15 Thing Friday

1.  In my continuing effort to eat really healthfully all week, I had a large spaghetti and meatballs from Noodles and Company for dinner.  And I almost slugged the girl who told me that they were out of ciabatta rolls.

2.  But I did get out for a run today, so obviously the carboloaded dinner was appropriate.  Disregard the fact that I would have needed to run 20 miles in order to burn off the calories I consumed.

3.  I didn't do a big Christmas haul post because I'm lazy and would rather play with all my fun new toys than take pictures of them.  But one of my goodies was a Kindle, and at first I thought I wouldn't like it, but I am madly in love.  I think I've read more in the past 4 days than I have all year.

4.  Little known fact about me:  I like silly romance novels.  Perhaps not exactly what my dad intended to have me reading when he gave me a Kindle, but I just finished the book Call Me Mrs. Miracle, and it was so cute I could barely stand myself.  I know I really ought to read something deep and thought provoking now, but I will probably just download another Debbie Macomber book and read it instead.  I graduated from college, that's plenty of intellectual reading for me.

5.  I have already made the decision to run the Disneyland Half Marathon in 2012.  It's about damn time I run a Disney race.  I would also really love to do the Tower of Terror 10-Miler, despite the fact that I really don't like the Tower of Terror.

6.  I am still a sniffly, congested mess.  I know you were just dying to know.

7.  The theme for this chunk of half marathon training seems to be "one mile short."  I had a 10 mile long run scheduled two weeks ago, and I ran 9 miles.  I had a 6 mile long run scheduled last week, and I ran 5 miles.  Today was supposed to be a 4 mile tempo run, but because I am still only barely breathing out of one nostril and wanted to live to see tomorrow, I did 3 miles.  I need to step up my game.

8.  Speaking of stepping up my game... Cinderella opens in three weeks, and if this morning's weigh-in was correct, I have lost no pounds.  I believe this is false, however.  This week is that glorious time in each month when I gain 10 pounds by looking at something.  Ladies, you understand.

9.  I've probably watched this ten times and I still think it's funny.  Why?  I don't even know.

10.  It doesn't even come close to the YouTube sensation near and dear to my heart, though.

11.  The nostril I could breath out of when I started this post is now no longer an option.  It is a good thing that I am used to being an obnoxious mouth breather, because this is getting out of hand.

12.  Another little known fact about me:  I love armwarmers.  I knit armwarmers and enjoy knitting them, but sometimes I'm lazy and just wish they would appear magically.  Then I found these.  A good portion of the colors are out of stock right now, but I will buy those in every single color so help me God.  Then everyone will laugh at me because everything I own will have thumbholes.  And all will be right with the world.

13.  Now my temples are throbbing.  It's like my face is just completely against me.  Maybe it's trying to tell me something?

14.  There are still pig cookies in my kitchen.  I still haven't eaten one.  I may cave tonight.

15.  May cave?  Please.  You all know I'm hitting "publish post" and getting a cookie.  Peace.

Sometimes I hate the internet.

Hear me out.

The internet is awesome.  I can find recipes, running tips, great reviews for anything I darn well please, and with glorious things like Yelp, I can search for cupcakes near my exact location.  It's good.

But unfortunately, in all of that awesomeness, I also find article after article after article telling me that if I have a little cold, I am perfectly able to exercise.  I even found one article that said exercising with a cold can help you get better.  Well, shoot.  There go all my beautifully crafted excuses.

Replace "work" with "the gym" and you've got me.  Well... except that I don't even have to go to the gym because I exercise in my basement.  Okay, so I have no excuses.

So I worked out.  I was feeling more congested today, and was slightly concerned that cardio would make my head explode, so I went with strength training.  I did Tone 30 from Turbo Fire - I like Sculpt 30 much better, but I did it on Tuesday, and I am trying to keep some amount of variety in my workouts.  Given half a chance I'd probably do the same 3 workout DVDs over and over again until they gave out... I'm boring like that.  It went pretty well, but Tone 30 has this move designed to work your chest and anterior deltoid, and it generally leaves me a little sore.  By that I mean that halfway through the reps, I feel like my shoulder is on fire and I want to cry to my mommy.  I thought I was all fine and dandy until I was at work two hours later and sneezed.  I thought I was going to weep openly my chest hurt so much from that sneeze, and it continued to throb with every sneeze afterwards.

Where's your article on that, New York Times?!!

Triple Tangent Twednesday

1.  I'm sick.  Not horribly sick, when laying on the couch is exhausting and it hurts to blink... just sick enough to be annoying.  So today I felt like working out, but was tired and achy, so I skipped it and ate potato chips and French onion dip instead.  My Cinderella dress is going to fit like a glove.

Tangent within a tangent: I wanted a picture to go along with this theme, and I typed "can't fit into dress" into Google.  The first image that came up was a spray painted "WORRIED" attached to a post written by a bride about how one of her bridesmaids didn't fit in her dress.  The seventh image (2-6 weren't so exciting) was of maternity wedding dresses.  Welp.  At least that won't be the reason my dress doesn't close!

