Monday, March 25, 2013

Training Progress Update

I am sad to say that I officially didn’t start my training until March 11th, not the 4th, like I had originally planned (the day I bought the shoes). And in those 2 weeks, I have only completed the first 2 days of the Couch to 5K Training.

The main positive thing is that I have at least started. I have the shoes, I have done runs, and I have officially signed up for the 5K! And although I haven’t been doing the runs on the program, I have at least been taking 2 separate 10-15 minute breaks during the work day (one before and one after lunch) to do some speed walking in my office basement. It’s air conditioned and there’s usually no one else down there. So at least I get some exercise, and I earn a Point each time. Plus, it breaks up sitting down at a desk all day. And if I have an hour lunch, I walk for the last 20-30 minutes of it.

So it’s not all bad - I am raising my heart rate 2-3 times a day by speed-walking around for 10 minutes (sometimes I add an exercise to lunch, if I am done eating). And I burn around 50-60 calories each time. I’ve been wearing my running shoes when I do that, so I can get used to being in them, and hopefully my leg and feet muscles get used to them as well. (Plus, walking in my work shoes could really kill me!!) I can usually get my heart rate up from about 90 to around 120-130 during the quick walks, and I can feel the onset of sweating, without actually doing so. I would feel disgusting after lunch if I ran or did an actual workout, so with these walks, I at least get some benefit to it.

I have had a few slip-ups– I do great during the day at work, because I have to structure my eating and walking around my work schedule. I can’t just sit and gorge out on food for an hour if I have a half hour lunch, for example, or overeat if I only brought 2 items in for lunch. And then when I get home, I have a fridge, freezer and cabinets of temptation and possibilities.

But, overall, I’m eating better and exercising more than I was 2 weeks ago, so I can’t be discouraged. I’m doing something, and that’s better than nothing.

Good news update:

- I weighed myself on the morning of the 11th, then the 18th, and again this morning, and even though I haven’t really stuck to the running program, I’m down about 6 lbs from my first weigh in!! I would say being down 2-3 isn’t a big deal because sometimes you can fluxuate that much in a day! But being down 6 means that I’ve lost about 2-3 lbs a week with just diet (even with the cheating!) – imagine what getting back into exercise regularly will do!!!

- Zach and I recently went on a 2 ½ hour hike the first weekend of my training, and I ended up “earning” 8 Weight Watchers activity points! That’s huge!!! That’s like a breakfast or lunch amount of points! We celebrated after at a brewery, but I kept myself to 1 beer, and 2 small chicken BBQ sliders (and perhaps some chips with homemade salsa). But I felt good about it!

- During the hike with Zach, he made a comment to the effect of “I am looking forward to climbing a ton of 14ers with you this summer”. This is very encouraging to me, because he wants to do more active things with me, and that he is planning on taking me on several of those climbs. So I have more motivation to get into and stay in shape!

So, all in all, it’s been an emotional up and down week with all the times I “cheated”, but since I mostly stuck to the program and I’ve seen a little progress, I’m excited to finally buckle down and do it for real and see a BIG improvement!

I follow a trainer on Facebook, and she always posts the best motivational pictures, and I really loved this one (helped me keep somewhat on track last week) -

Monday, March 11, 2013



I haven't run yet.  It's been a week since I got my new shoes, and while I've worn them around the house and out and about, I haven't done any actual running.

I also haven't been eating as well as I'd like.  I do great during the day, and then I get home from work, and it all goes out the window.  (Most likely because I'm at work so I don't have access to as much food as I do at home.)  And then today, I've already had a large coffee with probably too much creamer, and a bagel with cream cheese!  The bagel alone was 10 Weight Watchers Points Plus!!!!  Why didn't I just eat half?? I know better!!

Finally, I was planning on signing up for my 5K on Friday because it was PayDay - and I haven't signed up for it yet.  The deadline to sign up before the price increases is this coming Friday, so I'm ok there, but I'm still waiting to do my budget for the month before I actually sign up.

I am VERY disappointed in myself.  I am showing no self-discipline or self control in any of the areas I really need to - weight, money and training for my 5K.

So tonight - No more excuses.

