Friday, May 9, 2014

Bad Things

It's been a rough winter and an unfriendly spring for me. The harsh weather made it nearly impossible to run outside, and I didn't renew my gym membership in February because it just wasn't doing it for me. I love my Fitbit still and wear it religiously, but nothing compares to being out for a run. Well, in April my knee pain made me hit my breaking point. I couldn't even run a tenth of a mile without acute pain. I knew something was very wrong. I made an appointment to see an orthopedist.

At the appointment, the in-office x-rays didn't show any fractures, and then my insurance initially denied an MRI. After submitting it again, for a stress fracture, it was approved. On April 16th I had the MRI and on the 22nd I discovered I not only had a tibial stress fracture, but a meniscus and MCL tear. The stress fracture can take 6-9 months to heal completely and the tears require surgery. Now I just have to decide WHEN to have surgery so I don't lose out on work with the photo studio. I believe July will be our slow period and I'll have 2-3 weeks to recuperate.

Because of the stress fracture, I'm not even allowed to walk for exercise. I can use an elliptical but I don't have the gym membership nor the money for one at the moment. I feel like I'm sinking fast. As of today, I am 25 pounds heavier than that Ragnar Relay From Fat To Finish Line magnet that adorned both vans on our 200 mile journey in January of 2013.





I'm struggling with food and I'm sad about my situation, which makes me turn to food for comfort, which in turn causes me to gain weight. I'm caught in that vicious cycle. Seeing all my friends running race after race is a bit frustrating to witness, knowing I might not be taking my first running steps until sometime this fall, if that. What makes my situation even more depressing?




Charlie was selected in the NYC Marathon lottery drawing. I was not. However, after A LOT of research, I found a local charity to run for. It would mean raising $2,500 in order to earn my spot, and the founder assured me I would achieve that with her help, as well as all my family and great Island Girls Running friends' support. And then I had my MRI and got the results, so I had to inform her that I was not going to accept the invitation to run for her this year. I assured her that whether I get picked through the lottery or not, I will be raising money for her foundation next year. Charlie can defer his registration to 2015, after paying for both this year and next year, and I will hopefully be in amazing form to cover those 26.2 miles.

I'm trying to keep busy while I'm home. I have a list a mile long of things I need to get done around the house to make it presentable for both Chelsea's Sweet 16 Sleepover and Charlie's high school graduation party. I managed to rake the front yard in 3 days and am SO close to getting the entire back yard cleaned up for the first time probably ever. I've been taking it very easy and moving so slowly to make sure I don't further injure myself, so not to worry. The crappy weather recently has been conducive to window washing, so I only have a few rooms left to complete. I've washed and rehung curtains, as well. Things are getting crossed off, making me feel accomplished.

There is some good news in all this gloominess. I have another 8 days of work this month with the photo studio, and tomorrow is my 2nd race working for the timing company. It was a real eye-opener, seeing what the timing company does to catch every runner that crosses the finish line. A piece of advice- make sure you pin your bib on your front and don't obscure it with anything! The antennas sometimes can't read the chip on the back of the bib if it's covered. If you run a race, you want it to count!

How are you all doing with your fitness and health goals? I need some inspiration and motivation ASAP.


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Making It Work

It's amazing what a difference a few days make. Instead of wallowing in my misery, I decided to do something. Change comes from action, right? I had accumulated a ton of points from Christmas shopping through My Points, and I decided I was going to cash them in for Amazon gift cards and get myself a Fitbit. Because I am home so much since it's the slow season for school photography, I've been sitting around, A LOT, playing Candy Crush and watching marathons of just about anything on Bravo. Inactivity does not help with the process of weight loss, nor the funky gray cloud that seemed to envelop me. A Fitbit would help motivate me to move and be active.

With my gift cards, I also got a Jackie Warner exercise DVD, a box of Atkins protein bars and 8 boxes of South Beach protein bars. All for just $14 of MY money!!!