2.  Before I got the plague though, I got in some good speed work yesterday.  I set out to run my own little 5K, and instead of doing my usual 3-1 intervals of running and walking (run for 3 minutes, walk for 1), I did 2-1 intervals and went all out on my two minutes of running.  Can you guess what happened?  Those of you guessing that I woke up this morning with seriously angry legs are correct... but if you guessed that I got a new (if unofficial) 5K PR, you are also correct!!!  I ran 3.1 miles in 33:25, which is 22 seconds faster than my latest official PR.  It's still not super speedy, but what was nice about it is that I still felt pretty good afterwards.  I wasn't trying for any specific pace during the running intervals, but I felt comfortable maintaining a pace around 8:30 or 9:00.  I couldn't maintain it for much longer than 2 minutes at a time, but it felt great to see that pace on my Garmin!  I actually ran at a 7:10 pace for a while!  And with this run, not only did I prove that I am getting faster, but I also have now run over 300 miles in 2011.  How awesome is that?!!

3.  One of my friends on Pinterest posts these incredibly ugly drawings:

Has anyone else seen these?  Tell me that last picture isn't going to give you nightmares.  There I am on Pinterest, happily looking at everyone posting wedding planning pictures (I swear ten people I know just got engaged) and that terrifying face pops up.   Rude.  I'd remove him, but sometimes he posts things that are funny, such as:

And all is right again.

Do you have a case of the Mondays?

One of two beautiful ladies who play the ukulele all around the state of Colorado and inspired me to get a ukulele myself a while back.  I am not this good.  

Merry Christmas!

I have to be honest and say that I have been thinking about this post all week.  I had no idea which direction to take it - keep it simple and short, make some jokes and post some funny e-cards (which we all know is my absolute favorite thing to do), or be honest and share how I've been feeling lately about the whole season.  Then I read Amylee's Christmas post and felt inspired to open up.

I have never considered myself a particularly "religious" person, probably because of the personal issues I have with my own church - the Catholics never were the easiest to handle.  I do, however, consider myself a woman of faith, and I have always tried to have faith that there is someone looking out for all of us and some sort of bigger plan.  But in the past few years, that faith has wobbled.  There were moments where I felt it was crumbling down around me.  I saw people doing or saying things in the name of "Christianity" that went completely against what I believed was the message of Christ, which was to love God above all else and to love your neighbor as yourself.  It seemed a simple message to me, but it was drowned out by hatred, ignorance, and intolerance.  I started to wonder if I could continue to call myself a Christian when so many people who went by the same name preached a different message than what I believed.  On top of that, I moved away from home and stopped attending church on a weekly basis.  I still prayed, I still called on God for support, but I stopped making my faith a priority in my life.

Then I had one of the hardest years I have ever had in my life.  I lost my beloved maternal grandfather and my childhood dog, both while I was out of the state.  I got my dream job, realized it was not my dream job, cried a lot, and left it.  I took another job that I thought would be perfect and it turned out to be a stressful job, with minimal pay and minimal hours.  My boyfriend moved across the country, putting us not only into a long distance relationship, but a complicated stalemate of "I want to live here and you want to live there, what do we do now?"  Then we lost my grandfather's wife, who was the closest I had ever gotten to having a grandmother.  I began to question whether or not I even believed in God - everyone had always told me God would never give me more than I could handle, but I felt like I was at my breaking point and there was no end in sight.  If there was a God, why did I feel so incredibly alone?

And I'll admit it - I'm still struggling.  I desperately want to be a woman of strong faith, like my mom, like my roommate that I admired.  But all Christmas season, I have felt like I didn't know where to go.  I looked for my Christmas spirit and couldn't find it.  I just felt overwhelmed.

Then I was listening to the radio just a few nights ago and "The Little Drummer Boy" came on.  It has always been one of my favorites, but for some reason, listening to it this time, I felt something come back to life inside of me.  I wasn't perfect - my faith had wavered, I had questioned my God, and at times, felt like he had turned away from me.  I felt a lot like that little boy who thought he had nothing to offer to Jesus.  But he was wrong - he had himself.  And just by being himself, and doing his very best, he was able to make his Lord smile.  I cried and cried listening to the song because I felt like even if it wasn't always perfect, even if I wavered, even if I questioned... if I did my very best, it was enough for the Lord to smile upon me.

So this Christmas, I am making a vow.  I will strive to be like that little drummer boy every day - to give of myself and to do the very best I can.  And at the end of the day, isn't that the greatest gift any of us can offer?

The gift of reframing.

Today's run:
Half Marathon Training Week Four, Day Two (kind of)
5.05 miles/1:04:30

I wasn't able to do my 6 mile tempo run two days in a row.  Life got in the way (can't imagine why, since this time of year is so stress free!) and it just wasn't happening.  So today I got myself out of bed, ate a banana and some peanut butter, got into my running gear, and was out the door.  I slept poorly last night and woke up sore from yesterday's workout (Jillian Michaels, we are not friends), but I was not taking no for an answer.  I was getting that 6 mile tempo run in come hell or high water.

