Friday, August 06, 2010
So I went to the gym today and made myself go through 30 minutes on the elliptical in order to earn my boxing time. This is a new activity for me so it's more like fun time than working out. I struggled through the first 20 minutes or so of those 30 minutes, but I earned my time and I put on my gloves and headed into the boxing room.
I don't really know what I'm doing. I just do whatever I want...that's why I have to earn it. But today I saw the speedbag there and I have always really wanted to learn how to work that silly thing.
First of all, it's the prettiest piece of equipment in there. It's red with black lining, and has a cute little white lacing up one side.
Second, I have no coordination, and I really want to be coordinated. I'm hoping I'm not to old to learn.
But the last time I tried to hit the speedbag, the thing popped right off the little ring it's hooked on, and I felt silly and inexperienced and ....like a bad little kid who was gonna break somebody's toy. But today, I didn't care. Today I reasoned that there was no one in the room with me. The gym was pretty quiet. I kept my headphones in and vowed to figure out how to hit the thing with some rhythm, even if it was REALLY slow.
After about 10 minutes I did find my rhythm. It was super fun to figure out where to hit the bag with my hand to get the right bounce back, where exactly I had to strike the bag (and where not to hit the bag...it popped off about 4 times as I tried to figure it out, each time I learned something new), and when to hit the bag on the bounce back.
I kept thinking about how all of this is a learning process. What foods to eat when, what works for me as far as calories burned and calories consumed. It's all about the right combo, the right left right hit on the speedbag.
By the time I left the gym I felt renewed. I can still learn and I will continue to learn for the rest of my life.
I also felt something else...powerful.
Powerful is a great feeling. For the rest of my workout I kept on my handwrap gloves like they were my very own version of Wonder Woman bracelets. It was the big S on my chest that propelled me through 50 crunches with a medicine ball and a full set of strength training. I didn't want the power to end.
I finally took my gloves off during stretching and, you know what? I still felt powerful. You can't cut my hair and steal my strength...because it's within me. That power I feel is the confidence I have in my ability to learn and grow as a person.
No, the scale hasn't moved in 2 days (which is weird because my weight never stays the exact same two days in a row), but my muscles are looking great. And I feel so much stronger than I ever have.
I hope I feel powerful again tomorrow at the 5k. I don't have any worries about doing 3 miles, but I feel....unsupported by family and friends right now (not my Sparkies though! Feeling the love there!). Hubs doesn't want to make the drive. I don't think he sees the point of driving 2 hours so I can walk 3 miles when I can walk out the door and walk 3 miles down the street. And I can't seem to find a way to explain it to him. I just need this. I'm chasing that powerful feeling. I'm chasing the high of confidence. (And maybe I worry that I won't get that high...and I'm scared that I feel the need for it...)
But whether I go alone or Hubs comes with me, I will go tomorrow. And I will do it up right. I will wear the right clothes and put my star headband on, and put my arms in the right position, and push my legs to do their best for me. And when I'm done...I'll be done...and then I'll try to gauge how I feel...
I'd love to end this on a high, but all I feel like doing is .... *shrug*
Thursday, August 05, 2010
So yesterday was brilliant. Seriously. I had a good day at work, followed by a great time at the gym and then blissfully quiet evening with the Hubs.
I ended up doing 3.06 miles in 60 minutes on the treadmill (after a warm-up on the indoor track) and then did 5 or 6 minutes of cool down on the indoor track. About mile 2.5 I hit that wall and thought I'd die, and then I pushed through and felt like I was flying! I *love* that feeling! Following that performance, I'm not too too worried about Saturday (except for the weather because it's been storming like crazy here in WV!).
Weird Gym Story:
So last night I'm reading my book on the treadmill, doing a solid 3.1 pace and I feel good. And then this guy comes up and gets on the machine next to me. He sticks in his headphones and gets a steady walk going before upping to a run and doing a few intervals. I think nothing of it. And then the guy starts talking, and singing, and muttering under his breath. I mean, I couldn't understand everything he was saying, it was just super annoying. Half the time he's mumbling the words to a song (I assume) and the other times he's telling himself "Come on!" and "Let's go!" I honestly think that unless you're relatively alone in your part of the gym you should keep these pep talks to yourself. Sure, I've slipped every now and again, but not for like 20 minutes straight! I nearly lost it when I thought I overheard him say, "Ow! My ball sack!" No lie.
