Tales From the Back of the Pack

Tales From the Back of the Pack

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Week in Review!

On Tuesday I ran with my OTHER run buddy Val(erie) while the Puff was at church. Val and I go to church together and she was on one of my Ragnar teams, but hasn't run in a long time. We had a great gab fest and a great run. I think she's back in the game! 

Reducing our landfill waste doesn't mean doing without. On Tuesday we stopped by Jamba Juice for the Puff's favorite Strawberries Wild and they didn't bat an eyelash when I asked for the smoothie to be put in my commuter mug instead of a plastic cup. We used our glass straw too. 
On Wednesday IT RAINED in LA! Of course I was wearing white pants and sandals and sent the Puff to school in SHORTS! MotherOfTheYear. UGH.
I stopped at a sandwich place after work to pick up a quick bite before my chemical peel appointment at my friend SZ's house. I asked the sandwich place to wrap up my panini in aluminum foil instead of a styrofoam box. No problem!
Then I had my face burned with chemicals at SZ's house. #thethingswedoforbeauty. Our aesthetician Monique said NO SUN for the next 10-14 days!
No Sun for 10 days meant Thursday's run was at the gym. 5 Yasso's this week plus foam rolling for good measure.

Saturday, I asked Val (run buddy #1) to meet super early so I wouldn't be caught out running in the blazing morning sun
Six miles (and TWO Presidential podcasts) meant that I earned my french toast! And with my head full of endorphins and clarity I remembered to bring my tiffin to the restaurant to pack my leftovers. #zerowaste

After breakfast the Puff and I had a date to fulfill our volunteer goal for the month. We headed down to the beach for the 30 Minute Beach Clean Up and picked up trash for about an hour. Easy peasy, February is done! The Clean Up organizers provide volunteers with disposable gloves and plastic bags but we brought our own reusables. (Don't you love my hat?)
All this plastic crap ends up in the stomachs of birds and fish. And then in our own bodies when we eat those fish. The Gyres are forreal, yo. 

After the beach we treated ourselves to an ice cream cone. And car wash.

Later Saturday, after a long nap and lots of TV, Sara invited us over for family dinner at her house. We picked up some pies at Marie Callendar's to contribute to the potluck. I brought my own sheet tray in to the restaurant to load the pies onto so that I could refuse the boxes and bags that they're typically packaged in. #zerowaste.  And dinner was DELICIOUS. 

After church on Sunday we stopped at the farmer's market for the week's haul. 

I picked out the basket of strawberries and the vendor empties them into my bag and reuses (hopefully) the baskets. 
 I also have a container for eggs that the farmer's market vendor is happy to fill up with eggs for me. I wish it wasn't a plastic container, but it's old and still gets the job done.

All in all, it's been a solid week! It's been quite a while since I've felt like I was in a good place with my running or my zero waste efforts.  I will stop short of saying it's getting easy, because I don't want to jinx myself. But, it is getting less difficult!


Thursday, February 18, 2016

Book Review: It Was Me All Along by Andie Mitchell

One look at the cover picture and I knew this was a book I wanted to read. Thanks to Taking the Long Way home for both hosting this awesome virtual running book club link-up and for selecting this "non-running" book for this month's read. 
It Was Me All Along is a memoir of Andie Mitchell's life long struggle with her weight until she has an epiphany/breakthrough in college. Then we get to the really good stuff. 

While her journey from morbidly obese to a size 4 is impressive by itself, that's just the beginning. The best chapters of her memoir are about the struggles of maintaining that weight loss, and how it's not about the food
In this era of competitive dieting, (e.g. The Biggest Loser and Extreme Makeover) this book is a much-needed guide for how to do it RIGHT. 

This story resonated with me from the very first page. Like Andie, I grew up wearing clothes that bunched up on me in odd places and pinched me in the others. Like Andie, I grew up with a brother who's pants were several inches too short before his body outgrew the waist. Like Andie, I grew up knowing that skinny was good and fat was bad and that I was fat. 

If food is a drug, then Andie's mother was most definitely her supplier. Her mother was a classic codependent. She allowed Andie to use food as proxy nurturer, she'd never acknowledge that Andie had a problem and she kept the kitchen cupboards stocked with food that triggered Andie's overeating. 

My own mother was always focused on me keeping my weight in check but her approach was to shame me whenever I overate or to lecture me when I needed to buy clothes in sizes larger than what my friends were wearing. 

As an adult with a daughter of my own, I don't know which approach is better: my mother's or hers. While I never weighed anywhere near Andie's highest of 268 I'd say both approaches are terrible. So far, my own kid doesn't have any kind of unusual pull to overeat anything, so in that regard, I'd say I'm lucky. 