Well... what actually came was a mix of both.  Less than a mile in, I realized I was going to have to throw my tempo pace out the window because I was running primarily on snow and ice, and I decided that not breaking my neck was more important than running fast.  My first mile ended up taking me 14 minutes, and my average pace was well over 12 minutes.  At about two and a half miles, a guy in a pickup truck pelted me with road water.  At about three and a half miles, I slipped on the ice and had a nasty fall, crashing onto my left wrist and hip, and my right knee.  And near the end, I was stuck running in the middle of the street because the sidewalks were covered in snow nearly up to my knees, and I almost got run over by a car because even though I waved, apologized, and tried to get out of his way, the car behind me was not having it.

So even though I was irritatingly close to making it all six miles, after the little problem with the car and being forced to jump into knee high snow in a desperate attempt to find the sidewalk, I decided to call it a day.  And I'll be honest... I was pissed off.  I really angry and really frustrated.  I was mad at the snow for making the whole run harder than it needed to be, I was mad at the ice for making me fall, I was mad at the pickup truck for drenching me in disgusting water... and most of all, I was mad that I didn't get to the six mile mark.

But then I took a long, hot shower and I thought about it - by being so upset and focusing on all the negative aspects of that run, who was I hurting?  Myself.  Did my anger make any difference to the snow, the ice, or the guy driving the pickup?  Absolutely not.  So I decided to take one of the gifts that Weight Watchers has given me and use it: Reframing.  Reframing is one of our "Tools for Living," and though I'm taking it out of its original context here, I think it is a fabulous tool.  The very basic idea is that you take a problem and look at it in a different way so as to find a better solution than the one you had.  So I looked at the run, reframed it, and came back with a much better version.

Instead of seeing it as "the run was really hard, I got soaked in water and was cold, I slipped and fell, and I didn't make it all six miles," I decided to see it as something positive.  The run was really hard, but I did it.  I didn't make it all six miles, but I made it five miles, which is five more miles than many people ran today.  I wouldn't have been able to run five miles just a few years ago.  Actually, I wouldn't have been able to run five miles just a few months ago, and today I ran five miles and I knew that I could do more.  There were physical stresses put on me in those five miles, but I kept going.  Yes, I was wet, cold, and uncomfortable, but I kept running.  Yes, I slipped and fell, and maybe I even cried a little (it hurt!), but I kept running.  Yes, the snow made every step harder and the ice made every step more dangerous, but I kept running.  This run was not a botched tempo run, but a learning experience, because today I learned that I am have the physical, mental, and emotional strength to get back up when I have fallen, brush myself off, and keep going.  So instead of seeing this run as a failure, I get the opportunity to see it as a tremendous achievement.  What an incredible blessing for Christmas Eve.

Did you have a tremendous achievement today?  I want to hear about it!
Go read about the beautiful Amylee's tremendous achievement - she ran a crazy fast 5K today and got a new PR!  I am constantly inspired by her.

Some Things Friday

I keep forgetting to do a 15 Thing Friday until it's 11:45 pm and I've watched my Frasier and I'm ready to go to bed.  I don't know how this lady comes up with 15 things every week.  I'm so not that creative.  So... it's Friday.  Here are some things.  Not sure if there will be 15.  If there is... consider it a Christmas miracle.

1.  The six mile tempo run did not happen again today - I agreed to sub for open hours after my Friday morning meeting, and by the time I got home and had eaten something so as not to punch anyone in the face, it was way too late.  I'm not a running at night girl, even in my super safe little town.  So I tortured myself with HIIT 20, a Jillian Michaels circuit that is in this month's Self magazine, and level 2 of her 30 Day Shred.  And then I cried.

2.  I have now taken my Lululemon addiction one horrifying step further: eBay.  I may need to seek professional help.

3.  Google is currently one of the best things I've seen all day.  Go look.  Right now.  It is more important than the rest of the 15 or less things I will come up with.

4.  If that doesn't entertain you, then certainly this will.  I am in love.

5.  And if you are in need of a laugh - skip to 5:33.  Watch repeatedly.  Thank me later.

6.  I met a new coworker today.  She is not new to the company, she was just new to me.  She seemed nice enough, we seemed to get along fine.  I interacted with her for maybe a half hour (she was the Leader on a meeting right before the open hours that I was subbing) and it seemed fine.  Until she called the center I was working at about 30 minutes after she left to criticize something I had done.  Um.  Really?  This is a grown woman calling me at work to tell me what I'd done wrong.  And the thing she was criticizing (which, by the way, was a simple judgement call I made to ensure that a member left feeling prepared, with all the tools she needed) happened about 15 minutes before the Leader had left.  She had 15 minutes to tell me that she didn't like what I had done with the member... disregarding the fact, of course, that it was not her place and it didn't affect her in the slightest.  But no.  She had to be a coward and call me instead of just saying something to my face.  I love the members, I love being there to help them, and I love being able to teach the Weight Watchers program and philosophy to people... but I really wish I worked with normal people.  With spines. 

7.  On a completely different note, I found this blog post through Twitter and bawled my eyes out.  Between rude Leader and just feeling all around stressed, I was starting to feel like I'd lost my Christmas spirit.  That post is a poignant reminder to not lose the spirit.  Working on it.

Oh, Colorado weather... you slay me.

The six mile tempo run that I had planned for today didn't happen.  Because a foot and a half of snow happened.

So instead of doing six miles, I dug a car out of the snow and shoveled a path from my driveway to my front door, which sounds so much easier than it really was.

