming and checked the temp before I got ready. It was not warm. I waffled. In fact, I actually laid back down in my bed and pulled the covers up. Not today, I thought. Today is not my day to swim. 

I pulled the covers up to my chin.

And then...

Perhaps it was knowing I have a friend who busts her ass on the tennis court in ridiculous heat and humidity. And another one who gets home from work and kills her strength workouts. And yet another one, who attempts new workouts all the time, even though she is afraid she will trip or flat out not be able to do it, but still she tries. And yet another friend who walks for miles because she can't run due to an injury, yet she gets out and moves. And another friend who runs before sunrise in the Michigan heat AND the Michigan cold.

If these awesome women can do it, my sneaky little brain said, then by god, Meg, your lazy ass can get out of bed and swim.

I'm glad I have inspirational friends, but man, I would have liked to sleep in a little bit more today. Y'all are screwing with my rest!

In case you think I am kidding about the temps:
What kind of a-hole gets up at 5:45 to swim OUTDOORS in those temps?!?

This one, I guess.

We had a busy weekend, which is why I was overtired and not ready for swimming or getting my kids ready for daycare this morning. A hectic Monday morning for sure!

Over the weekend I ran in the annual city race to support our local fireworks. This was the first year the boys ran the mile race. One of them took a fall a quarter mile in, so we walked the rest of the mile, but they had fun.

Here they are, with their cousin, stretching before the run:
Gotta stay limber!

The 5K was fun. I finished in 38 minutes. For not training for speed at all, and walking a mile before the race, I was happy with it.

I was off by a week, so this week I officially start my half marathon training. I think I'll be on the treadmill a lot for this one, gotta love training for a fall run during the summer! Since I once ran 17 miles on the treadmill, this will be nothing!
Hope you had an awesome weekend. Let's kick this last week of June's butt!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Down on the Corner, Out in the Street

Week Three
Weekly weigh-in: -1.2 pounds
Pounds to go: 54.4


I had to skip swimming this morning because my husband started work early. It is hard to not hold it against him, which sounds dumb, but the man hasn't started early in over a month and now that I have shit to do he starts early. Sigh. Timing is a beast.

Good news, I lost weight this week. I wish it were more, which sounds terrible to say. I wanted to average two pounds a week, which seems completely doable. I just need to get down and really focus. I can do this!

I've been crushing my workouts. Food has been about an 80%. We had some holidays, Father's Day especially, and ended up with snacks in the house. We don't usually have stuff I like, the boys eat snacks that don't appeal to me. But, after hosting people on Sunday, we ended up with chips and snack mix. I was grazing on them on Sunday and finally on Monday I just tossed them in the garbage. My husband doesn't eat them and I didn't want the temptation. 

Last night my sister hosted a wine and cheese gathering at her house. We had a friend in from out of town, so I was over there. I snacked, maybe more than normal, but tried to keep it heavy on the vegetables. Between early morning swimming and walking on my lunch, by the time I got home and got the boys in bed I was wiped. I needed to run last night, first day of half marathon training, but my body laughed at me. So, I brushed my teeth and collapsed into bed just after nine. I think there's going to be an adjustment period with these earlier wake up calls.

Goals for this week:
  • Lap swimming any day I can
  • Follow half marathon training plan
  • Weights three times 
  • Make two new to me healthy meals

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

You'll Never Say Hello to You

I was so nervous about starting this organized swim thing that I woke up an hour before my alarm and tossed and turned until finally I gave in and got up.

I wasn't prepped for it to be cool this morning. I had to dig out a sweatshirt from my winter clothes bin. I wore that and some sweatpants capris over my swimsuit and drove to the pool. It seemed silly to drive, I live about a half mile away, but I wasn't sure what my timing would be like after the swim. On normal days, I need to leave my house by 7:15 to make it to work on time and the swim ended at 7.
The swim started yesterday, but I had to take my new dog to the vet, so I wasn't able to make it. I felt like everyone knew each other and I was getting that super nervous "what the hell am I doing here?!?" kind of feeling. Someone jumped in and started setting up the lanes, more people showed up (about thirty in all) and people got into the pool. I still had no clue what to do, saw no sign of a coach anywhere. As an introvert, this was the part I dreaded most. It's why I don't usually try new things, especially organized group events. I hate not KNOWING. People were setting down their water bottles at the end of lanes and I could see they all had lanes picked out. At first, I thought it was just people swimming with their friends, but then I recognized an order to the madness. Faster swimmers started in Lane 1, then the lanes got progressively slower until Lane 8.

