Monday, April 23, 2018

Attempting Sensibility

First off, this is what crack looks like...

Compost cookies. They were my downfall last week. I couldn't stop eating them until they were all gone.

I got cleared to run on Thursday April 12th. Well I worked all day Thursday so that was out. Friday the 13th dawned a BEAUTIFUL day. 70+ degrees. It looked like Spring was finally here. I worked out in the yard all day and cleaned out all my flowerbeds and burned a huge pile of brush. It was quite the workout so no running.

Netflix has a documentary series called Chef's Table. On April 13th they released the latest in their series and it featured Christina Tosi. I worship Christina Tosi. She is the brains behind Momofuku Milkbar. If you haven't heard of her you have to go check her out. She's awesome! She is the creator of the German chocolate cake I hope to make someday...

My Dream Cake!

Anyhoos... I watched the documentary and got all inspired... and I just happen to own her cookbook. So we all know where this is going!

Saturday I was too sore to move, no less run - like my hamstrings were burning from bending over in the yard all day. I made cookies instead. Christina Tosi's Compost Cookies. Cookies with potato chips, pretzels, chocolate chips, ground coffee, butterscotch chips and graham cracker crumbs. They are unbelievably addicting.

I haven't baked in so so long and I missed it so so much! But now I remembered why I had stayed away from baking. I pretty much ate cookies until I was sick. No kidding. It was pathetic. I gorged on them. And, the cookies were a bit flatter and crisper than I wanted. I was stuffing my face with cookies and reworking the recipe in my head at the same time... how to make it better next time.

Sunday was spent visiting my in-laws. I forgot to bring my leftover cookies to the gathering so I ended up eating them again when I got home. Oh, someone STOP me!

Monday morning I crawled out of bed and onto the couch to watch the Boston Marathon. It was raining in Indiana and pouring in Boston. Sarah Sellers who finished second was quoted as saying it was like running in a hurricane the last 5 miles. The race was incredible. The finish was unforgettable. I cried watching Des Linden run the last four miles by herself to win the race. I'm glad I watched it by myself because, really, I sat on the couch with tears streaming down my face, taking in the moment and watching her finish.

Then I made another batch of cookie dough and put it in the refrigerator to chill overnight.

Monday evening I ran for 10 minutes on the treadmill... because it was snowing... on April 16th. Nothing hurt. I felt good. I kept cranking up the speed and ended up averaging 9:23 pace. Then I did all my PT exercises and stretches for the next 40 minutes.

Tuesday I went to the fitness center and ran 3 miles. A mile on the indoor track, a mile at 8:57 pace on the treadmill, then another mile on the indoor track. Did all my PT exercises. Baked the cookies and dropped most of them off to my daughter and her friends at IU, then went to work for the evening.

Wednesday I ran 6 miles on the Monon. I didn't know how it was going to go but when I reached 75th Street I felt good so I crossed the street and kept going all the way to Broadripple for a full 6 mile loop. Did my PT exercises. Then I ate more cookies when I got home.

Thursday I ran another 6 miles on the Monon and faithfully did my PT exercises... and thought about my next race.

I'm registered for the 500 Festival Mini-Marathon on May 5th. This was suppose to be the year I actually ran this race for time. In 2015 it was the weekend after the Derby Marathon and my legs were toast. I didn't bother to run it in 2016 because it was the weekend after the Big Sur Marathon, which I ran 6 days after the Boston Marathon, and I knew my legs would be toast. Last year I plain didn't feel like running until a couple weeks before the race and hadn't run over 10 miles all year so I ran it to see what I could do... and almost PR'd... which got me all inspired again and prompted me to sign up for a bunch of races. It's a viscous cycle, isn't it!!

So, here I am again training for the Mini after not running for the first 15 days of April and not sure if my legs are going to cooperate. But I felt good. So maybe I'll do a 10 miler this weekend... and perhaps I can try for another marathon yet this spring...

Looking at the Runner's World race calendar late into the night I found the Bayshore Marathon in Traverse City, MI on May 26th. I was off work that weekend. 6 weeks. It looked doable. The idea of another BQ attempt started taking root. I resolved to eat better and ordered Jackie's book...

Friday was another beautiful day but the day got away from me.

My other passion lately has been sewing. I've been sewing up a storm. It all started with another fall down the Pinterest rabbit hole. I discovered faux chenille quilts and I HAD to make one, so I made one as a baby gift for a friend of mine.

Then my daughter wanted a patchwork quilt... then I got a custom order for another full size faux chenille quilt... then I got a custom order for another blanket to double as a pet hammock... and I was in heaven. TOTAL HEAVEN!!

Something about sewing these things made me want to pop out of bed every morning at 7 am (I KNOW, I must be ill) and run downstairs to my sewing machine. Friday I couldn't stop sewing. Plus I decided my legs needed a day off. Or maybe I just couldn't stop sewing. In any case, no run.

Saturday I dropped G off in Carmel and hurried home so I could get a run in before leaving for work at 12:30 pm. I had time to get 10 miles in so I took off down the county road by my house. I run two rollers in the first mile. I got to the top of the second hill and felt my hamstring give a little pull.

So that was it. I didn't push it. I turned around and jogged back home to do sensible things.

No more marathons this spring. Rehab the leg. Work on my diet. I should really get back in the pool and make friends with my bike.

My life isn't the runaway train that it used to be. Sometimes I miss feeling manic, if that makes any sense... but I like having some peaceful quiet time and having time to methodically work on projects that I love to do with no hard deadlines. For now, it's sewing blankets. I also have an accent wall I want to paint and photos to scrapbook. I reactivated my Etsy shop today.

I'm walking away from a BQ attempt this spring as that's the sensible thing to do.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Postscript on the Carmel Marathon

Well, it's been almost a week since the race and I finally decided to download my Garmin data and look at my splits. I also broke down and saw a physical therapist today and found out what went wrong.

First though (mainly for my records), an update on the training leading up, from where I left off...

Sunday 2/25 - Zero miles. In Chicago all day.
Monday 2/26 - 10 miles
Tuesday 2/27 - Zero miles. Worked all day.
Wednesday 2/28 - 20 miles. Easy run. 3:30:53, averaged 10:32 pace.
Thursday 3/1 - Zero miles. Drove to Kansas City, MO.
Friday 3/2 - Zero miles.
Saturday 3/3 - 10 miles. Hilly run through the streets of Kansas City.

40 miles total Week of 2/25/18 - 3/3/18

Sunday 3/4 - Zero miles. Drove home.
Monday 3/5 - 7 miles. Easy on roads by my house.
Tuesday 3/6 - 7.5 miles. Run Club workout - 2 mile warm up, 400m x 2 (1:49, 1:47), 800m x 4 (3:53, 3:57, 4:01, 3:41), 200m x 2 (1:49, 1:58), all with 2:00 recovery jogs in between, then a cool down.
Wednesday 3/7 - 5.5 miles. Treadmill at the Y. 9:18 average pace.
Thursday 3/8 - Zero miles. Worked all day.
Friday 3/9 - 20 miles. Easy run on fitness center track.
Saturday 3/10 - Zero miles. Worked all day.

