Tuesday, December 18, 2012
I had a run last week where I broke 29 minutes for 3 miles. I couldn't believe it, because I never thought I'd be capable of running 10 minute miles, and then to even surpass that...it's just more than I ever hoped for. My goal of running a 5k race in less than 30 minutes is attainable. Some days are better than others, and for whatever reason I can run faster one day than the next. Basically I just run and do the best I can each time, and really, giving it our best is all we can ever do.
This weekend I didn't work out. I did Friday, and had planned to Saturday, but didn't. I found myself incredibly depressed after the school shooting in Connecticut and it really affected me hearing about it. I couldn't stop thinking about it the whole weekend, and even yesterday and today. Life is so fleeting. You can put your kids on the bus or kiss your spouse good bye, and that could be the last time you ever see them. This weekend I spent time just doing things with my kids. We made cut out sugar cookies and watched movies and just hung around together.
My heart really breaks for those families. I can't even imagine being able to get up out of bed, or talk to anyone, or function if that happened to my kids. Yesterday my husband brought home the USA today he got on the train, and I couldn't even finish reading it. I was just bawling. Then I am seeing just awful things from people on facebook, many of whom seem more concerned about their gun rights than the fact that all those innocent people were gunned down. I have a lot of opinions on these things, which I don't have the mental energy to get into right now, but I am sure I will at some point. I need to process it more.
We didn't bring this up to our kids because they are young, but I figured if they heard about it or asked about it, we'd talk to them. I don't want them feeling anxious about going to school. My son already has issues, and my daughter is only in kindergarten.
All I know is I am looking forward to Christmas this year. I think it's going to be a good one for us, and for that I am happy, but it's hard to be happy knowing so many other people are in pain. My husband has vacation time soon, and he's been working so much the last couple months, so it will be nice for him to be off for a whole week.
What I am most happy about is the fact that my family is together, and we're all healthy and that we'll get to spend time together next week.
Friday, December 07, 2012
While I've felt healthy for a while now, I had some concerns about my health and I have been working hard to be as healthy as possible. In 2010 I had a physical after I'd lost about 40 pounds. My cholesterol and triglycerides were high and I had a fatty liver. My blood pressure wasn't great and I was close to needing medication. I had an extremely low vitamin D level. My Dr told me to continue with losing weight and we'd re-check everything. I started taking a supplement for Vit D which did help improve my energy over time.
I had another physical the next year and my cholesterol was good, but my triglycerides were still high, although they had improved some. They had me monitoring my blood pressure at home because I have white coat syndrome, and that was better too. I'd lost a lot of weight, but things still weren't where they should be. The Dr. recommended that if after my next physical that my triglycerides weren't normal, that I be put on medication. That is not something I wanted, I mean I was only 31!
So, I decided I'd keep working at it. I started running more and more. I read that vigorous exercise can help lower triglycerides. My eating was healthy overall (I don't eat perfectly and have never claimed to) and I took my vitamins and fish oil, along with an OTC Vit D supplement. By the time this fall came, I'd lost 140 pounds. I had to re-schedule my physical, and I just had it the other day. They did my blood draw last week and I came in on Wednesday to do the physical and go over the blood work.
Everything is normal now! In fact, my cholesterol and triglycerides are in the optimal range. My triglycerides used to be over 200 and now they are 60. The Dr was amazed. She said I am the perfect example of transforming your body with good old nutrition and exercise. She said my liver and kidney function are excellent, potassium levels, insulin levels, iron, etc, are all excellent! I was so worried before I went in. I have worked so hard to change my life over the last 2.5 years, and if things weren't good I would have been disappointed. It's nice to see the numbers and the proof all my hard work. Hard work does pay off, even if it takes a long time!
I feel so good to know I am healthy. I no longer go to bed at night worried about my health and the pains in my back, knees and ankles. I don't worry about how I will keep up with my kids. I don't worry that I will die early in life like the people in my family. For the first time in my life, I feel good about who I am and I'm proud of what I have accomplished. There is nothing like just feeling good, and the better I eat and more regularly I exercise, the better I feel emotionally and physically.
