Saturday, July 21, 2012
Struggling again. I feel like I keep getting myself stuck...
Iíve been really tired, almost unable to get enough sleep. Iím a little depressed because Iíve been having relationship problems with the guy Iíve been dating for almost a year, and I know I have to figure out whether we can make this work or whether I need to let go. So I havenít been seeing him and while I am glad to be free of his drama (too old for that kind of thing!), I miss him and his company. Still going through the emotions and trying real hard not to numb them with food and alcohol, and only having moderate success.
And I am sad because I feel like my body is betraying me. Iíve been running races for the past few years and while Iíve never been fast, I have a lot of endurance. Iíve done a bunch of ten mile races and in 2010 did my first half marathon. I was so proud! This year I set a goal of improving my time and running a ten mile race at a 10:10 mile pace, which would beat the time I did in my very first race ever when I was 41 (I didnít even know I was fast!). I did my first 10 mile race of the season in April and did a 10:35 mile which was halfway to my goal. I was so excited! But after that my knee started bothering me and over the past months Iíve tried resting it, not running for weeks at a time, sometimes cross-training, other times not, and the pain keeps coming back. Itís ok if I walk but Iím afraid if I run on it, Iíll cause permanent damage (or maybe I already have). I finally made an appointment with an orthopedist so I can find out whatís going on. (I also pulled a couple of muscles doing some bootcamp-type workouts and my beloved yoga. What?!) In the meantime, I am suffering because running is my sanity. I am trying swimming (hard and boring). Spin class (boring and the darkness weirds me out. Whatís that about?). Elliptical (always been ok as my fallback but cannot envision doing it for my main cardio). I keep trying to get on my bike which I actually like but havenít been able to do it yet.
One part of my life thatís going well now is my job Ė big project, leadership and lots of responsibility and clear measures of success.
But overall, it feels like Iím struggling, floundering. I go back and forth about the relationship, I lose a pound and gain two, I am not getting my heart rate up on a regular basis and I hurt myself when I try to work out.
Maybe I need to reframe and look at the situation from a different perspective: this is an opportunity to learn from my struggles what I need to change in order to move forward.
When I look for signs of forward progress over the long term, I see them.
ē I know I can set a course and stick to it, with weight loss and fitness. Iíve done it before and I can do it again. And I can apply the lessons learned to do it better this time.
ē Slowly but surely I am pulling my house together Ė it looks much better than it did 5 years ago Ė it looked like the rundown rental property it was when I moved in 6 years ago and now the inside is almost all painted in colors I love, and Iím getting ready to do the kitchen and (hopefully) two bathrooms. This makes a difference to me, both because I love it when my home is beautiful and Iím improving my investment.
ē I got my younger son through college and although heís back home again, with his freshly minted journalism degree, I am confident that heíll be on his own soon (thank God for restaurant skills!). My older son is happy with his work (again, thank God for restaurant skills) and back in school again. And they both appreciate their mom.
So thatís good. But I want to change the story here again. I want the story to be about me having a great and vibrant life and not settling for less. I want to be a high maintenance woman who puts herself and her needs first, who doesnít make excuses for the inexcusable.
I want to take care of myself like Iíve taken care of the people I love. Baby myself and be good to myself but at the same time practice self discipline so I can reach my goals.
And to do that, I need to readjust my course.
I need to find a way to work out that protects me from injury and allows me to find my edge without going over it.
I need to work out this relationship thing. There are some lessons there and I need to learn them. And make some decisions. I want to be happy, and Iíd rather be alone and contented with my life than with someone who brings turmoil and negativity.
And I need to get back to the things that work.
Regular yoga and meditation. Ommm.
Drawing or painting every once in awhile. Before, I said I would do that regularly but setting goals I canít meet just makes me feel less than successful. So I am changing that.
Oh and I almost forgot...purging and de-cluttering (thank you LAURALITE, for reminding me). It makes me happy to bring order into my life!
I will also try to blog more frequently. Writing used to be my sanity when I was much younger (that and going for long midnight walks!). I think I will try that again, and this is a good place to do it, with so much friendship and support all around.
Cheers, folks. Thanks for being there for me!
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
I don't know what's wrong but I can't seem to get back in track with either eating right or working out. I haven't run in almost two weeks and I am racking up over 2000 calories per day, most days of the week - and I know because I'm still tracking. And it's showing on the scale, I've gained back more than half the weight I lost over the past year.
