Every once in awhile my husband and I like to make little bets with each other to test our will power. Last February we vowed to go a whole month without eating out. For anyone who knows us knows this was a HUGE test of will power for us. We did pretty good – but, I have to be honest, a couple days in to February we agreed to amend the agreement so that food delivered to our home was okay. We were trying to get out of our comfort zone, we weren’t trying to starve ourselves to death and I was afraid the kind people at Sidewok Cafe might call the police and report us as missing.
So, this March we are having another battle of wills. I have decided to go an entire month (a month with 31 days mind you!) without potatoes. My husband has decided to greatly reduce his beer intake. Please note I am completely cutting something out of my diet and he is going to not have as much of something – already not exactly fair. For each day you successfully follow the bet you earn $5.
I am to day nine without potatoes and it has been both surprisingly easy and painfully hard. I knew that I ate a lot of potatoes – french fries and potato chips were two main staples – I didn’t realize all the things that I ate that had potatoes in them including my stockpile of soups I keep in my desk at work. No Beef Stew or New England Clam Chowder until April…I guess it’s on to the Ramen Noodle – it’s like being back in college!
At first I thought my month of no potatoes would be super healthy but one day I replaced fries for chicharróns and another day for nachos grande at the hockey game – neither of these substitutions seem particularly healthy but they didn’t contain potatoes. I am still hopeful that my month of finding substitutes for potatoes will get me out of my comfort zone and maybe even try some new things that will replace potatoes forever! Well – maybe not forever!!
But, I am happy to report with almost 1/3 of the month complete I am feeling strong. Just 18 more days and I am a winner!!
If you gave something up for a month, what would it be?
The Happy Knitter is doing something the Happy Knitter hasn’t done in a really long time – blogging about actual knitting!! During the last cold snap I found myself wanting to curl up with some knitting. I was looking for a quick project where I could have a finished project in a day or two. So, I went online looking for a hat pattern to use up some of my chunky yarn and came across a very cool earband pattern.
I found the Emily Greene Blue blog and the Fourth Day Earwarmer Recipe. With size 13 needles and 40 or so yards of chunky yarn I could have one of my very own. It turned out to be a really quick and fun project. I think I worked on it for a total of an hour over the course of an evening and the next morning. Before I knew it I had a cute earband to ward of the chilly weather.
If you are in the mood for a quick, cute project check out the pattern on Emily Greene Blue’s website and make one for yourself. I am debating making a few more in some different colors to spruce up my winter wardrobe.
Excuse the horrible picture – but you get the idea of what the earband looks like!
Can you believe it’s almost the end of February?! Two months of 2014 are already gone and I have no idea where they went. Things have been a whirlwind since we got back from Christmas vacation. Back to work and back to school with the day-to-day stuff mixed in and the battling of sickness and it’s been a little exhausting.
Even with everything going on our family has gotten into total rut. Get up, go to work, come home, eat dinner, watch the Olympics, back to bed, and repeat. Even the dogs are lazy. The weather has been cold and grey and winter is sucking the life out of me. I seriously need to shake up my life and get back on track!
To top everything off I’ve realized I have been a total failure at my 2014 goals. Let’s recap:
- Continue to run. January: Polar Prowl 5k, February: Loveland Sweetheart Classic 4 mile, March: Running of the Green 4K, April: Beat the Heat 10K, May: Colfax Half Marathon SUCCESS…so far! Thankfully I have been successful in my running goals and completed both the Polar Prowl 5k and the Loveland Sweetheart Classic 4 mile. I have changed my plans for running through May. After a successful race with my husband in February he wanted to run another race (he found out there was usually free beer associated with races!) and we signed up for the Fort Collins St. Patty’s Day 5K for our March race. In April I will be running the Cherry Creek Sneak 5 Mile Race and in May instead of the Colfax Marathon I am going to run the Bolder Boulder 10k. I was reading some books on training for a half marathon and they kept talking about having the drive to do a half marathon and I realized I do not have the drive to run 13.1 miles. Maybe I will someday, but for right now I am going to stick with a 10k – it just seems a little more achievable.
