Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Today I reached "Lifetime" at Weight Watchers.  I have been working toward this for the past 14 months. Looking back at my weight, I could have been done with this back in April.  In fact, I weigh only one pound less than I did in April, which is kind of funny to think about.

But the winter months are always easier for me. Life is more routine, scheduled, less social, and there seems to be more time to plan my eating and exercise. Summer is more hectic. We go to our cottage most weekends, and it always seems to be a "we're on vacation!" attitude.  It's not good to bring chips or treats every weekend!  More socializing, more cocktails, more s'smores.

Before I started WW, I took Glamour magazine's "Happy Weight" quiz online. My happy weight was 145.  Whoa! I thought.  I want to be in the 130s. You know, like I was in my early to mid twenties.  Before residency. Before children.

Weight loss wasn't difficult, but it takes time, planning and commitment. I readjusted my goal to 140.  Then I hit a plateau in March, 6 months after starting.  Stuck in the low 140s. Eat less, then eat more. Did not work. I was also increasing my running at this time, and wanted to be sure to fuel adequately.

It seemed like no matter what I did, I could not get to 140.  I got a little sloppy over the summer with portions and choices.  I gained a little weight, then easily dropped back down to 143. To stay.

So I started to think about this. What is 3 pounds more? Can anyone notice? Would I notice? If it is so hard to get to 140, how hard will it be to stay at 140? So I chose 143. And today I am 142.

This is MY happy weight. I have a normal BMI. I have more energy.  My physical fitness level has not been this good for a long time. Maybe ever!  I am just a couple of years away from 40, and my body has carried and birthed two children. It's never going back to where it was in my 20s!

Do I regret continuing as a paying WW member for the past 9 months? No. I really don't. It was 9 more months to focus on good choices, portion control, and understanding my  hunger cues (fatigue and stress).  This was not a diet.  It was a lifestyle change, and the more you do something, the easier it gets.

Well, I am headed to the TM in the dingy ol' basement to bang out 3.5 miles. Yeah. It's 10 pm. What am I thinking??!!  Have a good night!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Holiday Magic

I have been thinking about this post for a while, but I need to make a better effort to get it out of my head onto the computer!!!

The holidays are upon us.  My kids are now 6 and 4, and this season has been PURE MAGIC for them.  First, T. understands tradition.  Last month, John and I debated celebrating Christmas at our cottage up north.  Santa would know where we were. That wasn't a worry. But a couple days later, T. said to me, "Mom, I think I just want to have Christmas here."  When I asked why, he said, "I don't know. Because that is how we have always done it. " "Like a tradition?" I replied.  And he said, "Yes, like it's our tradition."   How sweet is that!

I had to work the weekend after Thanksgiving, and my husband and kids thoughtfully put up the tree, decorated (the front) of it, and strategically placed the rest of the decorations around the house. I'm still tweaking things.

When I put some lights out front, T. and C. found three more strands that worked.  They thoughtfully brought them outside to be hung. We don't look like the Griswalds, but it is definitely brighter than my usual monochromatic decorating scheme!

We have decorated sugar cookies. We made a gingerbread house. Two My Little Ponies have moved in.  We made the clay ornaments in the Family Fun magazine. We made a snowGIRL.  Note the skirt.

We have piles of presents under the tree that are amazingly still wrapped, although several are for the kids.  T. asked his dad to take him to Target to pick out presents for C., John and I.  After about a week of C. shaking her gift and dragging it around the house, she seems to have forgotten it.

We talk about Jesus and His birthday. We light an Advent wreath made from shredded wheat and glue each Sunday. We talk about people who need presents, food, shelter and clothing.

We have had lots of discussions about Santa and St. Nick.  How they get in the house. Is St. Nick alive or is it his spirit that comes?  In all his first grade wisdom, T. did point out that saints are dead. Yup, must be his spirit.

It has been a joy to watch them marvel at the holiday season.

A couple of weeks ago, we had our first snow. I went out for my first snowy run of the season. I left at 3:45 pm. Not dark, but as I was out for the 3.5 miles, the light was dimming. People were turning on the lights on their homes, trees were lit through the windows.  In the glow of the lights, the world under a fresh blanket of snow, to be outside running, it was MAGICAL.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Germs, germs, germs

With the winter season, along with the snow and the decorations and the holiday cheer, also comes all our little friendly viral illnesses. Upper respiratory infections, gastroenteritis, pharyngitis, bronchiolitis. And sometimes they invite their bacterial friends, that lead to little parties in your bodies known as ear infections, strep throat, pneumonia.

