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The Calm After the Storm...and Before the Next One

Friday, November 11, 2011

So the presentation went really well. I engaged the crowd and got them participating and it felt amazing! I want to do it again...and again! *lol*

I was remarking to Hubs last night how much different it feels to be up in front of people now. I have a renewed confidence in myself. Yes, I know my job really well after being there 5 years and working in nearly every capacity available, but it's more than that. I didn't spend the entire time in front of them worried about what they would think of me, how they were judging me because of my weight. I was wearing my new size 24 dress pants (which are SO comfortable! I *love* them and they look great. Black with white pinstripes...). I wasn't worried about what they thought because, as I told Hubs, they just have no idea. Before, if they looked at me with eyes that read every "fat person" stereotype (eats too much, eats bad food, is lazy, doesn't take care of herself), I'd feel ashamed because a lot of that was true. Now if they look at me like that, I know it's not. I eat healthy food in the right amounts and I workout like crazy. I can run nearly 4 miles. I run 3 times a week and circuit train 2 times a week. I'm active and fit and healthy. I have an athlete's heart. So if they want to judge me with those stereotypes? Well, that's on them, not me. That kind of confidence breaks down a lot of the walls I felt before when speaking in front of other people. I feel comfortable in my own skin and, I think, that makes them feel more comfortable listening to me.

Of course, all that being said, I skipped my speedwork this week. Wednesday night it just wasn't feasible. I've spent most of this week going into work early, working my tail off, and then leaving late. I've been exhausted by the stress of it all. And Wednesday night it was necessary for me to go to the store for new shoes (my old flats had a hole in them and my heels make me slide because the caps have fallen off the heel) and new pants (because mine either fall off or make me look ginormous because, while they fit in the waist, they no longer fit in the hips). So that was my priority. That, and rest so I could be ready for the next day. I told myself I'd do it Thursday, once the presentation was over...but that didn't happen either.

Yesterday? Well, I had ZERO fuel in me. I ate my regular bagel breakfast before work with coffee. At around 11:30pm, I hurried to eat a Chex Mix bar. And then that was it for the rest of the day. No time before the presentation to grab anything and the co-worker I was with for the presentation really wanted to get back to work after the presentation and made it quite clear that I *could* stop for food, but that she didn't really want to. So I gave in, and we drove straight there, presented, and drove straight back. By the time I headed out of there (late, once again), I was famished. I got in contact with Hubs at home and he arranged for his Mom to watch the boys so he and I could go out to eat, celebrate my success and talk about how it went without the boys milling about. (Of course, what we ate made me terribly sick later, yay there...but, that's what I felt I needed.)

Of course, that means I HAVE to clock in at the gym both today and tomorrow. I called the gym last night to make sure they weren't closing today for Veterans' Day, and they said they had no plans to be closed. I have to swipe my little card 2x a week, and I spent the beginning of the week working out at home with my boys and the middle of the week trying not to vomit from the stress of what I was about to do. So, yeah, I need to clock in these 2 days. Of course, whether or not I work out there tomorrow is up in the air. I will be going today to do my circuit training (and I've decided to up my time today to try to make up for the lost speedwork time - so I'll be doing a 45 minute session instead of 30 minutes) but tomorrow I've got my 2nd attempt at the 5-miler and I prefer to run outside rather than on the dreadmill or the incredibly ridiculously small indoor track at the gym. So it might be a case of "clock in and leave." I never feel guilty about this if I either have already worked out that day, or I plan to work out later that day. What's it matter WHERE the workout takes place, as long as it takes place, right?

As for my eating and my weight? It's been all over the place. I stress ate Wednesday night. Yesterday? Well, I went from basically nothing all day to a big dinner...never a very good idea for my metabolism, which loves it's schedule. I clocked in at 304.4 this morning, though, which gives me hope that I can knock off some stress/water weight in the next two days and, if I fight hard enough, maybe drag some pounds away with it. I still want my 302 desperately, but if I just manage to lose SOMETHING this week, I think I'll be pretty happy about that. I'm still ahead of schedule for my goal of 298.9 by December 31st, so I've got time between now and then to work things out. I had no clue I was going to be dragged into speaking in front of 130 people (okay, I'd say there were only about 60-80 there, but whatever), so I had no way to really plan around it. I did my best and am hoping to come out on top after all is said and done.

Yesterday evening I also spent a good majority of time chatting with one of my childhood best friends. *waves to her* I got her to join SP. ;) If anyone has been paying attention, this is the friend I was visiting the weekend before I decided I needed to hop back on the bandwagon, the weekend before I found SP and started this leg of the journey. Crazy girl decided to sign up to do a half marathon next May, and just started training to run the other night. I got the cutest text message giving me major props for the running thing because, as she said, "running is a whole other beast." Yep!

