Sunday, September 22, 2013
There we are. My ever supportive DH and me. He has seen me progress from my first 5km in 2009 (at 148 pounds) to my first half marathon (at 120 pounds). At the end of the race he said, "your body has certainly changed since your first race!!"
In spite of my IT band giving me a bit of trouble this last week, I managed quite well. I've learned that if I concentrate on relaxing my shoulder it somehow helps release the tension I feel in my knee. I knew to start at a slow pace as that would enable to keep going the entire distance without pain at the end. It worked!!
When I hit the 10 mile mark I knew that I could just go for it, and I did. It was amazing what a mental boost it was to think: "this is the same as a 5km race. I can do that!!" and just let my body take over.
The weather was overcast and cool, just perfect for running, and the course was fairly flat. There was a steep incline just before entering the race track, which was not ideal at the end of a race, but I managed. I ran the whole distance averaging about 9.30 mins per mile, with a final burst of energy at the end. My last three miles were all under 9 mins per mile. I passed the finish line just at just over 2 hours, which was what I was hoping for. I'll get the official time later today, but I think it will be 2:01 or 2:02.
IT band is sore now, so sitting on the couch resting it. The rest of me feels great!! Give me a few weeks and I'll be ready for the next one!! The training for this has been long (nearly 7 months) so I'm extra relieved that it went well, and very happy.
Thanks for all the support!
Friday, September 13, 2013
And all I keep thinking is: 'don't get an injury now!!'
I'm ready. My past two long runs have both been 21km in about 2 hours. I know I can do it, now I just need to taper for this week, get enough sleep and eat well.
We've been away on holiday in Scotland and have not eaten as well as we usually do. I haven't jumped on the scale yet, so hopefully I haven't gained too much, but I do look forward to a week of balanced, healthy eating before race day.
I'll be running the half marathon next Sunday. I've been training for months now, so it feels like it's been quite an epic journey.
My last long run is this Sunday. I'm only planning on running for 90 minutes. My plan after that is two runs of thirty minutes each, and plenty of yoga.
I need to keep healthy and injury free now. I feel like the training part is done.
Phew. I'm excited!!
Any last minute tips??
Friday, September 06, 2013
Although anniversaries are frequently the opportunity to look back and reflect on what we've achieved over the last year, this time I very much feel like I'm looking forward to the future. Much of the reason for this is because I find myself preparing for a few things that have been on my goal list for just a little bit too long.
Here's what I think has happened:
When I started spark people, I was given a few simple ideas to keep me on track to reach my weight loss goal. I wasn't just taught how to set goals, I was given simple ways to meet them and it worked for me. I got excited by spark points and fitness minutes and trophies. (I still do ) I also liked the idea of setting myself a goal of ten minutes of exercise a day. I knew that I could do that. I learned not to focus on the ominous final destination, but on the little steps I could take each day instead. Eating too much junk food was no longer guilt ridden because I simply added it to my calorie tracker, and, slowly but surely found myself eating less and less of it. For me, this really worked.
Once I reached my goal weight, I slowly began to toy with the idea that other goals in my life could potentially be reached too, if I just did a little bit each day. I now knew that I liked trophies and accumulating fitness minutes, and this naturally flowed into jogging. By signing up to races I knew I would earn myself some sort of medal at the end of the race, and I also knew that I would be spending time building up my mileage. Again, this has worked really well for me, I think because I'm learning what motivates me. This running routine is now such a part of my life that I get itchy feet if I miss more than a week doing it. I'm still amazed to have discovered a love for an activity that I used to dread when I was at school. We really are never too old to discover new things about ourselves.
Something intangible has changed. I think that I used to be really full of self-doubt. Now, I feel that I am actually a capable person. A worthwhile person. And that reaching out for what I want in life may actually be a worthy pursuit.