I reached out to friends who I knew had a Fitbit, as well. Having a partner in an endeavor keeps me honest and inspired. A little friendly competition helps get my engine going, as well! I asked Meredith, my team mate from From Fat To Finish Line about her experience with the device and she suggested 10,000 steps a day for me and 15,000 for her. Since I mentioned how excited I was about getting the Fitbit, my friend and team mate Carly has also jumped on board!! Let me tell you, 10,000 steps is a lot. A solid hour of walking/running, getting me through 4+ miles, isn't equal to 10,000 steps! So, suffice it to say, being home, accumulating steps has been keeping my house clean! Any excuse and tactic needed to get some steps in, I'm doing it. I have plenty of spare time, so taking several trips to get the laundry up and down the stairs and away in drawers/closets is not a big deal. It may seem crazy to an outsider looking in, but they don't have to get on the scale for me or wear my jeans!

So I've had my Fitbit Zip ($51.99 on Amazon!) since the 27th, and I've hit my 10,000 step goal every day and two days I've managed to surpass 15,000! To achieve that yesterday, I walked in my neighborhood fast for 55 minutes and took Molly for a half hour walk (a slow 1.3 miles with her sniffing every pile of poop and blade of grass she could get to), along with my regular activity of the day. Not terribly taxing to achieve it, but on Sunday, after pacing for an hour while watching the Oscars to hit 15k, my legs felt like I ran a half marathon!

The Fitbit website is motivating as well. You receive badges for hitting goals in 5,000 step increments. It has graphs and charts and it ranks your friends 1st through 10th place in steps for the week. For those of you that like to keep track of everything, the Fitbit will fulfill your needs. There is even a version of the Fitbit that tracks your sleep and stair climbing total. Gee, this sounds like a review! I'm just excited about it! Let me know if you have one and we can support each other! I'm either Linda Kuil or Linda K. on the website.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Floundering

So, November's race had me down. Finishing last hit hard. Then the holidays hit me even harder. Oh, and then winter had to sucker punch me when I was down. I know it's been insane across the country, but I've only lived on Long Island (except for attending college in Upstate NY) and I have never EVER experienced a worse winter! It's not only been frigid, but we've had umpteen snow storms to boot. Last year we had one major storm that hit the day after Christmas, while everyone was on vacation. This year my kids have used FOUR snow days, along with a couple late arrivals and early dismissals.

While snow shoveling has been a great workout for me, we were running out of places to put the shit!


I've only run 2 races since the half. Charlie, my daughter and myself did a 5k toy trot that was a lot of fun. It was Chelsea's first race and she did great for only having run 1 time before. It was fun to dress up and get together with my Island Running Girls.

Her first race mile!

such CUTE mile markers!

The other race was a 4 mile prediction run put on by my running store, Sayville Running Company, on December 14th. So with a prediction run, you figure out how long it would take you to finish the course and write it down on a slip of paper. You run tech-free and your finishing place is determined by how close your prediction came to your time. The course was side streets that were covered in some ice and snow, so I took it slow, and I finished last, again. That didn't bother me. My knee didn't hurt while I was running and I didn't fall on my fat ass in those conditions, so in my opinion it was a WIN! AND I came in 9th place, so I won a prize! I'll definitely do another prediction run. It was just fun and a good time hanging out at the store with other runners.

My FIRST snow run!


A hard winter, over eating during the holidays and a bummish knee has my weight up. I'm in such a funk. On the last Sunday in January I did a treadmill run at the gym that just did my knee in. I took off almost 4 weeks. I've run/walked a couple of times in the last week and I'm so discouraged. I'm so slow. I'm running about a half a mile at a time to ease myself in. There's no pain during my runs, but a tightness afterwards. I definitely have to get my ass back to the store for new shoes. I have $175 in gift cards from Christmas burning a hole in my pocket, but I just haven't got there. I feel like I can't get out of my own way, running or otherwise.

