Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Goals for 2013

Happy holidays to all! 

I'm not usually big on New Year's resolutions since I don't think that you necessarily need a new year to put forth your resolutions.  I believe that if you want to improve upon something, then there is no time like the present to do it.  If you start today, it's one more day that you did it versus another day that you didn't!

In any event, though, I did want to put in writing some of my running goals for the upcoming year. 

If only it were that easy, no?

I've listed these running goals in what I consider to be descending order of most challenging to least challenging goals.  Relatively speaking, of course.

1. Run a sub-8:00 mile.

Even at the peak of my running career, the 8-minute mile has been difficult for me to beat.  My best race split of the year came during the PAWS Run For Their Lives 8K last September, where my Garmin says I clocked an 8:34 mile.  I think that if I were running JUST one mile, that I might be able to come close to the 8-minute mark.  Although, I shouldn't get too confident because 34 seconds is a lot of time when you're dealing with just one mile.  Either way, I better be careful about what I eat before I attempt a PR mile as it will surely require pushing myself to the point of nausea.

Ideally, though, I'd like to get to the point where I can run a sub-8:00 mile without fearing that I might lose my lunch.  Maybe someday.

Check out this motorized cooler. 
Now THAT's the way to ensure speediness without losing your lunch!

2. Run a sub-26:30 5K.

I only ran one 5K this past year, where I finished in 27:52.  With some reasonable work I think I could break the 27-minute mark.  Beyond that, it's anyone's guess.  Admittedly, I was tempted to list this goal as sub 26:00, but breaking 26 minutes would be a huge challenge for me and might not be realistic in the near term.  Hence the 26:30 goal.  Although, a 25:59 would be so much cooler than a 26:00.  But we'll see how things shake out.

Regardless, once again, thou shalt be careful about what thy eats before attempting thy goal.

3. Run a sub-2:15:00 half marathon.

My best half marathon this past year was run in 2:22:52.  I think can run a sub-2:20:00 half marathon without too much difficulty.  Getting below 2:15:00 will probably take some effort (but I think it is much more doable than a sub-26:00 5K).  Regardless, I am bolstered by hearing about several people who shaved 10-15 minutes off of their half marathon times in one fell swoop.  Very inspirational!
4. Run a sub-5:00:00 marathon.

Had I not been dealing with searing groin pain during the Chicago Marathon, I think I already could have come reasonably close to the 5-hour mark.  I feel pretty good about being able to break 5 hours the second time around.  In fact, I was already tempted to list my marathon goal as sub-4:50:00.  But I don't want to bite off more than I can chew.

Other Race Distance Goal Times
For race distances other than the ones listed above, I either do those distances less frequently, or place less emphasis on them.  But here are the goals I'd have for some of those others:

8K - sub 43:00
10K - sub 58:00
10M - sub 1:40:00

I realize nearly all of these goals I've listed could be the great beneficiary of speedwork.  I've never really enjoyed doing speedwork because I don't like pushing myself to the point of major discomfort.  Admittedly this is the more prevalent reason that I don't do a lot of speedwork.

But, I do know that speedwork doesn't have to be that extreme to be effective.   Plus, moderate speedwork is better than none at all.

At the moment, I'm still only running one day a week.   But once I get to the point where I'm comfortable running a few days a week, I'd like to add some speedwork back into the routine.  Maybe once a week.

Goals Which Don't Require Running Shoes

Do yoga at least once a week
I've done very little yoga over the past few months due pretty much to lack of interest, and also because so much of my PT routine already involves stretching.  But PT stretches are certainly not a substitute for a full yoga routine.  Therefore, I need to find myself a way to get back into yoga.

Strength-train at least once a week
I actually do enjoy upper-body strength-training, but it's very much a momentum thing with me.  I go in spurts.  But my condo building just installed strength-training equipment in the building's fitness room.  Now I really have no excuse not to strength-train. 

Although, I am sure that on days when I'm not motivated, I'll still manufacture plenty of excuses.

Hmmm... guess I can't do any strength-training today.  The old sock drawer needs to be organized.  Again. 

