Friday, July 26, 2013
A lot of people avoid taking pictures while they are at their high weight. Me? I LOVE IT! In my experience, there is nothing more empowering and motivating in a weight-loss journey than seeing your before and after pictures. I canít tell you how many people Iíve known to wistfully regret not taking more pictures before they started their health journey.
First, the scale:
A whopping 119.4. Okay, so you may be thinking: ďThat is a goal weight, not a start weight!Ē
But hereís the thing: I stack up at only five feet and zero inches tall. According to NIHís BMI calculator, my BMI currently comes in as a ďnormalĒ 23.3, but itís closer to the Overweight category than I prefer. Many years ago, my start weight was once 130 pounds, which calculates to 25.4 BMI, so whenever my weight creeps past 115 lbs or 22.5 BMI, I start to get nervous and start making moves to gain control over my situation again, and so Ö here I am with this blog.
And finally, the cringe-worthy before pictures:
I would like to note that there is no belleh-sucking in these pictures, and in the second picture, there is no clothing to keep my stomach in. It is alllll hanging out.
Weight: I feel my absolute best when I weigh anywhere from 105-109 lbs. My knees, shins and bottoms of my feet are less sore and I feel much more energetic. And speaking of running, I can shave at last two minutes off my 5k time Ė which means burning saving time in my workout. All wins here!
Strength: Itís important to me that I build my strength back, not only for health reasons (i.e. stronger bones and body pain), but itís just so much easier to be independent around the house and lifting an impressive weight while shopping at Costco. I am also looking to build ab strength because I am a clumsy klutz who constantly trips! And lastly, strong muscles just enable you to live your life more, like walk miles upon miles Ė particularly useful when one of your annual travels include traipsing around Manhattan.
Mental Acuity: Being at a healthy weight means I can move more efficiently while exercising. Exercising means my mind will be too tired to wander in the evening and I will crave sleep. Sleeping means I wake up refreshed, clear-minded and ready to take on the day. Once I get into a cycle of healthy living, I feel like I can tackle every challenge thrown towards me. By gaining control in one part of my life, I create momentum towards success. When Iím off the cycle, parts of my life start to suffer, I lose momentum and that's when it starts to feel like my life is spinning out of control. Getting on the healthy track again for me is always the first step towards taking a hold of my destiny again.
As for when I hope to accomplish this, my ultimate goal is to be healthy again and not to fit into a dress, so I wonít be putting a time limit on this. There will be weeks I will gain and there will be weeks I will lose. I know for a fact that I WILL fall off the wagon and guess what Ė I AM OKAY WITH THAT! For me, the most important part of the journey is trusting myself to get back on track. Actually thatís one thing I realize now that Iím very good at: I fall off the track quite often, but I can always count on myself to get back on, and to me, that is more important than attaining any goal.
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Hello *again* friends!
First of all, I must announce how proud I am that I am actually blogging TWICE in the month of March! Iím not sure what is wrong with me Ė my temperature seems normal Ė but it seems that waking up so darn early in the mornings (more on that later) actually blessed me with more hours in a day to do wonderful things like scour the internet for the perfect oatmeal pancake recipe, read up on all 100 recaps of Sundayís Mad Men, and of course, write this blog post.
5 major updates since the last blog
1) REALIZATION: I GET REALLY NERVOUS/ANXIOUS AROUND PEOPLEÖ
Öand to calm my nerves, I eat like Iím #1 in a hot dog eating contest.
(Basically, the more social events, the more I eat and the more weight I gain subsequently)
I am not sure when this started (last year maybe?), but what I do know is that itís getting worse. I canít even eat around my parents or even my best friend normally. And nevermind if anyone draws attention to my eating Ė I will go even deeper down the rabbit hole. Luckily the only person who does not affect me anxiously is DH, which is a good thing because he is who I hang out with the most!
So this is something major that I am in the process of figuring out.
2) CONFESSION: CARBS AND BINGING.
Remember when I wrote all that good stuff about balance? Well boy did I shoot myself in the back paw since I last hit that ďPost Blog EntryĒ button, because another binge session occurred since then as well as a few other crazies. But itís mostly under control now. Actually, I donít know what I mean by ďunder controlĒ because Iím not sure itís every going to be completely controllable, but I did realize the factors involving and leading up to the point, so I think Iím just more in the point of learning and moving on.
The first (and really only) binge session occurred on St. Patrickís Day evening at a dinner at a neighborís house. Although Iíve balanced my diet with meats, fats, sugars and lots of veggies, apparently I have not fulfilled my needs in the grains department, because I went totally berserk over soda bread at dinner. My neighbors may have seen me in my bathrobe with my hair in an impromptu bird-nest style while fetching the paper in the early mornings, but they are still people, and because of that, I kept scarfing food down my throat. (See #1) But that isnít the worst part. Noooo way: after I came home from the dinner, I snuck into the kitchen and took down. An. Entire. Loaf. Of. Soda bread. O.M.G. Let me just say that it was not my best Miss America moment, and my jar of jelly was obliterated by the time I finally finished (read: the soda bread was all gone). Another one for the books, folks.
What I did learn was what I need to make room for starchy carbs. Besides, Iím a runner, so what the hellicat was I doing not filling my plate with carbs to begin with. Ugh! Lesson learned and moving on.
3) BIG NEWS: I *VOLUNTARILY* WAKE UP AT 4:30 AM NOW!
Why? Good question! Once you find the answer, please tell me, because at this point I suspect that I find perverse enjoyment in punishing myself. Ha!
