Sunday, June 29, 2008
Today I started Week 4 of the Couch to 5K program, after working on week 3 for two weeks to build leg endurance. I went out and ran this morning, and despite the sun beating down on my face, it sure felt GOOD! When I downloaded my new week 4 podcast this morning and looked at the schedule on CoolRunning.com, I first thought, "Oh boy, this may or may not work." The recovery periods are now much shorter, and the runs much longer. So I made up my mind to pace myself early on, and much to my surprise, at the end of my first ever five-minute straight run (yes, FIRST EVER, as in in my LIFE) I felt like I could have kept on going. Wow. I even sped up for the last minute of my second 5-minute run, and I still felt great when I got back, if very very hot and sweaty. I think Robert Ullrey (podcast man) saying at the beginning, when describing the intervals, "Don't worry...you are more than ready after last week's workout," really helped me feel a bit more ready for it. This morning I ran for a combined 16 minutes -- more than I've ever done before. I'm pretty proud of myself. :) I probably ran/walked about 1.75 miles -- not too shabby.
A year and a half ago I never could have done that. And that has made me realize something: I really need to focus on the positive and look at what I have accomplished and continue to accomplish, instead of beating myself down because I'm having trouble staying in my calorie range or don't always make the healthiest choices. Even with those minor slip ups, I am still 150% better off than I would have been had I never discovered SparkPeople and decided to make a positive change in my lifestyle.
When I first started on SP, it was all I could do to workout on the recumbent bike for 30 minutes. That was my cardio for the first few weeks of my program, until I worked up the courage to try the elliptical. In the first five minutes on the elliptical at level 1 and the lowest resistance and speed, my heart rate was maxed out (190) and I felt exhausted. I think I did it for 15 minutes before going back to the trusty bike. But I did continue to try to work with the elliptical, and today, on the same elliptical machine, I can do the random resistance intervals on level 3 without my heart rate even coming close to what it was the first time I ever tried it. (And when I do an elliptical workout on the lowest resistance, going slowly, my heart rate now barely cracks 140.) I think that speaks volumes for how my physical fitness has changed.
My weight has changed as well -- I am now minus a little over 30 pounds from where I was then, and I assume that I have much more lean muscle, since I have continued losing inches but not pounds. I went from a tight size 12 (really should have been a 14) to a size 6-8, depending on the brand. That's a pretty big change, especially for someone who never thought she'd be smaller than a size 10. I was a size 9 in middle school. I don't think I've ever really been a 6-8 since I was 12 years old (well, except for now). So that's a huge change for the positive.
But what matters more than numbers on the scale or the heart rate monitor is how I feel -- which is much, much better. I have more energy to do the things I want to do. I love going out for a nice, long walk in the park with my friends from SP or my husband and doggies. I hope that next year I will instead be enjoying nice, long runs in the park, and competing in the many local 5K races. Something I definitely never, ever would have thought I would be aspiring for. It was all I could do in middle school to walk a mile in less than 30 minutes. Now I'm trying to run 3.1 miles in less than 30 minutes. What a change in goals and life capabilities. And all because of one little Spark.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Due to my knee still being a bit sore and my heart rate staying high during the longer 3-minute runs, I decided to repeat week 3 of my C25K program instead of moving on to week 4 this week. I am taking my time with this, slow and steady, because I want it to really work and be worth something to me. And I'm willing for it to take a few weeks longer to accomplish that. Last night I went out for a run and felt invigorated when I got back. My knee was very sore when I left, but it was only slightly sore when I came back. Today it seems fine. I guess running helps loosen up the stiffness because it seems to make it hurt less.
I will likely be working more hours over the next week and a half as the 4th of July approaches and people decide to come buy fireworks. My boss asked me today if I'd like to work in the store next week and I told him I would, because I'd really like to pick up some extra hours to help cover the cost of our anniversary weekend trip in July. So this will be a true test of keeping up with my fitness program while working full time. Last Christmas I really fell off from my healthy lifestyle, and I'm hoping not to do that this year, so working fireworks for a week should help me figure out how to cope, I'm hoping.
I went to a family reunion this weekend, and I didn't eat great, but I don't feel like I stuffed myself either. I only went to the buffet to fill up my plate once, and I started with a salad. I took small bites of each dessert so I could sample them all. And I tried to minimize the grazing while we all talked. I'm sure I ate too many calories, but not as many as I would have two years ago, so I still view it as at least somewhat of a victory.
I set my diet goals back to weight loss this morning, and I'm going to try my best to stick to this calorie range. I set my goal to be down to 130 by August 31st, which isn't too terribly aggressive but not so slow that it won't be noticed from week to week (because seeing that progress really motivates me). I went way over yesterday due to eating fast food 3 times, and being unable to make a healthy choice for dinner because I had to eat it in the car and you can't really eat a salad or chili or a baked potato in the car. Oh well. One day at a time.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
I just finished the week 3 portion of my Couch to 5K training program, and I think I might repeat it. I can control my heart rate on the treadmill, but not when I'm running outside, which I definitely want to be able to do. My knee is starting to get a little sore too so I think it might need a little more time to warm up to all of this running. My feet feel great in my running shoes though...they are awesome. I love them!
I'm loving Robert Ullrey's Couch to 5K podcasts ( www.ullreys.com/robert/Podcasts/ ). They really make it easy to keep track of where I am in my run, with the prompts of when to run and when to walk. If it wasn't for those I would have to be watching the clock all the time, which makes my run go by soooo slowly.
The only bad thing so far about all of this running is that it's making me REALLY hungry. I'm trying my best to fill up on healthy stuff, and I'm doing great on my fruits/veggies streak, but not so great on my calorie range streak. Still too many ice cream treats. I think they are my major weakness. But there's really no way I'd be able to cut them out entirely without feeling deprived. I think I need to figure out how to make my own Blizzard style thing. I read that it's normal to be more hungry and even to gain a little weight when you start running as your body adjusts, so I don't feel too bad. I really haven't gained anything...I'm just really hungry all the time.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
I know I've said this about 20 times already, but seriously, it really stops here. Obviously trying to eat in a weight loss calorie range is just not working for me. I'm not sure why, but it's not. I wish I could go back to the mindset I had this time last year, but for some reason this year it's much harder. And I end up justifying my nighttime eating by saying, "Oh well, it's probably still within my maintenance range." I calculated my maintenance range tonight on SP, and, well...guess what...it's not. I need to rid myself of that excuse, so I am hereby "maintaining," calorie wise, until I get a handle on my eating habits.
I didn't go to DQ or Zesto's, but today I got a McFlurry from McDonald's at lunch. It wasn't even really all that good. I ended up wolfing it down because it was melting, and all of the M&Ms were on top. And the spoon was sticky...I hate sticky fingers. It wasn't really worth its 600 calories. If I hadn't had that, I would only be 100 calories outside of my maintenance range for the day. Seems like that's the story of my life here lately.
So I'm drawing a line, and I am holding myself accountable. I'm going to stick with my low fat ice cream, at home, one serving at a time, and I'm not going to buy cake from the store. For the next two weeks, I am going to stick to my calorie range. And if I can do that, I'm rewarding myself with a personal blender I can use to make smoothies and healthy milkshakes. I'll have to think of some future goals and rewards, but I'm hoping something tangible will help. At this point, I'm kind of getting desperate. :\
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