Wednesday, February 25, 2015

February Progress!



It is February 25, and in this month alone, we have had 20 days of sub-zero temperatures.  The kids maxed out their snow days, our driveway is shrinking due to snow banks, and our family room ceiling has cracked and water has been leaking on the floor for the past week due to ice dams.

But Daylight Saving is next weekend, so Spring must be on it's way!

Since we last spoke about my health and fitness goals, I seem to be making some progress.  I still haven't stepped on the scale, I have a tendency to obsess about the number so I decided to forgo it and continue to let my clothing be my guide. My "larger" sized jeans are fitting much better (ex: I can button them) so the weight I gained after breaking my ankle must be gone.

Food wise I've had my ups and downs, my birthday in January plus Valentine's Day ended up with cake and chocolate on my kitchen table.  Now that it is Lent I've given up chocolate, which is what I usually do. I had a battle with a bag of BBQ Lay's chips, and ended up sending them to work with Mike to save myself.

I'm still eating my fruits and veggies, which has never been a problem.  I've been making soup on the days I'm not working, besides a great lunch, a bowl at four o'clock when the snacks are calling to me seems to help fight the hunger pains.  I do love vegetables, always have.  The other day Mike came home from the store with a cabbage, he saw it and thought I would like it. Who needs flowers? Nothing says love like a head of cabbage.

Next weekend is the Shamrock Run, which I'm really looking forward to.  Today I ran/slow ran on a high incline four miles on the treadmill, my longest post injury.  My last three mile run, I tweaked my knee on the same leg that has the ankle/Achilles issue, so I must still have some weakness there.  But today I felt great, rode the bike as well and did some planks and PT exercises.  Great day in the pain cave!

I tried out a new pair of shoes that I got from work, they are the Newton Kismet.  They aren't a true stability shoe like I usually wear, but my orthotics fit the shoe really well, and they felt great.  They have five lugs under the mid-foot, and end right before your toes.  It does take a bit of getting used to, my toes feel like I'm hanging off the edge of a box.

Plus they're pretty, and if you look closely at the above photo, Frank is practically standing on them.


Monday, February 23, 2015

Living Instead Of Dying

I grew up in an area along the Long Island Sound, in one of two small towns surrounded by trees and water.  It was an idyllic surrounding, an easy place to make and keep friends as our schools were small.  I graduated in a class of only 149 students. 

Sadly, in a community that small, we have had what I feel is too many losses.  The latest is the passing of my childhood friend Rose, after living with brain cancer for the past two and a half years. 

I say living because after her diagnosis, she did everything she could to fight the disease, but also to live every second of her life.  Rose was active, she loved to play tennis, we got to be friends while playing on the team in high school. Her husband started a twitter feed to keep everyone updated on her progress, one tweet still amazes me, after a session of chemo Rose went out for a run! 

In every photo, Rose is immaculately dressed, in colorful tunics and beautiful shift dresses paired with fancy flats, her blond hair long, then short after chemo.  

For a little while it seemed her tumors were stable, she and her husband took their three children on numerous trips, to Disney, to ski, to the beach. Rose herself went to London to attend Wimbledon. Rose went to her children's events at school and celebrated her daughter's First Communions.  

I once googled her type of cancer, which has a two year survival rate.  With all that she did, I truly believed Rose would be the one to beat it, and live a long life. 

A week ago Rose was battling an infection, and new tumors were found.  Her sister asked on facebook for friends to send messages for her to read to Rose.  I shared a memory of a trip we took with the school newspaper, to Syracuse University of all places.  We stayed in a hotel shaped like a circle, the hallway was a perfect place to have an ice fight as we raced after each other. Rose called it a "geeken" trip which makes me laugh. 

I haven't seen Rose in quite a while, but she has truly inspired me to live my life as fully as I can.  To trust in my faith in God, to appreciate every moment with my children, husband, family and friends. To take care of myself and others. Day to day annoyances or stress is trivial compared to what you can lose.  

I still can't wrap my head around the fact that such a vibrant, beautiful soul is gone, and my heart breaks for her husband and children, who are all so young, I am praying so hard for them all.

God Bless you Rose, I know you are at peace.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I'm not dieting, I'm being more aware.





I don't usually enjoy January.  It's cold, and all the holiday spirit has been packed away. This year is different though.  My mind is clear and focused on what I want to accomplish this year, and hey, there is always something to look forward to.

On area that I have been working on is my fitness.  I'm looking at my broken ankle and achilles tendonitis not as a blessing, but after healing, I now have a true clean slate to get my body back.  Mike got me a bike trainer for Christmas, I set it up in the basement next to my treadmill, and moved some weights there too. Now I have my very own pain cave! I was good about going to PT, and was cleared for activity last week. As long as I stay on top of keeping the achillies healthy, I can start running.