Her book starts and ends with references to one of her favorite comfort foods, her mother's Sour Cream Fudge Cake. The recipe is in the book so of course, I couldn't resist trying it out for myself

I hit up WinCo on the way home from work and picked up some powdered sugar and dutch cocoa from the bulk bins using my own cloth bags. I had the remaining ingredients at home: 
The recipe was pretty easy to follow and the Puff helped until we got to this point here, then she lost interest and went off to watch TV. 
I'm no master baker, but the results were pretty good! Even the Puff liked it, and she is the pickiest eater I have ever ever met. We sliced off some for ourselves, re-frosted the bare side and we'll take it over to the nephew's in the morning so they can finish it off.  
Andie's blog is at www.andiemitchell.com and she also has an inspiring and insightful Ted talk HERE. I highly recommend checking out both!! 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Setting the Bar Low

The Puff had a 4th & 5th Grades Valentine's Day School Dance on Friday. The cuteness of the whole situation had me smiling from the inside out.
The Puff had elaborate ideas of how she wanted her hair, but her mom can't use a curling iron to save her life, so Michelle came to our rescue.

 Heading to the dance (I wasn't helicoptering, every kid had to be accompanied by a parent!) it was like the everyday carpool to school scene, except more sparkly.

At the dance, the Puff dropped it low and hit the quan. 

After the dance I drove the Puff to BD's house to spend the night (Hey, BD, it's not called babysitting when it's your own kid!) because I had an early morning date at DODGER STADIUM. WOOT!! LA Marathon 5K! 
 It was a beautiful day for a race and my only goal for today was to not come in last. I'm not being facetious, I really do worry about being last. I was at a race once where I saw that last runner coming in with the police and road crew on her tail picking up each cone as she shuffled past them. My worst nightmare.

There were a few major hills around the stadium which I ended up walking, but other than those hills, everything went as well as it possibly could.
 My results for the first 5K of this year, 12:52/mi. I think I have set the bar sufficiently low so that I will be exceptionally pleased at my next 5K. It can only get better, right? Right?
 At the finish chutes, I didn't pick up a single thing. There were free Big 5 baseball caps and other landfill trash being given away in swag bags, but I declined. Val and I split a banana.
 The medals were pretty cool for a 5K.

Afterwards, we hit up The Original Pantry Cafe in DTLA. We had to, because it's a downtown landmark and it's a landmark because there's not many places around here that are any older. The entire city of LA seemed to have had the same idea and we waited for a table forever before finally heading to the counter. 
 Sourdough french toast, eggs & bacon. Totally hit the spot! (Hmm, why can't I lose weight?)
 But it was too much food and I'd left my tin container in the car. I ended up with a styrofoam container for my leftovers. Ugh! I can put the styrofoam in my city's recycle bin, but I know that styrofoam can't truly be recycled. If I'm lucky, it's actually downcycled or worst case scenario, it'll be landfill waste. A better solution would have been to ask for a sheet of aluminum foil. Next time.
Sitting at the counter ended up being the best decision because right outside the window we saw the Olympic Marathon Trials running back and forth about a half a block away!! I nearly leapt out of my seat!!

We paid our tab and headed down the street to the 6 mile loop turnaround on Figueroa St. I climbed on top of a giant planter, and got a great view of the runners.

The MEN. Go MEB GO!!!!

 The WOMEN! My Girl DES is in the black on the bottom left:
 This was hands down the best part of our morning. We were surrounded by this frenzy of excitement from crazy every day runners watching America's best runners! I'm so glad we were lucky enough to be there. 

SO EXCITED ABOUT DES LINDEN!!! There's always so much attention on Kara and Shalene (I'm talking to you, Runner's World magazine!), Des seems to get overlooked. Even during the last few miles of the race, the commentators were still speculating that 4th place Kara could catch 3rd place Des. Nobody thought Des would kick and catch Shalene?? And then when she did it, I was cheering my heart out!

Walking back to the car, it was so hot, we stopped for a Mexican paleta. They were wrapped in plastic, which will end up being landfill waste, no chance of recycling that. At least the popsicle stick is compostable.

After napping in the afternoon, getting household chores done and catching up on Top Chef, I felt like a whole new person! 
HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!! And if you've been waiting, like me, to see what's going to happen to Glen and Maggie and everybody else, HAPPY RETURN OF THE WALKING DEAD!! 

Friday, February 12, 2016

Looking Forward to Valentine's Day

Still plugging away at this running stuff. Yesterday I ran a mile to the gym, did a few yasso's on the treadmill and ran back to work, for a total of 4 miles, about a 12:30 minute pace. Really that's not that bad (for me). 
I just hate that running is so hard. I'm always seeing other runners just gliding over the sidewalk all gazelle-like and I am clumsily lumbering along all clod-like. Gaaaaaaah. 
 Afterwards, I had to run out to pick up Valentine's day goodies for the Puff! She made me one proud mama when she suggested that she should bring CUTIES to her class's Valentine's Day exchange! Wow, that is so perfect, cuz THERE'S NO TRASH!!! The kid is brilliant.
I picked up 33 cuties for her to give to each classmate. She will undoubtedly bring home a enormous bag full of candy trash, but that's a problem for another day. 

This is my valentine right here. 
 And pizza too, sometimes. Too many times. 

But most of all, I'm looking forward to this for Valentines Day: 

Tomorrow is our first 5K of the year, Big 5K at Dodger Stadium. I'm excited about the race and even more excited to be at Dodger Stadium again! I'm gonna take LOTS of pictures!! 

Have a LOVE-ly Valentine's Weekend!