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A week between blogs

Sunday, March 11, 2012

From the outside, this must look like a loss of focus and/or motivation. There certainly is some truth to that; but as is typical of life, there are a lot of moving pieces.

Work is crazy. When this happens, one of my natural inclinations is to take whatever free time I have as down time, not organized into doing anything productive. Hence, no blogs and few comments on other folks' blogs.

Progress on the eternal foot injury has slowed to where I don't notice it getting better each day. The bad foot is just kind of there. Thursday it felt enough better that I tested it with a walk. Went 0.47 miles in 8 minutes, and that was enough to convince me that this was too soon. The foot got worse, and it's only now about back to where it was before that.

I was getting discouraged with the lack of progress on the foot. It's only 7 weeks till my half marathon, and at this rate I'll just get my expensive technical shirt and not even line up at the starting line. Bummer. So, how bad is it? It's about time to look at some quantifiable stuff.

I donated blood last Monday. Blood pressure was 98/58, and pulse was 44. That's just about the same as last time, so far not affected by taking a month off from running. I wonder how long that can last?

Tonight I tested some light running up and down my hallway, with the tape still on my foot but otherwise barefoot. I could do 2 circuits without significant discomfort, which is better than the last time I tested. However, it's still not time to get out and train for running. :(

Okay, how about pushups? The last time I tested real pushups (as opposed to the pushups on the ball I'm doing each morning), I had to quit at 26 because the bad foot wouldn't support the pushup position. Did a test just now, and got 70 pushups in; and I quit because of upper body strength exhaustion rather than the foot. That's good news.

I also notice that I'm not remembering to ice down the foot or take ibuprofen regularly. That might be slowing the recovery, but it also means the foot isn't constantly reminding me how bad it's hurt. Perhaps that's a progress indicator of sorts.

So I guess it's going OK. I adjusted my calories up and appear to have stopped the weight loss; it remains to be seen whether the next adjustment will be an increase due to more activity or a decrease because of loss of fitness while I can't run or walk distances. But at least controlling the food is something I can do even with a bad foot.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HEALTHIERKEN 3/13/2012 11:20AM

    Great work with the push-ups!

Maybe the shirt becomes a trophy to your overcoming adversity and disappointment instead of a badge of running achievement. Still a good trophy : )

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FIT2BETHIN 3/12/2012 10:03AM

    Congrats on measuring your progress in other ways! Sounds like you're doing very well! Hang in there....your foot will get it's own sweet time.

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RG_DFW 3/12/2012 7:40AM

    I'm certainly pulling for you to get back to 100 percent soon!!

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BYFTHALONE1 3/12/2012 5:22AM

    While I certainly empathize with you on the race, I missed a scheduled 4 mile race this past Saturday, you know that taking the time to heal is most important. All to often we try to rush things only to set us back. Keep up the good work and before you know it you'll be out there knocking down the miles. Keep the faith!

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Checking in, no real news

Sunday, March 04, 2012

I see I haven't blogged in 3 days. Part of that has been being busy, part has been not having much to say that's relevant to fitness or nutrition. I've been eating to plan, the weight is kind of stable with a slow downward trend, and I don't see an immediate need to adjust my calorie range. The range will have to come up when I become more active, whenever that may be.

I got a bit bummed out because my bad foot got ever so slightly worse. This wasn't too hard to figure out. The foot had been feeling better, so I felt better about walking briskly and got more steps in. I tested running perhaps too many times. Big surprise, a slight move backwards in the recovery.

So this weekend I've been pretty slothful by post-SP standards. I get between 10 and 20 minutes of exercise that doesn't bother the foot in while I'm preparing breakfast. This makes the slow cooking time of steel cut oats important! And that's about it. I was under 5K steps yesterday, and will be again today.

I was rewarded with an ever so slight improvement in the foot, back to where it had been. When I took the garbage can to the curb this evening, I went out into the snow flurries without a coat. Without thinking about it, I ran back to the garage. It was okay, but the foot still isn't ready for running any real distance. Sigh. Getting the foot back to healthy status is like watching paint dry. It takes a long time, and I'd like to hit the fast forward button.

This is a bit of a downer when I'm reading blogs from people ratcheting up their running or walking mileage to distances I fondly remember running or walking . . . but which are now out of my range. I need to control my competitive urges, and my envy.

Tomorrow is a day off work in honor of a scheduled blood donation. The original plan was to run in the morning before donating blood in the afternoon. That won't happen. I'll find something else to fill my time, something . . . sedentary. That's scary. I could get back into sedentary habits very easily, and I don't know whether I can control my weight with diet alone if I let the activity go.

