Monday, March 25, 2013

5K Training Update

I'm one workout away from being halfway through this 5K training program  The big run is on April 20th.  And since it's a color run, I don't see "speed" as much of a goal since it's more about looking colorful and messy at the end.

Having said that, although I was already exercising, I decided to do a legit training program for two important reasons:
1. I wanted to be able to breathe and walk after 3.1 miles; and
2. Given what my body and mind has gone through the last couple of months, I needed some structure to my workouts, which compliment my weight loss program.

This last workout this week (which will probably take place on Wednesday), is a doozy:

Walk 1.5 miles. Run 10 minutes, walk 5 minutes, run 5 minutes, walk 5 minutes, run 10 minutes, walk 5-10 minutes.

I'm not used to running for long time periods. (and by "running" I mean what you probably consider "jogging" - 5.0 mph; but don't judge, remember that I'm only 5'2.5")

So on Friday when I had to do: Walk 1.5 miles. Run 10 minutes, walk 5-7 minutes, run 10 minutes, walk 5-7 minutes.

I was quite scared.  But I made it through, slowing down to 4.8 mph for the last 5 minutes of the second 10-min run. I was happy that my legs felt good and had finally caught up to my heart and lungs, but now it seems the tables have turned and it's not my cardio endurance that needs to reach the next level.  I'll do some cross-training tonight, take tomorrow off, and then see how Wednesday goes.

I'm glad I've done a training program because I'm a lot further along than I would have been on my own for 3 weeks.  I'm also glad because it exposed me to the fact that I was wayyy undertraining. I was not prepared for this level of mileage per week, and would have never done this much mileage on my own.  I'm obligated to 4 days of exercise a week, but those days are LONG; most if not all workouts have clocked in at over an hour. My legs did not have that kind of strength, so I've seen drastic improvement. I get so easily bored by the long walk workouts, but am doing them because they are part of the program, and have seen really good results in my pain level and in my leg strength. I think I'll definitely incorporate long walks as part of a long-term routine.

I'm starting to toy with the idea of a 10K race in August in California, and/or a half marathon in the fall in the Philadelphia area, but I think I'll wait until after the April race to make any decisions.

On a related note - I've officially lost the weight I gained in February, plus a bit; in fact I'm just under the weight I was at before the holidays, which is a nice accomplishment. I have some short and long term goals associated with that and I'm currently on track.  I've clearly lost inches - I was able to fit into my "next size down" pants this morning, and although they aren't quite ready to wear yet the fact that I could button them was exciting!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

St Patrick's Day

I wanted to dye him green but that would have ended my marriage:

We hung out at McSharry's in Fairhope, drank green beverages and listened to Irish music :-). Kenny was pretty well-behaved!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

What a difference a few weeks make

We finally weighed in on Saturday - it turns out what I suspected was true - I had gained at least 5 pounds in about a month. For months the weight had been slowly creeping up but that was quite drastic - no wonder I was feeling horrible.

I weigh in again on Saturday and expect to have already lost at least a few of those pounds.  Those of us with some experience know that if you gain weight fast you can lose it fast, and vice versa.

The timing has worked out because we also signed up for a 5K color run on April 20th and so I immediately started on a 6 week 5K training program.  I'm glad I did because after completing the first week of training yesterday (it's a 4 day/week program), I realized that as much as speed  and cardio endurance is important since I was out of shape, the bigger issue was that I hadn't done that kind of mileage in years, so my legs needed to be stronger.  (Since college I had transitioned from a 3 mile walk/runner to a 2 mile walk/runner, in part to save time - now that I'm older that 3rd mile is a challenge!)  This training is VERY WALK INTENSIVE.  In fact, it's really testing my patience because I don't like to just walk on a treadmill (which for me, I have to do most of the time to ward off allergies), it bores the heck out of me.

For example, last night my training was:  Walk 3-5 miles, including 10 run/walk intervals (run 30 seconds, walk 1 minutes) in the last mile.

I did a 1/2 mile with Curtis and Kenny outside, then went in the gym, did 1.5 miles walking and the last mile as instructed, with intervals.   I just don't have the patience for any more walking with that.  So I'm going to use my 5th day of training this week to add a few miles on to my week total and enjoy some freedom from the training program (meaning more running less walking for a shorter distance).  Thursday will probably be an off day or elliptical, and week 2 starts Friday. 

I can safely say I already feel better than a did just a few weeks ago - I'm eating really well and my clothes already fit properly again. This week I opted to not count activity points in an effort to drop the weight a little faster, so I'm excited to weigh-in on Saturday and looking forward to continuing this 5K program. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Spread the Word to End the Word

This campaign is a 365-day/year effort, but every year on March 6 we take time out to spread awareness. 

This is an extremely personal cause to me - more than references my gender or race, I am confronted with the excessive and inappropriate use of the "r word," as well as stares, pity, opinions, etc.  This word isolates a group of people who already are and feel more isolated than anyone else in the word.  And frankly, it's an unkind and inconsiderate word to use as a put-down.  

