Day 408 – Bad, worse, ugly, and a giant blue penis

Yeah, it’s not been a good week.

If you remember, my laptop died last June. Hubby got it up and limping along, but then it died again the first week of school. That wasn’t the end of the world, since I have a really nice school laptop. Having just spent a butt-ton (FYI – that’s should totally be a scientific term) of money on the new camper, we’re not in any position to spend more money on a new computer – especially since the exhaust fell off my truck last week. This leads me to wonder, WHY CAN’T STUFF BREAK BEFORE we blow ALL of our money on a camper!?!?

So… my truck is running, and I won’t asphyxiate so long as I keep it moving, my personal laptop is dead, and … you guessed it… last night my school laptop had a brief spasm and then died.

I currently have zero technology – nada, none (my cell phone doesn’t connect to wi-fi, and I use it so rarely – it doesn’t work inside my county – that I don’t see any reason to replace or upgrade it). Tonight, I’m typing this on Hubby’s computer that he has reluctantly placed in my lap for 15 minutes.

Apparently, the universe felt that my week had been bad enough for me to need a funny moment. Today while teaching my 7th grade science class how to read a graduated cylinder, I drew a graduated cylinder on the board. I started with 2 vertical lines, added the circle opening at the top, and even included a fancy squiggly oval base at the bottom. As I finished my drawing, I heard several students snickering. Of course, I started to step back and redirect them, but as I stepped back, I realized exactly what they were giggling about – I had just drawn a giant blue penis on my white board…

Thankfully, no one made a big deal about it, I erased the balls base and top, leaving just the 2 vertical lines and we proceeded with our lesson. I’ve been teaching this lesson for 4 years, and while it changes year-to-year, it always includes me drawing a graduated cyclinder on the board to demonstrate the miniscus. Never before has this resulted in a penis drawing. I have no idea what happened this year, but… at least it was entertaining?

I have no pictures, and I don’t know when I’ll be able to post again. My school laptop is out of commission for 3-5 business days (I have a loaner in my classroom, but it doesn’t come home). My eating has been good until I ate a crazy amount of ice cream tonight. Today was just too much for me. I succumbed to emotional eating, and it tasted good. I know it’s not a good reason to eat, and I know that I will need to make better choices tomorrow, but I also know that it’s not the end of the world.

I did run 4 miles last night, so I think I hit my 100 mile goal for the month, but I’m not sure since I can’t upload my run to a computer I don’t have. In any case, I’ll do 2-4 miles either Thur or Fri, and that’s it till the 1/2 on Sunday!! Look out beach, here I come!!! (even if there is going to be a tropical storm this weekend – seriously, this is not one of my best weeks, though at least it’s entered the realm of funny and none of the disasters have really been anything worse than inconvenient)



Day 405 – One week!

One week from today, I’ll be running my half marathon! I can’t believe it’s only 7 days away!!! I have no idea what I’m going to wear!! No seriously, last year, I wore my Lorax shirt, and I felt fun. I didn’t take the run super serious, and I enjoyed it. I want to do that again this year, but I’ve learned that I’m more comfortable running in tech shirts (cause I get SUPER sweaty and I now understand how cotton gets heavy!). I don’t have any fun tech shirts. I’ll probably just end up wearing my plain pink tank, or I could wear my hot pink 10K shirt??

It’s funny, last year I was freaking out because the forecast called for rain. This year, I WISH it would rain! It’s supposed to be hot and sunny, but at least that means the bands should be able to play this year.

I’m planning to take it easy this week. I’ll do 3-ish miles on Tuesday, 2 or 3 miles on Friday, and I’ll take the dog for a walk if I feel like it on the other days (which means probably not, but it’s a nice thought).

This does mean that I need to get my eating under control this week. I know it’s okay to add a few carbs, but I don’t want to go into next weekend feeling heavy (or having gained 10 lbs!), so I’m hoping to stick with about 1400 calories each day this week. Of course, if I’m truly hungry, I’ll eat more.

Day 405

Meh, I’ll take it.

Day 404 – A change in perspective

First of all, I was very happily surprised to step on the scale yesterday morning and see 155.1!!!

