Friday, July 06, 2012
Well, that didn't go as planned.
I woke up Sunday morning, 7/1, with my game face on. I took my measurements, which I hadn't done since September. I mapped out my workouts for the week. I told myself that it was time to get serious about weight loss again. I wrote down my goal weight for each week this month. This is something I used to do and it really helped. Visualizing that number. It works. I mean, it used to work.
I know lots of us our experiencing this craptastic heat wave. As a MN girl, I like to be annoying and say that you can only complain about one season. Take your pick: winter or summer. No endless whining. By Wednesday I was the biggest whiner of all. It's hot. It's 104 hot. I live in an old house, no AC. Window units only do so much and we only have 2. One is in DS's room, the other in ours, which means DD has been sleeping with us. That girl takes up a lot of room in bed!! And the heat has made both kids sick. Fevers & throwing up. I have done a lot of laundry this week.
One of my workout buddies canceled on Monday because of the heat advisory. I canceled on her today because of the sick kids. I've gotten in one run this week and it was a quick 5K. I hopped on that blasted treadmill last night and lasted for one mile of sprints. I just can't stand that thing. I've missed swim and bike workouts.
I have made it to more group fitness classes than normal and that's been fun. And I did get in my longest bike ride to date: 29 miles!!
The heat has led to some poor food choices because I'm not cooking as much. Letting other people cook, going out, too many quick & cold meals that are high in protein, but not enough balanced meals.
July week 1 recap: several missed workouts, poor sleeping & eating. And to top it off, I'm up 2.8 lbs from last Friday
BUT! but but but, it's gonna be OK. I had a great workout this morning that put me in a much better mood. I went home and turned on the oven. I don't care that it's too hot to cook! Made lots of good stuff, including my new favorite healthy treat
so good and so easy.
I made a salad packed with veggies and my favorite kale chips with a little pumpkin seed oil for lunch. yum.
We leave for a week at the lake on Sunday and I will run and swim and relax and build sandcastles and paddle board and read and drink wine and and and...
See? it's OK. This was a rough week. All that means is that I have the power to make the next week better.
Monday, July 02, 2012
I had a great June. End of school year. Good weather. Lots of happy family time. Marathon. Fitness gained. Weight maintained.
After the big race I dove right into triathlon training. I have a lot to learn about the bike. A lot, a lot. I'm a pretty good swimmer, but need practice and endurance. It's super fun to have new challenges and to be getting involved in sports that can be lifelong activities. Too often, I think we focus on an "end date." That ultimate goal weight stuff, or losing weight for a specific event. Well, then what? I think we need to put just as much thought and planning and effort into maintenance. How will we maintain that weight loss? How will we be in that 10% that actually keeps it off? For me, it's triathlon.
10-20 miles a week. 1 LSR, 1 speedwork or hills, optional 3rd run for fun
40-80 miles a week. 1 long ride, 1 intervals/hills or spin class, 3rd & 4th rides are fun family easy rides
2 swims a week: 1 long for endurance, 1 speedwork, 3rd would be bonus
Teaching Tabata twice a week for the summer
I went to a training on Sat for RIPPED. A new class the Y is launching. It's a very new program, not licensed like Les Mils (Bodypump) which has its pros and cons. I have some mixed feelings about what I'm getting into here, but that's all for a different blog.
The training showed me:
1. my cardio is off the charts awesome. I could keep up with the best of em even in the intervals and plyometrics sections. felt good!
2. my strength needs serious work! Those fitness instructor itty bitty chicas kicked my butt. big time.
Working on this class should improve the ST. I'll probably be doing it twice a week.
1.5-2 pounds this month. Or 2-3 inches. I think with the amount going on here, that's realistic.
Thursday, June 28, 2012
I write about my family a lot because they all have so much to do with my healthy lifestyle. I do know how lucky I am to be surrounded by support and people that make the same daily, healthy choices. The lifestyle mentality (vs. weight loss, just get to a certain goal weight mentality) is how I was raised. I owe my parents a lot for that.
My older brother is not a runner so I probably don't mention him. He does play on a men's basketball league team (lifestyle!) and he owns one of the last independent bookstores in the Twin Cities. It's a very cool place. I worked there when I was in grad school.
