Thursday, May 27, 2010
Seriously, hold me back! I'm trying to become...an athlete! ACK!
I took my regular walk to the market yesterday on my lunch break. I thought about trying for my 2 miles, but I knew (1) it was really hot outside, (2) I only have a 45 minute break and I didn't know how long it would take me, and (3) there are no showers at work. Instead, I took my regular route...it's about a mile walk total, not including any walking I do inside the market. (BTW - picked up a great haul including some amazing peaches and that fig bar I'm in love with now!)
But all afternoon I realized I still wanted to try my two miles. I guess I could've just waited until today, but I didn't want to wait. (I'm not real good at waiting for anything...) So I went home, kissed the hubby, announced that I was going on a walk and changed my clothes. The boys ask, "How long?" *lol* Cautious, I see. Afraid of another 3.1 miles! *lol* I informed them it would be 2 miles and Ethan says, "Oh, well I can do 2 miles!"
This is one unexpected twist to the 5K attempt this weekend. Sure, all of us were complaining. (I probably cursed more than any mother should around her children.) I was hot. I was tired. We ALL were! But when I announced to my sons last night that we were going to do 2 miles, both of them shrugged and said, "I can do that!" I have a feeling that a week ago their response would have been different...something more akin to "TWO MILES!? AT ONCE?! BACK TO BACK!??!" Suddenly, in the afterglow of our accomplishment this past weekend, 2 miles was just a spit in the dirt. "Easy-peesy, lemon-squeezy!" as Ethan would say.
So I (we) head out for my two miles. I make myself take it slow for just a little bit (warm-up) and then I push myself to go quickly the rest of the way. (I swear I tried to slow down at the end, but I knew I was timing myself and I just couldn't keep my feet from moving as fast as they wanted to.) Ended up doing 2 miles in 42:59.9. (See, I saved myself from 43! *lol*) I didn't have a specific time in mind, I just knew that this would be a starting point for me...
Also after that 5K Sunday, I have found myself, on more than one occasion, looking up information on races in this state and those neighboring it. I even started mapping out a plan for doing one a month every month! I have decided on one for sure - I will be doing the Charleston Distance Run 5K on September 4th. I haven't registered yet for the simple fact that I don't know whether I'll be walking or running this one. I'm fine to simply walk it...but I don't want to hold myself back if I'm ready for something a little more advanced by then. I mean it's more than 3 months away - and look at how far I've come already in just ONE month! So, I have until the end of August to register. (Also, I think I'm secretly hoping to be down a shirt size so I can actually order a shirt from the race...*shrug*)
And last night, before I went home for my 2 miler...I drove past the skating rink again...the one that has been holding Zumba classes for about 2 months now. These things are so darn popular the parking lot and road around the rink fills up each night! So I called them to ask when classes where. Apparently M & W classes don't start until 7pm...so guess where I'll be next Wednesday? Best part? Only 3 bucks for an hour workout! Beat that big cities!!
And it turns out...I'm okay being the "athlete". (This isn't the right word...I need to combine fake and athlete somehow - fathlete... *lol* Fat Athlete - Fathlete! I'm using it!!)
So it turns out I'm okay being a fathlete! I'm looking into buying some good walking/running shoes this weekend while I'm in Columbus for a wedding. And I've got an order all ready for Old Navy workout clothes (I think I'll even order one shirt a size smaller...just in case *wink*) and a new gym bag! It's exciting, yo!
But...you knew there was a but, didn't you? But, I need to make sure I pace myself here! The last time I went out too fast and furious and I injured myself several times over. Only, I kept pushing through the pain. And the doctor encouraged that because she knew what I was trying to do and she felt like if I could manage the pain then it wasn't too bad for me to stop. She simply told me to listen to my body and prescribed some 800mg Ibuprofen. (And I'll be making an appointment to go back to her for advice next week...all a part of being a fathlete.) But I got burned out and I stopped. And I don't want that this time. So if any of you have suggestions for what to do/what not to do...let me know!
So far the plan is as follows:
New workout clothes (that fit!)
New shoes (without holes and wear/tear)
A sweatband (I totally get this now!)
A mini MP3 player of some sort and sport headphones
A better water bottle of some sort...easier to carry
Cycling (for real and on the inStride)
And Work Toward:
Walking 2 miles comfortably
Running a mile
Walking that 5K without dying!
and ...eventually...running that 5K!
Truth is, I'm having trouble figuring out what kind of schedule I need because the runner training schedules are too advanced (even C25K right now) and there isn't a lot out there otherwise ...at least not that I've been able to find. *sigh*
Ah-well...this fathlete is off to plan her next workout. (Probably not walking tonight...don't want to overdo it, so I'll only do my walks every other day...that sounds about right. Right?) Tomorrow I will be picking strawberries as my workout! YAY YAY YAY!! Can't wait to have some fresh strawberries in the house!