52 Scale Aug 27 155.1 lbs

I was really afraid that it would be MUCH worse than this. 155.1 is awesome!!

On top of that, I’ve run the last 3 days in a row! I’ve been feeling really good these last couple days, despite still a bit of over-eating.

Day 404

I went over again today, but it’s not terrible.

As I’m starting to settle into my school year routine, I’m debating how I want to maintain my big picture tracking. I used to keep a weekly spreadsheet that tracked a combination of my running and eating along-side my weekly weight. Last year, I learned that ONLY stepping on the scale once each week was best for my mental health, but a lot has changed since then. For one thing, that spreadsheet went down with my crashed computer. My husband deemed it “unrecoverable.” I was glad that it was one of only a few dozen files (of many thousand) that was lost forever. For the first couple weeks after that, I floundered. Because we were traveling so much, I started stepping on the scale before we left and when we got home, just to see how my vacation eating impacted my weight. I really started viewing the numbers on the scale as a symptom of my eating. It became a tool I used to help me balance eating and indulgence with staying healthy. I went all summer without ever once feeling happy or sad because of something I saw on the scale – it really was just a number (so maybe I have grown in the past year!!!).

After those first few weeks of floundering, I starting collecting numbers and a new spreadsheet started to take form. (I know other nerds who have experienced this phenomenon where we start writing numbers down and soon it’s a 6 page table with interactive macros, etc.) Here’s what I’ve evolved into:

Aug 2016 log

I was really afraid that it would be MUCH worse than this. 155.1 is awesome!!

I think it’s important to note that, while my 7 day average calorie intake has been increasing (1293 on the 12th; 1483 on the 19th; and 1626 by the 26th) my average weight has dropped pretty consistently (156.2 on the 12th; 155.8 on the 19th; and 154.8 by the 26th). This information is important to me, because it explains that I’ve been hungry for a reason recently – apparently being back at school really does have me burning more calories! It’s also nice to be able to see just how much my weight fluctuates, while my average still goes down.

Now I’m considering going back to my old way of only weighing in once a week. Tracking my weight daily is a bit time-consuming (not much, but at 6am when I’m trying to get ready for school, sometimes I forget and have to go back upstairs to get on the scale – and then sometimes I don’t remember to add it to the spreadsheet until the next day!)

I don’t know what I’ll do, yet. I want to give it a bit more time before I make any changes, but I thought I’d write it all out. If nothing else, I want to remember how well this helped me balance things during my chaotic summer.

Day 402 part B – NOT a squirrel!


…after consuming another 2300 calories today, I felt fat, slow, and lazy (shocking – I know). Having not run since Monday night, I peeled myself off the couch, half-heartedly shoved myself into some running gear, and headed out.

I’d love to say that I ended up having an awesome run, but the truth is, it sucked. I burped my way along, feeling lethargic. The run felt hard.

There was an exceptionally sucky moment, when I realized that what I thought was a dead squirrel in the road, was not, in fact, a squirrel. See, I wear glasses, but I don’t wear them when I run. They get steamy, smeary, and slide around on my face. I need them to read, but running and reading don’t generally happen at the same time (if I’m at a race, this can be an issue, but usually I just follow people and hope they can read). Tonight, this lack of clear sight, sent me running right past (like air movement from me running past caused the fur on the tail to ruffle) a dead half of a skunk. Yep, half of a skunk. I don’t know what happened to the front half. My best guess is that another animal carried it off. Whatever it was, it was smart enough to leave the back half alone – there in the road for me to run past while thinking it was a simple squirrel. Did I mention it was a fairly fresh kill? Yep, it stunk – stunk like a skunk, because it was NOT a squirrel. That was the low point of my run, but I kept going!

I ended up doing 5.15 miles (finishing it was the high point of my run). Since I ate myself stupid, yet again today, I’m still way over my calories for the day. Luckily, tomorrow is Friday. I’m not letting go, and I’m not giving up. Tomorrow I’ll run again, and eat a bit less. I do fear I’ll see a gain tomorrow on the scale. *sigh*

Day 402

umm – I got nothing. I need to reign in my eating. It’s been outta control for 3 days now!