Bike or do some sort of aerobic cross-training at least once a week
I've been doing a lot of stationary biking and I've been feeling the burn in my hips and glutes.  It's been good. 

I'm not huge on the elliptical machine, but it would be fun to throw in some other forms of cross-training wherever possible.  Now that it's winter, it'd be fun to do more ice skating.  Even in lieu of the dastardly NHL lockout, which makes me turn Barney-purple with rage everytime I think about it.  But I digress.

Do my physical therapy exercises at least 5 days a week.  Especially the core work.
Have I mentioned before how much I hate doing planks or any other core work?  The planks are often the first exercise to be dumped when I don't have time or don't want to do my full PT routine.  That is not good.  I need to just gut those planks out (literally and figuratively). 

In keeping with the "do it now!" philosophy, though, I have already been much better over the past few weeks about planking.  Yesterday I set my plank PR, which was 2 minutes and 15 seconds!  And wow, am I ever feeling it today.

Drink more water
While in the office, drink at least four glasses of water during each workday.  Drink another four at home before/after work.  It's a little tough for me to drink plain water, hence why I drink a ton of very diluted fruit juice.  But adding a squeeze of lemon or lime juice to plain water also does the trick, so I'll try to do more of that instead.  In short, I'd like to try drinking more actual water as opposed to diluted fruit juice.

And finally...

Eat more good chocolate
Don't laugh.  In all seriousness, I can't even begin to tell you how many times I've eaten some ho-hum dessert just because it was there.  I want to adopt the philosophy that if I am going to eat dessert, that it better be a GOOD dessert.  No more calories wasted over so-so desserts.  In short:

Quality over quantity!

Unprocessed over processed! 

Gelato over ice cream!

How could anyone argue with that?!?!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Running in Las Vegas

Adam and I are going to Las Vegas next month to celebrate one of his milestone birthdays.  Given that the winter doldrums usually set in for me on January 2, it's great to have this trip to look forward to!

Since I've started an unofficial goal for myself to run races in as many states/locations as possible, I did look up running events in Las Vegas the weekend we'll be there.  Lo and behold, the Las Vegas Track Club is hosting a Fund the Fund 10K race that Saturday.

Unfortunately, I'm torn on whether or not to run this race.

Here are the plusses:

It's very affordable
Registration is only $25, which by Chicago standards is a steal!!!  (Although, there was no mention on the race website of the event being chip-timed.  If it isn't, maybe that's why it's so affordable?)

The swag is nice 
You receive a $25 gift voucher towards a running shoe purchase at Red Rock Running Company, which is one of their local running stores.  You also get a technical shirt.

Charitable impact
100% of the registration fees go towards the Las Vegas Track Club's scholarship fund.  I've never seen any race where 100% of the proceeds go towards a charitable cause.

Here are the catches:

Transportation is a big problem
Adam and I are staying on the Strip.  However, the race takes place at the Kellogg-Zaher Sports Complex in northwest Las Vegas.  It's about 15 miles away.  I looked up estimated taxi fairs and they come out to about about $80 roundtrip, which is a lot.

It seems a little silly to rent a car just to drive to/from a race... but just for giggles I looked it up and it would also cost about $80.  Either way, it seems like a excessive amount to pay just to transport myself to/from the race.

I went ahead and emailed the event organizer to ask if they had any transportation advice, or if there were any carpools that I could potentially join. We'll see what they come back with.  I am not optimistic, though.

That $25 gift voucher won't be very useful to me 
The Red Rock Running Company is very much a store that is local to the Las Vegas metro area.  Their Las Vegas location is also quite a ways from where we are staying - and it's also several miles from the race location.  So while the gift voucher is very nice, it would be difficult for me to use it (not to mention that I have way too many pairs of running shoes as it is). 

Although, I guess I could just give the voucher away to some random local runner.  Who knows, he/she might then be so happy that they'll shout:

I mean, it is Las Vegas, after all, right??? 

(OK, maybe I overestimate the potential goodwill garnered by the spirit of giving.)

One more catch, which is not specific to this race, is...

