Monday, March 31, 2008

I Love Central Park

I'm back in the great state of Nevada. I am exhausted after my short trip to NYC. It was a great time and I have another interview scheduled with the same company tomorrow (by phone), so I'm quite happy. And ... I ran in Central Park!

It was great. I did it Friday afternoon. It was chilly and overcast, but still good weather and no rain. I ran mostly on the walking paths because that's how I get around in the park and I didn't want to get "lost" on the running/bike paths that go on for like 7 miles. I did run on those for a little bit, but you are on the street with the cars and that didn't sit well with me. I'd much rather dodge the tourists and their cameras on the walking paths. I started at Strawberry Fields and ran past the ice skating rink. Then I ran past the zoo. I wanted to get to the boat pond and the area I used to hang out in on weekend afternoons when I lived in the 70's on the East Side, but I had already run my 14 minutes and I was pooped. I decided to head back and walked past Sheep's Meadow and decided to run out of the park and do streets until I got back to my friend's apartment. It was definitely easier to dodge people on the side walk than in the park - go figure. It was so cool! I'm not usually that tired after 14 minutes of running/jogging, but I think I wasn't used to all the little hills and sprinting past groups of people. I wanted to do it all again on Saturday, but I knew darn well that the park would be a zoo on the weekends and that there was little likelihood I'd be up any reasonable time before my Saturday lunch plans. I was right. But, in my defense I didn't go to bed until 4:30am on Saturday. Ahhh, to be young again :)

Sorry to not post for a week. I can't believe I did that! That is not like me. I promise to be better. I also haven't been to anyone else's blog in like for-ev-er, so I'll be stopping by in the next couple of days. I hope you all are doing well :) Viva la Central Park! :)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Rained Out?

So, I checked for a report for NYC while I'm going to be there this week ... rain the whole time. And not just a slight chance ... at least a 50% chance every day I'm there. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind a little rain, but I'm hoping my running plans don't get washed out because of the weather! That would be a major bummer. I am bringing my stuff any way. I figure it can't rain the whole time and I have time Thursday afternoon, Friday morning and Friday afternoon to go, so hopefully I'll at least get to go once. Send me positive rays of sunshine :)

I did go running today for the first time in a week. I didn't go far, but it was about 15 minutes without stopping, so that is respectable for me and the amount of time I have been going for in the past few weeks. It was so warm here today. I can't believe it is only March! I was in a tank top, a t-shirt and shorts and I was warm by the end of my run. Craziness I tell you!

Tomorrow is all about finishing up some work for that part-time gig I'm doing. I told him I would be gone Wednesday-Saturday without computer access. I will have my laptop, but there are no guarantees I'll get online while I'm there. I don't want to be worried about this short-term gig when I have bigger things going on ... namely a potential new career!

I'll keep you posted on what happens next!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Working Girl

I'm sorry I've been gone for a few days. Thanks to everyone who commented on my post about my digestive issues. I think I am going to forgo dairy from now on (excluding a splash of 2% in my morning coffee). I had another episode on Friday that was unfortunate. I don't know if I'm noticing issues with my body more because I've lost weight, or if it is because I care about my health more. Food for thought.

I have been super busy working on a short-term project for a company back in Maryland. I found out about them through my alma mater. I am hoping to be done by Tuesday because I am off on Wednesday to NYC!!!! There's a good reason ... I have an interview on Thursday. I am staying with an old, dear friend and catching up with some great friends while I'm in town. I don't want to jinx it, but I am really excited and hoping this works out and I get an offer. It would suck if I had gotten to the third round of the interview process for nothing! :( The second most exciting thing I am doing in NYC besides the interview ... I'm going running in Central Park on Friday morning! I am so excited. I never would have dreamed of doing that when I lived there before grad school. I still have to map my route, but I am so excited. Even if I have a bad interview, this will make me feel soooo much better.

Gotta run, time to dye Easter eggs!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Luck O' the Irish

Since it is St. Paddy's Day and I'm 1/4 Irish, I thought I would blog about beer :) Actually WW online has a great article about beer that I wanted to share with you all. (There is also an adorable interactive game with points values for popular cocktails and mixed drinks, but I couldn't cut and paste the text, so you'll have to go to the site yourself - sorry!) So, grab a pint and read on about beer ...