 I ended up in what my mom and I lovingly call the Turtle Lane (aka Lane 8). This isn't meant to be mean AT ALL, but I could tell there were swimmers there who were SWIMMERS and there to do sprints and drills, etc. Shoot, when I was in prime swim team shape I was never that fast. So, I stuck to the slow lane and I am super glad I did. 

Once we were swimming I felt much more comfortable. The coach was very nice and he adjusted workouts for our lane which was great. I never felt like I couldn't do anything. I ended up with a solid swim, more than I would have done if I were swimming laps on my own. I ended up leaving at 6:50 because I had to get home and get ready. 

I'm glad I stepped outside my comfort zone and joined. Class runs four days a week until August. I'm looking forward to getting my butt kicked for the next month and a half.

Now if someone could help me lift my coffee cup up to my lips, that would be great.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

I'll Tell You Once More Before I Get Off the Floor, Don't Bring Me Down

Week Two
Weekly weigh-in: -1.0 pounds
Pounds to go: 55.6


This was one of those times I wish I could have changed my weigh-in day. We had my trivia league finals last night, so I ate late, I had a beer, PLUS I didn't get much sleep which meant I wasn't up early enough to workout. I had hoped for a better weigh-in but I know those factors made it only so so. A loss is better than a gain.

I'm not doing myself any favors by not weighing in on my designated weigh-in day. If I weigh myself tomorrow will I have a bigger loss? Probably.

This week I have added running back into my routine. I ran a 5K on Saturday then did three miles on the treadmill yesterday. I've been walking every day, too, but I forgot how much I missed running until I started doing it again. I start half marathon training at the end of the month. Going to try the Hal Higdon plan, which is more running than I am used to for training, but it sounds doable.

I'll leave you with my sweaty--but happy--face post run last night. It was too hot for outside so I did a treadmill run.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Night Swimming Deserves a Quiet Night

It was hotter than heck this weekend. Thankfully, my city has a pool the whole family enjoys so we spent a large chunk of Saturday and Sunday hanging out there. And by hanging out I mean swimming our butts off. It was a blast.

I like to observe people, and spending almost eight hours at the pool (over the course of two days I am not insane) left me with some good people watching time. Here's what I noticed:

-Every single woman there had some sort of cellulite/jiggle going on. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM. The skinny ones, the bigger ones, EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM! I'm not pointing this out because I find anything wrong with it. It's more of a "we all have this, why are we trying to pretend otherwise?" Now I, personally, have decided to live by the rule of "my thighs jiggle gonna wear a Speedo anyway". Part of that is because my kids want me to swim with them and most tankinis don't support the girls in any way which makes me constantly a couple of strokes away from an accidental nip slip. The other part is, when I swim laps wear the Speedo and I need that kind of suit for lap swimming. Oh and because last year, after almost flashing half the pool when my kid grabbed my suit I decided I was just going to wear a one-piece and screw what anyone thought of me. I was shocked at how many women wore short bottoms or bottoms that had a skirt on them, as if the sight of our wiggly inner thighs will cause young children to run screaming in the opposite direction.

-The dudes all went without shirts. There were a few in rashguard type shirts, I am assuming for sun protection, but they were few and far between. Seriously, I saw hairy backs and big bellies and skinny chests and tattoos and every thing else. The dudes did not care. You know why? Because THE WORLD has not beat over their head that they can't show that off.

-No one cares what I look like. And if they do care, it doesn't matter because I DO NOT CARE ABOUT THEM. You know what I care about? I care about my kids having fun. I care about them listening and paying attention to the lifeguards. I care that they like when I show off how I can swim, and imitate me. I care that the lifeguard gave me a thumb's up for stopping my kid from being an asshole on the water slide.

My thighs jiggle. My belly jiggles. My arms jiggle. Who the eff cares?

Wear a Speedo. Show of your inner thighs. Go swimming. No one is looking at you, except the lifeguard and that's only to make sure you are not drowning on their watch.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

It's Going Down, I'm Yelling Timber

Week One
Weekly weigh-in: -2.0 pounds
Pounds to go: 56.6

Boom.

The first week is the easiest, right? The one where you're super dedicated and excited about things. Then maybe things go a little harder the next week so you don't bust your ass quite as much. And the week after that everyone's going out to eat and you love you some chili cheese fries, so why not indulge?

Not this time, bucko.

You. Have. Got. This.

I started walking on my lunch again. It works in two ways. First, I get the calorie burn which is nice. Second, I don't sit at my desk and think "man I am still hungry, I wonder what snacks are laying around this place?". Instead, I go for a walk and by the time I get back to my desk, my brain has caught up with my stomach and I am full.

