Saturday, February 19, 2011
Well, here we are at the start of another 5% challenge. I am committed to exercise a minimum of 300 minutes per week, track my food and stay within my range, and participate in all the challenges as best as I can. I will need to lose 9 pounds in order to lose 5%--that's a somewhat tall order the way my body is losing right now, but I'm going to work towards it. I'm starting out at 181.6 pounds; 9 pounds would put me at 172.6.
My expectations for this challenge are that I will continue to lose weight, build muscle, learn some things, and have fun along with way with my team mates. I love getting to know everyone and cheering others on; it's motivating to see our team 'land' in one of the top spots, but it's even more exciting to see people begin to believe in themselves and achieve their goals.
My goals are simple: participate fully in the challenge by posting my 'score' daily, hit my fitness minutes goals consistently, continue losing weight, and continue my half marathon training. As long as the numbers on the scale continue to trend downward, I'll be happy, but I'd like to make that 5% number, and if I could lose a little more (12 pounds), I would be ecstatic--that's the magic number when I will finally move out of the 'obese' range into just plain 'overweight.' I don't put huge stock in the BMI charts, but getting down to under 170 is my next big goal.
The reason for changing my life? To be healthy, more energetic, and enjoy life more. I've made a lot of progress already and have a pretty healthy lifestyle now, but I do not want to stop short of reaching my goals and making this lifestyle a permanent one.
Let's go, Cats!
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Well, obviously I'm a little behind on doing my assignments in preparation for the Cats Winter-1 5% Challenge--oops!
So here we go, a quick reponse to assignments #3, 4, and 5!
Assignment #3: List all the reasons you want to lose weight. What do you want to change? How do you want to look? How do you want to feel? What things will you be able to do in the future with a slimmer healthier body? And list all the OTHER things that you want to change!
I want to lose weight to be healthier, have more energy, and live longer, to name a few. I've made great progress already, but I'm not where I know I need to be, nor where I want to be. I'm working on changing how I respond to stress, my relationship with food and activity, and my whole lifestyle to be that of a strong, healthy, fit woman. I have ditched the diet thinking for good. I want to be able to run a mile in under 10 minutes; complete a half marathon, maybe even a marathon; tackle a triathlon; try activities that seemed completely unthinkable for me like skiing, kayaking, backpacking. I'm less concerned with how I'll look (though I'm pretty pleased at the improvement I've seen already) and more with how I will feel--strong, fit, healthy, energetic. Like the title on my SparkPage, I truly believe that life is an adventure to be lived passionately. The longer I travel this journey, the more deeply I believe that.
Assignment #4: Get to know some of your teammates . . . I've been doing this without realizing it was an assignment, but I'll do my best to get around to more of the new people to the team in the next couple of days. Cats are the BEST and are going to rock this challenge!
Assignment #5: Trigger foods and situations. This one is a little harder for me to put my finger on, honestly. I've been working on this healthy lifestyle for just over a year now, and I can probably count on one hand the number of times that a food or a situation has been a serious trigger for me. I used to crave chocolate all the time, but now a small piece or two satisfies 99% of the time. If I have to pick the foods that could be triggers for me, it would be sweets (doesn't a little something sweet make everyone want a little more?) and salty things (if a couple of crackers are good, a couple handfuls are better, am I right?).
As far as trigger situations are concerned, not too many of those any more, either. Probably the worst is when we are going out to eat, either at a restaurant that doesn't publish nutritional information (BOO on those!) or at a friend's house. In those cases, I usually try to err on the side of caution and overestimate how many calories are in things. Those are rare occasions, though, so I don't sweat it too much.
Using the food tracker has been a key tool for me in keeping things to a reasonable level; I do NOT want to go over my calories, and I don't like getting so many in one setting that I don't have anything left for a snack before bed if I want one. I don't always enter my foods before eating them, but I do keep the food tracker current so I know where I am throughout the day.Having a bodybugg to tell me what I'm really burning in a day has been another big help there; I can't lie to myself that oh, I worked out hard today, I surely burned enough calories to have a little more _____. Both those tools have helped me become much more mindful about my eating; if I go over my calorie allotment for the day (yes, I do once in awhile!), it's because I've made a conscious decision based on the situation and what it is that I'm going to eat.
