Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Run

santa cat
Santa Cat is home alone - we're on the road for the holiday.
I saved myself from a lot of unpleasant family drama by going out for a nice 3.75 mile run around the lovely town in New Jersey I'm visiting. My current goal is to run 30 minutes straight on normal roads at normal speed without walking - I'm getting closer. (In 45 minutes I walked three times: twice on steep uphills after plugging most of the way up; once to check my map. No more than about 3 minutes total.) Once I make that goal I'll work on stretching it out - perhaps I can do the half-M next fall all or mostly running.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Trying to find my way

Is there a "post-marathon letdown syndrome?" If so, I've been suffering from it!

In part it's been the onset of winter - how to get in exercise when the roads are icy, the air makes my lungs seize up, and it's dark by 4:00. In part it's my natural laziness kicking in - I don't want to get up early and go to the gym. I did have some injuries after the race - it took a good 10 days for my legs to feel better, and I've been focusing on strengthening my lower back since then. (By "focusing" I mean 1 or 2 workouts a week, not true focus.)

But I've also been drinking a lot of wine, eating a lot of gingerbread, and making a lot of excuses. My weight has been hovering just under 200, after getting down to about 192 just three months ago. The idea of giving up flour and sugar seems just about impossible right now.

Yesterday I had a mini-breakthrough. Feeling desperate, I went to the gym for morning spin class, knowing there wouldn't be a bike free but figuring I'd finally give in to the realities of winter and get on the dreaded treadmill. From there, I could hear the spin teacher (TGT, also known as Triathlon Goddess Tina) and I followed her cues - turning up the incline when she had them turn up the resistance, sprinting when they did. It made me push myself harder and longer than I would have otherwise, and was much more fun. I think I could make a habit of this! I felt better yesterday, physically and mentally, than I had in weeks. (And life is so stressful right now I really need all the exercise I can get for the mood stabilization it brings!)

So - it's winter training. I need a plan, a routine, a motivator. I need to do something like yoga or meditation, to clear my mind (go away, Facebook!) so I can set priorities and stick to them. I need to stop the junky eating, go to bed on time, and stop yelling at my kids. (This is starting to sound like New Year's resolutions, or at least a first draft.) I need more laughter, more friends, and someone to clean my house for me. Now THERE'S a plan!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

13.1: Been there. Run that.!

That phrase was on a t-shirt that I didn't buy (I also didn't buy the ones that said "I'm slow, get used to it" and "this IS my race pace.") I did get nice socks and tons of other gear (went kinda crazy in fact.)

And yes, I finished. Time: 3:12. Started strong and on my 13 minute mile pace for quite a while but cramped up horribly starting around mile 5 - right quad from hip to knee, lower back, achilles tendons. The rest of the race was varying shades of torture. I will post a longer race report tomorrow but the upshot is: there are lots of little things one could complain about - my physical problems (resulting, I believe from inadequate training, some aspects of the race and of our group that were poorly organized, but overall it was a great day. Some of our teens are hugely talented and did extremely well, placing VERY high overall and winning or nearly winning their age groups; others to 7 1/2 hours to finish the full event. But absolutely everyone finished their event and so we went home with 100 medals (and 99 "Kicking Asphalt" t-shirts -somehow I left mine behind - WAAAH!)

More details to come, but now: sleep.

Friday, November 21, 2008

This is it

Alarm set for 6am. Out the door by 6:45 to meet my crew at 7, drive to Poughkeepsie to meet the other 100 people going to Philadelphia. We'll drive down, arrive around noon, head to the race expo where I hope to score the Perfect Socks, try on some jackets and winter gear, and browse the offering.

2pm, sneak away to meet my mom for coffee, and maybe be back in time for the tour of Independence Hall. But I've seen it before, so might just hang out til the big Pasta Dinner at 5:30. Movie after (maybe that one about Fred LeBow that just came out, and bedtime at 9pm. Sleep? Hard to say!

4am alarm. Shower, eat, meet at the Rocky Steps at 6am for photos, race time: 7am.

It will be about 32 degrees at dawn, going up to a high of 39. My plan is to wear:

My brand-new race ready driline tights with the five mesh pockets.
A wicking duofold long-sleeve base layer
A fleece half-zip top (from Target.)
A yellow cotton Marathon Project shirt over all that (we're all told to wear them to be recognizable) that I cut the neck out of and the sleeves off - it's kinda uncomfortable but at least it's long.
Light cotton gloves that I won't mind losing if I lose them.
A fleece earwarmer - I'm in love with it. (I bought 2, at 2.99 each I figured I could splurge. One for my neck, one for my head. Or, if need be, one to wrap my water bottle into my hand.)

If it feels really freezing I might switch from the fleece to my white "shmoo" top - it is a warm fabric with foldover hands and a hood.

In my pockets I will have: 2 packets of clif shot bloks (or maybe one packet of those and one bunch of pretzels.) Tissues. MP3 player maybe. (They're forbidden.) A spot for my gloves. perhaps my mini-water flask but I'm guessing it won't fit. An ID, I guess.

At our tent I'll leave my down coat, hat, and whatever layers I decide not to bring.

My race plan is to stick with 3:1 the whole way no matter how energetic I feel early on. If I feel crappy I'll try 2:1 or even 1:1. My sole goal is to maintain energy and stamina to finish.

I expect to finish in somewhere around 3 hours, maybe a bit more (I'm starting in the 3:15 group.) We'll mill around, eat, maybe head back to change and shower and come back to cheer on the full marathoners. Hit the bus around 2pm, back to POK by 6, home by 7, sleep by 7:01!

Check back in 2 days to find out how it all went!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Taper compromise

I did 5.5 or a little more, today - started out too fast, I guess - running to each half-mile marker at a good clip, then walking a minute (so for me, that translated to about run 5, walk 1. The first few miles went by fast - a better-than-12 pace - but then I hit a wall and slowed WAYYY down - couldn't sustain the full half-mile thing and reverted to 4:1 and then 3:1. The whole run was an hour, sixteen minutes - roughly 5.5 miles, maybe a bit more as I turned around based on time, not distance. (And was 6 minutes slower on the backside.) But - every training run is worthwhile even when they don't feel great!

I would love it, though, if it was as warm next Sunday as it is today - I ran in shorts and a t-shirt. Nice!

Friday, November 14, 2008

I really don't like this taper business

Earlier this week I had my plans made to go out today for my last, and longest run, yet - 11 miles. I felt I needed just that one last proof that I could do it - some insurance I guess. But then I reviewed the training plans in "Marathoning for Mortals" which said DON"T give into the temptation to run long this close to the event - I should be doing no more than 6 this weekend. TGTina told me the same. I don't actually understand the science of it - if I do a long run one weekend, and do a few short easy runs in the middle, I usually feel fine by the next weekend, and the marathon is 9 days from now (next Sunday.) But - I defer to those who know more than I do. It's just a bit frustrating!

Plus, I've been eating everything in sight - there are certain situations, like parties with platters of chips and dip and brownies, where I have absolutely no self-control. All the marathon mentors got together last night to go over plans for next weekend (there are 100 of us going, including adults and kids!), and everyone brought goodies. My weight is up from my lowest two weeks ago, but down from my recent high over the summer - somewhere in between. I just know I'm going into that winter danger zone where my appetite just goes up and up and up, and exercise opportunities go the other way. Must. Not. Give. In. Better go re-read Beck a few more times!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Not exactly what I'd planned

I thought I was doing 11 miles today but left the house too late -I had less than 2 hours, so only did a little over 7. I tried to push myself - since the time and distance would be less, I tried to run harder. I started out doing 4:1 instead of my usual 3:1, and to increase the intensity. The hills on this route are serious - nothing like the marathon route will be. I went out fast - too fast - and slowed down too much for a while on the hills. The final result was similar to my run on October 19 - same distance, roughly same time (maybe a few minutes faster, overall.) Not sure what the training value is of a run like that where I push hard and then falter later!

Back home, I'm watching old John and Faith Hubley videos on YouTube with my 6 year old. Sweet!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Two weeks and one day left

Here's a helpful hint to anyone planning to travel and break out of their usual training schedule with little time left before a big event: don't do something dramatically different, or risk consequences.

I went to Ohio last weekend (see my other blog, for details). The first day, I ran a little but had some asthma problems so quit. The second day was blustery and cold, so I decided to try the elliptical thingy in the hotel gym. It was the kind where the platforms your feet are on can tilt to simulate hills. I did a hard workout for about 45 minutes and felt great. A few hours later, I was walking around the streets of North Royalton, a suburb of Cleveland, and notices my calves starting to hurt - a lot. At first I thought my shoes weren't supportive enough but soon realized that my muscles were seizing up as a result of the unfamiliar workout. If I walked long enough they'd loosen, but we were getting in and out of the car constantly - every time I sat for more than a few minutes they'd tighten up horribly. The pain lasted about three days - by my last day I was fine again, but I didn't do any more running until I got home - just a LOT of walking. Now I know what it's like to be on my feet for three hours straing (or more!).

Back in the groove now: did 2 easy miles on Thursday morning, and a couple of fast miles yesterday (the first mile in about 10:40 - surely the fastest mile I've ever run. Give me hope that I can improve my speed over longer distances if I keep at it.) Tomorrow, my last really long run - hopefully 11 miles - and then I'll focus on speed and form for the next two weeks til the big day!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I think I just ran 10 miles.

And I think I did it in 2:08 - a 12:48 pace. I'm not 100% sure - I lost track of the mileposts on the rail trail, but it's my best guess - even though it's way faster than I'd have expected (though it is very flat and it was a cool day.) I had a lot of reasons I thought I wouldn't make it - sore achilles, tummy troubles, blah blah blah. My iPod was acting weird (skipping over the downloaded songs from iTunes - all legal btw -- and only playing once I"d copied from CD's - any idea why this would happen? It seems OK now.) Also it started raining and whipping wind for a while. But once I was out there I knew I had to go the whole way - I am running out of prep time. Glad I did too - 10 miles is HARD and I want to do one more at least this long before the half-marathon - maybe 11 miles, on the weekend after election day. (There's also a 5k race that weekend so it's not a good combo. Maybe I can take some time on a weekday a few days after the 5k - that would be about 10 days before the big race.

I need to really focus on the core work - my back is the sorest part of me right now. But - gotta go - kids' birthday parties and all that for the rest of the weekend.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Come visit my new blog! I hope you enjoy it!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

How far I've come

Whenever I'm feeling lazy and tired, I should remember today.