I stopped drinking diet soda. It's been a few days and it feels weird, but so far so good. This was a personal challenge for me for June. I didn't really share it, because it was more of a "well, let's see what happens thing" than an actual goal. It helps that I don't have late night rehearsals or anything so I don't need caffeine at eight o'clock at night.

I stopped snacking in my car. Not entirely, but instead of mowing down bags of chips I bring an apple to eat on my way home from work. It holds off the EAT EVERYTHING NOW feeling when I get home and it's healthy and I enjoy the crunch.

Baby steps.

You can do this, Meg.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

I Had a Dream So Big and Loud

Wow, it took me a while to get over my post-marathon blues.

It actually took inspiration from the lovely Anna to get me going. Guess who's back, y'all?

I haven't been a complete slug for the last couple of weeks. I did stuff, I swear!

First, there was the workout from Anna's trainer. I'm a fitness/awesome friend group with her and she shared one of her interval training workouts. We all tried it, and I have to say, it was tough! I give her credit for busting ass on these.

It was nice to see one of my guys try out some of the moves.
This was a plank move. Isn't he the cutest?
Then, I graduated a step up in my weights!
This made me feel super badass! You wouldn't think those five pounds would make that much of a difference, but man, do they ever. My goal is to make it up to the 20's by the end of summer. I have never made it past the fifteen pounders. I can do this!

Third, I ran a 5K over Memorial Weekend. There was a 1/2 mile kid's race, too. So, technically, I ran a 1/2 mile, then ran a 5K. Oh, and because the race was on the course of the Detroit Grand Prix, we had to walk almost a mile to get to the starting line. Not a big deal as an adult, but I had two four year olds who kept randomly sprinting. By the time they finished their race, and I finished mine, I ended up carrying one and J. carried the other one back to the car. Now that's a workout.

The race was the Run Detroit Grand Prix 5000. It was a good race except. OK, this is weird. I stayed to the back because I hadn't really trained for speed for a 5K, you know? I felt great the whole time, but at the halfway point there was a folded up table, some sleeves of cups, and about ten gallon jugs of water. No people, though. I want to say this was because they NEVER had the station manned, but there were also no cups scattered around which means the station was manned at some point, and the people left. There were at least a hundred people left on the course when I hit the spot. I stopped and helped a man who was with his maybe ten or eleven year old son. We set up the table, put out cups, filled them up. I stayed for about five minutes to keep the water coming, then left him to finish the run because I had the kiddos waiting. That was a HUGE complaint. Don't advertise a walker friendly 5K (pace requirement was a 19 minute mile) and then leave the effing water table unmanned for the slow people. EFF THAT!

Sigh. Enough. I will vent my spleen to the race director via email soon enough. Until then, pictures!
This was all on the walk to the starting line
The boys loved their capes!
This week I tried a new recipe. It was Damn Delicious' imitation PF Chang's chicken lettuce wraps. Recipe found here. Sadly, I forgot the damn lettuce because of a shitty day at work (including a cracked tooth) so I ended up just having it with riced cauliflower and a side of carrots for color.
They were yummy and super easy to make. I hate cooking and I hate complicated recipes so if I say they were easy to make, then trust me, they were easy.

And now it is June 1st. I'm doing a summer challenge that is weight loss and activity related. I have to stop the upward swing of the scale somehow.

Happy June!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Then What?

I spent almost six months training for my marathon.

Now it's over.

What happens next? I really let my eating and weight loss fall to the side while I was training. I had a difficult time getting in calories after long runs, and restricting them and my carbs was making me feel like garbage so I just ate what I felt like eating. I didn't gain weight, which is good. On the other hand, I haven't lost weight since March. So that sucks.

I want to work on my weights again. I love those darn things. I'm going out for a run this evening just to run and not to train for anything which is weird. I'll run what I feel like running at the pace I feel like moving. I have my eye on signing up for the morning swim offered at our city pool (which opens Memorial Day weekend). I miss swimming and this one has a set workout made up by a swim coach from one of our local colleges.

And I'm going to sign up for the Detroit Women's Half Marathon in September. I have run either the 5K or the half marathon in that race for the past five years, as long as the race has been a round, so I'll start training for that one in the next couple of weeks.

For the first time in four years I am not going to be doing a summer musical. It's weird, but at the same time a little bit of a relief. I  love being on stage, but the rehearsals for this last show I was in, plus the emotional gut punch (I was M'Lynn in Steel Magnolias) left me drained. A few months off will be good for me and the guys.

I'm looking forward to a good summer with my family and friends!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Flying Pig Marathon 2017 - Back of the Pack Recap

Before I signed up for The Pig I did my research. I wanted to do a marathon that was back of the pack friendly. The course limit for the full for the Flying Pig is seven hours, which is great. After I found that out, I started to look for blog posts from people about the marathon.