At the beginning of this month my gym membership was up. I've scoped out a couple other gyms. One had such an amazing deal of $6.95/month I just HAD to check it out. The one perk to this gym was that it offered classes, which my gym did not. Would you believe that that $7 got you a total of 10 hours a week to workout? Yeah. I could go from 11 am to 4 pm on Wednesdays and Fridays every week, ONLY. I actually guffawed! There were other more inclusive offers with two and three year contracts, which just wasn't for me.

Without the gym, I'm struggling to formulate a plan. I have a plethora of workout DVDs (including Insanity!) to choose from and I also got a kettle bell for Christmas. There's no excuse to not workout an hour a day, especially since I have no work at this time, which kind of piled more onto my already full funk plate. Money is tight.

Winging it really isn't working. I need to get a calendar just for my workouts and plot the thing out. With gift cards from all of my shopping through My Points, I have a Fitbit Zip coming tomorrow (!) along with a Jackie Warner exercise DVD. February is almost over and I can not WAIT to turn the page and get my mojo back for March. 22 more days until SPRING!!!!

QUESTION: Has this winter weather crap hit YOU as hard?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Hybernation

That's what it feels like. I feel like a bear that ate to prepare for the winter and this weather the northeast has been experiencing has really turned me into a home-body, not wanting to do much of anything, let alone run out there. It all started back in November when Charlie and I ran the Festival of Lights half in Brooklyn. The weather was atrocious. Supposedly it was 24*, but with the wind that was whipping off the East River, I believe it was -100* at times. The whipping wind brought up sprays from the river that instantly turned into ice crystals that pelted our faces and created an icy slick on the course. The race was 2 loops and we turned around between miles 2 and 3 to head back to the start where we would then run out to the turn around at mile 9 to run 4 miles to the finish. Many people hit that turn around, came into the start and threw in the towel. We felt okay at the time and decided to stick it out.

The course was beautiful with views of the Manhattan skyline heading to the turn around and the finish.


Well, once we made the decision to continue, it was do or die. If you went out you really had no choice but to trudge back in. It was torture. Starting out at an 11:00-ish pace slowed down to a snail's crawl, especially the last 4 miles with the wind pushing us back. Cramps in my left calf had me at a dead stand still at times and at mile 12, I had no idea how I would finish. We were out there, all alone. Charlie was a prince and just tried to keep me going. I had no idea he was struggling just as much as I was. He held it all in knowing if he demonstrated just a bit of weakness I would just lose my shit.

all alone with the bridge and that fucking wind


We ran under the Verrazano Bridge 4 times.

The course limit was 3 hours. Since my slowest half was 2:44, I thought we were covered. Add the horrific conditions to the mix and our time was hurting. That last mile took forever. Literally forever. Finally seeing the finish line about a third of a mile away I saw my girls from my running club, Island Girls Running. They all stayed to cheer us in. My friend Danielle ran out to run us in the last quarter mile. That did me in. I started to sob. Somehow I managed to pick up the pace to just get it the fuck done. 3:02. Charlie fell to the ground when we crossed the mat. We got him up, got our medals and a couple of useless reflective blankets, since the wind made them impossible to wear. They just turned into frigging parachutes. IGR took a finish photo and we all ran to our cars. Thankfully we were parked (illegally) not even a block from the finish. 

We got to the car and Charlie lost it. Seeing him cry made me realize just how much he pushed himself to get me through this ordeal. He was in pain, both physically and mentally. He told me how proud he was of me for persevering and finishing that race, when he was with me every step of the way, grinding through it too. I couldn't have done that without him. We crossed that finish line dead last. Our first time ever coming in last. It hurt. It still hurts. However, we could have been those people that didn't finish. We can be immensely proud that we didn't give in and give up.

Can you see our teary eyes? This is after we managed to compose ourselves and commit to the hour and a half drive home. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Fusion Juicer Review

When my friend contacted me about the possibility of reviewing a juicer for my blog, I jumped at the opportunity. You see, I USED to have a juicer, way back when. I hated it. It was such an obnoxious contraption to clean and I didn't have a dishwasher and so "ain't nobody got time for that!" Ever since I sold the thing at my first yard sale to raise money for Relay For Life, Chelsea's been just heartbroken. Okay. Not really. She just really wanted to try it, and so here was my opportunity to turn that frown upside down!

