The Daily EO: May 31st, 2012

This is the last time I have to write “May” – at least for another year.  My idea to purge my superstitious feelings about May is a good one, but I think that I will have to repeat and repeat many years over to truly eliminate my feelings about it.  But for a first effort, I am feeling that I did okay.

One of the Maintenance May items was continuing our work from Fit April.  And here are my results:

I am happy with the results – considering that I continued to enjoy life while eating right and exercising most of the time.  I am down 13 pounds since I started and I am happy with that.  But really pisses me off?  Emile’s results are what pisses me off:

Seriously?  He lost 30 pounds in 2 months.  No real hiccups – just a smooth transition.  Almost daily runs and some food denials, but nonetheless, he just dropped 30 pounds like it was nothing.  And if it was nothing, why didn’t he do it before?  Honestly, it seems unfair that men can fluctuate so easily.  He looks and feels great.  And if I don’t watch my back, he is going to overtake me – although he is going to start getting that gaunt look.  And both are just wrong.

We have a run next weekend that we are both hoping to again best our personal bests.  We’ll have to see.

 May 31st, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:   May in my rearview.

The Daily EO: May 27th, 2012

If you need the will to run (or to keep running), try running in May in Muskoka 8:30 pm at night on a rural road.

May 27th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  Running the furthest and fastest I’ve ever done to save my blood for me instead of the blood suckers who live in the forest awaiting sundown.

Maintenance May Day 27:
Signed up for a CSA share even though I have no idea what or where will be happening this summer.

The Daily EO: May 22nd, 2012

There are some days that I amaze myself!  But this can have unintended consequences.

I made a Barbeque Chicken Caesar Salad for dinner tonight.  It was one of the best caesars I have ever made.  The dressing was creamy, rich, garlicy and lemony, the croutons crunchy and delicious and the chicken tender and sweet..   The whole plate – and that was 2-3 cups of greens and a chicken breast each – was under 400 calories – with only 12 grams of fat, 9 grams of fibre and 40 grams of protein.  And how did I accomplish this miraculous feat?  The romaine was bumped by spinach (more iron my starving red blood cells), the croutons replaced by roasted chickpeas and the dressing base was soft silken tofu.   Yes!  Can you believe it?  I replaced the egg and the usual 1/2 cup or so of olive oil with TOFU!  That is crazy, crazy stuff, people!

And because I don’t want my inbox flooded with requests for the recipe, here you go:

Delicious and Healthy Caesar Dressing (unless you are allergic to soy, then delicious but not healthy)
1 cup soft silken tofu
2 cloves of garlic (or more because garlic is good!)
2 tbsp of Dijon or other spicy mustard
1 tsp olive oil (just a touch for consistency’s sake)
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce (vegetarian if you swing that way)
2 oz of grated/shredded parmesan cheese, I used the Kraft stuff, but you could use the good stuff or not (you could replace this with nutritional yeast flakes I suppose if you were a vegan, but it will lose that sharp and sour parmesan taste, but if you’re a vegan, you already gave that up ages ago)
1.5 tsp of wine vinegar (I used red because that is what I had)
salt and pepper
2-4 tbsp of lemon juice (I used the lemon juice to adjust the thickness to my liking)

Blend all the ingredients except lemon juice in food processor until smooth.  Then add enough lemon juice to taste.  You can also add more olive oil if gets lemony enough without thinning to your liking.  I found I only used 1/3 of this batch to coat about 5 cups of spinach and the chickpeas, so toss to your liking and the rest can be saved for another day.

Here is a link to the chickpea roasting method.  I took the time to remove all the chickpea skins (warning – only undertake if you need some quiet contemplation time, and you like chickpea-y fingers) .  I’ve done it both ways (skin and skinless), and I don’t think it really makes that big of a difference.  But I had some time today. Please note, you want to roast them until they are crisp, so they stay crisp in the salad.  As I was making a caesar, I used garlic, olive oil and italian seasoning as my spices of choice.  I still want to try a salt and vinegar version one day.