We talked for a long time. I told her I'd give her whatever help, advice, and support she needs...and then I told her I've been considering signing up for the same half (as long as no one else in that part of my world knows I'm doing it...). I've been itching for a race. I have yet to have a race environment to test my new running skills. I thought I'd have a turkey trot to do on Thanksgiving with the family, but because of certain medical and health issues with my mom and sister, running is not really an option for them right now. I get that. My sister walked with me in our 5k when she could've run the whole thing. Now that I'm the one who needs to back off? I'm ready and willing to do that. The Turkey Trot she has in mind is a 5k Walk on Thanksgiving morning, so I think we'll sign the whole family up and just walk the 3.1 miles together. A fun, no stress, easy 3.1 mile walk with the family is actually sounding pretty nice right now. Plus, it won't eat into my running schedule because I no longer have to think about tapering next week. Balls to the wall, baby!

So, in addition to the talk we had last night, I realized that I want to run a race before this year is out. RUN a RACE. It's on my list. I thought the Turkey Trot would be my answer, but now I need a different race to achieve that goal. So, I did some digging last night, and I found a set of "winter series" races that might meet my needs.

December 11th - 5k run in Charleston
January 8th (my bday!) - 8k run in Charleston on the same course, just extended
February 5th - a 10k run on the same course, extended again

All of that could lead me up to the HM race on May 5th with my friend, if I do it right, time everything properly.

I know there are a million training guides out there for people trying to get to a HM distance, but I don't know that I'm ready for that yet and I hesitate to follow anything like that, fail at it, and then decide to quit entirely. So far, the thing that has really worked for me this time, is taking all the information I can gather, meshing it together and making up my OWN running plan. One thing I've learned - I'm not like everyone else (who is?) and what works for you may not work for me. I need to set my own pace, my own goals. And, so far, that's been working. I quit C25k after I hit the 1 mile run mark...and then I started out on my own, attempting time and again to hit 2 miles, then 3, then 3.5. If I just keep using that system, I may be able to achieve a goal I (honestly) never thought possible. Me, run a HM? Uhm...maybe.

Things that have worked for me:
1. Running 3 times a week.
2. One easy run, going only for a distance I *know* I can do.
3. One speedwork run, concentrating on time and pace.
4. One LDR, concentrating on pushing my body to a new distance best.
5. Circuit training on 2 days. It has really helped my running muscles get stronger, while not requiring them to run too much (and sometimes a 2 minute easy jog is included, so sometimes I "run" 4 days in the week).
6. Setting a distance goal for my LDR, and trying week after week until I hit it.
7. Not worrying about what everyone else is doing. This is a HUGE one for me. So you ran 10 miles today and I ran 2? Who cares! I'm following MY plan and 2 miles was my goal for the day, so I win!

So, in my head, my running plan looks like this:

November --
Easy Run on Mondays of 2 miles
Speedwork on Wednesday, increasing the speed of my fast intervals and how many intervals I try to do each week. (This week was to be 7 intervals at 5.3...we'll be doing that next week.)
LDR of 5 miles (It's the mental thing. I need to show myself I can do this. And if I come out of it hitting only 4 or 4.5, I'll still have won for November.)

December -
Easy Run on Mondays of 2.5-3 miles
Speedwork on Wednesdays, same as before, increasing speed and # of intervals
LDR of 6 miles
* 5k on December 11th, the day after I get back from DC training

January -
Easy Run on Mondays of 2.5-3 miles
Speedwork on Wednesdays, same as before, increasing speed and # of intervals
LDR of 7 miles
* 8k on January 8th, my birthday!

February -
Easy Run on Mondays of 3 miles
Speedwork on Wednesday, same as before
LDR of 9 miles
* 10k on February 5th

March -
Easy Run on Mondays of 3 miles
Speedwork on Wednesday, same as before
LDR of 11 miles

April -
Easy Run on Mondays of 3 miles
Speedwork on Wednesday, same as before
LDR of 13 miles

May 5th - Capital City HM

I read one guide that said you should run your LDR at your long distance 2 weeks in a row before trying to up it by 1/2 a mile the next week. Example:
1st Saturday - run 4 miles
2nd Saturday - run 3.5 to 4 miles
3rd Saturday - run 4.5 miles
4th Saturday - run 4-4.5 miles
5th Saturday - run 5 miles

That sounds great, but I don't know that I'll have time for that once May starts getting closer. I'll admit - I'm terrified. The idea right now of getting to 5 miles is mentally my block right now. The idea of 8-10 miles seems pretty dang impossible. And 13 miles? HA! So, it would be a serious challenge...and I might not make it.