Isn't it pretty?


It was like Christmas day opening the box. I expected the juicer, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a small blender as well! Along with both appliances, there was the instruction pamphlet, a booklet with a 6 week program to help improve your health through juicing, healthier eating and exercise, and a 190 page, full color "raw remedies and juice recipes" book, which even has recipes that include using the pulp by-product of juicing! NO WASTE! I was a little apprehensive about the machine, but once I actually read the step-by-step instructions on how to take it apart and put it back together, my fears were alleviated. So simple.

So now it was time to actually use the new toy. I bought a 5 pound bag of tangerines and enlisted the help of my husband to peel all those little suckers. It was fun having him in the kitchen with me (to boss him around...hehehe...). The couple that juices together...? We just peeled them and broke them in half, which probably wasn't necessary. We didn't pit them, however, and an occasional pit did fly out the chute. Wasn't prepared for that! I guess you should keep the plunger in the chute while grabbing more produce! Lesson learned!




The tangerines were on sale for $1.99 and when they were all "processed" we had almost 4 cups of juice. When you think about it, a half gallon of refrigerated orange juice can cost $2 or more on sale. Yes, I only got half the juice, but 1). it was TANGERINE juice (cant compare the two!) and 2). it was as fresh a glass of juice you can get unless I was in the grove itself and *just* picked the buggers myself.


I had to get another receptacle to catch more juice!

The best part? It was delicious!! Even the boy had some, and he's not a citrus fan! Clean up was pretty easy. I just scraped all of the pulp into the garbage, (you can line the catch with a plastic bag then just toss the bag, making clean up even easier!), washed the top and bottom with warm soapy water and then tackled the blade. Little did I know that having a kitchen brush would be the key to enjoying a juicer. Under running water I just used the brush to get all of the little bits out of the blade and crevices. Easy peasy.

After using the juicer I decided to try the personal sized blender. I already have one of those bullet kind, but I figured I'd give this one a go. I believe the purpose of the pair is to juice and then possibly make a smoothie with the juice and other ingredients that can NOT go in the juicer, like bananas. I make a panzanella salad and the vinaigrette is so much better blended than not, so I tried that.


It's just some olive oil, vinegar, dijon mustard and garlic.
 

Done!

The blender makes it into a creamy dressing, but the garlic gets mixed well throughout so every bite is infused with a little bit of heaven! As you can see, the Fusion Booster has the capacity to make a lot of dressing!

I've used both appliances several more times. I bought a pomegranate for the first time and had the pleasure of getting all of the itty bitty flavor pods out for this recipe.

Pomegranate, apple, grapes, carrots and a bit of ginger! Pretty purple!

I also bought a bottle of Pom Cherry Pomegranate juice, and after a taste test of the two, Chelsea said she preferred mine! High praise! I also used the blender to puree my crushed tomatoes for my Tuscan white bean and sausage soup, since my son doesn't like tomatoes. Well, when they're actually part of the broth, I don't have to pick them out!

With them blended like this, they add so much flavor to the soup AND the boy's getting lots of nutrition!!

One more recipe: apples, carrots and ginger. Jen said it's her favorite juice and now it's my son's, too! Amazing!

This much food...

...makes this much juice.

All in all, I loved the juicer! Yes, it takes a large quantity of food to make just a few glasses of juice, and it's a bit of work with prepping the produce, but if I can get my 17 year old son to ingest a fruit or a vegetable or, *GASP*, BOTH, then it's worth it! I would definitely recommend it for people with children. They think they're having a fresh glass of apple juice and you're able to sneak in a veggie or two. No harm in that!

If you're interested in getting your own Fusion Juicer, head to www.fusionjuicerspecial.com, where you can save $20 off the retail price, PLUS get the bonus Fusion Booster blender, PLUS free shipping, AND choose your color!! You have your choice of black, white or red! I LOVE RED! I also love the fact that it's five payments of $19.99, so you can charge it and not get hit with a big punch on your bill. Then you can shop more ;)

(As with any  review, these are my honest opinions and I have not been compensated for them.)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Back To The Lab Again...