Oh, well. Guess I need to be sure I always have steel cut oats on hand, so I can get those 10 to 20 minutes in every morning. If that's all I'm going to get in, I'd better get it in consistently.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FIT2BETHIN 3/5/2012 9:55AM

    Lots of good advice here for the exercise. The important thing is to rest that foot and get creative in your quest toward good nutrition and fitness. Be kind to yourself and accept this injury for what it is: a temporary bump in the road. Hang in there! Be proud of what you've accomplished thus far! You WILL get there again! Your spirit won't allow anything less than that!

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RG_DFW 3/5/2012 7:46AM

    Don't give up... remember that the injury is only a speed bump

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HEALTHIERKEN 3/4/2012 11:34PM

    Let's hear it for steel-cut oats!
Have you tried getting back to the kettle bells for a spell? Give you something to do, feed your competitive spirit a little, burn a few calories . . . .

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ONEKIDSMOM 3/4/2012 8:20PM

    On exercises to damp down the competitive spirit? I noticed someone recommended yoga yesterday... I have tried this and while it doesn't "look" like much exercise, it's really, really good for stress, balance, stretching, and breathing. Someone else suggested a pool... don't know if your gym has one, but that, too is a way around mis-behaving feet, sometimes (depends on the nature of the injury, of course).

Remember back to your earlier blogs? Goal #1 - don't get injured?

Controlling weight with diet alone? Hard. Seriously difficult for me, for sure... but not because it can't be done, because I'm an emotional eater and exercise is my emotion calmer. If Yoga can do that for me... then I can control my weight with diet.

Hang in. You CAN do this. I have faith in you!

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BOBCATGIRL76 3/4/2012 8:12PM

    I'm sorry to hear that your foot is still not great. I actually thought about some of your blogs while I was running my 5k. When I finished, I could not imagine ever actually enjoying running, but I guess I'll only know by continuing to do it. I just bought a pedometer and have been wearing it and have gotten 9,000 steps a day but that seems very high. It was cheap so it might not be that accurate. I continue to hope your foot feels better!

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MSLZZY 3/4/2012 8:05PM

    Patience is the key. I'd say I have enough for
both of us but I'm here and you are there. Do
the best you can while the steel cut oats is
cooking. Be as consistent as you can and as
patient as you must.

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A Month of Not Running

Thursday, March 01, 2012

On February 1, I ran 3.57 miles on my lunch hour. On February 2, I woke up with a foot that would not let me run.

February was a long month.

This morning, I was able to run the length of my hallway and living room twice before it became obvious that the foot won't let me run any substantial distance. This is improvement, but also a test of my patience. It's clear that I won't be able to go out and run tomorrow, and it's not clear how long it will be before it's reasonably safe to go for a two and a half mile walk on my lunch hour.

It's eight and a half weeks till the half marathon that I registered for. I will definitely pick up my packet and get my technical shirt; but it's not clear whether I will be able to complete the race course. It would take something of a miracle for me to run the entire course, as I can't start training until the foot is better, which almost certainly means less than 8 weeks of training starting from a base of not running at all for over a month.

For now, I still hold out hope that March will be the month when I start running again. But that didn't happen today, and it's not going to happen tomorrow.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MAGGIE101857 3/2/2012 8:02AM

    Sorry that you aren't healing more quickly - but glad that you aren't testing the limits and doing more damage emoticon

I'm sure you will bounce back quickly once you get the go ahead! Can you bike or does that hurt as well? emoticon Yoga for stretching? I'm sure you are already doing anything you can - you are definitely focused!!


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BELSNICKEL 3/2/2012 7:45AM

    Are there other ways to train? Is there a pool nearby? Is weight trainig a possibility? How abut spinning? Time for a new adventure?

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ONEKIDSMOM 3/2/2012 6:45AM

    Sigh. As mom used to say, "getting older is not for wimps". Seriously, your body needs the rest, and you'll have to come back slowly, because that's all it's allowing you to do. Is another visit to the Dr. in order?

I hereby release you from any half-marathon sibling rivalry, 'K? emoticon

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MILLERGIRL719 3/2/2012 6:28AM

    How frustrating but you will soon get back to your marathon-self!

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KRISZTA11 3/2/2012 3:19AM

    Hold on!
Healing takes its time but cannot take forever.
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MSLZZY 3/1/2012 9:56PM

    What a blow but you'll come back better
and stronger by letting your foot heal
properly. Take care!

