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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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