JENJESS48   52,169
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Ran My First 5K

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Last Saturday I finished the last training run of SparkPeople's 5K Your Way run/walk program. And it was the toughest run I've had yet. I didn't have as much caffeine as usual and I was visiting my in-laws so I had my back up shoes and ran on a different treadmill. Ugh, what a horrible combination. The belt wasn't as padded as the one I'm used to and my shoes just sucked. My recalcitrant iPod did not help at all: it kept playing swing from my gym mix when what I really needed was classic rock. Hitting the forward button 1,000 times didn't seem to force home the point. [sigh] My legs and feet hurt during and after the run, and my muscles refused to loosen up regardless of how much I stretched.

Monday was my next scheduled run and I was really nervous. Not only because Saturday's run was so bad but because I wasn't convinced that SP's plan would get me to the point where I can run 3.1 miles without stopping. In fact, I was quite positive that it wouldn't: the last training run was 1 minute walking, 4 minutes running and I simply didn't believe that I could go from that to 45+ minutes straight running.

All day Monday I tried to calm my nerves by telling myself that I am only competing against myself and that no matter what I do it will be a personal record. I'll just start running and see how it goes. The SP plan called for running for 30 minutes straight, which I knew wouldn't be enough to cover the distance, but I decided to stop worrying and start running. Then see what happens.

Simple plans like this one always work best for me, lol. When my workout time rolled around I was feeling good. I had my usual shoes and was at my usual gym. All positive things. My iPod was also very cooperative, which was enormously helpful.

As my warm-up wrapped up, I started to get nervous again. I went back to my mantra: "I'm only competing against myself. And it will be a personal record no matter what I do." I started to run and tried not to stare at the time display. I disciplined myself to check only after each song. My first surge of pride was at the 10-minute mark; going from 4 minutes to 10 minutes straight is a big jump. I told myself to keep going, if at all possible, until 30 minutes. The training plan called for 30 minutes, so running for that long completes the training and earns my reward; I'd already decided on a big reward for finishing the training - a new iPod Nano Touch. I kept running, inching closer and closer to 30 minutes.

But then something magical happened at 30 minutes: I stopped running for time and started running for distance. My calves twinged but only a bit and I wasn't tired yet. The closer I got to 3.1 miles the more I wanted it. I wanted to earn the Nano for doing the whole enchilada, not just finishing the training. And I wanted to run a 5K for the same of doing it; it has been The Big Fitness Goal since I started on this journey a year and a half ago. I wanted the pride of accomplishment for such a major goal. So I kept running.

Great tunes, pride, and the prospect of a huge reward are fantastic but can only keep me going for so long. I silently cheered myself along. But what really kept me going was imaging you, my SparkFriends, cheering me along, too. Every time I was tempted to slow to a walk, I asked myself what my runner friends, LOTUSFLOWER, KITHKINKAID, and YOOVIE would do. The answer was always "keep going!" And I imagined the rest of you as a cheering section at a race. (Yes, I have a very fertile imagination, lol.) That fueled me to 3.1 miles, 48 minutes, when I slowed down and started to cool down.

emoticon I would never have attempted to run a 5K, let alone finish one, without SparkPeople. The tools to drop my BMI and get fit are incredible. The running program really works. But it's my SparkFriends that have been the biggest help and inspiration. Thanks, guys!

Because I am a plotter and a planner I am always thinking about what comes next. I've been mulling this over since Monday, and the conclusion that I've drawn is that I'm just going to keep running. I'll do 30 minutes on the treadmill fairly regularly and try to increase my speed, which is admittedly very slow. And I might attempt another 5K in a few weeks. But right now I want to keep my runs fairly unstructured and just revel in the joy of being able to run at all.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ON2VICTORY 8/30/2011 5:01PM

    Hey, I was there too!!! i loved the part about running for distance and not for time. that is the way to get started. way to push through it and make it happen.

Enjoy a well deserved woo hoo!

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DITZYCHICK 8/26/2011 12:40PM

    Oh my goodness...this is so fantastic!!! Make sure you take a moment to really reflect on how far you've come girl. I'm really proud of you!!!

I hope you can calm your nerves so that you can really enjoy this. It doesn't necessarily matter how fast your going...just that you are going. The speed will improve with your stamina! There's no stopping you!!!

YOU are a RUNNER!!!

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SAMMYSWEETPEA 8/25/2011 11:24PM

    Did you see me in the front row of the crowd? I'm SO proud of you for finishing the training and the race!

