Thursday, October 9, 2014

Lies, Damn Lies, No. 1

I don't know if this is going to be a series of posts or not, but let's just assume it is - there's certainly plenty of material for it:

(and proof they're not real)
No. 1

"I never get to do anything!  I'm working all the time and it leaves me with no time for fun stuff."


I needed to write this today because I heard this complaint in my head.  Sometimes it's useful to remind myself that there's no need to be down - there's light at the end of the Tunnel that is Busy Season, and meanwhile, I regularly participate in some REALLY neat, enriching and satisfying activities that have absolutely nothing to do with work.

Here's some cool shit I've done in the past 6 months, despite my busy work schedule while enjoying my demanding and engaging career, and in no particular order:

  1. I helped lead a group of beginner runners to successfully complete a 4.37-mile race through a 10-week program.
  2. I went to a concert.  On a TUESDAY night.  If that's not living-on-the-edge, I just don't know what is.
  3. I participated in a 12-week running program myself to help improve my own speed and endurance.
  4. I filed my taxes on time (ok this doesn't really fall into the category of "fun", but I did.)
  5. I went to an Easter Parade Party.  Now, who else gets to say that?!?
  6. I ran not one but TWO half-marathons.
  7. I baked an amazing, basically perfect, blueberry pie.
  8. I celebrated 10 years of marriage.
  9. We went to a beach party with friends.
  10. I attended the wedding of a woman whom I've known since she was three months old. That's right I said MONTHS.
  11. I celebrated my brother-in-law's graduation from graduate school.
  12. I went to the Jaycees Beerfest - another great day with friends.
  13. I attended an event honoring women of distinction in our community and met a dear old friend of my mother's - and she received one of the awards!
  14. I spent two weeks attending a daily swimming class and learned a new skill.
  15. I went to community theater and saw the musical SHREK.
  16. I spent an evening out of town listening to my friends' band play until the wee hours of the morning.
  17. I volunteered as a leader in a women-only running group for 8 weeks.  There I met bunches of great ladies and running partners!
  18. I went to a fundraiser for a great local charity and simultaneously got to visit with a dear friend and her mom.  And we accidentally got her mom pretty drunk.  She was hilarious.
  19. I ran a race with one of my very best friends and then spent the rest of the day together.
  20. I volunteered answering phones during the spring fund drive for my local public radio station.  (Donate today for the fall fund drive - click here!)
  21. I hosted a birthday party and had all our friends over, hanging out and enjoying each other's company until (again) the wee hours of the morning.

And #22:  The past few weeks, I have been helping promote an upcoming concert.  My very favorite singer-songwriter is coming to town and I have the privledge of helping get the word out.  By the way, here's where you can get tickets and info.  It's going to be a fantastic, intimate show; one not to be missed.

So screw you, lying voice inside my head.  I have a pretty great, fun-filled and enriching life outside of my office (and the hotel rooms I stay in so often).  I just need a little reminder once in a while.

Back to work, you!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

This is What Success is Going to Look Like

I had an interesting little insight this morning that I'd like to share.

First I need to give you a little rundown on what's been going on around here -

This is my Busy Season, so if you follow my blog at all, you know I'm not posting much lately.  In fact, I haven't looked but I'm guessing it's been about 8 weeks since my last post.  I'm travelling quite a bit, working late, trying to keep a large number of projects running simultaneously and not let any of them fall completely apart.  I'm not complaining; I have a demanding job that I love, and this is just how it goes sometimes.  Thank goodness I have a wonderful supportive family that keeps everything at home generally under control during these times.

Well, maybe not everything.  But they do a great job keeping me sane!  You know, the house is a bit of a mess, but shit happens.  I'm a lousy housekeeper anyway, so I certainly have no complaints!

My nutrition is still mostly in the bad category.  Some days I plan well and eat well, some days it's a complete wreck.  I finally got back on the bandwagon logging my food.  I switched to MyFitnessPal because it syncs up with my BodyMedia Fit armband, and because I had to do SOMEthing - the food logging side of the BodyMedia web site / app is just awful.  Sadly, LoseIt! doesn't communicate with the armband.  I've been using that web site on and off for nearly 5 years, I'm sad to leave them.  But I am logging my food intake again, which is a big step in the right direction, and I've actually started to pay attention to the interim totals through the day, which I had sort of trained myself to ignore somewhere along the way.  That's an even bigger step in the right direction.

On the exercise part of this equation, I'm happy to say I'm still doing pretty well.  The Heat Wave group finished up about 2 weeks ago, and I was able to protect my schedule enough to make it to most of the 8 weeks of the program.  I really enjoy being a group leader.  It reinforces a sense that, while I have a long way to go mentally and physically, I have accomplished plenty that is worthy of recognition in my own thoughts, and reminds me to pat myself on the back a bit, even when I feel like I've moved backwards.  In 2009 when I first started to change my eating habits by using WW online, I never would have considered running; certainly not running and helping to organize a half-marathon (or four). 

The past 3 days are a perfect example of how things have been going, and thanks to BodyMedia, I have visual aids to demonstrate what I mean! 

Saturday:  Evergreen 5k - I've run this several times, I love it because I get to bring Coty.  This year the weather was perfect.  I had terrible leg cramps the whole time, though, so I had a pretty awful race experience this time.  (I wasn't last, but it was a near thing.)  I kept stopping to walk and stretch, trying to get my calves to release.  I had a lovely time socializing with my Lake Run Club friends and our many Heat Wave leaders and participants after the race, but it was definitely in my top 5 worst races ever.    Home from the race and relaxed for awhile, then took Louie out for a solo training session.  This is a little different from your average Dog Walk - lots of stops where we work on commands and he gets training treats, lots of attention and practice being calm and focused (and not lunging at people or other dogs).  This took about an hour, but we only went about a mile and a half.  Saturday night was the usual shenanigans, burger basket, drinks, late night. 

Here's what my BodyMedia Fit showed at the end of the day:

Pretty good - even with the alcoholic beverages added in, I was WAY over my daily step goal, 30 minutes over my activity goal, and 400 calories over my burn target.  Nutrition was also over, and I didn't quite hit my deficit goal, but 550 under is still a deficit I can feel good about.