The average child gets between 6-10 colds (viral upper respiratory infections) per year.  This is your typical stay-at-home child.  A child who attends daycare will get 8-12 colds per year. Most URIs last 7-10 days, but can linger up to 2 weeks. So, therefore, a child who attends daycare may have some combination of runny nose and cough for 6 months of the year.  I cannot tell you how many times I ask a parent, "How long has the congestion and drainage been going on?" and then they snort and laugh and say "For months!"

There is good news to this. Over time we develop our immune system.  When we are young, all these illnesses are new to our bodies. When we fight an infection, our immune system has to start from scratch to develop antibodies to fight the illness. After the illness, we do have lasting antibody memory.  The next time we get exposed to the same or similar illness, we are better able to fight it off.  What might be a full force 10 days of congestion and cough in your 18 month old may be just a few days of mild congestion in you.  Kids in daycare, although they are sick more frequently in the early years, tend to have less illness when the become school age children than those who stayed home.

I think some of the best ways to stay healthy are adequate sleep, nutrition and hydration, along with frequent (but not obsessive) handwashing.  Although studies do indicate alcohol-based sanitizers are more effective than soap and water (if your hands are not visibly contaminated with bodily fluids), I prefer soap and water.  Using sanitizer before and every patient just does not FEEL as clean to me. Also, my hands get very dry in the winter, and that stuff STINGS!

So this brings me to the main point of the post. In the winter, how crazy do you get about staying home and away from crowds?

When my kids were younger, we avoided the hands-on children's museum in the winter, McDonald's playlands all year round, and any other possibly heavily germ infested surfaced. Now that they are older, they get sick less frequently, they are less prone to ear infections, and they are both in school with 19 other potentially infectious classmates each.

When I took my kids to a local indoor inflatable playplace about 1.5 weeks ago, I prided myself on how far I had come.

Until 36 hours later.

That's when they both woke at 3 am (within 5 minutes of each other!) vomiting. And everyone was up the rest of the night, except for the dog.

I'm not saying we couldn't have gotten this elsewhere (door handles, grocery carts, school, playground, swim class, etc), but it seems pretty suspicious to me.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Running Update

Besides writing about my work and my family (and how they overlap!), I also want to write about my running. Since March, I have been starting to read some blogs of other mother runners, and I have found them to be entertaining, informative, and inspiring. I think tapping into this whole community of mom runners has a lot to do with my continuing to run.

So a quick recap of the past year:
October 2009-I joined Weight Watchers to lose 20# of post baby weight (my baby was then 3 1/2)

December 2009-Starting walking on the treadmill. Got way too boring, so added little intervals of running.
My plantar fasciitis of my left foot started up (hadn't been a problem for past 1.5 years).

Jan/Feb/March 2010-Signed up for the Chicago Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K. Was running 3x/week, up to an incredible 5 miles! Saw my regular doctor. She gave me a big blue splint to wear on the left at night.  Left heel pain getting worse, so I got new stability shoes (next version up of my then running shoes). Still limping with walking and running (but still running!). Got a pain of Dansko clogs that several friends swore by. Super cute, but did not solve the problem. Discovered the "Run Like a Mother" book. Loved it! Made me laugh, made me cry, totally inspired me!

April 2010-Finally (after spending $200+ on shoes that did not solve the problem), I saw a sports medicine physician. Xrays normal, no stress fracture! Went to see a sports PT. Deann was awesome! Apparently my left calf/Achilles really tight compared to my right and normal people. My left calf also very weak. She videotaped my running. Both hips weak and excessive rotation of my legs...wasting energy. Started stretching exercises, ice massage for my foot, and some simple strength moves at home. Deann felt I was predisposed to plantar fasciitis, and it would probably always bother me off and on.

May 2010-Ran a 5K and a 10K.  My 5K time was 30:54, a total PR for me. I really kicked it into high gear at the end, and my HR got to the 190s. Not the best idea, was totally dizzy and nauseous for that last sprint and after.

June 2010-Had unplanned surgery. Could not run for 3 weeks. Considered not starting up again, but I had signed up for a marathon relay with two friends for Team in Training, so started back up in July.

August/September 2010-Following a half marathon training schedule for the marathon relay. I was signed up to run the third leg, 7.5 miles. However, we weren't sure who would be injury-free enough to take the middle leg, 11.7 miles, so I wanted to be prepared. Unlike the 5K or 8K training schedule I followed, this required me to run 4 days a week. This has been really hard for me. Four days a week makes me very achy.