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JMUCKINHOUPT 8/25/2011 8:53PM

    That is great! I am really proud of you. You have to feel AWESOME!!! emoticon

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PARAMAGIC66 8/25/2011 8:32PM

    I am SO PROUD OF YOU!!!!! What a huge accomplishment. Hope you feel great about yourself. You really should. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KATHIERAE 8/25/2011 12:46PM

    emoticon on reaching "The Big Fitness Goal" emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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RAINBOWCHARMER 8/25/2011 12:35PM

    Awesome job!!! I haven't quite gotten to the 3.1 mile mark yet, though I am past the 30 minute point. :) I'm guessing my 3.1 miles will take around 36 minutes or so, but we'll see when I get that far. Great job!! I'll be running with you soon! :)

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KT-NICHOLS-13 8/25/2011 12:22PM

    Great job! The feeling of finishing that first 5K is just amazing. Congrats on all the hard work that paid off!

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LOTUSFLOWER 8/25/2011 11:07AM

    YOU ARE emoticon!!!! I am SO very proud of you for finishing a 5k and for following that inner voice that you could DO IT!!!!!!!!!

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What Healthy Means to Me (FFUSW Challenge)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

For me being healthy is quite simple: respecting my body so that it gets through the day without difficulty and can handle all the fun stuff I want to do, like hiking, biking, dancing, rafting, climbing, etc. To keep my body adventure ready, I drink 8+ glasses of water a day, sleep for 8 hours a night, exercise regularly (3 cardio and 2 ST sessions a week), and eat a healthy diet with at least 5 freggies a day.

Here's the catch: actually doing this is a lot harder than it seems like it should be. We all know how hectic life gets and how easy it is for the best-laid plans to come off the rails. So another huge component of living a healthy life is not obsessing or being a perfectionist. I'm a recovering anorexic, so this is TOUGH for me. My mantra is something a college Spanish conversation professor always said: "close enough is good enough." Lately I've been forgetting that and royally beating myself up. I need to warrior up and realize that I am not the enemy. Neither is food. Or the scale. Okay, maybe the scale is, lol. There really isn't an enemy here. It's just me, trying to make every day a good one. Good choices, good mental space. Some days will be great, others are just going to have to be good enough.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JMUCKINHOUPT 8/23/2011 6:32AM

    Your words are awesome. I liked the food is not the enemy. I have that posted on my computer stand. You just wouldn't think having a healthy lifestyle would be so hard, but it can be. Not every day, not every minute, but the hard times come sneaking in-between the healthy times. We all just keep going 2 steps forward and one step back and forgive ourselves.

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KATHIERAE 8/19/2011 9:16AM

    "There really isn't an enemy here. It's just me, trying to make every day a good one." emoticonadvice EVER!!!!

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KT-NICHOLS-13 8/18/2011 5:31PM

    All things I need to keep in the forefront of my mind.

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CAALAN23 8/18/2011 2:13PM

    I like that your idea of healthy living is so direct and forgiving. No need to complicate things, right, LOL!

Great blog.

Thank you.

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DIXIED88 8/18/2011 11:47AM

    Prgress, not perfection! Thank you for letting us in a little. While I have not been in your same shoes, I have beat myself up for not doing exactly what I plan.

I love "keeping my body adventure ready". Couldn't have said it better myself!!

We are Fierce Warriors! We can do this! Even if we aren't perfect!

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SURLYGIRL 8/18/2011 11:39AM

    Very well said. I agree and feel very much the same way you do.

BTW - RE: your background pic - ARE YOU CRAZY? Beautiful, but that would have totally freaked me out. Haven't people died from falling from that spot?


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LOTUSFLOWER 8/18/2011 11:14AM

    I love this blog. You are so right on the perfectionism thing, I'm right there with you. I used to struggle with anorexia and bulimia....I didn't know you had, too. Thank you for sharing, and you can DO THIS! emoticon

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_ROODIE_ 8/18/2011 11:09AM

  Awesome! That's what I keep telling myself. It's not about perfection, but persistence and progression. =)

You're gonna rock your challenge!


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Loving My New Schedule

Thursday, August 11, 2011

This is week 2 of my radically earlier schedule. By "radically earlier" I mean that I now go to bed at the time I used to get home from work. Seriously. I only work 8 hours a day now, instead of 10, and my commute is dramatically better because I get out the door before traffic really starts.

Let me count the ways in which this is awesome:

emoticon I get three hours back in my day.

emoticon I have a whopping 5 hours at home before I need to go to bed.

emoticon I can cook dinner on weeknights. And prep my lunch, breakfast, and snacks the night before. The sum total is that I'm eating a bit better but doing much better at staying in my calorie range because I plan and prep better.

emoticon DH and I eat more meals at the table.

emoticon I'm better rested. (I can sneak in a nap right when I get home, if I need it.)

emoticon The house is cleaner and better organized because I can keep up with things during the week.

emoticon My cats are happier because I'm home more.

emoticon DH seems to like having me around more, too.

emoticon I'm doing a better job of getting my workouts in. If I can't get to the gym at work, I have time and daylight at home.

emoticon I have more time for fun on the weekends because I'm taking care of little things during the week.

emoticon It's easier to keep up with my SP goals across the board and I think I'm making more and faster headway than I had been.

emoticon My commitment and motivation are way up.