Needless to say, I nearly hugged the next guy who didn't talk to himself at all and seemed relatively normal. Of course, I didn't want to seem abnormal so I kept that thought to myself.
After the gym I showered and put on the tight shorts (which won't be tight in a couple more weeks, mark my words!) and headed to dinner with the Hubs. Mexican. Chicken fajitas. Relatively healthy considering. I curbed my munch on the chips and salsa and drank a ton of water. Then Hubs decided we should go somewhere after dinner. Now in the near hickville town near our home, there is rarely anything open late other than the bar, and even they close early sometimes (and the other one, I learned, had no electricity because of the storms), so where we ended up was Wal-Mart. We walked around leisurely for an hour. We circled the entire store and looked at everything from batteries to tires to workout clothes (sports bras and socks and shirts in my basket, oh my!). I finally turned to him and said, "Hun? I'm exhausted. I think I need to go home now." And home we did. And in bed I did soon collapse.
Apparently I didn't sleep enough because I feel like poo on a stick right now. It took everything in me to get myself out of the bed this morning. I thought I was going to kill someone if they looked at me wrong, and then I just got giddy, and I've been there pretty much all day. And it's an ugly day. And I'm sore and tired. And I have to work 11 hours here and then another 3-4 at the paper. And all I want to do is crawl into a ball and snore and dream. And instead I ate 4 servings of honey roasted peanuts for a snack, which I bought on a tired shopping trip to CVS, which I went to in order to get cash out to give a co-worker for the ham and cheese sub she brought me back. Moral of the story? Esther needs more sleep. And Esther is using today as her rest day because if I tried to do a push-up I'd probably fall on the ground and wouldn't be able to get up.
---I'm jealous of this emoticon right now.
Wednesday, August 04, 2010
Have you noticed that even though I *try* to keep track of the week and day in my blog titles, sometimes they just get out of order? *lol* I swear I'm either trying to lose days or gain them. *shrug*
I've spent half the morning in plan mode doing this...
...and the other half getting pounded with work for this weekend. *growl*
Let's ignore the second part of that and go back to that purty picture up there. Ain't it nice? On that calendar (and the mini calendar that can fit in my wallet) are all the workouts I have planned between now and the end of the month (and a little extra). I *love* making calendars for myself and this one's been on my wall at work for the past year or so...
It used to have color coded the stuff I had from my 2 jobs, my school stuff, my extra-ciric. activities, the boys' school stuff, and any family stuff we had planned. (See..there was a definite need to organize!) Now it only holds my work stuff, my workout stuff, and anything we're doing as a family. It looks much prettier!
But I decided that this wasn't enough because I got all sciency this morning (which I never do) and that led to me figuring out certain days to do certain exercises. Truth is, when I started I was only really walking and doing Yoga. Since then I have gradually added new things in because I never, ever want to be bored with my workout routine. So I added things like Zumba, the elliptical, rowing, the stationary rowing machine, hiking, and now boxing. And next week I'm going to hop on those bikes I've been eyeing at the gym too! *lol*
So because my head goes into a gym full of options and can't figure out what to do each day, I decided to organize myself. This week looks like this:
Monday - 2 mile training (45minutes), boxing (15m), full ST
Tuesday - 10 minute walk, 11 minute walk, Zumba (50m), boxing (10m)
Wednesday - 3 mile training (60m), full ST
Thursday - 35m walk at lunch
Friday - elliptical (30m), punching bag/boxing (15m)
Saturday - RACE DAY! Debbie Green Memorial 5k Walk
I then figured out how many calories a day I would burn and how many each week (which I want to be over 3500/wk). If I do the right things I can easily meet this goal.
Now what, praytell, was the reason for all this? Well, I started to notice yesterday and the day before that I'm getting hungry more often and for more food and certain types of food (usually carbs and protein). I thought maybe it was just a "hungry" day (we all have those right?) until I got like 2-3 in a row and I KNEW it was actual hunger pains. I realized that I may be burning too much and not putting enough in to fuel me. So I got all sciency and organize-y. What I realized? Yeah, my body needs more fuel. Period.
So now I have scheduled my training miles, my Zumba classes, my work lunch walks, my bouts with the punching bag, my battles with the rowing machine, and my rides with the bike...I even scheduled in heavy cleaning as exercise EVERY WEEK to make sure I do it! *lol* And then I bought some stickers, cuz Cheryl and some of my other SparkFriends like stickers to give them a visual boost for a job well done.
