Wednesday, July 07, 2010
It's been kind of a busy and hectic summer so far. Work has got me really bogged down and social activities have got me running all over the place and not exactly taking good care of myself. Add to that a general lack of motivation, and it leads to setbacks and the near-obliteration of good habits.
The good news is, I've still managed to lose three pounds since I stopped posting regularly. The bad news is, I've only lost three pounds in the past month. I've lost eight pounds since April. Which isn't much of a setback, I know, but it's pretty well short of where I (and SP's little red "goal line") think I should be at this point. According to that line, I should be in "one-derland" already, and well, I'm not. Also, the loss of momentum is something that I'm very unhappy about. Well, maybe not "unhappy." Perhaps "disappointed" would be a better word. I haven't been running regularly since I got that sunburn back at the end of May. I started running again as soon as it didn't hurt to move my upper body, but I have yet to have a week where I actually ran three times. I've been sticking to the week three C25K plan because I think I lost my tenuous hold on the ability to run for five minutes straight. I think it's coming back, though. I ran last night and I felt like I could have run longer than three minutes. Last night was also kind of tricky, though. I ran on the track at the gym because it was 92 degrees out and I didn't want the heat to derail my run. There was some kind of youth basketball tournament going on, so people were standing around the track watching the games below. A couple of dads parked themselves at the rail, firmly in the "walk" lane and proceeded to spend about half an hour watching and yelling at their kids. This is to say nothing of the groups of unescorted kids running in and out of the track willy-nilly. Anyway, the upshot is, I noticed that I tend to run a little faster when there are people stopped on the track. Could be a mild rage thing, I don't know. All I know is my max heart rate was higher than I like and I'd rather run long than run fast. (I also now know that I can pick up the red front desk phone to have someone roust the people who don't get the difference between a track and a skybox.)
Anyway, I'm trying not to dwell on setbacks and "should be's". It looks like this week might be another example of not getting three runs in (unless I run after golf, which doesn't sound too appetizing). But starting next week, I'm sticking to my schedule. I'm also going to get back into the habit of logging my nutrition more regularly. Perhaps that way I won't devour 1000 calories worth of M&Ms. (My number one bad work/diet habit: when I get really busy and have a looming deadline, I stress eat M&Ms. I refer to them as "speed" and shovel them in two at a time. It's a bad scene.) And the biggest thing I need to get back into is reading/blogging on SP. You never really know how much you come to depend on other Sparkers and on the ability to write down your issues and triumphs until you stop doing it. I may not be able to post as much as I was doing, but I need to stay involved.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
I don't know what the heck has been up with me lately. Sure, I've been busy, but I feel like that has distracted me from my goals and I don't like it. I ran last Monday. It was a good run. I feel like I finally conquered week four on C25K. That's nearly half way through! And there was such a sense of accomplishment when I finally realized that I really could run for five minutes without stopping. I don't think people who haven't spent the better part of their lives unable to do that can really understand it. I also think that a lot of fit people who don't run don't necessarily understand how long five minutes running really is, because the bigger the person I tell, the more sincere their praise is.
Anyway, last week went like this, run Monday; dinner with my sister's family on Tuesday; work golf outing on Wednesday; golf league on Thursday; tired and not feeling great on Friday; cleaning, dinner and drinks out and roller derby (watching only- I value my knees too much to be a derby girl) on Saturday; at least four hours of scrubbing the deck on Sunday. Yesterday, I was dealing with the fallout of deck scrubbing. Not only was my back sore from hunching over scrubbing, and moving all sorts of planters and furniture, but my upper back and shoulders are on fire with my first sunburn of the season. It's pretty bad. Two days after sun exposure, I can still feel the heat of it through my shirt. It hurts to touch it and it hurts to raise my arms above my waist. Any thought of my usual upper body and core strength training seemed like torture. So I decided to give it another day of rest and dug through the linen closet for the Solarcaine.
