Saturday, October 16, 2010

Freedom, Frustration and Fuel

First things first. Saturday morning weigh in...

185.8 (loss of 3.4 pounds) - whoo hoo! That made me feel better about last week's tiny loss. I have an ever growing pile of clothes to take to Goodwill, and then I am going to have to turn around and do some shopping there, as well, because my closet is bare and I don't want to spend big bucks on things I will (hopefully) not fit into in another few weeks. If only I enjoyed shopping more...

Rediscovering Freedom

When I was 12 years old, I got my first 10-speed bike. To me, it represented total freedom. I now had a way to get around without relying on my mom to chauffer me. I rode that thing everywhere, even after I could drive but had no access to a car. It took me to friends' houses, the store, the stable where I worked and rode. Before I got my horse I would ride it for hours, lifting my face into the wind and imagining that I was racing on horseback. After I got my horse, I would ride it for exercise to strengthen my legs. There probably wasn't a day in about 4 years that I did not ride that bike. And sadly, there haven't been but a handful of days since then that I have been on a bike.

One of my friends loaned me his mountain bike last weekend, and after my Tuesday ordeal, instead of taking my feelings out on the fridge, I loaded up the bike and took it to the trail. I didn't have as much time as I'd hoped or planned, but I did get a quick 3 mile ride in, and the feeling of the wind in my face transported me right back to those long ago years. It was exhilirating and relaxing and fun and stress-relieving, and a new bike is now at the top of my wish list. Reconnecting with that sense of freedom was the best part of my day.


October is my favorite month of the year. I love the weather, the changing of the leaves, the way the light changes. Sadly, October does not love me. Something blooms in October that revs my allergies up into high gear, and that usually ends up with a chest cold. Last year October was Swine Flu Month in my house, and between the flu and the bronchitis that followed, I missed the best part of the month. I recovered just in time to stuff myself with Halloween candy.

I should not be surprised, then, that my October luck caught up with me just in time for my last two runs of C25k!!!! Yes, I am sick. Sick and frustrated. I have felt it coming on for probably a week, and my Wednesday night run was a real struggle. By Thursday afternoon, I had a cough and cotton head and ringing ears and spent the rest of the day in bed. I dragged myself to work Friday, but had to leave early, and all day I debated, should I do my Friday run or not? I decided to try it, figuring I would alternate running and walking and only do what I could. I managed to finish and actually felt better afterwards.

Then, I woke up this morning. Sniffling. And sneezing. Which has continued the better part of the day. I've been through two boxes of tissues and my nose is raw. I am feeling bitter. I had wanted to go hiking today - the weather is perfect for it. Tomorrow is the last run. I don't want to miss it. I'm not ruling it out - I am going to wait and see how I feel. I don't know if exercise will help me get better by keeping my body moving and working, or belabor my cold by running me down. I guess today I am just thankful that if it was going to interrupt my training, better it be in the last week than in the middle, when it might have totally derailed me and taken weeks to get back on track. Ugh.


The last week or two I have noticed the most amazing thing. A total shift in my thinking that I could not have seen coming. When I started running, yes, I had a goal in mind of running a 5k, because I knew I needed that date on the calendar to keep me going. But mainly, I was a dieter, running to lose weight. I was counting my calories but had not modified my diet so much as scaled back the proportions. 

However, as I discovered how much I enjoy running, and started thinking beyond that first 5k, I realized that I had started looking at food differently, as well. Now, I analyze everything I eat in terms of how it will help me run. I see food as fuel. I have become a runner, eating to improve my performance. What an amazing shift in perception! For the first time in my life, I consider myself an athlete. 

I am off to take it easy tonight - grab some hot soup for dinner, relax with a good movie, and early to bed. Hopefully, tomorrow I will be able to get my run in and "graduate" C25k!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Weekend Recap

Boy, the weekend just flew by, as they always do! They are never long enough. This was a good weekend, though, since I was "off" - J had no game or competition so the only chauffering I had to do was to E's soccer game on Saturday morning. It was still a busy, hectic weekend with lots of running around and not so much house cleaning, but we packed in a lot of fun.

