Thursday, October 04, 2012
OK, we've ALL seen this motivational poster...
Admit it...the first time you saw it, you were all, "TOTALLY TRUE!!!! I LOVE THAT SO MUCH!"
Then you saw it a few hundred more times...to the point where you no longer get excited when you see it and you probably just vomited in your mouth a little when you saw it here on my blog. Be honest. Hey...I feel the same way about all motivational quotes that seem to make the rounds over and over.
But sometimes seasons come where you can see things in a fresh light. I've made no efforts to hide the fact in the past that I struggle with depression. It's a lovely little ailment that my Mum was kind enough to pass down to me when I was just a wee little lass (i.e. official medical term is "dysthymia").
Anyway, I've been in a bit of a slump since my race last week. As for diet, I have been in a slump since before the race. My food choices have just been awful since last Friday.
Because the 10k was so hard on my left knee, I have not attempted any workouts this week either. When you add up a horrible diet and no workouts and the low level depression that I normally feel at all times, it's kind of a recipe for emotional disaster. It seems crazy even to me that a slump of just 4 days can have such a profound impact on a person, but here is where depression is a tricky little son of a gun.
Guys, I literally had this thought yesterday: "Maybe this IS all just a phase. Maybe I should just give up. I don't feel like doing anything. I've lost my momentum and maybe I should just run this half and be done for good."
EXCUSE ME????? WHAT?????!!!!!
Luckily, I also have an inner Jillian Michaels, who immediately flared up and gave me quite a talking to - complete with bleeped out words. I'll spare you the actual dialogue because I'm sure you can imagine. It was somewhat more animated than this, but held the same basic message:
So, what do you do when you hit a slump and you don't have the DESIRE to change?
1. Get your workout stuff ready. Pack the gym bag and put it by your stuff and put your workout clothes right next to your bed.
2. Set your stupid alarm clock way earlier than you want to set it.
3. When the alarm clock goes off, get your ass out of bed and get dressed. Walk out the door.
4. Drive to your exercise destination. Even if, like me this morning, you are complaining and upset the entire way.
5. Get in the stupid pool (tailored to my particular workout this morning). Forget about HOW MUCH you DO NOT want to do this.
6. Start swimming.
7. Keep swimming. Might as well...you're already in there...and it's only 30 minutes. (FYI...it took me 20 lengths to actually feel like being in the pool was maybe a good choice for this morning...TWENTY!)
8. Do it for half an hour. Stop bitching.
That's it, folks.
And here is where the miracle is delivered. The change in my heart, mind and emotions was absolutely astounding this morning. I felt amazing physically and like I was given a fresh start with my diet. More than that, I actually WANTED healthy food after that workout! The two really go go hand in hand.
I immediately thought of the poster that had annoyed me so many times and realized the truth of those words. It is only after a slump so deep and dark that I can appreciate those words and truly understand them.
Last night, I fell asleep thinking to myself, "Someone needs to save me and pull me out of this." Well, guess what...I didn't need anyone to do it for me. I just needed to make a decision to get out there and do what I know is right. And it changed everything.
Tuesday, October 02, 2012
Just caught this clip on Facebook...looks like it's making the rounds. But if you haven't seen it yet...I thought it was just perfect for SparkPeople.
What a strong woman. We can all learn from this beautiful lady!
Monday, October 01, 2012
For the past two days, I've been working late into the night on my Training Goals and Plan for the entire coming year. I figure, once I finish this half marathon, I'll take two weeks of complete rest for recovery. But then, November 1st is a great time to begin serious training and weight loss for the coming race season, which, for me, will begin in March 2013.
I've been following a very detailed process in setting up this training plan and I found it in "The Triathlete's Training Bible". There is SO much that goes into this that I never thought of, you guys! But I love that it walks you step by step through each week of the year and helps you assign total hours to each week for workouts. It practically sets it up so you CAN'T overtrain. I really needed that kind of help and those kind of limits.
The first thing I had to do was decide on my races for next year. Only then could I determine how my training should be focused and should ebb and flow throughout the year. So, I chose 10 races (two 5ks, a 10k, two half marathons, a full marathon, two 1-hour indoor triathlons and one sprint triathlon) - spaced out enough, of course, so I could avoid fatigue. If you really are desperate to know which races, I've posted them on my SparkPage.
It seems insane to plan this far in advance...but, if you think about how you need a certain number of weeks to build strength, endurance and speed before any given race, then recovery time as well and then you think that there are a total of 52 weeks in the year...and I've chosen 10 races that are pretty much packed into a 9-month time frame....you start to understand how short a year actually is!
I figured, while I'm at it (and while some of the races I just did are fresh in my mind), I should probably put together a budget too. If I know how much I need, I can just set aside a large chunk of my tax refund and have it be a race fund. No more scrounging for hotel money at the last second, you know?
