Stitches of time

Sometimes we measure time in minutes, hours, and even years. Other times, we find ourselves measuring time in much smaller increments. When this happens, I crochet.

In 2015, I spent 8 days making an afghan while watching my grandfather slowly starve to death (he refused to live on a feeding tube, and I supported his decision). I sat with my grandma, talked with her, played cards, explained that he wasn’t getting better every time she needed to hear it.

I helped her get ready for his funeral. As sad as it was, I really enjoyed spending the time with her.

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This is Grandma and I on the morning of my grandfather’s funeral.

It was just after he passed that I decided I was done being fat and started this journey. Now, a full 2 years later (yep, totally missed my fitiversary), I find myself working on another afghan as I sit with my grandma.

She spent the last week in the hospital, and there were several times when we thought this would be it. She was discharged today, so she’s not dead yet, but I still worry. At almost 90 years old, the end is a bit inevitable. That said, I want her final times to be enjoyable, comfortable, and happy. She’s in rehab now, and I worry about how well they’ll take care of her, and how much improvement she’ll make.

A month ago, she was using a walker and enjoying assisted living. Now, she can’t even stand up on her own, and her mental state has deteriorated enough to end our card games. She no longer remembers that her husband is dead, and often calls me by the wrong name, but we still laugh, stick out our tongues, and remember the summers I spent working in her grocery store while I crochet. Every stitch counts as time spent with her.

Anyway, it’s kept me busy. I’ve been staying overnight at the hospital, since she wakes up confused and upset in the middle of the night sometimes. I’m happy I can be there for her, but it’s been a long and exhausting week. I’m hoping things get better now that she’s in rehab.

In any case, I’m still running, though my mileage is down a bit. I’m mostly making healthy food choices, though I haven’t been on a scale in a long time, now. I should be heading home this weekend, since I have to be back at school at the start of next week. Who knows what that weigh-in will look like, but I’ll be posting it, either way.

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Quick Travel & Changes

The plan for this week involved trekking through Kentucky (visiting my in-laws) on our way out to Missouri for a big boy scout reunion. Unfortunately, my grandmother’s health took a turn for the worse. This isn’t the end, but I’m worried it may be the beginning of the end. The rest of my family would have to juggle vacations, work schedules, and whatnot to ensure someone is with her the entire time she’s awake, but since it’s still summer break and I’ve already done Disney, Niagara, camping, rafting, etc. I happily volunteered to come spend as much time as necessary with her until I have to return to school the second week of August.

Of course, this meant there were some last minute travel changes for me. All said and done, I spent Monday night in Virginia, Tuesday & Wednesday nights in Kentucky, Thursday night in Missouri, and arrived in Pennsylvania on Friday. To say it’s been a bit of a whirlwind week would be putting it mildly.

My diet has been, well, ugly. For my daily goal review each night I just keep checking the “keep trying” box (instead of the “met” or “exceeded” boxes). At least I am tracking all of my eating!

I’ve also managed to keep up the running, though I’ll “only” hit 20-22 miles this week (normally I’d be celebrating that, but after last week’s 27 miles… whatever).

Running in the miserable heat and unending flat, sun-soaked misery of the mid-west really reminded me just how much I love my mountains! I’ll take shaded, windy hills over miles of corn any day!

An actual official weigh – in!

It’s been a while, but I did remember to take a picture this morning – of a 3.4 lb loss, so less! Scale 17 July 2017

Tracking everything I eat is really the key for me, and I’m mostly happy with how things went this week. That said, I’ve been a bit concerned about how/if I’ll continue tracking while traveling. Then I had one of those “I’m a moron” palm-to-forehead moments when it dawned on me, that I switched to paper tracking to keep up with my running – perhaps I should do the same with my eating… duh!

Paper Journals

The Training Journal is awesome for keeping track of my runs. It lets me look at a whole week across two pages, but still gives me enough room to make notes about my runs, my pace, how I felt, and any cross training I did, Weekly Runs

At the end of each week, I total my mileage and add it to my running total mileage for this training cycle. (I’m very excited to say that I ran 27.1 miles this week!!)Daily Runs

When I went looking for a food journal, I wanted something similar. A lot of the ones I found wanted me to record carbs, sugar, protein, fiber, sodium, etc for everything, and that’s just WAY too much for me!! Eventually I found this journal, and I’m really excited about it!Daily Food

It allows me to pick any two things to focus on (calories, sugar, fiber, etc) and I just record that information. I can change my focus as needed. The book also has me record my hunger and fullness levels before and after I eat, and asks me to set daily and weekly goals. It even prompts me to evaluate how well I met those goals. These are some of the big things I want to work on.

I did okay this past week, but a lot of it was because I ran so much. My activity level allowed me to get away with eating ice cream (A LOT of ice cream). I don’t want to “have” to run 27 miles to make up for a crappy diet. I want to eat healthy! (or at least healthier)

This journal also has a weekly wrap-up. It prompts me to reflect on what went well and consider the challenges I faced.

