Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Hey there old (and new friends)! I havenít forgotten about you, I swear. Life has just been so busy. But in good news, it is slowing down. This past weekend my family and I took the time to do just that; SLOW DOWN. Every weekend for the last several months has been jam packed with rushing from place A to place B with no down time at all. This past month has been filled with lots of scouting events, camping trips and a huge party that we threw for our friends. A very awesome 1920ís themed murder mystery party. Honestly, the best night of my life, I swear! We are already planning the next one! Here are a few pics from the evening.
Me trying to bring back the fingerwave
Me and my amazing mobster husband
Now everything is winding down. We decided to go into the holiday weekend with very few plans. I started the week thinking about how this weekend would be a great time to jump back into running as I havenít done very much of it since doing Insanity for that month and this weekend was the date of the marathon I had planned on being my second, but I took the time to rest and recuperate instead. I started out feeling a little sad about that, but I will have more. My family could not handle my training schedule this winter and spring and that is ok. I donít need to be wonder woman. I have plenty of time to get out there and hit the pavement and train for another this year. After my 5 minute pity party, I decided my sole goal of the weekend we to spend an hour on the hammock with my husband and I did just that. Goal met! We had a few cookouts, drank a few too many adult beverages with friends, swam in the pool, did some minor gardening and did a lot of relaxing. It was a glorious weekend. I hope everyone had a great weekend, too.
This past month, since my last update, Iíve been sticking with P90x fitness wise. I havenít been running, but made that a conscious decision to give my ankles and knees a break after the disaster that was Insanity. I did work in a few small 2 mile runs the last few weeks, but not enough to bring my base back up. I have a 3.5 mile race on Thursday so it will be interesting. Iím definitely not expecting a PR by any stretch of the imagination.
Nutrition wise Iíve been doing ok. The 80% rule of eating healthy just doesnít work for me, though. I maintain the same weight, which is great, but Iíve noticed that since losing all this weight any sodium or alcohol I consume leaves me so bloated for days. Iím going to make a concentrated effort to eliminate alcoholic beverages (this oneís been tough this month Ė a lot of entertaining and parties) and limit my sodium (which hasnít been that bad but can use improvement). Iíve also been making an effort to make a vegetarian meal for our family once a week. Last week I made baked falafels and they were a huge hit! Also, we planted a family garden for the first time! Today is the 6th day since seeds have been in and I was surprised with this little cucumber guy this morning! Iím so excited to eat and can all of the fresh produce this summer!
My little helper
My first sight of the cucumbers!
So, thereís my update. I have about a month until our family vacation and while I donít expect to lose very much weight between now and then, Iím definitely going to be more strict with my food intake and workouts to visit my family being the best me I can be and undo the damage from the large amounts of light beer, vodka and lemonade that I drank this weekendÖ
Monday, April 30, 2012
So, I gave Insanity another fair shake. This time it wasnít just 2 weeks after running my first marathon, during which I really strained my IT band and alternated limping and running the last 6 miles (ie, WAY too soon) and I gave it my full commitment for 3 weeks.
After 3 weeks I decided it is just not for me. Iím not insane enough to finish Insanity. And that kind of makes me sad. Iím someone who likes to finish what I started. I wanted to do this program as I truly thought it would help me strengthen my core and hip flexors and build up my cardio in a way different than running, but that would help me in the long run (pun totally intended).
Could I finish it? Absolutely. Itís not that hard. I mean, itís hard, but itís not impossible. I burned a ton of calories (between 550 and 750 each day). I sweated up a storm and felt great doing it. I had fun doing the workouts. It mixes up a lot of the same moves, but I challenged myself and had a good time. I didnít even mind the insane amount of repetition. There is not a large variety in the workouts to begin with and rotating the same few over and over each week had not started to bother me at all.
Hereís the thing, I feel no change. I donít feel stronger, I donít feel faster, my cardio is not improved. I can do the workouts easier than when I started, but I canít run as long without taking a break which was my ultimate goal. I actually feel worse. My ankles feel weak and donít even get me started on my shoulders. I went for a ďfunĒ run, an extra workout, one night and had to stop after 2 Ĺ miles because the pain in my shoulders from swinging was unbearable. I was in severe physical pain. I run with pretty good form, minimize the arm movements, keep my core strong, etc and I felt like there was a raging inferno inside each of my shoulders. The amount of pushups wasnít a big deal, itís doing them daily, with speedÖitís just not for me. I started feeling broken down. I guess Iím just not meant to leap around the room every day.