40 miles total Week of 3/4/18 - 3/10/18

Sunday 3/11 - Zero miles. Worked all day.
Monday 3/12 - Zero miles. Worked all day.

Tuesday 3/13 - 7.6 miles. Run Club workout - 2 mile warm up, 4 mile pace run on hills (8:26, 8:49, 8:51, 8:26), 1.6 mile cool down. Goal had been to run marathon pace (8:57) but I freaked out and ran too fast.

Wednesday 3/14 - 6.4 miles. Easy run on the Monon.
Thursday 3/15 - 6 miles. Easy run on the Monon.
Friday 3/16 - 5 miles. Treadmill.
Saturday 3/17 - Zero miles.

25 miles total Week of  3/11/18 - 3/17/18

Sunday 3/18 - 13.5 miles. So here's where it all started to fall apart...

This run was supposed to be my last long run before Carmel. Coach Matt did not feel I needed another 20 miler but rather more "fast miles" on fatigued legs. So, workout was supposed to be 8 miles easy, 6 miles at marathon pace, then 2 miles easy. First 8 miles were fine. Next 3 went by in 8:46, 8:45, and 8:46 - so a bit fast, then, halfway into my fourth pace mile I felt my right hamstring pull, then ball up. I ran a couple hundred more yards but the muscle just got tighter and tighter and, finally, I had to stop. Stretching it didn't help. I told myself not to be stupid and turned around. Ended up walk/jogging 2 miles back to the Y. Ugh!

Monday 3/19 - Zero miles. Worked all day.
Tuesday 3/20 - Zero miles. Worked all day.

Wednesday 3/21 - 6 miles. Fitness Center track. My right hamstring felt tight immediately and made something wrong with my gait to where my right foot was slamming down onto the track like I had foot drop and caused a shin splint. I kept running hoping it would fix itself but it didn't. Pretty much felt awful the whole run.

Thursday 3/22 - Zero miles.

Friday 3/23 - 6 miles. Ran on the road by my house. I could still feel an uncomfortable pull in my hamstring but it didn't feel quite as bad as before and my gait was back to normal.

Saturday 3/24 - 8 miles. One more week til my marathon and I'm a bit stressed about the fitness of my leg. Decided to try some speedwork at the Fitness Center. 2 mile track warm up. 3 miles on the treadmill at 8:57 pace, 1 mile track recovery, 1 mile treadmill at 8:57 pace, 1 mile track cool down. The leg held up for the treadmill miles. Went to work a night shift after that.

33.5 miles for Week of 3/18/18 - 3/24/18

So now it's marathon week.

Sunday 3/25 - Zero miles. Slept all day and worked night shift.
Monday 3/26 - Zero miles.

Tuesday 3/27 - 6 miles. Went to the Fitness Center for a 2 mile track warm up, 3 miles on the treadmill at 8:57 pace, 1 mile cool down. Also saw my massage therapist who worked on my hamstring.

Wednesday 3/28 - Zero miles.
Thursday 3/29 - 5 miles. Easy run on the Fitness Center track.
Friday 3/30 - Zero miles.
Saturday 3/31 - 26.2 miles. Carmel Marathon... turned into the run from hell.

The race started out well. I ran with my friend Margo at the back of the 3:55 pace group and pretty much chatted along. 3:55 pace is 8:57 miles.

Mile 1 - 9:05
Mile 2 - 8:50
Mile 3 - 8:48
Mile 4 - 8:52
Mile 5 - 8:50
Mile 6 - 9:03
Mile 7 - 8:57
Mile 8 - 8:52
Mile 9 - 9:03
Mile 10 - 8:57
Mile 11 - 8:49
Mile 12 - 9:27

I always walk through the aid stations to drink my water. Accelerating out of the mile 12 aid station I felt my right hamstring pull and a wave of panic came over me. It didn't ball up quite as bad as it had on 3/18 though and I backed off the pace to prevent it from getting worse.

Mile 13 - 8:56

I passed the start/finish line where the half-marathoners were finishing and considered dropping out. My hamstring though was just annoying me at this point... not SUPER painful but just uncomfortable. I told myself to quit freaking out and relax and that I COULD catch back up to the pace group. Other than my hamstring bothering me, I felt fine.

Mile 14 - 8:54

Not losing any ground but working on catching back up.

Mile 15 - 9:09

Still trying to catch up but stay relaxed.

Mile 16 - 8:31

Oh screw it, I just wanted to catch back up to the group! I figured once I was back with them things would feel easier. I caught back up just before we got to the mile 16 aid station.

So... accelerating out of the aid station at mile 16, my right hamstring totally balled up. Arghh!!!! I backed off the pace again and watched the group I had just caught up with pull away again.

Mile 17 - 10:04

Stay calm. You can catch up again.
But then I started developing carpal-pedal spasm in my toes - where your toes spasm and try to cross - and then I could feel the twinges in my calves, and I knew this was the beginning of the end...

Mile 18 - 11:03
Mile 19 - 9:56
Mile 20 - 11:04

Somewhere around here I started getting the full on Charley horses in my legs where the entire leg becomes frozen in place and I can't move. One of the medical cyclists stopped and asked if I needed salt. No. I knew that wasn't the problem. I was having muscle spasms due to neuromuscular fatigue where rest is the only solution. Problem was, I still had over 6 miles to go.

Somewhere around here, too, I felt something rip open on the ball of my right foot and felt fluid soaking into my sock. Perfect.

Mile 21 - 11:37
Mile 22 - 13:01

The 4:00 pace group passed me and I mentally checked out. The only thing that kept me going was that I HAD to get home in time to get G back to Carmel by 3 pm. Race started at 8 am. Plan had been to be done by noon, then drive an hour home (1pm), have an hour to shower, change, and recover (2 pm), then drive an hour back. Now I HAD to be done by 1 pm at the absolute latest so get my daughter back to Carmel in time.

Mile 23 - 12:49
Mile 24 - 13:27
Mile 25 - 12:55
Mile 26 - 12:52

Official finish time - 4:23:51

Highlight of my day was seeing my friend Araminta at the finish. She had run the half and she waited for me and ran me in.

Once I got home, I was afraid to take my sock off. I was convinced I'd split open a callus and my sock would be stuck to my foot with dried blood. Instead, I found I'd developed a blister the size of a half dollar that covered the entire ball of my foot and had opened up. Grrr.

By Tuesday the blister had healed enough to walk on it so I figured I might try an easy run on Wednesday. However, then I got stung by a mud dauber (we have a flying insect problem at our house) on the bottom of my left foot - like RIGHT smack on the bottom of my instep - and my foot swelled and hurt so bad running was out of the question. Perhaps God didn't want me to run this week...

On Thursday I still couldn't fully straighten out my right leg because the hamstring still hurt. I took my daughter to PT and her therapist told me to come see her. In a fortunate twist in scheduling, she was able to see me today.