So, cook your chicken in some barbeque sauce and pour over your tossed salad while still warm, that is the best!  It wilts the top spinach pieces a bit (which incidentally helps our body digest iron from spinach more readily).

I know!  I know!  It is amazing that I am not cooking for a living!  Thank you for noticing.

Unintended side effect of healthy dinner:  The next day Emile weighted in at 160.2 lbs.  Although I still weigh less than him, the possibility of his number beginning with a “1-5” is disconcerting to me.  I am going to start sneaking in calories into every meal I make for him.  “Here’s your turkey sandwich, dear, enjoy that low-fat mayo I put on it.  It looks weird because it is low-fat, not because it is coconut oil.”  I want him healthy, but I don’t want him lighter than me.  Damn men and their metabolisms.

May 22, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:   Soft Silken Tofu, Hello!

Maintenance May Day 22:
Feeling no guilt at all for missing my friend Lisa’s birthday on May 21st.  It’s our “thing” afterall.  I might wish her a good day come June.  (soul, friendship)
Baking two batches of vegan brownies and not eating a single brownie.  (body)  Let’s not talk about the chocolate chip sampling.
Not killing the cat when he stepped in white paint I left out and walked all around the house (carpeted stairs and all).  (Kindness to animals)
Phone interview with company.  (career)

The Daily EO: May 12th, 2012

Alcohol is poison. It takes a large dose to kill us but nonetheless it is poisonous. It slows your reactions, impairs our judgement, affects our metabolism and pushes our liver to process out the toxins.  But yet, we wrap it up in fancy bottles and talk about strawberry undertones and food pairings.

The detrimental effects of processing alcohol on my body was obvious than when I ran Saturday morning. (see how committed we are?)  After consuming about 10 ozs of wine on Friday with delicious food pairings, I ate a healthy, low-calorie healthy dinner and went to bed at a reasonable time.  We drove to an area of vineyards near Emile’s parent’s house (read: nice and flat) and started out.   The flatness of the area had that dessert oasis effect where things seem much closer than they are.  I ran and I ran and I ran and when I finally made it to my goal – a cross street – I checked my GPS and found I had run . . . . . 7/10 kms.  Huh?  This is not possible!  And the worse part?  The car was now .7 kms away.

I managed to sprint, stumble, and drag myself 3.3 kms, but it wasn’t gazelle-like nor inspiring.  Emile, of course, dug deep and managed to get in 5.0 kms.  I walked another 1 km and collapsed by the car.

This is how I know alcohol is poison.  Because it couldn’t be my will that is weak.

May 12th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  Visiting 18 Niagara-on-the-Lake wineries today despite the first-hand knowledge of the impacts of alcohol on my body.  Food, wine, summer weather, and good company.  Who cares what tomorrow brings?

Maintenance May Day 12:
A day with Emile’s parents – a nice break for two extremely hard-working people (Family)
Baked a vegan chocolate cake that the who family could eat (vegan due to allergies) for my sister-in-law’s birthday on Sunday.  (Body/Connection)
Did not steal extra Bergamont Cupcakes at the final winery of the day despite an overwhelming desire of the delicious orange frosting and moist interior despite the host’s back being turned.  (Soul)

 

The Daily EO: May 8th, 2012

Oh my God.  If you have more oxygen moving around your body, you can run further.  This may seem elementary to you, and it is elementary to me.  But sometimes it just needs proving.  My body was like a busy Dim Sum restaurant’s conveyor belt – a bunch of empty plates and little food.

I told you about my iron issue a week or so ago.  And for over a week now I have taken 54 mg of iron* with Vitamin C and B12 a day in addition to my usual diet.  I hit the track today awaiting my old friend “the stitch” to return about the 1.0 km mark like it usually does.   Nope.   Not at 1.2.  Not at 1.4.  A twinge at 1.6.  And back again at 1.8.   Hmmmm.  This is strange.   Have I done anything different?  No, less sleep than I should have.  Less breakfast than I should have.  So, I was not set-up for a good run.  Yet, for the first time since the Chocolate Race, I was able to run 1.8 km without stopping.  I tried the same thing today and found the same result – 2.0 km without stopping.  And a little stitch at that point, but nothing too bothersome.