Gosh, I really suck at this, huh? I lost two readers, most likely because there's NOTHING for them to read! It makes me sad, since I only had 113 followers, and now I'm at 111. Like I need something else to bring me down.

I'm just going to put it out there now and get it out in the open. I weighed in at 169.8 this morning, and that's probably only due to the fact that I woke up to pee every hour and a half last night. The 6 flights of stairs I climbed to get back and forth to the bathroom helped burn some calories. I told my friends I've been eating like I'm going to the electric chair, and my working out and running have been half-assed at best. It makes no sense since I've been working less and have MORE time on my hands. (Well, being constantly in the house without distractions definitely doesn't help my eating out of boredom, but it's still not an excuse.) I had two bags of Halloween candy left over, which I usually save for the kids' Christmas stockings, but I managed to polish off a bag of "fun-sized" Kit Kats all by myself. Nobody knows this because they were kept in the basement for me to "sneak" them while doing laundry. A bag of fun-sized candy makes me blimp-sized. The cookies and cream Hershey bars will sit there, I swear. Note to self: next year only buy Jolly Ranchers!

Working out and running have suffered because of my weight gain. I ran to pick up my husband's van from the shop, and two miles managed to frig up my knee. It's not horrific, and I managed an okay 7.25 mile run on it, but it concerns me. Babying an injury only opens yourself up to jacking another part of your body up, and Charlie and I have the Festival of Lights Half Marathon in Brooklyn (a.k.a. the Chanukah Half!) on the 24th. It won't be pretty.

In the last six weeks I've had some bright spots. The Diva Half was on 10/6 and I managed to beat May's half time, but not P.R. If you don't put in the work, you can't expect more. However, I still believe, in my experience, it's the most fun you can have running 13.1 miles, and the ginormous medal is the cherry on top.

I also managed to get a shirt that fit me this year. The Diva shirts run so damn small!!

The best part of running the Diva, though, was finally meeting most of my fellow running chicks from Island Girls Running Club. The group started because it seems that Island Running, another Facebook page, had been semi-hijacked by all of the girls' posts. (Thankfully my friend Gigi invited me to the group!) So, the night before the half, my longtime friend Lynda graciously hosted a pasta dinner at her house, and we had a great time swapping running stories and hearing about a couple of the girls' NYC Marathon training experiences.

flip-flops, *sigh*

This was just a handful of the twenty or so ladies that ran the half. It was great seeing all of the familiar faces on the course, high-fiving and hugging every one of them. It was a definite morale boost! Afterwards, an after-party was arranged and we got to "rehydrate" and refuel. Alicia made slutty brownies- that biatch! LOL Iced, no less!!! My spinach dip was heavenly on a fresh bagel! (See my problem!!!)


We'll have IGR running shirts by December!!

After the Diva, I didn't do much. I worked a lot, which has helped with all the damn expenses that keep hitting us, like the first heating oil delivery, dance costume deposits, Charlie's senior yearbook, etc. I definitely can't race as much as I would like to! However, I was SO looking forward to the Dash to the Finish Line 5k the day before the NYC Marathon. Jen from my From Fat To Finish Line Ragnar Relay team was running it too! We had registered for 2012, but due to Hurricane Sandy, it was cancelled. All I had to do for this one was take the LIRR into Penn Station and walk to the start line, which was at the United Nations. It was the BEST 5k ever. I don't know if y'all know this, ;) , but I L-O-V-E the city, and this course passed some iconic landmarks and finished in CENTRAL PARK! We ran down 42nd St., chatting away, passing Grand Central Station, NY Public Library, Radio City Music Hall, The Plaza Hotel's Oak Room bar (where Charlie and I toasted our engagement), Grand Army Plaza and finally, finishing at the NYC Marathon's finish line in Central Park! It flew by! Jen and I will definitely be working out a plan to run together again. Since she's in Jersey, we live too damn close not to see each other more often!