Okay so in all seriousness, it seemed that my little experiment of 4:45 am went so well that in my most hallucinogenic runnerís high moments, I decided that it would make me much more awesome to wake up at 4:30 am.
Result? First, I really do feel like I have so much more free time during the day (hence this blog). Second, for a non-morning person, Iím pretty darn proud of myself to accomplishing this feat day after day. Third, this makes 6:30 am wake up calls on the weekends a luxurious task I call ďsleeping inĒ (DH, however, Does Not Appreciate my wide-eyed nature and my ďturbo mouthĒ as he puts it at that time on Saturday mornings). Fourth, I pass out at 8:30 pm every night, which gives me less time to raid the kitchen at night Ė WIN!
(Unfortunately, my Awesome meter hasnít wavered, so maybe Iíll wake up at 4:15 am now? Ha - JUST KIDDING!)
4) OMG DISCOVERY: ADORA DISCÖ
Where have you BEEN all my life!
Seriously, I can NOT believe this devilish little chocolate thing provides me Ĺ the calcium I need for the day. Every time I take it Ė for my health, mind you Ė I feel like Iím splurging.
Donít believe me? Well, check out the warning label on the package sometime, where it warns you that even though this thing tastes so darn good, remember to treat it as a nutritional supplement.
When was the last time you read *that* on a vitamin bottle?
5) OMG DISCOVERY #2: KASHI WAFFLES
Where have you BEEN all my life Part Deux!
In reference to #2, Iíve been eating waffles (OMG WAFFLES!!!) in the mornings to get my grains in. I understand these waffles to be healthy but um HELLO Ė my kitchen smells like CAKE when I toast up those puppies. So Wrong but the package says it So Right!
You know that saying Ė ďIf itís too good to be trueÖĒ? Well, Iím starting to wonder, because all this healthy *delicious* stuff that suddenly popped into my life is turning me suspect.
MARCH 2012 WRAP UP
Iíve done the most this month in getting myself balanced, but I would still pin March 2012 up in the ranks of January and February 2012 in terms of turmoil. This balance thing is difficult! But I will do it and I *canít* give up.
Whatís been working:
1) Writing out my negative feelings in my journal every morning. Writing it out doesnít always shake my bad mood, but it does provide some relief after I do
2) Waking up so darn early in the morning. Iím taking this thing one at a time.
3) My new philosophy: if a stimuli creates a negative reaction or domino effect, expose myself to the negative stimuli some more to lose its power over me. This has worked especially well for my new eating plan. When I previously would purposely avoid sweets, it became my #1 binge. Now that sweets are not excluded from my eating plan, itís the last thing I want when I binge.
What hasnít worked:
1) That whole low-carb thing. Add South Beach and Paleo to the list of diets my body canít/wonít handle.
2) Being active in my early morning workouts, yet extremely sedentary at the computer in the afternoon. Since our evening workouts are more sporadic now (aka ďnot exactly happening anymoreĒ), I need to do something in the post-lunch hours like 10 minute workouts or something. This could be the very issue of why I canít shake the last few pounds here.
3) Eating with people (excluding DH).
Much to my relief, the cravings subsided quite a bit since I last blogged Ė YAY!
Still not sure if I will continue the sobriety streak post July. Iíll just take it one day at a time.
APRIL 2012 GOALS
I decided that I am so going to WIN IT this April. Hopefully the rains will take a one-way ticket outta town, the warm air will seduce my arms to baring themselves, and I will finally have my Saturday where I ride my bike hard and then pass out like a bum on the beach. I am going KILL it!
1) Become more active in the weekday afternoons:
Minimum Goal: 10+ min at 2x/week
Achieved Goal: 10+ min at 3x/week
Rockstar Goal: 10+ min at 4-5x/week
2) Get back on the bike! I havenít ridden since my bike accident, but only because of this annoying thing called rain and thunderstorms (go away and stay away Please!) and planned events.
3) Friends + food = RELAX. Instead of focusing how nervous I am, I am going breathe, relax and enjoy the moment. If I canít get there, I will as much water as it takes to slow me down food-wise (after all, it *would* be a good opportunity to get in my water intake, yes?)
Psssst! Can you keep a secret?
To me, DHís food will always look better than mine. I canít explain it. I can sit with a banana split with the works in front of me, but if he orders a radish, I will still prefer his sad little radish over my decadent dessert. And of course, same goes if we even order the same exact thing. True story!
So today, we decided to order in for lunch: an 18-inch sausage and pepperoni pizza bigger than my biggest suitcase for him and the most awesome tasting White Fish with Mediterranean sauce and a HUUUUUGE salad for me. (FYI: we order him giant pizzas with intentions of leftovers for future lunches and dinners in mind)
As usual, he offered me a bite or two before he demolished his lunch, but the atypical me today declined. To be nice. And also because I had quite the spread on my lunching agenda in front of me (and I would therefore look completely ridonkulous in eating my lunch *and* his).
After lunch, I started packing up the leftover pieces when suddenly the hugest, strongest, most uncontrollable urge surged through my veins and Ö
I took multiple ďinconspicuousĒ bites out of Each Slice.
I couldnít help it.
Hereís one slice I ďtestedĒ:
Itís not that bad, right? I mean, you donít think he would notice do you? I believe I was careful with the size of each bite and thoroughly strategized the placements as well.
Yeah, I donít think heíd notice.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Hello Friends! I hope this blog finds you shiny, healthy and happy.