Yeah, total win across the board. I think this schedule change is just the boost I needed to get back on track and back in the game. Look out 160s, I'm coming for you!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CAALAN23 8/12/2011 4:13PM

    This is so wonderful! I'm so glad that sometimes Life grants us exactly what we need.

LOVE your optimism!

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DITZYCHICK 8/12/2011 12:33AM

    WOW...what a difference from your job before! You so deserve all this happiness!!!

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JMUCKINHOUPT 8/11/2011 3:48PM

    Wow! I'm glad the schedule change is so POSITIVE!! emoticon

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DANCEMANIAC 8/11/2011 1:42PM

    All those positives pump me up too, thanks for sharing, way to go. Ok I will forget about the piece of chocolate I just eat and will move on!!!

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KT-NICHOLS-13 8/11/2011 1:24PM

    Wooo HOOO! All positives here.

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MISSB8604 8/11/2011 12:47PM

    Man I am LOVING this blog!

So proud of you!



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KITHKINCAID 8/11/2011 11:40AM

    Yey! Great stuff Jen! This is all good news indeed.

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LOTUSFLOWER 8/11/2011 11:39AM

    This is awesome, Jen!!!!

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Radical Reboot: July Wrap Up and August Goals

Sunday, August 07, 2011

The first three weeks of July went great. That third week I was on vacation in the Southwest and did a great job of sticking to my plan. But when we got home the wheels came off. There's no good reason, only excuses. And as my dad, a middle school basketball coach, likes to tell his kids "excuses are like a$$holes: we all have one and they all stink."

The good news about July is that I only gained a pound and a half, which is a minor miracle considering how I ate and how rarely I worked out. So I'll take it. I did have three major non-scale victories, though: I significantly increased my cardiovascular intensity, my hamstring and back flexibility have markedly improved, and the entire office was talking about how much weight I've lost. emoticon

Once again I find myself saying that this month will be different - and this time I mean it. Yup, we've heard it many times before. So I have to prove - as much to myself as y'all - that this time I mean it. Therefore it is time for a radical reboot.

Let's start with my schedule. I started my new job last Monday and my work tour is COMPLETELY different. I used to work from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Now I'm working 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and in a different building. (This building is on a human scale, unlike the old one. I already vastly prefer it.) I still get my three hours of gym time on the clock a week and the gym is still so close to my office that there's no excuse for not going. I also like this new schedule better despite the ridiculously early hours. I get home around 3:30 or 3:45 instead of 8:30 or 9, giving me plenty of time to do stuff around the house, make dinner, and/or work out if I haven't already.

The next thing I did was revamp my back to basics bootcamp. It now includes the following:

emoticon No alcohol!

emoticon No soda!

emoticon Measure my food.

emoticon Eat 5 freggies a day.

emoticon Track my nutrition.

emoticon Meet my daily calorie goal.

emoticon Do 3 cardio sessions a week.

emoticon Do 2 ST sessions a week.

emoticon Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.

emoticon Sleep at least 8 hours a night.

emoticon Morning skincare routine. (Gotta de-gremlin a bit. I've been slacking on skin- and haircare.)

emoticon Evening skincare routine.

These are very doable goals and I've done pretty good against them, although not perfectly, this first week of August. But it's about progress, not perfection, and I've shown good progress. So I'm letting myself off the hook for the rest. Improvement is sufficient for now.

The rest of my monthly goals are staying about the same. There are only three changes from my usual:

emoticon Stick to my Back to Basics Bootcamp at least 5 days a week. (Oopsie, didn't quite make that this week. I went over my calories and/or didn't get enough freggies 3 days this week. emoticon But I can keep trying for the other weeks in August. And the effort keeps me honest.)

emoticon Finish C25K. I have two runs for week 7 and all three runs for week 8 left. 5 runs in 3 weeks is eminently doable, but it'll mean getting to the gym promptly so I can use my time on the clock to run on the treadmill; it's too hot and humid to run outside in August in DC.

emoticon Lastly, but most importantly, don't let my weekends away derail me. DH and I are going to Ohio next weekend to visit my family and then Williamsburg, Virginia, the following weekend to visit his family. I need to stick to my plan as much as possible while we're there and not let myself slide when we get home. This is going to be the hardest part all month. Please join my teeny cheerleader in urging me on and keeping me on the straight and narrow!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KITHKINCAID 8/8/2011 2:27PM

    Man I hear ya - I've had some great successes in July, but also some crazy set backs in terms of binge drinking weekends away. Have to stop that business! So much harder with the boy around now too. Yikes!

But you've got the plan lady. Way to go!

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LOTUSFLOWER 8/8/2011 10:00AM

    You can do it!!!!! Great plan Jen!!