Friday Funk

I had my annual check up first thing Friday morning, so I got up and weighed myself to compare to the scale at the doctor's office. My scale said 190, up a bit from last weekend. I tried not to be too upset - I knew that I was going to have some off weeks, and I did lose nearly 6 pounds the week before. The doctor's scale said 191, but I was fully dressed so that didn't worry me too much. I had gone in the week before to have my blood drawn, so she had all my results and said everything was great except my Vitamin D level, so now I am taking a Vitamin D supplement (lemon gummies, better than swallowing yet another pill). She was impressed with my progress, and it's the first time in years I've gone to the doctor and not gotten the stern "you really need to lose weight" lecture. In fact, I didn't even get a physical last year because I just couldn't hear that again.

I also got my flu and tetanus shots, and it was only afterward that I wondered how it was going to affect my run that evening. Most of the day I was just plain wiped out, so much so that after work I had to lay down and take a short nap. I hate to do that because usually it means I am worthless afterward - any get up and go that I might have had left usually gets up and goes after a nap. But I got up, laced up my shoes, and headed to the trail. I was not expecting to have a good run (Week 8, Day 2!).

I definitely struggled, but I made it (I may have brought out the granny shuffle a few times), and when it was over I discovered I hadn't done any worse than I had on Wednesday - just under 2.2 miles in 28 minutes. It just continues to amaze me what our minds and bodies are capable of. When I got home, I grabbed something to eat - don't even remember what - and crashed on the couch by 8 pm. My body obviously needed rest...I didn't argue!

Saturday Hike - Living a Dream

After E's soccer game, I loaded up her, J, and the spastic 80 pound puppy (C decided she would rather go to the mall), and we drove about 40 miles to a state park. We hiked for 3 hours - it was warmer than I had expected, but it was awesome. The spastic 80 pound puppy (picture to come) is an 8 month old Rhodesian Ridgeback. I got my first Ridgeback almost 18 years ago, when I was young and single and kid-free, and he was my best friend and sidekick. I lost him to cancer 6 years ago this month. It wasn't until last year that I felt ready to let another one into my life and my heart, and this past March I got a new little man from the same breeder. For six long years, I have dreamed of hiking with my kids and a big red dog, so on Saturday I truly got to live my dream. Life is good!

Oh yeah, and I also weighed in on Saturday (didn't like Friday's results and thought I should be consistent with Saturday weigh-ins!). 189.2 - loss for the week of .4 pounds. I am ok with that, or trying to be. Rethinking the daily calorie adjustment a little, but I will wait it out another week and see what happens.

Saturday night we went to a friend's to watch a movie, and I passed up an entire array of amazing desserts (tiramisu, mascarpone, eclairs) in favor of 1/2 cup of frozen yogurt for 100 calories. Actually, I did take one small bite of tiramisu and licked the spoon for about 5 minutes afterward, but I was very good. Yay me! Temptation is my bitch!

Sunday Run and a Big Red Horse

Sunday morning I went for my run. I was feeling a whole lot better than Friday, for sure! I always love my Sunday morning runs because I have a lot more time, and it's nice and cool these days (soon it will be downright cold). I had a great run - went to the trail again because my hips have been bothering me so I didn't want to run on the asphalt again quite yet (anyone have any advice for aching hips??). I ran 2.25 miles in my 28 minutes, then walked back for a total of just under an hour. Next week is my last week of C25k!!! I can't believe I've been running for 8 weeks already.

After my run, we went to church and then I took the kids to see the movie "Secretariat". I had horses in high school and am still pretty horse crazy (would so love to start riding again and, in fact, that was one of my original motivations for losing weight). It was a GREAT movie, an amazing story, and I found myself appreciating the athleticism of the horses even more now that I'm running - I can't imagine all out sprinting for even a few yards! Unfortunately I indulged in a little too much movie candy. If only E had gotten something nasty like Sour Patch Kids instead of Good 'n Plenty, which turns out she hates and I, of course, love. I'm not going to beat myself up about it, today is another day and I am back on track.