So, first thing she says is... have you SEEN your leg? 
No, I didn't ever think to actually LOOK at where I was sore, plus it's on the back of my leg.
Apparently the whole back of my right upper leg is discolored and swollen. I tore part of my hamstring and the muscle bled into the tissue, making it bruised and swollen. Well crap, no wonder it hurts.

So no running for awhile now. Not until she clears me. I suppose the only good thing is that I don't feel like such a weenie now. Sigh.

Friday, March 2, 2018

20/20 Diet: Phase 3... When Life Takes Over

Phase 3 of this diet is 20 days long, so basically takes me to the end of the month. Phase 3 is much less structured. There was a list of suggested recipes but mostly you were suppose to stick to the eat-every-4 hours schedule and make sure you got the proper number of fruits and vegetables and "power proteins" everyday.

I did OK the first week. I even went out to eat three times and felt good. Here's a run down of my daily calories and exercise...

date             calories consumed          exercise           calories used             total calories
2/11/18        938                                  rest day           1200                         -262
2/12/18        1200                                ran 6 miles      1800                         -600
2/13/18        1334                                ran 8 miles      2000                         -666
2/14/18        "diet vacation day" for Valentines, ran 4 miles and didn't go crazy on the food
2/15/18        1665                               ran 20 miles     3200                        -1535
2/16/18        1165                               rest day            1200                        -35
2/17/18        1219                               ran 4 miles       1600                        -381

Ran 42 miles total for the week and stayed negative on the calories so I felt pretty good about things. Starting weight was 132.5 lbs. Weigh in on Sunday 2/18/18 ranged between 132 and 133 lbs so not much of a change in weight though.

I'm still convince a lot of the initial weight loss is water. I noticed that when the diet became less structured I ate more processed food and, hence, definitely increased my salt intake.

Sunday 2/18/18
I was scheduled to work from 7 pm to 7 am so I ran 10 miles early in the afternoon to get my run in before my night shifts started. Got done running around 4 pm and found a message from my mom. She wasn't feeling well and wanted to know what to do. I called. No answer. I called my brother to see if he had heard from her. Yup. She was in the ED by then. When she didn't hear back from me she decided to take herself to Urgent Care. Urgent Care took one look at her and loaded her in an ambulance...

... and so started my downward spiral and the wheels started coming off.

My brother went to the ED where she was. I went to work at the ED I was scheduled at and told him to keep me updated. Turns out my mom's blood pressure was sky high, which happens to her from time to time for no apparent reason. She got stabilized and released late in the evening. She called me when she got home and I told her I'd call her again in the morning after I got home and slept for a couple hours. Then... she calls me back not 5 minutes later saying she feels like she's going to die again and, can I leave work so see her NOW??!! Umm, no. Luckily my brother's still there so I instruct him to take her back to the hospital. They go back. She spends another couple hours there, then gets released home at 2 am.

Monday 2/19/18
Can't even remember what I ate when I woke up. Checked on my mom. She was doing OK... but ended up calling me back a bazillion times during the day. Felt too tired to run so I laid around the house til it was time to go back to work, the decided I HAD to have a burger this evening. Ended up driving through McDonald's on the way to work. It was another 7 pm to 7 am shift.

The ED was packed when I got there. Didn't even get to finish eating my food while it was still warm. Topped off the evening by helicoptering someone out at 4 am. It was that kind of night.

Tuesday 2/20/18
Slept til noon then tried to get moving. Run Club was tonight but G talked me into going to her jazz class instead. It is "Bring a Friend to Dance Class" month at the studio and all the girls in her class decided tonight was the night they were bringing their moms. So... I went to jazz class. It's been years since I actually took a class myself. The class is an hour and a half long. Halfway through class I realized I was the only fool (amongst the moms) that was still turning and jumping... probably should have dropped out when they started doing switch leaps... decided a good way to get a lumbar compression fracture or tibial plateau fracture was landing straight-legged from a switch leap.

Wednesday 2/21/18
Needless to say I woke up Wednesday incredibly sore. @#^$## jazz class!
Thought I'd feel better after a run to loosen things up. Managed 3 miles before throwing in the towel. Needless to say I was completely off my diet by now.

Thursday 2/22/18
Today was no better. I was sore. I was tired. I had a tutu I had to finish sewing before next week. I actually drove all the way to the Y after dropping G off at dance but then turned around and drove back to the studio and worked on her tutu instead as I had too much on my mind to run.
Topped off the evening by driving through McDonald's again. At least I got to enjoy my bad food tonight.

Friday 2/23/18
Today was "pull yourself together" day. Attempted to eat better... except G talked me into taking her to Cinnabon after her PT appointment and we both ate 800 calories cinnamon rolls... then I ran 12 miles at the Y in an attempt to make amends. Sigh. Run to eat club lifer here.

Saturday 2/24/18
Started the day with another 10 mile run, trying to catch up on my mileage this week. Diet went out the window again after that. Met some friends for lunch, then got talked into going to Cinnabon again for dessert. Ate a smaller cinnamon roll today...

BLAHHHH!!! so that was the week. Salvaged 35 miles but ate horribly.

Other distractions this week (other than my mom)... the weather was horrible. Cold rainy and gray. I stayed up WAY WAY WAY too late several nights to watch the Olympics. G's tutu. I have to have it done by next week and the bodice doesn't fit right and I've been running to JoAnn or Michael's every day to get Swavorski crystals or lace with 50% off coupons. The lace we are using is $9.99 a yard, and only sold in pre-cut yard rolls, so I had to go to multiple stores to find enough lace.

Sunday 2/25/18
Spent the whole day on the road, taking G to an audition in Chicago. Managed to eat a fairly healthy low calorie meal at Panera for lunch, then had an awful gut busting chili dog with probably some of the worst tasteless onion rings I've ever had at Portillo's. I've never been to a Portillo's and hubs thought G and I should experience it. No thank you. Never again. Yuck!!
Needless to say, no running today either.

Monday 2/26/18
Ran 10 miles on the Monon in the evening. I tried doing the Run Club workout that I missed on Tuesday, which was a 2 mile warm up, then alternating miles of 10K/half-marathon pace and marathon pace for 3-5 miles, then a cool down. My plan was to alternate 8:30 and 9:00 miles. Well... that didn't happen. Tried the first "fast" mile and struggled to get 8:55 so I decided to alternate "fast" miles with recovery miles. Granted, the following "fast" miles felt better. Managed 8:36, 8:32, and 8:29 for the other ones then did a cool down. Average pace for 10 miles ended up being 9:31 so not horrible but slower than where I need to be. The nice thing about doing speed work though is that the miles seem to go by SO much faster than running them at an even pace.

Tuesday 2/27/18
Worked from 7 am to 7pm. The good thing about going to work is that I can only eat what I bring so I ate healthy. I considered running a couple miles at the fitness center after I got home but ended up working on G's tutu instead. It had to be done to take to a dance competition on Thursday. I spent the evening heat pressing 140 individual Swavorski crystals onto the bodice of her tutu. Got done at 11 pm and called it a night.

