Saturday, July 21, 2012
When I was in the second grade my school had a running race, I don't remember how long it was, but I do remember this...I finished second to last, because I didn't want to be last. It was the only race I ever did in my whole life before today.
I've NEVER been a fan of any type of physical activity, I suppose that is what landed me in the overweight /obese category. However, something changed during the last three months. I started walking, jogging and even running even scarier I found myself ENJOYING the activity.
Today I completed my first race as an adult and it was long, 9 kilometers or 5.59 miles. Now this is not a race I was training for. I actually have been training for a 5k or 3 mile race, but have been unsuccessful in finding one this length in our area. This race happened to fall between my 2 year wedding anniversary and My 30th Birthday, so it was the most ideal to celebrate the milestones.
We arrived at the race site and checked in. My husband told the woman at the desk we had sent our information in by email. The woman immediately said, Oh you're Michelle, the foreigner. LOL, I guess both my size and language gave it away. I had to list my nationality on the admission form. I was the only American so I was already standing out from the crowd.
We had to wait for about an hour and a half before the race actually started. During this time I was nervous, scared and worried I might not complete the full 9k. My family was sending me messages of encouragement so I tried to stay positive. I was intimidated by the other runners... everyone was so thin... fit and had muscles I don't think I will develop for years. The race time was quickly approaching and we all walked to the start line.
The countdown started...Tre...Due..Uno!! and we were off! I managed to keep up with the other runner for....Oh about 3 seconds. Then I was the last one. :( All Alone but pushing with all my might. Everyone was so far ahead that I got lost during the route and had to ask for directions. This must have been such a funny site. Me in my broken Italian asking, "where the other runners went, Which way to run." Finally I managed to get on the right path.
When the race moved from the lake to the streets, I passed a checkpoint and was asked, "Hey you....Do you have a number???" I had attached my racing number to my side belt. I nodded yes and kept going, shortly after a man on a Vespa was following me.
At first I thought I was in this motorist's way and tried to move off the road, but then the man stopped and asked if I wanted to ride. I realized that since I was the last person this man's job was to make sure I didn't die from trying to complete the race.
I thought there wouldn't be any hills but I was wrong on that. There were two hills which I ran twice. Oh god were they hard. In the middle of the race the driver sent me back at the "safe" zone in case I needed to stop, but I kept going and started the second half. I actually made friends with this driver, we had some small talk about where I was from and he encouraged me to go faster. He even kept pace for me for a while. It was probably the most ridiculous scene ever.
I was making good time up until the final kilometer. This is when my husband caught up with me.
He took this picture, and yea I was dying at this point...walking because I couldn't go faster than a snail. My legs were hurting, but I was determined to finish. When the finish line was in sight, I started to cry. Partly because of the pain, but also because I couldn't believe I was doing this. It hit me that I've gone from a person who couldn't walk a mile to someone that is completing 9 kilometers.
I heard the voices of my family encouraging me, The comments from Spark friends who said that walking the finish line would be an accomplishment. I turned to my left and my husband was with me every step of the way.
When I crossed the finish line the race team was breaking down the equipment. I was at One hour 6 minutes when my husband caught up with me, and ended the race at 1:39:56, The last person to finish.
This race was an adventure, it was funny and I'm proud of myself for completing it. There was a couple of people that stopped and gave up. I'm thankful for my Spark Friends, Spark People and my family. I might try another race next month. So far I'm experiencing soreness in my calves and a blister on my toe. I know tomorrow it will be painful, but it will pass and eventually running will be easier.....I hope. :D
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
**I took these photos last week after a long workout. I know you might not be able to tell but I'm covered in sweat from head to toe. I also ATE three bugs while running and I'm tired so that's the reason for the "ggrrrrrrrr" face.
So Today is my Second Year Wedding Anniversary.
Tonight were going out to dinner at a restaurant that is also a mini golf course. We've already scoped out the menu and have our meal picked out. We've made a commitment not to have drinks or dessert while out tonight....although I did bake some mini cupcakes as our traditional wedding cake. (We had cupcakes, instead of wedding cake when we got married.) The mini cupcakes are made with Greek yogurt and no eggs or butter. I only hope they taste "normal". It's the first time I've tried a recipe like this.
I know I've said before that my husband is my biggest source of motivation but I can't stress how much he is. I'm incredibly thankful that I have him in my life. He is a runner. He's not perfect, but he has so much dedication to running. That's what initially inspired me to try and get fit. At least twice a month when it's running competition season he is running races, usually 8k and up.
We've been on a hunt for race we could do together and this weekend were going to do one. (As our anniversary present to one another. ) We're going to swap shirts since the traditional gift is cotton, more importantly it's a commitment to our health and to work hard for one another.
This race is a long one...9k. I've been training myself for a 5k but I'm going to attempt this. I know I probably won't finish. It's almost double the length I normally run, but that's not what is important. Getting out and trying is what is significant. If I finish 5k of it, I will be happy but if I complete more than 5k or even the whole race I will be so thrilled.
We chose this race for two reasons.
1) There is a non- competitive portion, meaning I can run the race unaffiliated with a group at my own speed. I also don't need to have a medical certificate to try this.
2) It's flat. I've been training mostly on hills at a steep incline so we think that running on a flat surface might be a bit easier. Although I do love the downhill momentum when running.
I'm trying hard not to psyche myself out and keep a positive outlook on the race, but truth be told...I'm scared. I know I'll have my hubby cheering me on, but the butterflies are coming.
The typical length of races here in Italy range from 7k-9k sometimes they are a bit longer, but never shorter.