Here's me with my boys at my lowest weight:
This is so frustrating! I was doing well for awhile (see last blog -- Rededication) and doing ok, not losing but not gaining and then it all went to hell. Now, I have to say that having my first hot flash in the middle of a 100 degree heat wave probably didn't help, and that some of this might be hormonal, but Jeeze Marge, this is ridiculous!
I know what I need to do. It's not rocket science. I need to start practicing yoga regularly and start running again, or hitting the elliptical at the gym if it's too hot outside. I need to put together a training sched for my upcoming (Oct. 9) 10 mile race. I need to go to the grocery store, buy healthy food and stop eating out so much. I need to adjust my sleep sched so I am able to get up early and exercise -- just makes the day go so much better. Sleep has been a little bit of an issue - I hear that's a symptom of menopause too -- but I have some ideas about how to deal with that, if only the Melatonin would stop causing me to dream about my ex-husband!
So, bottom line. Get back on the horse, get back in the saddle and ride. I know I can do it, it's just a matter of discipline (see Aristotle).
Now do it.
Sunday, February 27, 2011
Lately Iíve been slipping. Iíve gained back some of the pounds I lost and while I know it was due to some minor health issues, itís always hard to see hard-won progress lost. I think what bothers me more is that itís been hard to regain the momentum that propelled me last year. I need to find a way to get that great combination of optimism and discipline back.
Last month I read a lot of blogs and comments about re-setting goals. It was inspiring -- thank you, everyone! I decided to do the same.
In the process, I found that I had to give myself credit and props for the things I ACTUALLY ACCOMPLISHED last year!
Yes, I did run a half marathon! I trained hard for it and did it in good time! It was an awesome feeling and it really helped keep me on track to achieve my weight loss goals.
Yes, I did take a painting class! AND I realized something really important: for me, art needs to be about relaxation, not about accomplishment. I was approaching it as another place where I need to achieve, not a refuge from the pressures of life. And I realized that need to change that approach. This will help me achieve one of last yearís goals which I plan to keep: reducing stress in my life. Yes, itís a work in progress. I have a really hard time when drawings or paintings donít come out the way I want toÖbut I am working on looking at it process of relaxation and exploration, not production of pieces of art.
Yes, I did practice yoga regularly! ĎNuff said. I love it. OmmmÖ.itís the sound of the universe. Yoga helps me achieve two of my goals: reducing stress and practicing discipline, and it improves all areas of my life.
In looking at my achievements and goals I noticed a pattern of cross-pollination. So many of the pieces of my plan -- yoga, half-marathon training program, calorie counting Ė worked together to help me achieve multiple goals. I like that and Iím feeling inspired again!
So, keeping all that in mind, I set new goals for my body, mind and soul. Really they arenít very different from last yearís goals and aspirations. I want to do another half marathon and then some 5Ks at increased speed. I want to paint and draw, rather than producing drawings and paintings. I want to rededicate myself to advancing my knowledge in my field.
And I donít list it anywhere but I want to keep on being there for my friends and having FUN in my life!
Still a couple loose ends which I left off the list because Iím not there yet. Job is totally in flux as my company goes through yet another re-org. Iíll probably be looking for new opportunities both internally and externally. I am considering a masterís program, yes, at the advanced age of 51. I found a really good one thatís perfect for me and just need to decide if I want to invest the time and money.
And I decided to quit dating for awhile. Actively seeking a partner is just too time-consuming and I need a break from those particular ups and downs. I realized I was getting almost addicted to online dating! Waiting for emails, getting hopes up, getting discouraged...I donít want to invest my time and emotion on that right now. Maybe when summer rolls aroundÖ we shall see.
So, thatís it! New chapter, new challenges! Iím ready to go!
Thursday, September 09, 2010
I haven't been blogging much since I got serious about changing my life. I'm not sure why, because normally I like to write and I'm not shy about putting my thoughts and feelings out there. Maybe itís because I've been having such a good time cruising around, reading other people's blogs, learning and conversing with folks....or maybe I've just been a little lazy. In any case, I've gotten so much inspiration from reading other people's blogs, I thought I would try to return the favor.