Thankfully Jen has a smart phone! This is her pic, complete with that cool course map added to the image! Thanks, Jen!! 

Unfortunately Jen couldn't stay long after the race, but we had a great walk/talk back to Port Authority, complete with her saving my life from traffic a couple of times! Distracted walking- guilty! I wandered around a bit by myself on the way back to Penn Station, doing some browsing, and stopping into the Cake Boss Cafe for some over-priced rugelach. Looking forward to my next trip in!

That brings me to today. My hometown, which is all of five minutes away, held the 1st annual Beautiful Bay 10k. Since I'm running the half next week and can't do all the races, I decided to volunteer for the very first time. I had such a great time! I got to the registration area at 6:45 am and haned out bibs to pre-registered runners. I got to meet Jennifer and Katie from IGR, finally, I saw one of Chelsea's elementary school teachers and I even bumped into an old high school friend. After that, 5 of us squished in a car, hopped in front of the lead police car, and one by one were dropped off at the mile markers, stop-watches in hand, to yell out splits. I basically laid claim to mile 5, the mile I thought would be the best. I loved cheering on the runners as they came into view, shouting out their times as they hit the mark. The lead pack of guys showed up at 25:00!! First place male finished in 30:42.7! Holy sh*t! Did I mention there was a $1,000 cash prize for first place? I will be running this race next year. Being close to home and the water views are worth it.

The only things missing from my volunteer experience was Charlie and a cow bell! Oh, and I wish I had made a sign!! There really wasn't that many spectators out, since it was a pretty chilly 46* with a bit of a drizzle before the start. I heard from a few runners we were the loudest. I'm not surprised. I know what it's like to be on the other side, needing the boost, especially towards the end! Now I know what I can get my kids to help with to fulfill their volunteer hours requirement! It would be nice to have them out there when we're actually running a race. Getting handed a cup of water from one of them would make a nice photo op!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Catching Up In Pictures

I spent August 12-September 6 at grand jury duty. I made some great friends and we started a walking group on our lunch break. After sitting around a few hours, with some of the intense testimony weighing heavy on us, it was SO nice to get out into the sunshine and fresh air and purge some of that tension.
 
You might recognize my friend Carly from our From Fat to Finish Line team! We had our own little summer challenge going after she mentioned she was doing one with her coworkers. Carly helped push me and I shed a few pounds, but she did SO fantastic coming in 2nd place at work, losing 12%+ of her body weight!! All of her hard work paid off at her last half marathon on 9/21, setting a PR and getting some race bling, even after having a stomach bug and strep throat the week prior!! 

Charlie and I ran our 4th Smith Point Bridge 5k on September 7th. It started out chilly but quickly warmed up and made the bastard hill of a bridge even more challenging. We managed to PR that course, though, with a 30:07 finish!


Some of this amazing stuff made it into my belly (and onto my gut!)!!


On September 14th I ran the Bellport Run or Walk It Out 5k along with my friend Irene and placed!! Ok, there was only 17 runners, but I finished 1st in my age group (there were no other runners in my A.G.! LOL!) and 3rd female finisher overall!! Only a 15 and 17 year old beat me. Not bad for 40-frickin'-2!!!


My bling from 9/14!


Note to self- STOP TAKING FREE WATER BOTTLES AT RACES! I think 12 are pictured here, which doesn't include the few I gave to Charlie for work and the ones rolling around on the floor of my car!

On Monday, I locked my keys in the car after going to load the groceries. I had to run/walk the half mile home to get my frozen food in the house and call a locksmith. I wonder if anyone got any pictures of THAT while I was running down a main highway, crossing the railroad tracks...

Last night was the expo for the LI Diva Half and I got to meet Ali Vincent, the first female contestant to win Biggest Loser! She's running the half tomorrow, as well, and was trying to convince Tara Costa to run with the girls. Hope she was successful so maybe I'll finally get my pic with Tara!


This will be in my sweaty little hands by 11 am tomorrow!!!