Monday, March 10, 2014
It took me a really long time to get my thoughts together enough to write a race recap, but once I did, it ended up being REALLY long!
Anyway, I posted the recap and a bunch of pictures on my other blog, so for the sake of brevity, here's the link!
It was definitely a pretty incredible experience for me!
Monday, February 17, 2014
By this time next week, training for my first half marathon will be done, and I'll be returning to normal world where every workout doesn't feel like it has some great bearing on the outcome of my race.
Accordingly, a lot of my goals this challenge have to do with successfully making a transition to continue the momentum I've got going and to re-focus on some things that have taken a back seat while I've focused on finishing this race!
Without further ado, here are my BLC 21 goals for myself:
1. Continue exercising at least 5-6 days a week for at least an hour a day. Ideally, this will include an average breakdown of 3 days of running/walking and 3 days of swimming or biking. I'd also like to get back to my neighborhood yoga studio once a week or so, and maybe even check out a Body Pump, spinning, or Zumba class at my gym.
2. Shift my focus from athletic training back to weight loss. I've only weighed myself to make sure I'm not gaining big amounts during these 12 weeks of training, and while I've actually lost a few pounds, weight loss has not been my priority. For me, weight loss means I have to be VERY careful about my diet, even if I am running 10 miles at a time like I am now. Accordingly, this goal includes tracking my food more carefully and returning to a more carb restricted diet than what I've followed through training.
3. Re-engage on Spark People. Because I found it harder not to worry about weight loss when I was around here a lot, I've definitely disengaged. I hope to make some new Spark friends and get back to being active around here on a daily basis!
4. Rehab my psoas muscle. I've got a bit of an issue going on in my right hip flexor, and while I think I'll be able to push through it for my race, I need to respect the pain and get it taken care of afterwards. Even if this involves doctors visits, I want this to be resolved by the end of this challenge.
These are goals I'm confident I can accomplish, but goals that will also take some work and focus! I'm excited to see what the next 10 weeks will bring, and I hope this transition away from half marathon training will help me continue to build my fitness and improve my health!
Friday, January 03, 2014
A year ago today, I joined Spark People. It took me a few days to start actually using the site and committing to my goals, but a year later, I'm actually still here. I can't even begin to describe how proud of myself I feel. Even when I didn't make progress and couldn't figure out why and even when I didn't make progress and knew exactly why, I never gave up. That's definitely new for me.
In the past year, I've gone from smoking around a half pack to a pack a day (usually depending on where I was or how much I was drinking) to being a non-smoker. January 16th will mark one year without so much as a drag from a cigarette.
In the past year, I've lost a little over 40 pounds, focusing on food and learning to eat healthy and whole. It's amazing to me to look back at my food tracker from early last year and realize just how far I've come with the quality of things I put into my body.
In the past year, I've gone from 2.3 mph on the treadmill being a true aerobic workout to being able to walk and jog for at least 7 miles (I have 8 miles scheduled for tomorrow). At 10 am on New Year's Day, I walked and ran a Resolution Run 5K (finishing with the best time I've had in nearly 10 years), and I'm registered to attempt my first half marathon at the end of February.
In the past year, I've finally figured out how to be kind to myself and love myself - at least most of the time - and I'm learning daily how to have patience and how to persevere.
A year ago, I was looking at a picture of myself from the annual Christmas Eve party and I was just.... floored. I didn't know how I'd let myself get so out of control, and that picture was the first time I really realized just how unhappy I looked - nevermind how unhealthy. This year, I'm in love with the photos of me from Christmas Eve. I don't know that I necessarily look much thinner, but the pictures seem like night and day (at least to me). This year, I just feel like the light has come on in me.
So now, what's next?
So far, I've lost a little over 40 pounds even after holidays, a broken skull, and quitting smoking. Assuming I can avoid at least one of those limitations (and hopefully both of the latter), I'd like to lose a little more than that this year. I'm re-focusing on my food intake and tracking, and working on reformulating my eating plan to help me with this. I'm setting a goal of 60 pounds this year to put me at just over 100 lost total, but as long as I keep losing, I'll be happy.
I'd like to finish my half marathon within the time limit, but even if I don't, I want to be proud of myself for training and being able to complete the 13.1 miles.
I will do at least one other half marathon in the next year, and I'd like to continue working on my fitness so that by the time I do that one, I can pretty much run the whole thing (excluding pre-planned walk breaks).
I will break 40 minutes in a 5K (my current running pace is around a 13 minute mile, so if I ran the whole thing, I'd still have to go a little faster).
I will be back here this time next year, celebrating all of my accomplishments in 2014 and planning for what's next.
I have a long way still to go, and I know that. Even knowing that, what gives me hope and confidence for the future is that these changes I've made in the last year are not fleeting. I'm not looking for what I can do until I get to where I want to be. Living a healthy life this year has made me crave living even more healthily.
I want my life to be rich, stimulating, and fulfilling, and the more I work towards that, the more motivated I feel to go even further. I can't wait to see where that brings me in my second year here.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
I'm a day late with this, and am officially into week 3 of training, but I want the record of how I'm doing for myself more than anything, so that when I'm done with this, I can look back and see how it went. Because of that, I wanted to make a point to blog.