I didn't want to run, didn't want to run, didn't want to run. I spent the morning Skpe-ing faraway friends, eating things I shouldn't eat, lazily working away at cleaning the kids' playroom. Finally about 4:00 I started to putter around and get ready to run. (I couldn't decide where to run, how far to run, what to bring...)

Finally I decided to do the 5-mile Sharon Classic route, and add on to it if I felt strong after the first 2 miles. I did, so I did. Amenia Union Road is VERY hilly but I felt solid the whole way, and stuck with my run 3 walk 1 even on the worst hills. I ended up doing 7.3 miles in 1 hour, 44 minutes. Slow, obviously, but I just looked back at my first 7 mile run, in mid-July. I did just over 7 miles, in 1:44 - the exact same time -- on the perfectly flat rail trail. I know that I SHOULD have gotten better and stronger in that time, because I've been training pretty steadily, but I don't always believe it. So today, I believe it.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Steady now

This is how I'm going to get to Philadelphia: (or I should say, get through Philadelphia) - keep going out for my daily runs and workouts even when I don't feel like it. This week so far: ran 8 miles on Monday, rested Tuesday, did 2 fast (for me) miles Wednesday, spinning Thursday, rest Friday. Tomorrow will be a 9 mile run so today I did 3 very easy miles - some jogging, some fast walking with friends. I need to add at least one swim into this mix, and some core work. And those short runs should probably be a little longer. But I think this will be good enough.

This week the plan is:
Sunday (as previously mentioned): 9 miles
Monday: short run with the group.
Tuesday: rest or cycle, 10 mins core
Wednesday: Swim
Thursday: Spin am, short run with group pm
Friday: Rest, 10 mins core
Saturday: 10 miles.
Sunday. Rest!

The next weekend I go to Ohio so any run will probably be short (or some hotel cardio machine). Although: there are some lovely metropark trails in Cleveland, from what I can tell online. Anyone familiar?

The weekend after that there is a 5K race.

The weekend after that is the weekend before the half-marathon.

So when will I get in my last long run???

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Is it supposed to hurt this much?

I did 8 miles yesterday - the first time I've done that kind of distance since August. I'd had a nice week: after my brutal 10k last weekend, I'd done two 30 minute runs, one on hills, one on the rail trail, and felt strong. For this run I did the trail, and downloaded a bunch of Nike running mixes on my new (hand-me-down, thanks Sis) iPod. (Did you know that people like Kara Goucher, Joan Benoit Samuelson and Serena Williams have created their own mixes and coach you throughout with tips on form and increasing speed? It's fun!)

I felt fine doing my run3/walk1 pattern for the first hour or so, tired-ish after that, and absolutely beat by the end. What's worse, I felt awful tbe rest of the day - I could barely stay awake (but no opportunity to nap - too much going on) and my muscles were just shot. Today I still feel pretty bad, physically.

I guess I need to take more care to warm down slowly (I walked about 5 minutes after my last running burst, and stretched for another 5 before getting into the car, and maybe look into some of the recovery nutrition products? But with the half-marathon something like 5 weeks away, I still have a LONG way to go! I"m going to shoot for 2 40 minute runs this week and 9 on the weekend, 10 the following, and then after that it's election day (and I'll be away in Ohio! See my other blog for details! I probably won't have the chance to run long while I"m in Cleveland so will take it as a cut-back week.)

So maybe I can do one last LONG (11 mile?) run on the weekend of November 8, and then take 2 weeks to taper. This seems like a good solid plan if I can beat this exhaustion thing!

I know based on my speed that this run is going to take at least 3 hours (wow am I ever slow!) probably a little more - if I go the exact pace I did yesterday, it will take 3:08. That's a long time to be on my feet.

So - the other thing I'm thinking about is what to wear. The running shorts I"ve had all summer are OK - they're an inner compression short and an outer baggy short. They also have a lot of pockets, which I like. But they ride up a bit (perhaps since I've lost a little weight) and they are a bit short, overall - I think for a race in mid-November I might want knee-length shorts - perhaps the LD pocket shorts Misty recommends. I have a cheap long-sleeved top from Target I usually wear over a singlet, and then take off and tie around my waist when I get hot, but am thinking about some other kind of underlayer. Misty suggests wearing sleeves (not attached to any garment) but I don't know what I'd do with them if my arms got warm! (hook them through my fuelt belt, maybe.)

Saturday, October 04, 2008

What happend to "feeling good?"

Today was the Harvest Heart 10K - my first 10k of the season (and second one ever.) It's also my last race before Philadelphia - I tried to look at it as my long run of the week, rather than a race. (Not that it makes any difference to how fast I go, just to how I view myself and my purpose.) It's a nice little local race - the town of Salisbury is just 10 minutes from my house. It was started by a woman I know after her husband had a heart attack - they wanted to give something back to the hospital that saved his life and helped his rehabilitation, so this race raises money for the health care auxiliary to buy things like home health equipment for heart patients. There were maybe 50 runners today - perhaps a hair fewer than last year.

After my post 2 weeks ago, when I was feeling so strong and confident, my physical situation has gotten weird. I did a spin class, my first since spring, a week ago Tuesday and was appropriately thrashed. The next day I went for a short run which turned into mostly a walk, and I chalked that up to not being recovered from the spin. But I still haven't recovered - my chest feels tight and heavy, my legs weigh a ton when I run, and every run since then has been short and exhausting. I feel asleep at work a few days ago - that has NEVER happened before, even when I was pregnant or nursing and utterly worn out. I don't know if I"m sick or having allergies or just overtired, but I almost scratched from this race.

I'm glad I didn't, but I'm not happy about how it went - I never got that adrenaline rush that carries you along at the beginning - I was gasping for breath from the start, and fell to last within about a minute. (I followed, the whole way, the same elderly woman who always runs ahead of me in the Sharon Classic - she rocks!) It was a gorgeous day - chilly, sunny, with cathedrals of brilliant trees over my head, farm fields all around, wooly bears galore beneath my feet, and best of all, Jared, the kindly man-on-a-bike who was assigned to follow the last runner. We chatted most of the last few miles and he was super encouraging. (I tried not to feel condescended to by all the people saying "YOU'RE DOING GREAT" at every mile marker and water stop - because I didn't feel great at all.)

This course is extremely hilly, and last year it was quite hot so I brought my Fuel belt with 3 water bottles, 1 bottle of nuun and some clif blocks. I had more than enough water but it's become my security blanket. About halfway through it became warm enough that I removed my long-sleeved shirt (a light-weight polyester thing from Target - not bad!) and jsut ran in singlet and shorts. I noticed at some point that the skin of my legs was chilled (the air temp was only about 60) though I felt warm.

Everything hurt at one point or another - knees, achilles, big toe joint, lower back. There were some moments that I felt I was running freely with strength and power, but mostly it was just a slog.

When all was said and done I finished 2 minutes slower than last year. I am glad I did it, glad I finished, but disappointed in how I felt and very worried for Philadelphia - it's 40 days away and I can't imagine doing double this distance so soon.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Feeling great!

Physically anyway!

I've lost 11 pounds since I started my most recent eating strategy (CBT/no flour/no sugar) - I've not stuck to it perfectly but something's working! I'm almost to where I was last fall, and then... not sure what my goal should be (since I never reach weight loss goals!) - just keep on with it for a while longer and try to get thinner/fitter! (In case anyone reading this is concerned that I'm taking it too far or something - I still weight 192 pounds and am 5'9"- while I feel fit and strong, I could easily lose another 10 or more. I'd love to be under 180 some day! But whichever French movie start it was who said women of a certain age need to choose between their fanny and their face is right - if I lost too much more weight my normally long thin face might start looking a bit too hollowed-out!)

Much MORE important: my half-marathon training. I haven't done another LONG r4un since the 9-miler in August -the start of school put my schedule in a blender. But I feel back on track now (though my swim yesterday was jettisoned by my 6-year-old's 5th "Mystery Fever" in a year, and I never got off the wait list for spinning today.) I'm planning to do something long this Saturday - not sure if I'm brave enough to go for 10, but at least 8 anyway) longer the following, and a 10k race on October 4. After that, one more LONG-y long long, and then it's time to taper!

All the parts seem to be working OK - knees a tiny bit dodgy (hence the plan to get back to spinning) - back and achilles not complaining, assorted ouchies on my feet under control. The thing is, when I run, I suprise myself at feeling strong and confident. I start out slow to warm up and my brain still expects to run out of breath, steam, confidence after a few minutes - but I don't. Then I start wanting to challenge myself and run a little harder and a little faster and a little longer. It's kinda exciting.

Speaking of brains, I just learned today that an old classmate (who I haven't seen in 25+ years but still have very fond memories of, for all the ways he brought me out of my shy sheltered shell (sniff sniff, what's that interesting scent coming from your back deck, oh 8th grade classmate?)) just had surgery for a glioblastoma (the very bad kind of brain cancer.) If anyone can beat it he can - he's a windsurfer, athlete, free spirit and great guy, from everything I can learn from mutual friends who are in touch with him now. But I'm feeling sad about it - this after another old friend (from college) took his own life last week. Stop getting sick and dying, people! The world needs you here!

Monday, September 01, 2008

PR: 5k....DNS: 10K

I was all about my first 10k of the season. I rode over to the Rhinebeck Mad Dash with a group of my Marathon Project buddies, and didn't realize until 10 minutes before the start of the 5K (and 40 minutes before the 10k) that everyone else I'd come with was doing the earlier, shorter race. If I'd done the 10, they'd have had to wait an extra hour or more for me to return. Everyone seemed unwilling to do that, as it's the day before school starts and they wanted to get back. I was really mad at first - I felt very disappointed and let down. (It would have been perfectly easy to drive myself had I known.)

But as soon as the race went off, I realized I was feeling very strong and energetic, so I decided to make the best of it and run as hard as I could. I reasoned that I'd just done a 9-miler last weekend so I knew I could run 3 easily. It was a cool morning, a lovely course, wide and flat with rolling hills - and when I hit the 1-mile mark before 11 minutes (roaringly fast for me) I thought I might be able to beat my best time. I chugged along, stopping to walk only a few brief times, and was even passing people in the final mile. It wasn't until the last quarter-mile that I started to feel like I was reaching my limit, but I've learned that is probably some kind of anxiety response - I often find myself wanting to walk when I know I have only a minute or two to go. Interestingly someone who was banging a drum called out something funny to me - don't remember what - and when I laughed, all the anxiety disappeared and I felt fine - strong enough to run my hardest for the last little bit.