Sunday:  I'd gone to bed really late Saturday night, but I really wanted to make it to the Lake Run Club ABC Run event Sunday morning, so when the alarm went off at 6:30, I dragged myself out of bed, did my Sunday morning nekkid weigh-in, slammed some water and made a big cup of coffee to go.  Coty went with me, but it was so early in the morning, Louie didn't even notice.  I told myself that a run and some coffee is the best cure for a hangover.  (Sadly, my hangover came back with a vengeance after the run and made me a very unhappy girl in the late-morning/early-afternoon, but that's the price of doing business.)  After the cramping of the day before, Coty and I walked for more than a mile before doing any running, then did an unstructured run/walk for 3 more miles.  There was a presentation and some refreshments, and we got home around 9:15 to find my husband and The Kid... still both SOUND ASLEEP.  I tried to nap, couldn't, watched TV, generally felt miserable, took some Advil and drank more water.  Eventually, the boys were up and my headache went away, and Louie started making noise about wanting his walk.  I talked the boys into making it a family affair.  We did about 3.5 miles with both dogs and both boys and I made everybody run intervals during the second half.  It was a blast.  Dinner was a Chipotle burrito bowl (which I must admit, I felt was well-deserved after all this activity!) with extra fajita veg, light on the cheese, no sour cream, and about half of the normal rice portion.  Food-wise, breakfast and lunch were pretty snacky, no major junk food, etc.

Here's what the stats looked like at the end of the day:

Again, good stuff.  I was actually under my calorie goal; 800 over my burn goal; way, way WAY over my activity and steps goals, and (as expected) my sleep time was pretty badly off the mark.  Check out that calorie deficit for the day!  BOOM!  But of course, not every day can be a two-a-day.  Who has three hours on a weekday to squeeze in all that fun??

And now we get to the point of my post (I know, took you long enough, Chris) - and that is this: 

These days were successful.  Terrific!  Happily successful days.  But at BEST, I could have two days like this in every 7.  And even at that, not every weekend has the kind of free time available to get this much activity in.  Sometimes I have to work on Saturday.  Sometimes I will be travelling.  Sometimes, I'll be lazy.  Sometimes I'll be sick.  Shit happens.

The real success is on Monday:  I got up early, hit the office, had meetings most of the day, worked a little late.  I did eat reasonably all day - yogurt and cottage cheese for breakfast, grilled chicken and romaine salad for lunch with a light dressing and some carrots.  (Actually, I took a picture:)

After work, I met up with my fellow Heat Wave group leaders for a happy hour celebrating ad socializing and getting to know some of the other leaders.  It was a great evening and I was S glad to go.  Being part of that group has been amazing and I look forward to spending more time with all of these women!  But this is about food:  I had a couple of pieces of bread, one glass of red wine ("just give me the cheapest red wine you have, I'm not picky.") and a Cajun Shrimp Quesadilla which was delicious, light on cheese, and heavy on flavor.  Worst part of the meal is probably the tortilla. 
So basically, what I'm saying is I got NO exercise all day, but I maintained a goal-oriented mindset when I made food choices, and made it work. Or so I thought.  Here's what the BodyMedia Fit had to say about that:

Calorie burn was a little shy of goal, but not far off.  Intake goal was within my allotment (but of course that's an estimate... Plus or Minus 100 calories isn't hard to fudge).  I HIT my deficit for the day!  And all that with only 22 minutes of "moderate" activity (basically that means ZERO activity - I get that walking from my car to my desk and going to the bathroom a couple of times).  And obviously, I was a far cry from my step goal and my sleep as well. 

But let me repeat:  I hit my deficit for the day.  On a day with NO exercise, AND with a meal out, including wine.

THAT's what SUCCESS is going to look like for me. 
Mondays that say in the GREEN. 
Supplemented by some awesome weekends where the stats are off the charts.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

All or Nothing

Last night I skipped my plans, which included a light workout and a meeting for the Heat Wave group leaders, in favor or a higher-priority item on my list of Things To Do.  (Doesn't matter what it was.  I decided it was more important and I was OK with that.)  Then it turned out I couldn't do what I wanted.

I was disappointed - this was something I had wanted to do Saturday, but it had been postponed in favor of Other High Priority Items.  Having let that go over the weekend, I was all about it on Monday, but it wasn't in the cards.  I couldn't do what I wanted, and therefore I did... nothing.

I screwed around on my phone, folded some laundry, played with the dogs... no workout, no meeting.  I could have:
  • gone for a run,
  • hit the gym,
  • done an at-home workout,
  • prepped serving sizes of trail mix, granola, and cottage cheese, or
  • still made it to the meeting
But nope, I did none of these things.  After about an hour, it came to me that I was pouting.  I decided to at least get my 30-day challenge exercises in - planks, pushups, lunges.  And I talked with the Hubs about it and made a plan for tonight.  Today, it's coming to me that this has been a serious trend lately.  I'm either logging EVERYTHING I eat, or nothing.  I'm either working out 5 days a week, or pretty much not at all.  I've been travelling again and travel days are SERIOUS all-or-nothing days.  I either end up eating junk all day and all night, or doing really well. 

Example:  one day last week, it was a "bad" food day, but I was determined to eat well for dinner at least, and end on a better note.  The client closes at 4 so I was back at my hotel early and changed into gym gear with the plan of hitting the hotel's fitness center.  Then my phone rang - the Hubs.  We talked for nearly an hour, and by the time we hung up, I was hungry. Result:  I ate dinner in workout clothes, but did not get a workout.

I could have:
  • let it go to voice mail, 
  • told him I was heading to the gym and I'd call him back in an hour, or
  • talked for 15 minutes and then told him I would call him back
Any of those options would have resulted in a workout (WIN!) and an evening I would have been more proud of (WIN!), and would have made my food choices in the evening easier - "oh I worked out, let's keep that ball rolling and Be Reasonable at dinner!"  (WIN!)

The thing is, once an opportunity like that is passed up (NOT a win), the All-or-Nothing mentality mandates, "Fuck it - no reason to eat well tonight, it's a lost cause already." (REALLY NOT a win.)   Another battle to fight.  Each time Nothing wins over Something, a battle is lost, and more often than not, a second battle begins.  Choosing Something is actually less work.

All or Nothing.

Here's the thing about All-or-Nothing mentality / behavior:  The All-or-Nothing mentality generally results in the latter. 

Something is always better than Nothing.  I know that my diet doesn't need to be perfect in order to work, but it has to be generally good.  Generally better than bad.  I don't have to do a high-intensity workout every day, but I do need want to work out consistently.  Generally getting it done.  Generally NOT doing Nothing.

 Got Balance?

Monday, May 5, 2014

St. Patrick's Day 5K 2014

This is just how it goes sometimes.  I started drafting a race recap the day after this year's St. Pat's 5k and never quite finished it.  I'm super busy at work today but wanted to post SOMEthing and started browsing my list of Unfinished Business... and here we are:

Race conditions:  VERY cold.  VERY windy.  Jason agreed to come and volunteer at the water stop though, despite the weather.