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Heck yes that was a Buddy the Elf reference. And double heck yes on the double blogging today. Yeah, sorry about that...but I just had to share with you a recent find. Recent, as in today...
I was checking out at the whole foods market near my work (Yes, I know how unbelievable lucky I am to have this within walking distance, therefore, I am able to combine buying fresh produce, plants, and meat (including fish) with my afternoon exercise) and, once again the line was really long. This meant I was looking at POS (point of sale, you know the impulse crap they put up by the register) stuff...something I don't normally do. Because it's usually pricey junk food, stuff for your kids to taunt you while you wait in line for 40 minutes (okay, 5 minutes) "Mommy, I want it! PLEASE?!?!"
Anyhow, I glanced over and saw these packages that looked like protein bars. Turns out they're Whole Wheat Fig Bars, in varied flavors. All natural. Made by a company called Nature's Bakery. While it was $1.50 for one package, I decided to splurge so I could have something fun, a little treat if you will.
I took to rereading the nutritionals a few minutes ago and discovered there are actually two servings per package (this drives me INSANE by the way!). I look at the little tiny portions they give me...they look like bulked up, brown fig newtons really. I got the apple cinnamon flavor. So I go to eat this thing, and within one bite I'm hooked. Of course, now I'm thinking - SCARY! - because I know I'm going to want that other half. Well...by the end of the one little serving I was feeling full! No, no...I still ate the other one...but I know that if I would've let that full feeling carry I could've easily gotten away with just eating one. I ate the other because I wanted to and I have the calories to do it and...well, it was so darn good!
So, if you haven't tried them - DO! YUMMM!
Now I just need SUGIRL06 to let me know that these are 100% what they claim to be and, dare I say it?...good for me! If so, I'll go pick up a few more flavors tomorrow! *lol*
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Lately I've been reading some blog posts from people about their bad days. And I mean - a lot. This is not a bad thing, but what worries me is the apologies they make for posting a "non-motivational" blog post...especially from those who have been crowned with the Spark Motivator crown. While I understand their emotion, I have a little something to tell my motivators - all of my motivators, whether you wear a crown that Spark made or an invisible one that I have placed upon your head without you knowing...
Your "bad day" blog posts are motivation too!
Sometimes when we feel like people are watching, or when we hear people say "You've motivated me to do better!" we feel a sort of obligation to that person. We feel like all eyes are now on us and we must not fail to remain the motivator they have come to expect in us. But two things happen here.
1- We stop living for us, and start living for them. The collective them. A specific them. It doesn't matter. It is no longer about what we need, about what we feel or desire, or the pain we've experienced. It's no longer about our journey or the loss of motivation we have, and our struggle to find someone to motivate us. It's become about the people who look up to us. We imagine ourselves on the pedestal there, and we're afraid if we fall we're going to crush the people below us under a ton of marble, and not only will it be "ruined" for us, but for them as well. -- That's just too much weight to be carrying around!
2- We stop realizing that "motivation" is a circle. Think about it...in order to be motivational, you have to have been motivated. You keep people in your life who motivate you and inspire you to be your best. For me, it's my husband, my children, my mother. But I've had people come up to me and say that I motivate them to be better as well. Like my friend yesterday, who kept walking because I wanted to. Who doesn't really need to lose any weight, but is trying to get fit - and who is also going through the sudden loss of her father. I pushed her not because I wanted her to walk more, but because I needed it. And if she had said she was done, I would have stopped and finished my workout later in the day. That's just part of being a friend.
Your "bad-day" blogs remind us that bad days happen to everyone. It is much easier for us to aspire to be "like you" if we know that you are human, that sometimes you fail/fall, but you get back up again. If we didn't see you fall, like ever, we'd simply assume you'd been bitten by some radioactive spider and while we might admire you, we could never aspire to be you - not really. Because we understand that we're not perfect. We understand (especially those of us that are larger here) that it has been a long road of not being perfect to get us to where we are today. AND we understand that we'll have falls along the way, because we aren't perfect, and we never will be.
If I was designed to be perfect, I'd be one of those boney girls like my friend T, who weighs less than your average African swallow and actually has trouble finding clothes that don't fall off of her. I'd be able to eat whatever I wanted and never have to worry about things like calories and fat grams. And, even then, I would not be perfect. Because while I would look skinny, I would not be healthy. I might have insomnia because of my poor eating habits, like one friend of mine. Or I might have stomach ulcers, like another. Either way perfect is not possible.