That did not happen.  But grilled cheese slathered in butter and creamy tomato soup abso-freaking-lutely happened.

I also took Bonnie on an incredibly entertaining walk, during which we both leapt around in the fresh powder.  People thought it was cute when she did it... I don't know what they were thinking when they saw me bobbing around out there.

So in light of having absolutely nothing to say that is even remotely related to fitness, health, or wellbeing besides "I ate a banana today," I will share my new Facebook page with all of you!  

 Click me!  I'm exciting!

Yes, that's right, Running for Bikinis now has a Facebook page.  Finally.  I keep trying to be cool and falling just a little bit behind... it's like middle school all over again.  

Triple Tangent Twednesday!

I'm a space cadet - this is common knowledge, but sometimes it bears repeating.  Like when I realized today that I've had my official photos from the Denver Rock 'n Roll Half for a couple weeks now and still haven't posted them.  I did make one of them my new profile picture almost immediately, but then forgot about the rest of them.  So I thought I'd incorporate them into a couple tangents, because they are probably some of the most exciting pictures in my iPhoto right now.  Unless you count the picture of David posing in a pair of my sweatpants... but I'm relatively sure he'd kill me if I posted that.

1.  I'm very glad that photographers were there to capture two incredibly awkward moments of my race (one of which I was well aware of, the other I didn't realize was kind of awkward until I saw the picture).

Awkward Moment #1:
I want to say this was around mile 3 or so - it was REALLY cold at the start of the race, so I was wearing several layers.  Foolishly, I made the choice to keep my armwarmers on under my jacket to start the race.  Of course it started warming up, and I started heating up from running, and I knew I had to get the dumb things off.  The first one came off pretty easily, but this photographic gem was taken while I was struggling to get the second one off.  Do you love the facial expression?  I personally really enjoy my eyebrows.  The armwarmer ended up being about a two minute adventure, and I finally had to get over to the side and really focus to get it off.  There were some harsh words involved, let's put it that way.

Awkward Moment #2:
Had no idea that this guy was right behind me.  I am so glad that I was there to absolutely ruin his picture.  This was right before the end, too, so I'm sure he was thrilled.

2.  These three pictures might be my favorites, because they show my finish line progression.  Come along, kids!  Let's go on a journey to follow the red arrow!

Just crossed the finish line!  Arms up in the air!  She is triumphant!  She is proud!  She is on top of the world!

Arms down... head thrown back... she slowly makes the realization that she's been running for nearly three hours.  Her legs hate her.  Let's face it, her whole body hates her.

And there it is - the moment we were all waiting for.  She curls into herself, trying to decide if she wants to throw up or cry.  Or both.  Running is a pretty pastime, isn't it?

3.  Now here's the real tangent... totally unrelated to races or running or anything.  There are more of those damn Mexican pig cookies in my house (which, by the way, I've learned are called marranitos, in case you're ever caught in some strange bakery trivia game).  These cookies and I have fought before.

Dear cookie,

How the hell did you get into my hand?!

Love, Jessica

But aside from Monday, I've eaten very well this week.  I've tracked everything, I've done incredibly well at staying within my daily PointsPlus target... and I've been diligent about exercise on top of it all.  I've barely touched my weekly PointsPlus allowance, so I know I can have the cookie if I want it.  And I do want it.  But I want to look pretty in my Cinderella dress too!  Life is super hard.

The random run.

Today's run:
Half Marathon Training Week Four, Day One
4.20 miles/55:00

Today was supposed to be more speedwork... and I guess, technically, that's what I did.  Did I follow the prescribed plan of 6x400s?  Absolutely not.  Did I follow my own plan to do 40:00 of fartlek intervals?  Not quite.  But did I run some hills and do some fast intervals?  Why, yes... yes, I did!  So that counts, right?

I started by doing eight cadence drills as recommended by the only man who makes me think running faster is possible: Mr. Jeff Galloway.  I followed the 30 second format that he talked about in this video, but it seemed awfully short - I didn't feel like I could make much progress in 30 seconds.  Next time I am going to try the one minute format and see if that feels better.  Galloway's website says to complete the cadence drills at least twice a week, so I'll try again on Thursday as a little warmup for my tempo run.

After the cadence drills, I did about 5 minutes of fartlek intervals, but honestly, I completely wasn't feeling it today.  I'm completely torn because I really didn't like the structured 400s, 800s, and 1600s, but the freedom of creating my own intervals seems a little overwhelming.  I knew I was in a bad place mentally for it today because I thought to myself, "I could really just walk home right now instead of doing more intervals."  Um.  Wrong answer.  

So I decided freedom wasn't going to work.  But I knew track intervals weren't going to work, since I wasn't on a track and I didn't feel like beating my head against a wall.  I went with an impromptu running pyramid, based on something that I'd read when I was first looking for information on speedwork: "Coach Jack Daniels suggests the following workout when feeling lethargic: Run 10 steps (counting one foot, not both) then jog 10, run 20 and jog 20, run 30 and jog 30, and so on up to running 100 and jogging 100 (or more if you wish)."  I chose to walk instead of jog, and I turned it into a pyramid... so I got to 100, and then went back to 90, then to 80, and so on and so forth.