My time was 36:30 - just about 12-minute miles, and about 2 minutes faster than my previous best this year, on what was almost entirely the same course (but hotter, if I recall correctly.) I felt fantastic after - who would have ever thought that 3 miles would seem easy to me! I still want to do a 10k soon - looking into options now! (PS as it turns out, everyone took so much time warming down, getting snacks, and chit-chatting that we didn't leave until almost when I'd have come back from the 10k anyway! But I have no hard feelings - it was a great morning!)

Edited to add: According to the official race results, my pace was 11:47 - that is way faster than I've ever run before! I was also 31 out of 35 in my age group. Not last or even second to last! How about that!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Lots to say, but too tired to say it

I started this post a week ago (more?) but never finished or posted it. Tomorrow is my first 10k race of the season, and I have only run once this week - it was all Gilbert & Sullivan, all the time, from Monday through today. My feet are aching from performing in ill-fitting character shoes!

Anyway here's what I wrote on August 22: "I ran nine miles this morning . It was really, really hard. I had planned it all week, found a great rail trail through a nature preserve (in Michigan) but then this morning I was tired, achy, and got out the door late so it was already hot and humid. So I decided to turn around after 30 minutes. Then I decide dto turn around after 45 minutes. Then I decided to go all the way. Then I regretted it because I was hot, tired, and walking more than I was running. But by then it was too late - I had to finish. Luckily the rail trail runs through what is now suburbs, so every mile or two it crosse da main road where I could st0p and buy a sports drink or bottle of water. So the whole run took 2 1/2 hours - by far the longest training I've done. My knee hurt, a sport above the inside of my right ankle hurt, my lower back hurt, and now, 12 hours later, my feet still really hurt.

I had new shoes, too - there's a nice running store here (at my dad's house) where I quizzed the salesperson about whether it's best to keep buying the same pair if you find one you like, vs. alternating with different pairs. She felt it was much better to switch it up, but I have loved these shoes so much I wanted another exactly the same. They've been discontinued, but she had them, in my size, for $25 less than I've seen them anywhere else. A no-brainer. I tried on a few other pairs and kinda liked a set of NIkes, but 2 pairs of shoes is definitely not in the budget.

If I had any energy I'd write something about how wierd it always is to come home. I love to see old friends, but also hate all the emotional tugs - driving past a place that I associate with my first boyfriend - that nostalgia, sadness, wistful memory of being young ... I would rather stay in the common-sense practical present! I visited my childhood house - my sister had discovered it was up for sale so I called the realtor who kindly arranged for me to walk throught it. The family that bought it from my mom 21 years ago still lives there and now that their kids are grown they are moving away (because why anyone would stay in Detroit is beyond understanding - the city is as devastated as New Orleans but the only attention it's getting these days is mocking its ridiculous mayor, not the help it so desperately needs.)"

... there was much more I intended to write but never did! Now a week has gone by, my brain has moved on, and my next post will be, I hope, a happy race report!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Eight mile run: done.

I think it was 8, anyway - I used MapMyRun to find a course that started at my mom's house in Yardley, PA, wound down to the Delaware Canal (just short of a mile) then stayed on the canal towpath for a bit over 3 more. The path is perfect, even though the canal is mostly drained right now - it's very flat, unpaved but well-packed, and not too crowded between 8 and 10am on a Sunday. The other runners, and the other middle-aged exercisers, all seemed to give each other the secret sign of friendly greeting as we went by each other. I also especially enjoyed watching the ducks, egrets and little blue herons fishing intently in the foot-deep mucky brown water.

Having just watched Paula Radcliffe gut it out through what looked like horrible pain in the Olympic Marathon last night, I was feeling especially inspired. She could have quit, and almost did, when it became obvious there there would be no medal for her. But she didn't - the glory of finishing meant enough that she did whatever she had to do, at whatever cost. The perfect role model for us non-medal contenders of any age!

I stuck with my 3:1, had 2 gu's about 1/3 and 2/3 of the way along, and went through plenty of energy ups and down of my own. But at what I think was the 7 mile point, I was 3 minutes faster than the 7 mile run I did a few weeks ago, and I hung in there through mile 8 (the first 10th of which was a steep uphill!)

I had to take a nap after - and I completely violated my no-flour rule as I was RAVENOUS. But one pancake and one English Muffin later, I'm getting back on the plan as it's still working incredibly well - according to my mom's bulletproof, 40 - year old scale, I'm now down 11 pounds from where I started. And that's after a wonderful dinner last night of roast lamb, white bean stew, cucumber and yogurt soup, tomato and fresh mozzarella, and wine (thanks Mom!) and popcorn at the movies! Who needs brownies???

Thursday, August 14, 2008

It felt slow but...

I went faster than on my previous long-ish runs. Today we did six (in preparation for 8 on Sunday). I went out trying to run at least 5/walk 1, but after a few miles started walking a lot more. It seemed like I was just poking along, walking too much, but when I calculated it out, my pace was a hair faster than my previous 7 mile run and much faster than the 6 mile run a week before that. Could being 8 pounds lighter be starting to make a difference?

Next question, and I welcome all advice: I'm starting to think about nutrition strategy for the half-marathon. I want to start trying things out now so I know what I'm comfortable with. What do you eat / drink before, during, and after long runs, and how often do you eat while you're running? I have gu's which are OK but it takes a long time to get the stickiness out of my mouth. The gummi things (moon blobs or whatever they're called by Clif and Luna) are nice. I've seen people talk about eating potato chips. I don't want to carry a smorgasbord with me - what's usually offered on the way at marathons?

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Race Report: Denning's Point 5K

Today was the perfect day for a race, and Denning's Point, in Beacon, NY, is the perfect spot. It's mostly trail, through the woods along the waterfront on the Hudson River, so it's shady, flat and gorgeous. A very well-run event, too. There were probably nearly 150 runners, a third or so of whom were from The Marathon Project. I decided to try a new plan: run 2, walk 1, with the idea that the 2 would be a harder run than I usually can manage. It worked - I was able to stick with it the whole way, and ran in 39 minutes. (Comparable to my first race this season, faster than the last 2.) I thought my speed might be helped by the fact that I've lost 8 pounds since I started the no-flour no-sugar plan, though I did have a plate of pasta last night figuring I'd need the carbs for energy.

I know losing 8 pounds in about a week sounds crazy, and I also know I can't keep that up. (and it can't really be 8 pounds of fat- some of it must be water and general bloat.) But I feel good! My energy is great, I'm eating plenty of other food (peanut butter when I'm hungry, wine at dinner...) and I'm not craving things. I love the simplicity of it. A rule is a rule - there's no "I'll just have one taste" which always leads to another and another. (For example, last night when I relaxed the rule pre-race, one taste of Nutella led to five more! Back to "No Choice" as the Beck Diet Solution puts it. I cannot be trusted with treats!)

It's very noticeable - people are complimenting me, and clothes fit that haven't in a long time. Now the trick is to use the CBT techniques to avoid falling into the mental traps that always have derailed me before. (It is easy, too easy, to start dreaming - 'hmm, I could weigh x by x date, and x by x date..." and forget about what I have to do TODAY. Or to go a few days or a week without a loss and decide it's hopeless. Or to slip a little, see no gain on the scale, and start to believe that I can do that every day and still lose weight. The ways to delude myself are endless!) The book emphasizes you can't skip any of their steps -- you have to do all the techniques, and though I'm resistant to anyone telling me I HAVE to do it their way, I take the point that, while you may not need it now, it's good to have practiced it for the day that you start to falter and need more arrows in your quiver. (I find I'm using a smorgasbord of techniques - ones from the book, AA-type sayings like "just for today," and one I read in some women's magazine where the writer tells herself "I can have that brownie tomorrow, it will still be there" and is able to convince herself not to eat it today.

I'm going away for various short vacations for the rest of the month so will miss some of the group runs that are so important including the "time trial" leading up to the Dutchess County Classic half-marathon. I'll miss that race too as I have a full-day meeting that day. Next weekend on my own I want to run 8 miles (at my mom's - she lives near a lovely trail along a canal) and 9 the following weeked at my dad's in Michigan. His area is very hilly so I'm not quite sure what route to choose. The weekend after that is Labor Day - I'm thinking of the Mad Dash 10K in Rhinebeck. That's a good goal and milestone to work towards!

One more topic for today. I took my 9-year-old daughter swimming at the pool yesterday. She just learned to really swim this year - last year she was still just doggy paddling. We had a race doing breast stroke and she beat me by a LOT! How can that be? I thought fat was supposed to make me more bouyant? It must be offset by the fact that she's shaped like an arrow and must just fly through the water! We did freestyle and backstroke and even though she can barely do either of them correctly she still kept up with me! And that's after 2 years of steady swimming using TI technique. Unfair! Though I'm delighted that she's so effortlessly athletic. She's a soccer queen, skiing speed demon, has a helluva throw in softball (and always got a solid hit, though she is built like a twig - no power!) - I am in awe of her! She's giving up piano lessons and ballet, both of which break my heart, especially because she's so talented in both - but she is very clear where her passion lies and it's on the field of athletic competition!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

What I'm learning

I got frustrated with Weight Watchers and ran aground after about 2 weeks - after six weeks my weight was only 2 pounds down from where I started and I was eating out of control again. I decided to do 2 things: try the "no flour, no sugar" plan, which is basically the same as South Beach phase 1 only you can have fruits and non-flour grains like barley. The idea is to calm my body, reduce cravings, and keep it simple, stupid. Well, after one week I'm down 5 pounds, at my lowest weight in many months (still 5 above my low last fall). I'm hungry, but not TOO hungry - I try to eat and keep satiated.

The other thing I'm doing is really concentrating on the cognitive behavioral stuff - self-defeating thoughts, patterns and habits that aren't serving me. The ones that are helping the most are simply reminding myself as often as I can why I'm doing this (because there isn't really a payoff - I don't see how I'm going to have a happier life or achieve some huge goal from being thinner - it's just the small pleasure of liking how i look in photos, in the mirror, and wearing clothes I like.) My reasons are: my thighs, my double-chin, my ass. (But I don't usually see my ass, so the first two are more urgent!) It sounds shallow, but again: keep it simple. I think about my double chin, and then that brownie doesn't seem so important.