Starting from the beginning again is hard, but I've done it before.  Instead of weighing myself, I've decided to just put my head down and soldier through.  When I get back into my favorite size 8 jeans I will then weigh myself so that I have a number that I need to hover around to stay healthy.  I will say that I do need to lose 30 pounds.  Ugh.  It's one thing to know it in your brain, it's another to see it in print.

Instead of following a specific diet, I am going to make smarter choices.  By now I know what I need to eat to lose weight, my problem is that I'm not disciplined.  I need to be aware of what I'm putting in my mouth.  I've realized that I eat mindlessly. At work I walk by the snack table and reach out to grab an m&m. It happened the other day, and I pulled my arm back when I realized what I was doing.  As I talk to Mike in our kitchen after work, I watch myself turn from him, open the cabinet, then the bag of chips.  Again, I stopped myself.  It's little things like that.  Taking a few bites of the kid's leftovers. Having just a couple of Mike's fries at lunch.  A little bit of this and a bit of that adds up.  To a lot!!

It feels really good to move again. In this area I have to keep focusing on cross training.  Today I got on the treadmill and slowly ran two miles! I felt good, I kept my pace around 11 minute miles, but I have to be cautious until I get my ankle sleeve.  After that I rode the bike for 20 minutes, which is going to be key, if I have only ten minutes I'm still going to use the bike to complement my running.
I'm hoping to go to the pool as well, when my schedule allows it. Finally, every day I need to do the exercises my PT gave me for my injuries, and I've added planks to my sessions as well.

So that's my plan.  I'm looking at it as a lifestyle change, that I will stick to long term, not a diet that will have an end point.  I want long term success, not a short term fix.

Okay, here I go!



Tuesday, December 30, 2014

What 2014 Meant For Me

I have missed writing my blog.

It seems that this year my creativity was used up by writing the intro of the newsletter where I work, since it's focused on running, it's a perfect fit for me.  It's hard to believe I've had this blog for six years, but it has served me well.  I started it as a way to find direction while being home with my kids, and morphed into something to keep me on track as a runner and food lover. I made friends with fellow bloggers who I "spoke" with on a daily basis, and counted as true friends.  Then it seemed my blog filled it's purpose as I went about my days, I felt like I didn't have much to say.  In the past there were times when my blog was a forum for sharing my frustrations.   As I read about others who are truly suffering for different reasons, I felt weird complaining about my seemingly mundane issues.

Although I am generally a happy person, I feel like a part of me is missing.  I no longer run the way I used to, running used to be an almost daily occurrence, one that made me feel like I could take on anything.  After I ran the NYC Marathon and my father in law had a debilitating stroke, I still ran, but it was less frequent.  I was very sad, and supporting my husband and family through this time.  I started to put on weight but I still ran, swam, walked, biked, and did races.

Fast forward to today. In 2014 I didn't race much at all, mostly because I work at a running store and it's hard to get a day off for a race.  I can't believe it, but I only ran the Boilermaker, and for the first time in years, didn't run a single Half Marathon, or Marathon for that matter! Then in September I fell and broke my ankle, breaking it for a third time.  After the bone healed, it was determined that I have pretty bad Achilles tendinitis and have started PT.  It's feeling so much better, but I can't tell you how much I want to go for one last run before the New Year!  So back to the bike I go.

This year I have had some lovely highs, and some bumps in the road.  I learned who my true friends are, and who are not. My family supported me but like all families, I got frustrated a couple of times.  I love the area I live in, but realize that there is always going to be something in my house that needs fixing. I'm lucky to have my children, husband, family and friends.

I'm looking at 2015 with optimism.  I have decided to not make resolutions, although I do resolve to focus on being a better person, physically and mentally.  I have decided to look at what makes me happy:





































Now I will look forward to 2015, wishing for peace, love, health and happiness, Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

What Made Your Dog Great in 2014? Photo Contest and The Purina Pro Plan Incredible Dog Challenge Sweepstakes!

Frank spent 2014 doing some of his favorite things.

Napping:



Riding in the car:




Relaxing in the yard:




Dressing up for Halloween:





We feed Frank Purina One Smartblend for Large Dogs, but he's going to give Purina Pro Plan a try.




Each variety targets your dog's exact needs; Sport promotes strength and endurance, Focus offers specialized nutrition for unique needs, Savor has outstanding taste for everyday excellence, while Select is formulated for skin and digestive health.