The Good News:
Beer has ...
NO cholesterol
NO fat
Very little sugar

The Bad News:
Alcohol is one calorie-dense nectar, packing 7 calories per gram. That's almost as much as fat, which has 9 calories per gram. Don't blame the malt. "The most significant source of calories in beer is the alcohol itself," says Charlie Bamforth, PhD, chair and professor, Department of Food Science and Technology, University of California, Davis and author of Beer: Health and Nutrition, "The stronger the beer, the more calories."

* Most 12-ounce beer with 5 percent alcohol by volume contains 3 POINTS values.
* The typical 16-ounce draft pint contains 4 POINTS values.
* Most 12-ounce "light" beers are 2 POINTS values.
* A 1-pint draft of light beer is 3 POINTS values.
* A 12-ounce non-alcoholic beer is 1 POINTS value. (I think Kim mentioned this as an option way back when. Thanks Kim!)

Can it improve your health?
Some studies show that moderate drinking may help lower risk of heart disease, particularly in men over 45 and women over 55. But what is moderate? For men, it's no more than two drinks per day. For women, it's no more than one. Exceed your quota, and the risk of heart and liver disease, stroke and accidents negate any perks.

Don't follow the lite.
The terms "light" and "lite" (or any other cutesy variation) have no legal definition. They could mean the beer is light in color or lighter than lead—or anything else the staff at the brewery decided.

Watch your low-carb language.
If the labels reads "low carbohydrate," the beer must have no more than 7 grams of carbohydrates per serving. But any beer can tout "reduced carbohydrates" or "lower carbohydrates" on its label, just so long as the brewery makes a more carb-heavy beer. Shifty, eh?

Beers (12 oz.) with 2 POINTS value
Amstel Light
Guinness Draft (bottle) - (I was surprised by this one!)
Aspen Edge
Samuel Adams Light - (Good stuff!)
Bud Select

Beers with More POINTS Values
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Coors Blue Moon
Red Hook IPA
Molson Golden

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Got Milk? Maybe Not.

Okay, so has anyone found issues with food after losing weight? I have discovered that I am lactose intolerant. Every once in a while I'll have a light Frappucino or some frozen yogurt from Golden Spoon (hardly any points) and I always get a stomach ache about an hour after eating or drinking. Very strange. Is is a lactose problem, or a fake lactose problem since I'm not eating things with whole milk in them. I gave up the Frappucinos about a month ago, but it's sad to give up "The Spoon" as my Dad likes to call it. I really enjoyed their peanut butter froyo. C'est la vie! Let me know if you've had any similar problems. I'm curious if it's just me. Thanks!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Dates (Not That Kind of Date)

So I went to my monthly lifetime weigh-in at WW this morning. I'm up +0.6 lbs ... but, I'm toootally happy with that since overall I'm under my goal weight by about 5 lbs. I am still testing the lifetime waters and figuring out, as I talk about all the time (and I'm sure you're all bored hearing about :), what to eat and what not to eat and how much to eat and how often to exercise. So, being up .6 is super cool with me. It reaffirms what I have been seeing on my Mom's scale each week and makes me think I am doing pretty well maintaining. I didn't stay for the meeting. I was on the fence and decided to just go home. I think it was the free coffee at home that was calling my name :) whereas there was no free coffee at WW. I need intravenous amounts of coffee in the morning. Not healthy, I know, but we all have to have our vices :)