I tell myself, I can have one tomorrow- there will still be chocolate in the world if I pass on this. I tell myself, I can do the no flour no sugar thing now, and if I really need a scone I can have one in the future.

Now here's where the CBT stuff is so important: I've had one week of success on a diet a dozen times, maybe a hundred times. Then something shifts in my head and it all falls apart. I hope to use these techniques (and a lot more like them in the book, The Beck Diet Solution) to stay on track for the 4 or 5 or 6 months (or more) it will take me to lose the 20-30 pounds I need to lose, and then keep it off forever.

I have also been running very consistently, 3 times a week. I think that's too much for me: the last 2 times I've felt tired and achy and heavy. I'm not sick, and it's not the food - I know I'm getting plenty of calories. I think I just need more rest time between runs - 3 days, not two, and 4 if I'm doing a longer run. That doesn't mean no exercise in between - I need to be swimming more.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

In love...with my new socks

The photo is from early this morning - we had a Marathon Project practice and the coordinator wanted some photos for a funder. I'm all the way on the right - it's the only picture of me I don't want to burn. The rest show even more clearly just exactly how much weight I need to lose - a LOT.

I love my new, ordinary, nothing special, lo-tech Champion socks. I've had so much trouble finding and keeping socks this summer - I've learned that I hate those skimpy liners that are supposed to be hidden - they slip down and I get blisters. The ones I'd bought in the spring have mostly disappeared - one was in my daughter's drawer, one is on the floor of the basement and the rest...who knows? The ones I bought at the local "a-little-bit-of-everything" store (too small to be called a department store!) are cushy, comfy, and maybe a little to warm for a very warm day, but a big improvement over what I've been using. They take up all the extra room in my shoes so I get a nice snug fit, which I like. Happy feet makes happy runner.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Seven Miles!

It's amazing what one can do if one sets a goal and then works toward it in a focused and structured way. In February, I was doing run-2 minutes, walk-1 minute, for 30 minutes, covering about 2 miles, and that was a good workout. Five months later, I did run-3, walk-1, for one hour, 44 minutes, and covered 7 miles, (plus a little more) finishing with a strong 6 minute run (thank you Talking Heads for that little energy boost just when I needed it most) at the end. I decided to force myself to stick with the 3:1 all the way through, knowing I'd need the energy I'd saved for the end, and I was right - I feel fine now! (I could use a nap, but that's just because I haven't had a good night's sleep all week!)

The race is not til November and now I'm starting to feel really confident that I will be very fit for it. (Actually, a tiny voice is saying, hmmm....maybe that full marathon isn't out of reach! But I must squash that tiny voice!!!) And, by the way, my average pace at 7 miles today was a whole minute per mile faster than for 6 last week - 14:50 instead of 15:50. That's because I felt strong the whole way, I"m sure.

However, I still hate my HRM - it did a little better today, taking Michelle's suggestion to tighten the strap, but still often read out something weird like 78 when I'm sure I was in the 140's or 150's. I find that I'm usually working in the 148 range - if I get above 150 I get too out of breath and can't sustain it. I guess if I'm going to be using the HRM I should find out more about where I should be working and how to use those numbers to improve!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I Hate my HRM

I haven't used my HRM much lately, and now I remember why - it SUCKS! It's a Polar, bought about a year ago. Not a high-end one - it doesn't have all the functions I wish it did (I bought it on impulse without really researching the various models). But I wouldn't care if it actually monitored my heart rate consistently. I wore it this morning on a 45 minute run. I'd say that it gave me an accurate readout for no more than half that time. The rest of the time it either read 0, or some absurdly low number like 69 or 76 when I was clearly in the 150's at least.

I don't think it's the battery in the strap - when I've used it at the gym the spinning bike picks up the signal fine. I think it's the watch itself - if I hold it right next to the strap it works, but who can run that way?

I really want to use an HRM for training and weight loss, but I don't have $100-plus for a new one! SO annoyed!

On the other hand, a 3 mile run now seems like a light workout- that's progress! We got our Marathon Project uniforms today - nice super-lightweight sleeveless jerseys , white with black stripes, and black shorts that I'm pretty sure I won't want to wear - no way even the XL will fit. Maybe I'll post a photo wearing it, with my super-cute new short hair.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Walking wounded

After my six-mile run yesterday, I went out for a 2 hour bike ride on the "new" bike today, with my sister in law - she was riding my trusty old mountain bike. I've been pathologically scared of falling off this one, and turns out I was right to be: after the whole ride, coming back up a very steep hill, I was trying to tack back and forth and when I was turning at the edge of the road I skidded out and fell down hill, taking all the impact on my left knee and right wrist. The knee is just badly skinned but the wrist really hurts. I've been icing it and took ibuprofen - and I suppose if anything was broken there's no way I'be typing right now, so it must just be a soft-tissue injury.

I officially give up on this bike and am going back to the Trek - I'd rather be slow, steady, comfortable and safe than fast, uncomfortable and unstable. When $700 drops into my lap I'll buy a Giant OCR2 or something like that.

Meanwhile, how does one figureo ut weight watchers points for bike-riding. According to their site, 120 minutes of "fast" cycling gets you 19 points. But for at least a third of the time, I'm coasting downhill! Should you only count the time you're actually working, I wonder?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Six miles.. but does it count?

It's my longest run of the year so far, and it was hot and muggy today. But here's how my brain works. Because it took me an hour and 35 minutes, a speed most people could probably walk that distance, because I walked as much as I ran on the second half (the uphill direction of the rail trail) it doesn't feel real. On the other hand I better start believing it because next Saturday I have to do 7! (Then I get to cut back to 4 or 5 the week after.)

Friday, July 18, 2008

It's HOT, It's muggy.

But I'm still kinda sorta on track. I ran 5 miles and a little more last Saturday, flat rail trail, felt fine after. (Not like the last time when I had to go lie down for like, 3 hours.) Good thing, too, since I worked the rest of the day for 10 hours straight at our Family Arts Festival. Ran hills on Monday - maybe 3 miles. Walked Wednesday for an hour. Walked yesterday for a half-hour. Today I will do basically nothing physical (just because of schedule complications) and tomorrow will get up EARLY and run 6 miles. Yes, six. I have decided to follow the Marathons for Mortals schedule. I like the discipline and structure of it. Though I must say, I hate how badly the book is written and edited. In fact it reads like it had no editor. It's baggy, shapeless (kinda like my lower half) repetitive, self-contradictory and disorganized. It tells you in 10o different places you should do strides and tempo runs, but neither is in the index and the brief explanations for how you should do them are nearly incomprehensible. It tells you you can use either a heart rate monitor or perceived exertion to measure how hard you are running, and then says you have to use a HRM or you're an idiot. Etc. But I like the friendly accepting tone and the emphasis on setting goals appropriate to where you are now.

I haven't swum in weeks (kids' camp schedules are a pain in the ass) nor ridden a bike or even had a spinning class. (The budget won't permit any more gym visits or classes anyway.) But I'm still running!

Just don't ask how Weight Watchers is going.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

No Excuses

Let's see, how many excuses can I come up with in one day?

Achilles aches
Allergy attack
Nightmares last night so poor sleep
Lower Back aches
Hamstrings feel tight
Weird pulling in my back
PMS, leading to
Tatas hurt
Toe feels funny
Big toe joint hurts
Too hot out
Eyes sensitive to sun
Too slow
Ran out of water
... is that enough?

Despite all that I did 5 miles, maybe 5.1. In 1:20, I might add, despite doing the first 2 in very fast time (for me.) I felt great for the frst half-hour, but truly lost it in mile 3 and 4, walked more than I ran, and didn't get it back together til the last mile. But I have to really push myself now to run farther, faster nad more often if this half-marathon is going to happen. November seems far away now, but if we hit August and September and I haven't doubled the mileage I'm doing now, I won't make it. Will a 5 mile run someday seem short and easy? Will I EVER get faster?

Lisa said something interesting in response to my post about my most recent race. I had grumbled that my time was slower than an earlier race, and she said " most of your races won't be your fastest, or your slowest." That sounds right, of course, but I'm still at such an early stage of my running career (I've only been running regularly for 2 years) that I believe I should be getting faster - I can't belie that a 12+ minute pace for a 5K is going to be my average over time!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Bridge Run - done

Another 5k this morning. The alarm was set for six, but I was awake by 5:15. (That wasn't the earliest I'd woken up this week - I was roused at 3am by the local Sheriff a few days ago, when there was a break-in at work!) It was a lovely cool misty morning, and after stopping to photograph a baby great horned owl I met my Marathon project peeps and off we went.

This wasn't the world's best organized race - it started late (on a day that got hotter by the second) and the organizers didn't have bullhorns so you had to just notice when people were gathering or moving around), there was nobody standing at the miles so you couldn't tell your pace (I don't have a Garmin) and no water at the finish - you had to trudge up a hill and around the corner and then ask around to find out where it was. But there were lots of volunteers (and if you shouted out to them they'd point you in the right direction, otherwise they'd just kind of stare at you) and it was a nice course, following the Hudson river for a while. Somewhat hilly but not as bad as the last one we did. I struggled through - did much worse than I thought I *should* - 41 minutes, compared to 38 at the first one, and 43 last time. I really think I ought to be getting faster by now!

Weight Watchers update: hanging in there. First "official" i.e. recorded weigh-in on Monday, and if all goes well tomorrow I'll definitely have a 2 pound loss, maybe even 3. Looking forward to reading and implementing the Beck Diet Solution, which is all about how to use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy principles to follow whatever diet one chooses.

One thing I noticed this week: I can't let myself get too hungry and then put myself in the way of temptation - I went semi-crazy at a Mexican restaurant on Friday. I've been great otherwise, but confronted with chips and nachos and stuff, on a day when I've had literally 3 hours' sleep and didn't compensate with overeating, I was helpless.

PS I'll be checking Ironman Live all day tomorrow to see how GeekGrl, Sweet Baboo and the rest of the triathlon bloggers are doing at Ironman Couer D'Alene - they are all champions!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Day Four on Weight Watchers

What an eye opener! I used up my points FAST the first few days, eating much less than I normally do. Those little snacks add up really quickly. It took a few days to get the hang of it, and I've used up every activity point and all the allotted optional weekly points (I'm dividing the 35 evenly into 7 days for now) but I am getting into the swing now. The scale is starting to move and I am very optimistic. I'm hungryish, but I feel I can work with this way of eating and the structure and limits are better for me right now than South Beach or some self-devised plan. And the points are dead easy to track.