So much has happened since I last blogged like oh ten years ago, so where shall I start?
Well, how about this: why donít I tell you what I will *not* be going over in my blog:
1) All the binging that occurred since I last blogged. Nor will I gloss over the pure embarrassment of being caught by DH pigging out in my kitchen close to midnight. More than once. More than twice. Possibly more than three times. Okay so I stopped counting Ö Um, next!
2) How the occurrences of emotional eating strongly correlates with each of my parentsí visits.
3) That I discovered that it makes my Mom happy to me eat. A lot.
4) During my Momís visit, it would seem that my weight loss inspired her to not eat. Even though she weighs a hair over 100 pounds.
5) In an effort to get my Mom to eat while she was on vacation, I pigged out Kobayashi style (or would it be Joey Chestnut?). It worked. What can I say, I took one for the team.
6) If my weight was a pendulum, the arm would be broken. Since January 1st, my weight has swung in an 8 pound arc, mostly gaining within 2-4 days and losing over a pathetic span of 2 week or more. Definitely will not go into how much weight Iíve gained and lost in total since Jan 1. (In case you are wondering, Iíve gained a total of 44 pounds and lost 45.2.)
7) I developed an unhealthily obsessed with food. Says my RSS feeder of like 60 food blogs of so. Ugh.
Okay okay, it seems that I *did* get into them after all. Oops. Well, thatís enough of the baddies because Iím over it like parachute pants and hypercolor shirts. Thatís right, I am DONE dwelling and ho-humming about the past because Ö
Iíve found my balance.
Friends, I cannot TELL you how beautiful this space is, to finally be at peace with all the craziness involving food and weight loss. It took me quite a journey to make it into this peaceful life, but by golly, Iím so glad I am here and I can NOT wait to share with you how I got here Ė in a million words or less, I promise.
I do not mean to start this blog off with TMI, but Ö alas an embarrassing medical condition is what got me on this balanced path, so if you prefer to scroll past the digestive issues Iím about to post, please feel free to do so and meet me at the row of steaks ( ). Iíll see you there in a flash, okay? Oh! And take this freshly baked ZERO CALORIE chocolate chip cookie while you scroll. Youíre welcome!
Okay! So for those of you who are still with me, letís talk digestive issues.
First of all, to all the doctors who insist that I should increase my fiber and water intake, workout and sleep regularly and lead a low stress life in order to have a smooth running digestive system, YOU ARE DEAD WRONG. In fact, please leave because your recommendations made me completely miserable and basically activating my inner lunatic. After eating 8-10 servings of veggies, drinking upwards of 18 glasses of water a day, exercising regularly, sleeping 8 hours a night, you would think I would be shooting rocketships into the porcelain galaxy. Um, no. Instead, my body locked down every nugget like Fort Knox. WTH?! Would you like me to describe the pure lunacy of gaining 4 pounds in 2 days and thus burst out of my pants and shirts?
Then on one particularly day sob-alicious day, a light bulb above my head revealed that everytime I binged on fatty sugary stuff, I would take a particularly happy trip to the bathroom the very next day. And thatís when it hit me: I need fat. And after a ďtorrentialĒ visit to an all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ dinner (Dad was involved which mean my emotional eating button was pushed, so do the math), I realized that I needed meat too. Fat and meat. The two things I did not have much of in the diet I struggled to maintain since last year, which was approximately when my issues started.
But I still couldnít believe it. After all, isnít vegetarianism the healthiest diet to follow? I thought fat was bad? And isnít sugar the enemy?
It was with these supposed thoughts I would have normally defended to the nearest Hometown Buffet as ďfacts,Ē that I cautiously started changing my diet. I cannot describe to you the amount of turmoil I experienced in my head just to allow forkfuls of meats and fats pass these Lipsmacker lips meal after meal. But for the sake of abdominal comfort Ė and my sanity Ė I opened my mouth, chewed and swallowed. I also splurged into many sugary treats, which was even harder Ė but I just kept reminding myself that I *needed* this, and so into the hatch it went.
How did it go? Well! My new eating commenced March 2 and Iíve since become a regular card-holder of my favorite bathroom in my house again Ė and not just to shower. So, my issues MUST have had something to do with my diet, yes? In addition, with my new ďdiet,Ē I even achieved my lowest weight since beginning of January. Yup!
(BTW, I did not mean to bash vegetarianism Ė everybody is different, and believe me, I admire those whose bodies can handle the plant-based diet, because to be honest, I am *not* crazy about meat! But this is what my 32 year old body is requesting and for the sake of Ö comfort and a less poofy tummy, I am abiding.)
For those who skipped the TMI section, welcome back!
Okay so now that things seemed to be ďfixed,Ē where do I go from here?
Well, this whole new eating style completely changed my entire outlook on how I live my life in terms of healthy living. Here are the positives:
1) Eating more meat and fat put a big white sock into my constant itchy desires to binge. HOORAY! I feel like I have to apologize to my body for repeatedly ignoring its obvious cries for different nutrients. Iím glad I finally listened.
2) Yesterday and today, thanks to #1 I was craving something sweet after my savory lunch Ė not the scary out-of-control craving, but justÖ *interested* - so I rustled around DHís candy drawer and fished out a fun pack of M&Mís. And ate it. Without guilt. Except that it was DHís candy and Not Mine. And so I had to text him a confession. Guilt of stealing his M&Ms without asking him out the window.