Tomorrow is going to be a very stressful day. I'm hoping for good things but not overly optimistic. Right now I am concentrating on not getting off track with my eating. I know God does not give us more than we can handle, but right now He does seem to have given more than I can handle well. So please wish me luck, and keep your fingers crossed that things will work out for the best.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The brain, it is fried

I can't wait for the weekend. The past few weekends have just been crazy busy, between J playing in the football games on Friday nights and competitions on Saturday, and the endless taxi-ing everyone around, but this weekend she has NEITHER. Which means it is also a weekend off for me, which I sorely need, because my brain is seriously fried. To wit:

On Saturday afternoon while taking the 80 pound spastic puppy on a nice, long walk with E and a friend, I got a call saying I had missed an important appointment - one that I had not only remembered earlier that morning, but had been looking forward to all week. One unexpected little kink in my plans that morning had thrown my whole day off. (Luckily I was able to reschedule for later in the day.)

On Saturday night when I went to pick J up from her competition, I ran out of gas. (Thank God for my friend H, who not only answered her phone at 11:45 at night, but got out of bed to go buy a gas can and gas and came to rescue me in her jammies.)

Yesterday I drove home from work squinting blindly into the sun, cursing myself for leaving my sunglasses on my desk. This morning when I got to work, I found them - they were in my bag the whole time.

Last night when I went to pick J up from practice, I ran out of gas. (Thank God for my friends J & L who came to my rescue this time- I was too embarrassed to call H again!)

This morning I put my contacts in the wrong eyes and walked around wondering what was wrong with me for 30 minutes before figuring out that I have apparently forgotten how to tell my left from my right.

I've lost and started over my to do list three times.

So, I am really REALLY looking forward to this weekend. I am going to run right after work on Friday, then have a nice, laid back dinner, and maybe catch up on some of my DVR'd tv shows (note to self: get more plain popcorn). Saturday morning I am going to sleep in! E has a soccer game at 10:00 a.m. and then I am packing up the girls and the 80 pound spastic puppy and a picnic and hitting the road to go hiking at a state park about an hour away. Sunday morning I'll run nice and early (may need to get some long pants, though, fall is officially here and mornings are crisp!), then church, and then I plan to mow my lawn. I should have done it last weekend but did not have time. There will be some major calorie burnin' going on!

Speaking of which...last night was my first week eight run: 28 minutes without stopping. I ran 2.2 miles in those 28 minutes, so I have some work to do if I want to finish my 5k in 35 minutes or less. I am feeling confident, or was, until I woke up this morning with aching shins AND an aching hip. I was hoping that old problem would not rear it's ugly head. Tell me, runners, is my body going to adjust? I found a new place to run and have gone the past few times - it is a great trail with some good hills, but it is asphalt and my poor joints are used to a softer surface. Am I going to keep aching? Am I going to have to take a break (nooooo)? Or will I eventually get used to it (the surface, not the aching!).

Tomorrow morning will be weigh-in day this week. I have my annual physical so I guess I will be getting an "official" weight. I will weigh myself on my scale before I go, just to see if there is a difference - gosh, I sure hope my scale is not wrong, I like what it's been telling me lately!

Well, I have to go start another to do list...maybe this one will stick around long enough to get a few things crossed off and maybe, if I'm lucky, I will remember what was on the lost ones! Coming soon, I will share some of my new favorite foods and a few new challenges I have set for myself. Stay tuned...same bat fat time, same bat fat channel!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Weigh-in & Wimpy Goals

Woke up bright and early and jumped on the scale. Promptly fell over.

Weight: 189.6

That is a loss of 5.8 pounds for the week. My first thought was "what the...???" While it would be great to reach my goal 5 pounds at a time, it is clearly not healthy. I'm sure this is a loss of muscle. I sure as hell can't afford that!

After last week's weigh-in, my trusty LoseIt! app told me that to lose 2 pounds a week, I needed to eat 1300 calories a day. I have done that. I have NOT starved myself. I am definitely making better choices in what I eat, and I have not been hungry (other than what I think is legitimate "it's time to eat" hunger, and then I do), but there have been times when I get to the end of the day and am still short. That kind of boggled my mind because a month ago 1300 calories a day looked awfully bleak.