I included every expense I could possibly think of in this budget (all race registration fees, any travel costs like gas and hotels, food for away races, extra spending at expos, 3 months of unlimited spinning in the winter Prep and Base Training phases, and a joint supplement that a personal trainer friend of mine has been begging me to try - she swears it will heal my tendinitis). All this...and I need to purchase a proper road bike for my triathlons. I am certain the bike I have now does not correctly fit me. Plus, it's a men's bike. Haha. Obviously, that's a big chunk of my budget (about $1500) and it's just a one time purchase. But...my grand total estimate came out to.....
$5700 - for an entire year of racing and training
This is all individual costs and does not take into account any race coupons, roommates in hotel rooms at away races, etc. Also, I travel for my job twice a year and I rack up some pretty nice air and hotel reward points...so I'm certain that will alleviate some of these costs.
So, leaving out the bike...let's go with an estimate of $4,000. Isn't that an UNGODLY amount for a hobby?
Well...let's change tracks for a second. My good buddy, Michelle, bought me the cutest shirt for my birthday. I tried it on and put on my "skinny" jeans and happened to walk by the mirror this morning. I thought, "Hey, this makes me look nice." But then I did a little search through some old photos and I was literally floored at the difference between then and now.
My running buddy and I have talked about how our bodies are changing and, even if we don't believe it or see it ourselves, they are shrinking. I have had SO many comments lately and do you know what I think to myself while I thank the person who is gushing over my transformation???? "It's just the outfit that is an illusion. I still look the same. This person knows I've been working out so they are just saying that to try to make me feel good. I don't look that different."
And it's not even just with other people. My own mind refuses to move forward and acknowledge my size reality. I still get confused and feel like I need to order a 2XL shirt because the XL won't fit me. I have been wearing XL for quite some time now and have not worn a 2XL in months....but I can't seem to let go of that idea that I'll never lose weight.
But when I saw this photo...finally, guys....finally, I believe that I am changing.
That girl on the left was shrinking from that camera. And look how she was hiding herself under baggy clothes. The one on the right has nowhere to hide the flab. There can't be any trick lighting when the shirt is that tight. And I'll tell you something...my ass looked pretty awesome today too...but I couldn't get a good pic for ya. Sorry. The girl on the right is kinda sassy, isn't she? She is beginning to believe that she *might* be desirable and that people might actually look at her twice, rather than completely ignoring her.
How much is that woman on the right worth in dollars? How much would the woman on the left spend on diabetes or heart disease in a few short years if she didn't shape up and get with the program? How many years of life would she miss and what is the financial value of seeing her grandkids grow up? Can you put a price on her confidence and comfort in her own skin?
Is she worth $4,000/year and a whole hell of a lot of hard physical work in the gym and out on the trails?
Sunday, September 30, 2012
So, the race I've been waiting for for months finally occurred yesterday. The Fort4Fitness 10k. Not only was it my longest race ever (so far), but I had plans to meet up with SparkFriends that I have been chatting with, texting and e-mailing for months, but have never met in person. We came from almost every direction to get to Fort Wayne. From the North: RUNFOR3POINT1 (Brighton, MI). From the East - SNEVIL1 (Baltimore, MD) and SPARKL3 (Columbus, OH). And from the South - myself (Bloomington, IN) and ABSOLUTZER0 (Little Rock, AR).
Friday night, arrived at the hotel to greet Michelle (RUNFOR3POINT1), Laura (SPARKL3) and Sara (SNEVIL1). We all arrived around the same time...well, actually, Michelle and Laura did. But someone had to be late because they stopped for a Big Mac on the way and subsequently felt sick. I have no idea who would do such a horrific, non-Spark like thing!!!! Haha. Believe me, guys...I never heard the end of it! L.O.L. Sara arrived a little after me and we all took off to go check out the Expo and "health fair".
Ummm...expo was not the shiz...let's just say that. Really kind of a letdown, but it didn't matter to us. We got some free stuff and it was fun just being together...absolutely beautiful day and we had a ton of laughs.
You can bet we made fun of Michelle all weekend for "ONLY" running the 4-mile race while the rest of us ran the 10k. But, alas, who had the last laugh? Probably Michelle when, several hours after the race, a very cranky Leah stormed out of the bathroom whining, "Waaah, I fuc*king hate running! Why do I do this to myself????" And Nick subsequently burst out laughing and said, "Your blog is going to say that running is all sunshine and rainbows, though." Well, there. I'm nothing if not honest, friends. Haha.
After the expo, we chilled at the hotel sports bar and the girls got some grub while I drank an iced tea. No, not because of Big Mac guilt...but because I was not going to waste money at a chain restaurant when the race was giving us a pasta dinner for $3.75. I mean, come on now! Sadly, Laura had to head back after dinner. I still can't believe that lovely lady drove all the way out JUST to see us and to attend a crappy expo. Ha!