3) Eating a treat almost daily frees me from the debilitating and obsessive power of sweets and baked goods used to have over me. After a couple of days of this, I decided that I actually enjoy living in a world where moist cupcakes exist and actively participate in my lifestyle. Oh toss in homemade twinkies in my world too. But donít forget the delicious yellow cakes. And-and-and Ö ah you get the picture, right? (Side note: donít worry, I am ALL about portion control! See #1)
4) Because of #3, I am no longer banking my entire days on food blogs which used to lead me to engage in or fight off binge moments.
5) Because of #4, I now have a ton of time to spend on Ö Facebook. Sigh. (Maybe not such a good thing.)
6) I feel so much fuller for longer periods of time, which leads me back to #4.
7) My new diet made me feel So Incredible that I started looking at other aspects in my life that I could improve. In keeping the spirit of improving quality of life, I decided that under absolutely no circumstances will I do more than an hour of cardio a day by myself. With others, it becomes a social activity so I see it as okay. But not by myself. When I give into my tendencies to workout more than an hour, I start taking time away from the things that matters, like DH, working, spending time with friends, petting my cats, doing laundry, watching movies, and making wise cracks on Facebook. Actually, ignore that last part and please re-note the part about spending quality time with DH. *ahem* Quality of life, people!
8) I recognized my honest-to-chocolate zero desire to run another half marathon. Maybe it will seem like another dynamite idea in the fall, but itís back to the #7 thing; at this time, I am just not willing to sacrifice time in my day to run for more than an hour. And I happen to be really good friends with my left knee, so why would I blow my friend out in another half? Iím also including ďforbiddenĒ foods in my diet now, soÖ I canít find more reasons to run another half. Besides, I already proved to myself that I did it and Iím pretty damned satisfied about it. (But um letís revisit this in the fall, mmkay?)
9) Brutal Honesty Alert: I would LOOOOOVE to have Jamie Eastonís body, but I am not willing to do the work and exercise the discipline that is required to achieve and maintain it (and risk being blocked up again Ė NIGHTMARE!). And Iím okay with it. I actually like the parts where I am soft, but I will still do the ST a few days a week and hope that a few muscles pop out from it. And if I donít, thatí s okay too, because at least then I can lift heavy things now like my dreaded laundry basket after coming back from a week-long vacation. Woooo that is heavy.
10) Iím already a try-the-dish-first- ask-questions-later kind of gal, so eating new things in restaurants with my new dietís been one exciting event after another. Once in a while, I do get irrationally panicky, like when I decided to add ground beef to my regular veggie omelet at a breakfast place over the weekend. I have no idea why on earth my palms were sweaty, but once the food came, I calmed down and ate it. And was so happy about it that I started making googly eyes at DH. Aww.
So there you go. Shiny new discoveries jellyrolled in happiness and relief.
My New Lifestyle
I hesitate to pin my new nutritional guidelines with any one diet, but I have to admit that it aligns closest with Primal and Paleo. The only thing is, I love meh bread and sugar (making Homesick Texanís Irish Cheddar and Bacon Soda Bread this week, wot wot!), which makes my diet not so Primal/Paleo after all. I also have this *teensy* issue where I get very tired after eating meat, but itís not really anything that having a post-meal designated driver canít fix. And anyway, thatís where hangin with DH gets pretty handy. I knew hanging with him would earn me additional benefits.
New Eating Plan
* Protein with every major meal
* Veggies with every major meal
* Dessert at 7 pm Ėish daily unless Iím not interested (which actually happens)
* Limit white carbs, since they make me crash. Unless itís DHís buttered crusts from his white toast, which I will never decline because food from his plate are seriously always tastier than mine.
* Consume around 1500 cals/day (until I lose these last couple of pesky pounds, then Iíll slowly raise it to 1800/day)
* Digestive enzymes with every major meal
* Chug water like itís going out of style!
Workout Plan Ė Burn 2400 cal/week
* MWF: Run, burn 400 calories (NO MORE THAN 1 HR FOR CARDIO!), 20 minutes strength training, 15 minutes stretching
* TTh: Recumbent bike 200 calories (around 50 minutes), 20 minutes upper body strength training, 15 minutes stretching (These days are technically my rest days; I just include it in here out of routine)
* Sat: Bike ride with DH
* Sun: Hiking with DH
* Other: Little workouts with DH here and there during the week, TTh may be taken off as a rest day
* Write down negative feelings every morning. Especially important for those mornings when I donít think anythingís bugging me Ė thatís when itís hidden and tucked away and most important to dig out and deal with them before they take form of emotional eating.
* Visit healthy living blogs daily
* Read a couple of inspirational quotes
Me on a brief break during one of our weekend bike rides Ė my favorite!
MARCH 2012 GOALS
Well, there really isnít any, unless you count my new lifestyle plan above.
Oh wait, I did think of one!
Have I told you that I started waking up at 4:45 am for workouts? I love it!
*ahem* NOT. Especially on the Monday after Daylight Savings Time, at which time my alarm blared at what my body thought was 3:45 am. Gross and completely unacceptable unless itís to catch a flight to Paris to taste those flaky croissants or to some sandy white beach where I can sip on fruity drinks like it's my job.
Getting up that early was not by choice, but by necessity since my workload has vacuumed any available time to workout during the day (and I am pooped by nighttime, so that is a no can do either).
Anyway, it turns out that working out before the birds tweet has enough benefits to woo me back daily for more 4:45 am torture. Look for an upcoming blog about that.