Having to get up uber-early on a Saturday morning when I would rather be sleeping 
The desire to sleep in gets magnified on vacation!  And even when we're not on vacation I feel bad enough dragging Adam up at ungodly hours for my races.  It would be cruel and unusual to make him do so while celebrating his birthday in Las Vegas.  Although, I guess I could certainly go run the race by myself and let him sleep in.

Admittedly, at this point I am leaning towards forgoing the race.  It seems like more cost than it is worth.  But at the same time, how often do you get the opportunity to cross Nevada off of your states-raced list?

What to do?  What to do?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

2012 Racing Statistics

Kim recently posted an awesome recap of her 2012 racing statistics.  Even though I am nowhere as hard-core of a racer as many, I thought I'd share my own 2012 racing statistics!

Here goes nothing.

Races run: 10 (see the complete list here)

Races volunteered: 1 - the ZOOMA Great Lakes Half Marathon

Races cancelled: 1 - the Mad Dash to Madison.  Curse the NHL lockout.

DNFs: 0

DNSs: 0

Races during which I told myself I would never run again, ever: To be honest, I can only remember 1.  You only remember the positive, right?  But this may also mean that I am not pushing myself hard enough during my races...?

Races which caused me to question my own sanity for any reason (usually due to being jolted awake by an early-morning alarm clock): 9.  Not surprisingly, the only exception was the Strike Out ALS 5K with its 7:00 PM start time.

Races after which I started crying, for whatever reason: 2.  The PAWS Run For Their Lives 8K, for seeing dozens of pets that needed homes; and the Chicago Marathon, for so many reasons but mostly for the sheer relief of finally being able to accomplish a lifelong goal.

Races during which I actually got to line up at the very front of the pack instead of in the very back by all the portapotties! 1 - the CARA Ready to Run 20-Miler.  It was nice to feel like an elite Kenyan runner for 10 minutes!

5K: 1
8K: 1
5-mile: 1

10-mile: 1
Half marathon: 4

20-mile: 1
Marathon: 1

I was a little surprised to realize that I didn't run any 10Ks in 2012.  Up until this year, the 10K had always been my favorite distance.

New to me distances: 8K, 5-mile, 10-mile, 20-mile, marathon.  The 10-mile distance has become my new favorite racing distance!

States raced in: 2 - Illinois (9 races) and Pennsylvania (1 race).  

The Roberto Clemente Bridge in Pittsburgh from the PNC YMCA Turkey Trot 5-miler

I am looking forward to adding more states to the list soon.  (Adam and I are going to Las Vegas next month, and I am very strongly considering trying to run a race out there.  Decisions, decisions...)

Months run in: 7 - March, April, June, July (2), September (3), October, November.  It was a little surprising to realize that I didn't run any races in May, which is considered one of the best weather-months in Chicago.

Hottest race: Chicago 13.1 Half Marathon.  Sunny, with temps in the mid- and upper-80s that day.

Coldest race: The Chicago Marathon.  The temperature started out in the 30s.  I certainly can't complain about that being my coldest race of the year!

Windiest race: CARA Lakefront 10-Miler.  Nothing like running a lakefront race in 20-mile hour winds!

Wettest race: CARA Lakefront 10-Miler, which was the only race I ran with any precipitation at all.  I got very lucky with precipitation during my races this year.

Most ideal race-day weather: PAWS Run For Their Lives 8K.  Sunny, clear, and crisp, with temps in the upper 40s and no wind.

This has absolutely nothing to do with any of my 2012 racing statistics, but aren't these cute!?!?!? 
(Would people stare at me if I wore Mickey Mouse sneakers around town?)

Races I ran for free: 3  - Chicago 13.1 Half Marathon, Strike Out ALS 5K, Chicago Half Marathon.

Total spent on race entries: Approximately $450.  Ouch.  And with my ambitious race plans for 2013, it's not going to get any better next year.

Average cost (total cost/total races run): Approximately $45 per race.  This is probably going to increase in 2013.

Most affordable race: On base price, it was a tie between the PAWS Run For Their Lives 8K and the PNC YMCA Turkey Trot 5-miler, which were both $30.  However, the PAWS Run did not charge any additional transaction fees, whereas the PNC Turkey Trot did.  So the winner is the PAWS Run!