Last night I did a "bad" thing too. I went to the chinese buffet. WHAT? Yeah, you heard me. The CHINESE BUFFET! I haven't really been out to eat without checking my tracker once since I started this whole thing. And I've really wanted some chinese from our little buffet in town. So as we're realizing we have a bare fridge last night, and hubby looks right at me and says, "What do you want to do?" and I know what I want to do but I'm afraid he'll be disappointed in me (see? there it is!!), and the kids are saying "Chinese!" because they know how much I love that little buffet...Dad turns to one and says, "That's not really the right place for your mom's diet." I smirk and say, "Well, actually...that's exactly where I want to go..."
"Really?" says hubby...unsure...waiting for me to take it back.
"Yes." And then I did what I always did, I felt the need to qualify or justify my reasons to him. To explain why I thought it would be okay for me to go to the buffet. It went a little something like this - "I want to see if I can. I don't want to say that I can never go to another buffet again, ever! And I'd rather do it now, while I'm in control...rather than wait until I'm having a bad week and have my 'screw it' mentality and really blow things!"
So...we went. And I ate. And I paid attention to portion sizes and had more white rice with a tiny bit of fried rice thrown in to trick myself, and a few small pieces of my favorite chicken dishes and some broccoli. And an orange slice or two for dessert. I survived my "bad day" in a way. And, honestly, I don't see it as a bad day, because I was conscious. I was awake and alert and paying attention...I have never done that before at a buffet. EVER.
So thank you, Motivators - crowns or no...because you motivate us every day by showing us that a life can be lived this way. A full life with ups and downs and twists and turns and joy and sorrow. I never wanted a half-life...so thank you. For everything. Even your bad days!
Now get back on that treadmill and inspire me again!
Finally, leaving you with my fortune cookie from last night:
"Losers visualize the penalties of failure. Winners visualize the rewards of success."
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
*announcer voice activated*
In a land, far, far away. Armed with only a spoon, a pan, a grill, and the contents of her refridgerator...one fat chick stepped up to the plate in an effort to...COOK HEALTHY!
*announcer voice deactivated*
Just needed to share a little something with all of you out there in Sparkieland. Did you know that Spark can teach you how to cook? That's right, I said it. Spark can make you Chef Mom (Dad/Boyfriend/Girlfriend/Son/Daughter/Div
if only you give it a chance!
One thing I really wanted to do this time around was to learn how to cook healthy foods. I wanted to know if I could grill a pepper and make it taste good. I wanted to know if I could pull everything out of the fridge and decide in a moment how to put those items together to create a nutritious, delicious, and not at all fictitious meal. And it turns out...I can!
Last night as my husband and I were sitting around (playing Guitar Hero 5, which kept telling me over and over again how much I rocked - that game is such a self-confidence booster!) and we didn't really know what to have for dinner. Sure, we had a few leftovers in the fridge...but that was boring. We wanted something good. Something warm and just plain tasty. And I, for one, didn't want anything that came out of a box.
So we head to the fridge, anxious, doubtful and I pull out the remaining produce and an almost forgotten cut of beef from our previous trip to the store. (Another day in the fridge, and we would have wasted about 6 bucks!!) I'm standing there staring at the beef, a big, beautiful red pepper, a huge green pepper, 3 big portobello mushroom caps, and some other mushrooms (I love mushrooms, I put them in everything! *lol*) and I explain that I had bought these items so that I could make kabobs on the grill, but that I had forgotten to buy any skewers.
Hubby starts to walk away, discouraged...and I think - Now wait just a gosh-darn minute! Skewers or no skewers - I can make this work! Now, normally I would pull up the directions for a recipe for such a thing...but I decided instead to wing it. I made a little marinade with some red wine vinagerette and a dash of soy sauce, and another with some olive oil and garlic. The mushrooms get coated with the olive oil mixture, while the beef and peppers get the vinagerette treatment. I pull out a few red potatoes for the heck of it, half them. I pull out my no-salt seasoning mixture from the whole foods store and sprinkle both sides of everything (except the potatoes).
Hubby has the grill going. I make aluminum foil pans for my peppers and mushrooms (and the potatoes). I add the meat to the grill next to my two makeshift "pans" and I hope for the best. This could be utter failure. Complete disaster and wasting of money could be happening right now. But we wait. And wait. And wait.
Some time later, I pull everything off the grill. I make hubby up the plate and make myself one as well. And as I pull the first bite into my mouth I hear, "Oh my god!" I look over. This is it...the final disasterous verdict. Time to pull out the mac-n-cheese reserves... Hubby is smiling. I mean, grinning ear to ear smiling. It was a success people! A success! Later that evening hubby tells me that this dinner was "The BEST thing you have EVER made!" He's full and happy (and healthy too!).