Digressions aside, my main goal is to wake up at 4:45 am Monday through Friday for workouts throughout the month of March. Well, except for this morning, when I woke up completely and utterly exhausted mentally and physically. After realizing that it was my 200-calorie burn day, I shut my alarm off and fell back into the deepest sleep that I actually desperately needed. But itís back on tomorrow, promise!
In case you are not in the know, I made the decision to go sober on July 25, 2011 as a one year experiment. I wasnít drinking much anyway, but I thought it would be fun to see what it would be like to actually take alcohol off the table as options.
The results thus far surprised me. The first seven months were a breeze; it was like alcohol never existed for me. Suddenly, however, this month (my eighth month) I started craving alcohol about three times a week. I even tried to negotiate myself out of the pact! Iím not sure where it all started, but I just remember being a bit miffed at myself for making the stupid pact. All the cravings ended well though and I do intend on seeing it to the 365th day. (Or being leap year, would it be 366th day?)
I fell off my bike on the bike path to avoid an accident on Saturday. OUCH! The fall took off a hunk of skin in my right palm and bits of other limbs on my right side. Basically, my right side is out of commission, which makes things like washing my hair an extraordinary task. Also affected: my ability to do planks, tri dips, and push ups Ė just when I was getting excited about starting a new upper ST routine. At any rate, for the first time, I am actually trusting myself to get back on track after my injuries are healed instead of freaking out about the possibility of me getting back into my lazy days of no working out. Nope. I know Iíll get back to it, when my palm grows some skin. This is news, people. For once in my life, I can actually count on myself!
Well! I hope I didnít bore you with all the details of my new dynamite life. If you are still here (which is Page 7 going on 8 in Word, btw), I am eternally thankful to you for sticking it out with me. You must be very patient! Or bored. Whichever, Iíll take it.
All seriousness here: as you click off my blog, I would like to thank you for your support. I would not have gotten into this very nice place if it werenít for you Sparkies! This place is the best, I swear. Okay now, group hug!
With my little sweetheart, Zack!
Monday, January 16, 2012
My plan was to be so committed and stick to my training program No Matter What, so that I would finish my HM as fresh, perfect and graceful as Pippa Middleton (my hero!) on her triathlon. However, thanks to disastrous training coupled with sickness, I took the last few weeks to grieve and accept I may possibly instead resemble Courtney Love should she ever be crazy (sober?) enough to think of completing a HM.
After a strong beginning and successful middle of my training, I decided that walking for miles to binge on cupcakes and pastrami in New York would be the perfect training technique to getting me down to 13.1, instead of, you know, running in Central Park. After coming home, my body decided that it would be REALLY funny to act so exhausted that a trip to the bathroom would take Badwater effort, and instead of allowing ME to do a run or two, let my nose run an ultra-marathon in lightening speeds. They were the sexiest weeks of my life and were the perfect supposed end caps to what would have been an otherwise unbelievable training program.
Ten days before the HM, I woke up feeling one fang less than a zombie and decided to attempt my 12 mile long run. According to everything I read, it takes two weeks to lose fitness, and being that I hadn't run in 12 days, it would make sense that it could be done, right? Um, NO. 3 miles took everything out of me including the smidgen amount of confidence I had left. Tried it again the next day and was barely able to complete a slooooow 6 miles, which otherwise is great, but still wouldn't cut it for the HM.
It literally took days of grieving (crying, whining, hiding every running magazine in sight) over my previous hard work to finally come up with one last negotiation with myself: if I could run-walk the 12 miles, then I can run-walk 13.1. Sure my time will be creepy-crawly snail on a wet sidewalk slow, but that only means I will surely beat my time in this other HM in April (they shuttle you from the finish line to the start in a LIMO!!!! - but alas, that is for another post. Sorry.). I mean, what better way to set up a sure future win than to be a complete disaster now? That sacrifice to me, friends, was too irresistible to pass up (practically free confidence points!).
So alas, I set out to run-walk my 12 miles. Success! That is, if you discount a resulting sore hip, ignore the fact that it took me about 2.5 hours, and that the day I did it would leave me a miniscule 5 days for taper (would that even count?). But whatever, I am going to do this thing even if it makes DH a richer man when he cashes out my generous life insurance policy (minus, of course what I am leaving to my kitties).
The day before the race, I was more nervous than Kate Middleton before her wedding day (Or not. She seems too cool for school when it comes to nervous. Scratch that comparison). I decided to drown my nerves in a turkey pastrami on pumpernickel and pancakes instead of the usual pasta dinner. (I love pasta, but now that I'm living healthy, pasta just seems like too much of a short-lived experience unless you are eating a giant never ending plate of it. It's just too impossible for me to eat one serving.) After fretting and taking my nervousness out on DH (sorry dear!), I actually passed out at 10 pm. Meaning, I was probably the only one who slept the night before the race! Miracle. Finally, the one thing I can actually do better than my peers: sleep. Go figure.
My extremely rude phone decided to wake me up at 4:45 am. I told it stuff it. For at least another 9 minutes anyway, being a snooze button and all. When you are snuggled deep under the cozy covers with your cuddly cat, there is nothing - and I mean no earthquake, fire, NOTHING - that can get me out of bed. That lasted for 5 minutes, when DH decided to kindly turn on the lights. Hmph.
The next hour involved me running around crazy and tripping over my sleepy cats, whom with their big green confused eyes, wondered what in mother's nation would get me up and productive before the sun came up. (Once I broke open a can of food though, all wonder was abandoned. Jerks.) DH and I barely rushed out the door in time to get the most disgusting tar at Peet's Coffee and me wolfing down a plain bagel slathered with creamy peanut butter and topped with bananas. (Forget chewing my food, I was late!)