Unlike some of you, I can't take walk breaks on my runs. Maybe that will come with time, but as it stands right now, if I stop in the middle of my run to "rest"...I can't get back into the run. I could run 2 miles, break for just a couple minutes, and then, by the time I try to start running again, I can't even match my 2 miles, let alone push past it. I have NO CLUE how y'all do the walk/run thing past the initial stages of C25k...but, for me, my brain does not compute. Some people have said, "I can't even run 3 miles without stopping at least once!" but, for me, I can't run 3 miles if I have to stop to walk. It doesn't work for me. And I'm not sure if that's a mental thing or what. It seems like, once I stop running, I start feeling the run...and trying to start again after that? Yeah, no. Not happening. It's like running a 5k in the morning and then trying to run another 5k an hour later. My body thinks it's done and it rebels. "Hell no! I'm not doing that again! I did what you asked of me, so leave me alone now!" *shrug*

So, on we go, right?! I've been taking this running thing easy on my body for the past few months, and that has worked. Finally, I can say that I'm a runner. But, eventually (I'm HOPING), I'll be able to settle into challenging my body just a tiny bit more. Today I feel like tomorrow will be the day I run 5 miles. I feel it. I didn't do my speedwork, so maybe my body will be rested enough to really give it a go. I'm going to give it my all. I'm going to create the most kick@ss playlist and I'm going to remember all of you who helped me along the way. Encouraging me when all I could think to accomplish was walking a mile and, eventually, a 5k. I looked at my pictures again from last year, from the finish of my first 5k ever, where I walked the whole thing and it nearly killed me. Where I got the blister from hell and continued on. And I think about how far I've come since then and even I am amazed.

Something tells me I shouldn't have been able to do this. And then I look back and look at my running logs from this year and I realize that I AM doing it. I don't run fast. I don't run 5-10 mile distances. But I run (normally) 3 times a week. I can run a 5k without stopping for a single break. I can run because I am a runner.

On April 6th of this year I ran my first tracked run with my new Nike+ GPS program. Since then I've logged 130.1 miles. I've run while injured. I've run while incredibly sick. I want to run. My body craves it. (The runners legs I dream of and am trying to create NEEDS it! *lol*)

So, what's next?
1. Finally bite the bullet and sign up for those 4 races.
2. Get my 5 miles (tomorrow, I hope!).
3. Challenge myself to stay on task, stay on MY training plan and KEEP RUNNING.

I think running with a friend, even though she's miles away, will help as well.

Another note, I keep hearing people talk about inspiring them. I've been trying to take that compliment well. Let's be honest, even as a small child I craved the opportunity to make myself an example and an inspiration to others. But lately, it's been freaking me out a little bit. How do I take that? Because all I want to do is focus on me. I want to inspire me. I see what I'm doing and, yes, I think it's great. I take great pride in it. But sometimes it's hard to remember that "I'm amazing" feeling when my inner doubter turns to comparing herself to others. I try to ignore other running reports because I don't want to be discouraged. I fear telling the people I know back at home who are running that HM in May that I'm thinking of doing it as well. Partly because I remember how I felt during that 2-Mile Firecracker Run last July...the last race I ran because it tore me apart mentally and emotionally. (I'm running it again next year...and I WILL run the entire thing!) And also because I don't want to hear or see doubt in their eyes. Sometimes I read it when it's not even there. Can I be proud of myself even when my run pace is barely faster than a 15 minute mile? Even Spark doesn't count this pace as "running" (which is a travesty, in my book!). And what will they think when they see me? Because...


But for now, I will focus on me. My training. My schedule. My achievements. Whatever I look like when I run, THIS is what's important...

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    GO GIRL! emoticon
    2353 days ago
    My SIL is the same way... if she stops to walk, she may as well quit!

    Way to go getting your friend signed up and running with you!
    2353 days ago
    2353 days ago
    Your plan looks great - I think the 3x weekly will help you keep achieving longer distances. Great news on that race series - it will be structured way to increase your distance towards the HM!

    My coach is someone who doesn't take walk breaks either. When we trained together in the summer, I had to keep catching back up because her keep-steady continuance of running had her outpacing me when I needed a walk break :)

    So as you outlined in your blog, you (and everyone else) needs to do what's best for you! You've regained so much ground already - fantastic!
    2353 days ago
  • ERIN1128
    OMG, I just about spit out my coffee when I saw that little girl!! sounds like hou have really fond a routine that works. Aweso e!
    2353 days ago
    So much cool stuff here! emoticon emoticon emoticon

    I am copying your 5 run basics, I've been struggling with my own (I am one of those walk/run people and have to quit feeling bad about it!). I'll be working on modifying it for me, but some good suggestions there about alternating approaches during the week. Taking the same approach to each run definitely does not work for me but my variations are extremely ad hoc. That may be good but I am going to try a bit more structure, if I can manage it at what is turning into SUCH a busy time of year!

    Rock on! Run on! Speak on, sistah! emoticon
    Oh and by the way, I love that little girl in the yellow hoodie! emoticon
    2353 days ago

    Comment edited on: 11/11/2011 11:16:41 AM
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