So from the small girl from the suburbs of Columbus, who often forgot her cookies in the oven and burnt them to a crispy black substance. Who more than once has left water boiling on the stove so long that all the water evaporated and the bottom of the dish got a burning. Who once a towel set directly under the smoke detector because it was bound to go off sometime between the making of lunch and the making of dinner...usually during both...made dinner! The best part is, this isn't the first time I've done this. I've been winging it with recipes for a few weeks now, and everything has turned out pretty good!
And how did I do it, you ask? Why, by stalking all of your food blogs. By reading a bunch of recipes and finding the patterns. By carefully discovering through these methods which foods pair well. What kinds of additions you can make to spice up certain dishes. How to properly cook onions and garlic in olive oil! (Don't laugh...I couldn't do that before...) Betcha didn't know your Spark could be so darn helpful, did ya?
What are you making for dinner tonight?
Monday, May 24, 2010
Let me start off by saying that this is not directed at any of you...unless you doubt me, and then it is. [Warning: Rant Incoming] I mentioned to my family this morning that I walked a 5k this weekend. First let me explain my experience.
I got this crazy idea on Sunday morning that my workouts had become plain 'ole boring. I have been consistently walking a mile to a mile and a half at least 3-4 times a week and working out in some other way (usually cycling) every other day. I work out every day, and while Friday's gardening was a nice change of pace for me this weekend, I wanted to push myself a little to see where I could go. So I mapped out the route for 3.1 miles from my house, out 1.5 (and some extra) and back. I looked at the map a few times. I thought about it for a while. I gauged how my body was doing and whether I thought I could take it. And then I realized that I wouldn't know if I didn't try.
I set out with both boys in tow. Ethan is 8 and Logan is 10. Ethan is in better shape than Logan and was excited because he has begun his own "training" regimen for football season, which starts at the end of July. He's like his mom...when his heart is set on accomplishing something, he will do everything it takes to pull it off. So we headed out about 2pm. (Which was horrible thinking on my part, btw...but I was really afraid I would wuss out if I waited.) The first mile went just fine. Mile 1.5 I reached without too much hassle, save for the sun. Mile 2 crossed and I was getting tired. Mile 2.5 and my fingers began to swell.
That's right, my fingers got HUGE. And I freaked out for about a second before I realized what was happening. My legs felt fine. My heart was pumping. But my brain felt it needed those oxygen stores elsewhere (heart, lungs, legs, etc.) My hands were sacrificed because, well, who needs hands to walk? I monitored my fingers the rest of the way home and while they were swollen and numb, they were not turning blue or purple. My brain was allowing just enough oxygen to keep them alive and I could see the house...almost done. So I walked the rest of the way and collapsed on the porch.
Hubby came out bearing gifts of water...cold water. I drank a whole 30 ounces or so and begged for more. (I had already drank about 25 ounces on the way, and some of it soaked my shirt because I stopped paying attention to actually getting all of it into my mouth. *lol*) I watched my hands and within minutes feeling was coming back and they were starting to shrink again. My body was recovering much faster than it ever has before.
Hubby begged me not to do that again for a while, and I assured him that I had already told myself it would be another month before I tried to push that hard again. I just needed to know that I could. I just had to. And I took all safety precautions I could think of. I took my cell phone with me in case I needed hubby to come pick me up (he's done this before when I went too far out and couldn't return). I thought about calling him twice, but not because I didn't think I could make it, but because it was HOT. Too hot. We stopped 4 times to rest in the shade for a few seconds. I hadn't really thought about the sun that much, and I suddenly understood why races start so darn early in the morning.
So, yes. I made it. And today? Today I feel great! No, seriously. My foot is a little sore in one spot and I still feel some slight soreness throughout my back and legs, but nothing that makes me think I can't do this or that. Even still considering a walk for lunch today. (Though if I don't get to it, I'll just cycle at home later.) I feel healthier than I have in years. I feel ready to stop smoking too....so that's a bonus (and also, probably, a reason for my heart/blood issues yesterday...DUH!)
Anyways, I tell this (summarized) to my family and my sister, who just finished a half marathon tells me how I shouldn't have done it. How this is a newbie mistake to increase so fast. And how my body can't take it. Yes, I understand that she's a half-marathoner now, but does she really think she's my personal trainer. How about a "Maybe take it a little easier/slower next time." or "Hold off on doing that again, I agree...but great job on making it through." She even told me this after she stated that she went from doing 7 miles to doing her half marathon! She didn't even know that day if she could do the 13.1 miles, but she pushed herself to do it! WTF, dude?
One thing I love about my Sparkers. Even the runners among you don't claim to be experts unless, well, unless you are. And while you might make suggestions, you know about constructive criticism. About "at-a-girls!" with the "try-this"-es. (Did that make sense?) And few of you would ever presume to know what my body can or cannot take. I love you all for that!
And to all the doubters out there... This 392 pound woman walked a 5k yesterday...what did you do?
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