The race was point-to-point with two different start locations (one for HM and one for 5k) and a separate finish line, DH had to drive like a madman to drop me off so that he could make it to his race. (Oh yeah, did I mention that he was doing a 5k? So proud!) Brilliant race directors, I tell you.
I joined a huge swarm of freezing bodies at the race and proceeded to wait in a LONG LINE for the most disgusting bathroom (it is Venice, after all). In fact the line was so long that I was STILL in line at 7:00 am, when the HM was supposed to start. But hey, at least that conversation allowed me to bond with fellow runners.
Thankfully, the race started 15 minutes late, allowing me to join the line with a comfortably empty bladder. My best hope was to run-walk this thing by 2:30, but I could only find 2:10 and 2:40 corrals with none in between. Humble as always, I jumped into the 2:40 corral, with fellow bodies surrounding me, warming me while I wore a tank top and shorts in the 45 degree temperature.
While huddled, I almost went into near panic when I realized that I was the only one sporting my HUGE hydration belt. I felt like such a rookie!
Finally, the gun sounds and it takes me four anxious minutes of shuffling to get "chipped" in. I'm not sure if it was the near-freezing temperatures, excitement of the crowd, being emotionally overwhelmed to tears at the realization that I was finally *there* (I am such a wuss!), but *something* inside of me (my inner Pippa?) decided that I was going to RUN as much of the 13.1 as I can!
The negotiation with myself was to run 6 miles, which I knew I could do, before taking a break. What exactly happened was I RAN THE ENTIRE 13.1 MILES WITHOUT A BREAK IN 2:03:54! (chip time)
I do not know how that happened or even how on earth I could have accomplished that feat, as I have never in my entire life ran more than 11 miles without a break, ever (and those 11 miles I did took me over two hours with my legs barely hanging at its joints). I have completed longer distances than 13.1 before, but there were stops here in there in the name of nature (aka bathroom breaks) and these little annoying things called stop lights.
So anyway, back to the race, but first are my splits:
Mile 1: 10:26.74
Mile 2: 09:42.37
Mile 3: 09:37.42
Mile 4: 09:32.22
Mile 5: 09:36.03
Mile 6: 09:38.15
Mile 7: 09:44.94
Mile 8: 09:42.45
Mile 9: 09:10.39
Mile 10: 09:03.67
Mile 11: 08:56.34
Mile 12: 08:47.78
Mile 13: 08:31.12
Mile 13.1: 01:25.00
I was an emotional mess. Even though I have biked these paths many times, running it with this crowd was just so *beautiful*. The people on the sidelines cheering made me want to cry. The birds scrapping for bread crusts made me want to cry. The airplanes flying above me made me want to cry. Even the darn TREES made me want to cry. WTH was wrong with me?!
And that was just Mile 1.
As for the 10:26 pace, well, it was just so darn crowded. I felt *lucky* to achieve that pace after zig zagging the crowd, all the while trying not to push my speed.
My left hip started bothering me, allowing me to hit my own inner Panic button a few furious times. Luckily, the path was still crowded, forcing me to pace myself.
Texted DH that I complete Mile 2. (Am I the only one who texts while running?)
With my left hip still complaining and my emotions slightly more tamed, I decided to relax and just take in the experience and views, including more than a few good looking policemen securing the route. LOVE THE EYE CANDY, RACE DIRECTORS!
Since Mile 5 passed the finish line, I was *desperately* hoping that DH would finish his 5k to see me run by. Like a crazy woman, I texted him every time I ran by a mile marker and really started mad-texting when I was approaching the finish area. I came around one bend and my heart sank when I instead saw a bunch of cheerleaders cheering us on, which was nice, but at that point I *NEEDED* to see my DH for that extra emotional support. Around another bend and OMG THERE HE IS!!! I just about burst into tears (again) when I saw him and felt his warm hand clap against mine as I passed by. My heart tore as he disappeared out of my vision. What a softie, right! (He did, however, text me at Mile 6 that there were food trucks at the finish line, possibly as a motivation tactic. As many who know me well already know, I will run/walk/dog sled my way to attach my mouth on any type of yumminess.)
The path got super tight again, so I took the opportunity to tear into a mini bag of Sour Patch Kids from Halloween oh a couple years ago. Thanks to massive amounts of preservatives, the stuff was still good and tasty. Yum!
Also: DH texted me to say that he saw a guy throw up. Strangely, this inspired me.
Thanks to the Sour Patch Kids, I got a nice little burst of energy at about the end of Mile 8.
Mile 10 was when things got a little crazy. I admit, I got a little excited when I realized I essentially had only a 5k left and turned up the speed. Aside from the faint ache of my hip (thank you endorphins for the pain relief!), everything just felt so darn good! I started passing people left and right (including all those who passed me earlier!) and really cranked it up at when someone at Mile 12 shouted "1 Mile Pace!" Funny thing though was that while I was pushing my speed towards the end of Mile 12, it felt like AGES to finally reach that Mile 13 marker. (Meanwhile, I was so tired and felt like joining that guy who threw up earlier) At this point, people wearing their shiny medals were clapping and yelling "Downhill around the corner! You are there!" Downhill to the finish line?! I never felt it. I squinted to the see the finish line and could not believe my eyes when I saw that I would come in at 2:07ish (gun time). Ignoring the soreness and tiredness, I reached deep down below to my most inner Pippa and bust through the finish with my arms up in the air screaming in ecstasy and relief (and looking like an idiot? we shall see when the pics are up). DH found me immediately and, boy he must love me because he didn't mind hugging my super sweaty (and smelly I'm sure!) self.