Wednesday 2/28/18
G had an orthodontist appointment in the morning so I didn't have a long enough block of time during the day to get my long run in. I needed at least 4 uninterrupted hours. Dropped G off at dance in the evening and hit the Monon to run 20 miles. It was threatening rain when I started and I actually ran the last 5 miles in a fine mist but I got it done. It was pitch black outside for the last 2 miles but I was pretty much committed to running 20 miles at that point because I had to get back to the Y in time to get showered and changed and pick up G by the time she got done with class. Made it back to the dance studio with 5 minutes to spare but didn't get a chance to do a post-run stretch so I felt pretty crappy. Plus I was starving. Hit Panera again for a 8:45 pm dinner.

Yeah, meal planning went out the window this week so it's been Panera...

Thursday 3/1/18
So this morning was the moment of truth. I weighed myself 2 days early because G and I are leaving for Kansas City and I won't be back til the weekend.

I was afraid to look at the scale. Dreading it actually. I tried to eat reasonably when I could, however I knew I'd eaten a BUNCH of bad food the last 2 weeks and I was convinced my weight was going to go up. My guess was that I'd be back in the 134 lb range.

131.2 lbs.

Couldn't freakin" believe it! I stepped on the scale 5 times to make sure. Hallelujah!!
Phew! I'm more relieved than anything else. Still going the right way in spite of falling off the wagon a couple days and no longer writing down every single thing I eat.

Spent the rest of the day driving to Kansas City. 

Friday 3/2/18
So this is Day 30. I'm going to try and get a couple miles in at the hotel fitness center if I have time this evening. My daughter is on a short break between dances so I'm scoping out nearby restaurants and their menus to find a decent place for us the eat the next couple of days. Luckily she's a health nut so finding a place we can both eat at shouldn't be an issue.

29 more days til the Carmel Marathon!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

20/20 Diet: Phase 2... Dieting, Running, and Life

Phase 2 of this diet is also 5 days long and I get to eat new food. I am SO excited about getting to eat avocados!

For those that missed the lead in post to this, this is Dr. Phil's 20/20 Diet. I checked his book The 20/20 Diet out from the library. The recipes I'm using are from that book. I've made some minor modifications in that sometimes I've omitted ingredients that are not to my tastes but I haven't been adding anything. For instance, he uses whey protein in some things like the oatmeal. I'm not a fan of whey protein so I don't use it. There are a whole bunch of other recipe choices in the book but I selected the ones that I would eat. The calorie counts are for what I've actually fixed.

Tuesday Feb 6, 2018
Starting weight this morning is 134 lbs.

Breakfast - Blueberry Almond Oatmeal: 1/3 cup steel cut oats, 3/4 cup frozen blueberries, 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts.
315 calories, 49 g carbs, 9 g protein, 11 g fat

I was happy to eat something I was familiar with as this is typically what I eat before my long runs or on race mornings, minus the almonds. There were too many blueberries too so I'm going to cut it to 1/2 cup blueberries next time I make this.

I ate breakfast at 8 am. By 11 am I was ready to chew my arm off. I put chicken breasts in the oven to cook for dinner and made my snack.

Snack - Peppery Avocado Chickpeas: mash 1/4 avocado with 2 teaspoons lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic, 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper and sprinkle of black pepper, then stir in 1/2 cup canned chickpeas.
190 calories, 22 g carbs, 7 g protein, 9.5 g fat
Ate it with 2 rye crisps, 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, and 1/2 cup baby carrots for a total of 315 calories, 58 g carbs, 9 g protein and 9.5 g fat

Peppery Avocado Chickpeas

Surprisingly I was no longer ravenous after only a couple bites of my snack. I made two more servings of the Peppery Avocado Chickpeas to put in containers and an egg-avocado spread to put on a sandwich for dinner tonight.

So... by 2 pm I was hungry again and started looking forward to my next meal. I had Run Club practice tonight so lunch was my biggest meal of the day.

Lunch - Lemon Pepper Chicken Pasta: cook 2 oz of veggie pasta (actual recipe called for whole grain rye pasta which I could not find, and I don't like whole grain pasta so I got Barilla veggie pasta and called it good.) Sauté 1/2 cup cut up grape tomatoes and 1 1/2 cup spinach in 1 teaspoon olive oil seasoned with 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic. Mix in 3 oz of diced cooked chicken breasts. Toss it all together with 2 teaspoons lemon juice and black pepper to taste.
430 calories, 48 g carbs, 37 g protein, 9 g fat

It was delicious!

Lemon Pepper Chicken Pasta

On to Run Club. Workout was a 2 mile warm up, 90, 75, 60, 45, and 30 seconds of running at 90% with equal recovery times, a 3-5 minute recovery (which I took as a half mile recovery jog), 2.5 miles at "pace" (which for me was around 9 min miles), then a 2 mile cool down. 8 miles total. I didn't die. Phew! Temps were in the 20's and I did get cold though and afterwards I did get pretty spinney while laying on the floor of the Runner's Forum stretching out. Kind of a pleasant warm spinney sensation. Once my head righted, it was off to the Y to shower and pick up G.

I ate my post-run peanut butter Muscle Milk Bar as well as my snack, more Peppery Avocado Chickpeas with 2 rye crisps. That got me my correct number of post-run carbs and protein.

So two other "additions" to the diet this week. We were suppose to come up with a non-food related reward for ourselves. I decided I'd get a massage. There was a woman at the Y last week who was absolutely raving about the massages she gets at Foot Finesse down the street from the Y so I called to make an appointment for Thursday evening. The other addition is that we get to have a "sensible splurge" once a week. This is a food related snack of about 100 calories. Something to look forward to.

I had dinner already prepared but by the time I got home from Carmel I still wasn't very hungry so I ate a Honeycrisp apple and called it good.

Totals for Day 6: 1600 calories consumed, 241 g carbs, 79 g protein, 45 g fat
I expended 2000 calories for a deficit of 400 calories.

Wednesday Feb. 7, 2018
Today was a rest day from running. I was also going to have my "sensible splurge" today too so I wanted to make sure I got some kind of exercise in. My initial plan was to check out the rowing machines at the fitness center...

However... I was completely wiped out when I woke up this morning. In fact, I barely got out of bed by 10 am. I missed my window of opportunity for any kind of morning workout as I had to go pick G up from school at 12:15 for her PT appointment. Plan after that was to go straight to Carmel for dance and I wouldn't be home til 9:30 pm so I had to pack food for the day.

Breakfast  - Mexi Omelet: 1 egg cooked with a tablespoon of chopped cilantro and some minced garlic, a cup of spinach and 1/2 a cup of frozen corn, then topped with 1/4 am avocado. Ate it with 1/2 a slice of rye bread. It sounded better on paper than it actually tasted. It was pretty bland.
310 calories, 36 g carbs, 13.5 g protein, 14 g fat

Packed the avocado-egg salad spread that I didn't eat on Tuesday night with a slice of rye bread and a cup of carrots as well as a chicken corn salad to take with me.