So first of all, thank you to all of you for your inspiration and encouragement and support -- it's kept me moving forward and for that I'm so grateful.
When I started seriously sparking back at the end of May, I decided that I needed a goal to get me focused and keep me on track. I've been a runner for 13 years and I've done a few races over those years, including some 10 mile races. I've never had the urge to do a full marathon, but a half sounded like a good challenge. So I found a half marathon race in September 19th and started to step up my running a little bit, and figured I would just keep on upping my miles little by little until I hit 8 miles or so just before the race. For some reason, it didn't occur to me to do any formal training for the race until a friend who runs marathons suggested that working up to 8 miles probably wasn't enough and suggested I look for a training program.
Hmm...I decided maybe she was right. I wanted to be ready for the race and I didn't want to hurt myself by overtraining or training in the wrong way, so I started checking around on the internet and found a bunch of training programs, one of which was from Runner's World magazine. There were programs outlined for 3 levels, Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. Surely, I thought, I am an Intermediate runner. I read the description: had done a number of races, set and achieved speed goals, done speed work, including hill workÖwhat? I hadnít done any of those things! Iím a runnerÖI run! Isnít that enough? WellÖno, apparently not! I went to the Beginner page: has been running for a while, maybe even run a few races, but the only goal was finishing. Yup, thatís me. A beginner. After 13 years!
I decided to work the program, follow the plan and set some solid goals. First I needed to get an assessment of where I was. For losing my first 5 pounds , I had decided to reward myself with a Garmin GPS Forerunner (for runners!). What a cool toy! It gives you your time, your distance and your pace Ė just what I needed! When I started running with the Garmin, I found out I wasnít even doing a 12 minute mile> I had always assumed that was where I was, so I was a little surprised.
All in all, I realized that I had never truly challenged myself physically. I had assumed that I just put on my shoes and run, that would be enough. Well, that would be fine if I were happy maintaining the status quo, but I had already decided that I want to be my best possible self, not just good-enough. I want to reach and stretch in all ways Ė physically, mentally and spiritually. I had challenged myself to do that, and in setting a goal and making a plan, I felt like I was on the right track.
So I got to work. I learned that rest days were important because itís on those recovery days that your body builds new muscle, and they also help prevent injury from overwork. I got my pace down to a twelve minute mile, and started doing some interval training and sprints. Over the summer, I was able to get my regular pace down to an 11 minute mile for a 4-6 mile run, and after working on extending the intervals, I surprised myself and did a full mile at a ten minute pace. Victory! I was really proud. I also learned to love how it felt to sprint, running full out for a short distance, maybe 20-30 meters. I was a sprinter when I was a kid and could usually beat most of the boys in a short race.
I decided not to set a speed goal for the race until I had worked the program and seen what kind of progress I was able to make. Over the months, Sunday runs have been getting longer and longer, with the first 10 mile run last Sunday and another 10 mile run next Sunday, one week before the race. Iíll set my speed goal after that, but I am thinking for this 13.1 mile race, Iíll probably set a goal no faser than a 12 minute mile pace.
To make the first 10 miles interesting, I decided to map out a run through Washington DC, my adopted hometown. I really love DC, its history, its monuments and its reputation as the capital of the free world. And I decided to snap some pics to give you a runnerís eye view of my favorite cityÖ.so here goes...
I started on the Virginia side of the Potomac River. You can see the Jefferson Memorial and the Washington Monument in the distance, across the river behind the railroad bridge.
Then I ran a few miles up the Virginia side of the river and crossed over the Roosevelt bridge into Washington. The Kennedy Center is on the left. I don't go there much -- too expensive -- but they do have some great shows.
And on the right you can see the Washington Monument again. Boring pic, but I'm using as a landmark, and running a big circle around it.
Next I ran by the Lincoln Memorial -- my favorite Republican! And so many tourists! Some of the natives here don't like the tourists but I am happy to share this awesome city. I have an almost religious feeling about democracy and I like to think people catch a little bit of that when they come here.
Turning around, you get an beautiful view of the Washington Monument and the Reflecting Pool. If you look hard you can see the Capitol in the distance too. Getting closer!
Then I ran down the path by the side of the pool and looked back where I came from. I like this shot.
