Stagnation and Progress

Effort is hard, y’all.

Ever since I got back from my half marathon, it has been a struggle to get out the door in my running shoes.

In my mind and on my training calendar, I was going to be back running 11+ mile runs starting the week I returned. That didn’t happen, nor was it probably realistic to imagine that it would happen. I’ve been consistent enough with running and I ran a killer 5-mile race last month, but I need to step it up because I have a 20-mile race scheduled for September 18.

That said, in addition to all the little aches and pains and the worthless right knee that I have, I have developed what seems to be a groin pull. And, in case you’re wondering, if you want to get treatment for a groin pull, you have to both say the word “groin” too many times to too many different people and point to your crotchal region about the same number of times. It’s not fun.

Much to my surprise, however, I did those things. I was concerned that if I pulled a Stimey and ignored it and assumed it would get better that it might, in fact, NOT get better, which would be surprising because isn’t that how these things work? Like I unplug and replug in my groin area and it’s better, right?

Regardless, I decided that even if the pain isn’t a problem for me on most days, I should deal with it now rather than run on it until I am completely immobilized and can’t do my 20-miler.

Happily and coincidentally, I happened to have a med check appointment with my doctor last week, which I turned into a Groin Pull Appointment, which in turn led to today’s evaluation at the physical therapist’s office.

Also, henceforth, my groin pull will be referred to as my Painful Situation, because I have met my lifetime quota for saying the word “groin” to virtual strangers.

The therapist did a full evaluation on my right leg and my right arm (because I offhandedly mentioned an upper arm/shoulder situation that I have been assuming would just get better for a couple of months now and he didn’t seem to think that was the proper course of treatment) and came up with a much nicer way of telling me that the right side of my body is all kinds of jacked up from toe to shoulder.

You guys, physical therapists are like magical mystery workers. He, like, tapped my foot and was all, “Do you have any toe pain?” and I was like, “YES! I haven’t told anyone because, you know, toe pain…that should probably resolve on its own right?…but I’ve been having stabbing pain radiating out from that very spot you are pointing at.”

Magical mystery workers.

Also, probably science and years of training. But mostly magic.

So, the dude has a plan that involves things like better posture and exercises at home and frequent visits to his office, but happily not things like surgery or mysterious toe pain for the rest of my life.

He asked if I had any questions and all I wanted to know was if I could run while treatment was ongoing. Joyously, the answer is yes. I’m allowed to run as long as it doesn’t hurt. I nodded, smiled, and gave two vigorous thumbs up at which time he added sternly, “It can’t hurt after you run either.”

*insert less vigorous thumbs up here along with a questioning face because doesn’t everyone hurt after running*

Long story short, I will likely have a month of easy, shortish, slow runs ahead of me. Not so bad really. So far, physical therapy is kind of awesome.

Pittsburgh Half Marathon, Here I Come!

I’ve trained.

I’ve stayed uninjured.

I’ve created a new playlist just for the event.

I took advantage of the fact that my feet aren’t entirely tore up to get a pedicure from a professional when it isn’t TOTALLY embarrassing.

I mostly successfully stayed on the edge of the plague that took down my family one by one over the past two weeks to make it to a state where I am fully embracing denial and claiming to be NOT SICK and being about 95% right.

I am going to go run the motherfucking Pittsburgh Half Marathon on Sunday.

Probably in the rain. Because what is more fun that 13.1 miles on foot? 13.1 miles on foot in the rain.

This will be my second half marathon. I ran my first a year and a half ago and fell down twice. I’m hoping to, if not run faster this time, then at least stay vertical. Also, I’m running with (or behind) my running buddies Heather, Lyda, and Bob, so at least I’ll have someone to meet me at the medical tent afterward if I do fall.

I have lots of thoughts about my running and the races I’ve run recently and how awesome I feel about myself and stuff, but I haven’t packed and I’m due in Pittsburgh this afternoon. However, I haven’t updated you on my Project Stimey/New Year’s Resolution running/weight loss goals, so I’ll do that quickly.

Until I ate that burrito last night, I was down 19 pounds this year, which I feel great about. I feel like that is the kind of weight loss I can sustain. All of it is through running and tracking what I eat. I’ve noticed some changes in my body, mostly in that my pants are all too big now and I don’t want to buy new ones until fall, but not changes that people who aren’t Alex would probably notice. I’m okay with that too.

Four photos of me during or after races. They were taken in January, February, early April, and late April. In each, I am wearing black pants. In the first and third one, I am wearing flourescent yellow and in the second and fourth, I am wearing purple.

Look at how I coordinate! (From January, February, early April, late April)

In that last photo, I was actually running faster than I normally do, but somehow I look like I was standing still. I guess Shuffly Jean is faster than Runny Jean.

Anywho, wish me luck this weekend and send non-rainy, non-fatigued thoughts to me on Sunday morning.

Because Pittsburgh, here I come.

So, Stimey, How Are Those Resolutions Coming?

Well. I’m having some mixed results with my 2016 resolutions.

I haven’t created any photo books yet. And I’m not doing such a great job with writing more, am I?