1) I looked like a rookie, but the hydration belt worked wonders. While people were stopping to get drinks, I used my perfected maneuver to reach behind me for my water bottle for a swig. This allowed me a) concentrate on dodging the Gatorade and cups people were dumping carelessly - COME ON PEOPLE! and b) run the race straight through
2) Staying in the moment and enjoying every minute. I go through phases when it comes to running with headphones, but I notice that when I get into longer distances, I cannot STAND having something in my ear, competing for my attention. If I feel like not being in the moment, I enjoy conducting self-introspection with soft, rhythmic orchestra of my rubber hitting the pavement and my breath beating in the background. Otherwise, running is a time where my mind can stay blank and I can take in everything around me. I feel that this really helped me concentrate on different tasks during the race (i.e. pacing myself). It also helped me tremendously in maneuvering around people.
3) Wearing too little clothes. People were looking at me in my lonely little crazy boat for wearing a tank top and shorts in 40-50 degree weather. Personally, I feel like running to keep warm is an excellent motivation to run faster! Whereas I was FREEZING in the first few miles, I was extremely comfortable by midrace. Until it started drizzling. But it stopped, so I'm still glad I wore what I wore.
4) Awesome pre-race breakfast. Holy moly it's been years since I've had a real non-wheat-or-anything-healthy bagel. I wish every morning was race day so I can eat this forever!
5) Did I mention that I was still blowing my nose every 2 minutes? Embarrassing, but thank goodness I practiced that sexy art during training.
POINTS TO WORK ON FOR MY NEXT HALF ... um, assuming there will be a next one?
1) STRENGTH TRAIN! My legs were tired, but so were my abs and back, thanks to like zero ST. (Bad!) For my next HM, I will concentrate on those two areas along with leg work.
2) SPEED TRAIN! Again, I barely did any speed training here (the little I did do was in November ... would that still count?). Getting to the sub-2 hour mark will be hard work, but I'm sure with proper time spent in ST + speed training, I can get this 32-year old body past that mark. What a gift that would be!
3) Figure out how to get through the crowd a little better at Mile 1.
I was one of the very few who did not run with ear buds in my ear, which made it a bit of a lonely experience. I mean, here I was, SO excited to be there so I turn to my right and see that the girl next to me is listening to Kanye West. I look behind me a little bit and this dude is also listening to his iPod. Look to my left and see all the same things. Everyone is in their own space, looking straight ahead and cocooned in their own little worlds, *missing* all the wonderful things that are going on. No wonder I pulled my phone out and started texting DH. Maybe a Rock n Roll half will change that for me.
Thank you thank you THANK YOU for reading my race report! I know it was a bit long, drawn out and detailed, but, you know, I accepted long ago that I am a strange, drawn-out, detailed bird indeed.
Have a great day, friends!
P.S. Will upload HM pics when they come out :)
Friday, January 06, 2012
Hello friends, how are you doing?
Me? Meh. I'm currently chasing my runny nose as I slave over this keyboard with enough tissues to deplete Costcoís international inventory, all the while pitifully trying to convince myself that my plans for the January 15th Half Marathon will still happen after barely squeaking out 3 of the planned 12 miles today. How is a girl to pick up the devastated pieces of herself after a disastrous end to 2011 and beginning of 2012?
Here is my recap:
The first three weeks of December 2011 were strong after a kick butt November. I was strong, healthy and optimistic. I ran 11 beautiful miles without a break (whilst mastering the art of drinking - and not wearing! - water while running), I completed 44 miles - my longest - on my bike, and happily shunning cupcakes left and right without a blink. Work sucked any and all free time I could dedicate to SP, but I still felt balanced and my focus unwavering. Really, I was at a point where you could starve me in the Sahara Desert for a week and I would still snub my nose at a 7-layer chocolate cake topped with scoops of Hšagen-Dazs. I mean, I was so ON IT enough to make Jillian Michaels look like SHE needs to go on The Biggest Loser as a contestant. No lie, folks.
But then a little thing called New York happened.
Friends, I had every intention of working out in New York. After all, I did lug my gear 3000 miles and thus paid quite the handsome ransom (aka "baggage fees") American Airlines lashed on my credit card at the airport for it. I even picked a hotel with a supposedly amazing gym and planned my mischievous methods fanagle access to it for free. I also mapped out the exact route I would take through Central Park to fulfill my secret fantasy of being Paula Radcliffe for a brief 6 miles. I even went out of my way to almost make friends with a drunk girl at this bar who discussed running Central Park with me until I realized that with the amount of vodka she was drinking, the only running she'll be doing is towards the toilet with a mean hangover. So did I make good on my intentions?
I ran ZERO miles and worked out exactly 0.00000 times. I suppose if you got technical/literal, you could consider the 4-6+ miles I walked every day as exercise because Ė as I quickly learned Ė I WILL walk whatever distance it takes to grace my mouth with the likes of bake shops and juicy sandwiches. I worked my jaw HARD on all those goodies. No silky cheesecake, buttery golden cake with chocolate buttercream frosting, super moist cupcake, refreshing Baked Alaska, decadent Buche de Noel, sneaky mini candy bars, pillow-like pancakes, life-changing biscuits, addictive sugar coated bacon, perfect golden French fries, flaky chocolate croissants nor devilishly multiple-layered chocolate cakes were safe from my ambitiously grubby paws. When it came to gorging into all the stuff that takes me back to my old self, I was two steps past ridiculous. As a result, my waistline poofed towards the end of the trip, resulting in an initial four pound gain according to my ex-best friend aka the scale.