Nick (ABSOLUTZER0) didn't arrive until very late because crazy man drove a full 12 hours in one day! Wow!
Race morning was less than enthusiastic in our room. I think Michelle woke up about 25 minutes before her race. I thought we'd have to force her out of bed. The 10k started at 9am and her race started at 7:30am (tee hee). Of course, speed demon was done before we even GOT down to the starting line...35 mins 47 secs. Geez. She rocks! She hated running when she met me. I have now fully assimilated her. Well...maybe not fully...she has yet to tackle 10k. But...SHE WILL. Mwahahahaha.
And what better motivation could a person get before a super scary race than being cheered on by one of their running heroes? I can't tell you what a boost it was to have this guy there!
It was great knowing that Sara was running with me and that we are about the same pace. We figured we'd run the whole thing together. I almost left my ipod in the room b/c I rarely use one when I have a running buddy (truth is, I haven't used one for running in months), but I brought it...just in case. Before the cannon even went off to start the race, I was having ankle problems. Popping and pain. This was making me VERY nervous so I was a *little* cranky prior to the start.
Race started and I was seriously worried. Ran the first mile with Sara. Girl was on fire and I was just praying the pain would go away. I tried to keep up with her, but once I hit Mile 1, I decided to take it easy and walk for .25 miles. After that, I didn't see Sara until I finished. But it was OK. I was really glad I'd brought music, though. It was literally the only thing that pulled me through some patches. The crowds were really great in Fort Wayne and the community was so supportive.
Though the expo was lacking, the race was WONDERFUL! And I would just like to personally thank the city of Fort Wayne for stationing uniformed National Guard all along the course for my viewing enjoyment. What lovely scenery in the Fort. *sigh* The churches all came out and cheered on the runners...it was really uplifting. The weather was gorgeous.
The first 3.1 miles for me were pretty tough. I was no longer in pain after 1.25 miles, as my ankle stiffness had worked its way out and my body was feeling great. But, mentally...the distance was looming in my mind and I just kept doubting myself. Then, I'd immediately counter with, "Leah, you have to do this or you won't be able to do a half marathon in 3 weeks. Be strong!" At the 5k mark, the half marathon runners merged with the 10k and, you know...from there, my spirit was really lifted. I was so encouraged and inspired to see them and then to be a part of them and run next to them...it really helped me find that second wind and dig deep to keep going. In fact, once the halfers joined us...I think I only walked one or two times, for a very short period and then just to fuel quickly. I was able to keep running the rest of the race. In total, I probably walked about 1.5 miles total out of the 6.2 miles.
The best part of the race was the finish. Not because I was tired, but because you got to run into the minor league baseball stadium there and I was not expecting what I found there. The stands were packed with fans, they were showing all the runners coming in on the JumboTron and you had to run the entire outside of the field to get to the Finish Line. The crowds were cheering and it seems cheesy, but it was just a really special moment and I thought, "I am really proud of myself." I thought about how I will feel when I finish my half marathon and I can't even imagine it. I can't begin to imagine how it would compare to this finish.
I was telling Sara after the race, "You know...you say, 'I'm gonna run a 10k' and it sounds like nothing...especially when you are so used to being around runners." But, really...6.2 miles is A LONG WAY. It's NOT EASY AT ALL. It's actually REALLY HARD. We were both SO proud of ourselves for finding inside ourselves the ability to finish. We had both gone in with very little mileage (me due to injury and her due to busyness of everyday life). We both have our first half marathon looming (mine in 3 weeks and hers in 2 weeks). It was a really special moment for us.
We had both hoped to finish under or around 1 hr 30 minutes. Sara finished in 1 hr 17 mins 14 seconds and I came in shortly after her at 1 hr 22 mins 49 secs. We were both so happy with those results!
After the race, I caught up with my running buddy, Sarah (the one I picked up on the trail with a note!) This was her first half marathon and I'm SO proud of her!!!! We will run the half marathon together in 3 weeks as well.
Also met up with my assistant, Katherine, who I had pressured to sign up for F4F (she signed up for the half with very little training and she did great!)
SUCH a great race! And it really helped give me more confidence for the half that's coming up. I had some initial soreness in my ankle (expected) and also some tenderness in my left knee (unexpected). Iced quite a lot after the race and rested up a lot. Then, we went to dinner at a hibachi grill, which was really quite entertaining (at least for Sara and I).
Spent the rest of the evening watching "Big Bang Theory" and snoozing. Perfect.
It was a wonderful weekend. I feel closer to my Sparkies than ever and I'm really just thankful I got to experience all of it. I'm absolutely trembling with anticipation for the half...it will definitely be the pinnacle of my year and I wish I could run it tomorrow! OK...maybe not. This body is still PRETTY sore...and needs some recovery time. Maybe no workouts this week except swimming mid-week. I'd like to try 10 miles next weekend....but we'll see.
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