Eat Drink Run Woman

Musings from a Seattle personal chef with a fitness problem

Archive for May, 2007

Published May 29th, 2007

X marks the spot

Picnic @ wineryWhile a (slightly) pulled hamstring is no fun, it forced me to do something I haven’t done in a while: cross train (or as the cool kids say, X-train). I had become so focused in my marathon training that I had forgotten how much fun (and beneficial) cross training can be. But one look at the pictures of me from last September convinced me to throw on my bathing suit and biking shoes (not at the same time, however).

As I mentioned before, I had become bored with my pool routine. I typically go in the morning when it’s incredibly busy (there’s at least 3-4 people in each lane). I try to mix things up a bit by incorporating some pool running and kickboarding, but it still gets rather monotonous. Although Greenlake is just down the street from us, the weather isn’t conducive to open water swimming until at least the end of June/early July (although I did see a couple of crazy people swimming yesterday; must be training for a tri!).

However, my cook date last Monday was a quick one and I was able to get in a little over 30 minutes of lap swimming in the afternoon. I had the lane to myself for the first half, but another gentleman joined me for the latter half. I’m thinking of entering the Seafair tri in mid-July (which features a 1/2 mile swim), so rather than stopping in between each lap, I kept going — 1 lap (back & forth), stop; 2 laps; stop; 3 laps, stop; and so on, working my way up to 10 laps without stopping. It was quite a refreshing workout!


Published May 21st, 2007

A picture speaks a thousand words

Two years ago I looked like this:

Large Marge

The weight gain was about a decade in the making. In the two years leading up to this picture my weight fluctuated between 195 and 199 pounds. I wasn’t happy, but I also didn’t feel terribly compelled to do much about it. Sure I exercised on occasion: a run here, a cardio class there, but nothing consistent. I kept telling myself if I ever got to 200 pounds then it’d be a real wake-up call (why it wasn’t when I was in the high 190s, I’ll never know). Well, that day came: May 17, 2005.

I not only decided I was FINALLY serious about getting back into shape, I also wanted to document the process. I wasn’t thrilled to be standing in a jog bra and too tight spandex for all the neighborhood to see, but I hoped I’d soon be proud to show off my newly toned body (besides, my darling thought we’d get the best light outside). And unlike the before & after weight loss ads you see in magazines, I wanted to wear the same outfit each time (although I now wish I hadn’t chosen such high-waisted shorts; they not only accentuate my belly pooch, they make it seem like I have the longest, flattest butt on the planet).

We’ve taken 11 triptychs in the past two years; some show a remarkable change from the previous one, others just slight. But one change does stand out: my smile (it grows as my body shrinks).

Here’s the one taken this past Saturday:

Betsy today

Currently my weight is about 163 (just as I thought — the colonoscopy diet didn’t stick). While the weight loss is fantastic, I’m more proud of the fact that in the bottom photo I’m red-faced and sweaty from a 14-mile run, whereas in the top photo I’m red-faced and sweaty from a less-than 3-mile run. The woman in the top photo probably couldn’t WALK 14 miles, even with a cheeseburger dangling in front of her, let alone run it.

There is a downside to documentation, however, and that’s when you realize you’ve gained weight/inches from a previous photo. Here’s what I looked like in September 2006:
Toned Betsy
The change is subtle (it’s probably tougher to see in these smaller images, but in full size in Photoshop, they’re quite apparent). My weight is about the same, however, I was clearly more toned back in September (and more tan!). The photo came at the end of two months of solid training for my first triathlon, which included a TON of pool and open water swimming. I’m not the best swimmer, and the fear of sinking is a great motivator. I also got back on my bike and regularly attended my Pilates class.

Once triathlon season ended I maintained my pool routine for a few months, but then got bored. My Pilates class is in the afternoon, and I find myself making excuses for not going (I’m too tired, the Mariners are playing and I’ll never find a parking spot, my cook date went so long and I’ll never make it in time, yadda yadda yadda). Well, I think the excuses need to stop. An overall body workout clearly has its rewards, and I’m looking forward to being lean and mean again.

So stay tuned for the next triptych (although I think I’ll take it before heading to France; something tells me cheese, baguettes, croissants and copious amounts of wine don’t do much to tone) 🙂

Published May 20th, 2007

Everyone knows it’s windy

When you live in Seattle you must resign yourself to some wacky weather. For example, the first week in April began with snow just north of the city and ended with a record-breaking 80-degree heat wave (which only lasted a day). “Partly sunny, chance of showers” is the most common weather report. But when the sun does shine, I don’t think there’s a more breath-taking place than my fair city.