I didn't bother with my iPod, but I really should start using it for races again.  I think it makes a real difference in my pace and how I'm feeling throughout my run.

How I ran it:  No stops.  They don't even do a mid-course water stop for this race, so no walking the water stop this time, either.

Early on - maybe 5-6 minutes in, thought to myself,
Self:  "OK this is a comfortable pace, let's keep this up for the whole race.  I think we can do that."
Better Self:  "Nope.  Stop that thought right now.  This is a race!  It's not supposed to be COMFORTABLE!  What is this "comfortable" you speak of???  If it's COMFORTABLE you want, stay on the fucking couch.  [Side note:  yes, I swear a lot, even inside my own head.  Just imagine it's in an Irish accent.  It is St. Pat's after all.] This should be HARD. This should be a little UNcomfortable!"

So the remainder of the race, that was my mantra:  "A little uncomfortable.  A little MORE uncomfortable."

Time 37:40, 12:09 pace -not bad.  Not stellar, but coming off of the winter weather, etc.... I'm OK with that.
25th in my age group
422 overall (of 475)

Full Garmin stats can be found here if you're into that sort of thing.

Photos:  I didn't take any.  It was REALLY cold.  There were some volunteers from the Club that posted pictures afterward, but I couldn't locate me in any of them.  If you want an idea of what conditions were like, and to see a few nice costumes, you can view them here.

But I can't stand closing this out without at least ONE photo... so here's me at the 2013 St. Pat's 5k!

Friday, May 2, 2014

2014 Christie Clinic Illinois Half Marathon

Before I get down to race recap business, a short update on my week:  I've been a busy worker-bee at the office in hopes of keeping slightly ahead of things before Busy Season really gets rolling next month.  But I picked up a head cold somewhere along the way, and stayed home sick yesterday.  Feeling MUCH better this morning and headed back to work.  I'll plan to keep it low-key today and tonight so I'll be refreshed and (hopefully) not too sick tomorrow morning for the Lake Run 12k. 

My nutrition has been a mix as usual.  Great, mostly-healthy dinners courtesy of my awesome husband - he's been off work all week due to his back injury and entertaining himself by making delicious foods.  Breakfasts / lunches no quite so healthy, but par for the course.  No major food junkie meltdowns, so nothing horrific to report.  My weigh-in on Sunday (day after Race Day) showed me up 2.2 lbs in comparison to the stunning 4.3-lb loss of the previous weekend.  I'm attributing that mostly to post-race swelling and water retention, but I do hope to maintain this week.  Cross your fingers for this Sunday morning.  It'll be another post-race weigh-in and with this week's food intake being a bit off, could probably go either way.

So last Saturday was the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon event!  With more resolve than anticipation, I got up a little after 4am and went through my race-day routine.  I had a short list of things to grab and put in the car, but of course all of my clothes were already lid out and ready to go, including my super-awesome "It's my First Half Marathon!" shirt - which I put stickers on to edit so that it said "3rd".  Those Wal-Mart stickers have really come in handy and made it so my custom-made shirt wasn't useless after wearing it just once!  As I'm getting ready to head out the door with yogurt and giant water bottle in hand, I thought to myself, Funny how at 4:30 in the morning, there aren't any dogs pestering me to take me with them (since I'm wearing their favorite outfit) - this early in the morning, they could care less about going for a walk - "you're on your own, crazy woman!"  Of course, as I'm thinking this, Coty pads down the stairs and noses me in the back of the knee.  "Whatcha doin'?"  I let her out in the front yard by herself while I got my coffee ready.  (Louie heard this and came out of hiding as well... but after a moment of consideration, he gave me a look that said "Damn it's too early for this shit" and went back upstairs.)

I double-checked that I had my bib (mistakes happen once, but paranoia lasts forever), put Coty back in the house, and hit the road.  I was early enough this year that I got a good parking spot (one I thought I'd be able to locate after the race) and at my yogurt and protein bar.  The race started at 7am, and I'd arrived by about 6:15am (thanks, Cheryl, for checking on me!)  I had 45 minutes to find the truck to check-in my gear bag (with post-race change of clothes, snack and shoes), stretch, find a porta-a-john and get into my corral.  I congratulated myself on having exactly the right amount of lead-time.  Just as I got out of the car to gather my gear, I ran into two awesome ladies from my running group!  A round of pictures was in order.

