Tuesday, November 30, 2010

So Long Sugar

An interesting thing happened tonight when the girls and I were shopping for and working on their gingerbread houses for the Virginia Gingerbread Christmas contest  (we bought the pre-made houses but decorated them with our own stuff). The sugar, frosting, candy, cookies -  even the pretzels - did not appeal to me.  Nothing about any of it made me want to eat it. Nothing.  It actually nauseated me.

For most people this wouldn't be such a big deal but for a big girl with a sweet tooth like mine it's  a pretty major thing.  I didn't get to where I was by eating enormous meals or tons of fast food - I got there by sneaking little bites of sugar here, there and well, everywhere

While they created their masterpieces (and popped candy corn, gum drops and jelly beans into their mouths when they thought I wasn't looking) I actually ate tomato soup and carrots with hummus.  

Who say you can't teach an old dog new tricks?

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Frozen 5K

This is what I would've called the post I wrote after the "Fast Before The Feast" on Thanksgiving morning had I not chickened out

The weather forecasters were calling for "the coldest Thanksgiving Day in a decade" in White Bear Lake, Minnesota that day.  The  HIGH was supposed to be 12 degrees - and yes, that's Farenheit! Seriously? In Charlottesville I start running indoors when it gets below 40! At first I was I was determined to not let a little cold get me down. The chill in the air when we stepped off the airplane, however, quickly reminded me that even though in my heart I will always be a Minnesota Girl, the rest of  my body is not quite as convinced.  

I met my friends at a bar the night before the race completely convinced that it was too cold to run and figured they'd be on board.  Guess what?  They actually thought it would be FUN!  I should've known better than to think Jess, my long-time buddy Chris's adorable, size zero, runner girlfriend and my tiny, super woman, marathoner BFF Jenny would wimp out.  But Chris?  He's a professional golfer who dislikes the cold almost as much as I do. I thought for sure I could talk him into bloody mary's in the warm confines of a local bar.  But even he was on the "freezing your ass off bandwagon".  What was I going to do?  

After an evening of taking a lot of grief for being a wimp (and several other unrelated inadequacies) I was actually starting to believe I could do it.  Jess gave me a guilt-ridden speech about how she signed up for the race to support me and my journey (yes, I almost cried) and my friend Beth's husband had me writing victory blog posts in my head and visualizing myself coming across the finish line wearing a Charlottesville T-shirt with frozen tears of pride dripping down my face (though in my mind I kept seeing snot icicles instead).  

I went back to my parents house that night and changed directly into every layer of running clothes I had packed - shoes included (why didn't I invest in those SmartWool socks???).  It was nearly 1:30am and I had gone out that night thinking I wasn't going to do this race so I hadn't exactly prepped properly (my pre-race meal does not usually include bloody mary's). I figured I'd need to be ultra-prepared and even threw on my shoes. I set the alarm for 6:30am (a mere 5 hours away!) and settled into bed with visions of frostbite dancing in my head.

When alarm went off the next morning I wearily rose from the bed, walked straight out the back door onto my parents deck, took one slow, frozen breath in, and returned promptly to my warm, cozy, down comforter-covered bed with every intention of getting back up in "just a few minutes".  

And that was the end of my Frozen 5 K dreams.  I awoke a few hours later feeling refreshed and completely guilt ridden.  Chris, Jess, and Jenny (with her two sons!) all completed the race with great times and minimal effects from the hypothermia.  Jess managed to come in 40th overall out of 380 (yes, there are that many crazy people out there!) - and 6th for females with a time of 23:43!  And my buddy Chris (who, though a star hockey goalie in his youth had never run more than 1.5 miles prior to this race) followed not too far behind her at 28:27. Jen and the boys all averaged about an 8 minute mile, too.  I was clearly out of my league! 