Purina Pro Plan is currently holding their Incredible Dog Challenge Sweepstakes, where you can win the grand prize:
  • 2 round-trip plane tickets to Huntington Beach, CA for the Incredible Dog Challenge® Western Regionals
  • A 3-day, 2-night hotel stay
  • Ground transportation and spending money
  • Plus a $500 PetSmart® gift card
You can click HERE to enter, there is no purchase necessary!

In the meantime, I'm sharing a giveaway for my fellow dog owners, three winners will receive a Purina Pro Plan coupons valued at $17.99, each (that means a free bag of Purina Pro Plan for each winner).

So what did your dog do in 2014 that made them great?  To enter the giveaway, use the hashtag #GreatDog2014  and share the photo on Twitter (tag me @MollySBaker) or Instagram (tag @sleeperbake262).  I will choose three winners on Tuesday December 23, 2014.

Good Luck!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A Healthy Holiday Season


Yes, it's that time of year again. A time of lights and snow, cold and crowds, friends and food. All the extra excitement and activities added to an already busy schedule, make me want to grab a blanket, head to my couch and sip eggnog in a Marty Moose glass.

 



A side effect of all of this celebrating is the dreaded holiday weight gain, but it doesn't have to be a disaster. There are ways to enjoy this time while still being good to yourself, and staying physically sane through the month of December.

Track your activity by wearing a pedometer, especially while you shop. Turn it on after you park your car, then start counting your steps as soon as your feet hit the parking lot. You'll be surprised at how many miles you can cover trekking from one side of the mall to the other. Check it from time to time, when you're close to ticking off another mile, speed walk away from the food court and get it done. Don't forget, hauling around those heavy shopping bags helps to tone the biceps!


 

I'm particularly sad this year because my next-door neighbors have moved away. In past years, in exchange for their gift of potato latkes, I would send over a plate of Christmas cookies. Over the next few weeks, the treats and special dishes will be coming out in full force. When faced with a buffet, I take a look at all the offerings, focus on a special dish that I don't have very often, then take a pass on the usual fare. I can have mashed potatoes anytime, but green bean casserole comes around just once in a while. At dessert time, I snag a bite of my husband's pie, or a nibble from my son's cookie. Yes, I'm still eating a treat, but it's a sliver, not a slice.




Lastly, like every other activity on the calendar, schedule time to work out. Write down that you're going for a run, and then check it off the list when it's complete. Take advantage of outdoor activities that you can do with family or friends, such as ice skating, skiing, bundling up for a woodsy hike or a walk around the neighborhood and enjoying all of the festive decor.

Move when you can, relax when you get a chance, and just enjoy this time. That way you can welcome 2015 on the best note possible.

Monday, November 10, 2014

What Makes You Move?


The other day my sister sent me a link that led to a short film called "The Runners" which takes place in Victoria Park, London.  Using a bike with a cart attached for the cameraman, the directors interviewed groups of runners through the changing seasons.   


 

It's a moving video, as the runners shared bits about themselves, it made me think of the different reasons we run. I decided to ask my fellow employees about what gets them moving, and this is what they said:
  
From Marcia: "I am always thinking about what motivates me to run. Some of the things are socializing with my friends, and never regretting my run once it is complete (a great coach told me that). The thing that really motivates me are my daughters. I think it is so important that they see that I make time for myself and exercise and push myself toward a physical goal. I want to lead by example and show them that it is always important to do something you love. It is even more rewarding when you work very hard to achieve that goal."
  
Bill shares that: "Running has truly changed my life. Not only has it improved my health, but I've met hundreds of people through running. I have also run in so many beautiful places such as Lake Placid, N.Y., Central Park, New Orleans, Ottawa, the Napa Valley, Costa Rica and San Francisco, just to name a few. There is no better way to see a city then to run it." 
 
Fred says: "My biggest motivator is the camaraderie that is created when we train and race with a group of people who have all trained so hard together to accomplish a goal or finish a race. We become part of something that is bigger than just our own goal when other peoples' accomplishments become more important than our own."


 

Liz's motivation is: "Knowing my running partner is waiting there for me early in the morning. It's easy to cancel when it's too cold or we're too tired. But those miles before the sun has come up is the time we solve each others' problems, share our good news and support each other. For me, knowing I need to meet my RP (running partner) is what makes me get those feet out from beneath the covers and into my running shoes."

Mary shares that: "My niece is my motivation and my hero in all things. Last year she was diagnosed with cancer shortly before her second birthday and although she has a pretty clean bill of health now, it was a tough road at times. Watching her strength gave me so much perspective on life and every time I think I 'can't' I think of her and somehow what seemed impossible suddenly gets a lot easier."



 
From Naomi:  "The quote that gets me is 'One day I will not be able to do this anymore, today is not that day.' "