Friday, June 26, 2009
Yesterday I ran a road race for the very first time. It was the Corporate Challenge in Boston, see: www.mapmyrun.com/run/united-s
tates/ma/boston/887865102 for a good look at the route.
This is not something that I ever thought I would do. Not in a trillion years. Not in ten trillion. Running hurt. Running was boring. Running was tiring. Running was mindless. And, truth be told, I didn't run the course that much, only about 10 - 15 minutes out of 1 hour, 4 minutes and 4 seconds.
But I still did it.
Now, I am tired today. And my pains are in some expected places (hello, ankles, calves and hips) and unexpected ones (hello, back, huh?). And no pain in an area where I truly feared it would be: my shins. See, way back, a year and a half ago, I'd walk for maybe 5 minutes and I'd get shin splints.
They are suddenly, miraculously, cured.
Heck, at this point my shins are pretty much the only things staying together.
My husband asked me this morning, "So, what doesn't hurt?"
They do not hurt.
Hence I am typing to all of you, to tell you about this. And it's hysterical because I'm almost as excited as I was about the TV thing (true story: a remote coworker of mine called me up yesterday for work purposes but we got to a lull so she asked me, "Been on any talk shows lately?" Er, not recently, you silly gal).
There were 15 people on our office team. And I undoubtedly came in last of all of us, although I was far from last in the overall race.
I had my husband's iPod knockoff with me so I was listening to music. One of the first songs I heard was Bob Seger's "Rock and Roll Never Forgets". Every time I heard, "... and now Sweet Sixteen has turned thirty-one...", I'd sprint. Except I saw 41 five years ago, almost six. Eh, it's the thought that counts.
Farther along, they played a block of David Bowie. This included "Golden Years". And I decided to jog for all of it. I just looked it up; it's about 3 1/2 minutes long. If it was "Space Oddity", I'd be in more calf pain -- that one's over 5 minutes long.
I accepted water from a little girl who was volunteering with her family, then promptly poured it over my hands and face (I had a water bottle of tea with me; I was anything but dehydrated). It's fun to take the water; makes you feel like the real thing, like you're in the Olympics. Farther along, a bunch of prep schoolboys were handing out water. They told every woman who ran by that she was beautiful. That made me smile, even though I could practically be their granny at this point in my life.
The far turn was back around The Public Garden and there were people out walking their dogs (the race started at 7:15 PM, so by this time it was after 8 PM). I gave a fast pat to a lovely Dalmatian and then it was time to focus on finishing.
I came around the turn and there was the end, with two electronic clocks hung on an overpass. Even with my glasses on, it was hard for me to tell how much time had elapsed although I estimated around an hour. When I got closer, I saw it was one hour and three minutes and change. I sprinted, tried to finish before it hit one hour and four minutes but missed that very slightly.
Raised my arms over my head in a V for victory at the one hour, four minutes, four seconds mark. When I had signed up, I had honestly thought the whole thing would take me an hour and a half to two hours.
And what happened to me yesterday is something extraordinary.
Running is not mindless. It is not boring.
It teaches you many, many interesting things, and I was finally receptive to them and I have finally learned them.
I am stronger than I thought I was.
I can be stronger still.
I haven't broken the light-speed barrier yet, but so long as I'm working on that, it's all good.
I have never had a runner's high and it's possible I never will, but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy the experience.
A little pain stinks, but the more you do of this running business, the less pain you'll have.
The pain fades, the memory does not.
My new lucky number is the one I wore: 6827. It is a prime number.
If you keep tea, tunes, a handkerchief and a pedometer with you, you're golden.
Taking a second to pet a cute dog never hurts.
The water station volunteers are exceptional people.
You can take a great tour of the city bouncing along at 3.5 MPH.
You get a free tee shirt (I ended up with two; one for the race and one designed by my company).
No matter how fast you went, or whether you ever do it again, you can forever say you are a runner.
I look kinda cute in shorts.
And I'm already thinking of when I'm gonna do this again.
C'mon and join me.
Monday, June 22, 2009
Being semi-off a plateau, but not thrilled about that, and being less than happy when Summer begins, are two things that really should cause the universe to scream out and say, "Why, you ungrateful wretch!"
Well, yah. Duh.
I had over a month of plateauing, so three weeks ago I decided to change things up. The first week, I lost. Second week, I regained almost 2/3 of that (let's blame TOM). This week, I lost more, gained the ground from the first week and surpassed it. Lowest numbers yet!