Most of the stuff I found was written by either faster people or about the half marathon. I found a couple that seemed to be closer to my pace and I read what I could.

This post is for anyone who does what I do and next year, when they are looking for a marathon, does a little google search to see what the course was like for those of us who don't finish marathons under four hours.

A lot happened over the weekend that was un-marathon related (yes I did that, shut your mouth) but this is just about the actual race.

Packet Pick-up
I got into Cincinnati at around 5PM Friday. After checking into the hotel, my friend and I walked over to the expo center which was across the street from the hotel. The expo was HUGE. We had plans to check it out the next day, so on Friday I just got my bib and my shirt and we left. Packet pick-up was super easy.
Pros: Very, very, very well organized.
Cons: Look, I love a tech shirt as much as the next person, but the 5Kers (and maybe the 10K I don't know) got t-shirts instead of tech shirts and they were awesome. It was like a souvenir concert t-shirt. I was very jealous of that. I love to wear cotton race shirts, especially cute ones, after the fact. I rarely wear race tech shirts because they never fit me right.

 Expo
We went to the expo on Saturday after the 5K. We still had someone who needed to pick up their bib for the marathon on Sunday. The expo was gigantic, like I said. Not really my thing. I did end up with a coffee mug of the race. You know what I really wanted? A 26.2 sticker for the back of my car. You know what they had? ALL MAGNETS. Hmmm...
If you are into giant expos and shopping, then this is for you. If not, you can still pass through the expo quickly to get your packet, etc, so you can be in and out without a fuss.

Race Prep
The night before the race I laid out all my equipment to make sure I had everything.
Pictured: Shoes, shirt, capris, socks, sunscreen, water bottle, fuel, Flip Belt, and awesome Run Detroit hat because gotta represent my city!

I also had my friend write my manta on my arm.
I set my alarm for 5:02AM and tried to sleep. Somehow my alarm got screwed up and I didn't wake up until 5:25. We had planned to meet in the lobby with our other friends at 5:30!

Nothing like rushing around your room like crazy right before a marathon. Thankfully, everything worked out and I got to the corral with plenty of time.

The corrals were all fenced off with a very handsome man in a military uniform checking people's bibs as they entered to make sure they were racers. Once in the corral, my friends went on their way to watch our faster friend start and I waited for the corral to start.

The Race
We started about 20 minutes after the first corral. I had a fleece on because it was cold at the start, not even in the forties and there was a brisk wind coming off the river.  I didn't take any pictures during the run because my phone was tucked into my flip belt and I didn't want to deal with it. Any pictures of me were taken by my awesome friends because they are awesome. The end. Also, I was running so my exact course descriptions are also a little off. But, the basic gist of it is there.

Miles 1-4
We started out on the Ohio side and ran around until we crossed a bridge up and over into Kentucky. I have run the Detroit half marathon before and this bridge was honestly not as bad as that one. My goal was to walk up bridges and run down them, regardless of what my run/walk interval was. The first half of this race is HILLY and I didn't want to burn out my legs before it was even half over.
Because I started at the back of the pack, I was running with the half marathon walkers, which was fine. I didn't really have to dodge around anyone, and most people kept to the course requirement of no more than two people walking abreast. I kept to my 25 second run and 30 second walk when I wasn't going up hills.
We crossed one bridge in Kentucky, then crossed another bridge from Kentucky back into Ohio. That made me laugh, as we came over the second bridge I heard a woman say to the man with her, "Are you sure this one goes into Ohio? Because you said the last one didn't and you were wrong." Walk up the bridges, then run down them. Lather, rinse, repeat. I started fueling at Mile 3. And felt great. My pace was right on a 15 minute mile.

Miles 5-9
And then we started to go up hill. Again, I did my walk up the hills, keep to my run/walk on any flat parts. The climb up to this park, which was where the hill topped out, wasn't THAT bad. I expected it to be much worse. I just kept on with my plan and before I knew it we were at this lovely lookout over the city.
Freezing cold support crew
Running away from them.
At that point, we split off from the half marathoners and suddenly it was just me and like, four other people. Ah yes, the dreaded Back of the Pack. I still felt great at this point, my legs were fine, my breathing was good, I had my playlist bumping. I give the Flying Pig credit, even with the much, much smaller crowds on the road, the people manning the water stations were still cheering and screaming as if we were all the first runners they saw all day.