For the first time in my adult life, I can buy clothes pretty much anywhere. I wear a large now. Just today I bought myself a pair of fleece pajamas at Kohl's and they fit well. I can buy clothes I like and want instead of settling for what they have in my size. I can walk around and shop for hours (I got a lot of Christmas shopping done today) and I am not even tired. Years ago I would be exhausted and my feet would be killing me, and now it's no problem. After I ran the half marathon, I realized that I really can do anything I set my mind to. I wanted badly to lose weight, and I did. I wanted badly to improve my running and do the half, and I did. I wanted to be healthy, and I am.
I am so thankful every day that I decided to make my health a priority. It's so important to me now, and it's important to me to set a good example for my kids so they grow up healthy.
Wednesday was the first time I've gone to the Dr. and had good news. There is nothing wrong with me. I have more energy than I've ever had. This wasn't done overnight, and I am still working on losing the last 30 pounds, but I know I'll never go back to being that overweight. My Dr. even told me not to worry about the scale, and just keep doing what I am doing, because it obviously works.
"I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better." Maya Angelou
Thursday, November 22, 2012
Well, today is Thanksgiving and another year is close to coming to an end. It's hard to believe I've been on this journey for over 2.5 years already. While I am not one to post daily facebook posts or whatever about what I am thankful for, I am thankful for a lot. I'm not a person who takes things (or people) for granted and I always try to remind myself, even when things are crappy, that life really IS good and there is much to appreciate.
My weight is up and I am frustrated with that, and with myself. It's only a few pounds, but it annoys me. I was down to 177 and now I am around 181. I was 179 just the other day, and then we ate out twice this week. I didn't work out much this week because my kids have been sick and I've been exhausted from them waking me up at night. It's not an excuse, but it is what it is. There is no other way to say, but I'm just tired. Losing weight is like having a full time job and then I have kids to take care of, and I just feel overwhelmed trying to get it all done.
Every time I eat a dinner out and eat something that might have a lot of calories, I think, "Maybe this time I won't gain weight." I don't know why I do this, because almost every single time I eat out and eat something where I don't know the calories, I end up gaining weight. It doesn't matter if I work out every day that week and run 10 miles, I will gain weight. I bloat so easily and now I gain weight even faster than before and in a day my pants will feel tighter if I eat too much.
It seems so unfair, and sometimes I feel resentful of everyone I know that can just eat without thinking about it, and I have to work out so hard and still can't eat out with them and not have it affect me. The weeks where I don't eat out and make all my food myself, I lose weight. I don't know why my body gains weight so easily. I can easily gain 3 or 4 pounds in a day from eating a couple pieces of pizza and having a slice of cake. Everyone says it's just water weight, but it will take a week or more to go away, so it makes me feel like I am failing when my weight goes up.
Even though my weight is up a few pounds, I am trying not to be too hard on myself. I did train very hard for months and I just feel worn out-emotionally and physically. I know now though when I do have a little gain that I will get it off and not give up. I will continue to work out and be healthy. Sometimes it's just hard and every day can seem like a battle.
So, I am thankful that I have been able to persevere all this time. As I was running this morning, and it felt so hard, (broken sleep for days has me worn out) I reminded myself that today I ran 3 miles in 30 minutes. This is something I never thought I'd ever be able to do. I know my body is still recovering from the half marathon, so I am going to really try and work on getting my eating on the track it needs to be. This next month is so hard with birthdays and Christmas coming. There are triggers everywhere and I find it hard not to eat. That has always been the hardest part for me--wanting to eat what everyone else around me is able to eat. I had a good breakfast this morning (oatmeal with blueberries and banana) and we're eating an early dinner. I am really going to try hard not to overeat. I have found once I eat too much at one meal, it triggers something and then for days I struggle not to do it again.
I have blood work being taken in a week, and I am anxious about it and my upcoming physical. I just want it to come back good. My triglycerides used to be high, and I am hoping they are normal now.
Of everything I am thankful for (besides the obvious family and friends) I am most thankful for my health. Without your health, what do you really have?
Anyway, I hope you all have a great holiday.
Sunday, November 11, 2012
I wrote this on 11-10-12. Today was the half marathon! I am pretty tired right now (partially from getting up at 4am) but I wanted to write this while it was all fresh in my mind. It was a day I will never forget, and I think I am more proud of myself for accomplishing this than I am for anything I've ever done. Part of that is because it's a culmination of all my efforts--not just during the training for this, which I did for months--but of the last 2 years and losing almost 150 pounds. Running isn't something I thought I'd ever do in a million years, but now it's a part of my life. It takes a lot of discipline to run long distances (or at all!), and I am proud I stuck with it! It's weird to think back to when I first started couch to 5k and I thought I'd never be able to run 3 miles, but I did it, and I just kept on adding distance.
