Keep Running Fatty!

You better believe I'm gonna keep running!

Almost Heaven- West Virginia Loses a Devoted Mountaineer Today

I still can’t believe it. Bill Stewart dead.

If anything, this should remind us that we are on this Earth for a short time and any day can be our last. Let’s honor his memory by at least letting our loved ones know how much we care, and always try to be kind to others. He was a great persona for the state of West Virginia and there was no doubt for his love for West Virginia and the Mountaineers.

Despite whether you liked him as a head coach, you have to admit that Bill Stewart was one of a kind. He was a genuinely nice guy. I’m proud he was a fellow Wetzel Countian. I’m glad he got to live his dream before his untimely death.

Rest in peace, Coach Stew. You will live forever in Mountaineer history.

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Confessions of a Diet Pepsi Addict

Hi, my name is Melissa and I’m addicted to diet Pepsi.

I guess one could have worse addicitions, right? It’s not a sugary drink with a bunch of extra calories.

I don’t really have a strong desire to give it up, but I’m going to give it a try…at least for a week?

I really don’t know if I can do that. I just want to perform an experiment of sorts. Will giving up the soda for a week give me a boost in weight loss?

I’ve had a few friends who swear they have seen a boost in weight loss after giving it up. I want to try it for myself.

I can do this. I can do this. I can do this?

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Race Training: It NEVER Ends!

Did I not just say the other day that I’m going to stop training for a long-distance race for a while? So I guess that was short-lived. I just remembered I signed up for the Virginia Beach Rock’n’Roll Half Marathon. The race date is September 2, 2012. According to my handy dandy training schedule…the first week of training started LAST WEEK! No worries on being behind really, but it means – there is NO REST!

I signed up for this race on Leap Day because there was an incredible deal on the registration fee. Instead of the normal $85 entry, it was discounted to $55. How could I pass it up? Especially when a friend had already approached me about doing the trip to Virginia Beach again. So, it continues…this time I’m hoping I do not back out and there are no injuries or life circumstances that decrease my motivation for running. The good news is that there is an option for a mini-marathon (really – it’s just a 5k) in case I’m unable to complete 13.1 by then.

The Virginia Beach Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon makes for a very fun Labor Day weekend. The race coincides with the Verizon Wireless American Music Festival. This year performers include OAR, The Wailers, Cheap Trick, and Train – the shows are included with the race registration fee. Although it can be hot, crowded, and somewhat expensive lodging, the Va Beach Wave Trolley connects to the several campgrounds, including the KOA Campground,  and spots all throughout the Oceanfront area for $2/day. The trolley also takes runners from the campground to the start line early on race day! We’ve found that this the most affordable/convenient way to spend the race weekend. (But…I love camping!)

So as training begins, I still MUST make weight loss my priority.  I will have to be super careful about my eating habits and staying on WW Points while training for this race. The goal is to be down 20-25 lbs by race day. That’s 16 weeks. I think that’s a reasonable goal-do you think?

Here is the training schedule:

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Time to Lose

To gain some motivation, I’ve decided that I must shed some pounds.

I need to take a break from training for the next long distance race and really focus on losing a quick 20-25 lbs. In my experience, training and running long distances doesn’t necessarily equal weight loss. In fact, I gained weight training for my first marathon.

My decision comes partly because I’ve been dealing with some minor injury issues – possible piriformis syndrome and back pain (in addition to my normal IT-band issue). This combination makes me pretty sore after a run, so I’ve cut back on my running mileage a bit and stuck to elliptical and walking a little more.

Mentally, I am feeling much better. I’m treating exercise as real prescription to battling the depression that I’ve been experiencing the past few months. I’ve always felt that exercise was the best medicine, but when you get so far down and you don’t even want to drag yourself to a gym, it’s hard to get over that hump and get going. I think I’ve got myself out of that slump finally!

Last week I logged 24 miles: running, walking and elliptical. That’s nearly 10 miles more than I did the previous week, so I’m heading in the right direction!

I am doing Weight Watchers and although I’ve been on it for several years, I can honestly say I’ve not always been sticking to the points I’ve been allotted for the week. This weekend, even though I did indulge, I still stuck to the points for the week. Combined with the big increase in activity, the scale *should* be heading in the right direction this week… DOWN.

So, I’m tackling this in 5-lb increments. My ultimate goal is to lose 50 lbs. I’ve been successful before. I know I can do this again…

So, this fatty will continue to run, but I’ve really got to concentrate on being less of a fatty. Seriously. My clothes are getting tight. If that’s not motivation to get in line, I don’t know what is!

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Losing Motivation and Getting Back at it.

What can I say? I lost my motivation. I trained for and completed the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler…then it was a week-long work trip to San Diego. After that, I was tired, stressed and depressed. My dog is dying and I have been struggling with it…I know now is the time I really need to be running. I’ve started back up again this week. Not sure if I will be ready for the Marine Corps Historic Half on May 20th in Fredericksburg…but I’ll play it by ear.