The new tools online are almost perfect - they work really well and have lots of gadgets and gizmos. Two comlaints: they don't give you a fat/carb/protein breakdown like on FitDay, and I tink the points values they assign to running ar bogus. EVERYONE (almost) does it this way: the amount of calories you burn is supposed to be related to how fast you go - so a 9 minute mile burns more than a 10 minute mile. To me that makes no sense - if I' m running AS FAST AS I CAN, and it's only an 11:30 mile, surely that burns more calories than for someone else who is doing 10 minute mile but it's a comfortable jog for them. Right? I've seen one or two sites that measure by miles covered - that seems a little better, but I think the best way is via effort. I don't know how to do that in the WW etools. Also their estimate for how many calories burned by swimming doesnt' seem to match up with other sites.

Small beefs though - in general I' m very pleased with the whole program and glad I finally took the plunge.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

I've done it.

This blog is about to get really, really boring.
Here's what I'm going to do about my energy issues.
- get back to my multivitamins
- reduce caffeine
- practice relaxation and meditation, to help me sleep better, reduce anxiety
all of which I hope will reduce the amount of cortisol zooming around in my body, making it easier to control my eating, which I will further structure as I:
- join weight watchers and lose 20 pounds by Labor Day. That is very ambitious, I know. And to do it, I will have to be very obsessed, and I will blog way too often about all the little details of what I eat and don't eat. It's the only way.

But I plunked down my SIXTY-FIVE dollars for the three-month plan, so it's official. I am on Weight Watchers as of today.

Thanks, IronMisty, for the inspiration!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Fake it til you make it?

If I keep on trudging - keep at those 2 or 3 or 4 mile runs, keep showing up at the pool and spinning class, will I start getting better at this? Will it start being more fun? I haven't had a good run in weeks - I'm hot, I'm tired, I'm achy or hurting, I'm just out of gas, all the time. I got nothin'. I walked the last mile of today's 4-miler. I kept trying to fake it - get that chi running feeling of freedom and fluidity, but I just couldn't sustain it. Do I need vitamins? WHAT can I do to get stronger?

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Another day, another race

This one was supposed to be a 10k, but I'm just not there yet. If it hadn't been a 95 degree day (over 8o already when we started) I might have tried it anyway, but it was brutally hot and the course was quite hilly so I"m glad I stuck with the 5. As it was, I took five more minutes than I had in the race a few weeks ago - a 43 minute finish. WALKERS finished ahead of me. At one point I sat down for a moment in the shade, but a policeman directing traffic teased me. I started to tease him back, sayinjg "you're not out here running" but he pointed out that I wasn't out there in a heavy blue uniform protecting the public. Point taken - I carried on. It was another Marathon Project event - only 2 kids from our group went (the 2 best boys) - one placed 3rd overall and 1st in his age group, the other was the youngest kid in his age group so just missed placing but did very well. My colleague ran too but hadn't slept well nor eaten breakfast so she lost it after the first mile - she walked in and then felt horrible.

After the race, I went back and spent the rest of the day in the hot sun - now I'm sweating in front of a puny fan because I'm too lazy to set up the air conditioner. Maybe my husband will do it tomorrow - the weather is only supposed to get worse!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

The Next Generation

Today my daughter and I planned the perfect day. It was already perfect in that we had nothing, absolutely nothing, planned - no meetings, no lessons, no playdates or birthday parties. No obligations at all. Plus, even better for her, her big sister was away at a sleepover so she had all the attention from me. So we made a list in the morning of all the things we could think of to do, and then each prioritized them - first we'd do her number 1 thing, then mine, then her number 2, etc. To my amazement, she wanted to run with me. (She is a weird child - she also wanted to make my bed and clean out my car, both of which we did!) In the late afternoon we finally got to that part of the list, and off we went. She has such a natural stride - she practically kicks her butt with every step. We decided to go to a particular landmark, the town's clock tower, that is exactly 1/2 mile from our house, and back. She ran the whole way, took a short break, and ran most of the way back. Did I mention, she just turned SIX? We had such fun, and she wants to go again. Now I just wish I could teach her to ride her two-wheeler without training wheels - then we could all ride together on the rail trail. Lessons were on today's agenda too, and that did NOT go well!

The Rule of Threes Rule

Only now I recognize it, know it for what it is, and what kind of number it's trying to play on my mind, and I can counteract.

The last time I ran was Wednesday, which was an awful workout. Today is Sunday, which is let's see thursday-friday-saturday FOUR days without a workout. (Why? I wanted to rest, didn't make good cross-training plans, started to slide into a bad-me lazy-me why-bother mindset.) Sunday mornings my local gym has been having bike rides at 8:30am - they started a couple months ago but today was the VERY first Sunday when I thought I could go. But, I've been very anxious about riding my bike on the road (it's that 1983 road bike I got last year - drop handlebars, stem shifters) - and I hadn't installed a water bottle holder or anything else. So I lay in bed this morning for at least an hour wondering whether I'd make myself get up and go, or not. Luckily my daughter had come into bed with me and was tossing and turning and poking me (she slides her hands and feet under my body, and then just when I start to fall asleep again, she takes them out and then pokes them into a new spot. They should try it at Guantanamo Bay - it's foolproof.) While lying there not sleeping, the narrative in my head was: I can't do it, it's going to be too hard, I can't do the hills, I don't know where all my stuff is, I can't shift, I can't brake, it will hurt, I'm lazy, blah blah blah. But I also had another little voice saying, you've been here before. You know what it feels like to face down the voices, do the thing you think you cannot do (thanks Eleanor) and come home sweaty and tired and happy. So I got up, scrambled all the stuff together, and got to the gym just on time.

Nobody was there.

I sat there for a while, but by then I knew I was going riding. In fact I was glad because I could kind of split the difference - get the feel of riding on the road without having to commit to a 10 or 20 mile ride. So I went back and forth from the gym to my house (and a little farther) for about 20 minutes and learned the following interesting facts:

I like the bent over position, mostly. My legs and back like it a lot - I had dramatically more power and it didn't feel like my back would get achy even after some time.
I like how light the bike is - it's really noticeable on the hills.
The skinny tires were comfortable even on rough roads.

On the other hand,
Shifting is REALLY hard - the shifters take some oomph to move, and it's hard to shift my weight around to reach them, especially during the moments you most need to shift - going up or down a hill.
The biggest problem is my shoulders and wrists. It's a LOT of pressure on them. I guess I need to get some padded gloves, and do some little stretch and strengthen exercises. Because I need to cross train, I love to be out there on the bike, and this is the bike I have now.

It wasn't really a workout though - too short - so I'll do a run later too.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I'm learning, I think.

So of course, having had two kick-ass runs over the weekend, I went out with the kids today for a 4 miler - all hills, where we go. (No more of those lovely flat beach runs!) I had nothin', kids. Nothing in the tank. I was shooting for a 4:1 run/walk, but after about 30 minutes, it was just about all walk. It wasn't hot, wasn't cold (but it was sunny and the earpiece had fallen off my pretty new Kenneth Cole sunglasses (and my dinged up pair that I use for workouts is probably under a bunch of crap on the floor of my car or something similar) so the sun did bother me. End of nested parentheses.) My blisters were fine, my achilles tendon ached slightly but not enough to really be a factor - I was just empty.

But I know now that it doesn't mean I'm crap, doesn't mean I have to start all over at the beginning. I will run again on Friday (short) and Sunday (long) and I will be fine. And I will do a 10k next Saturday, and I will be very slow, and I will finish.

But - I do have to deal with the food thing. So far the hypno isn't making enough of a difference. I think it's gotta be Weight Watchers. It's weird to start on a Thursday so I might wait til Monday, not sure. But with all the ups and downs my weight is pretty much exactly what it's been for the last few months - all the times I said I lost a few pounds apparently were lies. I'll put the real number down on the first day I officially start WW (notice how I'm avoiding to actually commit, here - there is nothing ACTUALLY stopping me from signing up NOW) but my loyal readers know already it's a really ugly number (it starts with a 2.)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Pushing beyond limits

After Sunday's hard run, I wasn't planning to do much yesterday - we spent the morning lolling at the beach while the kids had a lemonade stand. But my friend, tireless and fearless as she is, wanted to go for another run int he afternoon, and this time we mapped out a full 5 miles. When I run here, the elevation gain is in the hundreds of feet - there, on the Cape, we went from a minimum of 6 feet above sea level to a max of 51! But every foot counts, especially running two days in a row, in sun and wind! Her friend Becky joined us - Becky lives in India and works with with survivors of sex trafficking as part of her organization - so we all inspired each other on this run. Every step was hard, but I did it - the whole five miles. Sometimes my body amazes me with what it can do if I just try! We all agreed that running with friends makes all the difference to motivation - I'm sure I"d have turned back if I was alone and I know Sarah felt the same. Becky is all of 23, so it was probably a different matter for her! Tomorrow we go again - 4 miles is the plan.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sometimes you never know

I'm visiting a friend this weekend, one who has always been athletic, fit and very gung ho. She was the first person I knew who ever did a triathlon. She runs regularly but has never done more than 4 miles, and lately 3 is her limit. I told her about my training and using a regular run/walk interval to extend your endurance. She'd never heard of that but was intrigued, so off we went for what we thought was a 5 mile loop. I was pleased to discover that I could keep up with her, and that my fitness was equal to hers. She lives near the shore, so we went out to the beach, and did at least 1/2 mile in the sand (including up and down the dunes to get out to the hard packed sand near the water.) We stuck to a run 5 walk 1 rhythm for a while, then switched to 4;1. I finished strong, and based our our time out I was sure we'd done more than 4 miles, maybe close to 4.5. But when we google-mapped it (I usually use it was only 3.6! What a bummer, though with the sand part it was still a very challenging run! I should try to look on the bright side - I felt strong and comfortable the whole way. But with a 10k coming up in 13 days, I need to get more miles in! By the way, this friend is an amazing human being: this is what she does all day!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

An accomplishment, of sorts

After my successful 5K on Sunday, I didn't run again til yesterday (it was a beyond crazy week.) But I did 31 minutes running straight without walking yesterday. It was all flat, as it was on the rail trail (a 3% grade so gently downhill out, almost imperceptibly uphill coming back.) That felt good!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Race Day - Hudson Valley Youth Festival 5K

This race was created just for The Marathon Project participants - there were about 100 of us, overall. It is an interesting group - the majority of the kids are from urban Poughkeepsie and Beacon - mostly low-income, mostly minority, many of whom had never done anything athletic in their lives. The event was at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds, and we gathered near the 4-H area - the long enclosures with the goats, cows, horses, and sheep. I wonder how many of the kids there had never seen farm animals before. It seems that Dutchess County has as dramatic a divide between urban and rural as anyplace I've ever seen. Everyone was upbeat and supportive of each other. It was the kind of day where there was a pledge of allegiance, a lovely rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, and no cynicism or negativity anywhere in sight. The race went off at 9am, and wound through a quiet area of Rhinebeck I'd not seen before. The hills were rolling but manageable, the sun was bright but not too hot, and I felt as good as I have all spring. (I have definitely discovered that a real warmup - at least 10 minutes of jogging - is really good for me - somehow I get completely out of breath when I first start running, but after a few minutes I get into a good rhythm. ) I'd had a light week: I ran only about 1 mile on Tuesday (and walked an hour), ran 4 miles (in hot sun) on Wednesday, swam on Friday, so I was fresh. I finished in about 38 minutes - average for me this year - and wasn't even close to last - there were runners behind me as well as run/walkers and all-walkers.