Anyway, here is my day. This will probably get long! :)
Am I colorful enough?
I set my alarm for 4:15, but woke up at 4, so I just got up and showered, ate, drank my water and finished getting ready. Jeff took today off so he could come with me and we wanted to get down there early and get a place to park. We finally found one and made our way over to the starting area. It was so cold this morning, in the 30s, so I brought his big coat to wear and then I was just going to hand it to him when it was time to get in my wave. I found a porto potty and peed (I was really hoping I wouldn't have to pee during the race because it would ruin my time) and then got in my wave. He got a few pictures of me warming up and waiting for my wave to move ahead. He waited at the start and got a picture of me after I crossed it. I always feel SO anxious the day before and morning of the race, and then once I start to run, it just goes away. I think that is why I like running so much, because it helps me focus in a way that nothing else does. I don't care what anyone thinks, what they say or what happens around me. I just run.
The start of the race!
The first couple miles were a little annoying. When it's really cold, my toes and feet start to feel numb and it takes 2-3 miles for them to warm up, so it's awkward running at first. I started out slow and did the first mile in 11 minutes. That is an easy pace for me and I figured if I could keep it (or close to it) most of the race, I'd finish in a good time. Since this was my first half marathon I wanted to enjoy it and not feel pressured to get a certain time. I was hoping I could do it in 2.5 hours though, so that was sort of my time goal.
Along the way they have bands and everyone cheers for you and people even call out your name, and I kept forgetting my name was on my bib and for a second I would be confused at how they knew me, and then I was like, "DUH!" LOL It's really awesome though to read the signs people put out and to hear them tell you you're doing a great job. They take time to cheer for people they don't even know and it's a happy feeling.
The first 6 miles seemed really easy, well, as easy as running can be. I wasn't breathing too hard and my plan was to take it easy the first half so I wouldn't be exhausted later on. The course is pretty flat with a few hills, so it seems so much easier to me because I am used to running in my neighborhood which is up and down hills. Once we got to Bryan Park (which happens to be one of my favorite places ever) I started to feel a little tired. It's a bit hilly there, so that slows me down. It was so pretty running through there with all the trees in their fall foliage.
In my training I have always noticed at mile 8 or 9 I start to feel really tired and my legs just want to stop. I felt that way today and by mile 11, which was the furthest I'd ever done in training, I was so ready to finish. I was feeling tired and sluggish, but I refused to let myself walk. It's not that I feel anything is wrong with walking, but I knew my need to walk was more mental than physical, and if I pushed myself I could make it the whole way without walking, which is what I'd hoped to do. I just slowed down a little if I felt too tired. I also find that on runs where I stop and walk, it's harder for me to run again.
Once I got to mile 12 and realized the end was near, I felt emotional, like I was going to cry. I had seen a person who was on a stretcher with a bunch of EMTs around, so I don't know if they collapsed or what. That would be so terrible to have that happen right near the end. Whoever they were, I hope they are ok. I had worked so hard to train for this. I got up at 5 am all summer and followed my training program. There were times it felt hard and I wouldn't want to do it, but I sucked it up and did it anyway. The last part is downhill and it felt SO good. At the very last stretch I ran as hard as I could and I crossed the finish line realizing I'd done way better than I expected. I finished in 2:23:33. Jeff got a text alert when I was done. He'd hoped to get a photo of me finishing, but I had told him around what time I thought I'd finish and I ended up doing better than I expected. He'd seen me walking after the finish (they have you keep walking and hand you water and your medal) and I just stood in one area hoping he'd see me. I was talking to a lady and asked to use her phone (I didn't bring anything with me) right as he walked up.
I needed to get food even though I didn't really feel like eating. I got a banana and a bagel and as soon as I ate I felt better because I had been shaking. We spent some time looking out over the river and sitting by the canal and relaxing. I ate my bagel and banana (and Jeff sent me through the line to get him a piece of pizza) and it was just a beautiful day! It warmed up by that time and was really nice to be outside.
Proud of my medal!