Yet I was and am less than happy. Huh?
And then, well, today, I was getting dressed for work, and I figured, what the hell, and pulled on a pair of size 10 pants. Now, they stretch (thank you, Lee Jean/Pant/whatever company). And I have a mini-muffin top going on. But they fit, and I can tuck my shirt and not feel like I look like golfer John Daly pre-stomach stapling surgery (Google his pics, if you dare. Don't say you haven't been warned).
And I was okay with that, certainly not unhappy, but not turning cartwheels. Plus I got some lovely comments, here and on my site and on Facebook, about new pics, new milestones hit, etc.
I should feel fantastic.
Yet I am, well, I'm okay.
I guess some of it is just from it being still a tough slog. Or from it being, well, months away even if my current weight loss rate remains relatively constant. Or from having sent a note to a Plastic Surgeon, and wondering how all of that is going to go down. There is a finish line out there, and I can kinda, sorta see it. And it excites me and frightens me, all at the same time.
Everyone tells me I should feel amazing. And I do feel better. But it's not always perfection. There are plenty of down days. So I've started taking St. John's Wort again, something I thought I'd never do in the Summer as I love the Summer. But it's been cold as hell for weeks. I doesn't feel like Summer. It feels like gnarly, chilly, wet, stinky late Autumn. You know, when the trees are bare and the sky is the color of a battleship and you start seeing snow shovels and rock salt for sale? Yeah. It's felt like that. And I've gotten all of the attendent internal feelings that go along with it.
Not so easy to admit to myself that I am so affected, but I am. They call it Seasonal Affective Disorder, and it makes sense in January. But in June it just seems like so much ingratitude. Like my body and my mind don't know what the heck is happening but are dragging the me part along for the ride. And I don't want to go, but I'm strapped in anyway.
So forgive me if I am not turning cartwheels, and I seem ungrateful and strange, and aloof and remote, and even with an optimistic song -- for I do feel that as well -- some of it is also a slight bit of, well, believe it or not, sorrow. I have said before that I don't know who I am any more. And sometimes I don't, and that is hard to take. I identified in this manner, as an oh so big person, for so very, very long. It is hard to break out of that.
************ Quick Interlude To Talk About Numbers And Do The Month In Review Thing
151.4 lbs. off since January of 2008. Down from size 28 to size 10, more or less officially.
Measurements are decent, at or close to most personal best levels. Energy levels are good. Getting hit on, on occasion, which amuses me. Able to handle the hunger. Able to change things up enough to hack away at a plateau, even if the hacking is imperfect. Size 10 pants, size 7 panties, mediums all over the place. All systems more or less a go. ************
And now here's where I really show how strong my geek hand is:
In the book, _2001_ (not the movie!), Sir Arthur C. Clarke talks about the ape-men and the effect that the monolith is having on them. And he wrote the most extraordinary thing. He wrote, "The very atoms of his simple brain were being changed." And that's what is happening to me. On an atomic level, hell, let's go for broke, on the subatomic, quark and meson level, I am going through alterations. The electrons are being made to bang a uey and my consciousness is kinda losing its way a little. No wonder I've got identity issues; the whole shooting match is being changed up. Over, under, sideways, down.
I do hope that's coherent and I don't sound any wackier than, well, than usual.
I appreciate your kindnesses more than you may know. And I do feel good, mostly. But there's still that pain that comes from flipping around the neurons. All I can tell you is that I am sure that I do believe. Not just in plateau-busting and in Spark and in the powers of exercise and diet and positive thinking. But in that person who looks back at me when I glance in a mirror.
Whoever the hell that is.
Monday, June 15, 2009
It's been a second week since I started my plateau-bustin' ways, and this week was not the happy slam dunk that the last one was.
I regained about 2/3 of what I lost the previous week, despite doing what I was supposed to, but the reality is that a few things are happening. As in TOM (ugh), both later meals were shifted way too late yesterday, plus I didn't have a rest day (it was supposed to be yesterday, but instead we went to the Arboretum with friends and walked for 2 1/2 hours. It was fun).
Hence, well, the scale didn't work out for me this week. That happens.
Measurements are okay except for my big ole butt.
wait for it ...
it hit a new personal best, for the first time in almost 2 months ...
by 3/4 of an inch.