Our group did well - one of our girls (by "our" I mean from the school we're working in - there are 4 in the program) was the first girl to cross the line, one was third, and all our kids finished early - we have a group of mostly experienced athletes. The next race is a big jump for this group - a 10K on June 7. I'm looking forward to it!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The law of threes

I'm not sure this will work out if I really think it through, but my theory is: it only takes three days of not eating right and not working out before the feelings of well-being dissipate. Also that it takes three days in a row of a good workout and eating right before you start to feel any difference in the right direction.

Workouts this week have gone well. After Saturday's race, I did very little for the next few days, but I ran Tuesday (2.2 hobbling miles), Thursday (2 lazy miles), swam Friday morning (I felt really good - slow but smooth and steady!), ran 3-ish in the cold and rain Friday afternoon, and spun this morning. Tomorrow, if I can figure out when, I want to do a six-mile run. Hey, it's Mother's Day, I get to do what I want! (I'm on track for my schedule of increasing minutes week by week - my " long run" is supposed to be 60 minutes this week, and I did 62 minutes at the race last week.)

Hypnosis: I used half my latest hypnosis session, yesterday, to talk (OK cry hysterically) about the issue that's been lurking under the surface for me for a while - and I actually felt much better, and took some actions that helped. Today I'm feeling more hopeful than I have in months! Sorry to be so cryptic, but there it stays. The rest of the time she try to help me focus on food - it was weirder- more blatant, somehow- than I expected. She tried to implant the idea that the leftovers on the dinner plates would by covered with a layer of "thick white snotty fat" so I wouldn't want to eat any of it, I'd just put it all in the garbage. Last night I didn't eat any of their leftovers, mostly because I was thinking consciously about it, not because I was seized with revulsion whenever I reached for a scrap! Somehow, all the weight I lost 2 weeks ago came back last week - this is going to be really really hard. I'm thinking hard about going on WW like Misty - it's almost time to make that commitment! Too soon to say if the hypno itself is making any difference, overall. But I like the experience of doing it.

Happy Mother's Day to all!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

First Race: Done.

It turns out I can run five miles. I was one minute-ish slower than last year - not surprising given the layoff and the extra poundage I'm currently carrying (and the fact that I'm due for my period today - bad timing!) . I am pretty sure I was completely utterly last (of the runners.) I am not complaining or whining - it's a strange sort of badge of honor! Of course I'll be proud and pleased if I ever get faster, but meanwhile, someone has to be last, and the last person across the line still ran the race! (My time was 1:02 and change for five hilly miles.)

It was cold out - I wore my new shorts, which I love, but I think my legs would have worked better in mile 4 and 45 if they'd been a little warmer. My first two miles were in good time (for me) 12:01 and 11:45 respectively. But I slowed down progressively after that (of course Mile 4 has a killer hill - it's the only time I walked for any length of time.) I carried my cool new cellphone in my picket in case I wanted to take pictures, but I didn't want to stop. It was beautiful out - misty and green - but there will be no photos posted of the route. (The cows were mildly suprised by the crowds, I think!)

I got the shakes a little when I finished - so came home to warm out instead of mill around and wait for prizes to be given out. Now I'm blogging instead of stretching - I'm sure I"ll regret that later! Off to NYC to see a passel of nephews! Tomorrow I'll write something about my new theory, the Law of Three

Friday, May 02, 2008

First race of the season

Tomorrow is the Sharon Classic. I'm not feeling great going into it - my plan went out the window this week. Consistency, where art thou? A sleepless night, a few issues with kids (resulting in one emergency room visit and two doctor appointments in three days), a lapse in focus... so I feel achy and sluggish instead of pumped and ready.

I take Misty's example to heart - tomorrow is Day One of Weight Watchers. Actually I should probably start Sunday since tomorrow there will be race food and then a trip to NYC to see various nephews that will likely involve mountains of delicious takeout rarely seen in these parts.

I know I'll cover the distance, somehow, and I know Janet will save me a banana - so all will be well and I'll continue with my training, back to the doubles and the group runs!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Some observations

Remember the slogan, "nothing tastes as good as thin feels"? That only is useful if you know how thin feels, isn't it? It's been so long since I've been thin I don't think I remember what it feels like! But I am starting to remember what it feels like to be fit, ever so slightly, since I've been taking my workouts more seriously. In fact, I'm starting to feel like a triathlete again since I've actually done all three disciplines semi-regularly lately.

In the last week I have been doubling up on workouts a lot. For example:

Friday: swimming a.m, running p.m.
Saturday: Spinning in the a.m. plus a tiny bit of weights/core; teaching my daughter to ride a bike (which involves running up and down a hill a bunch of times, plus running at tempo speed for a few minutes every time she took a playground break.
Sunday: heavy gardening.
Today: swam 25 minutes in the a.m., ran 50 minutes in the afternoon.

I like how this makes me feel. I've lost a few pounds, and the increased feeling of well-being (I'm taking my vites again too) helps me make better food choices. (Though I'm still a slave to my impulses most of the time!)

I like how I feel when I swim. I'm so glad I started again!

Saturday is the 5-mile Sharon Classic race, and while I don't have any illusions that I'm as fast and fit as I was this time last year, I am not worried about at least finishing!

Another random observation: 95% of this effort - this focus on eating and exercise and competition - is beneficial to my life. But to the extent that it's a diversion from attacking (or addressing) some underlying issues I've been avoiding, well...I need to fit that in too.

I have all these interesting insights when I'm running, that I plan to write here. I forget most of them by the time evening comes and I finally have a chance to write them. So this will have to suffice! (Besides, still too many distractions: my older daughter is avoiding bedtime by quizzing my husband about basketball (he's watching the playoffs), geography, science, and enough other topics of interest that he'll forget to tell her to go to bed. (She's a clever girl!)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A DOH! moment

I haven't been swimming much since school started last fall. I haven't lost any weight, and in fact, have been gaining, since last fall.

I went swimming tonight for the first time in months. One lap winded me. One.

Why haven't I been swimming? Doesn't matter, a pile of lame excuses. Time to start again. As in, tomorrow, 8:30am. See you at the pool.

Monday, April 21, 2008

A new thing to whine about

(or whinge, as they say down under and across the pond.)

I went out running at noontime with my marathon group. One new girls, sixth grade, slim as a blade of grass, left us all in the dust without breaking a sweat.

Meanwhile I chugged along as usual, only to find some weird twinging and pinging on the bottom of my foot. It wasn't enough to stop me but it was annoying and if I'd done more than the three slow miles we covered, it might have become a problem!

The Sharon Classic 5 miler is in 10 days - I haven't even covered the whole course yet! Yikes!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Thank you !

LBTEPA, TriGirlThea and Ultra Iron GeekGirl have been so kind and supportive. I love blogworld - it's so much better than real life sometimes! (Not as messy, that's for sure!)

So here are some random questions that all of you, who are more experienced than I, might be able to answer.

Electrolytes: other than drinks, where do you get them? I had that awful, awful stomach bug for days. I drank plenty of water and ate lightly while I was on my trip (couldn't find nuun or even Gatorade in Costa Rica!) When I got home I continued to eat more or less normally, and did have one nuun (dissolved in 16 oz water) on the first day home. Could I still be depleted in some way? (Yesterday was my first day without any symptoms at all, but the diarrhea ended about 4 days ago.)

Normal Muscle aches: I hadn't been to Pilates in 2 or 3 weeks. I went yesterday, and today my muscles hurt in all the predictable ways: that feeling you get when the muscle breaks down a tiny bit and needs to rebuild. Mostly in my core, arms and shoulders from all the planks and pushups, but my quads too. My glutes still hurt from my first real run since I got back the previous day. I know I probably should have soaked in cold bath right after the workout, but I didn't. So what do I do now? Take the bath now, a day later? Skip my run today? Take Ibuprofen? Run as usual? Or maybe a lighter one as per Misty's advice, though today normally would be my "long run" - I have 2 weeks to go before my first race, which is 5 miles - I haven't done longer than 4 this spring and not more than 3 since being sick.

Bicycles: Last fall I was given a very old road bike - it's from about 1983. It's steel frame, noticeably lighter and faster than the Trek mountain bike I'd been riding. But it has a few things that are a challenge. The shifters are on the stem so you have to reach around the top tube to shift, which takes a lot of balance - I imagine it will be tough on hills. And the other thing, which seems more difficult for long rides, is that you have to be in the fully bend-over position to reach the brakes. Riding upright feels wrong anyway, as the handlebars are narrow, so if your hands are on the top part it feels unstable. But riding for mile after mile in that bent-over position is hard on the back and especially on the hands - I just took my first ride of the spring, 40 minutes, and my hands and wrists really felt it. This is normal and I'll get used to it, right? (i.e. new road bikes have the same setup?)

Friday, April 18, 2008


OK here's the situation.

I lost 35 pounds and successfully completed 2 sprint triathlons, a 5 mile race and a 10k last year. Then, everything went to hell.

I gained back 10 pounds, injured myself, and developed a fear of deep water swimming.

Since February, I have been carefully watching and tracking my eating, running and spinning 4 or 5 times a week (mostly consistently) and have even started hypnosis. In that time I lost no weight to speak of, but did work up to running (run-walking) up to 4 miles in about 50 minutes.