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JMUCKINHOUPT 8/7/2011 7:16PM

    I am in the process of revamping my goals, too. I did okay during my 23 days in the southwest, but I am inhaling too many calories each day because of alcohol and sweets. I like your goals, but what are some specifics you'll be doing to keep with it? I am doing fine with cardio but not ST or calories. If you have any daily goals, or small steps that you are following, I would love for you to share. Congrats on your job change and hopefully the new hours will motivate you. Enjoy the family visits, they are priceless.

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_ROODIE_ 8/7/2011 7:01PM

  emoticon emoticon

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Southwest Vacation Photo Blog

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Two weeks ago DH and I got home from an amazing trip to the Southwest, including Las Vegas, the Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon, Sunset Crater, Montezuma's Palace, and Sedona. We've been positively swamped since we got home, so this is the first chance I've gotten to post a photoblog; I also updated my SparkPage with some of the photos we took.

We started the trip with Las Vegas; DH attended a convention for work and they put him up in the hotel where the conference was held: the Venetian. This hotel defines opulent.

The highlight of our stay was a gondola ride followed by (shockingly healthy) sorbet for me and gelato for DH.

The left case is all fruit-flavored sorbets weighing in at only 80 calories for a small. I opted for the limoncello, which was both authentic and lovely.

That night we ate at a little trattoria in the hotel, then saw Cirque du Soleil's Criss Angel Believe (which I don't recommend, btw.) But the evening redeemed itself by a walk down the strip.

We stopped by Ethel M's on the way out of town for gourmet chocolates and a stroll through their cactus garden.

Our next stop was the Hoover Dam. Both DH and I are infrastructure, history, and engineering nerds - though not in equal measures, lol - so we were blown away. Images can't do justice to the scale of the project, especially when you consider that only 7 men died building it in the 1930s - and it came in under budget and well in advance of the deadline. Made us both wish the government still functioned like that...

The next day we went to the Grand Canyon and took waaaaay too many pictures. It was hot but not obscenely so, and I was well-prepared with sunglasses, sunscreen, a hat, and UPF clothes. The park was busy but the Park Service does a great job of managing visitors so we never felt crowded or overwhelmed. We hiked along the rim for a bit, then drove to other scenic stops along park's main road.

We stopped at Sunset Crater Park on our way to Sedona, where we stayed for two nights. Sunset Crater was formed by a volcanic eruption and remains otherwordly to this day.

Sedona is justly famous for the scenery of its red rocks.

We started our time in Sedona with the swankiest brunch I have ever experienced: a five star hotel right on the banks of a creek. The food was amazing, but so was the scenery and the company.

We visited Montezuma's Castle, which are ruins of cliff dwellings that had nothing to do with the Aztecs, and bummed around town before heading to Phoenix for our flight home the next day.

The trip was fantastic. We saw so much! We did some loafing but were mostly active. I refused to log anything, figuring that doing a ton of hiking in the heat and eating mostly like this:

and rarely like this:

would be good enough. Turns out I was right: I held exactly even in weight. And my sun precautions worked perfectly: I got a bit of a tan but never burned. emoticon It really was a perfect vacation.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DITZYCHICK 8/8/2011 11:09AM

    Love the pics!!! Looks like you had a fabulous time and really took advantage of all the sights...that's the only way to do it!!! I especially enjoyed looking at the Montezuma pics...will have to visit there someday! I love Vegas...there's so much there to do and see and you don't even have to gamble or spend in order to have a great time! So happy that you were able to get away and enjoy a much needed vacation!!!

How's the transition to your new job position going?

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LOTUSFLOWER 8/1/2011 8:51AM

    Looks like an amazing trip!

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KATHIERAE 7/31/2011 5:28PM

    Thank you SO much for sharing your wonderful trip so I can live vicariously through others!! I have never been to any of those places... I am so glad you had a great time, and especially that you didn't sunburn!!! Wonderful memories for you and hubby for sure.

Not sure you ever would have gotten me out of the first hotel. Wowzers! emoticon

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KITHKINCAID 7/31/2011 1:19PM

    ooh Jen - looks awesome. i loved that trip (still have never been to Vegas, but Sedona and the Canyon are just unbelievable)! glad you guys had a great time.

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KEEN2OQE 7/30/2011 11:56PM

    Hi there, I love the Southwest. I live there. I am so glad you visited and posted all those beautiful pictures. What a fantastic vacation!

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JMUCKINHOUPT 7/30/2011 10:45PM

    Wow! What a trip. We were in the same area, sort of. I'm glad you seemed to have as much fun as we did.

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KT-NICHOLS-13 7/30/2011 8:49PM

    Great photos.
Love to hear that your sun precautions worked out!

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MICKEYMAX 7/30/2011 8:14PM

    Lovely! Great pics!

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