It is now 44 1/2". When you consider that, when I started out, it was 64", that's pretty amazing. Yeah, I've lost almost 20" of keister real estate.
I'm feeling okay, considering that I gained plus I've had serious and nasty PMS. So I'll be fine, I know I will. This is why I wanted to do the plateau-busting experiment for a little over a month. Because one week definitely does not tell the tale.
It's also funny. Every time I feel ready to feel sorry for myself, or rail against the weight loss gods for giving me the fuzzy end of the lollipop (extra points for whoever gets that reference), something happens and I snap out of it. Today there was this woman at work, she came up to me at the break room and asked me if I'd lost a lot of weight. And so, sure, I told her all of that and introduced myself and she said, "I'm glad to know your name, I just knew you as The Weight Loss Girl."
A pretty funky thing to be, yes?
Oh yeah, the song!
It's been cold here. Damp, raw, freezing, icky. And that is SO not helping things. Yanno what happens when you lose a skeery amount of weight? Your internal thermostat goes a lil caca.
As in, I'm cold all the time. Rain or shine, sun or snow, I am cold. 70 degrees and sunny? I'm wearing a sweatshirt and shivering. 75? I might unzip the sweatshirt. 80? Dunno if we've had 80 yet this year so I can't comment. Perhaps I'll show a daring bit of elbow.
I am cold. Cold, freezing, brr, dunk me in soup and roast me over a barbecue, please, I am chilly!
So over the weekend we shot hoops again, and this time my husband played defense. And a few times, even with his hand in my face, I made the shot! To which he said, "You're got ice water in your veins."
That explains a lot.
Monday, June 08, 2009
This song has the f-bomb in it, at around the 2 minute mark. Consider yourself duly warned, and take precautions if such things matter to you.
I chose this song because, well, I look at myself in the mirror these days and I wonder who the heck that woman is. It is so strange. I am used to seeing, well, a round face, for one thing. And less wrinkles. For that is another thing that has happened. There's a dirty little secret of weight loss. There's less filler, so you can end up appearing older. At least once you've lost a really serious amount of weight, and you're living at an age similar to mine (I happen to be 46). Hence my face, just under the eyes and in particular at the parentheses marks to either side of my mouth needs something.
Who knew Home Depot sold beauty products?
But in other, far more serious news, I seem to be finally, and with a vengeance (!) kicking this plateau's patootie. I will continue what I am doing for the entire month as I had planned and see what the final results are, but so far it appears to be very promising.
Here's what I'm doing:
* no alli
* 2 extra glasses of water/day
* steps goal (via pedometer) of 60,000/week (this past week I logged over 70,000)
* because of no alli, the ability to go to slightly naughtier restaurants and relax a bit re fat
* BUT - restaurant only once/week (as before), and tracked, and an effort to stay within calorie and nutriment ranges, as always
* full food tracking, as always
* regular weekday meals
* 10 more lbs of weights lifted at home
* but only do weights at home 4 days/week
* extra abs work (just an extra 25 situps, with no weights added) 5 days/week (I had been doing them for 3 days/week before)
* walk to a farther away bus stop in the mornings that I am going to the gym (and no home weights on those 3 days/week)
* walk up monster hill every night for commute home
* for non-gym days, walk from Newton Corner, fast (this is an extra 10 minutes of walking and twice my normal speed -- I ended up doing this 3 days instead of the planned 2 because of the bus schedule)
Here are the results:
Down 3 lbs., more than I'd lost for the previous 6 weeks COMBINED. Down a total of 150 lbs.!!!
New personal best measurements for band, hip and thigh, tied for previously attained personal best measurements for bicep and keister, and only 1/4" above the personal best for belly.
Hmm. This plateau-kickin' has some meaning. Stay tuned.
Monday, June 01, 2009
To add to the current issues in my life, my weight loss has decided to slow to a glacial pace. This not only stinks, it cries out for some fairly drastic measures. After all, I am nowhere near maintenance. A good 45 or so lbs. need to be lost before I even hit the top end of healthy BMI. I feel like yelling at my body, "We're not through yet!"
My body, of course, is not listening.
What do I mean by a glacial pace? Wellll, when I started off, and for about 11 months or so, I lost a good 10 lbs., on average, per month. Then that slowed to about 7 - 8 apiece for the following 4 months, with a bit of a surge in April when I had my appearance and its attendant insanity (I lost 7 lbs. in one week, a feat I do not imagine I will ever duplicate).