Then last week I went on vacation in Costa Rica, where I did not run, but hiked up mountains, vigorously, for hours almost every day. (By the way CR is FANTASTIC!!!! Photos to come!) On the second-to-last day, I got Montezuma's Revenge, badly, and the entire contents of my body were expelled at fire-hose force for three straight days and I had no energy at all. While recovering, (since I'd basically lost my appetite) I decided to cut back my eating even more - I think the calorie limits I was following (about 2000 a day) just were too much, even given my height, girth and workout intensity/frequency. I've been doing that for nearly a week.

I'm now back and feel mostly fine, physically. My weight this morning: the same as it's been, give or take, for two months. I ran Tuesday and pooped out (no pun intended) after a mile. Today I went out for the first time with the Marathon Project group - I was out of gas after 20 minutes and didn't complete 3 miles. (It's hot and the course was hilly.) I suppose it's possible I'm still weak from being sick. But it feels like I just will never get strong, never get fit, never lose weight - I feel completely discouraged, hopeless, like giving up and quitting.

It's hard to get motivated when I'm not improving. It's hard to focus on goals when they seem so unattainable.

How do I get my mojo back?

Monday, March 31, 2008

No More Clif Bars for Me

My weight is under the dreaded 2-double-Oh for the first time in a while. I didn't track my food religiously last week, but even those few days of entering the data gave me a real idea of how I need to eat right now, and when I stopped, after a few more days I started getting fuzzy again so it's back to the plan.

Here's a pitfall I fall into, again and again and again. I think it's because it takes a few days for any eating change to show up on the scale. What happens is, I'll be "perfect" for a few days, and the scale won't budget. Then I slip - eat an extra scone, a few cookies, too much wine - and the next day I've lost weight. Then I think, oh, I can have that scone, that wine is no problem. And before you know it, all self-discipline is gone, and I'm up three more pounds.

I am wearing jeans that I put in the back of the closet months ago because they were huge - now they're snug. (At least I have plenty of clothes that fit, since I didn't throw anything away.) But I refused to get depressed about it, just motivated!

So I made another batch of my yummy barley lentil yogurt salad, stocked the fridge with everything high fiber, high complex-carb-and-protein, highly delicious. No more clif bars for me - they are a trap. I'm eating real food only. Clifs and their ilk are too sweet, too chemically, they get my tastebuds wanting candy bars and cookies. Oh and they are too expensive. (Except when they're on sale at Price Chopper, 10 for $10. Maybe I'll pick some up when racing season starts.)

Last week's workouts (which I did track in FitDay:)
Total Running: 3 times, 1 hr 10 mins total, 7.5 miles approx (including one day of sprints)
Total Core/Strength: 3 brief sessions (10 mins each)
Total other (mostly walking): 3 times, about 20 minutes each
Total Bike/Spin: 1 45-minute session
No swimming.
Not my best week, but consistent. This week I'll step it up again, and next week I'm going on vacation - a week in Costa Rica!!!! Not sure what kind of exercise, other than hiking/walking, I'll get, but I don't care! (And I know I"ll be eating healthy - rice and beans, ceviche - what could be bad about that?)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

A mixed bag this week

I ate a lot of chocolate this weekend. Lots of bread-and-cheese type things, not so great on the fruits and vegetables. I didn't go nuts, and I didn't drink too much, and tomorrow is another day!

I did my longest long run in 6 months - I'm 5 minutes ahead of the schedule I set for myself. The run itself was a hair shy of 4 miles, and I was consistent at run 5 (or better), walk 1 (or occasionally 1:30.) I've noticed my heart rate changing too - a month ago I couldn't keep going if I hit 150 - I'd be gasping for breath. Now I can keep going for a while in the low to mid 150's. I think that's a good thing, right? But I'm sore now - I hope I didn't push too hard by adding a full mile and nearly 10 minutes to last week's run. I don't think I'll add that much again next week. (One advantage to running farther- change of scenery! The farthest end of the 5 mile loop I'm working up to is lovely.)

On the other hand, I missed a few workouts this week due to cold/rain and busy schedule. I ran Sunday and Monday, did spinning on Tuesday, and then basically nothing til Saturday.
I've also realized that my arms and chest are ridiculously weak - everyone else in my Pilates class and sustain a plank for a minute or more, but my lower back cries out in agony after 20 seconds. Time to get back to the balance ball.

My goal for this week: do FitDay every day and GET ENOUGH SLEEP. (I slept 11 hours last night - catching up on WEEKS of deficit.)

My first race of the season is 5 weeks away - the Sharon Classic. I did it last year in 61:20 - can I match that this year?

Friday, March 21, 2008

What a little information can do

I am so excited about FitDay. Everyone always says that writing down what you eat makes the difference - I think really knowing the calories and nutrients of what i eat is going to be huge for me - I had no idea how much fat I eat! Here is the chart from the third day - compare to the one from 2 days ago:

First of all I cut out 200 calories, mostly from alcohol and fat (The day in between these two was worse than the first on all counts!) Not that I'm quitting drinking altogether, just being more aware of the total caloric picture! I also realized I probably should be having more protein - quite a surprise considering how much legumes I consume! Though on a "normal" day in the past few months I probably ate a lot more - peanut butter, cheese, etc.

On another subject: IronWil, in her blog (she is in another universe from me, athletically speaking - serious Ironman territory) suggested looking at your blog one year ago, 2 years ago etc to compare where you are now, mentally and physically, with how far you've come. In her case, she is less obsessed, less intense, more in balance, than she was. I was afraid to look at this time last year, thinking I'd fallen behind, lost my edge. But I'm about where I was, maybe even a little ahead, running wise, compared to mid-March last year. I hadn't gotten my bike out by this time last year (and haven't this year either) - the only major difference is I was doing a lot of swimming last year. This year I've already done some bricks, sort of - days when I spin and then run; last year I hadn't yet. I hope I do a tri this year - I hope the hypnosis helps! (I'm going to my first appt. next week.)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Eye-opening, part II

Here's what I have learned about myself:
This is yesterday's results, according to FitDay. As of 5pm I'd eaten 1409 calories. Knowing that, and knowing I'd have to really account for everything else I ate was a real incentive not to binge when I got home. But it was hard - I was in the kitchen cooking, the kids were milling around (actually they were planting seeds) and I was HUNGRY. I ate basically normally at dinner, including using plenty of olive oil when I was cooking. It is mostly estimates, of course - if you put in "1 small corn muffin" for example, the program may say it had shortening as an ingredient when it really had canola oil. You can add custom foods by inputting the nutrition label, but I don't think you can create one by combining ingredients to create a recipe. (You can in the PC version, but I think I'll stick with online, as I work at 3 different computers at different times of day.) That being the case I don't think I can draw a lot of conclusions about the percentages of different kinds of fat, for example. But on first glance, it looks to me like I need more protein, less fat, and more fiber. Oh, and maybe cut back on the wine! But, considering my workouts yesterday (according to FitDay I burned over 3,000 calories between "basal" "lifestyle" and my 2 workouts), it could be a lot worse! I think this could be a valuable tool for me.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


A lot of fitness bloggers have links to online logs and diaries so I was looking around for one. I've tried a few and never stuck with them, but I found one called FitDay that has a fairly easy to use food journal, and a not-great but not too bad fitness one. It's simple, you can add custom foods, (but not custom workouts and they don't have Pilates or spinning) -- all in all I think I'm going to use it for a while, and here's why.

It is 5pm and I have eaten 1400 calories today. (1409, to be exact.) Based on what I have learned I should be eating around 2000 a day to lose a pound a week.) I have NO idea how many calories I eat in a typical day - that's the kind of day where I'm pretty good til I get home, then I eat everything in sight while reading the paper, talking to the kids, making dinner, and generally not focusing on what I am doing. (I eat a TON while doing other things - like now, while I type I'm eating a half-serving of cereal. I REALLY need to work on this but more about that anon.)

I think tracking my food this way for a few days will be even better than the notebook (I'm doing that again too, to track mood, energy, etc.)

So now I know what I need to do when I get home - limit my dinner to 600 cals. That includes the 1-2 glasses of wine I usually drink, plus the porkchops, the chocolate I filch from the kids' leftover goody bags, and anything else.

Now I might give myself a little more today because I did 45 minutes of HARD spinning and a 30 minute run, or maybe I should just eat the way I usually do, enter that in FitDay, and get a real idea of what it comes out to be. Either way it's pretty interesting. And today was a pretty good day, so far. We took a coworker out to lunch for her birthday but I had sushi, nothing high-fat, (though I did have ice cream at work and a small corn muffin at staff meeting.)

Anyway the point is, to learn more about how much I'm really eating and where the calories are coming from.

Then to focus on not reading/talking/doing housework/working WHILE I eat, but just EAT while I eat. I.e pay attention to the food.

My friend Monique, who has struggled with food as I have, has recently lost 22 pounds (on her way to her college reunion.) She looked at me today and said, pleadingly, Don't Backslide!! I know my progress has inspired her. I already have backslid, a LOT, but I am DETERMINED!! I will turn this ship around.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The plan is working!

This week I:
Ran Tuesday Thursday Friday and today (Sunday) - by today I was up to 40 minutes run (with walk breaks only every 4.5 minutes, give or take) plus cooldown.

Spinning Tuesday
Pilates Saturday
No swimming.
Still overeating, haven't lost any weight.
So, not perfect, but I definitely feel my fitness coming back. My weekday runs are shorter than I'm capable of, with a few bursts of speed, lots of walking breaks (I'm running to suit my partner) but going out often. That seems to be a good thing - I'm gently working out, but not exhausting myself so I have a lot to give on the weekend.

The official training runs start in 2 weeks - we had FIFTY kids sign up for the Marathon Project (that's middle and high school students) and so far, about six mentors. That doesn't seem like enough to me - I hope a few more come forward! Despite all our efforts to tell people you can be a total beginner, people don't seem to get that - when i tell them we're training now by running 3 minutes, walking a minute, their whole expression changes and they suddenly say, "oh, I could do that!"

The people running this show are great - they told hilarious stories of running with the kids last year, and gave out gift certificates for sports bras like they were cups of coffee - everyone got one (except me and my coworker - as staff we declined to take tickets and left them for the volunteers! But I WANTED one!)