I’m making more of an effort on trying to drop some pounds before I train for a big race again. I want to get faster and that’s the only way.
Sooo…back at it.

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This is Why I Run

My Medal Collection

I have a confession: I’m an addict. I get a rush at the possibility of fueling my addiction. I am never quite satisfied. I want more. I cannot possibly have enough!!

But please don’t worry about me. It’s not a bad addition…in fact, I’d say it was quite a healthy addiction to have-an addiction that keeps this fatty running! You see, I’m a medal addict.

To date, I’ve got 15 medals. (2 are not pictured). Just about every sizable race these days hands out a medal at the finish line-a true symbol of each race experience. Each medal is certainly unique and that is what makes it a really neat collector’s item. It’s not uncommon for me to gravitate towards the races that offer medals.

The glowing gold Mickey Mouse, the glittery sand dollar, the flowery cherry blossoms, my Down & Dirty dog tag, my collection of shamrocks and disguised bottle openers are all unique and very special to me. They represent all the hard work, the grueling miles I’ve put on the pavement and treadmill, the sweat, the pain, the shedding of pounds, gaining of strength and all the progress I’ve made in the past few years.  I love each of them.

This weekend I ran the Virginia is for Lovers 14K in Virginia Beach (that’s 8.69 miles). Why did I decide to be a bit ambitious and sign up for this longer distance race? The medal. Such a beautiful and unique medal (and it’s a bottle opener!!) The race itself was a great experience. I really underestimated my stamina this early in the year and ran the entire way in a total of 1 hour, 38 minutes an d 19 seconds (a decent pace for me!). It was 48 degrees, dry, flat course and the swag for this race couldn’t be beat! A very nice black water resistant running jacket, a goblet, and a carnation…and of course the best prize of all…the beautiful Virginia is for Lovers medal!

I’m starting the 4th week of my training for the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler and the Marine Corps Historic Half Marathon (MCHH). I just signed up for the Shamrock 8K in Virginia Beach on St. Patrick’s Day. Those are 3 more medals I am working very hard for. I can’t wait to improve my time and get faster and get those medals. I want more.

I’ve ran a total of 45.41 miles in the past 3 weeks. I am set to run an additional 19-22 miles this week. I’m starting to really feel confident again. I’m improving and the shorter runs are getting much easier.  I’m getting stronger and although I feel healthier, I’m sure in the coming weeks I’ll be able to really feel a change in my body as I shed some inches from running (it doesn’t always equal pounds unfortunately).

I want to get faster, stronger, and collect those medals as my reward. I want more!

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Dinner for One: Southwestern Style Shrimp & Rice

Dinner for One: Southwestern Style Shrimp & Rice

As a single, cooking dinner for one gives me the freedom to experiment a little. Sometimes it’s just sheer laziness. I want to cook healthy but make it quick. Tonight’s dinner was just that. Healthy, quick, and under 600 calories! My concoction resulted in a yummy Mexican dish. Easy!

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Ingredients:
6 oz. of frozen shrimp
1 Can of Green Giant Southwestern Style Corn
3/4 Cup of Birds Eye Steamed Brown Rice
Fajita or taco seasoning (to taste)
Lime juice
Optional: diced jalapeño

Directions:

Thaw frozen shrimp in water
Thaw frozen brown rice in microwave.
Once thawed, add shrimp, rice, can of southwestern corn, spices & lime juice into the skillet.
Allow to simmer until juice/liquid is gone.

If you’re following Weight Watchers, this was a total of 12 PointsPlus. This was a lot of food. Big, satisfying dinner without the guilt. Yay!

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Cherry Blossom 10-Miler Training Begins…NOW!

Today officially marks the first day of spring race training season!

Running the course of the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler in 2011.

The Cherry Blossom 10-Miler is only 10 weeks away- Sunday, April 1st in Washington, DC.

This is a very popular race in DC – and for good reason! It’s an absolutely gorgeous run through National Parks in the heart of DC, starting at the Washington Monument, crossing the Memorial Bridge, Independence Ave, passing by the famous Cherry Blossoms near the Tidal Basin, behind the Jefferson Memorial and looping around East Potomac Park (course map). It’s so popular that runners have to enter a lottery just to ‘win’ an entry spot to participate. I have no idea how many enter the lottery, but they only select about 10,000 runners. I’ve been extremely fortunate to get picked two years in a row.

I signed up for the New Balance virtual training plan offered by the race organizers. They send a daily/weekly plan of the miles are you supposed to run. It was a little bit of a shock when I got my first e-mail today and it says to run 4-6 miles Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday,
5-7 miles on Thursday, 5-7 on Saturday and 8-12 on Sunday. Um, what?! No!! Whew- they accidentally sent me the ‘ADVANCED’ training plan. I quickly switched to intermediate.