Okay, I think I'm caught up now with the assignments--whew! I don't like getting behind. Let's go, Cats; I'm looking forward to getting this challenge started!
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Yes, it's yet another race report!
I write most of my blogs as a way of remembering things from this journey I'm on; it helps me not forget the good things when I'm having a bad day or a rough patch. My race reports are no exception; they are a way of sort of decompressing from the excitement (or disappointment) from the day and give me a log to recall what did or didn't go well.
Today was a fun race, the You Knock My Socks Off 4-Miler race in honor of Valentine's Day. You had the option of running solo or as part of a team; hubby and I of course ran as a team.
Weather forecasts all week called for showers this morning, but last night looking at the hourly forecast for the area, I saw that there might be a window of dry weather during some or all of the race. Rain isn't a big deal, but if I have a choice, I'll pick dry weather over wet, even though we have good rain jackets and hats.
We have run in the area where the race was a couple of times now for races. It's about a 45-minute drive from our house to Gig Harbor, where the race was held, so we decided to do a Starbucks run on the way. We got up bright and early and hit Starbucks for an 8-grain roll, cream cheese, and skinny latte, all dressed in our race gear. The gal who waited on us asked where we were running as she runs, too, and wished us well, which was a nice way to start the day.
After a little wandering and a quick online consultation to verify the address, we found the start of the race. Got checked in, made the obligatory potty stop, and got out to line up for the start just in time. There was a little mist when we first arrived, but by the time the race started, it had stopped--YES! No need for a hat, just the jacket as a windbreaker.
The race was on the same trail we had raced on before, but it was on a new section, so we had no idea what it would be like. We quickly found out: it is STEEP! This was a four mile race, two miles out and back; on the way out, we were heading down a steep hill, and all I could think was, we have to do this going UP on the way back. Not only was there a steep hill going down initially, then there was another steep hill going UP near the turnaround point. Hubby and I both decided up front that we were not going to kill ourselves trying to run the entire distance; we ran the bulk of it, but we walked periodically because of the hills.
Seriously, these were the steepest hills we've ever tackled; the sign I saw on the way back up said it's an 8% grade, and my Garmin showed an elevation gain/loss of 761 feet for the course. Great place to go practice running hills, but it was tough for a race.
Overall we were pretty happy with how we did: total time of 55:54, average pace of 13:53 minute mile by my Garmin, though I started mine a few seconds before crossing the start line. Fast? Not by any means, but we were not completely spent when we were done; by walking on some of the steepest portions, we could easily have gone another mile or two or more. For the record, our splits were as follows: 12:46, 13:42, 14:22, and 14:50--obviously slowing down by the end, especially with the hills. We did manage a it of a sprint at the end to cross the finish line, though, so we ended running.
We were reflecting on how good we felt as we headed home; when we ran an 8K race in the same general area last October, we did not run as much of the race as with this one, nor was it on as steep a part of the trail, and we were wiped out at the end. Hubby and I both felt great at the finish, and we finished right about the middle of the pack, nowhere near either the first or last finishers. That was encouraging since we were almost last in the 8K we did there in October
So there we go--another race in the books. This was fun to do as a team; we stayed together the whole way and crossed the finish line together. I think this might become an annual tradition for us!
Wednesday, February 09, 2011
I reached a couple of significant milestones (to me) this past week. When the scale said 182.0, I had to get off and on a couple of times to be sure; that means I have now lost 70 pounds. Yep, that's right, S-E-V-E-N-T-Y pounds. I have been slowly wrapping my brain around that and figuring out that I'm so big any more. To put that in perspective, 70 pounds is over half of what our Alaskan Malamute weighs:
It's also equal to about 8 times what our cat weighs:
And 14 times the wonderful picture of five pounds of fat:
Yeah, it's a wee bit of weight; I have more to lose, but I'm thrilled to have reached this point. It's a milestone in my journey that I want to savor and remember.