A few things following this creative endeavor:
1 - For those of you runners/walkers/racers - what do you normally do the day before race day? Do you do a normal routine? Do you back off? Do you take a full on rest day? What about the day AFTER the race?
2 - What are THE BEST foods pre and post workout. I know about carb loading and protein recovery, but I need some foods I can put on a list and then just grab without thinking.
3 - How soon before a workout do you typically eat? I had one day last week when I knew I ate my snack WAY too soon (like 2:30pm) and I didn't get to Zumba until 7pm and my stomach was P.O.ed at me!!
4 - What do you eat before your race, and how long before? After?
5 - Okay, this 10k looming is freaking me out! I went from 2 - 2 - 3 mile training weeks and then this week its supposed to be 2 - 3 - 4...but I won't get to do the 4 because that's my 5k race day. Next week, then, is 2 - 3 - 5. Am I going to die skipping that 4 mile training?? Should I just walk myself back to the starting line or work something like that out after my race (I really don't want to do that...I just want to enjoy the day!)
...........and now for something completely different:
A picture of me and Hubs last year at my step-brother's graduation. Wow, how things have changed!
Tuesday, August 03, 2010
AB is midway (I think) through our TIKI challenge (July-August).
TIKI CHALLENGE CHECKIN 8/2-8/7
I know I rocked the TIKI Challenge in July because I lost 10 pounds and even when I felt like giving up, I got back up on that horse.
I pushed myself in my cardio sessions by reminding myself that the time I put into it is equal to what I get out of it.
I grew in my strength sessions by hitting the gym equipment and really working those muscles! (And they're starting to show!!)
I stretched myself in my flexibility sessions by reminding myself that stretching is a vital part of the process, not merely an afterthought.
I pampered myself on my rest days by enjoying much needed time with my family.
This week's cardio workouts are going to be inspired by MY SATURDAY 5K!
This week's strength workouts are going to be inspired by SEXAY PINK BOXING HANDWRAP GLOVES! HOT!
This week's flexibility workouts are going to be inspired by THE AB AMAZON LADIES, WHO REMIND ME TO REEEACH!
This week's rest time is going to be inspired by ACTIVE REST - MAKING SURE THAT REST TIME IS NOT SIT ON YOUR BUTT TIME, AT LEAST NOT ALL THE TIME.
I'm overhauling the parts of my diet that need it this week. -- I'll work on making sure to rebalance my meals and get the most out of my workouts by fueling and refueling with the right foods!
AUGUST SPECIAL CHALLENGE BONUS #1
For 5 days I am going to do my very best to see what it would be like to feel my body running on good fuel only. If I was a brand new car, I wouldn't fill myself up with crap. So I am going to spend 5 days making sure that I only put good stuff in me. I can do 5 days. I want to see what it feels like to run on the fuel I am supposed to be getting.
- Balanced meals with carb, protein, healthy fats and fruits and veggies, and good for me snack choices!
Tracking Food is going to be part of the TIKI Challenge for this week, and I know that Yoovie is going to be stopping by my page and checking my food diary.
- So remember that cheating at all is just cheating yourself out of the best you can get from this week!!
AUGUST SPECIAL CHALLENGE BONUS #1
The one thing that I am NOT going to do between now and midnight on Saturday is: TELL MYSELF "CAN'T" or CONVINCE MYSELF IT'S NOT WORTH IT -- IT IS SOOO WORTH IT!
My anthem on my mp3 player this week is going to be: She Wolf by Shakira! I'm totally letting myself out of my disguise.
Motivate me by: letting me know you're there and that you support me. The gym gets a little lonely sometimes...
In addition, I've become co-captain of the Awesome Adventurers team of the Biggest Loser End of Summer (BL-EOS) Challenge over at Team 300 lbs. Plus. I'm so excited to be taking on a leadership role. I know it will help me stay accountable as I look out for the rest of my team and make sure we're all on track as much as possible and making our own paths. I absolutely *love* that we're Adventurers, because I feel like this every week! I always want to try something new and different and make my own adventures, no matter how small they might be.
So for this week, the plan is simple: MAKE AN ADVENTURE OUT OF IT!