Julie and Caitlin and myself

We chatted for a while and talked about our plan for the race:  it was the first half marathon for each of these ladies!   They headed off to hook up with some other friends and I went looking for the gear-check.  I was so busy drinking my water, I forgot to put it in my bag before I checked it = one giant water bottle, gone forever.  Oh well, I drank as much as I could, did my stretches while waiting in line for the port-a-john, found my corral entrance, and had time for one quick pic before they called "GO" for the first corral. 
Corral wait time was about 20 minutes or so, but too crowded to do any stretching.  I talked with the runners around me - several first-time half-marathoners and MANY first-time marathoners!  Most of these had little orange signs on their backs saying "my first marathon" so you could cheer them on as you approached (or maybe even passed) them in the corral and on the course.  It was really inspiring starting the race with all these marathoners and being able to encourage those on their first time.  Marathoners come in all shapes and sizes and I love seeing that diversity at big races like this one.
I mentioned before, I've been trying to figure out how to work around this foot pain that I've been experiencing.  It's prevented me from doing any real training for this half-marathon and left me convinced I wouldn't be able to finish this race, but here I am at the starting line, with a walk/run interval plan and enough GU to get me through 3 hours of running, and the resolve to do whatever I can, no more, and certainly NO LESS.  Foot pain or no pain, I'm going to give it whatever I've got.
So I run for four minutes and it's time for my first walk break.  I stop.  This feels SO WRONG.  But I have a plan and by god, I'm going to stick with it.  If I end up running 15 minutes at a time and then quitting at the 6 mile mark because I can't take the pain in my feet, I will regret it.  So, even though I'm expecting someone in the cheering, super-supportive crowd to yell "Don't quit now, you just got started!" I stop and walk my one minute and then pick it back up.  After a couple miles of this, it feels a lot less wrong.  After 6 miles of this, it starts to feel RIGHT.  But I'm getting ahead of myself. 
I'm reminding myself to have some fun.  In a way, every race is about finishing, but some are about finishing fast, or finishing well.  All other goals were out the proverbial window for this event and it really was ONLY about finishing.  That frees you up to focus on all sorts of things:  how many tutus can I count in Mile 3?  (Fourteen.)  Trying to read as many of the signs on the side of the road as possible.  Making a point to say something encouraging, give a high-five, or a pat on the back to every person I see wearing that "My First Marathon" tag on their back.  Say "thank you" to as many volunteers as I can make eye contact with.  Sing along with Pat Benatar (in my headphones) saying "Hit me with your Best Shot" - you know, general long-run self-entertainment.  It was getting warm -I got my little towel out and took a couple extra water cups at one of the hydration stations to get it wet for future use.
Somewhere between the 4-and-5 mile markers I realized my feet were starting to tingle.  Not bad, but not a good sign.  I came around a corner and decided to text Jason and let him know I was still in it.  I had some trouble getting my phone out of the pocket of my Batman Utility Belt.  (This thing is awesome and sits really well without chafing or riding around like some do, but having the big pocket on the back side makes digging around for things a little bit of a chore.  On the other hand, I can carry my GU, phone, iPod, plastic dog-poop bag [yes of course I always need that but rarely have one with me], gum, chapstick, credit card and ID and not notice any extra weight or bulk.)  Anyway, the point is, I was struggling with getting to my phone while running, so I pulled to the side and stopped for a minute to sort things out.  Once I texted him ["5 miles in, still ok"] and started back into the race, I almost absent-mindedly turned around to the group of volunteers/ community cheerleaders / supporters there and said "Thanks for being out here, you guys are awesome!!"  I turned around and started to run when I heard, "CHRIS!!  IT'S YOU!"
Me and Haley from RGX
Well looky here I found RunnerGirlX!!  Check out her Facebook page - she's funny and articulate and occasionally posts video "Confessions from the Road" - plus she's local!  Definitely check her out!  I had told her I'd be running and what I'd be wearing and that I'd look for her, but in all the chaos I was sure we'd miss each other.  What a treat she saw my shirt before I took off!  At this point I stopped my Garmin and we talked for a few minutes without me having a running clock in my head.  As I said... today is ALL ABOUT FINISHING and giving my feet an extra break is just fine by me.  Enjoy the journey and make it to the end, that's my motto for the day.
About this time I realized I was about 1 hour into the run and it was time for my first GU.  OK, got that done.  So off I go, 4 minutes run, 1 minute walk, repeat.  When I came across a hydration station, I walked.  If that meant I was walking during a "run" interval, that's OK.  Depending on where that fell in the intervals, I may pick up and run some more before the next scheduled walk or I might not.  I was really intent on being as kind to my feet as possible until I figure out what's causing this awful pain.  I just ran until the time on my watch read a minute ending in either a 9 or a 4, and then I walked until it hit either a 0 or a 5.  Take it easy, keep the math simple. 

It was a little after the 10k mark that I realized my feet weren't hurting anymore.  This came as quite a shock.  My feet were hurting, and then they weren't. I don't get it. But I sure was happy about it.  My feet don't hurt anymore!  [They got pretty achy and started complaining again around mile 11, about when I'd normally expect it, but that searing shocking pain never returned.]  I had now surpassed every training run I'd done so far.  This is my longest run of 2014, whether I finish the race or not.  I kept on with my 4/1 intervals. 

Around 7.0 miles, I saw a GREAT sign hanging in a tree - I didn't get a picture but it said simply "TRUST YOUR TRAINING."  No one holding it, just tied up on each corner to the branches of this tree at the side of the road.  First, I wanted to cry.  I got a little teary, actually.  This sign sort of hit me in the face that way.  Then I started laughing because the first coherent thought I had was "WHAT training?!?!?"

Next I saw this sign, which also made me giggle.  There was a large group of people in front of the neighboring hose, cheering and possibly already doing a little day-drinking...The really funny thing about this sign is that the race ends at University of Illinois, which is a DRY campus and there IS NO beer at the finish line.  Tricksters!

This is about when I decided I wasn't having as much fun as I ' been having earlier.  I sent a text to Jason... "7.5.  Still in it.  This is less fun now."  and snapped a selfie.  OK my intention was to be sticking my tongue out like I was pooped... but the picture somehow came out really flattering.  I didn't realize it until later, when he texted back "You still look fresh.  Get home and walk the doggies.  They are very confused."
He's right, I look FINE here!
I had been keeping an eye out for an open port-a-john.  Maybe a little TMI for my readers, but I drank a lot of water before the race and I was hydrated as hell... and I really had to pee.  But not so bad I would stand in line for it.  I'm only here to finish the race, but let's not be ridiculous about it.  (Yeah, I can't justify this line of thinking at all, but it was really important to me that I don't waste time standing in line.  Stop to chat with fellow bloggers?  Of course.  Stand in line to pee?  No fucking chance.)

This is about when I realized my ankle was bleeding.  What can I do about it?  Time for another photo.  This one I sent to the Hubs back home.  "8.0.  Now THIS."  [Response:  "Ew.  Ur gross.  Go away!"]  And then of course he suggested I locate a medical tent and a bandaid.  Good advice which I promptly ignored.  Because as soon as I turned to get moving again, I saw this:

I did find a port-a-pottie with no line just after the 8-mile marker - SCORE!  I was excited enough about this that I posted it to my personal Facebook page while peeing.  (Again, TMI??  Sorrrrry.) 
There's not a lot to say about the rest of the race, except a few funny sights, a shirt I really want to buy for myself, but in the meantime had to spend about 30 minutes chasing it so I'd get close enough to snap a photo.   

"Faster than your average sloth."
Time passed.  4 minutes run, 1 minute walk, repeat.  4 minutes run, 1 minute walk, repeat.  Two hours in, I had my other GU.  The foot pain never really came back.  I have nothing to back it up, but I wonder if the pain might be fuel-related??  I haven't used any GU since last year, because my runs haven't been all that long.  (With the exception of my 10k, where I SHOULD have used GU but had completely forgotten to stock up on the stuff.)
Me at Mile 9.  Photo proofs from
I was somewhere between 10-11 miles when I suddenly began to comprehend what was happening.  I was over 10 miles.  I have less than a 5k left to go.  Even if I WALK the whole way it's less than an hour, and my feet feel good enough to run at least some of it. 
I'm going to finish.  I'm really going to be able to finish it.  Once again, I get all teary.  That was an emotional realization for me.  I had to take a moment to let that sink in, take in that reality.  I was surprised, grateful, proud.
So that's pretty much it!  I finished the race - and had a blast doing it!  My third half-marathon is in the books.
Crossing the finish line.  Photo proofs from
After crossing the finish line, I collapsed on the turf and cried a little.  Called the Hubs and talked to him a bit.  I wanted to thank him for his comment the night before - I really don't know if I would have been able to finish without his support and telling me he believed in me.

