Saturday, February 28, 2009

Virtually Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail

In January, my "best Mankato friend" Jenny and I participated in an exercise jumpstart event at our local YMCA called the Amazing Fitness Race. We had to track our mileage and complete various "road block" challenges in order to move our little foot shaped marker along the path. Jenny & I finished 3rd, I believe. In February, it was Health Promotion Month in the Mankato Area Public Schools, and we tracked mileage in a similar fashion (final results still TBD), using a map of the Pacific Crest Trail as a visual guide.

Since all of that is pretty much over, I decided to continue tracking my own mileage on the PCT using one of many interactive maps that are available online. You can see the basic overview map over there to the left. I'm starting at the southern terminus down there on the Mexican border, and as I move north I will provide updates at each checkpoint. One of the better maps I found is on, and each update will include a link to the pertinent section of their interactive map.

As it turns out, using the mileage I recorded for the January and February events, I've already traveled 242 miles this year. That means I've completed the 110.6 mile section from the Mexican border to Warner Springs, CA and another 101.4 miles from there to the San Gorgonio Pass. As I start March, I'm 30 miles into the next segment, heading toward Cajon Pass, so my current location is right about here:

I'm currently in the Southern California section of the interactive guide, which can be viewed by clicking HERE, though unfortunately you apparently have to pay for some kind of membership to get beyond the most basic overview info. Bummer on that, but the map is still good. Anyway, monthly updates to follow.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

One (relatively) Junk Food Free Week

Ok...So I've earned 6 sparkly smiley stickers in a row now. That means I've stayed away from the snack cabinet in the teachers' lounge at school, I haven't been to any fast food places, I haven't bought crap at any convenience stores, and on the two occasions I went to a coffee shop I got a light beverage and had no pastries. I did bring home a major haul of Valentine's candy thanks to the kids in the 5 classes I deal with at the elementary school, but I gave a lot of it to Uber-Hubby and only let myself have a couple of small pieces each day. It's all gone now, so that's done. The main point is that I was able to successfully avoid all of my major trouble spots.

We drove up to Minneapolis to pick up my step-daughter (some completely invented excuse from her mother about why she couldn't bring her to us as agreed, but that's another issue). I had my SSHE breakfast and wasn't worried about lunch since we were supposed to be home before then, but after discovering the aforementioned lie from SD's mother, UH and I were so upset that we felt the need for some "walk it off" exercise at Mall of America. I suspect that UH was just using that as an excuse to check out the Shoe Extravaganza at Nordstrom's Rack, but there you go. Anyway, by the time we concluded our little retail therapy session, everyone was hungry for lunch and we were nowhere near the SSHE meal safely ensconced in my fridge at home.

What to do? Well, UH had a hankering for sushi, which (shockingly...not) isn't available here in the booming metropolis of Mankato. We decided to check out Tiger Sushi right there at the MOA. I'm not a big fan of sushi, being that they don't seem to be willing/able to make it without that nasty tasting seaweed wrapping stuff. I'm okay with the guts of most of the rolls, but I always end up burping up the taste of that seaweed for hours afterward. I made do with some grilled meat appetizers and a few pieces of Philly roll, but wasn't even remotely satisfied from a hunger perspective.

Enter my new BFF...The local Kwik Trip store. I know, it's a convenience store, but they also have a pretty decent selection of fresh fruit and salads. I actually walked in there all alone, no hubby to keep me from looking longingly at all the donuts and such, and managed to come out with bottled water, a garden salad, and a banana.

Hooray for me. Future road trip food will now consist of stops at Subway and Kwik Trip instead of McDonalds. I don't know that I've lost much weight this week, but I feel better about the choices I've made.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Self Sabotage

As anyone who has done any research on weight loss knows, many people fall into the trap of self sabotage. Most of them have deep seated emotional issues that are blocking them from true success, and all their efforts at losing weight will be for naught until they figure out what the real problem is. You've seen it on The Biggest Loser...Jillian yells at people in the gym (usually women) until they cry, at which point their real issues come to the surface, they talk about it, and the person seems to turn a corner and get on with the business of working out and losing weight.