Got to the PT appointment, then found out we were there on THE WRONG DAY. Arghhh!!!
Ran through the grocery store instead, then back home to eat lunch, then back in the car to go to Carmel.
Nothing like running around like a chicken with my head cut off all day...

Avocado Egg Salad on Rye
NOT the best thing I ever ate; probably will not be having this again
Bottom of the bag carrots...

Finally back at the Y. I perused my choices of activity and decided to try out a 45 minute long "Strength and Endurance" class. I imagined it would be hand weights. I was half right. The first 10 minutes were all leg work - squats, lunges, wall sits... My legs were burning and I was worried this was going to impact my long run the next day, but I was here now and stuck. I lived. I didn't sweat either. I was planning to have my "sensible splurge" today - Starbucks - so I wanted to make sure I was burning enough calories. I did another 30 minutes on an exercise bike. I estimated I burned at least 300 calories doing those activities.

Dinner - Chicken Corn Salad: 3 oz diced baked chicken tossed with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 1/2 cup corn and 1 cup of salad greens.
372.5 calories, 21.5 g carbs, 30 g protein, 20 g fat

Next I added up my calories and figured I could safely have my "sensible splurge" - a short (8 oz) Starbucks coconut milk mocha macciato
130 calories, 19 g carbs, 2 g protein, 5 g fat

Skipped a snack today.

Totals for Day 7: 1112.5 calories consumed, 123.5 g carbs, 55.5 g protein, 52.5 g fat.
I expended 1500 calories for a deficit of 387.5 calories.

Thursday Feb. 8, 2018
Today was long run day. 15 miles on the schedule. Originally I thought I had all afternoon to do it, however now I had to take G to PT since today was, in fact, the correct day, I'd have to run in the morning if I was going to do it. I couldn't do it in the evening because I already had my massage scheduled.

I reminded myself of all the times I'd gotten up at 4 am in the past to run 19-20 miles before going to work. So much of distance running is mental. I've done this before. Just get your butt out of bed and do it!

Alarm was set for 6 am. Got up, had Blueberry Almond Oatmeal for breakfast.
Got to the fitness center shortly before 8 am, got on the track, hit cruise control and prayed for flow. Lewis Howes and his School of Greatness podcasts chattered away in my ears as I found my rhythm. My quads were still a bit heavy from the strength class and I could especially feel them going up stairs but thankfully it was all good until the last mile when my right hamstring started pulling. Got it done though. Yes!!

Got home and realized I only had time to either shower, eat, or stretch. I picked the shower since I wasn't going to be home again til 9:30 pm. Thankfully hubs agreed to cook my pasta while I showered so I could eat too. Had Lemon Pepper Chicken Pasta for lunch. I'm glad I cooked a bunch of chicken breasts ahead of time or this would have never happened. This also gave me about the right amount of post-run carbs and protein so I didn't need a post-run snack.

G's physical therapist is a sweetheart and had me stretch while she worked on G. Then it was off to Carmel again. Had my snack - Peppery Avocado Chickpeas with a cup of grape tomatoes - after I dropped G off.

Next it was massage time! It was wonderful. I really felt like I was cheating on my massage therapist though... but he is in Greenwood and only has daytime hours... and this was on the Northside, open til 9 pm... and $30 for a full hour. Foot Finesse is technically a "foot spa" because their employees are not certified massage therapists. You still get a full body massage though, with your clothes on. It was a wonderful feel good massage; not the I-think-I-might-die-this-hurts-so-bad-I-need-a-towel-to-chew-on kind of massage I had been getting (and which I'll continue getting from my regular massage therapist). I'm definitely doing this again! Think it will be my long run day reward.

Ate dinner after I got home. Tuna Salad Over Greens: 4 oz canned tuna, drained, mixed with 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon dried Italian herbs (I used a basil and oregano mix), 1/2 cup Minute Rice multi-grain medley (brown rice, flaxseed, red quinoa, and chia seeds), and 1 cup salad greens.
220 calories, 22.5 g carbs, 23 g protein, 5 g fat

I wasn't hungry after dinner but somehow I just wanted to taste some more food. I got over that by brushing my teeth and going to bed.

Totals for Day 8: 1355 calories consumed, 186.5 g carbs, 78 g protein, 34.5 g fat.
I expended 2700 calories for a deficit of 1345 calories.
Woohoo!! Normally I would have eaten a 1000 calorie meal (like half a pizza) after a long run so I'm happy I controlled myself.

Friday Feb. 9, 2018
Another day that didn't go exactly as planned but I managed to salvage. I had a  5-6 mile run planned today. I also had to go to Bloomington in the morning for what I thought was going to be a one hour training session.

Had an Apple Walnut Parfait for breakfast and hit the road. Unfortunately my training session lasted 2 hours, putting me back home at noon. Originally I was going to go to the fitness center to run as soon as I got home but now it was time to eat again. I had to go to work tonight so I really needed to get a nap in too.

Ate a snack of an apple, hard boiled egg, and two rye crisps, and decided to try and nap first.

Nap didn't work out too well. I never got any deep sleep. Gave up after nearly 3 hours and got ready to go run. Got to the fitness center and discovered it was closed for the day for an event. Ugh!! Normally at this point I would have bagged the run. However, today I went back home, changed into warmer clothes, and ran 5 miles on the road. Got. It. Done.

Lunch - Sautéed Greens over Baked Cod .

Packed another Lemon Pepper Chicken Pasta dish for dinner, as well as a cup of grape tomatoes and a hard boiled egg as snacks. I was worried about getting hungry. My shift tonight was from 7 pm to 7 am. Normally I'd be sleeping and not eating during that time but now I'd be up. I think I needed the security of having a snack with me.

Ended up eating dinner around midnight. Had the grape tomatoes a couple hours after that but didn't eat the egg. I was hungry for dinner. I'm not sure I really needed the snack. So much of what I eat while I'm at work, especially towards the end of my shift, is more to keep me awake rather than nourish me. Usually when I have to drive home late at night from Bloomington I end up eating the entire hour drive home just to stay awake.

Totals for Day 9: 1430 calories consumed, 154 g carbs, 92 g protein, 56 g fat.
I expended 1700 calories for a deficit of 270 calories.

Saturday Feb. 10
I slept until almost 1 pm, then had an Apple Walnut Parfait for breakfast.

Made a grocery list as the family needed to eat too then went to the fitness center to get my run in before they closed at 5 pm. Ran 6 miles.

Picked up my weekend papers at CVS after my run with a 30% off coupon, then on to Meijer for my groceries. I'd forgotten what a zoo Meijer is on Saturday afternoons. It took me almost as long to check out as it did for me to pick out my groceries. Final stop was Aldi to pick up chicken breasts as they had the best price this week but they were already sold out so I left empty handed.

I was starving by the time I got home. Definitely did NOT get any food in an hour after my workout. Thankfully I had baked a whole pan of cod when I made my lunch yesterday so I quickly threw together a Cod Salad for lunch.