I am very exhilarated by this new endeavor - I think it's going to be an amazing experience!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

consistency, motivation, happiness, heart rates, and other random thoughts

1. Consistency: that's the key, right? What good is a week with 7 workouts if you so exhaust yourself that you do nothing for the next six days? A plan needs to be stuck to. After a full week off, I ran Friday, did Pilates/elliptical yesterday, and ran, sort of, today. And saw this:

2. Motivation: The sort of was this: I spent another whole day home with my sick daughter. (Thankfully, her fever and bone-crunching aches were gone today, leaving her pale to the point of grey, without any energy whatever, but good mood. She lay on the couch all day while we drew pictures, read out loud from Harry Potter, and just chatted about this and that.) By the time my husband got home with a carload of groceries, it was nearly 5pm. (Daylight Savings time, so bright and sunny. We'd forgotten about it, so he left for Sunday School with younger daughter an hour late!) I came up with a bunch of Very Important Things I had to do before I could go out, and puttered around looking for water bottles, camera batteries and other distractions for even longer. I had a sore musclet here, an ache there, and generally a Bad Attitude: It's too cold. I have things to do. I'm tired. I am a horrible runner and can only walk. Etc. But finally I went, and after I walked the first five minutes I just decided to run for a little. And it felt OK. It was a very lazy run - 2 or 3 minutes at a time, stopping to take pictures all along the way. But I think it's OK to have a run like that once in a while - not so goal oriented. I will edit this post later tonight to add some of the photos I took - bluebirds, deer at close range, stubbly cornfields, cow's feet, setting sunlight. Nice. I was out about 35 minutes and at least I got my blood moving. (Oh and the sore muscles felt fine, and I LOVE MY NEW SHOES!)
And on my run I also saw this:

3: Happiness. My daughters' bodies are jawdroppingly perfect. PERFECT. Long slender legs, flat bellies, elegant necks, huge shiny blue eyes. They are also CHILDREN - they haven't gotten the shots of hormones, the bumps and bruises, the stretchmarks, and all the other marks of being an adult human female. The women we compare ourselves look more like 9 year old girls (except for the big boobs) than 99% of us will ever. And yes, I admit it, no need to pretend otherwise: my body is not as beautiful. It is fat in places theirs isn't. I have flesh that moves when I'm standing still. I droop. (And did when I was 9, for that matter - I NEVER looked like my children do.)

So. I still get to choose how I FEEL about that. I can try to change my body, and I do. But I don't have to FEEL bad or sad about how my body looks, not if I don't want to. How my body looks is mostly out of my control. How I feel about it is not.
I also saw this:

I call it, "Ice Face."
4. Heart Rates. I am meeting with Triathlon Goddess Tina, who is now a certified personal trainer, to learn more about my personal heart rate zones so I can work out more effectively. She gave me homework: to find my resting heart rate first thing in the morning, before I get out of bed, for three days in a row. That is harder to do than you might think: how much does one's heart rate go up just rustling around looking for the watch, trying for a few minutes to get an accurate pulse on one's neck? I think I came up with 60 this morning, but I might actually wear the strap to bed tonight to see if I can get a better one tomorrow.

Other random thoughts. It's all mental. (DUH!) I think I can't because I always couldn't, or never did, or was teased for never having learned how. To overcome a lifetime of "I can't" takes constant conscious intentional purposeful reframing my brain. Because until I believe that "I CAN," I never will.

Friday, March 07, 2008

How's it going?

OK since you asked:

The new shoes might just be amazing. I ran outside in them (in the chilly rain, ugh) today for the first time. My left foot LOVES them. My left knee is mostly happy. My right foot wonders if there's something a little weird with the outer edge, but is pretty content. My right knee said "hello, I'm here" once, but then quieted right down again. This is the first pair of shoes I've had since I started getting serious about running that felt good right out of the box and hasn't required me to fiddle with inserts and insoles to make them fit. Not stopping to tighten or loosen. No blisters. No feeling of swimming in a sea of too-large-ness. Just smooth support - a platform to run on. Perfect. Just goes to show: it all depends on your own particular foot. (As I'd mentioned before, this model of New Balance has horrible reviews on Road Runner Sports. I wonder if that means they're more likely to be discontinued and I should snap more pairs up quick! The Asics I'd been running with will go straight to the garbage after one more test run in these. And the Saucony Hurricanes that I liked but lost (really!) and replaced with the Asic (because the store I went to in the mall didn't have the Sauconys) will lose their hallowed place in my memory as The Best Shoes for Me. Because these are way, way better! (Even though RRS says I need "Stability Plus" and these are just "stability." I suspect that just means they are lighter with less cushioning, and I seem to like that better!

My food diary is revealing fascinating things, things that should be glaringly obvious but weren't until I made myself write it all down. If food is there, I'll eat it. I have ZERO control around tempting foods. If I bring my food to work, and don't go out, I'm great. But if I go to the bakery across the street for coffee, I CAN'T STOP MYSELF from getting a scone too. If I'm at an event where brownies are being served, I WILL eat a brownie. Or two. And some cucumber sandwiches even though I already had dinner. If I'm home for a day taking care of two sick children (such as today), I'll eat a whole loaf of French bread that's out on the counter, instead of the delicious salad veggies that are in the fridge, in the drawer. I am a creature of impulse. Sometimes I can control this, but right now, it seems, not. Danger zones: the hour when I'm making dinner, and the hour afterward when I'm cleaning up. Once I go upstairs to put the kids to bed, I won't go eat more - I'm not a night eater. But between 5 and 8pm I can eat enough calories to last a whole day -- or two. (Even if I've eaten very well all day long, and by well I mean plenty of food including protein and fat - ie I should not be that hungry and usually I'm not - I just eat.)

Today's run was the first workout since Saturday. Sunday I was exhausted and rested. Monday I was still sore and achy, plus it's a really hard day to get in a workout. Tuesday was supposed to be a run day - I think it was POURING all day. Wednesday I should hae gone swimming but didn't and the rest of the day was out of the question. (One reason why: my mother in law showed for a visit when I thought she was coming NEXT Wednesday! She waited at the train station for HOURS before we could get her!) Thursday - was with her most of the day, then just racing so hard to catch up at work from all the lost time that a mid-day run was not an option. And that gets me to today - home all day with two extremely needy and demanding little divas. At one point I took a business call and went into my office, and they, who have recently discovered how fun it is to use the telephone, used my cellphone to call my husband and tell him they were bored. Little buggers - I'd been their entertainment all day long! But bless his heart, he came home early (with wine, hooray!), which let me go out for a run before it got dark! I have GOT to toughen up about running in the rain (or get a jacket for running in the rain.) I almost bailed because it was drizzling, and got quite a chill when I got home. But did my 4:1, for 32 minutes plus cooldown walk. (A few of the 4's were really 2's - what's weird is, my heart rate can come down to under 130 but I still feel like I can't catch my breath! I need to learn more about using my heart rate effectively. Above 150 and I just can't sustain it, but I know lots of athletes who can run forever in the 160's. How?)

Monday, March 03, 2008

A few days to rest

I'm slowing down my plan slightly - I took Sunday and Monday off. I was so exhausted after 7 days of consecutive workouts - just bone tired and aching. I gave my new shoes an indoor trial run on Saturday - 10 minutes on the treadmill, 10 on a bike, 15 on the elliptical. They're kind of high cut - they come perilously close to my ankle bones - but my left foot was VERY happy. Right foot, not so much (it actually went a little numb and was feeling like it was rolling to the outside in an odd way), but I'll wait and see how it feels after a few days of rest. Tuesdays I've been doing a double - spin + run - but can't spin tomorrow because of a morning meeting, so I'll be very fresh for the run at lunch - I might try to do my "long run" since I'm staying late at work.

I have gotten very focused on my eating: I started a reporter's notebook where I am writing EVERYTHING I eat and drink on the left and how I' m feeling (tired, hungry, emotions) on the right. I started today, and I think I ate somewhat better than I've been, though still some impulsive/compulsive eating at moments of anxiety or uncertainty. I need to plan every bite in advance - it's the only possible way I'll get this under control. (Though the hypnosis will help too, I hope!)

Friday, February 29, 2008

More obvious musings about weight

It's not just about the weight - the number, the size of our butt or thighs. For me, anyway, it's also about the fact that I am not able to do what I say I want to do - I pledge to eat a certain way, and then I don't.

I feel like I have two people inside me (id and superego?) - one of whom makes plans and rules and goals, and the other who says f&%$ you to the first one, and does whatever the hell she wants. (It doesn't matter how strict or how kind and reasonable the plans or rules are.) I can say to myself, I'm going to order a salad for dinner, and then, out of my mouth comes, "and some chips and salsa, please." Then I think, "I won't eat all those chips, I'll throw half away or bring them home to the kids" then I eat them all. I feel like I have no control over my own actions. For months or years at a time, this will go on, and I gain and gain and gain, and then some switch gets flipped, and I have control again, for a few weeks or months, I lose weight, and then the switch is flipped over again. I have found a hypnotist and I plan to make an appointment with her this coming week - I have no other ideas at this point.

I was so happy to be in New York today - I was visiting with my sister, who is moving to California tomorrow. She recently got engaged so we went to Macy's Bridal Salon so she could try on some wedding dresses - the very epitome of sisterly fun! I get so much energy and buzz from walking around in Manhattan - just a silly grin every time I go. I lived there for 11 years, but have now lived away for 10 - that life seems long ago and far away! (I left there, not because I wanted to, but because it was my husband's turn to decide where we lived - and was miserable and homesick for a long time. Now I love where I live, hence my photoblog, but if I ever got rich - not likely! - I would get an apartment there in a heartbeat!)

Oh, one more thing: I got new running shoes! I've always hated the ones I have (Asics 1120's) but I felt I needed to keep them to get my money's worth. It's been 9 months, and maybe 200 miles or so, not really fully worn out, but I had some time to kill at Grand Central Station so I went into the Super Runner's Shop. I have no idea if the guy waiting on me knew anything, but the shoes he gave me to try were ones that had been recommended to me elsewhere: Saucony Hurricane's, and New Balance something's. (I'd look, but they are downstairs and I am lazy.) They both fit pretty well, but I went with the NB's - (despite being ugly boy colors - blue and orange) - I think they felt a bit better all around. I'll try them indoors on the treadmill tomorrow to see if I really like them (there's a 30 day money back guarantee - an excuse to go back to the city!) Only thing is, if they're the model I think they are on Road Runner Sports, I paid $20 too much!