Archive for ‘Whip Me Into Shape’

February 6, 2012

Nosy Fitness

Oh hey there … was I gone long?

10 second excuse: Sick. (Wah.) Pneumonia. (Ewww.) Struggling to breath does not make for easy blogging. (Pity me?)

So, while, I’m not 100% yet, my head is a little less fuzzy. Onward!

 

As you all know, some of my big goals for the early part of this year are to get my health* and really, weight, under control. Pay attention to what I’m eating, exercise more, etc etc etc. All in all, fit back into my work pants (I miiiiiiiiiisssss you, work pants!) and be aware of the effects my habits have on my weight and overall health.

Insert the Nosy Bitches™.** Spearheaded by Miss Kinzie, about 15 of us have embarked on a competition of sorts … we’ve all set our goals and put up our money … at the end, those that come closest to their goals (or hit them!) will split the winnings (or it might go to charity, we haven’t decided yet. As you do.). Hey, look at that! Built in motivation!

In setting up my goals, I did some long thinking. First off … I know how my body works. My weight fluctuates all over the place. So it’s not fair to myself to say ” I will be 135 lbs this week, or I’ve failed”, when I could easily be 135 one day, 137 the next, and 134 the day after that. Or hell, say I loose 3 lbs one week and none the next. While I’d technically be ahead of the game, I’d still owe for NOT HITTING MY NUMBERS. I stand firm in that the healthiest way to go about weight loss is to let your body set the pace, while you do the work. So, eat healthy, exercise, what have you. But don’t try and force yourself into tiny little boxed numbers. It can just lead to heartache, disappointment, and a lack of motivation. ***

So, I did not set a weight loss goal. I’m still on My Fitness Pal (it’s really been a game changer for me) … and it’s helping me keep track of what I’ve lost and gained, and keeping me honest. What I DID set were workout and calorie goals:

Goal 1: Workout 3 days a week or more.

Goal 2: Come in at or under my calorie count, 4 days a week or more.

The way I see it, if I can get comfortable hitting those two goals,  my targeted weight loss should naturally follow … right?

That’s the hope anyway. And if not? Well then, I’ve got a bigger body than I used to, but a SIGNIFICANTLY healthier lifestyle.

And that, in itself, is a win.

So … who’s all in on this? I’ve got 14 friends on my goal list right now … is anyone missing? What are your goals? How did you decide on them? What’re going to buy with all your winnings?! (That last one’s only partially a joke. ::winks:: )

 

* On the heels of a super nasty health issue, this strikes me as INSANELY funny.

** Yes, NosyBitches™. Kinzie used it a while back, and Shaelyn and I are all about making it happen, on Twitter this morning. It has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

*** This is not meant to shame anyone. This is how my body has taught me it works, and what is healthiest for me. Your body works in a different way? Awesome. Get on with your bad self. We have goals to reach!

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January 17, 2012

2012: The Goal

Whoops, left you all hanging there!

So, building on the misses … seems pretty obvious I’ve got some work to do, right? So let’s set a goal:

In 2012 I will take back control of my life.

Sounds fancy and all mysterious, but really, what I mean is I need to be accountable for the things I say I’m going to do, responsible about the things I should be doing, and good about listening to myself about what I want to do. Try and banish some of The Fear, re-prioritize my marriage, get my health and fitness back in proper order.

So, how do we accomplish it?

1. I’ve made myself a deadline of February 15th to get appointments scheduled. That means primary, dentist (due in Feb for a cleaning, anyway, so that’s easy), chiro, and a freaking gyno if it kills me. (I’ve been trying to find one that accepts both my insurance and new patients for 6 MONTHS. Something seems wrong with this.) The appointments themselves can be as far out as they need to be, but they WILL be scheduled within the next month.

2. Pay attention to what I’m eating. Honestly, I have never really paid attention to the calories I’m eating, or nutritional content. Not a good habit, I know. I eat when I’m hungry, till I’m full. Period. It’s served me well, until about a year ago. So now, we need to pay attention. Pay attention, and adjust as needed.

I downloaded an app called My Fitness Pal … it basically works the same as Weight Watchers, but with calories instead of points.* You log what you eat, how much you’re working out, and your weight, and it tallies everything up for you. It’s been interesting to see what I’m consuming … and where I can improve. Now, to make sure I’m honest with it.

3. Pay attention to my cycle. I mean, I’m not sure how many of you actually do this, but I know I don’t. Sure, I keep track of when it starts, but length? Symptoms? Flow? Not so much, beyond “wow, this is a really bad month”. A large part of taking control of my body is knowing what’s GOING ON with my body … and once I do, I can tell if something’s wrong.