Overall, I’m hoping to improve the quality of diet while still keeping loose track of calories to ensure I stay on track. For this week, I’m just going to record calories, but my goal will be to only eat 5 sweets over the course of the week (this past week, I had at least 1 sweet every day, so… baby steps!)Weekly Food

Big Update pt 2 – Summer Travel

Since becoming a runner, one of my biggest motivators is using my runs to explore new places. I run through wherever we are staying to learn my way round (and discover easy access to hidden trails!), and sometimes I even run trails to see what I can discover. I never worry about pace and pay only a little attention to my distance. Mostly, I run for the adventure, and it’s amazing what I find!

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We’ve see lots of waterfalls this summer, and it all started with this one in Shenandoah National Park. We hiked down to the base of the falls and enjoyed a picnic lunch on the flat rocks at the bottom.

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Chef Mickey’s was one of the best parts of Disney! We got to meet Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, and Donald. AND the food was AMAZING!

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These are almost more art than dessert, but they tasted delicious, too! We got one of each and shared them all.

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This was our camp set-up at Niagara. The campground had almost no shade, but temps weren’t too bad.

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This is Cucumber Falls found in Ohiopyle State Park in PA. It was cool, because there were a ton of rocks to climb around on at the bottom of the falls. Unfortunately, we ended up hiking back to camp in an afternoon downpour. The upside was that it cooled us off.

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The Tree of Life, found in Animal Kingdom, was really cool. There are all kinds of “carvings” in the trunk of the tree, and the whole thing looks completely real – even though it’s actually made of concrete!

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Animal Kingdom had DinoLand where kinds could dig for fossils, and Little Man LOVED it! It was a great afternoon break in the shade.

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My parents got a character experience for my son where he got to be a rebel spy. He dressed as an imperial officer and snuck aboard the “Star Tours” ride. He loved it!

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I was surprised to discover that it’s actually really hard to get a picture of Horseshoe Falls in Niagara because of all of the mist! This was the best we could do.

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The rainbows were amazing, and riding The Maid of the Mist into the middle of Horseshoe Falls was one of the coolest parts of our time in Niagara Falls!

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I was shocked to learn that Niagara Falls has moved 7 miles upriver has the water erodes the rocks! Of course, it’s taken 12,000 years, but still!

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My most interesting run so far this summer has been along the Niagara Gorge Rim Trail. It was one of my slowest runs of the summer, because I was so in awe of the views!

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Niagara Gorge has tons of swirling whirl pools due to the widening and narrowing of the river. They were -fun to see as I ran the trail along the rim of the gorge.

It has been an amazing summer already, and we leave again next week!

As much as I’m unhappy with my weight right now, I’m not willing to focus on it too much – I just have so many better things to do! I am, however, tracking everything right now, and I’m working on getting back to some easy healthy habits that I had let fall by the wayside these last few months.

I’ll weigh-in again (and hopefully remember to take a picture) at the start of next week and again when we return from this next trip. It’s my goal to lose weight this week and not gain any back while we travel!

Big Update pt 1 – weight & running

So far this summer, we’ve camped at Shenandoah National Park, spent a few days at a nearby state park, enjoyed a week in Disney World, camped at Niagara Falls, and introduced little man to white water rafting while camping with some old friend at a Pennsylvania state park.

We’ve not been home for more than 5 days at a stretch, but that changes this week! We are home for a whole 8 days!

I’ll post more about our travels tomorrow. For today, I want to focus on my weight and running. There is big news on both fronts!

Sadly, the big news about my weight is that the number is, well… BIG! When we got home from this last trip, I stepped on the scale and saw “166” lbs!! EEEAAACCCKKKK!!!! My weight has been up and down as we’ve traveled, but it’s never been higher than 162-ish. 166 scares the crap out of me! Last fall, I’d been as low as 152-ish, so this is almost a 15 lb gain. That’s not small potatoes, and I’m feeling it. My clothes are tight, my running is slow, and I feel fat.

I’ve committed to tracking every bite for the 8 days we are home, but tracking while traveling is tough, and we have a lot more traveling to do this summer! I honestly don’t have a great plan about the weight gain right now. I know I need to get it under control, but my current focus is elsewhere. For now, I’m going to try to make better choices, track for the next 8 days, and hope for the best. Ugh!

Thankfully, the big news about my running is more positive. My mileage is up – WAY up! I’m hitting about 25 miles/ week most weeks, now. They aren’t fast miles, but I’m doing them, and they feel good! Right now, my long runs are 7 or 8 miles, but I’m running 4-6 days a week. Sometimes (like today) my run is just 2 miles. July 2017 runs

I’ve also started using a paper journal to track my runs, in addition to Smashrun. When we camp, I don’t have internet to upload my runs, and my watch only stores 5 activities. The paper journal makes a nice back-up to ensure I have my data even if my watch loses it. Then I can manually enter it on Smashrun.