- Lose 10% of my weight by May 31, 2014. FAIL! I have not gone crazy and gained any weight back but the scale is not moving downward. My exercising and my eating has not been perfect and if I want to lose 10% of my weight by May I really need to get serious. I may move this goal to June because I have a fabulous wedding to go to at the end of June and I want to take a whole lot less of me when I go.
- Blog regularly – once a week minimum. FAIL! I think I’ve blogged twice since the New Year. But, honestly after being on a computer at work for 8-10 hours per day and then doing homework in the evening and the weekend there are times I just don’t even want to look at it. I still want to blog, but I’m not that hopeful that it will happen every week. But, I do have some good blog posts stored in my head so just wait!
- Hike a 14′er. Work in progress. We are currently planning what 14’ers we are going to climb later this year. This goal will definitely be accomplished.
- Go ice climbing. Work in progress. The avalanche danger in the high country has been pretty high and the conditions not ideal for ice climbing, but I am hoping that this changes and we can get out before the end of the season.
- My more adventurous – try new foods, say yes instead of no, and try new things. Work in progress. While I cannot think of any specific examples I do feel like I am trying to be more adventurous and trying new things – I will report back with better examples.
- Be more grateful for all the good things in my life. Work in progress. I am trying to take things slower and enjoy the little things in life and be grateful for all the good things in life. I am thankful for the quietness of my morning runs, the warm sun beating down on my after a string a cold days, and cuddly dogs in the morning.
Everything is a work in progress and getting back on track with my goals is also a work in progress.
How are you doing with your 2014 goals?
Something happened yesterday that I never thought would happen, EVER!
Let me start with the back story. I have been battling sickness for a couple of weeks, its felt like the cold that never really started. I felt worn out, stuffy, headachey, and just all over blah. But, since the full fledged cold never came I kept moving forward. But this weekend I felt really horrible – I had a sore throat, headache, sinus pressure and a horrible ear ache and was having trouble sleeping – so I was just kind of laying low for the weekend.
Sunday morning I was bumming around the house and told my husband that my body didn’t feel like I could go for a run but my mind was telling me to go. My husband told me just to go anyways and so I got dressed and headed out. I was scheduled to do a virtual 5k for Runs for Cookies and was determined to do it even if it was a day late. (Which I totally forgot to fill out the finishers form for – but I still totally did it!) I figured that the worse thing that could happen is I would have to turn around and walk home. So, off I went. It was a beautiful day although a bit windy and I was scheduled to run, so run I would. Originally I pledged to run the 5k in 30 minutes or under and when I signed up I was confident I could make that goal. Shortly after starting I knew I wasn’t making very good time because I felt like crap and every step felt like so much more effort than usual – but I kept going. I just focused on enjoying being outside in the warm sun and seeing my neighborhood on a quiet Sunday morning. Before I knew it I had completed my 5k in just over 32 minutes! At first I was a little disappointed and thought about how I could have done better if I would have pushed myself a little hard. After beating myself up about it I thought about the victory – I am a completely different person than I was a couple of months ago. I was sick (which I learned today was a nasty sinus infection) and I still tied up my shoes and headed out. I had made a commitment to run and I ran. The old Melissa would have used being sick as an excuse to stay in her pajamas and watch reruns all day (Gilmore Girls anyone?!), but the new Melissa got off her ass and went for a run anyways.
Running has changed me in to a more confident, happier person who pushes themselves and is proud of their accomplishments.
But today, I must rest, because the doctor said it would probably be a bad idea to run until the antibiotics start kicking this sinus infections ass. (My words, not theirs). Good thing my next run day isn’t until Wednesday
Over the last week I’ve been seeing everyone’s resolutions for the new year and have been thinking about what my resolutions should be. The first thing I came up with was I wasn’t going to make resolutions, but instead set some goals I want to accomplish for the next six months. In July I will reevaluate and set some new goals for the rest of the year. In the past year I’ve realized that it takes baby steps to start achieving your goals – one day at a time, one foot in front of the other. That will be my mantra for the next six months.