For now, I’m using another app … P Tracker (as it’s known in the Android market). It takes a full month to set it up, but so far, so good. Hit a button when you start, and it pops up a list of symptoms that allow you to track how you’re feeling, until you hit the button again when you finish. The only complaint I have so far is that it’s only allowing me 4 days … though that may sort itself out after I’m done with setup. We’ll see.

4. Workouts. Freaking DO them. I’ve updated Workin’ It Out to reflect this new philosophy. No set mileage, no dedicated days. But I MUST record everything I do. And at the end of the week, I get a letter grade. The goal is to do 3 work outs a week (for now). We’ll see where it ends up.

The first week of the month, as you’ll see, I failed. Last week was better. This week promises to be awesome, if I can just stick with it.

5. Set actual TIME aside for the husband. Not eating-dinner-while-watching-tv, actual US time.

6. Take a trip … large or small … every other month. I learned last year that I really REALLY need to get away every now and then. My quick trips to NYC and Boston last year were perfect for that. NYC cost $40 roundtrip at the most expensive point. Boston cost $3 (seriously). That’s easy to do and easy to afford, right? So I should just do it.

Of course, there are some larger trips in there, too. April (if everything aligns), I’ll be in SoCal for a few days for a friend’s wedding, planning with the sister, and my mom’s birthday. Then we’ll have the sister’s shower. And we’re planning on doing our anniversary (a few weeks late) in Napa, just ahead of the sister’s wedding.

Things to look forward to help keep me sane.

Oh, and one more:

7. Take a dance class.

Because dammit, this Saturday marks 5 years from the accident. 5 YEARS. I’ll be damned if I’m not trying again.

So, that sums it up … though I’m sure there are things I’ve missed. Any clue what they are? Who has their goals?

 

* Christine gets credit for that description. It’s how she sold me on it.

October 31, 2011

Race Weekend

So … 10k … check.

It was … not exactly what I expected it to be. But, as always, there are stories.

Saturday! Saturday dawned stormy. Being the trooper he is, the husband went out for his final 2 miles, mostly to test out the weather. Even better, he let me sleep in and then came home for cuddling. I got up, got some food, showered, and headed out to the expo.

Oh, the expo. What a disappointment. I’m starting to realize that my first experience with marathon expos (Pittsburg) was abnormally well done. For as much hype as this one was getting, it was just not that good. Small, with far too many people (blame that on the fact that we waited until the final day to go), and not all that many exhibitors. Most of them were other races looking for sign ups, and services (as in Aetna Healthcare, a Nissan dealership, various banks) that didn’t make any sense, other than being race sponsors. Oh, and the official race shop (which had a great variety of Marathon wear, but NO 10k … oh well!) was poorly stocked. Again, I realize it was the last day, but really, they said the jackets sold out THURSDAY. As in, the very first day. As in the day it was only open for 3 hours, in the middle of a workday.

Needless to say, I had a very, very disappointed boy on my hands.

Still, there were a few highlights. I got to sample some Sport Beans and stock up on flavors I LIKED. (Previously I’d only had the berry … not really a fan.) Also, Clif had all their products out for samples. I was finally able to convince the husband I just do not like Clif ANYTHING, and to stop trying. There was also a massage booth set up … and in 5 minutes I was able to get enough of an idea at just how good the masseuse was that I asked for her card.

AND! I finally managed to try yurbuds! You see, I have this problem with finding headphones I can wear more than 10 times. If they don’t fall out/hurt my ears, they end up shorting out. These, I’ve been told over and over again, are guaranteed to do neither. But buying them online is risky, because you need to be sized. Well … lo and behold, they were there! The salesman sized me, put them in, and then YANKED on the cord several times. Guys … it HURT, he was pulling so hard. And the things DID. NOT. MOVE.

I consider them $30 well spent.

After confirming that the races would only be cancelled in the event of an ice storm, we left the Armory to find … snow. I was highly amused and transfixed by the pretty (it was a coating, nothing big), but not worried.

 

Home, dinner, and mindless TV later, it was time to pack our bag check totes and lay out our gear. In doing this, I realized we are matchy matchy people:

 

For the record, the boy’s stuff was orange and black. Very Halloweeny indeed. So, undies/bra/tank/capris/jacket/headband/socks/long socks/shoes/bib … check. Off to the left there are Sport Beans, a baggy containing my ID/Metro card/cash, and a pair of sweats/sweatshirt that I would leave behind at the starting line. (They were donating anything left behind, which was AWESOME.) Oh, and a trash bag to wear over everything, if it was super cold. I was SET.