I have decided to bump my calories back up to 1500 per day. I also checked out my weekly totals and I am pretty consistently carb heavy and low on protein, so this week I will make an effort to get extra protein every day. Hello, cottage cheese, my old friend...let's get reacquainted!

Wimpy Goals

I am a goal oriented person. I need a target to shoot for. I know this about myself, but for some reason I never translated that to exercise. Sure, in the past I would set a goal to work out so many times a week, but nothing specific. And guess what? I never succeeded. Using the C25K program and having a race on the calendar has totally made the difference for me.

However, I was talking to a woman at work yesterday about it, and I jokingly told her I only have two goals for the race: (1) run the whole thing without walking and (2) don't finish last. Then I stopped to think about that and realized those are some pretty pathetic goals. Now I know it's my first race, so I'm not going to be all unrealistic crazy minded, but I really think I need something a little more specific than that...and a little more challenging.

In my life, I have pushed myself - not always, not in everything I do - but I am pretty tenacious. I have pushed myself (and been pushed) emotionally and mentally and pretty much always come out the other side stronger and better for it. I have never really pushed myself physically. Now that I have been running for 7 weeks, I am looking ahead to what I can tackle next, trying not to put limits on myself, eager to see what my body is capable of. I just need to break the habit of setting wimpy goals - if I don't give myself something to push for, I will not push.

So, since I have plenty of time to train for this 5k (t-minus 49 days), I have time to train to do more than just "not finish last." My new non-wimpy goal is to finish in 35 minutes or less. There's your target, Mama, start shooting!


One last was brought to my attention that I had some comment settings messed up and some people were having trouble leaving comments. It's all fixed now, so I'd love it if you'd leave me some love (or encouragement, or advice, or suggestions, or criticism - I can take it, bring it!). Have a great Saturday, it is Mow the Lawn day over this way!

C25K Week 7, Run 2: mission complete

I honestly did not know if I would make it through tonight's run. I did not get enough sleep last night. I was dragging my butt all day and had to start psyching myself up for my run before I even left work. Started out very slow, but determined to reach that 2-mile marker!

When I got to the 1.5-mile marker, I was not sure I was going to make it, so I started to pick up the pace a little bit. With a minute and a half to run, I couldn't see it yet, so I picked it up a little more. I am sure it is an optical illusion, but the second stretch of the trail seems like it slopes the smallest bit uphill the whole way, and I was huffing and puffing by this point. (Of course, on the walk back, it looks perfectly flat!) With 54 seconds left, I saw it, kept chugging, and passed it with 16 seconds to spare. Whoo hoo!!! Tonight the view of the post looked like this...

Much better view! I hoofed it back to the trail head in 33 minutes, and to satisfy my obsessive nature (round numbers good), walked in circles long enough to see this on my new best friend:

I picked this heart rate monitor up at WalMart today - I have my eye on a nicer one, but I don't think I deserve that one yet (also, can't afford it because those pesky kids keep making me spend my money to do things like feed and clothe them, the nerve!), and I happened to find this one on clearance. You have to press your finger on it to record your heart rate, so it's not as accurate as the ones with a strap, but I tried to do it regularly. Even so, I find it hard to believe I burned 1005 calories in an hour, but I still liked seeing that number!

Tomorrow is weigh in day. Not sure how I feel about this week. I think I feel good. I am also excited because after lots and lots of rain, my grass grew enough to mow, so I will be burning up lots more calories tomorrow! Also planning to take the spastic 80 pound puppy for a long walk. Maybe I will find a new place to go tomorrow - I like to change it up and there is another nice trail (asphalt) I'd like to check out for running. One of these nice fall weekends I have to get my butt over to one of the great state parks in the area and check out some hiking trails, too.

Well, I am off to bed, later than I intended, but I ran out of gas on the way home from picking J up from her football game (great planning on my part, huh), and she has to be back at school bright and early for a competition. A Single Mama's job is never done...I'll have to remember to hang up my cape so I don't have to iron it tomorrow!