Iím not a quitter. I really wanted to do this and finish it with flying colors and a tighter body. Heck, Iíll admit it, I wanted that darn T-shirt! But Iím not going to be stupid. I decided to swallow my pride and go back to what I know works and what I love. I want to run, thatís my exercise passion. I am going to do it smarter this season, like I had said before. Iím not just going to run. Iím going to find a better balance with lots of core, leg and strength training work. Honestly, P90x gives me all that I need minus the running so Iím just going to make a plan involving it both and stick to that. When I complete it, Iíll by my own darn T-shirt! I might not earn theirs, but Iím definitely going to earn my own by being smart and not setting myself up for failure or injury.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
I thought Iíd drop in and give you guys a super quick update on whatís been going on and whatís been keeping me so busy and, wellÖnot here.
First things first, my appologies. I am still here, still going strong and Sparking on. I have been ridiculously crazy busy at work and at home and just havenít had the time to spend online. I can assure you, while I am not here every day or every week supporting my friends on here, I am thinking of you often. I am still cheering for you and when I do have a free minute I am trying to pop on here to catch up a little. I can also assure you I am doing my best to continue to live a healthy lifestyle and make improvements in my body, both mentally and physically.
At the beginning of the year, I set a goal to run 2 marathons this year. My husband wanted to run and train with me and do a half and then a full in the fall with me. I started running and training, but our family schedule (we are very involved in boy scouts and cub scouts, plus kids sport and dance schedulesÖitís pretty nuts) quickly proved to be near impossible to get long runs in. I kept with my training plan, minus the long runs and focused on speed and distances shorter than 5 miles and strength training on non running days. I mixed up my workouts and made them fun. But I had no goal, no drive; nothing pushing me forward other than tiny personal things like running a sub 8:30. (Made my month!) Iíd done the distances, Iíd reached my goalsÖIíd gotten comfortable. And comfortable, my friends, is a double edged sword.
Iíll admit, I have been struggling with chocolate lately and the holiday season (I'm talking Christmas still people... Man I've been gone a while!), which came so quickly after the ďletdown and recoveryĒ of the completion of my first marathon. They say you get the post marathon blues and I didnít really buy it as I was riding the high of it for so long. I still think of the sheer joy on that day and am so proud of my accomplishment but there was definitely a sort of lull in momentum. Iíve gained about 6 lbs since the marathon due to not spending enough time focusing on my health, enjoying a few too many holiday goodies and drinks and not making the time to exercise everyday and I had gained 5 over the course of the summer while marathon training (all that running made me so hungry! I guess that is very common). All in all, not too bad. Since the beginning of the year, I have gained and re-lost the same 5 lbs. My downfall is sugar right now; sugar, stress, lack of time and focus and comfort.
We all want to reach a point in our lives where we are comfortable in our own skin; with our size, our appearance, our hair, styleÖthatís everyoneís dream, right? Wouldnít it feel great to wake up in the morning and just love yourself and know that whatever you put on will look great and feel great and you never have to worry about putting on a smile because you are just so happy being you? I know, Iíve been there, too. But Iíve come to learn that with comfort comes slacking. Iím not talking about ďsitting down and eating a heaping bowl of bacon and macaroni and cheese followed up with a pint of Ben and JerryísĒ but more of a ďhey, that extra 400 calories today wonít kill me Iím happy where I am and donít have xyz lbs to lose anymoreĒ, the "dude, I'm tired and don't want to get out of bed an hour early to workout. I don't NEED it" and the ďdonít worry about eating that cookie, you lost the weight once you know you can do it.Ē Comfortable, itís not all itís cracked up to be.
So, what is causing all this stress? If you are easily bored, you might want to skip this part. OK? Youíre still here? Well, donít say I didnít warn you. Iíve been highly involved in my work since early last spring when I was informed that the company I work for was preparing for a huge merger with an overseas company/customer/competitor/friend. I was able to juggle it all; family, work, exercise, training, until after the marathon. We signed on the merger a few days after the race and I just hit a wall. I was tired, I was sore and my job was even more demanding than usual and there was an added level of stress as this merger wasnít resulting in us being the controlling force we had always been. While this was going on, I was also very involved in a more in-depth than usual sales tax audit and a bank audit. Because of the merger, weíve had 3 year ends in a 4 month period (one of which is moving fiscal to calendar)(man my life is so glamorous, lol) and since our fiscal year end I have been battling with new financial auditors who are auditing 3 year ends, the opening balance sheet, the saleÖeverything. FOR MONTHS. Oh yeah, and I also had the bright idea to update our budgeting and financial reporting software in the midst of all this crazinessÖnot the best idea. AnyhooÖhopefully this will all be coming to a close in the next few weeks and I can breathe a little more freely. And stop turning to dark chocolate chips and baking to cope with my stress. My skin and waistline will thank me!
So, that brings us all to today. Last week, I decided to stop being comfortable. I was uncomfortable living comfortably. This came after 2 weeks with almost no exercise. I hadnít gone that long without exercise since starting on this journey more than 2 years ago! I was tired, I was run downÖI quit being me. I took a few days off from work (while auditors were still there, but I got over the guilt), spent time with my family just being together. That gave me the mental clarity that I needed to make a huge change. I immediately took all my measurements and set myself up for a challenge.