On Saturday my Mom and I went on a road trip with her hiking group to the China Date Ranch in California. (As an aside, I had no idea Nevada was so close to Arizona and California that you could just drive an hour or so and cross the state lines. Now, granted I lived in Maryland and taught in Virginia, so this shouldn't surprise me, but it does. It makes me feel like a little kid getting to go to a new state! :) I had never been to California!) The "ranch" was on the edge of Death Valley. We went on a 2 hour hike. It was pretty desolate (see pic above), which is kinda depressing, but there were these amazing yellow and purple wild flowers that were thick in some spots and supposedly hadn't grown in the last 100 years. Then we ate at the snack bar - not a healthy place to hang out ... date/chocolate chip cookies, date/walnut muffins, date milkshakes. I was really hoping for a salad or something. I will admit to having a date cookie that was really the size of two cookies. It was good and soft. I also had a couple spoonfuls of my Mom's milkshake. I didn't feel well afterwards. That will teach me to not ignore the Cherrios I brought with me. I mean, we all should have a cookie periodically when we want one, but it's not a healthy option for lunch :)

I had a really interesting conversation with a woman in the hiking group about WW. She was asking me all these questions because she's considering investing in WW stock. She wanted to know if I thought it was a viable company. It was fun giving her all my insights and telling her what I thought the company did well (meetings in Spanish, dedicated men's section on the website, tweaking the program on semi-annual basis, accessible content in the magazine), and what they should add (weekly podcasts of excellent meeting leaders, links and widgets on WW blogs). I miss using my brain on a daily basis so it was a fun conversation. And, of course, I recommended she look into all the stats on the stock on Yahoo! Finance or another type of financial site, which she seems to do and was just adding to her knowledge by asking me questions. Good times!

Hey, one last thing ... I am looking for new blogs. I like to check them daily, so people you know who post multiple times a week would be great! If you have any you love and would recommend, please leave a comment. Thanks!

Friday, March 07, 2008

It's a New Record Folks!

I actually ran for 22 minutes yesterday without stopping! It is totally a record for me. I didn't start out my run with that plan, but I just kept feeling really good and deciding to keep going without stopping and I ran all the way home without a break. I was tired at the end, but it felt so goood! And I didn't feel like I was dying at the end either, which was awesome. I mean it was harder at the end, and it was up hill, but I think I could have kept going if I had wanted to. It is such an amazing feeling! I never thought I could run for that long. Remember when I was doing C25k and they wanted you to go from running for 10 minutes to just run for 20 minutes and I thought they were crazy! Well, I guess I did the right thing and kept going at my own pace (pun intended) and managed to work my way up to 20+ minutes. My longest run before yesterday was 15 minutes and 45 seconds and a shorter distance. It just felt so good to be running that I didn't want to stop. Isn't that crazy! I never thought I would say something like that. I'm the person who wouldn't run from the car into the store in a rain storm because it hurt my shins. Now I guess I am on my way to training for that future 5k race someday, somewhere! I think I am going to run a 3 mile loop (run/walk) on Monday or Tuesday. I'm looking forward to it.

I also ran today, but I took the short route. I *only* ran for 13 minutes (without stopping), which you all might know is still a fair amount of time for me. I'd like to get back into running intervals and that's what the 3 mile loop on Monday or Tuesday should help me do.

I had an interview with DSW shoe warehouse today. It's only $8/hour, but it's a job. They actually asked me what the fashion trends are today. I knew them because I am obsessed with fashion magazines these days, but I mean really kids, this isn't Prada or Dior we're talking about. Actually, it was kinda fun to know the answer. They have to do a background check, but they said they were interested. I should hear something late next week. The job might put a crimp in my running and hiking schedules, but I need to start making some money. I'll let you know what happens next week.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Shout Out to Meredith who reached GOAL!!!!

Hey all, I just wanted to give a shout out to my old WW friend Meredith who reached goal last week! I met her at my great meetings before I moved and we've been keeping in touch via email. She was one of the people who inspired me to start running. I am so proud of her and all her hard work and dedication! And get this, she's running a half marathon this weekend. Woo Hoo! Hot D*mn! She's great and I really learned a lot from her during our meetings with our beloved Melvin. If you're reading this Meredith - Congrats again!