One of the things that has been reiterated to me several times these last couple days is that it's SO SO important to have the food you should eat prepped in some manner and ready to eat in the refrigerator. Otherwise, the tendency is to grab whatever you see when you're hungry. I've been baking pans of cod and baked chicken breasts and keeping them in a container where I can weigh out what I need for my meal and not have to cook it every time I need them. Meal prepping has been REALY REALLY key.

Dinner - Lemon Pepper Chicken Pasta.

Totals for Day 10: 1095 calories consumed, 114 g carbs, 82 g protein, 39 g fat.
I expended 1800 calories for a deficit of 705 calories.

Logged a 40 mile run week too. Definitely feeling pretty good about things!

Sunday Feb. 11
So this morning was the moment of truth. Weigh in day for Phase 2. I've been paranoid all week that the 4 lb weight loss from Phase 1 was not real and that I'd gain some of that back this week.

132.5 lbs.
I weighed myself 4 times. It ranged from 132 to 133 so I decided on 132.5.
So, not as drastic as a drop but, more importantly, I didn't gain any weight. I'll take it.

Today starts Phase 3. It's a 20 day Maintain. Lots more food choices and the goal is to maintain your weight. There is definitely a less structured menu in this phase so hopefully  I can "maintain."

Take aways so far...
Portion control is key.
When you're really tired and hungry, GO TO SLEEP rather than scrounge around for food.
Keep "good" food handy.
Brushing your teeth after you eat really helps.
Take your time eating and try not to do anything else while you're eating.

Wish me luck "maintaining"!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

20/20 Diet: Phase 1

So this is the start of my 20/20 Diet that I spoke of in my last post. I picked it because it was easy and told me what to eat. The diet itself doesn't require you to count any calories but I did it cause I wanted to know. This is what I used for my calculations...

My Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), the number of calories you burn by simply existing, is 1200 calories.
This is calculated by multiplying your ideal body weight (in pounds) by 10. I used 120 lbs as my ideal weight.
You are suppose to add 30%, 40%, or 50% to this depending on your activity level however I did not add this in my daily calculations. I figured they would all be bonus calories burned.

My daily carb needs are 3 g per ideal body weight, so 390 g.
My daily protein needs are 0.6 g per ideal body weight, so 72 g.

Post exercise, the recommended carb to protein ration is 3:1 in the first hour after exercise.
I try to get 20g of protein in so I also need 60 g of carbs.

I give myself a credit of 100 calories per mile run.

The nutritional information came from either the food packaging or
I drank water, sparkling water, black coffee or green tea with my meals.
The only modification I made to the diet is that I allowed myself a post-run nutrition bar after each workout so I had some hope of meeting that one hour post-exercise carb-protein requirement.

I weighed myself as soon as I got up in the morning on Day 1.
138 lbs. Blahhhh...

Thursday Feb. 1, 2018
Breakfast - Apple Walnut Parfait: 1 diced Fuji apple, 1/4 chopped walnuts, 1 container (5.3 oz) Siggi's Icelandic style (skyr) vanilla yogurt, sprinkle of cinnamon
405 calories, 39 g carbs, 20 g protein, 20 g fat

Apple Walnut Parfait

Once I counted up the calories I thought this was a hefty breakfast. I wasn't wrong. Turns out this would be the highest calorie meal in this Phase.

After breakfast I made roasted chickpeas. One can made three 1/2 cup servings. Basically drained the can, tossed it with 2 teaspoons of olive oil and a little minced garlic, then baked them for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. I let them cool and put them in little containers.

Next I hardboiled 8 eggs. Cooled and peeled them. Made two servings of egg salad in more containers by stirring together 2 teaspoons of mustard, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, and a chopped up hard boiled egg in each container. Saved the rest of the eggs for later.

Since I'm suppose to eat every 4 hours and I had breakfast at 8 am, I had my snack at noon.

Snack - 1 Fuji apple, 1/2 cup roasted chickpeas, 2 rye crisps.
325 calories, 61 g carbs, 8 g protein, 7 g fat

I flip-flopped my lunch and my snack as I wanted more of a meal (calories) before I went running.

Lunch - Sautéed Greens over Baked Cod: 4 oz cod, baked at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Sautéed a cup of kale and a cup of spinach in a bit of olive oil then spooned it over the cod. Topped it all off with 1/4 cup chopped almonds and squeezed a lemon wedge over it all.
330 calories, 16 g carbs, 27 g protein, 20 g fat

Sautéed Greens over Baked Cod 

I actually cooked several cod filets and planned to put them in containers too. Good thing I did. G came home from school and decided she wanted to eat the same thing.

Drove G to Carmel, then ran 8.5 miles.

Post-Run, had a Chocolate Sea Salt RX bar - 210 calories, 24 g carbs, 12 g protein, 9 g fat

Had dinner after I got back home from Carmel.

Dinner - 1 Fuji apple, Egg Salad, 2 rye crisps.
245 calories, 43 g carbs, 8 g protein, 5 g fat

...and G decided to eat the other egg salad I had prepared.

So, totals for Day 1: 1515 calories consumed, 183 g carbs, 75 g protein and 61 g of fat.
I expended 2050 calories for a deficit of 535 calories.
I didn't come close to the amount of carbs I was suppose to consume but hit my number on protein.
Didn't get enough carbs or protein post-run either.
Overall didn't feel too bad though.

Friday Feb. 2, 2018
Breakfast - Apple Walnut Parfait.

Went for my run after that and ran 10 miles.

Post-Run, had a Peanut Butter Muscle Milk Bar - 190 calories, 22 g carbs, 15 g protein, 6 g fat
Also had my snack - 1/2 cup roasted chickpeas and 2 rye crisps.
This combo gave me a total of 420 calories, 60 g of carbs, 23 g protein, and 13 g of fat so I hit my post-run carb and protein numbers.

Lunch - 1 Fuji apple, Egg salad, 2 rye crisps.

At this point I decided I had eaten more apples in the last two days than I had in the last 6 months!

Dinner - Sautéed Greens over Baked Cod.

Totals for Day 2: 1400 calories consumed, 158 g carbs, 78 g protein, 58 g fat.
I expended 2200 calories for a deficit of 800 calories.
Again, low on the carbs but hit the protein.

Still not feeling too bad.

Saturday Feb. 3, 2018
Breakfast - Spinach Egg Scramble: 1 1/2 cups of spinach sautéed in a bit of olive oil, then scramble it with an egg. Plus another Fuji apple.
185 calories, 26 g carbs, 8 g protein, 5 g fat

I decided to change things up with a different breakfast. Then I tried what was suppose to be an easy 6 mile run. I think my lack of calories at breakfast plus the overall calorie deficit plus the 10 miles I had run the day before caught up with me. I felt like death. I was on the treadmill and had to slow to a walk at times because I was lightheaded. Finally squeaked out 3 miles total... at an average pace of 11:26. Blah!!

Post-run I didn't feel hungry and literally had to choke down my food, which included my snack - Peanut Butter Muscle Milk Bar, 1/2 cup roasted chickpeas, 2 rye crisps.

Lunch - 1 Fuji apple, Egg Salad, 1 rye crisp.