(On the bright side, all that extra sugar/fat did help me with constipation issues.)
(Hotel Gym Sidenote: I still have no idea what the hotel gym looked like. Don't even *try* to ask me where it was located.)
But friends, the story does not end there:
Right when I got back, as I whined about getting back into my workouts, I discovered that I caught a little bug from NY that showed its full-fledged self the day after I got back, thus taking me out of commission for another week. Folks, that's now TWO weeks of zero workouts. OMG! I was so severely exhausted, I could not walk 2 steps out the door to do a thing. And to make matters worse, I was experiencing/fighting EXTREME cravings for any and all sugary things that begin with C! (cupcakes, cakes, chocolate, croissants etc.) This comes after the hard work I put in the latter part of last year to wean myself off of sugar cravings and reprogram my inners to crave fruits instead. NOT HAPPY.
To finally top it all off, I finally went on my first real workout today, as it was the first day I felt human since I got back. Yes, a 12-miler does seem like a *terrible* idea after two weeks of no running. Yes, 70+ degrees here at the beach means I should be more realistic about my pace (but thank you sore throat for keeping me constantly hydrated over the past week). And yes, since I am still congested, I should lessen my intensity. All those ideas are rational ideas for a non-desperate well-thinking individual, but my problem today is that I am currently an irrational *desperate* human being with a half marathon looming in the near future - like TEN days near, ack! (Plus, I was on DayQuil*, which by all means should excuse me from all forms of irrational thinking.)
(DayQuil Sidenote: NEVER buy CVS brand of DayQuil. As I found out in these past few days, the stuff works only at 70%-ish, which is about how much you pay in comparison to the real thing. Unless you're trying to get your germaphobic boss to send you home for the day, get the real deal people.)
And so I bolted out the door like a wild race horse out of the stall at Santa Anita racetrack. I barely finished 3 miles before I was hacking things up that should only stay within the body, all the while turning beet red and feeling the slight twinges of nausea. Defeated, I pulled out the white flag and shuffled home.
So where does that leave me with my plans?
I haven't a clue. All I can say is that it is definitely a strange and frustrating sensation to have my body rebel against my frequent requests. From what I can think of, I really have 4 choices:
1) Just sign up for the HM! Pros: I'll be done with this goal right away. Cons: What if I can't do it?
2) Postpone my HM plans for Feb 2012. Pros: Less pressure and I can work up to it. Cons: The Feb HM is really really REEEEEEEEALLY crowded and about 45 minutesí drive away zero traffic, whereas the Jan 15 HM is 5 minute drive away
3) Try the run again tomorrow and go from there. Pros: Postpone my decision for another day. Cons: I hate not having resolve. Need. Solution. Now.
4) Do BOTH HM's. Pros: I can finally prove that I'm crazy. Cons: This means I really am crazy.
I am not one for yearly goals. Everything looks shiny, fun and doable on January 1st, but really anything and everything happens during the year that can easily derail plans and leave one angry at their January 1st self (i.e. long angry stretches of 90 degree heat, depressing injuries, time-sucking family issues, sick pets). But to keep with the "This is THE year!" feeling that is going strong around here in SP universe, I suppose I could whip up a few low-reaching goals. I have only four lowly goals for the year, but they definitely are things I will complete, thus pumping extra artificial glows into my self-esteem when I do complete them.
1) Maintain my weight. That is, after I lose my New York weight. After thinking about it, this should really be my only goal for this year, as I tend to always fail at the maintenance point. After eating to lose weight for so long, itís just so hard to learn where that new line is drawn between ďenough extra calories to sustainĒ and ďearn yourself a few new spare tiresĒ before strangers start patting your tummy and asking you when you're "due."
2) Do ONE half marathon this year. Hopefully I can still do the January 15th one and get it over with ASAP and not think about it again. I like to get the icky stuff out of the way.
3) Complete a half century on the bike. This is a no-brainer. With the exception of completely underestimating the fueling issue, my longest mileage at 44 miles went without problems, so what is just 6 miles more? Note to Self: BRING ENOUGH GRANOLA BARS TO FEED TWO VILLAGES!!!
4) Complete 20,000 fitness minutes. If I worked out 50 weeks of the year, that means I need to do a minimum of 6 hours a week. So freebishly doable. Will reassess in June or July and possibly up this number.
January 2012 GOALS
I will be taking it easy this month on any new goals and instead just focus on getting back on track.
1) Stay sober. It will be Month 6 on the 24th. Excited!!!
2) Get on SP every day starting today. I'll be chasing those extra spins, even if that stingy, greedy wheel refuses to grant me anything more than a two. ^%$&!
3) No sweets made from outside of my house until at least February. If I want sweets that bad, I will need to make it myself! (Thank you SkinnyTaste and Chocolate Covered Katie Ė MUAAAHAAHAAA)
Well that's it friends. I hope you are all doing well and wish you good health and generous spins of the SparkWheel.
P.S. I'm sorry about being MIA on all your blogs. Since business is back to being dreadfully slow, I will be using that work time to catch up you Sparkies. I live a dangerous life, I know.
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