First thing, I will start my running program.  Then, I will eat a 7 pt or less dinner (because sadly that's all I will have left at this point in the day without going into my extra points for the week).  Finally, I will sit down with my laptop, do my budget and sign up for that 5K.

It's time to make myself be a grown-up.  I don't think I've really been this mad at myself in a long time.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

And so it begins...again...

I’m excited to get started. That's surprising, and not surprising at the same time.  Each time I started training for a new race, I would be very excited and motivated.  Then, when the deadline passed and I was done, I would be relieved. So I expect something similar to happen this time, but since I'm also trying to stick to Weight Watchers again, hopefully I will see more/different results, and maybe stick to running again, for good!

Today is the official start day of my training. I will be starting out with my old running shoes, and on a treadmill, to start to get my body used to running again. I work with a guy, Shawn, who managed a Sports Authority store and who knows a great deal about sports and athletic equipment, and he told me that my new shoes are really meant to make you feel like you are running barefoot, so the first few times people run in them, their feet REALLY hurt. It is meant to use and work foot muscles people hardly ever use, and it usually takes people some time to get used to. He suggested I wear them around for a few days to start to get used to them, so I will wear them around my apartment, and possibly out running errands, etc.

Since I’m definitely not prepared to start running “barefoot”, let alone run at all (since it’s been a year and a half!), I plan on starting training with my old running shoes to slowly let my feet and my body get used to running again. Then, by the time I start to get familiar with running again, I will switch to the Merrell’s and hopefully it will be less of a drastic adjustment than if I had just started in them. Yea, hopefully…

Shawn also mentioned that you do not want to run literally barefoot in the Merrell’s Barefoot shoes, because you will quickly wear down the muscles and bones on the bottom of your foot. He suggested some kind of athletic sock with a small amount of padding in it, avoiding any cotton ones, if possible. I recently got some socks with the support padding in them, but they might just be cotton – that would mean that the more I run and the more my feet sweat, the soggier and more uncomfortable they might become. Fortunately, I don’t think it will be that unbearable for the first few times, and he said he might be able to get me some “free samples” from his old job for me!! That would be really nice!

Friday is PayDay, so I plan on officially registering for the Glow Run on Friday. Then there’s really no turning back!! I will have to start looking through my clothes and even discount clothing stores to see if I can find some clothes that will help me “glow” even more during the race! Fortunately, I have just under 2 months to search, so that’s plenty of time to find something cute!

I am going to try to run everyday. I am following the Couch to 5K program again, and they recommend resting between a few of the runs to allow time for the body to recover. However, it’s a 9 week program, and they usually suggest taking a week or two after to run the full 5K length, before doing a race. I have less than 9 weeks to get ready – I can’t do that! So I will do my best to run every day, knowing that there might be a day or two in between where I won’t be able to for whatever reason, and then I should be on track for the run April 27th. My friend, Dawn, who will be doing the race with me, told me that this one really is more of a “Fun Run”, and most people will be walking or just having a good time for the most part anyway, so there shouldn’t be pressure to run this entire race – I should just let it be a good way to ease back into running.

I plan on using the treadmill during the weekday runs, since it’s very convenient (within walking distance!) and that will help with my work schedule and any personal events. Then, on the weekends, when I will have a little more time to allow for transportation and getting ready for any personal events, like showering after, I will do my best to run outside. Parks, trails, maybe even around my parent’s neighborhood, where I used to run. The shoes I got are apparently really great on trails, and I really should take advantage of the great scenery where I am, so I really feel I should do them good and run on a few trails now and then!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Back in Shape!!

I’ve seriously been thinking about getting back to running – I’m definitely out of shape, and back where I weighed before I did Weight Watchers around 2010. I lost 22 pounds on the program, and I felt and looked much better than I do now. I could blame it on breaking up with a terrible ex-boyfriend and meeting a new guy and putting on the new relationship pounds over the past 2-3 years. But, I’ve always heard that there’s nothing to blame but myself. I knew I liked how I looked and felt about myself and how clothes fit me, and I just stopped.