I actually really liked this exercise... it felt completely doable, and it forced me to focus on both short and long bursts of running.  And though my overall pace for this run was slow (about 13:00), I was running quickly during the intervals.  My best pace was 7:14, which was probably for one of the shorter bursts, but I was trying to keep my running pace around 9:00 or less.  I didn't feel like this run was as hard as last week's fartlek run, and it certainly wasn't as hard as the 400s and 800s, but I'm hoping it will still make a difference in my speed!

In other news... I finished seven whole days of flossing and did not cry!

And I painted my nails sparkly green as my first Christmas manicure of the week!  

And yes, I meant first Christmas manicure because there will be at least one more, and I'm really excited about it.  It's the little things, really.

What was your workout or run today?  Tell me all about it!

The terrible, horrible, very bad, no good day of eating.

Today was one of those days... the kind of day where you wake up and despite the fact that the bananas are on the counter, the eggs are in the fridge and the whole grain toast is begging to be toasted, all you want is something greasy and fried.  I'm hoping I'm not the only one who has these days.  I have them regularly. Normally I try really hard not to give into them, but sometimes the opportunity presents itself, and you find your car driving to McDonald's to get an Egg McMuffin and hash browns.  I would be lying here if I said I was proud.

But we've all had those days where we don't make the right choice for breakfast... and what do we do?  We get right back on track with lunch!  Right?!  We definitely don't go to Chick-fil-A and devour waffle fries and Diet Dr. Pepper.  That wouldn't be a good decision at all.

Shockingly, around 3 or 4 pm, I started feeling relatively awful.  Now I'm definitely not Miss Eat Clean Queen on a daily basis, but when I joined Weight Watchers back in 2009, I cut my fast food habit way down.  Lately, though, it's kind of crept back into my life... and while I appreciate that with Weight Watchers, I can still have the food I love (read: food dripping in grease) in moderation, it doesn't mean I can handle it the way I used to.  Before my weight loss, I easily could have downed both those meals no problem.  Now... I struggle.  And I definitely struggled today.  I didn't have much energy, I felt incredibly lethargic, and I was cranky.  I was actually seriously considering blowing off exercise because just the thought of jumping up and down with another HIIT workout made me queasy.  

So I let myself off the hook, but only by a little bit.  I decided that since I had fueled my body poorly all day, a HIIT workout might do more damage than good, and make me feel even more run down.  But I knew I had to do something, and was desperately hoping that a good sweat would make me feel better.  So I did Fire 30 and Stretch 40, and you know what?  It was glorious.  About ten minutes into Fire 30, I felt so much better, and Stretch 40 was exactly what I needed to wrap it all up.  I finished feeling like a brand new person.  And then I ate a banana and planned my healthy breakfast for tomorrow - huzzah!  Sometimes one workout really does make all the difference...

Weekly Recap!

I absolutely love Amylee's "Weekly RUNdown" that she posts on Mondays, so as usual, instead of thinking up my own clever ideas, I'm going to steal someone else's.  This might not happen every Monday, but since I was particularly lazy about actually writing about my workouts this week, I thought it might be nice to attempt to remember them!  Here goes...

Weekly Recap: December 12th - December 18th

Monday:  A much needed rest day after getting my 5K PR on Sunday!!

Tuesday:  My first fartlek run!  I ended up running for 35 minutes, or a total of 45 minutes if you include a 5 minute warm up walk and a 5 minute cool down walk, and I went 3.62 miles.  My average pace was 12:26, but since it was a fartlek, my pace was really all over the place.  I did feel a little bit like I favored sprinting, and wasn't including slightly longer bursts at a slightly slower than sprinting pace, so that is something I will work on!

Wednesday:  The beginning of Cinderella Boot Camp - yeehaw!  I did HIIT 20 and Ab Ripper X.  Both are really tough workouts, but if I'm going to be back in my skinny jeans (which, by the way, are a gorgeous pair of Joe's jeans that I found in a thrift store) by the time Cinderella opens, I need to get tough.  Especially because I did the math incorrectly (read: was a space cadet and got my days mixed up) and we actually open a week before I thought we did.  So my grand plan of 6 pounds in 6 weeks needs to be accelerated to 6 pounds in 5 weeks.  Possible?  I think so!

Thursday:  Thursdays are tempo days, and the plan was a 5 mile tempo run.  I finished 5.65 miles at an average pace of 12:08 (including walking to warm up and cool down).  It went well, though I struggled to maintain a good pace.  For training purposes, I'm trying to maintain a 10:15 pace for my running intervals during the tempo runs, but it was not happening in this run... I was either running at a 9:45 pace or a 10:30 pace.  I am glad this is not rocket science.

Friday:  Unplanned rest day because the day got away from me!  Too busy shopping for a ball gown for Cinderella to be bothered to exercise.  Sigh.  My life is super hard.

Saturday:  HIIT 25 and random ab work... meaning several of the moves from Ab Ripper X, but only 10 or so reps of each move instead of the 25 reps that Tony demands.  My abs were still slightly sore from Wednesday, so I thought taking it down a notch would be okay.  It was my first time trying HIIT 25, and I have to say, I didn't love it.  I'll give it another chance when I'm more prepared for it (I was stressed on Saturday, and not really feeling the whole exercise thing), but the combos were more complicated, and you're working hard enough that complicated is just frustrating.  I might have to work up to this one by doing HIIT 15 and HIIT 20 some more.

