Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Seattle Rock N' Roll Half Marathon

Yes, this is another bragging post, but let's face it folks - this year is turning out to be a good one for me. Another resolution checked off the list. :)

Over the weekend, my sister, brother and I completed the Seattle Rock N' Roll 1/2 Marathon!!

The race was on Saturday morning and we could not have asked for better weather. It was low 70s with a light breeze. It was bright and sunny - I even have the sunburn to prove it. We saw a bald-eagle along the coast of Lake Washington. Claire took lots of pictures (which I will try to add to the blog when she sends them (hint hint)).

We started out faster than I was comfortable with and we paid for it at the end. The last hour, my hips were in such pain, I felt like I could barely move. Our pace went from brisk, with a nice jog every now and then; to slow as a snail but still moving, with a nice jog every now and then.

Our strategy was... power walk for most of it and run whenever we heard music. They have bands every mile along the course, so that seemed like a good strategy. Then we added running when we were going downhill, because as William said, "it would be ungrateful not to". And there was one long and lovely downhill slope that lasted for a couple of bands. That actually felt really good because it used different muscles. I think the combination was a great idea.

Training-wise, I was a little bit off. Fitness-wise I was great. I never got so tired I wanted to die or felt bad. My heart and lungs felt great the whole time. However, muscles-wise, well that was not so pretty. I wasn't ready for the repetitive motion over such a long distance. My hip-flexors got sore pretty quick and then by the end my hips just ached all over. I could barely walk after the race. Three days later, I am feeling good and wishing I had the time to workout tonight.

Friday, June 19, 2009

New Purse for a slimmer me

I don't really like to talk about my weight or weight loss, but I have to take a moment and brag - I have lost 20 pounds! The unfortunate thing is that I am still in more or less the same size clothing (which means my clothes were way too tight before). Now I am swimming in all of my clothes and am very happy about that. Hopefully I will be sizing down soon.

To celebrate this milestone - I bought a new purse - a Butler Bag. It is awesome and I love it.

If you are wondering what is the secret to my weight loss success - it is a change in attitude.

This time, I decided to take a long haul approach. My mantra is: "It is all about direction not speed". My attitude is that if my general calorie intake is less than my general calorie output *eventually* I will lose weight and it is all about direction - not speed. So I started making little changes one at a time.

Along with the "direction not speed" mental switch (which I still have to keep reminding myself), I made a firm commitment that "NO" is not part of my diet/lifestyle (as in "no" cookies, etc.). I noticed when I tell myself I cannot have something, then that thing becomes my focus and I think about it until that is all I want. Instead I tell myself that I can have whatever I want, but I try to eat a smaller portion of it. Then I started to replace some snacky things with fruit and veggies (but mostly fruit, because I still like sweet and they travel well).

Then I found the golden ticket - I got an app (for my iPod touch) - "Lose It!" that tracks my calories and exercise and I make myself use it even when I know I am way over. That has made a huge difference in finding my empty calories. So I slowly looked at my empty calories and started to systematically cut them out if I don't love the food. I only eat food that I love! I don't bother with food I don't like or love. (For example I love a good steak salad and I have noticed that I don't really care about the crunchy friend onions that are added to many of them, so now I just order without that).

I started to consistently eat yogurt every morning (I know I talk about yogurt way too much on this blog, but I really feel so much better when I eat it daily). I almost always have an apple or an orange or both handy - they are my junk food snacks of choice. I try to eat berries everyday. With Lose It! I track my fiber and I get about 25-30 grams a day with my food intake - I add extra beans to my Chipotle burrito bol (which is usually 2-3 lunches now). I stopped taking my daily vitamin and instead just try to eat a variety of good food to get my nutrients (I think I was using it as a crutch).

I started walking in preparation for the Seattle 1/2 marathon. I usually walk about an hour 3 times a week and once a weekend I do a long walk of at least 2 hours (that will all be over soon though). Believe me when I say this has been a gradual process to exercise this much. I mostly do walking videos at home in the evening after Audrey is in bed. I take the stairs almost all the time and if it is a short flight, I run them.

Most of the changes are things I have done in the past, just not consistently enough - but one of the intangibles is that I now *love* my job - and job happiness means I am not running to starbux or McD's for a sanity break everyday. I still love my fancy coffees and that certainly cuts into my calories, but with a goal of 1/2 pound per week, my calorie budget is very reasonable.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


My current job deals with Iraq quite a bit. Yesterday in fact, I found myself sitting across the table from the Deputy Prime Minister for Iraq and the Iraqi Ambassador. Quite humbling actually.

I have had some time to think about Iraq and while I generally hope not to bring on political comments, since my job is in the apex of most political debates, perhaps I should just say - bring it on!

Iraq has some complex problems and issues that it faces and the tone of many (most) experts is cynasism. That said, this is an exciting time to be in the thick of things. We (the Americans) are leaving and the Iraqis are stepping up to the plate to take over their own security. Obviously only time will tell, but our legacy here could well be an amazingly positive one. I for one am extremely hopeful and "cautiously optimistic" (if there is such a thing).