A guy offered to take our picture
relaxing for a few down by the canal
We finally decided to walk to the car and then we headed to pick up the kids from Jeff's parents. We all went to Casa Grande for lunch (thanks Ron and Marcie) and I ate a billion tortilla chips. Well, not that many, but it was a lot. Then we went and looked around in Hallmark and I drooled over the stuff in there. I love Hallmark. I was pooped, so we headed home and I came home to this surprise.
Abby trying to take my balloons!
My best friend, Diane, who I have known since we were about 14, came by and did that early this morning. She doesn't even live near me (about 35 mins away), but got up early and went and got all this and left it for me to see when I got home. There was a card taped there too, and it was just a really nice surprise, and very thoughtful!
I called her to thank her and we talked on the phone for a long time. Then I realized another friend had called me and left a message on the house phone, so I talked to her for a bit. Jeff went and got me one of my favorite things to eat for dinner, Broccoil Cheddar Soup from Panera. It was so good. He is the best husband ever! He got up early to come with me to the race and waited for me all that time and then took care of the kids while I was on the phone and then got me dinner. He even tidied up his room (man cave). I love him. :)
I am now sitting my rump on the couch and relaxing, and writing this (duh). Diane is going to come over tomorrow and we're going for a walk in the park. I am sure my legs will need the loosening up. I am taking a week off of running to let my body repair itself and I'll do some easier forms of exercise this week. Lately my exercise has mostly all been running with some strength stuff in there for good measure, so I want to do the bike and more weights and stuff at the gym.
Today is over, and I feel great. I am relieved to be done with training and I met my goal, which is awesome. I want to enter a 5k soon and try to do it in under 30 minutes. We'll see!
Saturday, November 03, 2012
Yesterday was my last long run before the half marathon next weekend. I did 10 miles! My next few runs before the half will be easy short runs. I remember when I thought I'd never be able to run 3 miles, and now that's a short run for me!
Admittedly, I am relieved training is over. I've been doing it for months and I started early thinking I'd need to repeat weeks, but I blew through it. Of course I get tired, but I am able to do it, and since I started running regularly in March of 2011 I've had no real injuries. Lately it's felt like a job, and all summer long I was getting up at 5am and I feel like it's taken a bit of a toll on me--mentally and physically.
I've been really run down lately, and I don't think it's all from running, but that definitely has an impact. I've just been stressed and not sleeping well, so I think if that weren't happening, the running wouldn't be as tiring. There are a lot of days I feel like I am coming down with something, but then later I'm fine. I keep getting a lot of headaches, too. My weight is up a bit because of it. When I don't feel so great, I often don't track or plan my food as well. My husband will also make dinner, and I love him for it, but it's not always the healthiest food. My appetite it also HUGE, and has been for a while. Other people I've talked to who have trained for a half marathon or marathon have the same problem. Hopefully things will go back to normal after I run it. I plan on varying my workouts more. I love running, but don't want to become burned out, and I feel I am close to it at this point.
My plan for after the half is to take a week or so off of running. I will do easy exercise that week, mostly walking, and maybe ride the bike at the gym. I haven't decided yet what my schedule will be, but I still want to run at least twice a week, 3 on a good week. I don't like to run consecutive days most of the time because I get too sore. I really want to do more strength workouts at the gym. I've been hesitant to vary strength workouts too much because I didn't want to injure myself in some way before the race.
Anyway, I am excited and nervous for next Saturday. I can't believe I am doing this. I never thought I'd be capable of running a 5k, let alone a half marathon, which is 13.1 miles. The course is supposed to be beautiful, and I can't wait to see it. I want to enjoy it, and not suffer through it, so I am going to run comfortably and then if I feel I can, speed up near the end. When I signed up for it months ago, I predicted my time to finish at 2:45:00. I feel like I can finish before that and I would, ideally, like to finish in 2:30:00 or less. We shall see. I might have to stop and pee. I have a weak bladder and find it hard to run that far and not have to go. That will slow me down, but I don't want to pee myself! Recently on a 9 mile run I had to go pee in the woods! I knew I wouldn't make it back to the house.
It's kind of amazing what the human body is capable of doing. I have a hard time being proud of myself sometimes, but when I sit and think about all I've accomplished, I am extremely proud. All the training and working hard takes a lot of dedication and I've had to be disciplined. It's going to pay off when I get my medal next Saturday. I am really excited!!
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