Sunday:  The long run for this week (which is week three of the FIRST training plan) was 10 miles.  I ended up cutting it a little short and doing 9.51 miles at an average pace of 12:29 (with warm up and cool down).  I wanted to complete all ten miles, but I got out the door a little later than planned and the sun went down while I was out running.  When I started the run, it was about 55 degrees and sunny outside, so I wore capris, a tech t-shirt, and sunglasses.  Like a moron.  Needless to say, when the sun went down, so did the temperature, and I was a struggling unit.  By the time I hit 9 miles, it was getting very cold and very dark, so I decided one mile would not make or break me and went home.  Overall, I was extremely happy with the way the run went - since the half marathon in October, the longest run I had done was 6 miles.  There were some tough parts of this run (miles 5 and 6 were mostly uphill and right when the temperature started to drop) but as a whole, it went incredibly well.  It did make me very tired though - I slept 10 hours last night!  Maybe for each mile I run, I need an hour of sleep...

Speak da Troof: tomorrow is a new day (thank goodness).

I ran a lot of miles today.  It was long and it was hard - don't get me wrong, it went well, and I ran along streets lit up with Christmas lights, and it really doesn't get much better than that.  This is not an extended whine about how hard the run was.  But I'd forgotten how much really long runs kick me in the face and now I'm really tired.  So I have no more energy for writing.  I don't even have energy for watching Frasier on Netflix.  I barely have the energy to floss, but today will be day 6 of my week long flossing challenge and I will not be defeated.

So I will write about running tomorrow and make tonight simple.  No matter how today went (mine went pretty darn well and I hope yours did, too), you get another chance tomorrow.  Isn't that an amazing gift?  So if today sucked for you, it's over, and you get to try again in just a few hours.  And if today was super awesome for you, then you get a chance to make tomorrow even more awesome.  Maybe long runs make me philosophical (and hungry, let's not forget hungry).  But tonight is one of those nights that I'm so grateful that I get to go to sleep and wake up with another shot at this whole life thing.

I love bribery.

After I whined about not wanting to floss my teeth, but wanting to make it a whole week of flossing every day, I decided to stop being lame and just do it.  And I timed it.  Turns out that I spend at least 200% more time whining about it and putting it off than actually doing it.  It took me 2 minutes and 40 seconds to floss.  And I kept the stopwatch going for my whole "getting ready for bed" routine that I constantly blow off because I'm lazy... the entire thing took under 10 minutes.  That was flossing, taking out my contacts, washing my face and putting on all my high maintenance night creams (I really am so prepared for being an old cat lady), brushing my teeth, and rinsing for 30 seconds with mouthwash.  

Moral of the story?  Quit whining and be happy.

15 Thing Friday!

1.  Remember how I just talked about Cinderella Boot Camp and how I was going to work on really stepping up my cross training every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday?  Yeeeeeah.  Today's workout was indefinitely postponed due to the fact that shopping for a ball gown for Cinderella and eating cookies on my best friend's couch sounded more fun.

2.  But chasing Bonnie around the living room spastically totally counts as a HIIT workout, right?  All in favor say "ay."  

I'm raising my hand so... yes.  It's unanimous.

3.  On the bright side, the workout was not skipped in vain - I believe I found my gown!  It was a serious steal, so even if my director hates it, I'm don't care, because it's probably one of the best bargains I've ever snatched up.  I'd show you a picture, but I don't want anyone to see it (especially you, David... I see you).  If we didn't have to do dress rehearsals, I wouldn't even show the cast.  I just want to surprise everyone on opening night.  Don't I sound like a diva?!

4.  I'm still searching for my glass slippers... the artistic director of the company recommended these shoes to me, and I was impressed by the reviews.  One review was actually from someone who used them for a production of Cinderella and said that they were very comfortable and easy to dance in.  But I hate them.  There is something about clear shoes that irks me, possibly because I know my feet will look awkward and uncomfortable in them.  And I can't get past what another reviewer said: "They steam/fog up if your toes get warm at all."  Um.  Steamy toes?  That will be super pretty.  And I'm sure the boys will love dragging that shoe around after a couple weeks of my foot being smashed into it.  Vile.

5.  In non-diva news, I have been listening to a radio station lately that does non-stop holiday music throughout December.  I'm one of those people, I know.  But I have actually heard some music I'd never heard before, which is rare with Christmas music - it's kind of the same stuff over and over.  This is my new favorite, despite it sounding a wee bit dated.  Ignore the video, it is odd.

6.  I made aforementioned friend (the one with cookies and a much better metabolism than me) listen to that tonight.  I thought he would punch me.  Did I mention he's an atheist?

7.  The non-stop holiday radio station has also informed me (accidentally, I don't think they meant to be rude) that I am the last person in the world to learn about Mannheim Steamroller.  You know what I love?  Mannheim Steamroller!  But I can't talk to anyone about it because apparently everyone else has loved Mannheim Steamroller since the 1980s.

8.  I cannot get over how bad this movie looks and how sad I am that I think it looks bad because I desperately want to like it.  I'm sorry, America, but we lose this battle.  Love Actually was awesome, and we need to stop trying to replicate it, because we fail.