What are your New Years goals?
We are extremely content renters but every once in awhile we explore the options available if we decide to one day become homeowners. Even if we weren’t exploring the idea of home ownership Zillow and House Hunters on TLC would still be two of my most favorite things.
Let’s start with Zillow. It’s a great website to check out all the houses for sale wherever you are looking. You can create customized searches and look at the houses in (and out) of your price range. While this is very helpful its also extremely addictive. I can’t get enough of looking through strangers houses, judging their furniture, their choice in bedding and how clean (or unclean) their bathroom is. **Note: You know when you are taking pictures of your house for it’s real estate pictures. I would advise a) cleaning your house, b) getting rid of all your crap and clutter, and c) cover the blood stain on your carpet with a throw rug or piece of furniture. For more examples of how not to stage your home please visit Terrible Real Estate Photos and enjoy a laugh on me!
My next love (and just as big of a time waster) is House Hunters. On the DVR we usually only record the 5 most recent episodes of any program and only new episodes. Not House Hunters – I have it set-up to record ALL episodes and record as many episodes as it can (We are currently up to 75 saved episode). Anyways, House Hunters….where do they find the douche bags that are on every single episode? These people have unrealistic expectations for what they can get in their price range and they would never dream of actually having to do anything to fix up the house…it MUST be MOVE IN READY!! It makes me wonder if only douche bags apply to be on this show or if the simple act of house hunting makes you a gigantic douche bag. On every episode the House Hunters have a list of what their new home MUST have – the list of unattainable features they can’t live without.
MUST HAVE’S from people on House Hunters:
- Granite countertops EVERYWHERE in the house in an extremely specific shade of bland.
- Thousands of square feet you can fill with children and random shit that you don’t really need
- A man cave (for the very manly man) AND a crafting room (for the very womanly woman)
- A double sink in the master bath – how on earth did out forefathers function without a double sink? The thought of living without one is unthinkable!
This made us start trying to come up with our MUST HAVE list. Here’s what we have so far:
- Not located in the ghetto
- Not previously a meth house
- Has bathroom (we are still 50/50 on the need for a kitchen)
- Yard for dogs
As you can see are expectations are extremely low and this will probably be both good and bad as we continue on this house hunting journey. As for now we are happy renters who can call someone if our heat doesn’t turn on, our refrigerator bites the dust, the lawn service doesn’t come on their specified day, or a million other things we would have deal with personally (and pay for) if we were homeowners.
What was on your MUST HAVE house hunting list?
I had a lot of expectations for my first 5k – I knew it would be freezing cold in the middle of December, I knew I wasn’t competing for first place, and I knew that as long as I wasn’t last I would have accomplished my goal. The only thing I did not expect that in the last 500 yards of the race I would feel that tightening of your throat you get just before you start to cry. As I passed my husband who was cheering me on and I rounded the last curve and saw the finish line I felt like I was going to burst in to tears. Then I passed under the huge green finish sign and the feeling vanished as quickly as it had come. This sudden rush of emotion was definitely the most unexpected part of the race but somehow fitting for the whole experience.