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Coping with Life

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A couple months ago, I wondered how I'd cope with tax season. I expected work to be busy, volunteer work to be busy, and to have a tough time squeezing in time to run.

Well, I solved part of that problem by injuring my foot so running is out. As a bonus, my normal walks on the lunch hour are out. I miss them. But the time crunch is still here. Work will suck up however many hours I give to it.

I'm muddling through, trying to get enough done in few enough hours so I can get enough sleep. SP tells us that sleep is important. Today it was impressed on me just how important in this crazy work environment. I was on a conference call, and either Darth Vader joined to listen in, or someone fell asleep on the call without putting their phone on mute.

The volunteer job is more manageable; I'm giving it the planned number of hours but no extra shifts. The nice thing about volunteer work is that people are happy to see me, and willing to take whatever time I'm willing to give without pushing for more time.

On the fitness front, the right foot is ever so slowly improving. The past few days, I've been able to run a few test paces. The result of the tests is that running any sustained distance is still not feasible, and it's inadvisable to test too often; but that's better than stopping in pain the first time I land on my right foot. I can walk with a normal gait, but it's clear that I can't do a lot of that without the foot telling me about it. So I'm still not going on intentional walks just to be walking. I'm getting more steps in per day, but still less than 10K.

This is getting old.

Yesterday I got an email from the HM I signed up for, asking me to check the confirmation list. I'm on it, and my name is spelled correctly. So I should get a bib for the half marathon at the end of April with my name printed on it. At the rate my foot is recovering, I might be able to do it in run-walk intervals; or maybe walking all the way; or maybe it will be inadvisable to attempt it at all.

That's a far cry from my hopes of being competitive in my age goup. With just 2 months left till race day and the foot still keeping me on the sidelines, I won't be able to train to be competiive. If the foot gets all better faster than I think it will, I might be able to train to run it all the way.

It is what it is. As my sister notes, it's more important to be fit than to be competitive. On the bright side, I've been able to keep my eating and weight under control in spite of the enforced lack of running or substantial walking. That's success, and it needs to be enough for me . . . at least for now.

And now to bed . I'm finding that while the foot is trying to heal, I can soak up more sleep than I could when I was healthy and running four days a week.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MSLZZY 3/1/2012 9:59PM

    The body always requires more sleep
in order to recover. Do what you need
to do to heal.

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HEALTHIERKEN 3/1/2012 12:51AM

    Your sis is right: it's more important to be fit than to be competitive. You can always be competitive next time, but keeping fit (mentally as well as physically) as you are is tops.
Congratulations on how you're handling this setback.

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KRISZTA11 2/29/2012 12:04PM

    You are doing the right thing.
Eating and sleeping well is at least half of success.
Keep up the good work!

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RG_DFW 2/29/2012 8:09AM

    I like the way you're staying positive in all this. And congrats for checking on the race entry! The news article yesterday didn't give a reason why the "winner" didn't register.

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FIT2BETHIN 2/29/2012 5:23AM

    Loved your Darth Vader comment...hysterical!

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ONEKIDSMOM 2/28/2012 9:18PM

    "This iss getting old." Oh, my gosh... go back about four years, when I tripped over the dog and injured my foot and I can soooo related to what you're going through. When it hurts to put weight on your foot, when it hurts to walk...

BUT, you are healing, you are being sensible, and you are doing what you need to do. And if you decide to walk the half (as I am probably going to do mine, again)... so be it. I remember you used to walk the legs off the neighbor kids! This is just more of the same.

To your health, bro! emoticon

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MAGGIE101857 2/28/2012 8:36PM

    I like that you are finding the silver lining in all of this! A lot can change in two months!!! Stay strong!

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The Maintenance Puzzle

Sunday, February 26, 2012

When I was two pounds from my initial goal weight, I started reading posts on the At Goal and Maintaining Spark Team. I learned that maintenance is hard, and that most people who lose a lot of weight gain it back. I learned that the odds of keeping it off improve if you keep it off longer. I learned that different strategies were key for different successful maintainers. I learned that the consensus among successful maintainers in that team was that maintenance is *not* like losing weight, and requires a different mindset.

I didn't learn an easy way to tell what weight I ought to be. That remains a puzzle. BMI is a nice estimate that tells you where you want to go when you're a long ways away; but it's kind of like saying, "Go to New York!" Okay, now I'm in New York. Precisely where in New York should I be?