Anyhoo, we had some glorious weather last week but as usual, things started to turn come the weekend. I had a 14-mile run on the docket, and a quick check of Wunderground confirmed Saturday would be a better choice than today. Although they predicted a chance of showers for yesterday, it wouldn’t be until late afternoon. Today? We woke up to showers and it’s now a full-on downpour.

As is typical for me, I lollygagged on the couch for several hours before putting on my running shoes. My darling is once again injured (his middle toe on his right foot is either broken or severely bruised), so he had to sit this one out. (He SWEARS his recent injuries aren’t simply tactics to get out of running the marathon). Because he wouldn’t be joining me I decided to just start off from our house rather than drive to a trail. Besides, it’s a lot of fun to run through the neighborhood.

By the time I was ready to roll I noticed gusts of wind blowing the tree branches around. *sigh* Fortunately it was rather warm, and since this would be a long, SLOW run, I figured the wind wouldn’t pose much of a problem (I hate having a head wind when I’m trying to run fast). I strapped on my iPod and Garmin and headed out the door.


Published May 19th, 2007

PBs and Jelly

I have this crazy idea that I’d like to qualify for Boston some day (even though I haven’t even run a full marathon yet), but it ain’t gonna happen at my current pace. For runs of 6 miles or shorter I can run an 8:25-8:40 minute/mile pace; my best half marathon pace was 9:22. Should I decide to target the 2009 Boston Marathon, my qualifying time would be 4 hours (plus 59 seconds, of course!). I’m sure with the proper amount of training (which would include lots of speed work), it’s doable. But given how my body has been behaving to a faster pace, it could be a stretch (actually I think stretching is what my body needs right now).

In his book “New Marathon” Jeff Galloway includes a race prediction chart based upon one’s 5K and half marathon finishes. Basically, a 2-hour half marathon finish does NOT mean you can run a full in 4 hours. According to the chart, I should shoot for an approximate 1 hour, 52 minute half marathon time or a 23:50 5K if I’m to do a 4-hour marathon. Yikes!

Given I’m training for my very first marathon, I’m not incorporating any speed work into my routines (I just want to be able to finish). However, I have been trying to beat my personal bests for my regular runs around Greenlake and Discovery Park. In April I beat my 5.6 mile Greenlake run by 1 1/2 minutes, and this past week I beat both my 3.2 and 6-mile Greenlake runs (by 14 seconds for the former, 27 seconds for the latter). Of course, it probably wasn’t a wise decision to run the 6-mile run the day after the 3.2 mile one; I basically collapsed on the couch for the rest of the evening (and woke up the next day with a small muscle pull in my left buttock).


Published May 15th, 2007

A slacker’s haiku

Three days in L.A.
Attending workshop on food
Exercise? Get real.

Yesterday — slept in;
No cardio, no ab lab;
Bagged afternoon run.

The couch? It called me.
Ate truffle popcorn, drank wine.
Fell asleep by nine.

But a new day dawns.
Jog bra, running shoes are on.
Jiggle butt be gone.

Published May 8th, 2007

Fashion catastrophe

Sporty SpiceI’ve never been much of a girly-girl, and as I’ve gotten older I’m less so. Sure, I like to look cute, but I just can’t be bothered with all the rigmarole. Rarely do I wear makeup, and I often go months without getting my hair trimmed. After all, when I cook I just slick my hair back into a ponytail and place a chef’s skullcap on top (I don’t think my clients would appreciate my hair in their food).

Mind you, when I do eventually get my hair cut and colored, I absolutely love it and wonder why I didn’t do so sooner. But inevitably several more months go by before I make another appointment (although given all the compliments I’ve received on my recent haircut, I think I’ll be visiting my hair stylist much more frequently).

Then there’s clothes shopping. UGH! I just can’t be bothered. However, my weight loss over the past two years has made shopping a necessary evil (yes, it’s a nice problem to have). I’m pretty much set for my winter clothes, but now that spring is here it’s time for a few more. Plus we have our France trip coming up, so my wardrobe needs to be classed up a bit. I just don’t think jeans and my Curious George, Spongebob Squarepants or Blinky the Eyelash Mite t-shirts are going to cut it in Paris. But I just detest the whole clothes-shopping experience.

As a tall woman, trying to find clothes that fit well has been a life-long hassle. During my teen years, if it weren’t for men’s Levis I’d be walking around in high-waters. (The men’s Levis came in different inseams, whereas the women’s jeans just came in a standard inseam). On the rare occasion I found women’s jeans or slacks that were long enough, I didn’t care how much I paid; they were MINE! These days it’s a bit easier finding longer pants, but I still often have to shop online to find them.