So, my husband and I went through our dreams. We brainstormed and realised that we had the resources to take a break from the rat race and be a bit brave. We moved to a small seaside town. Now, it is in Ireland, (not your first choice for a sunny seaside resort, I know), but a door opened which gave us the option to try out this dream and see whether living away from the city would work for us. We've been here a month now. We're still adjusting, so I'll keep you posted.
I will also be starting a Phd programme at one of the local universities here. This is another dream of mine. It's both daunting and exciting at the same time - but then so was losing all that weight and that worked out really well for me!! I'm nervous, but I think I have the tools in hand to do this (without the fresher fifteen!!)
Where am I now? I'm in a more confident place. I can't say it's a happy place because emotions come and go and problems and unexpected events are always there to put a spanner in the works, as we all know.
I've learned to embrace the journey towards reaching our dreams, and, maintaining my weight has taught me that there is no finite end when we reach those goals. We just move on to something new, something just a little bit more challenging. It's a good place to be.
Sunday, August 11, 2013
Yesterday I watched a programme on the BBC documenting the various weight loss gurus over the years. Two of the diet programmes that were reviewed were Weight Watchers and the Atkins diet. The whole premise of the show was that diets don't actually work and that, statistically, people can end up gaining even more weight than they started with after dieting.
This is not new information. The news really tends to be quite bleak for people who want to keep their weight off, so I got to thinking about what it really is that people need to lose weight and this is what I concluded:
It doesn't cost a thing, but boy oh boy, is it a hard to keep up that motivation.
More than that, this self-motivation never really ends.
Even though I'm at my goal weight and have been for a year and a half, I still have to make tough decisions about what to eat. The decision to stay healthy and slim is still something that I have to make consciously, and, at the end of the day can sometimes be a very difficult, and very tiring, thing to do.
Yes, we have support systems, tracking tools, etc, but it's up to us to use them. Up to us to eat within our calorie range and go out and do a bit of exercise, and, ultimately, if we want to keep the weight off, up to us to decide to keep on doing those things for a very, very long time.
** I realise this may not be a very up-lifting blog, it just struck me that I needed to write about it as I'm starting to get tired of keeping up with my maintenance and it seems to be happening six months before I reach my two year maintenance goal, so it falls into the statistic where people start to gain weight again. I suddenly understood why. For me, at least, it's getting a bit harder to stay motivated and on track. I'm actually needing to work harder at it!
Sunday, July 28, 2013
Everything is looking good for my upcoming half marathon. I had signed up for a 15km race, but it got cancelled, so I created a virtual 15km with the team 'Runner Girls United' which was one way of giving myself a goal halfway towards the half-marathon time.
I also decided to measure my long runs according to time as opposed to distance. Now I try to increase my long run by 5-10 minutes a week, depending on how I'm feeling. My last run was 1hr 37 (I was 500m away from hitting 17km, so I just carried on running until I reached it) and it went well.
I must thank people for all their advice. As soon as I started bringing water along with me and slowing down my pace for the long run all my frustrations disappeared. I felt less tired and my legs have been able to keep going without much pain at all! My muscles did ache a little yesterday, but I think that's probably quite normal. I never thought I'd ever say that, but...... I'm really enjoying these longer distances...... (I bet my old Phys Ed teacher just felt a shiver down her spine....she would never believe it!!)
I've also taken that advice that even if I can't fit shorter runs in during the week, I must still try and do a weekly long run. In fact, I've been quite flexible with myself about when I run - as long as I take a day off between runs and two days off after my long run. This has made it much easier to fit the training into my last two weeks of work. Now that I'm on vacation, I have more time, which will help.
All in all I feel quite confident that I'll reach the 21km mark. I'm so aware that I need to be careful and not push myself because I don't want an injury now! I'm also finding that all my routes (that once seemed so endless) are getting a bit short. I'm having to double up on them! In that respect I'm happy that we will be moving to the countryside soon where I'll have a lot more space to run. The city parks are getting a bit small now, and those long runs are becoming quite epic!!
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