Marathon Training Week 11

I did not do any physical activity last week because of my healing rib. I was very compliant with doctor’s orders to rest as much as possible. As a result I am feeling so much better.

Here is what was expected during week 11 of marathon training:

Sunday, 9/25/11 – Rest Day

Monday, 9/26/11 – 5 Mile Run + Strength Training

Tuesday, 9/27/11 – 7 Miles Run

Wednesday, 9/28/11 – 5 Mile Run

Thursday, 9/29/11 – 3 Mile Run + Strength Training

Friday, 9/30/11 – Rest Day

Saturday, 10/1/11 – 14 Mile Run

It has been exactly two weeks today since I last went for a run. I am taking it slowly to ensure that my rib heals properly. However, this morning I feltl up to a little activity so I went for a 1.5 mile walk at the reservoir after bringing Carlos to school. I felt absolutely fine while walking and thereafter. My heart ached a little as runners passed by me, but I will be back in action soon.

This afternoon Carlos and I walked to the library, well I walked, Carlos rode his scooter. I have to admit that on the way back I began to feel a little sore. So I just took a couple of Tylenol and I’m resting on the sofa. The amount of medication I take is greatly reduced to Ibuprofen three times a day and Tylenol or Aleve as needed as well as vitamins and a couple of homeopathic remedies.

Carlos and I were both really excited to see some signs of fall on our walk. Everyone (except me!) has their mums decorating their homes and we saw a few Halloween decorations too. There were quite a few crisp leaves along the sidewalk. The air is noticeably cooler. We love it!

Carlos and I did some baking over the weekend. We made Mama Pea’s Chocolate Chip Cake from Peas and Thank You, but since I didn’t have a cake pan (I know – Shame!) I used a brownie pan. It didn’t matter, our brownies cake was delicious. My husband and co-workers agreed!

Have a great Monday!


It was a rainy weekend here, but despite the raindrops we had a fantastic family weekend. My son had his first and second soccer games, one on Saturday and another today. The rain broke long enough for them to play on Saturday and out of a gloomy morning came a sunny afternoon today. Carlos plays on a 4 year old instructional soccer team. The kids are absolutely adorable to watch. The coach is a saint with more patience than even a preschool teacher.

Pay Attention Carlos!

Game day was a hoot. I have not laughed so hard in ages. Picture a bunch of fidgety four year olds chasing a soccer ball around a field in a cluster. There were two nets on either side but no goalies! Most of the time the kids couldn’t remember which goal they were supposed to shoot into and ended up shooting at the wrong goal. Then much to their chagrin after half time they switched sides causing mass confusion as parents hollered “other way, turn it around.” The referees certainly got a work out as the ball was out of play more than it was on the playing field.

The Cluster - Carlos is #23 in the white shirt

At one point Carlos stopped and turned in the direction of the ice cream truck that had just made an appearance in the parking lot and yelled “ICE CREAM TRUCK!”  Suddenly parents were promising ice cream treats if their child would just shoot the ball into the goal. Most of the time Carlos looked as though he was practicing a dance. He was fascinated with a plane flying overhead, the grass, the string on his shorts and really anything but the ball unless it rolled in his direction.

Carlos kicking a corner kick

Unfortunately the Ghosts lost both games. Bottom line though, everyone had fun especially us parents. Of course we treated Carlos to ice cream at Friendly’s after the first game. Watermelon sherbet for me, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup for the evil “can eat what he wants and never gains weight” husband. I gained three pounds simply looking at his!

Rib update: I am feeling fantastic. I am in virtually no pain unless I reach, turn or stretch the wrong way, but even that has dulled considerably. I have been diligently resting whenever possible. However, I am going to try to resume some type of exercise tomorrow while Carlos is at school even if it is just a walk with purpose. I do not intend on pushing myself too hard. I know my limits and I am also very cognizant of the fact that although the physical pain may be gone the bone itself is not likely to be fully healed just yet. I do not want to re-injure myself. It hasn’t even been two weeks but I am definitely moving in the right direction and I am very hopeful that I will be running within the next two weeks.