The intermediate is much more do-able on my level. This week the plan is to run 2-4 miles on Monday, 3-5 miles on Tuesday, 2-4 miles on Thursday and Saturday, and 4-7 miles on Sunday.

I’ve been lacking some motivation when it comes to running lately. The winter blues are zapping my energy. I’m hoping this is just the boost I need to get going because my goal is knock off at least 10 minutes from last year’s time of 2:00. Doing 10 miles in 2 hours is an average of a 12-minute mile, which is slower than my recent pace (between 11-11:30-minute miles). Last year, I was still ailing from injuries from running the Disney Marathon, so it was quite a challenge to do 10 miles. I feel like I’m going to be much more prepared for this year’s Cherry Blossom race and my goal is very well within my reach.

Ready to hit the treadmill tonight for my first Cherry Blossom training run! Gotta keep running!

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Sodium-you’re EVIL!

I’m blaming it on the sodium.

It has to be the sodium.

One cannot faithfully count Weight Watchers PointsPlus, run 10.5 miles, do the elliptical for 40 minutes, clean the house for several hours, dance a little Zumba, walk the dog several days up until weigh-in day and then expect to gain 2.2 lbs within a week.

I mean could have been the bottle of wine over the weekend, but that was NOT enough to deter the whole week.

Heck, I didn’t gain 2 lbs over Christmas, New Years, and my trip to Miami combined!

So, I’m blaming it on the sodium-the sodium-laden soups especially. It could have very well been the spicy black bean soup I made the day before weigh in. It could have been the chili I made and ate over the weekend.

This time of year, I do love my soups, and if it’s the canned version, the amount of sodium in those puppies will absolutely shock you. Each can has at least 1000mg of sodium (The recommended daily intake of sodium is 2300mg). I make a lot of my soups, but if you don’t rinse the beans, you risk a lot more sodium. The sodium makes you retain water weight and that shows up on the scale. *sigh*

I’m also quite fond of popcorn. More than fond. It’s bit of an addiction. (Some of my coworkers call me ‘popcorn girl’) It’s my go-to un-guilty snack. Whether it be 94% Fat Free microwaved popcorn, or the air-popped kind, I love it and I ate a lot of it over the weekend. Again. Salt. Sodium.

So when I stepped on the scale on Tuesday evening and she told me I’d gone up 2.2 lbs, I was in shock. ‘Are you sure that’s right?” I asked, in disbelief. I cannot explain how upset and defeated I felt. I had to tell myself to not cry. I had worked so hard the entire week for nothing. I wanted to leave the meeting right away and go treat myself to Subway.

I stayed for the meeting and gradually felt better, but not completely. I went home and had a Lean Cuisine pizza and a little bit of chocolate….and popcorn.

But I continued tracking my WW points. I went to the gym. I’m still on track. The goal this week is less sodium and more water. I’m betting that 2.2 will come right back off and then some next week.

Yes, I’m still a little bummed but that will go away in time. I am really focused on losing 15-20 lbs by May (at least). I know I can do this. I am focused!

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Heading Into Battle

It’s the most wonderful time of the year….for avoiding the gym.

No, it’s not because I feel extremely lazy and all I really want to do is cook some spicy black bean soup and read my Kindle while cuddled under a warm blanket in the early dark frigid evenings of January. It’s because of all those bright, new shiny faces!

You know who you are (you may be one of them!). You are the ones that start your gym membership in January, fresh on the heels of your weight-loss resolution. Brand new workout clothes, shoes, and all the motivation in the world. I do not fault all of these people trying to get back on track and get healthy. I’m thrilled to see new people at the gym….I’m just not thrilled that you took all the treadmills and I got stuck on the elliptical instead.

Going to the gym in January is like heading into battle. One cannot just walk in and start exercising. A strategy, a plan must be made. You have to be ready to grab that first piece of workout equipment as soon as it’s available.

You have to plan for extra time searching for a parking spot. You really should have your bottle of water already filled up, iPod and/or Kindle already in hand, and have your coat/jacket off and ready to hang on the rack (or even better, don’t even bother wearing a jacket. The quicker you have to walk from your car, the more calories burned, right?) You must hurry to the treadmills before someone jumps on the very last one before you!

I am all psyched and ready to go for a run. I spot the last treadmill and make a dash for it….an open treadmill! ‘I made it just in time,’ I think. ‘Yes!’ Then just like that, all of the adrenaline is zapped as I am left staring at an open treadmill with an ‘Out of Service’ sign posted to the front. Bummer.

Such was my luck last night. Elliptical it is. At least I can read my Kindle while working out. That’s the positive. That, and 35 minutes of high-impact cardio cross training. It counts!

Tonight I must follow the advised plan and enter the battle grounds which are the YMCA in January. I will get a treadmill! I will. I must. I must run 3 miles!

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