All of that rambling background to say this: DH and I stopped in last night. The woman working has been there forever. She was on vacation in Duluth over the marathon weekend and she was all excited about our experience. (i have been surprised by how many people were tracking us online!) she says something like, "I was just telling your brother how great you look and how impressive this race is. You must feel like a younger version of yourself."
Well, not really.
I participated in lots of different athletics when I was young, but dropped most by sophomore year of high school. Then I joined show choir ( think Glee, before it was cool!) and then college happened. I made a lot of poor choices. Fun choices! But not exactly healthy. Maybe this was my way of rebeling against my parents. That party now, worry about health when you're old & boring mentality continued throughout my 20s. I worked out, but there is no amount of fitness that would cancel out the crappy food and endless bottles of wine.
I needed to put all the pieces together: fitness, nutrition, mind set. once that happened, life changed. And it's not old & boring at all. It's fun! Not dancing on the table at 3 am fun, but I'm not really interested in that at this point in my life anyway. And you know what's not fun: how you feel the day after. Theres no such thing as a workout hangover. I just get that workout high for the rest of the day!
I was honest, "No, I don't feel younger. I feel the best I've ever felt. I never knew I had this in me."
And isn't that the best part? We have the power to change our life's direction. It's hard work. It takes daily choices. It's worth it.
Let's make good choices today. Let's feel better than we did 10 years ago!
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
I haven't been on spark much lately because I've become obsessed with running books. I thought I'd share my love.
I'm quoting some from amazon because they summarize better than I do.
1. Duel in the Sun: Alberto Salazar, Dick Beardsley, and America's Greatest Marathon by John Brant.
"...the story of two American distance runners, Dick Beardsley and Alberto Salazar, and how their lives changed after both men ran the 1982 Boston Marathon. ...the story of the marathon and the story of the two men's lives are told simultaneously throughout the book.
Although the book has a plot and often reads like a work of fiction, it is in fact a non-fiction work, and the events described in the book actually occurred in real life."
I met Beardsley at the expo. He is from MN and still holds the course record for Grandmas Marathon. Very very nice guy. And he signed the book, Dick Beardsley 2:08:53 Boston '82
How cool is that?! We joked all weekend that that was how I was going to start signing everything. Maura 4:04:16
Anyway, great story, fun and easy read.
2. A life without limits by Christie Wellington.
" Wellington's rise to triathlon greatness after the age of 25 when she discovered her latent talent for endurance sport. A very refreshing account that differs greatly from Paula Radcliffe's "My Life so Far" or Meb K's "Run to Overcome". No tales of early greatness in Chrissie's book, no relatives who were Olympians, no highschool world records. Just a girl who had a passion for international development and helping others who was also passionate about exploring and pushing herself who rather randomly happened onto running, cycling and triathlon and became the best in the world at it, and quickly!"
If you're interested in triathlon at all, check this out. She is incredible!
3. Born to Run by christopher McDougall
"...tracks down members of the reclusive Tarahumara Indian tribe in the Mexican Copper Canyons. After being repeatedly injured as a runner himself, McDougall marvels at the tribe's ability to run ultra distances (over 26.2 miles, commonly 100 miles or more) at incredible speeds, without getting the routine injuries of most American runners. The book has received attention in the sporting world for McDougall's description of how he overcame injuries by modeling his running after the Tarahumara.
Alongside his research into the Tarahumara, McDougall delves into why the human species, unique among other primates, has developed traits for endurance running. He promotes the endurance running hypothesis, arguing that humans left the forests and moved to the savannas by developing the ability to run long distances in order to literally run down prey.
McDougall also has received critical praise for his rich story-telling and the many quirky characters portrayed in the book, including not only the Tarahumara but exceptional Western runners who share the Tarahumara spirit of running for enjoyment and spiritual experience."
I read a lot. And I am not being melodramatic when I say this one is in my top 5 books of all time. I finished it yestday and I have been moping around today because im so sad it's over. It's about culture, science, history, sport, anthropology, passion and, of course, running.