I asked a woman nearby, "Could you do me a sort-of-gross favor?"  And she agreed to snap a photo of my mangled ankles.  By the time I'd finished, both had gotten pretty torn up.

Here's how bad my ankles got by the time I finished.
Photo proofs from


My Garmin (which I stopped while talking with RGX and again at my pit stop, had a time of 2:56:37, 8 minutes slower than the half last September, 13 minutes slower than my time in Ventura.  (But it's not about speed today, Chris.  Today is about finishing.)  My official chip time came in at 3:03.  Full Garmin Stats can be found here if you're interested.

A few post-race photos:

My BodyBugg was exploding.
I was feeling "SUPER"!


I hate to reiterate a cliche, but sometimes it's less cliche and more truism:  If you believe you CAN'T, you WON'T.  And at least this time around, knowing that someone ELSE believed in me, helped me to believe in myself, or if not to believe I COULD, at least to believe I could give it my all.  Looking back, I can hardly believe I actually considered not even showing up for this race, because I was certain I wouldn't be able to finish without injuring myself.  Self doubt, now and always, is my worst enemy. 


UPDATE / side note:  I later discovered some serious chafing on my torso that afternoon as well. Haven't worn this Awesome Bra in such a long run before. LOVE the bra, but may need to invest in some Body Glide.


Friday, April 25, 2014

Tomorrow is the Day

I'm about as ready as I'm going to get for tomorrow's half marathon.  I don't feel ready at all.  My feet hurt after 4 miles every time I run, and I haven't trained on any real Long Runs leading up to this, but ... My stuff is packed for before / after the race, I have my bib, I've rested (no running since Wednesday), and hydrated, and I'm heading to bed EARLY out of respect for my 4:20am alarm.

We had some excitement today:  my husband fell at work and hurt his back - he's FINE but it required a trip to prompt care and some serious pain meds.  He'll be home from work for at least a few days. Tonight as I was packing for the race, he looked at me and said, "I think you'll do it.  I think you'll finish the whole thing.  You're pretty badass, and you'll walk when you need to and take care of yourself, but I believe in you."  Is he not the greatest???  I love him so much.  He was so supportive through all the training runs last summer, and at my first half.  He's been my biggest fan in everything I do, ever since we met.

I don't know what will transpire tomorrow.  I'll be careful not to injure myself.  But I will give it ALL I'VE GOT.  I will leave it all on the road.  This is going to be a far different run from the Inaugural Ventura Marathon, that's for sure!!

Whatever happens, shit-show or no... I'll keep you posted.

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Trepidation and a Trip to my PT

So this week is coming along nicely so far.  Monday I had a really successful walk with both dogs.  Louie had a NEAR-PERFECT 1.2 miles, even ran with me a bit and stayed right by my side.  One of the dogs in the neighborhood that normally sends him into a nuclear meltdown was out, even barked at us a few times like he was trying to bait him, but Louie stayed calm and focused.  MAJOR success for my little monster! 

Monday was also, of course, the Unofficial Runners' Holiday, otherwise known as the runninng of the Boston Marathon.  This year's publicity was, of course, extraordinary.  All the focus on the story of last year's bombing ...  I don't even want to go there.  Me, I just really get off watching all those amazing athletes.  I found myself trying to explain to a coworker why Boston is so incredible... and it has NOTHING to do with last year's events.  I've learned a lot this year about why the course is so notorious and what makes it difficult, and anyone who can finish it just Blows. My. Mind. 

There were a number of people from my local running group who qualified and got in this year, two whom I knew well enough to follow and get text updates on how they were doing.  They all finished - Tim and Stacie ran the whole thing together and even crossed the finish line holding hands!  How freaking awesome is that?!?  Dan did an amazing job and posted on Facebook throughout his trip to Boston and before and after pics.  I'm hoping to share more about his experience sometime soon.

Yesterday, Tuesday, I had an early meeting at work - needed to be there by 7:30am for a meeting with all the managers in our office, with the guy whom I'm still referring to as "my new boss."  I tried not to grumble too much about the time.  I am NOT a morning person, but I must admit, it was nice having the meeting out of the way and getting on with our day.  Don't tell my new boss I said that.  :-)

I've been working this week on some transition projects - getting files from our old system into the systems we use with the new firm.  It's tedious work and can be frustrating at times, but I enjoy tedious work and I feel quite a sense of accomplishment when I get each of these done.  There's also a time factor - this project really needs to be completed before we get into our busy season, which is only a month away!  Sand is flowing very quickly through that hour-glass...  I still have high hopes that all this preparation will create a situation where this year's busy season won't be anywhere near as difficult, or as long, as last year's.  I do NOT want to repeat the 4-month frenzy that was last fall and winter.  All this to say, I've been enjoying my job this week.

But the point is, Tuesday night was Catch the Wave group night!  We were out at the lake and for many of our group members, it was their first time there, and / or their first time running the Lake Run Loop Route.  This is the route they will run for the race they've spent the last 9 weeks training for, through some SERIOUSLY bad weather.  They have been real troopers, and I'm so proud of our group!  We ran the route using our planned 8/1 run/walk interval and they did fantastically.  I, on the other hand, was having some trouble during the last mile of our 4.37-mile run.  Damn feet started up again.  More on that later.

Today I have to miss my Ride the Wave group.  I have a board meeting to attend this evening out of town, so I'll be working late and driving home... probably won't be home until after 9pm.  Ew, I hate that.  I am considering leaving work and taking a long lunch break to go for a run.  It will be my last run before Saturday's half marathon.  I'm going to let my feet rest until then, other than a possible dog walk on Friday.

I did finally make it into my physical therapist yesterday.  He checked out my neck pain and recommended I come in for a few visits to work on correcting that.  It's a posture thing - my posture while working at my computer. 

I expected him to tell me the foot pain was caused my the same problems I had last year - my calves are too tight, I need to stretch and foam roll more, I need to stop wearing heels.  I was prepared for a lecture about the exercises he showed me last year and that he can tell I haven't kept up with them.  Instead, he said he was surprised how loose my calves were - they're tight, but nowhere near as bad as last time, and he could tell I've been working on it.  That was very nice to hear... but here's the thing:  he basically said he doesn't have a good idea about what might be the cause of my foot pain. 

He wants me to come in and run on the treadmill and take another look at my form - we did this last year and he had suggestions about my cadence, but said my form was good.  Maybe something about that has changed.  So further investigation is the plan on that.  If we don't know what's wrong, we don't know how to FIX it.  Basically, I took that as terrible news.  But not the kind of terrible news that sends me to the nearest junk-food bar, so you know... there's that.

