Wednesday, March 25, 2009
My goal in 2009 is to drop 10 lbs. And I've done it!! The problem is, it's been the same one to two pounds lost 5 times (maybe even more--I've lost count)!! What fun!
I swear my fat cells have GPS embedded in them--they always know how to get back home.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Those Sparkpoints—they're great motivators! It may seem silly that a virtual reward has the power to influence our behavior. After all, we can't pay our bills with them, buy a new outfit, or spend them on a dream vacation.
So why do they work and how can we benefit even more from them? The points may not be real, but the people earning them are. The points represent the collective goodwill of a community larger than ourselves. They represent the efforts of millions of people trying to improve their lives through better habits. They represent the caring and support that SparkPeople give to one another. Every time we blog, share a recipe, or participate in a team forum, we have the potential to boost someone’s morale, make someone laugh, form a new friendship, educate someone, or motivate someone.
Okay, so now we have a gazillion points, and they have been motivating us to participate in the community, exercise more, eat more healthfully, and to continue learning about how to live a good life. 'Cause isn’t that what we are all ultimately trying to do?
The points sitting in our accounts have done a good job of motivating us, but they haven't been used to their full potential until they're spent. Unlike real cash, they’re not earning any interest (and real cash isn't earning much these days). And the coolest thing about SparkPoints is that when you spend them on a Goodie, they are not subtracted from your balance (try getting your bank to use this model).
So buck today's economic bad news and be a spendthrift with your points. Send your friends a SparkGoodie and let them know they are important to you. If you've read a good blog, gotten some good advice or support, or tried a new recipe, etc., send a Goodie to thank them for sharing or for inspiring you. If you receive a SparkGoodie, pay it forward and give a Goodie to someone else. I guarantee that SparkPoints will become even more valuable if you do.
Saturday, March 07, 2009
The odds of me racing in my first half marathon at the end of the month are looking better. The week of rest seems to have been helpful.
Last night I ran a slow, easy pace around the track and was surprised to get in over 4 miles without significant pain . . . really, no pain, just some discomfort. I took it very easy and walked a lap whenever I felt the strained muscles start to tighten. A quick stretching break provided some relief about mid-way.
The first thing I wanted to do when I got home was to log in and shout out that I was back in the race. Then I thought better of it; better to be cautiously optimistic and wait until this morning to see how I felt. Gingerly I rolled out of bed; no pain. Then I stretched a bit, pressing my ribs and testing the muscles. Still no pain!! Wow, the first day in almost a month that I haven't been hurting.
Until now I didn't realize how much I counted on the excitement and challenges of running to carry into other areas of my life. I was getting very discouraged and beginning to think that the injury was going to take months to heal. But I wasn't quite ready to give up my goal of running the half marathon.
The next two weeks will still be a challenge--when I was in pain, I knew I had to take it easy. That automatic governor is now gone, but I'll still have to restrain my natural tendency to try to make tremendous leaps in distance and speed. It's baby steps for me--running slow and easy every other day next week and then re-evaluate my progress.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
I popped out of bed in the mood for a long run of 12 miles on flat terrain. It's not often that I'm eager about the long runs, so I was expecting this run to be one of those great runs where you're transported to another place.
I warmed up, threw on my Camelback, and started down the trail. The ground was soft, which was a welcome relief to my legs from the pounding they usually get on pavement. It was about 34 degrees, the sun was shining, and fluffy snowflakes were starting to drift down. It was really beautiful; I wished I had brought a camera. Only a few people were on the trail walking their dogs. After mile three, I had the trail to myself. All I could hear was the water flowing down the Little Juniata and a few small creatures scampering in the woods when I ran by.
At mile 4 I stopped to ditch the Camelback, drink as much Gatorade as I could stomach at once, and unzip my jacket, and take off my mittens. It wasn't taking long to become overheated. I felt good after taking off the Camelback; it felt constricting while running.
My breathing was better than it had been in about 6 weeks. I've had some kind of inflammation in my chest/lungs that has resulted in a nagging cough. It hasn't affected most of my runs, but there have been a few runs that I've had to cut short because I couldn't get enough air. But today felt good, and I knew I wouldn't have to worry about it.
I did have some concerns about a muscle I pulled in my waist on Friday while doing side plank dips. It hurt whenever I coughed and a sudden wrong move could be extremely painful. But it didn't hurt when I walked, so I thought that running wouldn't be a problem.
At mile five I had a decision to make--press on to mile 6 where I would turn around and head back or call it quits now. The pulled muscle was beginning to hurt just a bit, and I was making compensation for it as I ran. I kept running while struggling with the decision, and then thought what the heck, I'm already past the mile 5 marker, I'll keep going.
My time at the 6 mile marker was 62:18. A little slower than I had hoped, but I wasn't discouraged. Everything I've read said long training runs should be at a slower pace than the short runs, so maybe I was right on track. And maybe I could make up a little time on the run back--it would be an imperceptible decline.
Between mile 7 and 8, I quit looking at my watch. The pulled muscle was screaming for me to pull over and give it a rest, but I knew if I stopped I would not be able to continue. My knees were beginning to ache and the neuroma on my left foot was beginning to throb, too. I tried to distract myself from the aches by watching the water and looking for wildlife and thinking about the lovely Valentine's Dinner I'd be having with my husband.
By mile nine a fast walker could have passed me by. But I was still jogging, with an occasional spurt of energy at a slightly faster clip. Once or twice I got into a good rhthym that let me forget about the pain. The temperature had begun to drop and I was regretting leaving my mittens with the Camelback. I was no longer looking for wildlife--my head was hung low and all I could see were my shuffling feet. Even small twigs and branches on the trail seemed like big obstacles.
At mile 10 I put on my Cambelback and did some stretching. The achilles tendons felt as if they were going to snap. I tried to resume jogging, but the pain in my waist was too much. Not only was I hurting, but now I was very, very angry at myself. My advice to all runners when they ask about aches and pains is to ice, rest and take it easy and don't risk a more serious injury that will take longer to recover from. Every runner I've ever talked to has encouraged me to slowly push my limits, but to be cautious and to not push through injuries. And I ignored them, and now I am afraid I may be paying the price.
Just after I started walking, I spotted my husband ahead on the trail walking our dog. I walked as quickly as I could to shorten the distance so he could hear me calling to him. After a half dozen calls, he finally turned around and saw me waving my hands wildly.
We walked together the next mile, which may have been the longest. I was dressed for running, not walking, and now I was was shivering from the cold. I was so grateful when we passed the 1 mile marker and my husband started up the embankment. He had parked short of the trailhead. At first I was going to continue walking back to the trailhead, but then came to my senses. I wouldn't be gaining anything, and I needed to get back home to start caring for the pulled muscle.
A few hours after getting home and taking a hot shower, I started to feel human again. Maybe the pulled muscle wasn't too serious. Thankfully, the evening was not ruined. We had a lovely candlelight Valentine's dinner at home.
Today my muscles are all very tight--it will take some yoga to loosen them. The pulled muscle is very painful. I expect that this week I'll have to settle for walking, and I doubt I'll be able to do any core exercises.
My first half marathon isn't until the end of March, so I have time to recover. Hopefully I've learned a valuable lesson and won't ignore the advice of experienced runners.
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