It’s a Miracle!  I’m cured!  Now if my stupid calves/shins would stop complaining all the time we’d be in business.

May 8th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  Being able to start to the push to build my endurance to 5 km.  Hooray! . . . . . . . . Wait, if I am cured, I have no excuse to stop running.  Dammit.

*I will be dropping my intake once I get my levels to normal.


Maintenance May Day 8:

Visited the Trinity United Church to watch a movie about Dr. Burzynski and his fight for his seemingly effective cancer treatment to be accepted by the general medical community.  Definitely one side documentary.  Definitely where you hang out on Tuesday nights in Huntsville if you are a bit crazy.  Definitely one of those nights where you wish your youthful good looks didn’t stand out so much in the blue hair forest.  Definitely made us talk on the drive home.  Definitely going to the next movie next Tuesday night – after all the crazies are the most fun.  (knowledge)

Completed a personality test as a pre-screen for an interview.  Hopefully, I have a personality.  (career)

 

The Daily EO: May 6th, 2012

Part of the learning I had from the dietician we visited last week was to try to do all of your exercise at one time in the day.  Your body starts off by burning carbohydrates, then moves on to burning fat after that.  If you do little spurts, you probably will not burn as much fat if you completed it all at a time.  This caused my husband – who just last week nodded his head in agreement of my assessment of endurance runners as crazy – to increase his running distance to 10K.    But both Saturday and Sunday, he ran 10K (only walking a couple of laps).   Now I think he is crazy too.

This lead me to change the way that I do exercise too.  Often, I would do two or three bouts of working out in a day as I accomplished other things.  Sunday, I completed 66 minutes of cardio/strength training followed directly by a 3K run.  This was not fun, but I’ll try it to see if it garners better results for me.

I choose to run on a side road out here near my house.  The local tracks are great, but the continuous round and round – I think I am going to tip over sometimes.  And I lose count.  (How hard is it to count to 12.5 or 25?)  No only that – it was a nice spring day out – people were out.  When I run with other people around, I don’t want them to see me stop or collapse.  So I push myself to go a bit further around the bend until the people are out of sight.  It is effective.

I do not trust dogs.  Several of you have dogs and you know that I rarely touch them (they smell) and I don’t like to be close to them.  I think it is because I could be seriously injured or killed by a dog.  I know, I know . ..  you will all say to me. . . “Buttons here is so gentle, so well trained”, but the fact remains if Buttons decided to use his teeth and weight to attack me, I would be maimed.  My cat often decides to attack me and it is generally futile – he doesn’t have the strength to be able to seriously injure me beyond a deadly case of cat scratch fever.    I was assaulted by a Doberman while swimming in Fairy River a couple of years ago.  He wanted to play, but in water over my head he was much too strong for me.  I was badly scratched on my legs and I was certain I was going to drown.    The dog was not on a leash nor was he trained well enough to return to his owner when called.  (Please note, I did not engage this dog in any way except being in the same beach area.)  That was one of the most terrifying events of my life.

I am not writing this to say that dogs are evil, or dogs should be destroyed, but I do believe that a dog must be trained and kept on a leash (if not at home).  For the dog’s safety as well as mine.  Bottom line: if my cat wanted to kill me, he’d probably have to sneak into my bed and put arsenic in my mouth.  If a dog wanted to kill me, most wouldn’t need arsenic.

So, I am nervous around dogs – big and small (they are all dogs).  While I ran down the street, I passed a house where everyone was gathered at the foot of the driveway in lawn chairs.  Why do people sit in the front of their property like that?  When I ran by, all FOUR of their dogs started chasing me and barking at me.  They did not return home when their owners called them.  It was frightening, and I burned some more fat by bumping up the pace trying to outrun their territory.

May 6th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:   Running down the street with four tiny little yappy dogs (mini yorkshire terriers?) barking their hearts out at me.  I was frightened and felt ridiculous about feeling frightened.  Afterall, wearing other clothes I could have been an heiress with my accessory dogs on Rodeo Drive.