While I left Minnesota on Sunday sans souvenir race tee and my pride, I did come away from  with a few valuable lessons learned.  1) I do not like the cold.  2) My friends are really awesome runners,  3)  I should not commit to something I cannot complete, and 4) Some traditions - like the one where we spend Thanksgiving at the condo in Hilton Head - are really good ones!  Join me there in 2011 for the The Hilton Head Bridge Run - where temperature will not be an excuse!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Note to Self:

It is a bad idea to sit on your ass for five hours straight the day after a big workout with Hyam.  Doing so apparently allows the lactic acid to build up in amounts so great you may not be able to get up.


Morning Sickness


But I got your attention, didn't I? 

I didn't title this "Morning Sickness" just for that reason though. I am honestly struggling with feeling ill in the morning.  This isn't caused by pregnancy, however, but by my diet and exercise. Go figure.  

Most people have experienced that feeling like you're going to throw up when you work out extremely hard or run super fast or whatever it is you choose to do for exercise.  So you'd think that after working out with Hyam for 6 months I'd be past that, right? Wrong.  Well, kind of wrong.  I was doing great until recently when changes in my appetite have thrown everything off.  I suddenly cannot eat in the mornings.  

We've all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  This goes double for those trying to lose weight that food gets your metabolism going.  When you sleep (and therefore fast) your metabolism slows down. If it goes too long without food your body starts to think it's in starvation mode and slows down even more - NOT what a dieter wants.  So, eating is essential to losing weight.  Counterintuitive, but true.  

When I was overweight (or more overweight than I am now) I had a horrible habit of eating in the middle of the night.  I've never been a good sleeper so waking up 3-4 times a night was pretty normal for me and  I'd eventually find my way to the kitchen (sound familiar, dad?).  So instead of being in fasting mode my metabolism was kicking in in the middle of the night.  By the time I got up for breakfast I was ravenous. Needless to say, I've always been a good breakfast eater. Until now.  

For the past few weeks my usual routine - make coffee, start a load of laundry, get the kids out of bed, fix breakfast and send kids off to school - has been thrown off.  Usually once the kids are out the door I sit down with a Greek yogurt or scrambled egg whites. Lately, however, even the thought of repulses me.  So I grab a piece of toast, an extra cup 'o joe and "go" to work (in the next room).  

Before I know it's 9:10. I need to be out the door in 4 minutes to get to Clay on time and I still have an empty stomach.  My body has now been fasting for 12-15 hours and though it is trying to tell me that it's not happy about it, I can neither find anything that appeals to me nor that I have time to digest before the workout.  

On average I expend about 500 calories per one hour workout at Clay.  It doesn't take a genius to figure that attempting to do a workout like this on a 15 hour fast is NOT a good idea. Even if I don't puke (which I haven't yet) I won't have a good workout, so I throw a banana down while driving and hope for the best.

I'm not stupid.  I know I need to eat.  But the balance of eating enough to sustain your body while trying to lose weight isn't as easy as it sounds.  This time I'm not actually trying to starve myself - I'm just not hungry the way I used to be.  But the fact remains that food is fuel for the body and if you are going to expect it to perform at a certain level you have to fuel it to do so.

So what do you eat to fuel your body before workouts?

Monday, November 15, 2010

As Seen on TV

Every once and awhile I mention my job as Editor and Owner of SuzySaid Charlottesville and the news segment Jason Hull and I do on CBS19 -  C'ville Plugged In.  I don't post about it a lot, however, because that really isn't the purpose behind this blog and I don't want to seem like a shameless self-promoter (which I guess is ironic, as what else is a blog about yourself if it's not shameless self-promoting!?!).  Earlier this week, however, I was reminded of how connected this "journey" is with the rest of my world.

A few weeks back I was interviewed on WINA's Real Life with Jennifer Till radio show.  When asked about how I maintain balance with such a busy life I naturally stated that exercise was key.  I couldn't say this without mentioning Hyam, of course, and even went so far as to say "It's totally changed my life."  (being on the spot like that isn't as easy as it's seems). I texted Hyam after the show and said I hoped she didn't mind the dramatic nature of that statement because it sounds like one of those things that people just say, but I really meant it.

Being stronger and thinner has done so much more for me than make my clothes fit better (or worse, as they are now too big!).  It's changed the way I carry myself, my self-esteem, my relationships with people and even the way I do my job. 