Most expensive race: The Chicago Marathon ($150).  And they didn't charge any transaction fees!  =D

Participation medals received:  6

Favorite medal: Chicago Get Lucky Half Marathon

Favorite cause: PAWS Run For Their Lives 8K.  I am not one who is comfortable soliciting people for donations and fundraising needs... but if there was ever an exception to this rule it would be for animal shelters.

Best spectators: The Chicago Marathon, without a doubt.  The unbridled support from thousands of complete strangers, spanning dozens of the city's diverse neighborhoods, was one of the most incredible experiences I've ever had.

Favorite Post-Run Party Event: Strike Out ALS 5K.  Runners and their friends and family had US Cellular Field all to themselves to watch the MLB All-Star game on the Jumbotron.  Awesome.

Best Post-Run Party Food: Rock N Roll Chicago - chocolate milk, Jamba Juice smoothies, Dole fruit cups, popsicles, chocolate protein bars, and Chobani yogurt, in addition to the usual bananas, pretzels, Gatorade, and water.  Yummy, yummy!

Favorite shirt: Chicago 13.1 Half Marathon.  I'll post a picture later but it's a gorgeous blue color and it fits me very well.

Favorite pictures: 

Kim and I at the Chicago Half Marathon

The Chicago Marathon, with my alter ego

Cheers to a great year of running and racing in 2012, and cheers to an even better year to come in 2013!!!

Monday, December 17, 2012

CRB Holiday Party and the Radio City Rockettes

When I was in college, all of my first-semester finals and finals-preparation took place during December.  During those years, I never got into the holiday spirit since I was so busy studying and stressing out about my exams.  Sadly, even after graduating college, I never really found that holiday spirit ever again.  (To make matters worse, I graduated college much longer ago than I care to admit.)

Fast forward to this year.  One of my goals this holiday season was to reclaim that holiday spirit.  And this past Saturday really helped get me my holiday groove back!

First off, I attended the Chicago Running Bloggers Holiday Party.  The plan: dress up in our best holiday-themed attire, go for an easy 3-mile fun run, then come back afterwards for a potluck and a Yankee swap gift exchange at Erin's.

I actually do not own any ugly Christmas sweaters or any true holiday-themed attire, but this is what I came up with.  (Yes, I attracted some stares in the lobby as this picture was being taken.)

Here is a picture of all of us right before we left for our run:

Back (from L to R): Anne, Erica, Maggie, Kim, Cary, Bobbi, Riyanti, Christina, Charlyn
Front (from L to R): Lauren, me, Erin, Katie, Lindsay, Marcia, Kelly

Despite being cold and rainy, the run was fun and the 3 miles went by in a flash.  Afterwards, we went back for food and fun.  Here are a few more pictures:

Kelly, the winner of our holiday costume contest.

The Yankee Gift Swap

A sampling of the mass quantities of food that we collectively brought.

From L to R, starting in the back:
Back Row:
Anne, Katie, me, Cary, Lauren, Maggie, Bobbi, Charlyn
Second Row: Amanda, Katie, Kelly, Amy, Marcia, Kim
Front Row:
Riyanti, Emily, Lindsay, Sara, Erica, Erin
By herself: Kelsey
Not pictured: Christina

There were some great runner-themed gifts at the swap - handheld water bottles, gloves, Clif Shot gels, and headbands, just to name a few.  My gift was a collection of nail polish and some mint chocolates, courtesy of Xaarlin!

All in all, I had a blast at the get-together.  It was so much fun to catch up with old friends and to meet new friends!  Can we do a running blogger party every month!?!?

Then on Saturday night, Adam and I went to see the Radio City Rockettes, who are in town over the holiday season.  I have always wanted to see the Rockettes in New York!  So I was absolutely thrilled at the opportunity to see them locally in Chicagoland.