The other thing I hate about shopping is the sales clerks. Sure, they try to be helpful — “Is there anything I can help you find?” — but the problem is I rarely know WHAT I’m looking for. I’ll know it when I see it. I doubt if I were to say, “Yes, I’m looking for shoes/pants/tops/shorts/what-have-you that are cute, fit me well, don’t cost too much, are in a color I like, or in a color I don’t normally buy but once I try it on I see how flattering it is, are well made and aren’t too trendy. What do you have?” they’d know how to answer. So I just say, “No thanks, I’m just browsing.”

I also hate the whole clothes-trying-on ordeal. Inevitably I have to try on all sorts of sizes, so I end up sweaty with staticky hair. Plus, nothing makes me feel fatter or dumpier than the mirrors and lighting in a dressing room. And what’s up with those rooms with half doors? I’m tall, people! I don’t want to be showing the entire world my jumblies when I’m trying on tops. That’s probably why I end up with a lot of clothes from Costco. I just throw the item into my cart (sometimes in a couple of different sizes), try it on at home in front of MY mirror under MY lighting. If it doesn’t fit I just take it back and spend the money on a bag of peanut butter-filled pretzels. Easy peasy.

So, where I’m I going with this rant?


Published May 6th, 2007

Back in the Saddle

Although my sinuses are still filled with a bunch of yuck (I swear I’ve gone through an entire Kleenex box this past week), thank goodness I felt well enough to get back to running. I truly missed it but knew my body needed rest. However, come Monday I was lacing up my running shoes.

Since I hadn’t done any form of exercise for a week — running or otherwise — I took it very slow, averaging a little under 10-minute miles for the 3 1/2 mile run. To ensure an easy pace I loaded up the iPod with mellow music, letting Marvin serenade me as I wound around Greenlake. Spring is in full bloom and I savored the fragrant bouquet of apple blossoms and the flowers of the ash tree (the smell of which reminds me of cherry Jolly Ranchers). By the time I got home I had a treat waiting for me at my neighbor’s house (he was there to sign for the UPS package — Yippee!).

On Wednesday I took the Garmin out for its inaugural run, along with the heart rate monitor. I still need to figure out my maximum heart rate; if I go by age then it’s 184 (I read somewhere women should subtract their age from 227 rather than 220), but I realize that’s not the most accurate. I sprinted a couple of times to see how high I could get it; both times it was about 172, which seems low. I can’t afford to pay for an accurate test right now, so I’m just going to wear the HRM on every run for a while and see what it does.

For Thursday’s run I left the heart monitor at home since my darling and I were just doing a quick inside loop jaunt. However, since I came within 7 seconds of a PB I wish I had strapped it on. Next time! But at least the Garmin confirmed the distance of the two Greenlake paths were what we thought: 2.8 miles for the inside loop and 3.2 for the outside. When we downloaded our route afterwards it even showed a blip where my darling ran off-course to go play on the rings.

For Saturday’s 12-mile run I had programmed an 8 minute running/1 minute Gallowalking workout into the Garmin Training Center on my computer (my goal was to run those 8 minutes at a 10 1/2 to 10 3/4 minute pace with a 16 minute walk pace), but somehow the transfer to the device got screwed up. As I began running it kept telling me to slow down; once it got to the walk pace I realized it was telling me to keep a 25 minute pace! At that point I stopped the workout and just kept track of my run to walk ratio manually. I was pretty much on target, averaging 10 3/4 minute miles (my goal is 11 minute miles for my long runs).

The best part about using the Garmin is knowing I can deviate from my route and I’ll still know how far I’ve gone. In the past I just used a Thomas Guide and a pair of dividers. My darling always loves to go off the trail, yet I would refuse to follow him since it would mess up my mileage calculations (yes, I’m anal in that respect). Can’t beat technology, can you?

This coming week will most likely be a low mileage one as I’m heading to L.A. this weekend for a food styling workshop. But my hotel is about 2 miles from the studio, so I’m hoping I can at least get some walking in. I think I’ll bring Garmin along just in case I get lost 🙂

Published May 1st, 2007

Help the Faithful Soles PR10K program

Faithful Soles, a web site dedicated to inspiring, motivating and encouraging walkers, runners, and multi-sport athletes of all ages and abilities, and whose main outreach is to get young people involved in a walking or running program, needs help from individuals and businesses in support of its PR10K (Promote Running for 10,000 Kids) program. PR10K helps youth and teens in underserved areas to learn goal setting skills that are not only related to running, but can be used in other aspects of their lives as well. The program started in January and already has about 500 students involved from all over the USA, and the goal for May-June is to get at least another 1,000 involved over the summer vacation time period. To learn more about Faithful Soles and its many programs and web site features, click here.