2014 Highlights

Image from page 98 of "Three-part songs for the use of the pupils of the public schools of Canada" (1869)

I don’t know about anyone else, but the year flew by for me, and it’s hard for me to pick out my person 2014 highlights.  I still struggle with not writing 2013 on paperwork and suddenly I’m going to have to write 2015?  Life so hard.

In January, I ran another marathon.  It was a good accomplishment, but not something I particularly enjoyed.  Then I got a mole removed and reminded everyone to wear sunscreen.

In February, we caught a mouse in the office.  It’s a story we still tell.  I ran another half marathon and my parents ran a 10k in costume.

In March, TriColumbia disbanded and it sent us all into a panic about our upcoming races.  And I worked on my swimming.

April meant that everyone in the running community was paying attention to what was going on in Boston.  Also, I ran back to back half marathons.  Yikes.   I volunteered at a race.

May started with another half marathon.  I struggled through an open water swim and it freaked me out a bit.  But the month ended with some quality open water swimmingSwimFest was exactly what I needed.   Also May was insane work-wise, so I didn’t blog a lot.

In June, I started working with a coach and it was the best decision I made all year.  I did my first tri of the season and ended up on the podium!  I got a professional bike fit and Ethel and I are so much happier now.

In July ,I paid a stupid amount of money to have my closet professionally designed and it was the second best decision I made all year.  Columbia Pedal and Paddle was one of the hardest things I’ve done in a long time, but I’ll do it again.  One of my fall races got cancelled, which meant I was probably going to register for something else.

August was insane.  I raced a hilly triathlon at Fort Ritchie.  I went to Vegas, kayaked near the Hoover Dam (and never wrote about it, apparently), then”ran” a midnight half marathon.  I did the Iron Girl Columbia Triathlon and improved greatly from last year.  I ended the month by doing 24 Hours of Booty, and I will be back again in 2015.

September was less busy.  Though I didn’t write about it eloquently, I was honored to attend the Flight 93 Memorial events on September 11.  I ran a local ten miler as a training run.  I finished the month with my first olympic distance triathlon.  And I’m ashamed to admit I haven’t been on my bike since.

I started October at a Notre Dame football game.  AWESOME.  I ran the Army Ten Miler.  And, of course, everyone freaked out about Ebola.

In November, I was glad to not be marathon training.  I announced that I’m one of the 2015 Cherry Blossom social runners.  I sang with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (well, my choir did).  And the month ended with the best half marathon I’ve run in a long time.

And so we reach December.  With no races, I slogged through my training plan.  I got jock itch and blogged about it, but not in great detail because ew.  I petted many doggies on holiday break.   And I wrote this post for you.

Weight Creep

Since the end of triathlon season, my weight has crept up.  It was already creeping, but the scale is not happy with me.  More importantly, my clothes are not happy with me.  My problem is that I gain weight around my waist.  I’m not happy with how much weight I’ve put on over the past few years.  Sure, some of it is muscle, but muscle doesn’t make the waistband of your pants tight.

I just need to buckle down and get back to proper eating.  I would love to be one of those people who can just do mindful eating.  “Eat this, don’t eat that, lose weight.”  It doesn’t work for me.  I need the numbers.  I need hard and fast rules.  I struggle with diets that say I can never have something.   Things like “occasionally” or “rarely” work for me, but if you tell me I can’t have any added sugars ever, all I’m going to do is crave it.  If I know I can have a piece of chocolate on occasion, then I’m okay.

Lately, a big part of the problem has been that I’ve been traveling a lot.  I eat okay while I travel, but I luck out in that a lot of my trips recently have been fitness related.  The added exercise has helped burn off the extra calories.  The problem is that I let my fridge and freezer get empty before I travel, so I’m just eating whatever I can find for lunch and dinner.  I can’t let that be an option anymore.  If nothing else, I need to keep a stash of canned soup for emergency meals.

I need to get back to regular cooking.  I hate cooking.  It’s just not something I enjoy.  I like eating what I cooked, but the act of cooking is not my thing.  One thing that has worked for me in the past is to cook something that I can then freeze in individual portions.  I’m also not against eating the same thing for dinner a few nights in a row, so I should just start making sure that I have leftovers.