I do remember how I did at least like having something to do when I had to do a “run” on the Couch to 5K program. Or every time I read an article on Dean Karnazes, I think “I wish I really had that desire to run; people who do it all the time seem to really love it, and I want to have that”. And every time Zach goes ski mountaineering, or skiing, or climbs a 14er, I think “wow I’m just really lazy. I don’t have anything like that. I want something like that”.

And running, I can do. I've done it before, and I’m still proud of it. So why not do it again?

Not that my life isn’t going well with a great boyfriend, a place to live, and a new job, but I really feel like I need something to make me feel good about myself again. Everyone seems to have their “thing”… And I don’t have one. Not to mention, my last home was in a flat neighborhood – so why didn’t I run there? And even though my apartment complex is in a very hilly neighborhood, they have a workout room with treadmills – why haven’t I run there? And, my new job even has a gym with treadmills – I should run there!!

Color Me Rad” is a run coming up in June that during the 5K, at different points of the race, the runners are pelted with brightly colored powder. It’s very similar to The Color Run which is a race I’ve always wanted to do. I really would like to do it with someone though, or at least have someone there to cheer me on! Zach doesn’t run, and I don’t really know anyone who runs just yet, so I just have to think about it. Plus, I really should be more active and it would be fun to do outdoor activities with him, so it would help me get into shape for climbing some 13ers and 14ers this summer! Which, surprisingly, I’m really looking forward to.

So I posted a request on a friend’s Facebook page to see if she wanted to do the “Color Me Rad” run with me. She was actually the person who initially inspired me to start running – I was doing the employee newsletter, and she had just finished her first marathon! She replied to my post, and instead invited me to do a Glow Run with her at the end of April! That’s barely 2 months away, which seems like a while, but I haven’t done ANY kind of jogging or running since October 2011, so that’s going to be a lot of training. But she is an extremely positive and motivational person, and isn’t taking any of my excuses!

Plus, I got really excited with the exchange I had with her on Facebook, and the Glow Run looks like a lot of fun…and I ran an errand at lunch so now I REALLY have no excuses!!

The only thing left to do is sign up for the run online (before the deadline increases the price!!). And then consider doing the “Color Me Rad” race in June. The first deadline is next Friday, but knowing how long it takes me to make decisions, I won’t make it. And it only goes up $5… so we’ll see.

I am also seriously considering going back on Weight Watchers. It felt really good last time to lose that weight, I already know it works, and I already know it’s going to take 2-3 months to really see some weight loss, and maybe 1 month to start seeing clothes fitting differently. This week I’m giving myself a trial run back on the program, to get back into the rhythm of things. Also, I want to see how it will go with having a new boyfriend, explaining it to him, and especially watching what I’m eating now that we eat out a lot more than I used to. I’m not so open that I would post a before picture just yet – I’d really like to see where the running and eating better get me, and I can post a before and after side by side, so you can really see the difference.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Birthday Weekend 2013

This year’s birthday weekend was a special one for me. A few years back, I was in a pretty bad relationship, and my birthdays during that time were just not special – I wasn’t happy. Last year, I had just started to date Zach, so things were pretty new, and we were still in that stage of “what should we do” in terms of birthdays. He did get me a movie and a card, and we did hang out that night, but he had been skiing all day and was pretty exhausted, so we didn’t go out. He did take me to the Summit at The Broadmoor the next night, and it was an amazing evening of great food and conversation, and it was very memorable!

I just started a new job almost 2 months ago, and my new schedule allows for me to leave at 3 pm every other Friday. I left work early and I was ready to just plop on the couch and catch up on my DVR. I got a call around 6:30 pm from Zach, who had just arrived back home from a day of skiing. I knew he would be gone all day, so I wasn’t counting on doing anything with him, so I was surprisingly (and happily) mistaken! He wasn’t feeling too well, so we ended up taking a trip to the grocery store for some food and medicine for him, and we picked up “The Watch” with Ben Stiller from Redbox. The movie was not as funny as I expected, and I definitely wasn’t ready for aliens, but it wasn’t bad.