It is beautifully written. favorite quote: "...perfecting the art of combining our breath and mind and muscles into fluid self-propulsion over wild terrain." (p. 92)
Ahhhhhh, I am going to read that over and over again.
And it's full of crazy interesting facts. I have got to share this research from the NYC marathon 2004. "starting at age 19, runners get faster every year until they hit their peak at 27... Then they start to decline. How old are you when you're back to running the same speed as you did when you're 19?"
Like the author, I started to do some simple math in my head but then knew there had to be a trick. You don't just add 8, right? Right. You are never going to believe what they found out. Go ahead, take a guess. Then scroll down a bit.
Sixty-freaking-four! How incredible is that?
"name any other field where 64 year olds are competing with 19 year olds. Swimming? Boxing? Not even close. There's something really weird about us humans; we're not only really good at endurance running, we're really good at it for a remarkably long time. We're a machine built to run..." (p. 240)
Doesn't that make you smile? It made me think about all the spark blogs I've read about people falling in love with running way later in life than they thought it possible. (that includes me!)
I highly recommend this book.
The theme among these 3 books was the element of joy. It wasn't about the mileage, the time splits, the training plan, the weight. Sure, those things matter. But all these people LOVE to run.
This morning I ran. No garmin, no iPhone, no ear buds. Unplug. Don't worry about the distance or the time for once. Just enjoy your strong legs. Smile. Check yourself out. You're a runner.
(let me know if you read any of these or already have!)
Monday, June 18, 2012
I did it. I ran a marathon. And it was more than I could have asked for. The whole weekend was very special.
I am a city girl and I truly love my city. Trails and lakes galore. This is the land of 10,000 lakes. Sometimes when I read people's blogs about traveling for a race, I wonder, why? Is it worth the effort? That sounds like so much work and effort and opportunities to forget things. I know I'm lucky to have so many races in my backyard. I guess I always thought Twin Cities would be my first marathon. But then my dad sent out an email saying that he'd get lodging if some of us would commit to run Grandma's Marathon in Duluth.
You've all heard this already: my dad is my running inspiration and my husband helped me become a runner. In their own ways, these two were my coaches. So it was pretty perfect that the 3 of us would do this together. And because we were having so much fun we conned my sister into running the Half.
I had no idea what I was truly committing to when I responded to that email. The hours of training, the 5 am runs, the juggling schedules and finding babysitters, saying no to many social outings because trainings runs come first.
I've gotta fast forward to Saturday morning or this will take forever. The race starts in Two Harbors and runs along Lake Superior. I followed my plan and got as close to the 4:30 pacer as I could. My dad started further back. I ran the first mile with DH. I stayed there for the first 2.5 miles as my warm up and then gradually picked up my pace. It was hot. Humidity was 90% and I was thrilled that there was already water and ice at mile 3. I rubbed ice on my face, threw some down my shirt.
I was right behind the 4:15 pacer as we were approaching the 5 mile water area. There were tons of people in that group and I am easily annoyed by people taking the first water and coming to a dead stop. I decided to zip around this group to avoid the congestion. This may have been too early to pick it up, I'm not sure.
At this point the miles were ticking off pretty easily and I felt great. I saw a blind runner tethered to someone else and was incredibly overcome with emotion. I was in complete awe of the human spirit. The wide range of abilities, experiences in life and running that all come together to do something incredible. I said a little prayer of thanks for my health and did my best to harness in the emotion and reminded myself to save it for later. I knew I'd need it.
At mile 9 my friend jumped in with me. She was going to be at 13, but that area was busier and she was too excited. She was impressed that I was right on schedule considering the heat, she thought I'd be further behind. I felt great. We chatted for awhile and the miles kept flying by. We could see the 4:00 pacer but I knew to stay back and not get overly excited or push it too much. Lots of race left.
I made a bathroom stop and when I came out saw the 4:15 pacer run by. WTF??? How is that possible? I got into a group of people and everyone was talking about how off schedule she (the pacer) was. 4:15 was right next to us and we could see 4:00 a little ways ahead of us. They should be 7 minutes apart. People continued to complain about her and I felt bad for all the people that had a goal & needed a pacer but she was going too fast. I finally called out, "Slow down 4:15!" which made everyone cheer, but also made her turn and give me a dirty look. whoops. A group of 3 guys ran over and thanked me. We started chatting me them. 2 of them were pacers themselves, not in this race, but in others. They were helping their friend run his first.