He did spend some time torturing me - my neck (upper trapezius), calves, and even the bottom of my feet, calluses and all... and I'm pretty sore today. My shoulder / neck area especially - it actually feels bruised there!  And I talked with him about whether I should attempt the Christie Clinic Illinois event this weekend.  He didn't want to tell me one way or the other whether to do it or not, but gave me some good input on what to consider.  And I've been talking with my Catch the Wave co-leaders and my Ride the Wave group members and leaders about it for weeks.  It's time to make a decision.

Found in this mornings email in-box:  Today's Daily Kick in tbe Butt:
"We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort."
Jesse Owens

Determination.  Dedication.  Discipline.  Effort.
I think I have my mantra for this weekend's 13.1.  I've decided to go, even through I'm not properly trained for it and I'm still having ongoing issues with foot pain.  I'll do a 5/1 or 4/1 run/walk interval and take it slow, and if it gets to the point where I can't do the run interval anymore, I'll keep walking. 

If I CAN finish, I WILL finish. 

If I can't finish because the pain in my feet is too great, that is going to be okay.

Oh, and as for the title to this post?  The Trepidation part?  Yeah, this half marathon has me scared.  The foot pain, when it's bad, it's BAD and the fear of that pain has been a big part of why I haven't been training more and better since the weather improved.  This weekend is about facing fear, not about running through pain.  I'll stop if I need to, but showing up requires that I face the fear of that pain.

Monday, April 21, 2014

WHAT the.... ???

Yesterday, Sunday, I did as I do every Sunday, padded down to the basement for my weekly weigh-in.  The scale has been over in a weird corner the last couple of weeks and my weigh-ins have not been going in the right direction, so I half-jokingly said to myself, "this spot is unlucky - I'm moving the scale back to its usual spot."  Like that makes a difference, but hey, I hadn't had any coffee yet and logic is unnecessary baggage on Sunday morning. 

I had incredibly low expectations, so figured I'd take whatever superstitious advantage I could get.  I hadn't logged my food at all, all week long.  I've exercised like normal but nutritionally, this week was strictly so-so.  There was an incident with some fried chicken at one point... poor choice and completely emotionally-driven, I accept that and I'm moving on.  There were several days where I just wasn't hungry in the morning and skipped breakfast, not a normal thing for me but I ate earlier and larger lunches on those days, so it wasn't an attempt at calorie restriction, just busy at work and choosing to eat when I got hungry.  I'm still at a point where keeping a food log is necessary, and failure to log generally translates to a larger number on the scale. 

But still, here's my scale, in this stupid, darkish corner of the utility room.  And it's been unlucky lately, so I moved it.

Somewhat filled with dread and feeling silly for moving the darn thing like there's some magic spot where gravity loses its hold in my home, I stepped onto the scale.

Result:  183.3
Now, certainly 183.3 isn't a great number overall - I'm still 5'4" tall and have nearly 40 lbs to lose before I hit "Normal" on the BMI scale, but holy WOW, that's a 4.3 lb loss from last week!  Of course, without a food log, I have no idea whether it was a fluke or if I did something right or what.

Giddy with that bit of data, I immediately resolved that the scale would never move from this spot again.  Obviously.

Yesterday was also Easter - not a huge holiday for my family as we don't practice any religion and there aren't any small children to entertain.  Especially this year, as my husband's grandmother is out of town for the week so there wasn't any planned family gathering.  We were invited to my brother-in-law's new in-laws' home for their Easter dinner.    [Did you get that?  My spouse's brother's spouse's parents' home.]

Family gatherings are stressful for everyone (or at least I assume so) and difficult to navigate for the food junkie.  There's always that one dish your favorite aunt makes that's so yummy you know you're going to have a second helping, you just resolve not to have a third.  No so for this year - I had no idea what these folks cook or how well they cook, or if they were the type to just buy a lot of packaged foods and microwave everything.  Total mystery.  So I kept in mind that although Holiday Rules apply, there's no reason to go crazy.  I don't have to eat anything "just to be polite" and eating my weight in deviled eggs is no way to celebrate a 4-pound weight loss, no matter how shocking it is.

I tell you what, going to someone else's family gathering is the way to go.  First of all, the food was terrific.  And varied!  There was ham, brisket, and pastrami, the cheesy-est cheesy potatoes I've ever encountered, that Really-Bad-For-You green bean casserole that I only eat once or twice a year, and of course lots of deviled eggs - all prepared, smoked, baked, and barbecued by these lovely people.  And there's none of that Family Stuff to deal with - a completely zero-stress way to spend the holiday.  I highly recommend it if you can swing it once in a while.

I had run upstairs to make fresh-baked made-from-scratch cookies as soon as I got off the scale.  Two batches and they turned out really good - dark-chocolate-chip and peanut-butter-milk-chocolate-chip varieties.  Safe choices for a group of people I've never really met (some I met at the wedding, of course, but that's really it) and I was pleased they were a hit.  Plus, only one other dessert on-hand, so not a lot of competition for my home-made sweets.

So we went to the party, hung out with my brother-in-law and met some new people, enjoyed the food and the absolutely beautiful weather, and made it home in time to walk the dogs by about 5pm.  I definitely ate too much, had a little bit of everything and one beer, but went heavy on the protein and didn't get a second helping of anything.  I was busy making cookies and hadn't eaten breakfast, except for the few bits of cookie dough and 1-1/2 cookies I tested during the baking.  All things considered, I'm calling it a win.

This morning, Monday, is the day of the Boston Marathon - you didn't think I was going to leave out the official Runner's Holiday, did you?  I'm tracking 6 local runner-friends who are racing today and can't wait to see how they do, and hear / read all about their experiences in this amazing race. 

Saw this from RunnersWorld and loved it:

And THIS - my friend Dan, ready to go, and sporting some awesome gear promoting the We Care Twin Cities Half Marathon - which he has spearheaded for the past 3 years and I have helped to organize / get sponsors for the past two years.  The web site for 2014 isn't up and running yet, but registration will open soon!

I packed a healthy breakfast (see photo) and some leftover "Jason's Chicken Fried Rice" for lunch (white rice, not brown, but mostly everything else is "clean" stuff - lots of flavor from ginger and veggies and boneless skinless chicken breasts). And headed to work with my mojo intact.