I’ll be back tomorrow with my usual Marathon Training update and information about a few challenges I’m participating in to keep me on track with my diet goals. Hope you had a great weekend.


No Debbie Downer here today. I woke up feeling a little better today. I went to get my eyebrows waxed last night which made me feel like a new woman! I could barely sit in the chair but a girl’s gotta do what she has to so the brows don’t become one. I’m getting my hair done this weekend, go away grey! I spent some quality time with my husband last night catching up on life. Today is our official 10 year wedding anniversary. Luckily our anniversary trip to Bermuda came earlier in the month. See these posts for a recap of our gorgeous weekend in Bermuda.

I have been enjoying a few recipes around the blog world. I am inspired everyday by the amazingly talented bloggers out there who graciously share their delicious creations. I have been moving towards a whole foods plant based diet. For me this is a process. It is certainly made easier by the wealth of vegan recipes shared online. So here are some of the dishes I’ve made recently with links to their origin.

With all this rest I’m getting I have even managed to watch a few things in their entirety. I never watch television so everything I watch is on my computer. I generally watch movies online on Netflix although unless I buck up and pay for the online membership that will be a thing of the past soon. So here’s what I’ve been watching.

  • The Biggest Loser on NBC – this is the only television show I’m watching right now and I’ve only seen the first episode so far. I know this isn’t a realistic model for weight loss, but the personal stories of the contestants get me every time. Although I have to say I have conflicted feelings about the contestants running a marathon without dedicated training.
  • Forks Over Knives – this is a film which follows the journeys of Dr. T. Colin Campbell, the author of the book “The China Study” and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn as they explore the relationship between the food we eat and our health. The overwhelming message of the film is that we have the ability to take control of our health simply by eating a plant based diet. I am slowly making my way through the China Study on the Kindle App on my iPhone. It’s interesting and definitely makes me think about my food choices.
  • A Diet for all Reasons – I discovered this on one of my new favorite blogs, Marion’s Affection for Fitness. This is an hour long presentation of Dr. Michael Klaper as “explores and explains the relationship between diet and health.” It very much echoes the sentiments of the information provided in Forks Over Knives, but interesting none the less.


About a year ago I put my scale away and I haven’t weighed myself since. It was liberating to be free of the scale. I was no longer playing weird mind games with myself about the numbers on the scale. You know, if I don’t eat anything from now until morning, drink lots of water and then weigh myself completely naked after my first pee in the morning then maybe it will show a loss. It wasn’t working. I was stuck on a never ending plateau.

Around the same time that I ditched the scale I also registered for a half marathon and began training. My body seemed to change over the course of six months. I dropped from a size 14 to a size 12. Suddenly everything in my closet fit. I felt so much better in my body. Judging by my clothing I fluctuated a bit over the winter, but I knew when to reel it in and seemed to return back to where my clothing fit comfortably within a week or two.

I am nowhere near a happy weight, but I am much more confident and comfortable in my skin. I have been thinking a lot about getting back into weight loss mode now that I have adapted a regular fitness routine. I enjoy running so much and I love running races, but it often bothers me to know that I could be running faster and stronger if I were to lose a little more weight. I know that it would make me feel better and more confident.

A few weeks ago my husband and I had to have medical exams for new life insurance policies. The first time we took out life insurance I was denied any kind of preferred status because of my weight. Well that was shortly after giving birth to my now four year old son. I weighed nearly 200 pounds. When I last weighed myself a little over a year ago I was 168 pounds. I thought for sure I had lost at least 10 pounds if not more over the last year. Needless to say when the nurse weighed me for the insurance medical exam I was shocked and disappointed to learn that I had only lost 4 pounds. I weighed 164 pounds. Writing the numbers here is difficult for me. I never discuss my weight in numbers, but it’s important for me to acknowledge where I am at this point in my weight loss journey. I should also mention here that my height is 5’3″ (barely).