I don't think my problem is THAT deep seated. I don't harbor hidden angst regarding my parents, I've already got a pretty strong personality, people generally don't take advantage of me or make me a doormat, etc. I do, however, have a serious issue with junk food. I spend a lot of time on my own, driving around town running errands, going to/from the Twin Cities for hockey, or making the trip to/from Faribault to get my Seattle Sutton's Healthy Eating (SSHE) food. There is nobody (but me) who will know if I stop for an oatmeal creme pie at the Kwik Trip or if I whip through the McDonald's drive thru for a biscuit, despite having just finished my SSHE breakfast. I can always stop for gas or something and ditch the evidence before I get home, so the hubster will never know exactly what I've been eating. Well, he will now that I've posted it here, but you get my drift.

There's only so much I can do to separate myself from temptation. I have no junk food in the house (those bomb pops in the freezer belong to hubby and for some reason don't tempt me at all, so I don't count them) and I've asked him to get his own lotto tickets so I don't have that as an excuse to visit the Kwik Trip yet again. He thinks that's the lamest thing in the world...that I should be able to walk into a store and buy a lotto ticket without buying the candy bars that in my mind seem to go with entering the building. Well, my response is that you wouldn't send a drug addict into a crack house to buy a Powerball ticket, so don't ask me to get you one at the Kwik Trip. Granted, most crack houses probably aren't lotto retailers, but you get the idea.

Oddly, I don't seem to have these issues when shopping at the grocery store or Target. Seems to be convenience stores and well placed fast food drive thrus that are undoing all the killer exercise I've been getting lately. Seriously...I KNOW what to eat, I KNOW I need to plan ahead for snacks, and I KNOW that this crap is terrible for me, but lately none of that seems to stop me from killing myself from the inside out. I don't get it. I've been successful at weight loss before, my husband isn't threatening to leave if I don't get skinny, and otherwise my life is pretty good. He's beginning to talk about some kind of counseling, but I wouldn't even know who to go to, because I don't think this is really something that merits the expense of a no kidding Psychologist or whatever.

I have reached out to an online friend who recently became certified as a Life Coach and needs people to practice on, so for now we'll see where that goes. Embarrassingly, I have also gone back to my old system of giving myself a cute little sticker on the calendar for every day that I avoid junk/fast food. Very Kindergarten, I know, but it has worked in the past. Today's date is currently sporting a very nice, sparkly, red happy face.

If anyone else has any insight on this particular form of self sabotage, I would love to hear it.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

My Cousin, the Ape Lady

This is my cousin, Sally Coxe, who runs a nonprofit organization working to save the Bonobo Apes in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The video is a clip from one of the Obama Inauguration events that focused on environmental conservation efforts around the world. She's actually my Dad's cousin, so I guess that makes her my 2nd cousin. Either that or my 1st cousin once removed...I can't ever get that straight, no matter how many times Cousin Whit explains it to me. :-)

In other news...Hot Flash, my women's hockey team, is doing well again this season. We're currently 11-3 and temporarily in 2nd place in our division standings, but the team we've been flip-flopping with all season plays this afternoon and will be on top by one point again if they win today. This is actually right where we like to be, because the top 6 teams go to the state tournament, but your team is forced to move up a division next season if you win the whole thing 2 years in a row. We don't want to move up, so that tempers our bitterness at getting robbed out of the state championship by a referee error last year. If that hadn't happened and we win it this year, we would have been forced to move up next season, and the next division involves A LOT more travel around the state.

Not a lot of improvement in the weight department, unfortunately. I'm back in the gym on a regular basis thanks in part to my friend Jenny, who has agreed to be my partner in any workout challenges that the Y or our school system come up with. Since I haven't been able to ride outdoors lately because the city of Mankato isn't as good as Minneapolis about clearing road shoulders and bike paths, I've taken up indoor spin classes 3 days a week at the Y. I also recently redesigned my half marathon training plan, so unless I get super bad news at the orthopedist in 2 weeks I'm still planning on doing the New Prague Half Marathon in early May. Despite all that, I'm still departing from the Seattle Sutton's food plan a little too often and my doctor doesn't want me on thyroid meds yet, so my weight hasn't changed much since Thanksgiving. Oh well...I'm happy to at least be back on the right track with exercise. It's the best stress management tool I know of.

Stay tuned...Uber Hubby and I start ballroom dance classes this Tuesday!