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.

Oh, There's Change a-Comin': More on Weight Stats

So I still "owe you" a couple of race recaps, and I will get to that, but that's not what I want to write about today.  It's my blog and I can write what I want... and this writing thing is intended to be helping me reach my goals, not just providing an account of every race I participate in... right? 

The past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of change on the work front, and I've implemented a couple of new strategies on the fitness front as well. 

First, the work stuff:  I've alluded to some big changes ahead in previous posts over the past few months, and I'm finally able to share publicly - my new firm (which I joined just a short 14 months ago) has been acquired/merged with another, national firm.  No need to go into names here, but it's the first national firm to set up shop in our community (something that I have had a professional curiosity about for 15 years... why the hell don't we have any major accounting firms with a presence in Blo-No?  What is the entry barrier?  It's a large enough community, lots of local and national businesses here and TONS of public sector work to be had... I guess we'll find out.)  As I've talked about all the uncertainty at work recently, this is what that was about.  We were told back in NOVEMBER that the firm was in negotiations for the sale, but due to legal obligations, due diligence, and a whole lot of non-accounting stuff that I don't care to understand, it wasn't public information (and then it was public informaiton but it was all a little unclear...) suffice to say I didn't feel comfortable discussing it until The Transaction was completed. Some of my coworkers "didn't make the transition" [translation:  were let go, though in a few cases, they didn't want to work for the new firm and chose to quit] but I made the cut and so did most of my team.   But November to April is a Looooong time to not be sure what the future of your job and your career may be. 

There are many questions still to answer, and about a dozen new computer programs I need to learn to use and it looks like my team will grow from 3 auditors to about 20 so there are a lot of new names and faces to learn and hopefully a lot of new clients, too!  But I'm looking forward to taking on a new role and being able to provide my clients with better quality and a larger range of services with the level of resources that a larger firm can offer.  I think it's going to be a very good thing in the long term. 

Okay, enough boring accounting stuff.  On to the fitness stuff!

In a recent post, I wrote:
As I've said, it's been a pretty good run (hahaha, get it?) for exercise during recent weeks, and a mixed bag on the nutrition side of the equation, so it won't surprise you that the scale has had this to say:
  • March 1 - down 0.8 to 184.8
  • March 8 - up 1.6 to 186.4
  • March 16 - down 0.6 to 185.8
Overall, up one pound.  I have some more to say about this, but this post is plenty long, I'll leave it to next time.

So the thing is, my weight has been STUCK.  For quite a while, actually.  Here's a chart of my weight over the past year: 
I know:  not the right direction at ALL.

And over the past 3 months:
This looks pretty dramatic until you check the scale:  it's a high of 187 and a low of 184.6 - three months in the neighborhood of 185.

I did some research, read up on calorie intake and lots of other factors, realizing that what I am doing, what had been working for me initially, is no longer working.  I may not need to dramatically change everything - in fact, that's probably a terrible idea, but something needs to change.  If what I want is to lose weight in a healthy way, and my current routine is not accomplishing that, something about that routine must change.

Start Small:
I decided to try INCREASING my caloric intake to see if that shakes things up a bit.  Perhaps I've not been eating ENOUGH?  My previous calorie allowance on LoseIt! was about 1,450.  I increased that to about 1,600.  Not terribly dramatic, but from what I read, it may be enough.  After this change, my weight did this:
  • March 2 - new plan set
  • March 9 - up 1.6 lbs
  • March 16 - down 0.6 lbs
  • March 23 - up 1.6 lbs
  • March 30 - down 1.4 lbs
Overall, UP 1.2 lbs in a month.  I have another weigh-in this weekend and we'll see if maybe I'm back where I started...

Of course there are many factors in those numbers - some weeks were "better" food-weeks or exercise-weeks than others, I had a big anniversary weekend in there, water fluctuations due to exercise, etc., but that initial gain has perhaps begun to turn itself around.  I'm going to ride this out for a few weeks to let it play out. 

The other change I made was that I ordered a BodyMedia Fit Link armband.  (Got it about half-price on eBay if you're interested.)  Slightly used, I anxiously awaited its arrival in the mail so I could see what "slightly used" really means.  It's fine and had no visible scratches... everything worked and synched up to my computer right away, and I even got the first three months on the web site free, as if I'd purchased it brand new.  You know I'm a total techie-geek and when it comes to fitness gadgets well, I'll just admit that it was time for me to get a new toy.

I also decided to dig up my Garmin heart rate monitor (which syncs up with the armband system) and start using that during workouts.  (MORE DATA!)

Lastly, I suddenly realized I could order a USED copy of the Total Heart Rate Training book on Amazon or on eBay!  Duh.  Why didn't I think of that before? (The book came highly recommended to me ages ago but I've never found it in the local bookstores or library where I could check it out and decide whether it was worth buying.) I ordered it from Amazon - got it for "$0.05 plus shipping", AKA $4.50.  At that price, even if I don't find it terribly useful, I can live with the purchase price.

I'm TRYING to get my head around this thing.  What I have BEEN doing, what was WORKING for me for a couple of years, seems to NO LONGER WORK.  I need to make some changes in the exercise and / or nutrition areas in order to get my body responding in the way that I want.

Is this post long enough?  Yes, I belive it is... So there you have it - my thoughts and my current plan of attack.  I think a review of the armband is probably in my future, but certainly not today.  Have a good weekend, all!