So week 2 is officially done, and once again, it went well! It was a crazy busy week for me, since I stage manage my best friend's class dance recital every semester (she's a dance teacher at a high school here), and last week was show week. That meant 4 hour rehearsals every afternoon and performances on Friday and Saturday night, so I had to prioritize getting my workouts in by mid-day. Even so, I made it through, so I'm pretty proud!
Even better, the workouts went well. Monday, I was in a terrible mood and felt the need to move faster and sweat more to kind of work myself out of the funk. Because of that, I decided that doing some speed work was probably a good idea anyway, and I added a 1 mile tempo run in the middle of my planned mileage. What that means for me (since I'm focusing on heart rate and effort more than speed) was that I spent that mile at a heart rate higher than what I plan to do the half marathon, but lower than what I would do a 5K, or right at the cusp of the aerobic and anaerobic zones. I then did Tuesday and Thursday as slower, longer workouts, and then did my planned 5 miles on Saturday. I also did the planned strength training this week, but did miss the yoga on Friday.
The long run bears a little more attention this week, because I was really nervous heading into it. 4 miles the week before wasn't hard for me, but it was also less than half a mile more than a lot of workouts I've done this year. 5 miles was longer than I had gone in nearly 10 years, and I was worried about my ability to maintain my pace over the entire distance. I was also worried that the longer distance would affect my pace adversely, and that I'd find myself even further from my goal pace than I already am.
Fortunately, my worries were completely unfounded on all counts. I was able to jog much more than last week while still keeping my heart rate in check, and I actually ended up doing nearly 5 and a half miles because I wanted to make sure I did at least the 5 I needed to in order to hit my goal this week. I took a gel for the first time this run, and while I probably would have been just fine without it, I'm glad to get the practice and figure out how different factors will affect me mid-workout. I ended the workout on a real high, jogging almost all of the last mile I did with a pace well below my goal half marathon pace (and still at a reasonable heart rate), and for the first time, I really saw that 13.1 miles is entirely possible for me.
So now it's week 3, and I feel like I'm in gear. Today, after an easy aerobic mile, I did another speed workout, but instead of doing a steady tempo run, this time I did intervals for a mile and a half. Basically, I ran at increasing speeds until my heart rate hit about 90% of my max, keep it there for 30 seconds, and then slowed down to a walk until my heart rate recovered to my pre-interval range (about 65% of max). Once my heart rate had steadied out for 30 seconds, I'd push it back up. I ended up being able to do these intervals ever 3-4 minutes for the mile and a half.
The rest of this week looks like last week. Easy 3 miles tomorrow, strength training on Wednesday, easy 3 on Thursday, yoga on Friday, and then 6 miles on Saturday. I'm a little nervous again about the long run this week, but because I finished the way I did last week with inadvertent extra mileage, I know I can do it.
Overall, so far this has been really awesome for me. I'm focused, and I'm having fun. Let's see what week 3 brings!
Friday, December 13, 2013
I've done really, really well at staying on track since Thanksgiving. Even with holiday partys and junky offerings all around (even the bank had food out and encouraged me to take some when I went to do some paperwork for my job today), I've managed to avoid temptation and eat what I make at home.
I've got plans for family Christmas, plans for Sean's family Christmas, plans for the Christmas Eve party with people from church, but the one day that makes me nervous is next Friday. That night, I'm hosting my own party and I'm making pretty much all the food and drinks.
Now, on one hand this is good news, because since I'll be making everything myself, I'll know exactly what goes into everything, and that'll make it very easy to track. On the other hand, preparing everything and having it in my house will provide more temptation than I've faced so far this season. I considered not having a party this year, but with Sean and I having JUST gotten our house all decorated and with this being my favorite party to host every year (and frankly, usually the only one), I wanted to believe that being healthy didn't mean I need to give up something so important to me.
In preparation, I've been walking myself through cooking without nibbling and focusing on the feeling of having just one or two of each little snack I make at the party itself, hoping to arm myself with strategies to stay on track.
I will, of course, prepare some healthy options, and I plan to focus on eating those. Most of the unhealthier options have gluten in them, which will make me quite sick (and a terrible party hostess if I'm getting sick the whole time), so that's easy to avoid. I've just got to be sure to eat before hand and be very aware of my snacking so I don't lose track of what I consume.
For now, here's the menu:
Cheese platter (Aged white cheddar, brie, parmesean/romano, gouda) with olives, prosciutto, salami, caramelized onions, olives, grapes, honey, and fruit preserves - Served with crackers and crusty bread
Vegetable platter with hummus
Bacon wrapped dates
Smoked salmon and cucumber bites
Goat cheese and cranberry tartlets
Christmas themed mini cupcakes (debating whether or not to make some of these gluten free so I can have one... maybe it's best if I just avoid them entirely)
Homemade Irish cream
So basically, I can eat the cheese et al (minus the bread, obviously), veggies and hummus, dates, smoked salmon, and shrimp cocktail. None of these things are really bad for me so long as I keep the portions in moderation and watch what I eat instead of grazing all night long. I could also have either beverage if I wanted them, but I almost never drink these days, so I don't foresee wanting to spend my calories there.
So what strategies have you used to keep away from the food table? If you host a holiday party in your home, what have you done in the prep stages to help yourself stay on track?
Most of all, I'm not delusional in thinking I can do this and stay strong, right? Help me out, Spark World!!!
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