As I was leaving the the Newsplex the other night Jim Hanchett remarked that I was doing a great job with the segment.  This meant a lot to me because, as you all know, television work is not my regular thing, and I admittedly started out a little shaky on camera (okay, a lot shaky).  This was partially because it was new to me - I'm a writter, not a tv reporter - but mostly it was the result of my fear of having to be seen.  Being behind the computer the past few years made it easy for me to hide my weight issues.  When Marijean asked if I'd consider taking her spot when she stepped down I was honored, thrilled at what a great opportunity it would be and scared out of my mind.  Not so much because I didn't think I could handle it, but rather because I'd have to come out from hiding behind the computer now.  What if people saw me and thought "That fat cow is SuzySaid???"  What if they were disappointed? 

For the first few months I never watched myself because it hurt to see how big I was (and yes, the camera really does add 10 pounds - you'd be amazed at how skinny those reporters are in real life!).  Recently, however, I decided I needed to dedicate a little more of my time to making those 3 minutes I have on screen as good as they can be - and that meant facing myself. 

It's not easy to see yourself on tv.  Even watching last week's segment was difficult and it was one of my better one's to date.  I've lost 20 pounds since I started the show, however, though my confidence is nowhere near it's peak, it's much higher than it was 6 months ago. Even my posture exudes a feeling that wasn't there in the beginning.  I still look like disheveled cow sitting next to Tiffani Sargent, of course, but there aren't too many people who wouldn't look bad next to her. 

And while I'm sure you all watch my segment ritualistically here it is just in case you missed one when it changed from Tuesday to Wednesday last night.  Who knows, you might even learn something!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

50% Off

First I'd like to report that I'm over my whining back to my spunky self. Whew!

I got on the scale this morning and am pleased to report that I am back to 20!  Yep - 50% off just in time for Black Friday.  This means that I have about 20 (give or take a few) left to go and I'm back to where I want to be.  Wow!  

I recognize that heading into the holidays moving down the scale isn't going to be easy, but I'm ready to take it one day at a time. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Right Now

I started writing a post about how I missed class Monday (which I will be making up on Friday) due to work and how I'm struggling to find balance...blah - blah - blah

I changed my mind on posting it, however, because one of my goals for this blog was to be real and honest.  While that post was both of those things, it's not how I'm feeling right now.  Right now I'm grumpy, frustrated and in pain because in the middle of a great workout this morning I f'd up my hip flexor again.  I hoped maybe it was just a little twinge, but by the time we were done I was in a lot of pain and I knew it wasn't good. 

Don't feel too sorry for me - it's nothing that a lot of ice and a little rest won't fix. It does, however, really piss me off because I feel like every time I get momentum I end up hurting something and it pushes me back down. I know that what I need to do - have to do - is just jump back up again, but sometimes it's okay to just sit and pout, right?  Okay, maybe not.

It's actually been awhile since I've had an injury, so I probably should've expected this would happen, but it doesn't come at a welcome time.  The holidays are around the corner and exercise such a key stress reducer for me, not to mention all the necessary calorie burning (egg nog, anyone?). And I'm heading home to White Bear in less than two weeks.  I was kind of hoping to drop a few extra lbs before then.  Silly, I know, but true.

I also came to the conclusion this week that my body is just not ready for the 10K I was planning on doing on Thanksgiving Day.  I'll still be running that morning, but only a 5K.  M, my dad are going to run/walk it.  My BFF (the beautiful, skinny marathoner!) and her family are joining in and so is another childhood friend, so it will be  a blast.  But I still can't tell you how much I hate that I had to back off one of my goals.   

Monday, November 8, 2010


I write a lot on here about physical strength, but I think emotional strength and strength of character are extremely important aspects of a person's make up, too.  I was blessed this weekend with the opportunity to honor a very good friend whose strength I admire, and it got me thinking about my own.