Day 402 – What happened?

It’s funny the way that I’ll sometimes look up and realize that what felt like blink was actually 2 days, 12 lessons, 0 miles, 4500 calories, and a missed milestone (400 days isn’t a huge deal, but I didn’t even notice it had come and gone!). Of course, it’s all connected, but it sometimes takes me a bit to put the pieces together. When I woke up at 4 am today with my thoughts racing, I started to figure it out…

It’s the second week of school:

  • I have a new student who as attended 1 of 6 days. This was not a late registration. It’s a combination of health and family issues, so I worry. I worry about how to help the student transition smoothly into our routines despite missing the classes when I taught those routines. I worry about getting the student caught up on benchmark testing, choosing an independent reading book, and understanding our weekly word study without overwhelming them. More than anything I want this student to feel safe, happy, cared about, and valued in my class. I also want to make success possible, while fulfilling all of my teaching requirements (not having fall benchmark data would come back to bite me in the spring – I’ve learned that is, apparently, NOT optional). How do I balance that? Do I work with them one-on-one? What about the rest of the class, who also need and deserve my time and attention – especially during the first few weeks of the year when they are also unsure? Do I just go back over the main points with the whole class? There are a couple other students who would benefit from that, but there are also several who would be bored, at best.
  • I have a student, this year, who has been “placed” into this grade, meaning socially promoted. I’ve already discovered that they are functionally illiterate. Elementary school is generally considered a time of “learning to read.” By middle school, we have moved into a time of “reading to learn.” But this student isn’t ready for that. When handed a paper with directions and questions, this student was not able to figure out what to do. Did I mention that this student will also be absent every single Tuesday afternoon due to a standing appointment (it’s excused, but WTF!). In talking to people in my building who can help the situation, one asked me, “If anything could happen, what would be the best thing for the student?” (Sidebar: Questions like this are what make me LOVE my school. Our leadership team totally gets that one of the biggest challenges is balancing what’s best for the student with what’s best for the class, practical for the teacher, and required by the state.) I responded by suggesting that the student needs a “recovery year.” They do not need science or, I would argue, history. They need English and Math, specials with their peers (because everyone need PE, Music, Art, and social time!), and 2 class periods spent one-on-one with an adult to read and do math to catch them up and get them comfortable reading to learn.

Of course, the beginning of the year also brings worries about how my new 6th graders are adjusting. It’s their first year with me, and 6th grade is tough for a whole bunch of reasons (few of which are academic). Right now, they are quiet. They whisper to each other and laugh at my jokes, but they are still a bit nervous. My classroom is new to them, and for the most part, I’m new to them. I have more structure in my classes than many of the teachers they had last year. My class is set up that way, because by the end of the year, I’m spending very little time in front of the class. I have set structure and routine to allow me to pass more and more of the learning off to students, thereby allowing them to choose reading and writing that interests them while they develop the skills and understanding required. The independence and responsibility of this set-up really excites students, while also making them a bit nervous. At this point in the year, I always worry about ensuring that they feel comfortable talking to me, coming to me with questions and concerns, and that they trust that I won’t let them fail. I ask a lot of them, but it’s my job to ensure they have everything they need to succeed, and I will step in and support them every time they need it. It’s really a question of them getting an “A,” “B,” or a “C,” because anything below that will bring me running to their aide.

On top of all of this, Hubby has decided that it’s time to replace my truck. We don’t have money for this. I agree that it’s 15 years old, has 200,000 miles on it, has a few rusty spots (holes) on the frame, and the exhaust fell off a few weeks ago. I know that the climate control doesn’t work, and I was driving it when the engine started smoking while we were pulling the camper with it last weekend. I completely agree that it’s time to upgrade. I still can’t make the money appear in the bank. For now it gets me back and forth to school, just fine. It probably won’t make it through our month-long camping/road trip next summer. Maybe the money fairy will deposit some funds in the spring, and at least my husband is now determined to pinch-pennies (he’s usually the spender, and I’m usually the saver).

Day 400 401

You can tell, exactly which two days had me the most stressed out this week!