The best answer I came up with for what weight I ought to be is a reasonable appearance and feeling energetic and fit. I achieved that in the range of 165 to 167 pounds, 8 to 10 pounds lower than my initial goal of 175. It took me 8 weeks after achieving initial goal to adjust my eating to where I was no longer losing weight. Then I focused on running. First I focused on continuing to run through the winter; later I focused on a half marathon at the end of next April.

Well. Man plans, and God laughs. In the process of learning to listen to my body, one of the learning lessons is my current foot injury. In 20-20 hindsight, this might be a result of failing to listen to my body about the thigh injury before; it's possible that I messed up the foot by running with a gait altered by the bad thigh. Whatever. Now I need to get the foot healed up, and that means no running since February 1.

No running means I'm burning less calories, which in turn means I need to eat less. I learned early on that the SP exercise tracker is useless in terms of quantifying calories burned accurately, so I had to experiment with changing the diet and see what my weight did. That has resulted in 4 adjustments to my calorie range during the month of February. First I cut out 200 calories. After gaining 3 pounds, I cut 400 more. When I hit a new low weight at 162.8, I added back 200 calories.

This morning I hit another new low at 162. In hindsight, I understand this. The foot is slowly getting better, and I'm more active because of that. In addition, I've slipped into the habits and thought processes from losing weight, where I dutifully ate up to the minimum of the calorie range and not much over that.

So today I added back another 100 calories, to force myself to eat just a little more. I'll give it a week and see what happens. I'm confident I can solve the puzzle of making adjustments to what I eat to put my weight into a desired range.

I'm far less confident that I know what that desired range should be. I was nervous the first eight weeks of maintenance when I couldn't seem to stop losing weight. I was more comfortable in later weeks when the weight mostly went sideways, then got nervous again with each new 30 year low weight.

Now, I don't know. It's counter-intuitive that I should lose fat while I'm resting from my major physical exercise to let the foot heal. But the mirror seems to show me a little bit less of the small roll of belly fat that I still have, and I'm fitting into 32" waist jeans now, when 33" was comfortable at the start of maintenance.

Oh, well. I see a future where I will always have to track what I eat. I see a future where I will be making adjustments to how much I eat based on what my weight does. I see a future where I continue to weigh myself each morning, a fasting dehydrated weight that will be as consistent from one day to the next as practical. My crystal ball is too cloudy to let me read the weight on that future scale. And my 20-20 hindsight tells me that my high school weight isn't really comparable to what I weigh now, because I didn't have a standard for how to weigh back then. The weights I remember from my teens and early 20s are probably weights in clothing, and heavier than what I would weigh with my standard now.

Maybe my high school weight was more equivalent to what 160 would be now? I don't know. I just have to muddle through until I figure out what my true ideal weight should be. And maybe my ideal weight will change depending on whether I'm running or not? I just don't know.

Maintenance is a puzzle. I have some parts of it solved, and just have to trust that the rest will fall into place when I need it to.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BOBCATGIRL76 2/28/2012 9:39AM

    Have you read the book Born to Run? My boyfriend just gave it to me and told me it would have me wanting to run a marathon in no time. I know that probably would be unhelpful with you trying to let your foot heal, but I was just wondering if you'd ever heard of it? My maintenance period is a long way off, but I look forward to the days where I can just eat good healthy food and not worry so much about needing the scale to go down. I just hope I am successful when I get to that point.

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FROGGGY13 2/26/2012 7:59PM

    I love your blog posts because you go over the many details and puzzling aspects of this whole maintenance thing.
I have found it to be very nonlinear at times. I am definitely eating more and exercising just as much as before, yet I'm still losing, but am afraid of adding too many calories and slipping into old bad habits. I am now at a weight I haven't been at since I was 16 or so... yet I look different now, of course, the weight distribution has changed.

The key question, I think, is "How do you feel?" Are you still strong? Are you getting too bony for your own taste? Unless the doctors tell you something's wrong, the final call is yours. For me, I feel good and I will let that guide me. As long as I am getting my nutrients and not yo-yoing widely, I think it's ok. My body was never skinny and I trust that it will never be - I hope it will be fit and strong, at whatever weight it decides to settle.

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SPARKLEMEL89 2/26/2012 6:34PM

    It's sort of disappointing that the weight loss and learning how to be fit part is so much fun and so thrilling while the maintenance aspect is difficult and largely unexciting (no stepping on the scale to see you've lost 5 pounds). Best of luck man! It's hard to be consistent sometimes but always well worth it! emoticon

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