9.  Meanwhile, is Mirror Mirror out yet?!  Please?  How about now?  Or... now?  I just want to watch Julia Roberts be catty and mean so badly!

10.  As excited as I am to see Mirror Mirror, I kind of shudder every time I see a preview or advertisement for Snow White and the Huntsman.  I'm sorry for those of you who are big Kristin Stewart fans, but she is no Snow White.  Snow White is supposed to be gorgeous and sweet... Kristin Stewart is strange looking and whiny.  And good heavens, you're putting the girl next to Charlize Theron?  That mirror is drunk if it says that Kristin Stewart is the fairest in that coupling.

Hi, I'm too busy whining to be bothered with acting.

Hi, I'm too busy seducing you to be bothered with whining.

11.  But apparently Snow White and the Huntsman is being planned as a trilogy.  Hollywood, you forgot to take your meds.

12.  Which reminds me of a glorious sign my mom told me about:

13.  In an effort to remember to take my own meds (and by meds I mean my multivitamin and a calcium pill because really, I am that boring), I downloaded an app that I could program to send me a reminder at a specific time of the day to take whatever I needed to take.  I've had it for two days and so far I've just ignored the reminder and kept going on about my day.  This whole habit forming thing is a struggle for me.  Unless it comes to terrible food choices and blowing off workouts, in which case I rock at it.

14.  I'm also trying to floss more.  I told myself that if I flossed every day for a week, I would get a prize, because normally bribery works really well for me.  Today would be day four, and the idea of putting that floss in my mouth makes me want to weep openly.  I know, I live a super hard life.

15.  Of course, there are people who actually do live hard lives... and no, I'm not referring to David who has to deal with my diva problems.  So here's a shout-out to Anna, who is raising money for St. Jude by running the Country Music Marathon next April.  Personally, St. Jude is an organization that I believe to very worthwhile - donating to or volunteering for any charity is great, but I have a particular soft spot for children and animals, so anything that benefits them really touches me.  If you also have a soft spot for helping kids, then head over to Anna's fundraising page to learn more about donating.  I will definitely be donating, and she actually has me thinking about doing some fundraising myself for the Ralston Creek Half Marathon.  What a great thing to be thinking of this time of year!

Triple Tangent Twednesday: The cats edition.

David is weeping reading this.  Yes, this is an entire Triple Tangent Twednesday dedicated to cats.  I am an 80 year old cat lady stuck inside a 24 year old's body.  Help me.

1.  My parents and I often go to a trivia game at a nearby restaurant on Wednesday nights.  The game always follows the same basic format - it's a three part game, and in the last part, the final question is a "lightning round" question.  Usually, it consists of quick glances at several pictures in a row, all of the same category, and each team has to identify the picture.  For example, one particularly difficult lightning round consisted of 5 pictures of female singers, all from their high school yearbooks.  So you had to look at a picture of some 18 year old girl and try to figure out who she was.  I remember that one because I'm still bitter about not being able to identify Ke$ha.

But this is not the point of this tangent...

The point is that every single time we go, I always say that the lightning round should be about cats, because it's almost always something that I know nothing about, and if it was cats, I would prove invaluable to my team.  Because... I love cats and know way too much about them.  Well, tonight, we got to the lightning round and the host announced that the category was CATS.  I almost peed myself I was so excited!  I started talking about how awesome I was going to be and how nobody else stood a chance!  Then he corrected himself and said that the category was cartoon cats.  Um... I identified one of them and was not so helpful at all.  

Thank goodness I knew who you were, Marie, or I would have had to hide under the table in shame.

2.  One of the reasons that I would be an invaluable resource if the lightning round ever was about cats (actual cats, not this cartoon nonsense) is that I seriously loved cats when I was a kid.  My family has had many cats over the years, and we actually fostered a couple litters of kittens when I was young.  I still have very fond memories of all the feline friends I have known.  But I didn't just love my cats, I loved all cats, and cat pictures, and cat stories, and cat books... one of my favorites was a whole encyclopedia of cats, which I swear I read cover to cover 100 times as a child.  

Seriously, my life really has always been this interesting.

3.  On top of my childhood knowledge, I also have three other people to thank for my cat obsessed brain.  During my second Disney internship, three of my roommates were friends from Wisconsin, and all three owned and loved cats.  We would share cat videos and cat pictures, and they got me hooked on one of the most addicting shows ever (well, addicting if you, like me, are an old cat lady): Cats 101.

Cats 101 is a wonderful show on Animal Planet that is honestly all about cats.  Each episode discusses several different breeds, and highlights the characteristics of the breed, some of its history, and other important details.  This show is why I can tell you all about different cat breeds.  This show is why I am obsessed with the Oriental Shorthair and Munchkins.  This show is why I must have a cat in the near future.  This show is also why David is slightly terrified to continue our relationship, because he is allergic to cats and I don't care.  I will buy him lots of Kleenex.  I will get my cat.

And for those of you who don't believe me that Cats 101 is like crack it is so addictive... 

Watch.  Have your mind blown.  You will thank me.