Somewhere in the middle miles we saw a guy propose. We ran by just as he was on his knee next to a huge banner. We cheered and then a few seconds later there was a huge cheer, must've been when she said yes. So cool!!
13.1 and I was 2:01, right where I wanted to be, a pretty good HM time for me. I still felt great
and the mile markers kept coming. We met a girl that had just split from her mom. They were running their first marathon together. I was surprised by how much I was talking to other runners. Sure, it was taking some energy, but it was giving me way more. I love the running community!
And then mile 15 happened. I don't know what happened, but suddenly my quads were so tired and I just felt done. Sarah noticed the change in me and helped me get through it. But I'm not gonna lie, 15-17 were awful. Absolutely awful. I wanted to quit. I thought about walking right off. I felt sick. I could taste the GU and thought I was going to throw up. I slowed down a bit.
We kept trading places with those 2 pacers and their friend. Learned that they were ultra-marathoners. I just listened at this point and concentrated on one foot in front of the other. Step step step. Yes you can. Say it over and over and over.
At 17 I remember saying, "Ok we've got a 5K and then the race starts. That's it. I can do this." I believe so much in the power of positive talk. All week I had been visualizing feeling good at mile 20. And I think it worked. My legs still hurt. A lot. I was tired and my clothes were soaking wet. I didn't feel cold, but I did notice that the spectators had gone from shorts and tank tops to sitting in chairs and covered in blankets. Apparently the temp had dropped quite a bit!
I told Sarah that I wanted to pass the 4:15 pacer when we hit mile 20. People were still complaining about her and I even heard a race official yell that she was way ahead of schedule. I was determined not to let her beat me.
Everyone is right: the race starts at mile 20. Luckily, in this race the scenery changes dramatically. You go from beautiful Great Lake views to a roaring town. I cannot believe how great the whole city of Duluth is. They really get into it. All the streets are lined with people. Families that set up sprinklers in the street. I leapt through every single one. Tons of kids giving out "free high fives". I hit everyone that I could. I pretended some were my daughter and son. Even high fived all the drunk college kids. They smelled so bad!
I was doing everything I could to enjoy the experience. Mind over matter. I asked Sarah if she could see the 4:15 pacer. She turned around and said, "No and we're not turning around again. This is your race. Just focus on you. No regrets. You don't want to ask yourself tomorrow if you could have given more." She is the best. She was going to leave me when we saw my family, but I told her to stay. At one point I closed my eyes and walked while counting to 10. She jogged right in front of me. See? the best.
Miles 21-25.5 are all real fuzzy. I can't distinguish what happened when. My SIL was on a bike and kept appearing which made me keep my head up. She was an incredible boost. I choked up when I saw my family and ran over and gave my mom a hug. I don't think I'll ever forget that moment.
I skipped the bacon, Becky. ;) I just couldn't do it at that point. I continued to smile as much as I could. I made it up Lemondrop Hill without too much pain. Hill training pays off! My struggle were all those vicious turns at the end. You have to zig zag through town a bit to get to the finish line and it is tough. If I had been in a better mental state I would have understood where I was, but I was pretty spent at this point. Luckily I had made those pacer friends because they cheered me in at the end.
I didn't cry at the finish. I think I was too drained to do anything. I was proud, but mostly just happy to be done. My original goal was 4:09 based on some marathon calculator. After advice from many veteran marathoners, I shifted to 4:15 for good weather and 4:30 for heat. Chip says 4:04:16.
The really good feelings came the next morning. I woke up at 5 am and went out on the deck all alone. I stared at the rising sun and the water. I ran a marathon. I am a marathoner.
There's a lot more to the story, but this is all I got for now. DH, dad and sister all had good runs. I think it was a life changing experience for us all. Thank you to each of them. Thank you to the rest of my family for the support. Thank you to Spark for the inspiration, motivation and encouragement. I thank myself for being stronger than I ever thought I could be.
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