Maintenance May Day 6:
Agreed to have my résumé presented to another employer by a recruiter.  (Career)

The Daily EO: May 4th, 2012

I received my exam results today.  I didn’t study much, although did a lot of cramming for it in April.  It was was kind of like an IQ test – a lot of it depended on my DNA and upbringing.  But as I listened to the exam results, I felt relief, then pride.  After all, didn’t I just do swimmingly?

When I run, I start finding it difficult around the 1 km mark.  I have often wondered, “Do other people have the same problems and they are mentally strong enough to will their bodies to carry on?”  Or is there something wrong with me?  Am I just not built for running?  Between pain in my calves and my lungs feeling like they are not getting enough oxygen, I then think that people who are endurance runners are completely crazy and the mentally strongest people on earth.  But maybe they have better bodies than me?

For those of you who have followed a Couch to 5K officially program, you know they usually start you out on something like walk 1 minute, run 5 minutes, walk 1 minute etc.   When I first saw these instructions, I thought “Who can run 5 minutes?”.  Really?  There are people who are sitting on the couch who can just get up and run 5 minutes?  Wow, I am quite unfit.

But back to acing my exam – except for 1 aspect.  Everything else – cholesterol, triglycerides, vitamins, platelets, White Blood Cell Count, Albumin, Creatinine, CK, Glucose Serum Fasting, you name it – exactly where it should be!  My blood pressure was 85/40.  Alas, the iron ruined my perfect result.  My ferritin levels are 12: “Iron Deficient”.  (the lowest category on the scale).  Interestingly, iron carries oxygen on the red blood cells to the muscles in the body – hmmm.

Did you know that Iron absorption in the body is hindered by some items?  Polyphenols in tea; Phytate in legumes, soybeans and whole grains; Oxalate in spinach, chard, kale, and sweet potatoes; vegetable proteins and calcium?  Um, is that not my diet right now?  I live on tea, I always eat whole grains, I eschew white rice for quinoa, I eat kale and spinach in smoothies, etc?  And these things – though required and good for me too – actually help to block iron absorption?  No wonder there are so many diet books out there – this stuff is complicated.

My calf pain also may have a cause – Chromic Exertional Compartment Syndrome (CECS).  Doesn’t that sound terrible?  It basically means that when your muscles expand during exercise they are trying to expand beyond the “muscle compartment”.  As you can imagine, this causes pain.  But we’ll see about that – I am going to get a referral to a sports doctor to confirm.

May 4th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  It’s not my fault!  I am mentally strong!  It’s the iron and the potential CECS!  I knew it!

Maintenance May Day 4:
Visit to the Nurse Practitioner (NPs in Canada can do anything a doctor can except prescribe narcotics) for a full review of my health.  And they actually spend time talking to you. And the appointments start on time. (body)
Consultation with a Registered Dietician with Emile to review our diets and fitness regimes. (body)
Updated my immunizations for Tetanus, Whooping Cough and Diphtheria. (body)
Visit to the spa to get a pedicure.  Hello beautiful blue toes! (body).

PS  Yes, I have already added a iron supplement to my vitamin intake.

The Daily EO: April 30th, 2012 (Fit April Results)

Any opportunity to catalogue my life, efforts and results is interesting to me.  To be able to take the chaos of life reduce it to a graph or chart makes me feel good – I have it under control.   So, this is bliss for me – I’ve been waiting to write this particular entry for weeks.

It was 5 weeks ago that I decided that I needed to deal with my Shrunken Shorts Syndrome and my husband needed to look at his Ski Jump Shirt diagnosis.  We committed ourselves to a month of exercise, healthy restricted calories and a 5K race at the end of it.  I’ll admit, we cheated a bit – we started in the last week of March.  We did consider having a binge instead, but we thought it would be too hard of a transition – and my pants were already too tight.  It became a common sight to see me in workout clothes and weighting out food on our scale.

I had challenges – a bag of marshmallows disappeared quickly at a campfire one night (and even the raw ones on subsequent days).  The Kitchener Food Show dessert samples slowed things.  Emile faced and won numerous food challenges at work – functions with chef made cookies, pizza and butter tarts.  There were days I just wanted to eat macaroni and cheese and be done with it.  And sometimes we indulged, other times we held out.  And we’re feeling pretty proud of ourselves.