The Rockettes show was SPECTACULAR.  I literally could not believe the precision of the dancing.  The unison was so flawless that there were times that I forgot that they are actually live humans and not robots.  Beyond the amazing dancing, there was absolutely incredible use of lighting, video, special effects, and backdrop, not to mention great music and singing.  I love love LOVED it.

The Nutcracker, with some lovable dancing characters

Multiplying Santas

A virtual tour of Manhattan

These may look like wooden figurines, but these are actually Rockette dancers dressed in toy soldier costumes.

I give the Rockettes show my very highest recommendation.  If the tickets were more affordable, I'd go see it again in a heartbeat.  If you have the opportunity to go see the Rockettes, whether in New York or elsewhere, DO IT.  They are awesome!!!!!

(And now I may or may not be considering forgoing my current career to move to New York and try becoming a Rockette dancer.  It doesn't matter that I have almost zero dance training, does it?  =D )

Friday, December 14, 2012

Race bunching

Since I have been so pressed for time and have been so backed up on posting blogs, I've got about a zillion things that I could write about.  Instead of bombarding all of you with blogger vomit when time does permit, I'll try to reduce my blogger backlog (bloglog? backblog?) at a semi-reasonable pace.  [Deep breath.]

There's that great expression that "When it rains, it pours." 

Usually this is taken to mean that when things are bad, that they are really bad.  But, I've heard that this phrase actually originated from the fact that back in the old days, table salt used to clump up during humid conditions.  Morton Salt coined the phrase "When it rains, it pours" to advertise that their salt would still freely pour even during wet weather.  Neat, eh?

Where am I going with this, you ask?  I've been thinking a lot about what races to run in 2013.  Unfortunately I am having issue with all of my planned and potential races and travels taking place in very specified timechunks.  Instead of my races "pouring" freely, they are clumping up like Chicago rush-hour traffic on a Friday night amidst rain, construction, AND gapers delays! 

(This has been a much bigger source of stress than it should be considering that races are supposed to be FUN.)

There is talk about a spring Chicago Running Blogger weekend getaway. At this point it looks like it'll either be the weekend of April 26 at the Illinois Marathon/Half, or the weekend of May 3 at the Wisconsin Marathon/Half.  


I also wanted to run the CARA Lakefront 10-Miler, which is the weekend of April 20.  

I was actually considering running the Illinois Half regardless of whether or not there was a blogger getaway.  I really wanted to run a race at my alma mater!

I-L-L!  I-N-I!
But I just found out about an 80th birthday celebration for my stepmother-in-law, which is taking place in DC the weekend of April 26.  So it looks like I won't be running the Illinois Half this year.  But maybe I can still run the Wisconsin Half, with or without the cheesehead?  DISCOUNT DOUBLE CHECK!!!  (To all my fellow Bears fans, sorry about the Packers reference.  But somewhere out there my friend Helen is smiling.)

In short, depending how this shakes out, it could end up being an incredibly busy three consecutive weekends.

On a related note, did I mention that for the third year in a row I'll be out of town during the Shamrock Shuffle?  It takes place on April 7, which is the same weekend as this year's MAASU Spring Conference.

Maybe someday I'll get to run the ever-so-popular Shamrock Shuffle.  Maybe someday.


I am already registered for Rock N Roll Chicago (July 21) and Rock N Roll Pittsburgh (August 4).

Then I'm heading to Toronto on August 8 for the 2013 NAAAP convention in Toronto. 

It'd be cool to find a race in Toronto that weekend so I can add Ontario to the list of places where I've run a race.  But even if that doesn't happen, it'll still be two half marathons in three weekends and three cities in four weekends.  Woo hoo!


Here's where it gets extremely fun.

I definitely want to run the PAWS Run For Their Lives and the Blackhawks Mad Dash to Madison.  This year, these two races were scheduled to take place the EXACT same weekend in September.  How's that for timing?  (Fortunately or unfortunately this year, the Mad Dash got postponed (at this point I would call it cancelled) due to the NHL lockout.) 

To add to that, the PAWS Run and Mad Dash also both take place a couple weekends before...

...and I am about 99% sure that I want to run Chicago again next year.  (That by itself is a topic for a whole other blog post.)