But it's time for me to get a little honest with myself. I don't think I'm ready to move on from week four on C25K, but I'm looking at week five anyway, and frankly, what I'm looking at scares me. I know I can run for five minutes. I think I can get to running eight minutes. But the idea of running for twenty minutes freaks me out for some reason. I think it's this feeling that if I fail at this, I will fail at running, period. It seemed like such an uphill climb to get to the point I'm at now, and what I'm looking at is *four times* as long. I know several people who've advised that the first fifteen minutes of any run is the hardest and that once you get to that point, it's just easier to keep going. But "daunting" doesn't even begin to describe it.
And then there's this insidious little thought that's been creeping in. I've already decided to do the half marathon next year as a run-walk using a plan I found in John Bingham's "Marathoning for Mortals." It's a pattern of four minutes running to one minute walking, and he includes a sixteen week training plan. So I've been thinking, Why am I training to run a 5K straight through when I intend to run thirteen miles four minutes at a time? Shouldn't I start the run-walk training now? It sounds sensible. But it also feels like quitting, to me. I can't shake the feeling that I'm using it as an out, because a big part of me *really* doesn't want to run for twenty to forty minutes straight.
So this morning I used my stuck in traffic time to really think about it and came up with a compromise. I can switch to the half marathon run-walk training before finishing the C25K program. However, I can't do it until I run for twenty minutes without stopping. That way, I do the sensible thing and start training for the half as soon as I can, but I also have to face down this ridiculous fear and experience that big moment. I suspect it will take me a long time to get there, but I also know it will be worth it. And it will make the half marathon run-walk training that much easier!
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
In my last post, I mentioned the incredible experience I had with Relay for Life on Saturday and Sunday. Well, as of this morning, Relay for Life of Canton, MI has raised over $248, 062 for the American Cancer Society! I am so proud of my town!
And you know how I ran for five minutes straight on Friday and was all excited about it? I did it again on Monday. Twice!
Monday, May 17, 2010
I forgot to mention in yesterday's epic weekend blog post that I also had a fabulous brunch on Saturday that made me the envy of all I described it to. In fact, it was so good on Saturday, I made pretty much the same dish on Sunday, too! It was a toasted high fiber English muffin, topped with the last of the herbed chevre, a cup of baby spinach, a spritz of lemon juice, a couple of strips of bacon (chopped into pieces), and finally two gloriously runny poached eggs. The egg yolks mixed with the lemon juice to produce the flavor of Hollandaise without the butter. Sunday's dish was the same, except I used Jarlsberg Light because I had no more chevre.
People, believe me when I tell you this was everything brunch should be. Is there any dish more brunchy than eggs benedict? This had everything I love about eggs benedict, but the whole mess was about 370 calories and packed with protein and fiber. It was 20 grams of fat, but only 4 grams of saturated fat. It wasn't the healthiest breakfast ever, but it wasn't really unhealthy either. What it was was delicious and filling and it made me feel luxuriously indulgent- just like brunch should!
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Friday was the end of a week that started out not-so-great and ended up pretty bad. I had an upset stomach on Thursday and stayed home from work. It was pouring rain throughout the night and morning, and I woke the second time to the sound of dripping water. I couldn't find any water, but I soon found damaged drywall under the skylight over my stairs. It turns out the skylight was leaking inside the walls! I called the condo management and they sent someone out to look at it. Luckily, the skylights are the association's responsibility. Later in the evening, I spotted 4-5 carpenter ants, so that's a whole new issue. Then, driving to work on Friday, some moron decided that her car needed to be in the exact spot my car was already in. This, while driving 75 MPH up an expressway! I was literally forced off the road, and only quick reflexes and a lack of panic got me through it. However, I did spend the first part of the day reacting to my near miss. Tears, shaking, anger: a great way to end the work week!
However, everything got brighter in the afternoon. First of all, I had baked 64 lemon bars for my Relay for Life team's bake sale, and my coworkers found out I had lemon bars for sale and I sold eleven bars before even dropping them off for the sale! Then I went to the gym to do a C25K run. I did my new practice of a long warm-up walk, stretch, and then do the podcast session, which also includes a warm-up. It was sunny and warm on Friday, so the indoor track was almost deserted, which was nice. I'm on week 4 and have been struggling with the five minute runs. It just seems so unattainably long and I get so out of breath. I ran the three minute segment, paused the 90 second recovery so I could take a drink, ran about half of the five minute segment, took a 20 second walking breather and then finished the five minutes running. My rationale was "I know I can run for 4 minutes and 40 seconds, so why not take the remaining 20 seconds in the middle when I need to catch my breath?" Sounds reasonable, doesn't it? Perfectly reasonable and sensible and not likely to risk success in any way.