My next half marathon is October 1st, so I’m still very early in the training. I really want to at least get close to 2:10 (under 10 min/mile), but unless I can drop these 15 lbs, that will continue to be a pipe dream. Again, we’ll see what happens.

While the heat of summer does suck, I have a bit of an advantage where I live. Since we are up in the mountains, in the middle of nowhere, it cools down every night (at least into the lower 60’s), and it usually takes a few hours to warm up. I’m finding that the heat is manageable, so long as I’m done with my run around 10 am or so. Running while camping is also nice, since I get to explore new places. Since we’ve mostly traveled north, the temps haven’t been too bad.

Busy, busy

I just wanted to post a quick update. I’ve not been posting for a few reasons, but mostly because I just haven’t been willing to make the time to sit down and write.

The end of the school year went well, and we immediately took off camping at a new state park. It was awesome, and we’re planning to return in August to explore the area more.

After just a few days at home, we were off to Disney. I was a bit under-excited about that trip. I hate crowds and heat, and well… Disney is mostly crowds and heat. Luckily, Fastpass has really improved the park experience and the whole week was a million times better than I could have ever dreamed!!!

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We’re now packing up to head to Niagra Falls, which will be immediately followed by us joining old friends for a rafting/camping trip through western Pennsylvania.

This week also marked the official start of training for my next half marathon (scheduled for Oct 1). I ran 24 miles last week, and 15 the week before (which was the week we were in Disney, so I was thrilled with 15 miles!) I’m loosely trying for 20-ish miles per week the whole month of July, so we’ll see how it goes.

I’ve not been tracking my eating. It’s just not something I’m interested in doing right now. I am still keeping an eye on my weight, though. When I returned from Disney, I was up to 161, but I’m already back to 159.1 lbs. My goal is to start the 2017-2018 school year in the mid-150’s. Since that’s exactly where I was at the start of last school year, I’ll count that as a successful year of maintenance.

Hope all of you are having a fun summer!

I will stop in and update now and then.

Day 11 – Overeating

I think I’m a bit dehydrated. I don’t think I ever really recovered from the run (and drinking a whole bottle of wine Sat. night probably didn’t help).

In any case, my lips are chapped, my skin is dry, and I am HUNGRY. One of the things I’ve learned these past couple years, is that I feel like a bottomless pit of hunger if I’m not well-hydrated.

I tried not to go nuts with it tonight, and I’m trying to drink lots of water.

Hopefully, tomorrow will be better.Day 11

Day 10 – My first black toenail!

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I have my first black toenail!

I really can’t decide if I am more proud, concerned, scared, or pained by it. I’m reserving the right to change my opinion on a day-by-day basis.

Of course, today meant traveling back home, so my eating wasn’t great. I’m happy that I tracked every bite. It would have been worse had I not be tracking diligently. It is what it is. Tomorrow is back to teaching!Day 10

Day 9 – Running, racing, tracking (or not)

This morning started with a delay. Our 7:30 start was moved to 8 – no biggie.

At 7:42 I was in my corral, ready to go… when we were told to seek shelter (and delayed to 8:30). So I huddled with hundreds of other runner under an awning.

At 8:10-ish the skies were starting to clear and all of us started moving back toward the corrals… when they announced there was still a weather threat and delayed us to 9 am.

I’m glad they were looking out for everyone’s safety, and their alerts were clearly conveyed and widely dispersed – even without a phone on me, I had no trouble keeping up with what was going on.

The issue was…

By the time I STARTED the race, it had been 4 hours since I’d eaten, and I finished my 13+ miles almost 7 hours AFTER my last meal (and this was true for most of us – it was a big topic of conversation during all of the delays!).

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I’ve now done TWO half marathons!

Even with all of the adventures, I somehow pulled off a 2hr 29 min 51 sec finish! It was BRUTALLY hard. All of the limited running and training problems, combined with the weather made for a VERY tough run, but I did it!!!

After a hot bath, some good food, and a quick nap, I got all dressed up for the spring opener at Churchill Downs. My parents get tickets every year, and it was a blast! I LOVED seeing all of the pretty dresses and beautiful hats!

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Of course, I got to wear my own awesome hat!

Since I’d run the minimarathon this morning, and this evening was such a special treat, I chose not to track my eating today. I still kept loose track of what I was consuming, so that I didn’t go totally overboard, but I didn’t stress over it.

I’ll be back to full tracking tomorrow!

Day 7 – Weigh-in

27 Apr 2017

Well, I’m back to the 150’s, but just barely.

Day 7

Today was decidedly NOT green, but considering I drove all evening instead of running, I’m good with it!

I’ve taught all day. I’ve driven all evening, and now I’m going to sleep!