There's just nothing like an unexplained, unexpected, and HUGE drop on the scale Sunday to inspire better choices on a Monday morning!  Have a great week, all!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Signs of Spring on Constitution Trail

It's happening, Spring is REALLY coming after this long loooong winter.
It's nearly Saturday again but I have a few photos to share from last weekend's running adventures.  I had a group run planned, combined with a shoe demonstration at my local running / cycling store - they have a Mizuno rep and some shoes you can sample to wear during the run.  I'm been having some significant issues with pain in my feet so I thought this would be a great opportunity to test out the theory that it's my shoes.  (Though I think it's my calves, same problem that I had last year that sent me to physical therapy... but new shoes are cheaper than 8 weeks of PT, so we'll test this out first.)  Aaaanyway, I grabbed Coty first thing Saturday morning and headed to the store... where I found an empty parking lot.  The group run / demo is actually THIS weekend, not last.  Ah well, Coty and I hit the trail for a 4-mile run/walk and tested out how far we could get before my foot pain kicked in.
Along the way, I spotted signs of spring:

Can't quite make it out?  See the close-up below:
YES!  Hostas?  Tulips?  Daffodils?  Hell I don't know but it doesn't really matter.  The temps are above 30, the sun is out, and I'm wearing just one pair of fleece-lined tights and a thin windbreaker and having a lovely morning jog with my 8-year-old "pup".

Oh yeah, here are my super-cool new winter running tights!  And my oh-so-sore feet.

And said puppy.

Saturday night was full of all sorts of debauchery - we headed to Peoria to see my friends' band play, had a light dinner and drank way too much beer, listened to some fabulous music and didn't get to bed until about 3am!  The dogs wouldn't let me sleep past 9, so there was a lot of coffee and bad television and lounging about on Sunday, but I did manage to pry myself off the couch for some exercise in the late afternoon.  I wanted to try a longer run and put on my old shoes on to see if that helped with the foot pain.  Coty and I headed to Lake Bloomington. 
I tried to talk myself into the 7.5-mile route but in the end I was worried abou finding myself stuck on the far side of the lake, in screaming pain and with no one to give me a ride back to the car, so we did the shorter 4.37-mile loop.  I made it about 3.5 miles before the pain kicked in, even with quite a bit of walking.  The walking seems to ease the pain significantly, so for the time being, frequent walk breaks are part of the plan.  It's either that or stop running altogether.  (Yeah.  It's THAT bad.)
Along the way, we found this:

Oh, and I had my weigh-in on Sunday:  185.3, down 0.9 lbs.

Rundown on the rest of the week: 
I had a pretty great week at work, Monday was my only day out of town and I packed my lunch, so no major meltdowns on the road. 
Tuesday I skipped breakfast and then had a gyro for lunch, sans sauce.  There was a bit of a breakdown at dinner time - Jason put me in charge of picking up dinner after my group run (4 miles with the CTW group).  I briefly entertained the idea of stopping at  Popeye's but thought better of it.  Nothing really sounded good and I ended up at Taco Bell, just up the road from home.  Not a great choice, but ... I think it was probably more reasonable than fried chicken.  I had the Cantina Burrito.
Wednesday... well, not a great start.  I had a fast-food breakfast, but followed it up with a light lunch, a 3-mile run with Coty and my RTW group, and Jason made us pasta for dinner.  LoseIt says I ended up under my calorie goal for the day... but I'm suspicious of that.
Yesterday, Thursday... I had a lunch meeting planned to meet my new boss and go over... everything about my job, I guess... and I ended up just having coffee for breakfast.  I'm normally not one to skip breakfast, but I wasn't that hungry and I didn't know where we'd be for lunch.  I did have some trail mix that I found in my desk, around 11am when I really did get hungry.  Lunch turned out to be at one of my favorite dinner-date spots and I had a flat-bread pizza, "Thai Style Pork Pizza" - it was spicy and delicious and I at 5/8 of it.  I'll be polishing that off for lunch today.  The meeting with my new boss continued back at the office for the rest of the day.  Dinner turned out to be another splurgy thing.  When I got home from work, Jason let me know the dogs still needed their walk, so I made a Mister Rogers-Style wardrobe change (off with my blazer, on with a cardigan... off with my heels, on with the sneakers!) - made for an outfit that verged on the ridiculous, but we got the dogs taken care of ASAP that way, without a lot of fuss.  After dinner, we fussed around with a bunch of different things until we realized we were both starving and neither of us wanted to cook.  I ended up running a couple of errands and picking up spaghetti and garlic bread from a place around the corner.  Guess I was carb-loading yesterday!
So ridiculous I just had to snap a photo.  Yes, I left the house like this.
Today - so far, just a yogurt for breakfast and I'll have that leftover Pork Pizza for lunch.  No idea what dinner will be.  But the fun thing is that, for the first time since I started working here in February 2013... we're having a JEANS DAY at work!  Yay!  I made The Kid take a photo to commemorate the first-ever jeans day at this office (that I know of).

What happened with my posture in this pic?  Doesn't do it justice - I'm feeling pretty good about my look today!
 This weekend is going to be C-R-A-Z-Y crazy!  Tomorrow kicks off with the group run / shoe demo I mentioned - Coty will go with me for that.  Then I need to walk Louie, because that's the only chance I'll have to give him some exercise.  From 11am-1pm I'm volunteering to answer phones for the Spring Fund Drive for our local public radio station (have I mentioned I'm a public radio addict?).  After that, I'm headed to Peoria again, this time for the Annual Peoria Jaycees International Beer Fest.  Meeting some friends there, then Jason will join me when he gets off work and we have a date with two of our besties - Heather and Chuck. 
And I'm not done yet.... Sunday (after my weigh-in where we'll just have to see if my exercise this week outpaced my food failures) I'm volunteering for another 2-hour shift on the phones, and then we'll need to walk the dogs before the Annual Easter Bonnet Parade Party at our friend Barbie's house.  (Yes, I have a friend named Barbie.)  There will be food, Easter Bonnets (I've been working on mine for a couple of days now), yes, a parade, and plenty of adult beverages.  I look forward to this party every year, can't wait!
That's it for me, I'm off to the races.
PS did you notice I didn't mention any weight lifting for this week?  Just to make myself Not A Liar, I'm going to grab those dumbbells at home tonight and spend a little time with them, maybe do some pushups and squats too.  I should be able to do that after I walk the dogs and before Jason gets home from work.  As long as I leave work on time.  WIll keep you posted. 
Have a great weekend!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Why (No) Weight?

Diary of an Aspiring Loser: What Can You Do in an Hour? got me thinking tody and I went and read some articles on strength training.
(you know how I love me some Jillian Michaels)

After reading these articles and blog posts, my thoughts are running along these lines:

Seriously, I am shooting myself in the foot, not doing any weight training. 
I need an achievable goal.
Once a week?  Wednesdays or Thursdays once the running programs are over?  Only 4 weeks left, and the Hubs is off work on those days, so he can take care of the pups...