Dinner - I had to work the IU-MSU basketball game in Bloomington in the evening so I packed my dinner.
Cod Salad - Flake a 4 oz baked cod filet and mix with 2 teaspoons of mustard (it's a darn good thing I like mustard!) and a teaspoon of lemon juice. Toss with 1 1/2 cups chopped spinach and 2 tablespoons chopped almonds. Plus I had ANOTHER Fuji apple and 3 rye crisps.
400 calories, 58 g carbs, 26 g protein, 8 g fat

Cod Salad

I ate my dinner in the car then picked up J from her dorm to take to the game. She hadn't eaten so I bought her food at the game. Papa John's pizza. I wasn't hungry but the smell of garlicky dough made me want to eat just to taste the food.

By the time I started home, I was freaking HUNGRY! Luckily I was too tired to do anything about it. Got home at midnight and flopped into bed.

Totals for Day 3: 1210 calories consumed, 178 g carbs, 64 g protein, 31 g fat
I expended 1500 calories for a deficit of 290 calories.

I've pretty much decided I'm not going to hit my carb number on this diet. That was my whole issue about dieting while training. I didn't think I'd get enough carbs to fuel my workouts. My priority now is weight loss though so I guess my workouts may suffer a bit.

I was pretty much wiped out today.

Sunday Feb. 4, 2018
Today was my rest day from running. Knowing I wouldn't have the extra calorie expenditure I made a conscious effort to curb my calories. Ate a "big" breakfast though because I was so wiped out on Saturday. I also slept in and didn't have breakfast til 9:30 am so I ended up only eating three times.

Breakfast - Apple Walnut Parfait.

Lunch - Cod Salad with 1 rye crisp.

G had a matinee show she was dancing and I was volunteering so I ate my lunch in the car before the show. Then, I had to prep the snacks that were being served during the show. I had to pass on some absolutely lovely black and white cookies that one of the businesses had made for the show. Luckily I wasn't hungry, but normally I would have helped myself to a cookie...or two... for the taste.

Drove home after the show and had dinner.

Dinner - Cod Salad with 2 rye crisps.

I brushed my teeth after dinner so I wouldn't eat anything else.

Totals for Day 4: 895 calories consumed, 81 g carbs, 68 g protein, 36 g fat
I expended 1200 calories for a deficit of 305 calories.

Admittedly, I was hungry at times today.

Monday Feb 5, 2018
So... my health nut 900 year old daughter decided she liked all the food I was eating on my new diet so she's been eating all the same food and I did not buy enough. I ran out of apples this morning. Between the two of us we have gone through over 6 lbs of apples in the last 4 days.

Breakfast - Spinach Egg Scramble

I decided I definitely was not going to go running until I had eaten more so I went grocery shopping instead. Picked up more apples, spinach, Icelandic yogurt, rye crisps and food for Phase 2 that starts tomorrow. I was starving by the time I got home.

Lunch - Sautéed Greens over Baked Cod.

Snack - Apple Walnut Parfait. I ate a big snack because still I was terrified I might crash again on the treadmill like I did on Saturday.

Took G to Carmel then hit the Y for my workout. Got 6 miles in without a problem. Admittedly, I was WAY exhausted afterwards and spent some time lying on the locker room floor.

Post-Run - Peanut Butter Muscle Milk Bar.

I had packed my dinner to take with me to Carmel but I didn't feel like eating much after running and then forgot about it. Driving home though, I realized I was starving.

Dinner - Cod Salad with 2 rye crisps.

Totals for Day 4: 1275 calories consumed, 107 g carbs, 95 g protein, 61 g fat
I expended 1800 calories for a deficit of 525 calories.

I was hungry at times today but, more than anything, was totally wiped out by the time I got home from Carmel and passed out on the couch as soon as I was done eating.

Tuesday Feb 6, 2018
This morning was the moment of truth. I weighed myself as soon as I got up, just like I had done on Day 1.

134 lbs.
NO WAY!! No freakin' way I lost 4 lbs in 5 days... unless it was mostly water.

I weighed myself again after breakfast. 134.2 lbs. Hmmm. Scale must be right but I'm still wondering how much of that is water.

Looking at what I ate every day and the corresponding calorie counts, I can honestly say I had been consuming at least 3000 calories (or more) a day lately. Runner's World recently had an article called "The Common Eating Habit That's Secretly Doubling Your Calories." It's an eye-opener. You can read it HERE.

Today starts Phase 2. Another 5 days and I get to eat different food. We'll have to see if the weight stays off!

Monday, February 5, 2018

Rabbit Holes

Several months ago, while I was sitting in the lobby of the orthodontist's office waiting on my daughter, I read an article in the December issue of Outside magazine on downhill ski phenom Mikaela Shiffrin and was overcome by envy. Not of her ability, mind you, but of her single minded focus. She trains, she sleeps, and she trains. Yes, she has God given ability too, but it's her focus on the sole goal that is important to her is what sets her apart.

Oh, to have that focus...

Life would be so simple.

So here are the updates on my life and all the rabbit holes I have gone down lately.

Running. It's been an on again, off again relationship. I didn't run for several weeks after Monumental. Then the holidays hit as well as the cold gray weather and I just stopped worrying about worrying about when I was going to fit a run in. Come January, I looked at the calendar and saw I had 13 weeks til the Carmel Marathon so I ran 3 miles on January 2nd. Then I got sick.

Running hit the back burner again as I felt crappy, had to work, plus G started auditioning for summer dance programs. I didn't run again until January 16th. 5 miles on the treadmill.

The treadmill. I started listening to podcasts a while back to break up the monotony of running on the treadmill. I think it was a link I saw on an MSN page last Fall, but somehow I had ended up on the Mad Fientist webpage, a site about Financial Independence. There were podcasts there that were fascinating. Good investment strategies as well as my first introduction to travel hacking.

Travel hacking. What is it? It's traveling for free using rewards points. Of course I fell down this rabbit hole! What's it's relationship to financial independence? Well... seems like many financially independent people travel the world. The key is owning credit cards which offer high value sign up bonus points as well as point offerings for your spending, which in turn can be turned into either airline miles, hotel stays, or, depending on the program, simply redeemed for any travel related spending. Most of these credit cards though require an excellent credit rating (like above 800) and you need to meet minimum spend requirements to get the bonus points. Of course you also have to have the income to pay off your balance every month to make this work but it makes for a very attractive game for the financially independent.

What I've discovered through travel hacking... the hardest way to accrue airline miles is by actually flying them. The luxury lounge passes, the first-class upgrades... they are all free with points. Makes one wonder who actually pays the ridiculous fees. I earned 1000 United Airlines miles by spending $1 for a trial subscription to the Wall Street Journal. In contrast, if I wanted to buy 2000 miles (which is their minimum buy) from the United Airlines website itself, it would cost me $70... or, if I wanted to earn 1000 miles by flying them, I'd have to fly to the West Coast (Denver is 987 miles by air from where I live), at a cost of several hundred dollars. Since I discovered travel hacking in November I've accrued enough airline miles for at least two round trip tickets to Europe plus some free lounge passes. Now to find the time...