Clearly, I still deal with stress by eating, but at least now I track it. That leads to limiting it to about 2000/day, which isn’t as bad as it could be.

I’m trying to do better today, so I’ve pre-tracked what I know I have planned. My big goal today is drink water. Teaching always leads to dehydration, for me. Yesterday afternoon, I realized that I hadn’t used the restroom for 7 hours!

Day 399 – Running after teaching

I usually do my long runs on Sunday morning, but this week I decided to my long run tonight. Since it’s my last big long run (I’ll be doing 8 miles on Sun) before the half marathon, I wanted it to go well. That said, running after a full day of teaching is VERY different than running first thing on a Sunday morning. I kind of feel like tonight’s run should count as more than just a 10 miles. I mean really, I spent 8 hours standing, talking, and wearing heels (super-comfy Clarks that are only an inch or so, but still!)

Usually, it takes me 1/2 to 1 mile to warm up, then things are good until mile 7 or 8. At that point, things get tough, but not impossible. Mile 10 always requires my full commitment.

Tonight, mile 1 was a wonky warm up; mile 2 was awful, and I actually had to stop to dump rocks out of my left shoe; miles 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, & 8 were A-MAZING! It was runner’s high heaven! I was cruisin’ until mile 9, when things got tough. I started to feel how tired my legs were, and I really wanted to walk, but I knew this was my last big run, so I was powering through. When I knew I only had a mile left, I was giving myself a good pep-talk. I made it to mile 9.5. Just a little bit farther! “Pinball Wizard” by The Who came on my mp3 player, and I knew everything was going to be okay. That song is my jam, and I knew if I just ran through that, I’d be able to see the finish. I was good!

Then my mp3 player battery died.

I was left to struggle through the last 0.45 miles of my run in miserable silence.

I carry an extra battery, but I was NOT stopping with less than half a mile! I fought through it, and finished in 1:51!

Last 10 miler pre HM

I’m not sure how this is my “longest run ever” when I’ve clearly run this exact distance 3 other times. I also think it’s funny that each of my 10 milers gets a little slower. I’m not at all worried about this. If you notice, the last three happened on back-to-back weeks, & this last one happened after a full work day.

Of course, with a long run comes a day that is easy to stay on-track!Day 399

Day 398 – The joy of a camper!

I’ve been camping for the last 2 nights, and I’m not tired! This is huge! I actually slept as well while camping as I would have at home! I officially LOVE our camper – and I never thought I’d say that. I actually used to make fun of people who “camped” in a camper; if it wasn’t a tent, it wasn’t real camping. Well, sign me up for fake camping, because my almost-34-year-old back has stopped believing in “real” camping.

Friday night was outright ugly. Over the last 11 years, Hubby and I have gotten really good at tent camping. We each have our own jobs and always know who’s doing what. This allows us to go from campsite arrival to fully set-up and enjoying dinner in no more than 45 minutes. The camper was a bit different. Setting up the camper only took 1 minute – LITERALLY! (A-frames are awesome like that!) But everything was packed differently than how we usually have things arranged. We usually pack using a series of totes arranged in a specific way that allows them to fit easily into a bear box while allowing us convenient access to everything we need. That system doesn’t work when there’s a camper and no bear box. This meant that we had to keep going back and forth between the truck and the camper trying to find everything we needed. It also meant that we were tripping over each other which led to us bickering (because at 7:30 on a Friday night, when dinner has yet to be served, even grown adults will bicker!) A full 90 minutes after arriving at our camp site we finally sat down to eat.

Things improved instantly once we’d eaten. Little Man was thrilled to sleep in the camper, and we all got a really good night’s sleep.

Saturday, we decided to go to a ranger program before hiking a couple miles of the Appalachian Trail. The ranger program was about birds of prey, and we even got to see a red tailed hawk! I almost always love ranger programs, but this wasn’t one of the best. The ranger was not as experienced or informed as I’m used to, but he was still awesomely nice and very entertaining (I think I’ve gotten to see some exceptional ranger programs this past year and may have become a bit spoiled). My son loved this ranger, and thought the program was great!