Well, maybe that’s because I’m spending so much time doing such a kickass job of my goal #3, which was to lose weight, but also had increased running and fitness folded into it.

I’m down a solid number of pounds and I’ve gotten healthier about my eating. I am proud of me. I’ve got a long way to go, but I’m doing it! I’m using My Fitness Pal to log my food and exercise and it has been helping a huge amount. I have exactly two friends on the app (Alex and one other person), which is perfect. It has become this great little motivational, encouraging space that I’m kind of addicted to.

I’ve run a couple of races this year so far, one on January 1st and one on February 7. In a weird coincidence, race photographers captured me in almost the exact same place in my stride in each of them.

Two photos side by side, almost identical, except I'm wearing a yellow shirt in the left one and a purple shirt in the right one.

It’s weird how similar they are, isn’t it?

January is on the left. I think my leg position in the February one is slightly more flattering, but I also think I’m starting to see a teensy bit of body change, which is a great feeling. Let’s only hope that the photographers at my next race capture the same pose so I can continue my comparison.

Speaking of running, I have been so happy doing it recently. All last year I struggled to get out and run. I always felt great afterward, but I was completely lacking in motivation. I didn’t run as much as I’d hoped and it was often a real struggle.

This year I’m falling back in love with running. I’ve already run my first 100 miles for the year—100.04, not that I’m counting or anything—and my body feels so strong while I’m doing it. Instead of seeking flat routes, as I did last year, I’m running up hills (and back down, yay!) and pushing myself to get stronger. Instead of having to force myself to lace up and go outside, I’ve found myself craving runs.

This is a good thing, considering I’m registered for a half marathon in May and a 20-miler in September. I am not playing around this year, people. Tomorrow is my weekly long run—I have 7.3 miles planned—and I can’t wait.

That all said, talk to me in July when I have a 15-mile run scheduled in 95-degree heat. If I’m still this enthusiastic then, well, I will have won 2016—especially if I have some photo books sitting on my shelf as well.


We’re all agreed that New Year’s resolutions start the first Monday of the new year, right? Like, we weren’t supposed to stop eating pints of ice cream in one sitting on Friday, right?

At first, my resolution was going to be Improve All Aspects of My Being All At Once. I was going to get thin, run a marathon, save money, live in a clean house, read all my unread books, get a ton of sleep every night, and be a perfect mom. This seemed like a reasonable and immediately gratifying goal.

But then I decided that it might be more realistic to not expect my life to drastically change with little effort on January 4th. So I came up with three more achievable goals that I can focus on.

My first resolution partly relates to you. I intend to write more this year. I’ve decided to try to blog twice a week. I miss writing and I miss having a record of my family’s doin’s, so hopefully you’ll see more of me here. This is post #1 for the week. Look at me! I’m accomplishing my resolutions RIGHT NOW!

My second resolution is to turn my digital photos into photo books. I have hundreds of photographs on disc and in the cloud. I am the only one who ever sees them. And frankly, I can’t see a future where someone looks through my computer files to enjoy the photos. At one point, I intended to get prints of many of them and then put them in photo albums, like I’ve done with photos since I was in high school. But then I remembered that there are places that will do this for you. I plan on choosing the best photos from my files and then creating photo books from them. I already made a test one and am happy with the results. And I’ll be glad that my family will be able to enjoy the photos more easily.

My third resolution is the hardest to achieve. It’s something that I’ve danced around in previous resolutions but never quite dared to say aloud because if you say it and fail, it is embarrassing and sucks more than just failing. But if you don’t say it, you are almost guaranteed to fail. In 2016, I want to significantly change my body shape and lose a noticeable amount of weight. In terms of body health, I am in it for the long game. I am okay with slow change, but I want change. My body is healthy and it is strong, but I’m ready for it to not have to work so hard to do the things I want it to do. I have some big running goals coming up in the next year and if I don’t lose weight before I do them, it’s going to be harder and I’m going to be slower achieving them. I may fail at this one, but I’m going to make an effort. I have specific plans in place to make this work and Alex is on board with me too. Don’t judge me if you see me eating cookies or something though. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

All right. I have a few hours before Monday. I’m going to sit around slothfully and eat ice cream during them. And tomorrow I will start making small, realistic changes in hopes of achieving my goals. Let me know what your resolutions are too. Maybe we’re doing the same thing. Happy new year!


Lacing Up

I was really tired when 6 p.m. rolled around today. I’d gone to work, I’d gone to a Geek Squad appointment, I’d been late to pick up Jack from his after-school activity, and after all of that, Alex dragged me out to pick out a new refrigerator. I was beat.

I mention this because I’d planned to go running today. But by the time I actually had a chance to do so, running was the last thing I wanted. However, I’ve been trying to get back on a regular running schedule and I know that it is so easy to talk myself out of one run and then do it again the next day and before I know it, it’s been a week and all I’ve done is sit on my couch.

I had good reasons to take the day off, but my fitness level doesn’t really care if I have a good excuse.

With sadness, I laced up my shoes and headed out for a two and a half mile loop.

Selfie taken in dusky evening light of me after a run.

After. I was cutting it close with the oncoming darkness, but it was worth it.