Cinderella Boot Camp Day One

Today's workout:
HIIT 20 and Ab Ripper X
311 calories/38:00

Today I began what I am calling "Cinderella Boot Camp."  Cinderella opens in just over 6 weeks, and I want to look absolutely fabulous.  Prince Charming has been directed to stare longingly at me in amazement the minute he sees me, but I want everybody in that audience to drop their jaws and do the same thing.  Luckily, I have six weeks.  And, coincidentally, I am now 6 pounds away from the weight I was at when I finished P90X.  So if I can lose a pound a week for the next six weeks (which is totally doable if I avoid French fries at all costs), I can be back at my lowest adult weight for Cinderella.  Which would be GLORIOUS.  Thus... "Cinderella Boot Camp."  While the running three times a week thing will get me ready for the half marathon in February, it won't get me back into my skinny jeans... which I haven't actually worn in over a year.  I miss those jeans and I want to wear them when we go out after opening night.  

My plan for the next six weeks is essentially to combine three different programs: my current half marathon plan, Turbo Fire, and P90X.  Obviously I can't do everything, and since I do want to be ready for that half marathon, the running is my top priority.  But part of the FIRST training plan is an emphasis on cross-training.  Personally, I'm not a swimmer or a cyclist - I can do both, but I'm not going to do it regularly, and even if it's the best cross-training for runners, if I don't do it, it doesn't help me.  So on the days I'm not running (right now I'm shooting for Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays), I'll be doing a mixture of Turbo Fire and P90X.  I'm going to lean heavily on the HIIT workouts from TF, mostly because I think I've got my long cardio workouts covered with my running - better I get in some high intensity stuff and add some variety.  I'm hoping to do all three HIITs each week, using HIIT 15 and HIIT 20 as a warmup (HA!) for strength training, and HIIT 25 as more of a stand alone workout.  As for P90X, I'll be adding it in as I feel like it.  Today I chose to do Ab Ripper X because I've been completely neglecting my abs.  On Friday, I'm planning on doing Core Synergistics... more abs, but also some "functional fitness" style stuff, which I realize I haven't done in a while.

... bored yet?  I know.  But you're saving my parents and David from having to hear all of this, so I'm sure they would thank you personally right now if you actually read that and cared.

My first fartlek run!

Today's run:
Half Marathon Training Week Three, Day One
3.62 miles/45:00

As I mentioned in last night's exhausted post, after two painful experiences doing the speed work prescribed in the FIRST training plan, I started doing some research.  Apparently, what I had been doing would normally be called "repeats" or "intervals," which I learned was really just one kind of speed training.  Those of you who have been running for a while are probably having a big "DUH" moment with me right now, but this is all new material to me... considering I could never even finish running the mile in middle school (how I passed gym is beyond me), the fact that I run three days a week now is mind boggling, let alone actually working on speed.  Please.

But I digress.  Evidently, I'm not the only one who hates one or more kinds of speed work - like the lovely Kathy, who hates sprint intervals, but likes repeats.  Kathy, you can have all of the repeats I'm supposed to do!  Thank goodness I'm not the only one who hates some speed work, because it means there are all sorts of options!  

I decided today to try a fartlek run... forgive me for being five years old, but seriously, I love that word.  I had read a little bit about fartleks before, but went looking for more information and found plenty here: "Essentially, fartlek is a series of faster pickups with a recovery interval in between. The length and speed of the pickups, as well as the recovery intervals, is totally up to you."  Before I officially considered myself a "runner," I used to play this game all the time - start with a walk, then run to a streetlight, walk for a while, run to a mailbox, and so on and so forth.  This type of format appealed to me a lot more than the structured distance repeats because I didn't feel like I had failed if I had to quit running.  The problem with the whole "warm up, run 8x800s, cool down" thing is that if I only ran 6 of those repeats and then was just destroyed, I'd feel like I hadn't succeeded.  Is this completely mental?  Yes.  Does it mean that I'm completely mental?  Probably.  But if I say to myself, "I'm going to run really fast to that mailbox" and I don't make it to the mailbox, for some reason, I don't feel like a failure.  And I need to not feel like a failure!

I really enjoyed this run, actually, though it kind of mauled me.  I was slightly worried that the format would give me a little too much freedom and I'd get lazy and not run as much as I should, but I think I had a nice balance of different paces, different interval lengths, and different intensities.  This is definitely something that I could see myself doing regularly.  It was a tough run, mostly because I'm not used to pushing myself that hard, but again, I have to thank Kathy for some motivation... by incorporating speedwork (and being awesome), she went from running an average pace of 12:30 to 11:15!  No kidding, reading that got me into my running gear today.  That's an amazing improvement!  So yes, I had to push myself, but I can push myself hard once a week if it means seeing great improvement.  

That being said, while I'd love to increase my overall pace, I learned with this run that if I know I can stop whenever I want to and I don't have to stay at any pace for very long, I can run super fast!  While obviously my pace was all over the board with this one (which I believe is the point, or else I seriously misunderstood), my fastest pace was 6:12!  Who knew?!  Now, granted, I probably ran at that pace for all of 5 seconds, but I'm impressed.  There wasn't even something scary chasing me.  

So I believe there's definitely a fartlek run on the schedule for next week as well.  And who knows?  Maybe I'll even throw in some hill repeats.