Now, though, it's a whole 'nother story. On April 20th, I weighed 200.8 lbs. Today, June 1st, I weigh 199.0, same as last week. That may not sound so bad but it's been up and down, and the pièce de resistance was 199.2, which is what I was from May 4th - 18th, and then just .2 less on May 25th and today. It's been sticking around for weeks. Here it is, 6 weeks after April 20th, and here I am, just .6 off that day's weight.
Hence alli may have (hopefully just temporarily) stopped working for me. According to the alli site, you are encouraged to only use it for 6 months as that's when you lose the most weight, but the reality is that it can work for up to 2 years. I've been using it for 1 year and 4 months plus. Hence I am close to the end of my useful time with it but not quite there, assuming all of the planets align. I realize that the 2 year dealio is an outside estimate.
But I've got to do something just the same. This is a lovely weight, and I am a size 14 when I used to be a 28 and all of that happy stuff, but the bottom line is, this is not the finish line by any means. Vanity aside, I'm still clinically obese. I refuse to take this lying down and, in fact, that's a part of the changes that need to be made.
A few ideas, mainly culled from the alli site:
1) More, and more intense, cardio.
2) Less weight training, allowing more recovery time, but more intense when I do it.
3) More water.
4) Tip the balance more toward protein than carbs, but keep the upper limits and keep the totals and the daily calorie total.
5) Go off alli for a month and see how it goes.
Putting it into practice involves the following:
1) Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, leave the house 15 minutes earlier and walk to an earlier bus stop, rather than weight train at home. Go to the gym on those days (I already do) and try for more intense cardio, e. g. faster, steeper, more resistance. Continue using resistance bands every day.
2) Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, regular lifting but w/35 lbs of weights instead of the 25 I've been using. Continue lifting as per usual at the gym, e. g. using the same machines and the same free weights there. May or may not rethink the second part of this, as that still gives me lifting every day, I just lose the at-home stuff.
3) Try for 9 - 10 glasses/day of water. This means 4.5 - 5 of the big bottles/cups versus 4.
4) Because my main protein sources are chicken, fish, beans and tofu, I'm looking at alternatives. I may end up with a third serving of dairy every day, and that will most likely come in the form of fat free yogurt as milk would make me live in the bathroom even more than I already do. Calcium has been a nutrient I've had some trouble getting enough of, so this is helpful. I also eat plenty of the protein sources I mentioned above, but I clearly need to do more. #5 will actually help with that, as I can go a little over on fat if I have to (as we all know, protein is often wedded to some fat).
5) I stopped taking alli on Sunday 5/31 and will stay off it until Sunday 7/5, AKA 5 weeks. I will continue to watch the fat and calorie content, and track. We may go to some naughtier restaurants during the time off. Of course that's not a great thing to do but my husband has been incredibly patient during this whole thing so some of that is for him. Plus I have noticed that sometimes I need to be a bit naughty to get things to work for me. Protein, again, will be pushed. E. g. if we go to Vinny Testa's (Italian, with huge portions), my strategy is to have something like chicken marsala rather than pasta, light on the sauce, plus a salad, light on the cheese, walnuts and dressing, and of course watch the portions. I don't intend to go to restaurants any more than we have been, just to a different one or ones, to see how it goes. That will be an interesting balancing act. Certainly it will be a test to be sure that I don't tank everything by doing this, plus it's good practice for maintenance, to make sure that such things don't make the whole process go kerflooey. We'll see what happens.
In the meantime, I also don't honestly know what I will do at the end of the 5 weeks, what I will use as a measure of success or failure. The scale, to be sure, and the tape measure, absolutely, but what else? I will not completely give up on alli as I have a good 4 months' worth of it in my house and do not wish to give it away (I'll give away clothes, but giving away drug items seems wrong, not to mention potentially illegal). Hence it doesn't truly matter to me what happens by July 5th, as I will return to taking alli, although that will probably determine whether I go on it again for a month and then off again, or do something else. But that is all in the future and need not be worried about just yet.
I love ruts and dislike change, particularly complicated changes, and this one's a doozy, but I see that I am going to have to move the slider bars on cardio versus weight training and on protein versus carbs, and this is a way of doing just that.
On July 5th, I will hopefully be at a lower initial weight than I am today, or at least have better measurements. A new adventure in the making.
We shall see.
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