So, Iím putting running on a short hiatus. Running is so important to me. I give it so much credit in losing weight and becoming healthy. I love to run and really enjoy the time I spend doing it. But, my body is comfortable running. It is comfortable in my routines and itís not going to change that on its own. I looked back through pictures of me over the last year and a half, while at different weights and different stages of health and to me; I looked the best while working my way through P90x. I wasnít at my lowest weight, but I looked great and felt great after completing it. Iíve also been reading a lot about improving in running and different forms of cross training as I want to attack my next marathon differently (much more strength and core training! Running alone will get you to the finish line, but strength training will get you there stronger and faster. I missed that part last time). Iíve read a lot about Plyometrics and decided to commit to the Insanity program 100%. I started it before, but it was much too soon after the marathon and the fact that I didnít strength train as I should have while training for the big day made my recovery much longer. My legs and core could not handle it at the time. This time, Iíve spent the last several months with a good base running schedule and have worked in a lot of P90x and Insanity workouts for cross training so I know I will be successful.
I love that feelingÖknowing I can do it. ďChallenge accepted!Ē to quote the great Barney Stinson. But more importantly, I love knowing that I will see results. That is so important.
So, Iím almost done week 1. I have to say, I am so uncomfortable. My body is using muscles that just donít get touched while running. And I have to say, I LOVE IT!
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
These last several months have been crazy, busy, fun, exciting, scaryÖA LOT has gone on. The last 9 months I have been deeply entrenched in a very large merger at work, which finally became public knowledge and finalized a few weeks ago. I spent the majority of that time also juggling my time training for running my first marathon, my family and friends, a busy cub scout program/summer camp and the whole Womanís World magazine thing. Iíve had a lot on my plate and with logging so many miles each week I was able to relax a little bit on my calories. I needed to eat more and I let myself eat things that I wouldnít normallyÖlike brownies. And beer. I was just more relaxed and less focused on nutrition being 95% clean. I didnít go hog wild or anything, but I was just comfortable. If I made a batch of brownies, Iíd have a half and know it was going to be well spent on my next run. That comfortable balance kept me at the same weight all summer, give or take 5 lbs. Iíd swing from 160 to 165 and back all summer long.
Now, wellÖthe marathon training is over and the merger is all signed sealed and delivered and we are working even harder than before towards a new future. The anxiety and stress from the 5 minutes of fame from the magazine article has come and gone. And while Iím still extremely busy at work and with life I took some down time this past month to relax a little and just be. Iím mostly happy with my size so I just enjoyed being for the last month, without worry and stress of my next run, my splits, my meal before a run, if I body glided enough, if I was wearing the proper gear, had enough fuel with me, enough sleep each night, my calorie intake, my carbs vs fat vs protein ratios, etc.
It was a very welcomed break.
But now, this break is still hanging on. Iím feeling softer, more tired and less motivated to jump out of bed in the morning to get my sweat on. My warm bed has won more days than not this past week and a half. I did attempt to jump back in to a vigorous routine about 2 weeks after the marathon, was gung ho with Insanity for a week and was feeling better, but I went out for my first run post marathon and really struggled. My IT band was sore and couldnít handle it. I ended up walking almost 2 miles of a 6 - 7 mile run and most of the running was interrupted with stretching breaks to try to loosen it up. I think the jumping around like a lunatic and all of the squats/squat jacks followed up by jumping back into running was a little bit too much. So, there I wasÖ.injured on the sidelines and back to being comfortable.
I took a week off to rest. And I settled back into the ďcomfortableĒ. It was my sonís birthday so I had a half of a piece of cake, not a whole one like I would have before or would have liked, but a half. I had a half of a cupcake twice this past week, too. I still did the right things, though. I made lasagna for my family, but made myself marinara with a small amount of turkey sausage and whole wheat pasta, skipped the garlic breadÖbut did have a few glasses of wine. Iíd like to just tell myself ďHey, Iím just maintaining. Thatís great! Iím living my life, making adaptations to enjoy food with family and friends, blah, blah, blahÖĒ All that stuff that you always hear maintainers say.
But thatís just it. Iím maintaining. And itís not good enough, franklyÖit sucks.
The act of maintaining is, by definition: to keep in an existing state (as of repair, efficiency, or validity) : preserve from failure or decline. Yeah, thatís all hunky dory, but how do you keep up the drive for success if you donít keep striving for improvement. I donít want to stay in this existing state; I want to continue to try to be the best me I can be. Maintenance is not good enough. Maintenance is making me comfortable and comfortable leads to being lax. Being laxÖwell friends, thatís how I ended up here in the first place. See the cycle? I read recently that even 100 extra calories each day leads to a 10 pound weight gain in a year. 100 calories a day, thatís a tablespoon of chocolate chips to fill that chocolate fix or one slice of cheese or that yummy flavored cream in my coffee this morning or that one extra apple because Iím feeling extra hungry! I know Iíve been having that little bit extra and then some. And while the scale hasnít shown it yet, I know itís just a matter of time. Itís time for action, nowÖbefore it gets out of control.