The other way I have found to make the miles go by on the treadmill is to watch TV. Not a whole lotta channel choices at the Y but it's better than staring into the middle school parking lot across the street. So... earlier this month I ended up watching the last couple minutes of the Dr. Phil show. His guest was a woman who had lost 80 lbs last year on his 20/20 diet.

The 20/20 Diet. I've needed to lose a couple extra pounds for some time now. Five pounds became ten, then ten became fifteen... and then I actually weighed myself the other day and found myself the heaviest I have ever been. My excuse has always been after this next race as it's tough to reduce your calories while trying to fuel your training. Problem though is I've been eating like I run 40 miles a week when I haven't been running at all. I checked out the 20/20 Diet from the library. What appealed to me is that it was very structured. It told you exactly what to eat for 30 days and the recipes were simple. For the first 5 days there are only 20 foods you can eat. Sounded good to me as anything else so I decided to try it. Day 1 was February 1st. I'll report how it goes. I read the book cover to cover. It seems to be geared toward people who can't see their feet and can't walk more than 15 minutes at a time so we'll just have to see if it works for me.

Minimalism. My wanna be minimalist soul is still working on it. Most of the house was decluttered two years ago and I'm happy to say it has stayed that way. It's the photos and mementos in my office that I'm still working on. Then of course I came across a YouTube channel about a minimalist.

Zoey Arielle. I admit, some of her videos are somewhat ludicrous to me. Unrelatable really. She's a 20-something Canadian that now lives out of two suitcases and travels. Sometimes she talks about her makeup or her outfits and I turn the video off. She's introduced me to some new concepts though. She's a digital nomad. Digital nomad. A term I'd never heard before. Digital nomads make their living working online doing whatever they do, whether it be marketing, designing, coaching, blogging, etc., thus it frees them up to live and explore anywhere they want in the world. It's a very compelling concept.

What I do like about Zoey's videos though are her minimalist views and her goals for herself. She uses her videos to make herself accountable... and I can relate to that. One of her goals this year is to read two books a month and she presented a reading list. One of the books on the list was Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. I found it at the library. I'm halfway through it now and I love it. One of his recommendations was to journal... so here I am, back to blogging.

I find it ironic... I find a book about pursuing less and focusing on what is important down a YouTube rabbit hole.

So what's next?

I'll be rooting for Mikaela Shiffrin when the Winter Olympics start on February 8th.
I'll stick to my diet by reporting on how it's going. My goal is to lose 20 lbs.
I'll run the Carmel Marathon on March 31st. If I'm in BQ shape by then, so be it. If not, I'm OK with that as my priority right now is to lose the weight.
I ran 10 miles the week of Jan. 14 - 20.
I ran 28 miles the week of Jan. 21 - 27.
I ran 31 miles the week of Jan. 28 - Feb. 3.


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

For The Love of Tea

Where has this month gone?

Generally I love this time of year. Getting ready for the holidays, seeing family, and the deals... oh the deals! Every inbox, mailbox, and website is bombarding me with crazy deals. Plus, as I've mentioned in years past, it's my birthday month so all my mail is doubly exciting with all my birthday perks.

The month has been a whirlwind of going to work, driving my daughter to dance, and throwing a surprise 50th Wedding Anniversary party for my parents. I got done with the party last weekend and finally took a breath, then realized the month was screaming by. Gotta do my deals NOW!

Surely I'm not the only one that does this... everyone wants my Christmas wish list. So... I go about putting things on the list but, inevitably, I end up just going and buying some of those things for myself NOW cause, well, there's a crazy deal on it now, and who knows if I'll actually get the item or if it will even be around next week?

That's what happened with the tea.

Teavana White Chocolate Peppermint Tea. This is my favorite tea. It's a ridiculous indulgence though...

Seriously... $45 for 8 oz of tea.

But... it's on sale, buy one get one free (until 11/27/17) AND there's a coupon code for $10 off $40 (TEA10SHOP, expires 1/30/18), plus I get 3% back my shopping through Ebates.

So this is what I did this morning...

1. Went to Kroger and bought a $40 Starbucks gift card.
- Kroger is running 4X fuel rewards points on gift cards (til 12/13/17) so I earned 160 fuel points for the Starbucks card. (I actually bought several other gift cards too and earned 560 points total.) Might as well buy gift cards to the stores I'll be shopping at and get points for it. Each 100 fuel rewards points gets you $0.10 off a gallon of gas, up to 1000 points at a time to a maximum of 35 gallons, meaning you could potentially save $35 on gas if you play your cards right.
- Paid with my Chase Freedom Visa card and earned Ultimate Rewards points for the purchase.

2. Registered the Starbucks card to my Starbucks Rewards account.

3. Logged into Ebates (it's a shopping portal), then went to Teavana.

4. Bought two 8 oz canisters of the White Chocolate Peppermint Tea at $45 each.
- Total $90
- minus "BOGO" code, gets me down to $45
- minus "TEA10SHOP" code, gets me down to $35
- shipping is free
- $35 charged to my Starbucks card. Teavana is owned by Starbucks.
- earned 70 stars on my Starbucks rewards card for the purchase (125 stars gets you a free item at Starbucks stores)
- earned $1.05 back through Ebates

All told, it's still ridiculously expensive tea. But... Teavana is closing all it's stores and who knows if I'll be able to get this next year so I stocked up!

Other deals I'm chasing this week are mainly stocking up on baking essentials since this is the best time of year to buy them.

Butter was $1.99 a pound at Aldi this week. It will be $1.99 a pound at Kroger on Sunday 11/26/17 ONLY with a digital coupon that can be used for up to 5 packages.

5 lb bags of flour and 4 lb bags of sugar will be on sale for $0.99 at Meijer on Saturday 11/25/17 ONLY.

I stocked up on 48 oz bottles of canola oil at Kroger for $1.29.

2 lb bags of brown sugar and confectioners' sugar are $0.99 at Aldi. Meijer will have the 4 lb bags of both for $2 on Saturday 11/25/17 ONLY, so essentially the same price.

I also bought a $50 Target gift card at Kroger this morning then went to Target to do their grocery deal. They had frozen pizzas on sale, Buy One Get One Free, TODAY only. Also had a deal where you get a $10 Target gift card when you buy $50 of food or beverage.

Frozen DiGiorno pizzas are on sale this week for $5. Ended up with 6 of them for $15 (so $2.50 each!). I would have maxed it out to their limit of 10 if I had more room in my freezer. Bought other groceries though that I needed anyway and didn't have coupons for to get to exactly $50 and got my gift card. Also, since I have the ibotta app on my phone now, I've been doing those deals like crazy and earned another $5.05 at Target on stuff I bought. Not a bad deal day today. Now I've only got a couple more to chase down before I have to go to work this weekend.

What do you buy this time of year?

*UPDATE: Ebates just credited me $3.07 for my Teavana purchase. I have no idea how that math worked but I'll take it!