Then, I really, really, really want to run the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon. 
Unfortunately Wine and Dine takes place about 4 weeks after Chicago when I will probably still be in post-marathon recovery mode.  I was thisclose to signing up for Wine and Dine this year.  In the end I was glad that I didn't because to this day I am still trying to rehab marathon-training injuries.  Additionally, Wine and Dine would obviously entail a trip to Orlando.  But unfortunately it also takes place just one or two weekends prior to Thanksgiving, when the usual tradition is to travel to Pittsburgh.  It'd be a pretty condensed timeperiod of travel, but it certainly can be done.

Similarly, I would love to run Rock N Roll Las Vegas.  But next year it takes place on November 17.  That might actually end up being the same weekend as the Disney Wine and Dine.  Either way, it's also dangerously close to Thanksgiving.

Finally, I had visions of going for my Disney Coast to Coast medal next year.  This would entail running the Disneyland Half over Labor Day weekend, which would obviously entail a trip to Anaheim.  But the Disneyland Half would be just a few weeks before to the PAWS Run and the Mad Dash, which are just a few weeks before the Chicago Marathon.  Also a lot of travel within a pretty condensed timeperiod.  Doable, but not necessarily easy.


(I don't know about you, but I lost my mind a long time ago.)

If I were about 8 years younger, I'd probably shoot for the moon and do all of them - just because I could.  But my recent bout of injuries in combination with the potentially significant travel/registration involved has made me much more skittish about overcommitting myself. 

For now, the jury is still out on how to handle severe race-bunching.  I know that I should just let things play out as they may.  But the problem is...

Le sigh.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

20 Health Questions

Aloha from the broken record (aka yours truly) that keeps getting crushed with work, and is in a perpetual state of catch-up with all of your blogs.  But today I finally have some time to blog so I am taking full advantage!

The lovely Irina posted this fun health questions survey last week.  Here are my responses!

1.  What did you eat for breakfast?

Today I had a slice of whole-wheat bread slathered with hummus and a big glass of diluted orange juice.  Other typical weekday breakfasts items for me include cereal, yogurt, and bananas.  On weekends when I have more time, I love to prepare omelettes, souffles, pancakes, or my own variations of eggs benedict.  Have I ever mentioned that I love to cook but that I love to eat even more?!?

2.  How much water do you drink per day?

Sadly, I am much better about staying hydrated on the weekends than I am during the workweek.  During the weekends I'm very good about drinking at least 8 glasses of water per day.  On weekdays it's probably more around 4-6 glasses because I am usually running from meeting to meeting or desperately trying to meet some kind of reporting deadline.  Many days I barely have time to swallow my lunch.  (I've actually thought about bringing in lunch foods that require minimal chewing, just to aid in the efficient consumption of lunch.  Terrible, I know.)

Yummy, yummy!!!
(Not really when it comes to lunch foods, but you get the point)

3.  What is your current favorite workout?

Don't really have one at the moment.  I do love running but haven't done much recently due to injury.  These days I've been doing a lot of biking, physical therapy exercises, and strength-training.  I enjoy all of these things (well, maybe not the physical therapy exercises) but wouldn't say that I love them.  I'm in a little bit of a workout rut right now so I'd love to try something new, but not sure what yet.

4.  How many calories do you eat per day?

The short answer is...

I don't count calories, but I have a very healthy appetite in combination with both a sweet tooth and a salt tooth.  Whatever the amount is, though, I'm sure it's higher than it should be right now.

5.  What are your favorite healthy snacks?

I'm an equal-opportunity snack eater.  I don't discriminate between snacks.  I eat them all.

In all seriousness, though, my favorites are peanut butter with either bananas or apples, yogurt with either nuts or cereal mixed in, or toast/crackers with hummus or cheese.  Some would say cheese isn't healthy but I love it too much to care.  Cheese is nonnegotiable for me.

6.  What do you usually eat for lunch?

Usually leftovers from the previous night's dinner, whatever it was.  I'm probably one of the few people out there that really like having leftovers.  It's so easy to just pack it up and bring it in to the office the next day.

