The kids have been back in school for almost 2 full weeks now.  Things are quickly settling into familiar routines.  Nightly homework.  Sports practices.  Things are returning to “normal” for me now that I have taken care of most of the permission slips and initial back-to-school paperwork – although this year it seems like they just coming and coming and my checkbook keeps turning a new page or two with each one I fill out.

I really need the quiet hours while the kids are at school to get everything done.  I am very grateful that I can stay home and not go to work because I honestly do not know how I would get everything done otherwise.  Millions of people juggle family and work and I did too for about 7 years while the kids were smaller.  But now I easily fill this time with household chores and other tasks (blogging is a luxury, obviously).  From the minute the first one arrives home at 2:30 pm until about 10pm when we settle down for bed, my time is no longer my own.  I am either in a car driving, cooking or cleaning up, or focused on whatever is going on in my kids’ worlds.  Prior to losing weight, I used the time at home to eat out of boredom and avoidance of whatever task I really didn’t feel like doing.  My career in engineering was challenging and I used my brain and creativity constantly to solve problems.  I wrote software, designed hardware, and worked on semiconductor equipment that was testing microprocessors that were implanted in cardiac patients.  I love my “job” as a stay-at-home mom much much more than I ever thought I would.  I was absolutely sure when I left my career that I would be miserable.  I am not, far from it, but I do think that part of me misses that validation that I received by working and receiving a paycheck.  I’m sure that contributed to my weight gain through the years.  So, all that to say that routines are good – but they can also be bad.  I have to be very mindful that I don’t slip back into old routines of eating poorly, especially while the kids are off at school.

I bring all this up because I think I have been slipping a bit.  I’m pretty sure it is because I am running so much more and that has increased my hunger dramatically.  It also, unfortunately, seems to plant the idea in my head that I have “earned” the extra calories.  I got into trouble with this thinking before and I can see myself headed down that path again if I am not careful.  Yes, I can be a little more “loose” with my calorie restrictions but I do not have a green light to eat whatever I want.  If I am indeed more hungry, I need to find whole, satisfying foods to get me what I need.  So, that is what I am working on this week.  Because I do better if I have a little something in my stomach before I run (maybe 1/2 a protein bar) but do need to eat a more substantial breakfast post-workout, I am packing in a bunch of calories in the morning.  So far, this seems to be working out OK.  I am still losing weight during the week but I have not lost as much this week as I did last week and I know it is because I am eating more.

As for the running, I have set my alarm and got up before 6AM the last 2 mornings.  Yesterday I ran 3 miles and it felt great.  Probably one of my best runs ever – and, maybe not coincidentally, the earliest and coolest temperature I have run in.  I am still not entirely sure which distance to believe because I have different measurements on my devices but my 3 mile time was reduced by about 3 minutes yesterday.  Today I changed things up and headed north from my house for a 2 mile run.  I tried to push the pace a bit more today since I knew I wasn’t going as far.  I ran 2 miles with around 11 minute split times – also good for me.  I’ve been looking into the different Garmin models and thinking about ordering one but I want to challenge myself to “earn” it through some goal setting first.  The many things I’m wearing on my body to calculate time, distance, and pace are pretty close right now – it isn’t like I’m trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

I have also been weight training every M,W,F at Koko the last 2 weeks.  I’m hoping to see an uptick in my lean muscle mass and strength test assessment, which I should be ready to take late next week.  My quads are really sore from the extra distance runs and the squats but I have to think that the cross-training will only help strengthen my leg muscles.

So, back to the laundry…and dishes.  I am finally at the tail-end of some re-organizing and decorating projects (the long-standing project of re-doing the kids’ playroom that I started last spring is finally almost done!)  I did hold up my promise to myself to drive a big haul of bags to Goodwill to donate all the clutter that was piling up from the project.  It felt great to get it out of the house!  I’ll have to post photos of the playroom next time – just waiting to get the extra computer desk out of there and I’m calling it done!

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