The morning of, it really WAS super cold. And dark … being 5:30am and all. I wasn’t fully awake as I dressed, but it was time to go, whether I liked it or not.

 

Goofy face and stance … just for you.

Since our starting points were in two different places, we split up in the metro. Arriving at The Mall, I emerged from the station to find … very few people. It was so cold, most were sheltering in the station. Not to be deterred, I dropped off my bag at bag check (the Marines and UPS guys there were the most cheerful, genuine people I encountered all day) and proceeded to march myself up and down The Mall … from the Washington Monument (or, as close as I could get) to the Capitol (ditto) and back. The moving kept me warm, and I donated the trash bag to a girl who was shivering in her race wear*.

A trip to the porta-potties later and it was time to get to my corral. The sweats were left behind there, and just as I was about to cross the starting line I threw my sweatshirt at a young girl (who’d been eyeing down the bright yellow hood) that looked cold. When I looked back, she was wearing it. ::grins::

The first mile and a half of the race were great. There was the excitement of the start, and then, barely a mile after, a drum group playing (and dancing!) loudly. Talk about enthusiasm. ::grins:: Then, we hit 14th Street Bridge.

The mile long bridge was not just frosty, it was iced over. From the looks of things, no one had anticipated it. Screams of “ICE!!” filled the air so that runners behind us would be warned, and the entire group I was in (probably about half way back) slowed to a very careful walk. We made it across the first bit unscathed, and when we got to the very center, found a patch of road not even wet, so we ran again … only to hit another patch of ice.

This time we were not so successful. People went sliding every which way … me included. Determined not to fall I windmilled my way through the paths of several racers, and managed to stay on my feet. Finally we got off the bridge, and continued running.

Less than a minute later, there was a shooting pain in my right shoulder, and my hand went numb. Uh oh … that can’t be good. I slowed to a walk and massaged my shoulder until the pain (and numbness) went away, and tried again. 30 seconds in … same deal.

This, to my utter disappointment, set the stage for how miles 2.5 – 6 would be raced … in 30 second spurts interspaced between several minutes of walking. A few times I pushed through to a full minute (and one time TWO MINTUES!) of running (with my hand hooked in the strap of my bra to keep it from bouncing) … but the pain in my shoulder started creeping up to my neck during those times, and I needed to stop right away.

I did, however Charge the Hill (in Arlington Cemetary). Though now, I wish I hadn’t. In all the pre-race communication, we were led to believe the finish was RIGHT AT the top of the hill. Um … not so much … it was 200 meters further. Had I known this in advance, I would have done the hill slower, and charged the finish line. As it was, when I got to the top and saw how far off the finish was, I stopped and walked. To have a Marine say “Only 200 meters to go, ma’am! You can do it!” I turned to him and said (while massaging my shoulder) “As soon as I can feel my hand, I’m THERE.” He looked shocked, realizing I was injured, and saluted. Which, for some reason, made me giggle.

I did run across the finish line. No stupid shoulder injury was going to rob me of that.

Standing in line to get my medal I had time to come to terms with what I’d just done … and not done. Pride at making it to the finish line warred with disappointment in myself for not doing more. But then, the Lt. was in front of me, congratulating me, calling me ma’am, and putting a medal around my neck. A finishers photo later, I was on my way to the med tent.

 

The medics were great. The woman assigned to me probed my shoulder for a while and then whipped out a portable x-ray machine. AWESOME, I tell you. She determined I’d not broken or dislocated anything, but that there was a pinched nerve … which explained the numbing and shooting pain … along with a minor strain. Clearly, I should have just let myself fall on my ass when I slipped, instead of windmilling.** She used a TENS unit to relax the nerve, and sent me on my way with some painkillers and orders not to exercise for a week, as more bouncing could re-pinch the nerve.

It turned out, I completed the race in 1:22:42 – a 13.19 minute pace. I have to be honest, this shocked me: I was SURE I was hovering right around (possibly slower than) 15 minutes. That I somehow managed to be well above 15 minutes/mile while walking most of the last 4 miles was stunning.

 

Yah, his medal is prettier than mine. But he went an extra 20 miles so he deserves it. And I like mine!

So … that’s done. While I wish I’d done better, there’s really not a whole lot I can do about it … especially when an unexpected injury, right? But I’ve learned a few things:

1. I run faster when not on a treadmill. I’ve been using a 10 minute pace for my training. It’s a speed that felt good, so I stuck with it. But seeing my time? When I know I was walking super slow for at least a mile? I can honestly say if I’d run as much as I’d intended, I would have finished 20 minutes faster … and 1:02 is an even 10 minute pace. Considering I’d planned on walking some of it anyway, that means I’m running MUCH faster than I thought. Now, to figure out how fast that actually is.