So today, when I had the conversation with my sleepy and warm self in bed, we decided that today was the day to jump back in. Iím starting over. A new me, new goals, new plan (well, the same plan, but new page). Iím starting a new journey. Iíve already lost the weight to bring myself to a healthy weight. Iíve gotten fit and Iíve maintained it for about 9 months now. Now I want more. I want to lose more, lift more, run more, LIVE more. And I will!
Starting today my action plan is this:
1) I used to keep a spreadsheet of my weekly weight, I started a new page, with a new goal. I know I can reach it.
2) I am going to log my food 100%. I had great success with this and it made me see what I was doing right and wrong so, I usually do little spot checks, but incorporating this back into my daily routine will make me more aware and accountable.
3) Starting tomorrow, the level headed me will win over the warm, sleepy one. I will go back to daily workouts and kicking some major butt.
4) I am going to go back to measuring my food portions. Especially my half fat ice creamÖmuch to my dismay. Iíve kept up with measuring a lot of things, but the ice cream has been a rough estimate for months.
5) Iím going back to monthly measuring. I havenít gained too much in fluff, but itís there. My 8ís are getting tighter and I really donít want to go up a size so measuring will keep my eye on the prize.
6) Iím going to try to find more time to SparkÖIím going to have to work hard on this one. My plate is still very, very full, but Iím going to try my hardest.
7) Iím going to enlist an accountability partner. I think this part is harder than losing the weight when I was morbidly obeseÖI donít NEED to lose it so itís easier to make excuses. Iím enlisting my husband to join me. We are signing up for a Tough Mudder in the spring and it would do us both a lot of good to be as strong, fit and healthy as we can be.
8) Iím going to start running for fun again. No planned mileage goals to meet, but work up my base to a good level and go for weekly long runs. If I want to run 9, Iíll run 9, if I want to run 13, Iíll run 13, but Iím going to do it for fun.
Iím happy, Iím excited. Iím DRIVEN and inspired to make a change. Iím prepared. Iím ready.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
I love lists. It's no secret. I wanted to organize my thoughts for my next marathon and training so that I could go back and read this and make improvements. Hopefully it can help someone else, too. Though everyone is different.
1) I need to increase my sodium over time, not at the last minute. I was lacking in the sodium department, barely sweat during the race but my feet swelled up from the day beforeís attempt at balancing my sodium levels resulting in nasty blisters and losing toe nails. No biggie, toe nails are for sissies anyway, but DUDE do those blisters hurt. Figure it out.
2) Relax. You did it once, you will be able to do it again. No worries, just enjoy it.
3) Enjoy the last month of long runs. Try to think of them as quiet time and just be in the moment instead of being a ďDoubting LeelaĒ and thinking that you wonít be able to do it.
4) Donít loosen up on the strength training. Find a better schedule and make the time to keep up with strength training. Your core, back and shoulders really will thank you and your arms wonít lose some of the tone you worked so hard to get.
5) Eat more the night before. Mess around with different carb loading dinners early in the training. Your Subway sub really just wasnít enough to keep you going on the big day and Gu and Gatorade can only do so much without making you really nauseated by mile 20.
6) Donít listen to your husband when he tells you to dress warmer. I donít care if itís 30 degrees out, you will be warm enough once you are moving and by mile 10 you will be regretting your decision to wear sleevesÖevery time. I donít care how cute he looks when he suggests it or that he is just looking out for you and you find that sexyÖitís not the time to listen to anyone else.
7) Pace, pace, pace. You want to improve your overall time, not your half time. Save yourself for the hard part, the last 10 miles.
8) Try eating a banana on the super long runs. That way you know you can when you really want one.
9) Vary the training. You want to get faster; train faster and train smarter.
10) Skip the Ipod on some runs. Just focus on you, your body, your breath, your reasons for running and your journey you have taken to get to where you are today. Zen like.
11) Try not to go crazy when you taper. Your knee doesnít really hurt more when you actually arenít even running much. Your ankle isnít going to just break while walking across a room. You probably donít even need to freak out about stubbing your toe like you didÖyou can not protect your feet like they are Fort Knox and those aches and pains are just your mind messing with you. Relax.
12) Try not to bite everyoneís head off when you taper. Try not to get irritable and cranky while dealing with so many emotions: amped up, excited, want it over with, just want to get out and run but shouldnít, never want to run again from trainingÖtry to RELAX.
13) Remember to smile like no oneís business when you cross that finish line. You can do it.
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