I am writing about this because I am struggling. I am struggling with getting out there several days a week. I’ve signed up for a spring half marathon, so I have some motivation, but over the next couple of months, I’m trying to build a solid base and bring my speed back up to where it was when I was putting in decent weekly mileage.

It’s going to be some work.

In an effort to make myself accountable, you might be seeing more Stimeyland Facebook posts that look like this:

Selfie of me after a run.

“Proud of myself for getting outside for a run this afternoon! #runner #sweaty #obnoxious”

Feel free to unsubscribe now.

Or! Feel free to join me there and comment about your exercise victories and struggles. We can motivate each other!

Because I had a great run this evening. I was hungry and tired and annoyed and didn’t want to go, but once I was out there, I was so glad I went. I came home feeling one million percent* better than when I left.

That is a feeling worth chasing—even if I think I don’t want to.


* approximately

Disaster Struck! Running Edition

Photo of me running to the finish line in a pink shirt with a race bib attached to it. It is NOT an attractive photo of me.

It can’t all be smiles and PRs and flattering race photos. (Photo by Ken Trombatore)

This photo was taken at a 10K race I ran in April. I did not share this photo then for obvious reasons. I share it now because I am kind of delighted by its awfulness and also because it sort of eloquently makes the point that sometimes in a fitness journey, you biff it.

Over the past several months, I have very much biffed it.

I went from running 4-5 times a week to running once every couple of weeks. I lost a huge chunk of my fitness base. I got so bogged down by pace and distance that I had to entirely ditch tracking my runs and wearing my Garmin for the indefinite future.

It’s been ugly.

I lost motivation and then I got sick and then I was out of the habit and then I got sick again and I got busy and then I just didn’t feel like running and then I developed this cough that came with decreased lung capacity and all of a sudden, I wasn’t a runner anymore.

I’m clawing my way back though. I’ve been making an effort to get on the road or the treadmill every day and not feel bad if I walk instead of run. I’ve made peace with shorter mileage. I’m postponing the Big Running Goals I wanted to accomplish this fall and not beating myself up about it.

But I went on a run today that felt incredible. (Hooray for increased lung capacity again.)

My new mileage goal for the year is just to keep running. I’m going to finish out the year with no races longer than a 10K. I’m going to aim for a spring half marathon if I can find a good one. I’m going to sign up early for those big fall running events that I originally intended to do this year.

I’m finally feeling inspired to be a runner again and I’m realizing that inspiration is what I was missing. I hope it is here to stay.


* Disaster Strikes! Soda Edition: As long as I’m coming clean about my inactivity, I should let you know that even though I haven’t mentioned it, I am a soda drinker again and have been for months and months. I know. It’s shameful.

Project Stimey 2.0

Project StimeyIt has been one year and one day since I started Project Stimey, which means it is time to stop, assess, and recommit. As I mentioned in my last post, my resolution at the beginning of 2013 was this:

My goal this year is to improve my overall physical health. By the end of 2013, I want to weigh less, I want to be fitter, I want to be a water drinker instead of a soda drinker, and I want to be altogether more awesome.

As I also mentioned, I managed to do all of these things, but some of them not all the way. That, however, was kind of the point for me. Giving myself an end goal, like “LOSE ALL THE WEIGHT” would have set me up for failure. This way, when I lost SOME of the weight, I ended up feeling good about myself instead of wanting to kill myself. Win-win!

As for fitness, I am definitely way better off than I was a year ago. I ran 465.51 miles this year in just more than 100 hours. I ran seven races, including the relay race I spent most of the year training for. I ran an 8k race in September at a three minute per mile faster pace than when I had run the same race the year before.

Also, my body is changing in good ways.

Running photos taken a year apart

I’m not where I want to be, but I’m moving in the right direction.

As for the soda drinking, I’m afraid I haven’t been as honest with you as I could have been. It was February when I told you that I was making good progress quitting Diet Coke. Then I completely regressed without telling you and drank mass amounts of Diet Coke right up until December 29, when I realized that I only had two days left if I planned to quit before new year’s.

It was a sad day, let me tell you. Honestly, though, the next day was sadder with no happy brown bubbles to cheer me up.

I’m on Day Four with no soda and I feel totally fine physically, but damn if I don’t miss it. I know that it is just a matter of getting out of the habit of drinking soda all the time. I’m now getting in the habit of drinking water instead. I should tell you that water is stupid.

I am so fucking hydrated right now that I want to scream.

But healthier! No more phenylalanine for me! Yay! *grumpy face*

As for next year, I really just want to keep moving down the road I’m on. My 2014 resolution is to continue to improve my overall physical health. I will continue to work on running and increasing my mileage and speed, but I really want to work on eating cleaner as well. Per usual, I will plan to increase my general awesomeness again.

I want to run at least one half marathon this year, hopefully this spring, but I haven’t found one yet. My relay team is also planning another fall relay. And, again, we have openings if any of you are interested in joining our team.

Just like last year, you can keep tabs on me through my distance log and my race list.

Let’s inspire each other! Let me know what your goals are and how you’re going to make them happen. We can all be awesomer in 2014!