We arrived in Littleton around 8:15 a.m. for the 9:00 a.m. Santa Stampede at the Hudson Gardens and slowly the crowd began to gather. There were runners in all shapes and sizes (the majority were fit and tiny but there were also participants that looked more like me too) and we all had the same goal for the morning – finish the Santa Stampede 5k. It was a chilly 25 degrees outside so we all stayed inside as long as possible before throwing ourselves in to the frigid morning for the national anthem and the start of the race. The night before I had done some research on tips and tricks for your first 5k. Warnings like “don’t start too fast you’ll burn yourself out” and “start at the back of the pack so you don’t get caught up in the rush of the front” were fresh in my mind when I made my way to the back of the pack to get ready for the start of the race. Before I knew it the starting signal went off and we were on our way…really slowly on our way. The first 1/10th of a mile I walked at an extremely leisurely path. Then the pace quickened and I was ready to run…and then we were back to a slow walk as we made our way up and down and icy hill on the way to the paved bike/hike trail along the river. Once we made it to the trail I was off again and only really slowing to avoid random icy and snow covered patches of trail. I was running at a comfortable pace – even PASSING people along my way (Note to reader – I using running and jogging interchangeably – it may look like a jog to you but it feels like a run to me)! Before I knew it I was at the 1-mile mark and I was convinced I could make it! I was really doing this and I knew I would finish!! What was so scary and nerve wracking weeks, hours, and minutes ago suddenly seemed attainable. I would run quickly for a while and if I felt like I was getting too fast I would just slip in behind someone who looked like they were running a slightly slower pace and I would use that time to recover a little. When I was feeling good again I would pass them and head off on my own again.
At the halfway point we crossed a bridge to the other side of the river for the return trip and there were volunteers waiting there to give us little glasses of water. I didn’t really want to stop (I run 3 miles on a regular basis and never take water with me) but I had this overwhelming guilt that there were volunteers that took time out of their day to fill these little cups and hand them to the runners so I stopped and took a cup, drank some water and then realized I couldn’t find a garbage can. Unlike my fellow runners I didn’t really feel comfortable throwing my cup on the ground so I walked around until I found a garbage can and once my used cup was safely discarding in the trash I was on my way again. I think this is a good time to remind you I was not running with the elite racers, my time meant nothing, so finding a garbage can rather then littering had no effect on my outcome other than I didn’t feel guilty for littering – my fellow non-elite racers did not have the same conscious – they had no trouble just tossing their trash aside and continuing on their leisurely run back to the finish line. Is littering rampant among the running community? Along my run I also heard someone telling their friend that they buy cheap gloves from the dollar store so that when they are running in the winter and they get warm they can toss them on the ground and not have to worry about it. Really?! This is your answer to stashing unused gloves? After my short eavesdropping session I was on my way again headed towards the finish line.
It was an absolutely beautiful day and once I started running the temperature was just right – I took of my gloves and threw them on the ground because I had just heard that’s what you do…rewind that…I took off my gloves and stashed them in my pockets because I’m not a freaking moron. The scenery was beautiful along the Platte River and this was an area I had never spent any time in so as I ran I enjoyed the sights around me. The crowd had thinned out and running was much more comfortable. There was a cameraman sitting in a lawn chair taking pictures of the runners (I am telling myself he was race related because I don’t want to think there was just some random pervert taking pictures of runners) which seemed odd but I am guessing is part of all the organized races. Before I knew it we were back on the grounds of the Hudson Gardens where the race has started and I was bounding for the finish line. I saw my husband standing along the side of the route taking pictures (which will be deleted at first opportunity) and that’s when it happened – I found myself gasping and gulping for air – not because I wasn’t going to be able to make it to the finish line because I was too tired and too worn out but because I was holding back tears and this overwhelming rush of emotion. I got myself under control and sprinted under the finish line to my unimpressive time of 36:19.
Looking back I think my outburst of emotion at the end of the race was for a couple different reasons. The main reason was looking back at how far I’ve come this year. If someone would have asked me at the beginning of the year what I was going to accomplish this year I don’t know what I would have said, I didn’t really have any goals or aspirations. But today, running my first 5k, I was proud of the accomplishments and the changes I have made this year. I also realize that I still have a long way to go. I could be faster, I could be thinner, I could be a lot of things that I’m not right at this moment, but at least I am on my way to accomplishing some of the those goals and with persistence I know I can.
Note to Readers So I Don’t Look Like A Liar: I call this my first 5k but actually it’s my second 5k. I participated in the Dirty Girl 5k in June 2013 but I don’t really count that race as a true 5k race because you spend a lot of time standing in line waiting to do obstacles and you don’t have to run the entire thing straight through. It was still tough and I am proud of myself for doing it, but I count this as my official first 5k because I ran the entire race without stopping!