October 2010-Ran the relay! So much fun. I picked up at approximately mile 19. Chip time from mile 20 to 26.2 was 1 hour 3 seconds.  And hey! Guess what?  My plantar fasciitis is gone! I can imagine a little twinge here and there, but nothing like it was earlier this year.  The rest of October, I was on no particular running schedule. It was dark in the morning and dark in the evening. I tried the treadmill, but I felt tired, slow, and short of breath.

November 2010-Next race is the Disney Princess Half Marathon on February 27.  We are taking our first family trip to Disney World!  I mapped out my training schedule. Nothing fancy. Thus far, I have used Hal Higdon's beginner training plans, and this seems to have worked for me. I put it all on my calendar, and I started this past week. I also made some peace with my treadmill. It is in the unfinished basement next to the washer and dryer. I put a fan up and hung some pictures and old bib numbers to look at.  I had a few successful 30 minute runs last weekend while my husband was gone hunting. I am going to try to run outside (or at the indoor track at the Petit Ice Arena), but it's an option.

My shins are a little sore, and my current shoes have about 400 miles on them.  I have been really hesitant about new shoes since all the foot difficulties I have had.  Last night I went to Fleet Feet,  and they fit me with a new pair of shoes. I switched from Asics 2130/2140 (stability) to Saucony ProGrid Glide 2 (neutral). The Glide 3's felt terrible! Something was rubbing the back of my heel! I also tried a pair of Mizunos (not cushioned enough and felt lumpy under the outer part of my foot), New Balance (too hard on forefoot), and something else I can't recall. I settled on a Brooks Ghost 3.

And that's where I am now. I'm going on a year, and I think it's going to stick with me.
I have lost 20# with Weight Watchers, and I have maintained it!  After the Princess Half, I am going to do the Door County Half Marathon in May 2011.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Screen Time

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than 2 hours of screen time per day. This includes television, computer and video game time. They also recommend no television prior to age 2 (this clearly does not occur, hello Baby Einstein empire!).  Although I am quite familiar with the recommendations,  I am not super strict with the 2 hour limit.  When I was little, we had cartoons only on Saturday mornings and occasionally a sitcom in the evening. As I got a little older, cable emerged, and my youngest brother reaped the benefit of USA network's Cartoon Express and a VCR.  Now, with cable, satellite, DVDs, TV on Demands, DVRs, Tivo, and multiple video game systems, kids have whatever they want to watch when they want to watch it.

For example, my son T. played probably close to 10 hours of Lego Indiana Jones 2 this weekend.  It's a newer game for him and so his interest level is high. From our experience with the Wii over the past year, he will lose interest, and then he will have weeks of not playing.  Since we do a lot of driving up north on the weekends, Santa brought a DS last Christmas. Again, he will go through stretches of playing, then he won't play it for a long time.

When we go up north, we have about 3 channels we receive with our antenna. We have a lot of hand-me-down VHS tapes, and (unless it is cold or rainy) the Wii stays home.  The kids love to "adventure" in the woods there. At home, both kids have swim lessons once per week, C. has dance once weekly, and T. just finished his first season of soccer (3 days per week).

It's all about balance.  Living in Wisconsin, we have to adjust to increased outdoor time in the spring/summer/fall and slightly more screen time in the winter.

By Sunday afternoon, I had had enough of the rain, cold, and video games.  I took the kids to a local inflatable play place, and the kids bounced their brains out for 2 1/2 hours.   Only once they were sufficiently sweaty and tired did we return home.

Of course, with it being the onset of the winter viral season, who knows what germs we picked up along the way. But that is a topic for another day!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Such a long, long time

Wow. It's been a long time since I posted anything. Almost two years.

A lot has happened. My children are now 6 and 4. They are now in school. I have been in practice for over 8 years. I went from "full time" to "part time." I've lost 20 pounds. It's been a good couple of years.

At the end of 2006, I started running. I kept up with it long enough to complete a 5K on May 1, 2007. It was painful. 3.1 miles felt like forever. I was completely cashed the rest of the day.

I put my running shoes away until December 2009. I started running again. Over the past 11 months, I have run a 5K, 8K, 10K, and a marathon relay (7.5 miles). I am signed up for my first half in February 2011.

Since I have started running again, I have started reading blogs of other mother runners. I love reading how other women balance family, work, life, running. In leaving a comment on another blog, I had to sign into my Google account. Which led me to here.

Hmmm. Perhaps it's a sign I should give it another go.