For most of you, this was never in your vocabulary.  Most people I see and talk to on a regular basis who used this word in the past have stopped in part because of my influence. I have never judged a friend who has made a conscious effort to stop using the word but slips from time to time. But if you still make a habit of using that word, 

please stop.

I get really tired of the accusations of "censorship" or a "double standard" or "who cares," or "well I'm using the word according to the technical definition..." 

please stop.

If for no other reason, it makes my life and my family's life easier, and it is a step toward treating people like my brother Jonathan with the dignity they deserve.  Seriously, be a nice person, and 

please stop.

Some links:

Thank you for your time.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

In retrospect, I probably should have seen this coming...

After a busy/chaotic/traumatizing fall season, followed by a really nice Christmas, followed by two nasty colds/awful weather/a reasonably fun mardi gras season, I was feeling pretty awful last week.

My body basically hit rock bottom, to the point that I think it was calling out for help.

I soon realized that I had gained about 10 lbs overnight - we're talking about 4-6 weeks. I had completely lost my athleticism and had no strength OR conditioning, and, what really spoke to me, was that my stomach for about 3 days was in a state of pain, bloat, etc. etc. (and it wasn't that time of the month).  I was simply uncomfortable, at a level beyond the typical, my clothes don't fit as well as they did before, way.

So, I made changes gradually: I tried to cure the stomach issues first, because it was actually really disruptive and made my daily life rather miserable.  I ate less junk, more healthy food, more fruit in particular, and was able to resolve those issues in a few days.

Then, on Saturday, I went to the gym and did a tough 1 mile.  I had gone a few times in 2013 (including in the last few weeks), but those two weeks I was essentially in bed really changed the game for me - I was starting from square one with the running.  [It almost feels better to tell myself that I'm recovering from an injury and because of that I can expect to have challenges in building up my conditioning].  In fact, after the 1 mile, Curtis and I went to a Chili Cook-off in town, and after that, I could barely stay awake I was so tired and worn out from the activity.  It was BAD.

To make matters worse, this is probably the worst allergy season on record for me.  I'm known to have a bad week where I'm out of commission, but I literally have laryngitis this week from my allergies. So I basically have to live in a bubble and with each walk to the gym, pray that I don't inhale TOO many particles that my immune system will attack.  But enough complaining ...

This week I'm trying to work my way back to both a weight-loss diet AND an exercise program, but to be honest, I'm having trouble staying motivated on the former.  But the stomach issues have at least convinced me to eat whole, healthy foods, even if I end up eating more of them than I should.  I'll start tackling that issue for real on Saturday after my weigh-in.

I think the biggest issue for me now is the mindset with the food.  It's something that will, sadly, always be there with me.  I have three ways of eating:

  1. Eating with an eye towards losing weight (counting, weighing, measuring, restricting, etc);
  2. Eating with an eye toward being healthy, but not to lose weight, ideally to maintain (but have a little fun in the process); and
  3. Eating with an eye towards being self-destructive, which naturally results in gaining weight quickly

Obviously, the fact that I am not 300 pounds indicates that #3 is not a state I'm in very often.  But it is the demon that raises its ugly head every once in awhile, and it presented itself this past month.  #2 is the ideal, and probably the state that I'm in most of the time, and is a happy place.  #1 is what I should be doing now, since it's a truth that I'm overweight and have a significant amount of weight to lose to no longer be overweight. (Although lets be honest, what amount of weight is NOT significant?)

There are a few things I can be happy about today.  I did not gain all of the weight back that I lost last year.  The weight I lost I was actually able to keep off for about 6-8 months before this recent slip. And, most importantly, I emerged from this setback with an understanding of why it happened in the first place, and am grateful that I hit rock bottom last week and not 2 months from now.

I, like many other people, am not good at handling "unstructured time."  The more regimented my life is, the better I am in all aspects of it.  And both my work life and personal life these last 2 months has been the epitome of "unstructured."  After the flurry of August-December, when I was planning my life in 1-2 week increments, I literally entered 2013 with no short term life events to plan and prepare for.  Mardi Gras could have been that motivation, but frankly, it just wasn't.  I still don't have any short term life events to plan for.  But now that I know that, I can try to work around that to create some structure and facilitate a return to the healthy lifestyle that I had taken for granted this time last year.

I have a short term, 10 week goal.  I'm still working on the reward for if I'm successful.  But I took a giant step in the right direction this week and for that, my body and mind already feel better.

(It also doesn't hurt that this period of time on the Gulf Coast/legal calendar contains the least amount of imbibing*, thank goodness for that! ;-) ).

*For those of you not familiar with the Gulf Coast and/or legal "imbibing" calendar - here's how I see it: 
Mid-February: Mardi Gras 
May-June: Summer Clerks are in town
July-August: it's just really hot
September-February: Football season/Holiday season
February - May: (relatively) dry season. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

We're so Proud

Kenny was on the local news last night - just further confirmation that he's a star :-)

(You see him at the very beginning and that's it, but continue watching for shots of his friends at Go Play Pets Doggy Daycare)