Another significant milestone for me was in running. This weekend hubby and I were scheduled to do a 'long' run of 4 miles. It was a super packed weekend, but we had a window of opportunity to do it Saturday afternoon, so we had to decide, outdoors or at the gym. It had been threatening to rain all morning; my initial reaction was to go to the gym as I've had a scratchy throat and didn't want to make it worse by getting halfway out and have it start raining on us. The allure of running with my Garmin outside again, though, was too much--it was dry, the temperature was cool but not cold, and we have rain jackets that work perfectly well. Okay, run outside on the trail; we dressed accordingly.
We drove alongside the trail to measure how far it would be to do an out-and-back run of 4 miles and 4.5 miles plus the usual warmup walk distance. I wanted to do at least 4.5 miles; okay, really, I wanted to do 5 miles, but I was trying to be realistic and conservative in my plans, plus I wasn't feeling great so I didn't know if I'd be up to that long a run. I figured if I had to walk the bulk of it, that's what I'd do, but we needed to get out and get some miles in.
We walked for a few minutes to warm up, then started running. I love love love my Garmin for the audible alerts and other feedback it provides; even if hubby runs ahead, I'm not tempted to rush to keep up with him because I know what a reasonable pace is for me. For some reason the first half mile or so is usually a little hard for me, but I have learned to press through and keep going until it gets easier.
There is an almost constant internal dialogue going on as I run; when I start thinking about slowing to a walk, I take inventory on whether it's a physical need or a mental thing (breathing? fine; legs? fine; everything else? fine; keep running!). I also bargain with myself at times (okay, walk when we get to that tree, to that curve in the trail, at X minutes, at X miles) and then when I get to that point strike a new bargain with myself. I'll also often do a kind of a running mantra to help me--my current one is 'strong, smooth, easy,' over and over again. I read about that a couple of different places, and the first time I tried it on the treadmill, I watched my heart rate slow down even though my pace stayed the same. 'Strong, smooth, easy' has a nice cadence to it, and it reminds me to run strong, keep my stride smooth and easy, and relax.
Hubby was well ahead of me, so he got to the turnaround point if we were doing 4 miles and motioned that he was going to keep going; fine, be that way! I followed him; as he passed me on his way back, I jokingly told him he was brutal but kept running to where he had turned around and made my U-turn. I frequently considered walking, but I kept making those bargains with myself and continued to run. I could see hubby ahead walking and thought I might catch up to him; no dice, as I got closer, he started running again.
He stopped running entirely at around 4.5 miles, but as I got to that point, I realized that I still had something left in the tank and thought, what the heck, keep running. I kept going all the way to 5 miles before I finally stopped the Garmin and slowed to a walk.
I was ecstatic. I ran FIVE MILES, no walking, with only one stop for a few seconds at a stoplight. Oh, and my time? Five miles in one hour 7 minutes, average pace of just over 13 minute mile. Almost every time I go out for a run, I think back to the early days of the Couch to 5K plan when I thought I'd never be able to run for 5 minutes at a time; now I'm running an hour. Crazy.
I think I finally believe that 1) I really am a runner and 2) I may not be entirely out of my mind to think that I can run half marathons by June.
Lest you think it has been all sweetness and light with no problems along the way, that is far from the truth. It took me probably three times as long as most people to make it through the Couch to 5K plan; I took a long, long time to build up to running 30 minutes, and I still can't run a 5K in that time--but I can run a 5K and more now. There are plenty of days where I struggle to stay within a reasonable calorie range and eat healthy. It's not as often, and it's not as hard now, but it still happens There are lots of mornings that I don't feel like getting up early to work out, too. However, I have learned to be, as GRACIE4ONE put it so well in her blog www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
omments , a grown up about these things. I choose to eat healthy and exercise not because I necessarily want to or feel like it but because I need to; the feelings usually come along after the fact if they weren't there to begin with.
Changing my mindset from that of a child (everything should taste like a hot fudge sundae) to that of a grown up (my body needs vegetables and fruits and whole grains, not just sugar) has been the #1 most important thing I have learned to do on this journey. That is the biggest milestone of all as far as I'm concerned; it's what gives me confidence that I can keep going to lose the rest of the weight and then to keep it off for good.
Well, my friends, f you have stayed with me to the end of this blog, you deserve a medal for endurance, LOL! Thanks for all your encouragement, support, and motivation. You help me more than you know!
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