Found a great picture of the dress
from JCPenny's website.
Saturday morning was the weekly 8 am breakfast with my parents and their friends at Panera! But this was my special birthday breakfast – and Zach came along!! Since it was my birthday, Zach was happy to oblige and joined us. Afterwards, Zach decided to go home and hopefully sleep off some of his chest congestion, and the rest of us decided to go bowling. Unfortunately, the bowling alley was closed until 3 pm for a private event. Since the alley was next to the mall, we decided to go shopping for a new outfit for me for dinner that night. Zach was taking me out and I wanted to wear something special to celebrate the occasion! Plus, in the year and a half we’ve been together, he’s only seen me in a dress/skirt ONCE, and I felt I owed the guy a little bit of “dress up”! After a few hours of shopping, I had a brand new black dress, shoes and accessories! Success!!

Garden Room in the Tavern (recently rennovated)

I was able to go home and take a nap before getting ready for dinner. Zach arrived around 7:15 pm, and had apparently *possibly* evaded getting a speeding ticket, (Oops!), so he had to apologize for being a little late! Nonetheless, we headed over to The Broadmoor to have dinner in the Tavern!! He remembered that I wanted to see the new renovations that had been completed since I left the hotel back in January, and made the reservations all by himself, without any input from me! 

Sorry for the terrible "cropping" but it was
the best shot I could get!

Dinner was GREAT. Zach extended his arm to me and he “escorted” me as we were walking in and out of the restaurant. The funniest thing was that he couldn’t remember where the restaurant was, so I had to show him! He ordered some oysters for an appetizer with a Stella Artois, and I had a Caesar salad and a Cosmo. For dinner, he ordered a filet minon and I had some amazing salmon. He knew that he really wanted dessert, so we didn’t overdo it on the first two courses. He had a huge piece of chocolate cake and I had espresso ice cream – when they brought the desserts out, they put a candle in my ice cream, and the plate had Happy Birthday written on it in chocolate. So cute!! He ended up trying my ice cream and liking it so much, that he “helped” me eat it! All in all, we were there for over 3 hours, but the entire experience just went too quickly.

The beautiful chandelier that I could NOT
stop looking at!!

During dinner, Zach handed me 2 birthday cards that he instructed me to open in a particular order. The first one was clearly a card for a little girl, but it did talk about having a “sparkling birthday”, and Zach knows how much I love sparkles! He even wrote inside the card that he knew it was for a little girl, but it just “screamed KAREN!!!”. The other card was also sparkly on the cover, but it said “A Day to Celebrate You? I’m in!!” He really thought about me when he picked them out, and he couldn’t decide between the two, so he got both! 

After dinner, we headed back to my apartment and watched a
movie to close out the night. I even pulled out the birthday card he had given me from last year and showed it to him. I think he was really surprised and even a little touched that I had held onto it. I’m a very sentimental person and I like to keep mementos from things I’ve done – especially something like a card that someone took the time to pick out and really think about what to write in it. I now have all my cards out on my kitchen table and it’s a great feeling to walk by and think about each of those people.

Bon Ton Cafe: Great food & breakfast served all day!
Sunday was a great “lazy day”, to quote Zach. We went to breakfast in a cute little place in Old Colorado City, and sat by the window to watch the snow quietly falling down! Watching snow fall is one of my most favorite things in life. Afterwards, another nap (for over 2 hours!!) was definitely called for, and was certainly appreciated. Around 2 pm, Zach wanted to head to REI to look for some new ski pants, and I was happy to tag along. After the mini shopping trip, we headed to Colorado Mountain Brewery so I could appease my small appetite that had been growing since I slept through lunch! It’s one of our favorite places, and now the bartenders there are starting to recognize us as regulars!! We shared an appetizer and had a cup of soup and a beer each – what a great warm meal to enjoy on a cold, snowy day! I finally dropped Zach off at his house and headed home to take care of my dog, do the dishes and watch the Oscars.

All in all, a great, packed-full weekend of activities and food! I wouldn’t change any part of it!!

August - Finally!!