I wasn't very productive today, but I did run yesterday. I managed to run for about 1.25 miles without stopping. Very cool! I altered my route and made it shorter because I just didn't want to run uphill at the end of my route. This route was much flatter and easier. Yep, I'm not ashamed to say I took the eas-ier way out. I think you just gotta do that sometimes. If it isn't windy again tomorrow, I'm going to go running.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Cellulite & Mini Skirts

Ahhh Mondays. Don't you just love them? For some reason I have been really depressed for the past two days. Just not feeling like doing anything ... longing to nap ... just really blah. I can't even say that it's the job search getting me down. But exercise did the trick again. I was glad I got out today and went for a walk. I walked with my Mom to the gym and then hung out in Target and tried on the new Jovovich-Hawk line of clothes. Cute. A little too bohemian for me. And they were juniors sizing, so you can just imagine what the denim mini skirt I tried on looked like :) (It's crazy to me that I'm trying on mini skirts! I think I have also realized that I'm a bit too old for true mini skirts. I think What Not to Wear says no mini skirts for 35+ and that's me! But one more aside ... I noticed when I got to goal that my cellulite isn't as prominent as it was when I was heavier. A surprising bonus.) Then I picked up some things at the grocery store and met my Mom after her workout to walk home. All told it's about a 3 mile round trip. It was so nice to be out in the sunshine. Not as warm as it has been, but the cold air felt good. It's amazing what mother nature can do for your mood :) I did feel a little guilty about not running home, but in the end I was just happy to get myself to do something productive! Ever have those kinds of days?

I think this funk has been going on for a while because I just realized yesterday that I haven't been journaling ... since February 21st! I hadn't realized it was that long. I've been a bad Weight Watchers member. I've just been counting points in my head, which I know I shouldn't rely on, but I've been being lazy. And I realized that while I weigh myself every so often, I haven't been weighing myself at my regular time (6pm on Thursdays) and recording it on the WW site. I haven't recorded my weight since February 7th! I can't believe I just fell out of habit with this stuff. It has been so ingrained in my head for almost 2 years. It feels good to be back on track though. I've been journaling for the past two days and I've updated my weight on the ticker at the top of the page. I've been maintaining, and I'm under my goal weight, so I have no complaints. But I'm still trying to get the hang of what to eat and what not to eat. I guess I am going to have to allow myself to struggle for a few more months before it becomes normal.

I found another article in the What's Your Workout series on the Wall Street Journal's website. This one profiles a woman who ice skates in her spare time. Not something I'd think of an adult doing, but I think it is cool and different. Good for her for doing something physical that she really enjoys.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Shorts Weather

Sorry I haven't been around for a few days. There have been some technical difficulties with computers in my world lately. But, I have come up with a temporary solution to get onto the internet, so all is good.

The weather hear has been gorgeous for the past few days - mid to high 70's! It's February/March people, this is crazy! But I guess that's Vegas for you. I went to Target yesterday to look for shorts to run in. I bought two pairs to do a little fashion show for my Mom so she could help me pick one pair to keep. I think I've decided, but I think I'm going to wear them around the house with the tags on today to test drive them. I think that's *legal*. I was a little worried I jumped the gun on buying shorts, but supposedly the weather stays in the 70's and high 60's once March comes. Craziness I tell you. Mind you, I walked to the store yesterday in shorts and a tank top. It was loverly. It was weird again to be looking for smaller sizes. I've been so used to being a large or xl that it is strange to look for the smalls and mediums. And clothes feel different. The shorts are much shorter than I used to wear, but I don't think I'll have the problem with my thighs rubbing together that I had before. It is something new to get used to :) I'm still learning how clothes are supposed to feel. I've been having problems finding pants for the past few months. I'll try on a pair and they'll look like they fit, but they'll feel uncomfortable. As a result, I won't buy them. But I think I'm learning what clothes that actually fit me feel like. It is quite a learning experience.

Went on a hike today. Not very interesting. Lots of walking through the desert as opposed to the rock scrambling we usually do. Oh well, I suppose I shouldn't get too picky since these people are much older than me and are letting me tag along with their group rather than finding a group in my age bracket. They are pretty much all healthy and capable of finishing the hikes. I hadn't thought about it before, but now I know I definitely want to be that fit when I'm in my 60's. I don't think I ever gave a thought to how physically active I wanted to be when I got older since I wasn't physically active until the past year or so. It's a whole new way of looking at things.