I started boxing last night. I just put on my new pretty pink handwrap gloves and started hiting the crap out of the bag. I felt strong and powerful! It didn't feel like much of a workout until I realized I had sweat pouring off me. I even got so into it a few times I high kicked the bag! *lol* I'm sitting there beating the crap out of this huge bag, going from one hanging bag to another, trying to duck and weave a bit like I've seen on the movies (*lol* I learn everything from TV and movies...oh, and the internet, because, yes, I did google "how to box" *lmao*). I'm sitting there looking at the crap quality of the boxing gloves they have and some kid walks in, says hello and puts on some gloves. I asked him if he does this all the time and he said, "Once or twice a week probably." And then he proceeds to just punch the crap out of the bag. I told him I was new and he didn't seem to think there was much more to do other than punch the bag and get out your anger. *lol* *shrug* It was FUN!!
My family and I have picked out 4 Geocaches to go find this month. One I wanted to do this past weekend but the boys were gone up to Grandma's. With the 5K this weekend, I'm not sure we'll get it in this weekend (hey! Maybe Friday!) but we will be hitting the park soon to try this new adventure. If you haven't heard of Geocaching, Google it and check it out. I signed up over at www.geocaching.com and can search for locations of caches near our house.
We're headed back to the lake! I looked it up and the lake is out of danger bacteria range, so we're ready to hit it up again for a few good swims before summer ends. The boys start school on the 20th, so we have a couple good weeks left to get some quality time in!
And the greatest adventure I have planned for August? Well, that's easy! My 5k this weekend! It's a strange start time (7pm), but I'm excited that I'll be doing what I thought I might not be able to ever do before. And I'll have a bib and a chip time and all that crazy stuff to post on my blog! And pictures! I already told hubs he has to take tons of pictures for you guys!
(Oooh...final note. I found jean shorts yesterday! As many of you may have heard, my really baggy jean shorts have been driving me simply BATTY! I've been hunting for jean shorts at the stores but everyone is switching over to their fall lines and getting rid of their shorts. *growl* Anyhow, head over to Lane Bryant yesterday and they have a few sets of jean shorts left and ONE size 28! It's tight, but I'll take care of that in no time! I'm excited! Oh, and for those of your searching, they have all of their shorts and capris 50% off right now because they, too, are getting ready to put out their fall and winter lines. So if you haven't been, head over and pick up some stuff!)
Monday, August 02, 2010
So yesterday I signed up for my first ever 5k. But...there's a catch. I will be WALKING this 5k, not running it.
The fact that I even feel the need to clarify that for all of you should show you something about my mentality. The truth is, Spark has been a wonderful tool, but it has also brought me to moments of jealousy for all the things I cannot do. I have been so inspired by people who are so far along in their journey I'm suprised they can still see me on the path behind them...WAY far back...behind that tree....around the corner...behind that ugly looking dog. Yeah...back there! So while I signed up and paid for my first "race," I'm having trouble getting past the fact that I cannot yet run a 5k race.
What's the point of 'racing' then, if you can't run?
The point is simple. I cannot run...so I walk. Because of years of damage from weight and just being a woman (raise your hand if you're a chick with bad knees!), and a surgery at the age of about 16 disconnecting my ligament from my patella to the outside leg muscle, and years of osteoarthritis...my knee is, well, pretty shot. I have tried previously to run on it (because I just *love* that feeling of running...I don't know why), but every time I do I feel fine during the "run" but afterwards I find myself on the injured list. Trips me up each and every time. The last time I attempted to jog was probably in May, maybe early June... It felt great! I did little intervals of really, really slow jogging on a walk with my son to my mother-in-law's house. On the way back home, while climbing out of the car (Hubs was already at his mom's so we visited for a while and then he drove us all home) -- POP! -- out went my knee.
I blamed it on a million things. You should hear the garbage that comes out of my mouth when this happens to me! You'd think I'd be used to it by now, but there is still this huge amount of frustration, especially when I've been working SO HARD to build up strength and lose the fat...those extra pounds that every doctor says are my knee's demise. I hit the wall and I almost always lose my momentum. "Why should I try so hard if I'm just going to get hurt? How am I supposed to do this when I try to do this and something like THIS happens?" (I'm whiney when I don't get what I want exactly the way I want it.) Still, one thing that Spark brought me is body awareness. I realized that day that I still cannot safely jog without risking a serious injury. It's too much too soon. I had two choices - risk injury after injury for the thrill of the achievement, or stick to the safe activities that I could continue again and again without hardly any risk. This time, and this time only, I backed off.