We spent Saturday evening at the American Cancer Society Pavilion Ball, where my friend Chrissy was honored for her tremendous strength during her fight against breast cancer this past year.  We were all pretty dumbfounded when we got the news of her diagnosis.  She was only 39 years old, had three young kids and was a strong, active person.  Chrissy is the kind of person who does more in a day than most people do in a week.  This certainly couldn't be true.  But it was.  And within a few days the words mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation became a part of our every day lives.  

True to her self, she took the disease head on and fought it off with extreme toughness and dignity.  She barely slowed down through hundreds of appointments, chemo, radiation, and the regular craziness of running her family's daily life.  We lectured her about taking it easy sometimes, but knew also that keeping busy was something she needed to do for herself.  

When her hair started to fall out she didn't mourn the loss - she threw a head shaving party instead!  In support her husband shaved his too.  (And she kindly requested he not do that ever again).  At a birthday party one night while dancing with friends Chrissy took off her wig because it was getting so hot.  She remained without it the rest of the night.  I remember thinking how gorgeous she looked - and how courageous she was. I couldn't help but wonder if I was in her position, would I be able to be that strong?

Below are a few pics from Saturday night.  As you can see, Chrissy is doing fabulous and looking even more beautiful than ever. We had a fabulous time celebrating her strength, courage and her life!

Thursday, November 4, 2010


I'd like to be able to say that all that Halloween didn't have a negative effect on me but I'd be lying - something I'm not so good at.  It's actually not all the crap in the girls trick-or-treat baskets that's killing me (they got a lot of stuff!) but rather the bowl full sugar on the dining room table that's killing me.  

You see, we didn't actually get one "official" trick-or-treater on Halloween night. We live in a neighborhood full of kid that is actually inundated with "drop-off trick-or-treaters".  Though this is the 3rd year we've lived here and we've had very few in the past, I somehow thought this year would be different so despite my initial attempt to steer clear of things that I knew I'd eat by buying non-chocolate containing treats - I not only purchased the Swedish Fish and Sour Patch Kids I thought I'd never eat (but realized I LOVED!) but also a few small bags of Snickers and Milky Ways.  What a mistake.

We did get two "unofficial" doorbell rings, of which I gave out a handful or two to, of course.  There was KK - who managed to fool me despite the fact that she lives in this very house - and M and her BFF who came all the way from her house on the opposite end of the neighborhood where they were having a birthday party.  I figured that since I'm so elated that her BFF moved in to our neighborhood last week I had to reward that a little.  As I am related to both ringers, however, I can't actually consider either part of the "official" count.  

So, as of today it's Halloween 1 - Amy - 0.   

Monday, November 1, 2010

Swim, Bike, Sleep

It's Monday, which means I got my butt kicked on the bike this morning.  I was a few minutes late to class because the kids didn't have school today and I actually had a wake KK up at 9:15 - which never happens (post-Halloween sugar coma?). I almost skipped class to let her sleep, but then I thought better of it.  Damn me and my public promises.

Then this afternoon I took the girls and a few friends to the new Smith Aquatic Center.  It's a nice pool with a great kids area, two water slides and a decent diving well.  One of the bonuses of having swimmers for kids is that they don't need (or want) me to watch them, let alone hang out with them in the pool.  But they are only 8 & 10 so I have to be there. So, what do you do when you're in you swimsuit at the pool, you don't need to be chasing little kids anymore and cocktails aren't an option?  Here's a crazy idea - how about swimming?  

I won't lie.  Even after all the miles I've logged running and biking over the past few months swimming laps wasn't easy.  Truthfully it was hard. I was winded after my first 6 laps.  I continued on, however, and completed 34 (with periodic breaks to check that the kids were still alive - I did have the neighbor kids, too, afterall) which is about 1/2 a mile.    

What are the chances that Hyam's kids, who happened to be at the pool at a birthday party, remember to tell her not only that they saw me there but that I was actually swimming? Because the way I see it that was a bonus workout - I deserve a little extra credit for it.

And as for the third leg of today's triathlon - [[sleep]] - I just swallowed my Lunesta and hope to be accomplishing it very soon too.  Good night!