7. What is your favorite body part to strength train?

My triceps.  I see results and improvement very quickly!  And I am all about instant (or quick) gratification.

8.  What is your least favorite body part to strength train?

My core/abs.  I hate, hate, hate, hate HATE doing core work.  I have already accepted the fact that I will NEVER have washboard abs.  EVER.

9.  What are your "bad" food cravings?

I think I crave pretty much all "bad" foods at some point or other.  I am an equal-opportunity "bad" food craver, too!

But probably the most frequent is Chicago-style deep dish spinach and mushroom pizza.  Although some (me) would also argue that it's not really that unhealthy.  But that's a debate for another time.

Yummy yummy!
(Look at all those vitamins!)

And speaking of vitamins...

10.  Do you take vitamins or supplements?

I try to take a daily multi-vitamin but I go in spurts.  Some weeks I'm really good about taking them and others I am not.  This week I have not been good about it.

11.  How often do you eat out?

I do prefer to cook as opposed to dining out, since restaurants can be expensive and the food is not usually prepared in the most healthful of methods.  Plus I like being able to tailor my food to my own personal taste.  But dining out is very much a function of how busy I am and/or how much time I have to cook.  In general, though, I would say I dine out typically once or twice a week. 

12.  Do you eat fast food?

Only if I am really desperate or have no other options.  (Sadly, I've done plenty of business travel to very unglamorous locations where fast food really was literally the only option.)

13.  Who is your biggest supporter?

I am very blessed to have the most amazing friends and family known to humankind, all of who are exceptionally supportive of me.  But Adam takes the cake.  He has had to endure lifetimes of listening to me scream about all of my daily frustrations.  These frustrations can range from the obvious things like stubborn injuries, traffic jams, and Ticketmaster surcharges to the not-so-obvious things like why I can't have mint-infused chocolate and pecan gelato for brunch on Wednesdays.

Yummy yummy!
(I think the world would be a much happier place if we could all eat this every day.)

(By the way, you may think I am joking when I refer to the gelato, but I'm being completely serious.  To Adam's credit, though, he has always told me that I am an adult and I can eat whatever I want.  (See how supportive he is!?!?))

14.  Do you have a gym membership?

No.  The building that I live in has a workout room, plus I have plenty of home workout equipment and lots of running shoes to run the great outdoors.  While it would be nice to have access to the extensive weight-training equipment that only a gym could provide, I squeak by well enough without a gym membership.

15.  How many hours of sleep do you get per night?

7 to 8.  Sleep is a very high priority for me.  I don't function well without enough sleep.  Although, my circadian rhythms are so stable that many times I actually get less sleep on weekends than I do on the weekdays.  This is because I am so used to getting up at a certain time, that even on weekends when I'm usually up later I still wake up at the same time every morning.

16.  Do you have a "cheat" day?

No.  I cheat everyday.  (You may think I am joking when I say that but once again I'm being completely serious.)

Not to worry, though, I have already made the association between my daily eating-cheating and the fact that I'll never have washboard abs, among other things.  (See #8 and #13 above.)

17.  Do you drink alcohol?

Almost never.  I don't drink coffee, either, and only on very rare occasion do I drink tea.  And I know that I will ensue mass hysteria when I say this, but I don't like beer at all.  Sadly, I don't think I'll ever understand why so many people like such bitter stuff (both coffee and beer).  I know, I know, shoot me now.

Obviously the restriction on sugar doesn't apply to me.

18.  Do you have a workout buddy?

I run with Erin (but we haven't run together in awhile since I'm not running much altogether these days.)  I've gone running with Xaarlin.  Sometimes Adam and I will hit the workout room at the same time or go hiking together.  But otherwise, I usually work out solo.

19.  What is the best thing that has changed about your life since committing to a healthy lifestyle?

Just feeling better overall.  I have more self-confidence, more energy, more motivation, and a more optimistic outlook on life in general.  You can't ask for much more than that.

20.  What was the last healthy thing that you did?

Bypassed the candy jar and ate an orange instead.  (Never mind that I already visited the candy jar twice earlier today, and still have to pass by it at least one more time on my way out the door...)