I need to start faithfully using My Fitness Pal.  And I need to make sure that I’m saving enough calories for dinner.  I know the rules say that you should eat your biggest meal mid-day, but that doesn’t work for me.  It’s fine on the days that I workout in the morning, but if I’m running in the evening, I can’t do a tiny meal afterwards.  I end up throwing the calorie limits out the window and eating way too much.  I need to plan better.

Ideally, I would be meal planning, but baby steps do work the best. If I try to make a huge change all at once, it will all fall apart way too easily.

I also need to get back to getting on the scale everyday.  Ignoring my weight isn’t working.  A daily weigh-in will force me to see that hey, yesterday’s calorie and sodium bomb did have an effect and I need to straighten up.  Clearly, a daily weigh-in will show ups and downs, but it will help me track whether or not I’m actually seeing a downward trend.

So for now, here’s the plan:

  1. Track calories
  2. Cook meals
  3. Weigh in daily

Let’s go.

Back to the Grind

Christmas has ended and I’m back home and back at work.  Unlike most of the city, if traffic is any indication.

For the first time in I don’t know how long, I did my best to stick to my workout plan while at my parents’ house. I got thwarted by weather a bit, as no one should run outside when it is in the 30’s and raining.  20’s and snowing, sure, but 30’s and raining is miserable.

It was somewhat a fitness Christmas as I got a great music player to wear in the pool.  I have discovered that when I swim before work, all I do is think about work, so I’m hoping that being able to listen to some tunes will let me just zone out and focus on my form and not all of the things that I will need to do when I get to the office.  It makes my swim quite stressful.

It was awesome to be home with the family.  This was an odd Christmas, as neither of my uncles, nor their spouses came for Christmas this year and one cousin was missing.  I can’t remember the last time they weren’t there.  But they all have other family, so that’s what happens.  It was low key, but lovely.  My grandparents are both in their 90’s, and I know how lucky I am to still have them around.

It was also fun to hang out with the pack of giant dogs that lives at my parents’ house.  They’re so much fun, but man, having dogs is exhausting.  My cats are so nice and calm and easy going and unlikely to try to tackle me when I walk in the door.  Though being greeted when I get home is nice.

I’m home for about a week, then I head to Florida for Disney races.  This week, I need to get my eating straightened out and stick to my training plan.  I don’t even want to know what the scale says right now.  Ugh.

Relaxing Holiday Week


This is is how the holidays should be spent.

(As kids, we always wanted the dogs to sit on the couch with us but it was very much against the rules. My parents have gotten lax with the rules as they have aged.)

I finished all of my holiday gift wrapping and now I can’t wait to see the gifts opened. As a kid, I looked forward to receiving, but now I am super excited to see my gifts to others opened. It is fun how priorities change.

I am also trying to get in my workouts. It is not going well. But as soon as someone gets home, I am headed out on a run. They left me alone again without the ability to lock up the house.  I may have to circle the town to get my distance. I don’t understand how people marathon train here.


Motivation Monday – Lauren Hill

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Motivation Monday, but I wanted to share the story of Lauren Hill.  You’ve probably already heard of her.  But if not, check out her story.

Lauren is a college freshman.  Last October, she was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), a rare pediatric brain cancer that usually strikes children under the age of 7.  In September, she was told that she only has months to live.

But rather than curl up in a ball and cry or retreat into her family, Lauren is spending her final months raising awareness and raising funds for research into this cancer that has no cure.

Lauren did have one thing she wanted to do though.  She wanted to play college basketball.  She had been signed to Mount St. Joseph prior to her diagnosis, and when she found out that she had months to live, the opening game was moved up a few weeks so Lauren could play.  She only played a few minutes, and the team ran a play that they had planned with the other team to allow Lauren to score during the game.  But this day was about more than allowing a young woman to achieve her dream.  The story grabbed attention from around the world.

Not only has Lauren succeeded in her goal of playing her first college game (and three more after), she has done an amazing job raising awareness.  Fundraisers have popped up all over the country in her name.

Lauren has officially retired from college basketball, as she won’t be enrolling in the spring semester of school, but she will continue as an honorary coach with the team.  She has already raised $700,000 for The Cure Starts Now Foundation.  Here’s hoping she makes her goal of $1 million by the end of the year.