Maybe I should shoot for twice a week?  Add in a Saturday/Sunday, possibly even post-run?
Why haven't I been doing this all along? 

Yeah, really.  Why don't I go to the gym?

I decided to take some time to analyze this question and see if I can come up with some productive solutions that will allow me to a) get over the hump and actually GO to the gym; and b) really set a realistic, achievable goal for the short term.  Weight lifting was once a really integral and enjoyable part of my exercise routine.  It should be again.  I want it to be part of my routine, but I haven't really integrated it into my program during the past ... well, the past year, really.

So why not?

PROBLEM EXCUSE #1:  It seems like a hassle. 

1)  I have to go home, change clothes, deal with the dogs complete frenzy, then leave them, plus once I'm home, I really don't want to leave.  I'd rather take the dogs for a walk or have one of the boys walk Louie while I run with Coty.

Fix1:  DON'T GO HOME.  Pack the bag with spare shoes (you're not supposed to be going to the gym in your good running shoes anyway, and you have like 5 old pairs just waiting for a chance to do some good), and like 5 days worth of exercise clothes.  Gym clothes aren't the same as running clothes anyway.  Maybe you need to invest in a couple more bras and a set of socks.  We're not talking about a major commitment of money here.  Re-pack the bag every other Sunday.  Keep the bag in the car. 

Fix2:  GO HOME!  We have a weight bench and a set of dumbbells at home.  Hell, they're all set up, even!  Do it at home.  Teach the dogs to leave you alone while you work (it can be done).  And Do.  Your.  Thing.  The problem with this solution is, I've already proven this isn't something I'll do regularly.  I can't be counted on to implement this particular Fix.  I would do well to keep it in mind for occasional use, though.

2)  I end up with work clothes / shoes in the gym bag and gym clothes in the house and sooner or later I'm at the gym with no shoes or something.

Fix:  pack the fucking bag every other Sunday.  Make a checklist.  (Um, duh, you love checklists!)  Pack a stash of plastic grocery bags to put work clothes in, and then when you come home from the gym, you don't need to remove the whole bag, just grab the dirty clothes bag and take THAT in.

PROBLEM EXCUSE #2:  I'd like to try some new things.

I do enjoy weight lifting.  I do.  Really I do.  But I got bored and new exercises on my app required upgrading to the $4.00 version of the app instead of the free one.

Fix1:  Get a new app.  Remove the app you were using and start using a NEW one.  You'll get new suggested exercises and it will mix things up.

Fix2:  Switch gyms.  Go to a more comprehensive facility that offers some classes and other options that aren't available at the cut-rate, bare-bones facility you're currently using.  You enjoyed it at first, but if it's no longer serving your needs, it's time to bail.  Buying the upgraded app would be cheaper, but upgrading your facility may have a bigger payoff.

PROBLEM EXCUSE #3:  The goddam parking lot is always full.

I'm not just talking about having to park a ways from the doors (though during the -17 degree days we had in January and February... oh, let's just assume that's never going to happen again).  I'm talking about no space ANYWHERE in the parking lot and having to either drive home or park at the gas station a block away and walk to the gym from there. 

When I joined, the gym was brand new, and a lot of people simply didn't know it was there yet.  It's been over 2 years, and the damn college students have found the place and realized how cheap it is, and they've gone and ruined it for me.

Fix1:  Just get up earlier!  Start going at the ass-crack of dawn.  Okay, just kidding.  I know you're not going to do that.  This mental exercise is intended to result in realistic solutions, not fantasies about what may work if you were, I don't know, a completely different person.

Fix2:  Switching gyms is an option here.  Or going at lunch time - when you're in town, that is - or going a little later in the evenings... but then I run into the question of having to go home and then head to the gym, or work out after dinner, which has never been a concept I could get on board with.

Fix3:  GO HOME - see above.

So the response for this excuse is:  OPTION A:  Sack up, honey, and deal with the crowd.  or OPTION B:  find a new gym and hope you don't run into the same problem in another two years.  But really, would that be so bad?  or OPTION C:  Workout at home using the weight bench and dumbbells you already have.

PROBLEM EXCUSE #4:  I run with the dog, and the dog is not welcome at the gym.  And ...  WTF are you getting at here, Chris? 

Here's the thing:  It would be nice to run to the gym, (get that cardio in and get all warmed up), do my weight training and stretching, then run home.  But I can't do that with Coty, and then there's Louie to consider, going all freaking nutso when he sees running shoes... he's like a 75-lb heat-seeking missile with teeth.  It's insane.  Everybody gets all worked up and excited, and then I leave them there... staring at each other and all keyed up.  That's how you lose a shoe in my house. You can't get them worked up like that and then just walk out leaving them alone and to their own devices.  Someone ends up eating one of my shoes or pooping in the house - or pooping in one of my shoes - under those conditions.

Knowing how anxious both my dogs are, this borders on just a mean thing to do.

Fix:  See Fix1 for Excuse #1 - Don't Go Home.  Run to the gym from WORK, workout, and run back to the office and drive your silly ass home if you want to do that.  Your gym is less than a mile from the office, and less than a mile from your house.  Come to think of it, why the hell aren't you running to work in the first place?   Oh right, because I'm an accountant and I have to look like one.  Let's not get all crazy wih this.  FOCUS!

Solution and Goal:
So here's what I'm going to do: 
  1. Start small - goal of actually going inside the gym once a week, starting next week (this weekend?)
  2. I will pack a bag with several days' worth of workout outfits, and more than one pair of former running shoes, and keep it in the car with some Dirty-Clothes Bags.  That may just be the key t making this happen, at least to start with.  And I will create a checklist for what goes in the bag and stick it in the side pocket where it's available.
  3. I will find a new (FREE) app to help me track what to do and how to do it, for strength training.
  4. Investigate other local gyms.  The new job offers some discounts with national chains, and we have a few national chains here where I might be able to take advantage of the corporate rate.  And a new gym might have a free personal training session that would help me find new weight training work to do... At any rate, I'm going to look into it, consider the options, and decide whether the additional cost will be worth it for maybe having some group fitness classes available, different equipment, maybe a pool??  Maybe I'll change gyms, maybe not, but I'll give it serious consideration.
So there's the result.  One gym visit per week, with a bag already in the car, download a new app for my phone, and check out another gym.  I can do that.  I'm heading out now, to walk my crazy dogs before one of them infiltrates the Shoe Closet.