Saturday, June 23, 2012
Last weekend ended up having some consequences I was not totally prepared for. Saturday hubby and I had our lunch out, we decided upon Japanese, since Sushi is a favorite of ours. We kept track of the number of pieces we ate; but I didn't track the soy sauce. What I didn't realize is that the soy sauce would cause me to retain water.
Sunday, Hubby and I went to a running competition. We had a picnic in the mountains for lunch. It was a two hour travel for this competition. While my hubby was running I managed to get in a workout. It was really hot outside, but I just kept going on with the workout. I had water, but didn't realize it would be this hot. After the competition I was a bit dizzy and nauseous. I just chalked it up to not sleeping well and having a migraine.
When Monday hit I started my morning ritual of getting on the scale to see what my damage was. What I discovered was a 4 pound weight gain. I flipped had a mini cry for a few minutes. I felt bloated and heavy. At the time I didn't realize what caused the gain. I thought I had been really good. I asked around on one of my spark people groups and it was mentioned that perhaps it was water gain and it would go away. If it were not for the group support I might have honestly given up. (Thank goodness for kind souls.)
I tried to keep up my workouts, and drinking water and tracking ever meal. Monday and Tuesday passed with no change to the scale. I still felt a bit gross and started to become worried. My feet started to swell in the ankles and I became worried this might not be a water issue only. Wednesday I was in a lot of pain. I stayed in bed mostly and had my feet propped up. By Friday it was gone and my weight decreased back to it's previous week's weight. :D I did a mini dance.
Just to be on the safe side hubby and I went to our Doctor to get his opinion about why this happened and what we could do to stop this from occurring in the future. The Dr gave me some news I wasn't prepared for. He said I have poor circulation in my legs. The poor circulation combined with the heat caused my feet to swell. He advised that I not stay on my feet for long periods of time and to avoid direct sunlight. (I'm turning into a Gremlin, folks)
I'll admit I was a bit down after hearing the news and wasn't sure if I would be able to do any workouts this weekend. Today (Sat) Hubby had another running competition. I went along, bought my workout clothes and was prepared to do my workout. I had reasons to get my workout in. 1) it would be good for me, to help lose weight 2) the 5% Summer challenge started today and I know my team is relying on me. 3) it would be fun.
But I had doubt creeping in....What if I wasn't strong enough, what if I would have more swelling next week, What if........ I sat in my car for 10 minutes prepared to sit in it until my husband was done, but then something happened.
The runners went past the stretch of road where our car was sitting. one by one they passed the slimmest fastest and most athletic came by first followed by the medium range "normal" sized runners. Finally, the slower ones approached. Men who were overweight, older and less fit soon became "the inspiration".
There was one man in particular who was the final reason why I did my workout. He was old around his 70 perhaps 80 and was very frail, skinny but muscular. He was pushing himself so hard and was the final runner out of the competition. I thought if this guy can run, so can I. It wasn't a competitive remark, but I was really amazed he was doing it. Despite his age, speed and any health problem he might be facing he was doing a running competition. I was almost in tears seeing him pass by.
I did manage to get in a 40 minute workout today both running and walking on a small streach of road. In total it was around 3k or 2miles. I'm really glad I pushed myself. So far, this evening I haven't had any foot swelling. I'm going to continue working out, but I'll be cautious in the future to avoid the foot swelling.
Lessons learned this week.
1) DONT give up!
2) Keep moving , drinking water, and tracking..it helps
3) Watch your salt..Salt is EVIL
4) Do Not overheat
5) Inspiration can be found Anywhere, just keep an eye out.
I want to share a photo of the mountain view I had while doing my workout today. Had I gone further up I might have been able to touch the clouds.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
So you're probably wondering why the goats. Well goats are a bit of an inside joke between my husband and I. I usually ask him what he would like to eat for lunch or dinner on the weekends and he says he doesn't care. He knows that I am trying to watch my weight and dosen't want to place any extra strain. He jokes and says, "Hunny, if you want to eat grass, we will eat grass" and I reply," like goats, hahahaha." So now we joke about eating like goats.
But in all seriousness, "eating like a goat" isn't always realistic. We're not goats after all, but Humans. We want to eat meat, cheese and sweets sometimes. We want to enjoy our food and eat for pleasure enjoying the things we taste. We want to indulge sometimes in Pizza and Beer, Wine and meat, Chocolate and heck everything that tastes delicious with chocolate. LOL
The 5% challenge has asked us to talk about our trigger foods and trigger situations.
Trigger situations for me usually happen during the weekend when my husband and I are together. We share all meals during this time instead of just dinner like we do during the week. We also tend to eat out more, sometimes Lunch and Dinner. We explore new places and often want to try new foods. It becomes bad because I can't track my food intake. There are no nutritional values listed on the menus or on online sites and I don't have a scale to track the weight of my food. The closest thing I can do is compare it to American restaurant foods.
The second trigger situation is during my TOM. During this time I have craving for all things chocolate. It's also a bad time because I don't want to work out and I start to lose my motivation a couple of days before it actually starts. It's not a fun time to say the least.
When it comes to trigger foods the things I crave most are sweets: I love to bake and eat cookies, cakes and muffins. I also love potatoes. This list used to be a lot bigger but since I'm not living in America finding the foods I love is very hard to do. I know if I were in America the temptation would be very high for other items.
The things that have helped me so far to avoid the cravings are tracking and exercise. When I bake I am tracking the overall amount of the pastries and then dividing them into individual portions. Seeing how much each piece of cake, cookie adds up to really help me limit how many I eat.
I also have been taking time outs when necessary, by doing mini workouts when I feel stressed so I won't reach for the bad things.
I know there will slip ups and that's ok. just as long as I don't let them stack up and get the best of me. I've gotta stay strong.
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