This has been on my mind for days. I instantly berated myself and decided that I should restrict certain foods from my diet until the scale showed a more significant loss. Within minutes I reminded myself how far I’ve come over the past year. My diet is made up of nearly all whole foods. I no longer rely on fat free and sugar free substitutes. I now bake my own treats with real ingredients and eat realistic portions. I make activity a part of every day. I have run a half marathon, signed up for a full, tried yoga, Zumba and body blast classes. I hike with my son. I take the stairs whenever possible. We rarely eat out anymore because we are all happier with my lighter, healthier creations. I wear a bathing suit when I go to the beach and I don’t even dread it (mind you it’s a tankini with the skirt bottom!). My weight is no longer the first thing I think about when I wake up and the last thing I consider when I go to bed.

So instead of putting myself on some ridiculous crash diet I did nothing…nothing drastic. I knew that I needed to give myself time to decide how I wanted to approach this. My son was finishing up school which meant a huge change in my workout schedule. I had the half marathon to run. My husband’s work schedule had changed a bit possibly rendering my sleep time even less. My Dad came to visit over Memorial Day weekend. I worked a 7 night stretch at the same time he was visiting. Too many things were going on at once. From previous experience I knew that any changes to my diet would be fruitless with so much happening and so little time to plan.

We met with the insurance agent just a couple of days ago to finalize our policies. My husband, of course, qualified for the highest preferred category. This time I did qualify for regular preferred though I was denied the highest preferred rating due to my weight. I was ashamed and embarrassed. I have struggled with weight issues since I was a teen. Though, I can honestly say that I have not felt this good about myself ever. I don’t love my body the way I wish I did, but I am so proud of what my body has been able to do in these last four years starting with carrying another life and giving birth to my son. I have so much more respect for my body. I know for a fact that I will not return to the 170s, 180s, 190s or 200s again. I hated the way I felt when I was at those weights and I haven’t forgotten that uncomfortable, self-conscious feeling yet. However, it’s time to see this weight loss journey to the end so that I can take a right turn and travel down the road to maintaining my happy, comfortable weight.

I don’t have an exact plan yet. One change at a time seems to be what works best for me. The first thing I know I need to tackle is night time snacking at work. I have been eating my fair share of graham crackers, Saltines and peanut butter at work for a few months now. Going cold turkey and eating nothing is not the answer, but I can bring healthier foods to curb my hunger. Last night I had to go to bed when my husband got home so I packed my dinner to bring to work. I brought some fresh pineapple and this amazing Quinoa Mediterranean salad from Emily’s recipe at Daily Garnish. It was light, refreshing, healthy and delicious. I brought extra for my co-workers to try and they loved it too. My husband ate the huge container I left him for dinner and he thought it was fantastic too. It was certainly a much more nutritious option than graham crackers. And yes the grahams sometimes served as my dinner. Bad bad bad!

Other small things I have been doing:

  • measuring and weighing food to control portions
  • immediately chopping and storing produce when I come home from the store to make it readily accessible for salads and snacks
  • drinking homemade fruit flavored unsweetened iced tea
  • snacking on my basic Green Monster smoothie (ice, banana, spinach, carrot, 1/3 cup soy or almond milk, cinnamon, ground ginger and a teaspoon of Agave)
I don’t have an exact weight that I want to be. I just know that this is not it for me. I am realistic and really more interested in feeling, being and looking healthy.


What a fabulous weekend! I ran the Old Sandwich Half Marathon in Plymouth, MA yesterday. The town is about a 2.5 hours drive from our home. It is south of Boston and just north of Cape Cod. I try to use races as an opportunity to spend time with my family in a new place.

We arrived to Plymouth on Saturday around 11 am.  Since it was too early to check into our hotel we decided to visit Plimouth Plantation. Although I grew up in Massachusetts and have a Bachelor’s Degree in History I am ashamed to say that I have never visited the historical town of Plymouth.