The bird had been hit by a car and can’t fly any more. They have kept the bird wild, so it doesn’t have a name. It was beautiful to see, and I was amazed to learn that this guy only weighs 2 pounds!

Hiking was fun, though we didn’t go far. Of course, we roasted marshmallows and played cards Saturday evening. Once we got up this morning, we packed up and headed home.

Overall, I’m happy with my eating this weekend – even if I didn’t do my long run!!! It’s okay, though, I’m going to run it tomorrow evening after school.

Day 398

I did run today, but it was 3 miles – not 10. Meh, it’s okay.

My weigh-in on Friday was… about what I expected. I mean, really, I cannot eat almost a dozen, huge chocolate chip cookies and expect not to gain weight.

51 Scale Aug 19 156.6 lbs

I’m still down from where I was 2 weeks ago, so it wasn’t too bad. I figure with school starting, this is really not a big deal. I know it will drop right back down as I settle into the school routine over the next couple weeks.

Day 395 – Better than yesterday

Today was the second day of school, and as far as school goes, both days have been awesome! I love my students, enjoy what I teach, and am excited about all that I know this year will bring.

Today, I managed to get in my run (the full 5 miles). Though, I did kind of zonk and take an impromptu 35 minute nap after school and before I ran. But when I woke up, I totally went for my run! It helped balance out the 5 cookies I ate today.

Day 395

Still a bit rough, but better than yesterday!

We’ve decided to take out the camper for the weekend, so while I’ll still weigh in tomorrow, I don’t know if I’ll have a chance to post it. In any case, I’ll be back Sunday.

Happy Friday!

Day 393 – Realistic goals

While I ran my 5 miles this evening, I was thinking about my goals for the half marathon. With it only NINETEEN (cue the panic!) days to go, I’m starting to put together my plan/strategy for that day. When I first registered, LAST September, I set my “expected finish” time at 2hr 45min. I figured I was bound to finish in less than 3 hrs, and 2:45 seemed like a good goal.

But I’ve gotten faster over the last year.

As that’s happened, I’ve been mentally adjusting what I think I could do. For a while now, I’ve been thinking that I really want to/ totally could/ definitely should finish in under 2:30. Recently, I’ve started wondering if 2:20 is possible.

That’s exactly what was on my mind this evening as I began thinking about what that would actual mean for the day of the run.

And the verdict is…

… I’m an idiot who is REALLY bad at math!

When I really started thinking it through, I realized that to finish in 2:20, I’d have to consistently run 10:40 miles! That would be crazy fast for me! I’m really afraid that if I start out that fast, I’ll burn out LONG before the finish. So then I started thinking about what a realistic goal would be. Eleven min miles are really the absolute fastest I can maintain for a long time, and even that requires cooperation from the weather. That would have me crossing the finish line right at 2:24. Then there’s the variables: the race is at sea level and I train between 1500 & 2000 ft, so that could improve my pace; the race is also flat instead of my usual hills, so that could also improve my pace; but the heat and humidity will likely be much worse than I’m used to, and that will slow me down; add in the crowd trying to swarm across the start all I should probably add 2 minutes or so to my time to compensate. At worst, a consistent 12 min/mile pace would give me a 2:37 finish. I’d be disappointed with that. It would be much slower than I’ve been running, but I do think 2:20 is a bit overly ambitious. So I’ve decided not to set a strict goal.

I’d LOVE to finish in 2:20, and if conditions are perfect, the start goes smoothly, and the stars all align, it’s not completely impossible.

I’d really like to finish in 2:24. I think this is close to realistic, so long as things go smoothly and the weather is miserably hot and humid.

I’ll be really happy with anything under 2:30, since I think I can manage that even in miserable weather or if I have a super slow start.

As long as I cross the finish line under my own power, I’ll be proud of all that I’ve accomplished, but anything slower than about 2:32 will really leave me a bit disappointed (unless something goes terribly wrong to cause the crazy slow time).

Day 393

Today was much better than yesterday, but I’m NOT ready for the first day of school tomorrow! Alas, it will happen regardless of my readiness, so I might as well get psyched up – YAY, SCHOOL!!