One of the things I love about working out at my town's community center is that you see all kinds of people there and you often see people on a recurring basis. For instance, I can almost always count on seeing an 83 year old man named Earl lifting weights and putting the youngsters to shame. Or the young woman who walks on the treadmill in an abaya and hijab. But the person I see most often during my track runs is a young man who comes with his mother to practice playing basketball once the karate classes and drop-in half court basketball games are over. This young man is in a wheelchair. The track is suspended over the gym, and most nights I'm running, I see him speeding all over the court practicing lay-ups while his mother rebounds for him. I've always admired them both, but on Friday night, after my second three minute run, a new thought occurred to me.
I may be 60 pounds overweight, and I may have a bad back and bad knees and I may be be fighting decades of bad habits because no one ever taught me how to run correctly. But comparatively speaking, I got off pretty easily. My scoliosis was managed without surgery, so I'm not running with a metal rod fused to my spine. Throughout my weight gain, I have skied, walked, played softball and worked out with relatively few problems. And yet, here I am, letting myself get away with not trying harder, while there he is, spending hours taking shots at a regulation height hoop from a wheelchair. He misses more than he makes the shots, but he doesn't stop; he doesn't slow down; he doesn't even pause.
I decided that instead of cutting the final five minute run to three minutes that I would just run as long as I could. And as long as I could had to be genuine, not just "I'm tired, I'm thirsty, and I want to stop." I made a point of not checking the time at the start so I wouldn't be tempted to stop early. I ran very slowly. I breathed as deeply and slowly as I could. I tried to keep my mouth from drying out by working up saliva. I ran and ran and Robert Ullrey told me there was a minute left to go. I can do a minute, I thought. That minute was so long. And then it was over. I did it! I ran for five minutes without stopping! I spent the next lap breathlessly saying "I did it!" over and over again to the empty track. And when I was done cooling down and stretching, I told that young man how he had inspired me. I think I worried him a little because when I ducked into the ladies room afterward, I saw that my eyes were red and tearful. It was such a triumphant end to a rotten week.
But not quite the end, really, because yesterday was the American Cancer Society Relay for Life in Canton and not only had I baked those 64 lemon bars, I had taken the 11:30 PM walking shift. I got there at 9:00 PM for the Luminaria Ceremony. I don't know if anyone's ever been to one, but they are profoundly affecting. This one featured a woman talking about the loss of her sister at the age of 26, a presentation by my church's youth group, a song, and a slideshow of lost loved ones titled "Who do you relay for?" Pictures of young children lost to malignant brain tumors, coaches lost to melanoma, and grandparents lost to lung cancer were accompanied by their family and friends telling us who they were, how long they battled cancer, and that this was who they relayed for. The ceremony ended with a silent walk around the trail while a bagpipe rendition of "Amazing Grace" played over the loudspeakers. Our Relay for Life trail circles a .44 mile path around a pond- the very same path where I took my first outdoor run a couple of weeks ago- and that path was circled with luminarias honoring survivors and lost loved ones. It's a humbling thing to see.
I did three laps of the path during my half hour shift, accumulating popcorn, light up necklaces and t-shirts as I walked. At the end, I found that the early morning shifts had some holes, so I volunteered to come back at 6:30 this morning to fill in. I slept from 1:00 to 6:00, brushed my teeth and hair, put on my glasses, threw on some warm clothes ate a banana, and reported to my team's tent. I walked two laps, slowed down somewhat by my newly acquired coffee and muffin (thank you, Team Tim Horton's!), returned to the tent and asked if anyone was scheduled for the 7:00 slot because I could go another half an hour. This time, I did three laps. At one point, my iPod shuffled to Lily Allen's cover of "Mister Blue Sky" and as I walked around the pond in the early morning chill, with the sun rising right in front of me and the clear and cloudless sky above, I realized that it truly is "a beautiful new day" in every possible way.
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