So I just found this old post that I had been working on but never got around to posting!!  (Shame on me!)  This entry chronicles the month of August in 2011 when I was spending a lot of time with a new, good friend of mine who was working as an intern at the Broadmoor and she and I got along great!  I was really going to miss her!!
August 2011 -
This month, my parents spent about 3 weeks in Norway! So I stayed at their house and watched both of their dogs for them, along with my "monster", Bailey. It was a long time, but it just flew by!!
Unfortunately, the start of August was also our intern Susanna’s last week with us! I had such a blast with her over the summer (see my old posts from summer 2011) and we had really bonded and I didn’t want her to go! So we checked some more things off of her Colorado “bucket list” before she left.
One of the things she and her friends wanted to do was to go out dancing downtown! Since I hadn’t been out downtown in a while (for fear of running into Psycho-Ex), I felt that I could suck it up and show them a good time. None of us wanted to worry about getting home at the end of the night, so we had a cab pick us up and take us downtown – this turned out to be an excellent idea!!  (Especially when it came time to head home!) We headed out around 11 pm- yea, 11 pm – how old am I?? I haven’t done that in years!
We had a blast at the first club, and after about an hour or so, we decided to leave and try out another place. Upon reviewing our evening the following morning, we collectively agreed that we didn’t remember much about the second place except it had cow-print booths, and it was our last stop. We definitely had a great time!!
We eventually made our way out to a cab and headed home (I still don’t even know who called the cab…one minute I’m in the bar and the next, in a cab! I’m not even positive if I paid my bar tab! I might have had a receipt somewhere…) It was a nice relief to be in a cab and heading home – until we realized that one of the girls had taken a poster of “The Who” directly off the wall at the bar and walked out!!! How she didn’t get caught, we will never know. Apparently, the poster made it back to Finland in one piece and is still there! Also, I ended up in the front seat next to the driver, since there were 4 of us, and only 3 seats in the back and I'm sure the taxi driver was very glad when he finally dropped us off.
What a crazy night – and there were pictures, but kind of like “The Hangover”, we had to look through the pictures to help ourselves piece a timeline together. I didn’t even get home until 2 am! I haven’t done that in years, and don’t see myself ever doing that again. I'm just not 21 anymore, let's just face it.  The cab driver dropped Susanna and her roomates off at their place, and then dropped me off at mine.  I had left my car and car keys at Susanna's, so at some point the following day, she drove my car back over to my place.  All in all, it was a BLAST!!! It made me that much more sad that Susanna was leaving soon and we’d not be able to have those fun times much longer!
Another item on their list to see before they left was to visit the Golden Bee, an English-pub at The Broadmoor Hotel. They have these really fun Bee stickers that they throw at you, a very yummy cheese/butter dip, amazing ale, and great fish and chips! We headed out to dinner at 5:30 pm (after a proper amount of recovery time from the night before). The fish and chips was the perfect way to end the day and it was just wonderful! We didn’t stay long, only about an hour and a half. I think we were all ready to get home and go to bed early! Also, I was going to drive them to Denver the following morning to spend the night before they flew home, so they also had to finish packing.
I picked up the girls the next morning and we headed to Denver. We arrived around lunchtime and thought it would be fun to eat at the Hard Rock Café in Denver, which ended up being another “bucket list” item for one of the girls, who wanted to visit as many Hard Rock Café’s as possible! It was really fun having a “last meal” with the girls who had become pretty good friends to me in a short amount of time, but it was also a bit bittersweet. After lunch, I took them to their hotel and then I was gone! The entire summer was over! And this was only August 7th!!
After that, August was a pretty slow month. It really died down! While it was finally nice to rest for a while, it was hard to adjust to!
Sorry for the random, VERY late post, but it was a month I do not want to forget!

A Year to Remember

As I head into my last year of my twenties (yikes – where did the time go??), I decided it was time to go back to documenting my life. There things that I would like to remember and they may seem like small details now, but as I was looking back at a diary I kept for a few months last year, I realized that it was a lot of those little details that made me smile the most. Cute moments with friends and family, small, passing comments made by co-workers, and changes in my life kept popping up at me, and it was nice to reminisce of the good times (and the bad) and see what has happened since. Are those moments still significant? Were they as important or bad as I thought they were at the time? It’s interesting to see if and how I’ve changed, even in just one year.

So let’s get started on my “first” 29th birthday, and my 29th year of life!