Plimouth Plantation is an experiential learning center for visitors to explore the unique relationship between the English settlers and the Wampanoag People who called this land their home long before the colonists arrived.

A Wampanoag man carving out a canoe

The English Village

The three of us in the English Village

Then we went to downtown Plymouth for lunch. We sat on the deck of the Waterfront Bar & Grill for a light lunch. I had the Waterfront Salad which was described as a bed of mixed greens topped with sliced strawberries, blueberries, red onion, toasted pine nuts and diced baby swiss cheese. It was just ok. They went very conservative on the berries and I should have asked for feta cheese instead of the swiss. I had mine with balsamic vinaigrette. The hot soft rolls that came with it were delicious though.

Then we set out for a long walk along the waterfront. We saw the Mayflower II and Plymouth Rock.

Mayflower II

The Mayflower II is an actual replica of the original Mayflower which brought the Pilgrims to what is now Massachusetts in 1620.

Plymouth Rock Portico

Plymouth Rock

Yup that’s it! The original Plymouth Rock has been moved, broken and chipped at numerous times. What remains is now on display at the waterfront in Plymouth not far from the Mayflower II.

Carlos on the waterfront

It was a beautiful day, but we did need sweatshirts especially down near the water. After our walk we checked into the hotel. Carlos had been waiting patiently for the highlight of his weekend, the Pilgrim Cove Indoor Theme Pool with a water slide.

Pilgrim Cove Indoor Theme Pool and Water Slide

We had a blast. I think we did at least 60 runs down the slide. I felt like a kid again. We spent almost two hours in the pool. Needless to say I had worked up quite an appetite. After showers we went to dinner at the hotel restaurant. I was really craving greens. I ended up with almost the same salad I ate for lunch except this one was hearty, came with feta cheese and was loaded with berries. After dinner we went back to the waterfront for ice cream and then got silly with the camera.

Horseback ride

Rock Climbing

Mommy in the middle (taken by Carlos)

Tree climbing

We packed a lot into one day, but still made it to bed at a reasonable time. I felt well rested when Carlos woke me up around 6 am. The race had a start time of 10 am so I had some time to just relax and take my time getting ready. Stay tuned for a recap of the Old Sandwich Road Half Marathon.


The other night we had dinner at our friends’ home. We sat down to a lovely home cooked meal of chicken, tomato risotto with sausage and sauteed kale. My husband looked at me curiously to see what I would do. We hadn’t talked about this and I was silently praying that he wouldn’t say anything to our friends.

I stopped eating red meat, pork and poultry in March.  I have made many modifications in my diet over the past year and this seemed like a natural transition. I have seen Food Inc. and read various articles as well as the book Skinny Bitch. I never had a strong connection with animals. I didn’t grow up with pets nor am I all that comfortable around animals, but I don’t like the idea of any living thing being treated cruelly or tortured. I had decreased the amount of meat in my diet to once or twice a week if that in the last year so it wasn’t really difficult to stop eating it all together.

I really like the way I feel when I do not eat meat. I will be honest, I would love to go full force all on vegan, but I know myself and if I don’t ease into change then it doesn’t stick. That’s always been my problem. I start out strong but finish weak making any changes null and void.

I don’t label myself with any diet terminology. I actually haven’t been very vocal about my diet change. I told my immediate family and a few friends. So at dinner on Saturday night I graciously accepted a small piece of chicken, a helping of risotto and as much kale as I could possibly take without depriving others of a serving.

That experience made me realize how challenging it would be to become strictly vegetarian or vegan. It would require me to actually tell people for one thing. I grew up in a big Italian family who thought it was sinful not to eat large heaping portions of homemade meat ravioli drenched in meat sauce accompanied by chicken parmesan. Seconds were practically mandatory. To say that my family is set in their ways is an understatement. I brought a quinoa salad to Thanksgiving dinner and my mother kept asking me what to do with it. “Now what is this again?” I love her dearly but seriously??? She is trying though and now keeps veggie burgers in the freezer.