So, if you want to a month of fitness (that will hopefully lead to another), here is my advice:

1.  Be obsessive about it – every calorie gets logged, every minute of exercise, and every day you weight yourself (with a digital scale).  Plan your days around food and exercise
2.  Brag about it – tell everyone you know this is what you are doing, so you have to deal with social shame if you don’t follow through
3. Create an outside force  – sign up for a class, a race, or target a wedding, or something to keep you focused for the short-term until your results are motivation enough.
4.  Find someone more committed than you are to share the challenge – my husband fit the bill perfectly
5.  Compete only with yourself.  You’ll always find someone healthy, fitter, eating more wheatgrass, but who cares about them.  This is about you!

And here is what we did in Fit April:

Susan Emile
Calories Consumed 31995 24516
Calories Burned 9008 9572
Distance Moved (km) 93.8 112.2
Fitness Minutes 1012 888

 

 April 30th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:

Susan Loss: 10.2 lbs (Goal!)       Emile Loss: 21.2 lbs (What the hell?)

Susan's Results

 

Emile Results

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Daily EO: April 29th, 2012

The morning finally arrived.  Our race.  Our chocolate race.  We were up at 8:00 to dress and have a good solid breakfast to power ourselves through 5K.  Instead of taking the shuttle, we drove to Port Dalhousie ourselves and found parking on a nearby street.  The day was one of those perfect days – sunny but crisp, cool but the potential for a wonderfully warm afternoon.  We were prepared – a new firm sports bra (for me – nice to have the girls strapped in tight) and new long running pants for Emile (for those turkey legs of his).  A good night rest, a solid breakfast, no alcohol, and a month+ of training.

Could we make our goals of a personal best?  Considering the chocolate pits stations on the course?  Hills? People?

Goals:  Emile:  34:00 Minutes     Susan:  38:00 Minutes  These goals are based on our best average times on an indoor track – no hills, no crowds, no chocolate and controlled climate.

The chocolate race course is a an out and back one meaning you run 2.5 kms and then loop back to finish where you started.  I have never run more than 1.5 kms without stopping, Emile has consistently been able to run 5 km only stopping for a water break each km.   We agreed we would not wait for each other (like I’d be doing any of the waiting!), but simply run the best race that we could.  As we were separated, I could not tell you what Emile’s strategy was, but mine was to just keep going.   I had a target to run from the start until about the 1.75 km mark where a very steep hill marked the entrance into Westcliffe park – and I made it.   At the 2.25 km mark, I had some Gatorade and a chocolate dipped marshmallow and strawberry on a stick.  Hello, yum!

At the 3 km mark, my old friend the stitch acted up, and I had to walk and stretch a bit, but I kept going as fast as I could.   At 3.5 km, I thought I was done, but I didn’t like other people passing me, so I found something to keep going,

And finally, seeing that finish line across the parking lot and Emile waiting for me, I managed to dig deep, ignore my shins, ignore my lungs, and ignore my stitch and ran as fast as I could.

I blog to you about many EOs – mundane, silly, ironic, funny, but today’s EO is one of the most emotional ones yet for me.  When I crossed that finish line, tears – and not from the wind – came to my eyes.  I am so proud of myself!  So proud that I ran 90% of the race.  So proud that I could turn such a difficult winter into an accomplishment.  We set our goals modestly, and trained for this race and we set fair goals based on previous results.

2 chocolate croissants, 1 chocolate milk, 4 truffles, 1 brownie and 1 chocolate martini (yeah, a real one) each awaited our celebration at the end of the race.  Why are more races not like this?

April 29th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:

Emile Results:
Time: 29:55 (personal best, and -4:05 from target)
Overall Finish:  58th (!!)
Category Finish: 6th (OMG!!!)

Susan Results:
Time:  34:25 (personal best and -3:35 from target)
Overall Finish:  126th
Category Finish:  32nd (!!)

We Run for Chocolate! (updated with official timing)