Miles 10-14
The course at this point wound through the neighborhoods of Cincy. It was nice to check out the houses and enjoy the scenery. Nothing too crazy. There were some hills and the sun was out in full force, but temps were in the 50's so we were still good. I passed my friends at Mile 14. They had signs and were just genuinely awesome crowd support.

 A few of them headed to the finish to see our other much faster friend finish, but two stayed behind to meet me at Mile 17, which was just a hop from Mile 14.
Seriously, best cheering sections I have seen on a race cours!
The signs made me laugh!

My fuel was good, my legs were good, I was still at my awesome 15 minute pace. This race was great!

Miles 15-20
We went through a neighborhood, Mariemont, and the crowd support was just awesome. People out cheering on their lawns, neighbors having race parties. It was so cool. Again, I was at the back of the pack, so you know they had people passing them by for hours and still they cheered. We were on a bike path for a little bit. I saw my friends again, and they promised to meet me at the finish. Everything was awesome!

Miles 20-26
At around Mile 20, we started through a less than desirable part of the city. There were other runners around me so I wasn't overly concerned, but it wasn't good viewing to distract me. There was a full blown argument between a woman and a man in front of their house that included screaming and threats. I didn't know what I should do, if I should call someone on my phone or what. I just kept running.
Then at Mile 23, disaster struck. Disaster in the form of stomach issues. You guys. It was AWFUL. I spent way too much time in a port-a-john (you're welcome for the overshare). I was close enough to the point where I thought I would have to pull myself off the course. I started to walk. And cry. You know what doesn't go well with any form of exercise? Crying. I was almost hyperventilating and thought for sure if a course official saw me they would pull me thinking I was having a heart attack.
We also started down the loneliest stretch of the course, the Columbia Parkway. It was just a long, closed road with nothing to look at, no shade, and nothing but cement for what felt like ages. So here I am, feeling like I'm gonna vomit, crying, not being able to breath, and I still have THREE MILES TO GO. Three terrible, awful miles.
Thankfully, I spotted a guy I had passed a few times throughout the course while we both ran the Galloway method. He passed me while I was stopped in the port-a-john. I caught up with him and basically said, "Hi, I'm Meg, can I walk with you?" His name was Randy and honestly, Randy, I would not have survived the rest of this race without you. We didn't really talk, but just having a human being by me was enough.
I sent a text to the support crew, who knew I was struggling based on my times that posted at each mile marker. The text was basically one f-bomb. They recognized the desperation. At Mile 25 ( I think?) there they were. My friends PLUS the one who already ran a marathon. I got a much needed boost from that. One friend kept walking with me and I passed off my water bottle to her as we approached the finish.

Mile 26.2
With the disastrous last three mile walk, I ended up adding quite a bit of time to my run. Again, I was just in it to finish strong, so I'm not upset about that, other than, come on I was doing SO GOOD!! Eh, enough of that, I can't change it. I rounded the corner for the finish line and just chugged along. The rest of the group was there to cheer me on as I crossed the finish. It was brutal and I was exhausted, but my legs, bless their hearts still felt great.

Here's where being a back of packer sucks. For earlier finishers, there are awesome birds-eye photos of their finish. The photographers who took those were gone by the time I finished. Other photographers did get some of me running it in, but not many. And when I crossed the finish line, got my medal and blanket, there was one person with a camera to take a photo with my medal. She said, "They keep telling me to pack up, but I know there are people on the course, so I won't. Not yet." Thank you, lady!
Everything was getting broken down and taken apart, but I got bottled water and was directed to some food which I did not want. I walked around until I could meet up with the rest of the group.
This guy ran a marathon, and then walked back on the course a mile to cheer me on. Losing My Puppy has found herself a keeper. Which is good, because SHE is a keeper.
EVERYONE WAS AWESOME!
After the race, my stomach was still jacked up. We all rested at the hotel, then went out to dinner at Molly Malone's. I highly, highly recommend that place. It's on the Covington side and was awesome. Good food, decent service and not crowded at all.

Then we took an Uber to get ice cream, as you should.
Hot fudge sundae
My stomach was still anti-sugar at this point, so I didn't eat much of it. Boo. Then back to the hotel and sleep.

A few of us were still around on Monday, so we got breakfast at Maplewood Kitchen (I also highly recommend this place).
Goat cheese and ricotta toast

Avocado toast with pisatchios and honey
And then I drove home.

Overall
I would recommend this race to anyone. The course is challenging, but if you go into with a plan and train for it, you can do it. Without the stomach issues, this race would have been PERFECT. Very, very back of the pack friendly.
My only suggestion, should you go and want to stay in one of the race recommended hotels, DO NOT stay at the Millennium Hotel. It was terrible.