2. The only thing doing the entirety of my training on a treadmill did was not prepare me for how much harder impacts on the road are. But even then, it was barely noticeable. The hills and road changes didn’t affect me at all. I do not recommend this route to anyone else, and am going to consider myself lucky.

3. I need to be in lighter-weight shoes. I’m in a mid-weight padded shoe now, and I think I need to step down to a minimalist. I tried on a pair of Kinvaras a couple of weeks ago, and felt like I was in dance shoes. My Guides, by contrast, felt heavy the entire race.

4. Starting in the corral of the time I expected to run (1:10-1:19) was a mistake. What I failed to anticipate was that my expected time was a combo of running and walking. EVERYONE around me was expecting that time based on running the entire way. Which meant I spent all of my running moments darting around people … and a few times getting stuck and having to walk, just so as to not run them over. While it was nice to pass people, it was irritating to have them in the way. Next time, I start with the group running at the same speed I am, and let them pass me if I have to walk.

5. This is not the race for an empathetic person to run alone. There were far too many “In Memory Of” shirts going on. Being the shorter race of the day, there were a lot of families. I was choked up almost the entire time, but the shirt that got me crying were a family who had each shirt personalized. There was 1 “In Memory of My Grandson”, 2 “My Son”s, and on a 10-year-old girl “My Brother”. The photo was of a handsome boy, no older than 20 at the most. I was lost.

6. Backpacking on number five, it’s also a very lonely course. Most spectators/entertainment are not out yet, as they have a full 2 hours before the front-runners of the marathon came through. (It kind of made me feel like my race was the “red-headed stepchild” of the day. Race organizers should do something about that.) Add to it the fact that 80% of the course is on freeways where there CAN’T be any spectators, and you have one quiet course. I regretted not bringing my iPod by mile 2.

7. I’m glad I got lazy on my training. Hurting myself and needing to walk was disappointing … but if I’d trained properly and planned on running the entire thing? I’d have been devastated to be forced to stop. Not saying this excuses my laziness, but it makes me just a little bit glad for it.

So, all in all … an accomplishment yes, but a learning experience even more. I’m already signed up for another race (the Jingle All The Way 8k in December), so I intend to do things properly there. I’ve got one “could’ve-should’ve-would’ve” under my belt. Now, on to being a brave adult.

Thanks, everyone, for the support along the way … it really means more than I can say.

Oh! And for one last little bit of fun … at least we know my reflective patched clothing works:

 

I had a good giggle over that. ::winks::

 

* I was one of the only people in throw-aways. How does THAT make sense?

** The last time I didn’t just let myself fall on my ass I broke my wrist in 2 places. You’d THINK I’d have learned my lesson!

October 28, 2011

The Run-Up

So … the race is this weekend. And, um, I’m not ready.

I really effed up when it came to my training schedule. Partially out of laziness, partially out of The Fear.

But!

I’m in better shape now … 4 months ago I couldn’t go 2 miles, much less 6.2. As of two weeks ago, I was sure, beyond a doubt (because I’d just done it) that I could finish the race.

Still, I won’t run all of it. I’ll walk at least one minute for every 3 run. Most likely more. The legs can’t keep up just yet.

This is what I get for the lazy. And for not fighting the Fear.

But I’ll be out there, freezing my tail off in the pre-dawn hours. Sounds like fun, right? Because I’m nothing if not stubborn. Right, Christy?

Anyone out there going to come cheer for me?

September 21, 2011

Jingle Jingle Jingle

So, a while back on Twitter, a bunch of us started talking about a race we could all run together. I can’t remember who brought it up, but it seems to me there were 4 or 5 people interested. The Hot Chocolate 15k was suggested … but that one’s expensive, and seemed above most of our mileage abilities.

But FEAR NOT! I think I’ve found one!

 

The Jingle All The Way 8k.

It’s on December 11th, in DC. The course itself is beautiful (you run straight at the Capitol for a while) … and 8k is only 5 miles (actually, a tiny bit less) … so for those worried about the 15k distance, this should settle that.

Plus, they give you bells for your shoes. ::grins::

The husband ran this last year (it was a 10k in 2010), and said it was great. I had a blast watching the sillies that came out in full costume (Santa and his reindeer, for example) to jog on that winter morning.

Registration is $25 through the end of September and goes up from there. ($40 for race day last-minute registering!) I signed up last night.

For those out-of-towners … we have a tiny apartment, but there’s a couch and an air mattress, plus floor space if anyone needs a place to crash. We’ll make a giant  pot of pasta Saturday night. =)

Now … to find a knee-high pair of red and green striped socks. Who’s with me?