The World War II Memorial is right here, too. An organization here does something called "Freedom Flights" where they fly in surviving World War II vets and bring them to see the Memorial. I've seen them coming off the planes at the airport and every time, everyone in the entire terminal cheers and gives them a standing ovation. It's very moving.
The Washington Monument was really close at that point and I should have taken a picture of it. Darn! Instead I turned left and ran to the White House. What a great crowd in front of the White House! People from all over America and all over the world, asking each other to take their pictures. These nice folks from Nebraska took this picture of me and I returned the favor for them. Theirs is going on their Christmas card!
Around the corner is the Treasury. One thought: get it together, guys!
Turning around, I'm getting ready to run up Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol -- you can see it in the distance. The hotel on the left is called the Willard, and from its lobby the term "lobbyist" was coined by President Ulysses S. Grant, who used to go sit in the lobby, where he was endlessly approached by people seeking favors.
And here we are at the Capitol...
After I took that picture, I ran up the Hill to the Capitol. Ouch! I hadn't really thought about that big hill coming so close to the end of the run, but it was good training for my half marathon, since there's a big hill close to the end of the course. Cool views of the Capitol...I don't think you can see them in these pics, but there people climbing around the scaffolding!
Not too many more pics because I was dragging at that point. And just as well...this is getting a little long!
A quick picture of the Jefferson Memorial, and then I ran back across the 14th Street bridge to Virginia.
I was pleased with my run -- not counting the time I took to stop and snap these shots, I did it in less than two hours -- a twelve minute mile pace!
I'm pleased with all I've learned over the past three months too. To seriously challenge myself. To set goals. To learn as much as possible from as many resources as I can find to achieve and exceed my goals. And best of all that there is a wonderful, supportive and inspiring community right here at my fingertips!
I hope you enjoyed this little tour of my beloved town! And my deepest, most heartfelt thanks for your encouragement over the past three months! When I run the race I will be thinking of all of you who have inspired me to keep stretching and striving to be the best possible me I can be!
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Iím leaving Monday for a 9 day trip Ė 4 days in Wisconsin for work and 5 days at my Momís in Canada for her 75th birthday. Each with its own particular challenges! So I decided Iíd better think about my strategies in advance.
I noticed last time I was on work travel that I react to stress by stuffing every possible thing in my mouth, which was interesting because prior to that revelation, I didnít even realize that I was feeling stress during work travel. And there is always much food available as my organization loves to feed people! So here below are my strategies for dealing with stress and sticking to my plan.
ē I am looking ahead and identifying potential stressors, and taking action in advance. For instance, while Iím usually well prepared in terms of substance for presentations, I am going to do a little more practice and visualization to help me be more fully prepared.
ē I will try to be aware of stress as it arises and respond accordingly. Maybe itís something that can be fixed. If it is generalized, Iíll try One Minute Meditations to bring the level down.
ē I plan to bring healthy snacks (not always available on site) like granola bars, almonds, dates and fruit. Iím going to stay away from sweets and desserts completely because itís so easy to get out of control! And Iíll continue to avoid alcohol.
ē Iím pretty sure I can stick to my workout schedule, all the hotels have fitness rooms. Iíll add some additional short yoga practices (time allowing) because it is an awesome de-stresser. I have yoga on my laptop from www.yogadownloads.com. C heck it out!
ē And hereís the best thing: I have a colleague on the trip who has recently lost a lot of weight and we have pledged to support each other with our food and fitness goals. Woo hoo!
Visiting my MomÖdefinitely we are tempted to stress eat with family, right? It will be great to see everyone Ė both sisters are coming along with sisterís kids and BF and his son too Ė but with all the usual family tensions and plenty of GREAT food because my mom is an incredible cook, plenty of opportunity to WAAAAAYYY overeat!
ē I decided my Momís b-day itself will be a ďfree dayĒ and I wonít restrict myself to the upper limit of 1590 calories I normally (try to!) stick to. I plan to stick to the no alcohol pledge I made to myself though (not drinking until my beach vacation the second week of August, and re-evaluating after that). Iíll tell everyone Iím in training for my half marathon...
ē Already put in a request for healthy food!
ē Iíll probably get some extra workouts in, and hopefully do some walks with my sis who turned me on to SP 6 years ago.
ē Yoga and meditation as needed!
Iím looking forward to the trip, and feel good about the plan.
As always, Spark friends, all suggestions, comments and advice are welcome!
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