Ironically when I was in the application process to become a Peace Corps Volunteer I was asked during the interview if I was a vegetarian or had any dietary restrictions. I said no and then was asked if I understood why I would be asked such a question. I did understand. Meat is a luxury in many countries. Offering a chicken or a goat is often a sign of respect to a guest in someone’s home. Also other cultures have different traditions or celebrations that “require” eating certain foods. Let me tell you I ate my fair share of goat, freshly killed chicken, pig, cow, innards, fish with heads, sardines, and a variety of unidentified things I would rather not think about.When your colleague invites you to her home, comes in with a white and a brown chicken that probably cost her family a week’s salary, and asks you to choose which one you want for dinner it’s really difficult to say “oh by the way I don’t eat meat.” That’s not to say that you can’t maintain your convictions, many volunteers did remain vegetarian. I am a people pleaser and have always tried to be accommodating to others. These are not in any way redeeming qualities. The older I get the more I am learning that I need to take care of me first and then worry about others.

My husband and I talked about how I felt after eating meat on Saturday night. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I would have years ago. I felt a little guilty but mostly conflicted. If I am not a full fledged vegetarian then how often is it ok to eat meat. Do I make up my own rules like I will only eat meat if it is served to me at someone else’s home?

One thing that might make it easier for me in situations like this would be to bring a hearty side dish like this Cilantro Lime Speltberry Salad from Angela at Oh She Glows.  I made it the other night and it is truly delicious. I offered to bring something but was asked to bring dessert. Next time I will bring both!

This was an eye opening experience that has given me much to ponder especially as we head into Memorial Day Weekend and at least two barbecues on the calendar.


I was cleaning out my cabinet the other day and much to my surprise I discovered a number of half eaten bags of snacks like rice cakes, nuts, crackers. Some of which I bought quite a while ago.

This may not seem momentous but it is a huge accomplishment in my weight loss journey. There was a time not so long ago that I could not keep a snacks in the house without polishing then off within a day or two of buying them. I had no concept of portion size. I would assume a “small” bag of something was one serving and eat it all. I was a picker. I would snack while I was cooking, waiting, watching, talking on the telephone. You get the picture. I would have a little bit here and there multiple times a day. Before I knew it the snacks would be gone.

So what has changed?

Last year I bought a food scale and started measuring out recommended serving sizes. This completely changed my perception of portion size.

Now I take a portion out of the bag or box. I close up the package and return it to the cabinet. If I decide to have a second portion I have to physically get up and get it. This gives me a little time to actually think about whether or not I’m really hungry.

I stopped buying most packaged snack foods. I limit them to things like Triscuits with a short list of ingredients I can actually pronounce. I splurge on organic treats from Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods when I am able to avoid unhealthy ingredients. I also bake whole grain treats as often as I can. I keep lots of fresh fruit within reach and I try to grab for that first when I feel like snacking. A big bowl of grapes is great for when that “picky” hunger hits mid day.

I come prepared.  I carry healthy snacks on me if I’m going to be out for a couple of hours or more. This eliminates stopping somewhere and having limited choices. Since I have a toddler I usually pack a snack bag for him so why not throw in a few for me too.

Sometimes I try drinking a glass of water or a cup of tea to make sure I’m not just thirsty. Unfortunately for my voracious appetite thirst has never been a big issue for me!

I recently picked up a new tactic over on Marisa’s blog Loser for Life.  I’m trying to incorporate Green Monster smoothies as my afternoon snack. They fill me up, take a little more time to make than rifling through a bag of chips and I get the added bonus of another serving of veggies and fruit.

I am in much more control with snacking and eating in general. I am learning to pay attention to my hunger and respond to it as opposed to just eating for the sake of eating. Snacks seem to be more enjoyable when I take my time to think about what I am actually eating and how it might make me feel.