So when I think of this race day and I hear myself troll through the list of negative comments about how I'm not a "real" competitor or how silly I'll look with a race bib for a walk... As many times as I tell myself that I still can't even WALK that quickly, I have remember one thing. I walk because I can. And there are people who can't. And I used to be one of those people.
My youngest son is now 8 years old, but when he was bored I was reaching for the stars as far as my weight was concerned. I was topping the scale and avoiding the world. I couldn't move or do much of anything. I got a hernia from getting frisky with the Hubs one night. Even THAT was too much exertion for me! I didn't sleep in the same bed with my husband anymore, I had my own bed. I was depressed (I had *bad* PPD on top of other things) and wanted nothing more than to eat my way into my grave. Life meant absolutely nothing to me. Walking through the grocery store wore me out so much I'd have to sit down several times (the bags of dog food were my favorite comfy spot to sit). I asked my husband to do almost everything for me. I wouldn't get off my butt to cross the room if I didn't have to, because it hurt. I hurt ALL THE TIME.
And while I was much better off in April of this year, I found myself feeling those same pains. I felt myself out of breath and in pain just trying to lap the track once. When I started this journey I couldn't even walk a mile without feeling like my legs were going to fall out from under me. I did it. I pushed through it. It usually took me longer than 30 minutes to do a mile...closer to 35 or so, at least. But I did it one step at a time.
April 18th was just a little over 100 days ago, and in those 100 days I have taught myself to walk a comfortable 20-21 minute mile pace. If I push, I can get a brisk 16-18 minute walk out. The first time I tried to walk 3.1 miles with my kids it took me ...I don't even remember. Well over an hour. I *think* it was an hour and fourty-five minutes. I had to stop at least 4 times. I got bloated and swollen at mile 2. I felt like I was going to pop by mile three and I collapsed on the porch when I finally made it home. My husband was so concerned he asked me not to try it again for a while. That was May 23rd. Now, on August 2nd, the mere idea of walking 3.1 miles on Saturday - I have no doubts that I can do it. In fact my only concern is making good time (I want that "under an hour" victory!). I told my husband and my mother-in-law my plan and neither one of them doubted me.
So what's the moral to this story? That's easy.
On Saturday I will COMPETE in my first ever 5k. I will get a RACE bib and a time chip thingy for my shoe, and I will have every bit of pride in my heart as I would if I were running a marathon. Because for me, this is a major achievement. And not only that, this is a major stepping stone for the future. After this 5k I can look forward to walking a 10k, and then maybe even a half marathon! I can look forward to doing things I could not have done 8 years ago.
I AM an athlete, and Saturday I will compete for the first time ever. An athlete, you say? Well, yes...of course! I have trained in my disciplined. I followed training schedules. I worked on increasing my speed and stamina. I have increased my distance and focused on increasing my speed. I have pushed myself in cross training on off days to ensure I'm building healthy, lean muscle. I have focused on carb loading before long walks and high-protein recoveries. I have concentrated on refueling my body with the right things, with things that will improve my training. In 100 days I went from a girl who couldn't walk a 30 minute mile to a girl who can do 3 miles at an easy 21 minute mile pace. I've learned about the right shoes, about pacing and breathing techniques, about stretching, about warm-ups and cool downs and recovery. Where in there do you see a non-athlete?
So this Saturday, this athlete will compete in her discipline -- WALKING.
I will pin on that bib (and take a picture) and secure my time chip (and take a picture). I will do my stretches (and take a picture), and then I will step up to that starting line and wait for the gun or whistle or bell or whatever tells us to begin. I will set my pace. I will encourage those around me. I will pump my arms and call upon the muscles I can now see in my calves to propel me forward. I will keep my eyes focused on the forward and will listen to my body to ensure I get the most out of it. I will demand the utmost from my training without pushing myself beyond my physical limit. I will keep an eye on my time but remember to pace myself for the finish. I will pass at least one person, and then chuckle as someone else passes me. I will try to get some of the water they give us at our stops into my mouth. And then I will cross the finish line and I will get to know that feeling I read about in a million running and racing blogs...that feeling of accomplishing something. And the fact that I walked instead of running won't matter, because I will have done it. And I will have joined an elite group of athletes who can say that they have.
Don't know about you, but that sounds okay to me.
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