Friday, April 1, 2016

Intervals are hard!

Today's selfie was taken after my interval run on the treadmill scheduled for Thursday. It was a one mile warm-up which was 10 minutes of laddered incline walking and then as much slow running as needed to equal one mile. Next was 5 repeats of 400 yard speed intervals at 5K pace. I used my race times from my last real race which was the Twin Cities Marathon 10-mile (Shortcut to the Capitol) race. It was pretty much the upper limit to where I could run a solid 400 yards presently, so I ended up doing the first of the 5 at that speed and laddered the speed down .1 on the treadmill each repeat and then on the last one, I increased the speed .1 after each 100 yards to finish the last repeat at the higher speed. I walked as rest intervals of 200 yards between the speedier ones, and then cooled down for .5 miles to end the run. I decided to channel my Another Mother Runner Ragnar Team from 2013 and wear the shirt that we all wore from Saucony. Maybe that's why the run felt decent!

I was pretty tired from my strength training and running the day before (Wednesdays will be double workout days for this training cycle), but felt good and pretty strong by the end that I was able to complete the workout pretty much as I had intended.

Eating was pretty much on-point yesterday. I ended up having a skinny cow ice cream sandwich as dessert, even though I had planned on an orange and one square of dark chocolate. After thinking about this today, I didn't have enough protein for dinner trying to come in under my calorie goal, and I ended up going over it anyway with food that wasn't nourishment, but entertainment instead. Note to self. I'm still planning on the orange/dark chocolate treat tonight as I think it will really fill the sweet void I like at this time of night, but is way healthier than the alternatives I've been consuming. I'm feeling pretty proud of myself that all my workouts since Tuesday have been on the calendar and completed as planned. This was a foregone conclusion when I was losing the weight the first time, but as I've been learning about habits and how to adapt them to positive behaviors, I need to celebrate the positives and keep building upon them.

Now that the snow has stopped on April Fool's Day.....I need to get Nikki out for a walk and get some housework done. Once again, another Boston song was my ending song on my run, and again it was on shuffle. What is the universe trying to tell me? Anyways, here's the song, and here's my "coach" from yesterday. I also forgot my phone at home this morning so, no selfie from the gym to post tomorrow unfortunately, but I do have a great picture of my breakfast instead.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Time for my comeback

Life happens. This has been a rough patch and I'm not proud to say I've put on some weight. I can pinpoint the time that it really got out of hand, but looking back on my blog, it is clear I've been putting my thumb in the holes in the wall for a few years. I don't want to dwell on my perceived reasons why I'm where I'm at, but I also want to acknowledge that I was knocked off my game pretty hard, and looking at all the triggers as a whole, I'm not too surprised to find myself here. I had two deaths in my immediate family this past year, one of them being my grandfather. He was almost 92, so it wasn't all that surprising, but I was able to spend the day before his death with him in hospice where he had probably the best day he's had for quite awhile. I was also there and in the room for his passing, for which I feel enormously honored. Earlier last year, my maternal grandmother who was 101, also passed away. Both of them lived full and happy lives and I carry them with me every day.

However, it was that day in September when my grandpa died that my running took a severe hit. I put everything else before myself, including daily movement. Yes, we also adopted a greyhound last year, and I'm out walking her 4-6 times per day, but that extra amount of schedule commitment, in addition to my children's activities and husband's schedule and I found myself at the bottom of the list -- sometimes not on the list at all.

I have managed to gain 30 pounds in about six months. I have felt like my body is not my own for almost a year now, and I fully believe this is the start of menopause, even though I am still getting my period every month - actually more regular than it has ever been, but the distance between the cycles is shortening. My skin is an adult-acne, rosacea nightmare, night sweats suck ass, and the mood swings are brutal. I think I still would have gained some weight even if I was running regularly, but not quite this much. I recommitted to 3x per week strength training this Fall after thinking that I could maintain it myself and devote more time and effort to running (this didn't happen sadly, and the lack of lean muscle mass also decreased my metabolism). This amount of extra fat I'm carrying around with me is just not what I envisioned for myself, especially after having a breast lift/tummy tuck back in October 2013. I still maintain both my surgeries in 2013 and 2014 exacerbated the inflammation process in my body, but the processed white carbs and sugar that have snuck back into my diet are the biggest problem I face today.

Twelve weeks to the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon (Grandma's up here in Duluth) so this week begins the start of my Intermediate Higdon Half Marathon Training. I signed up for the Duluth Running Company training group in January, but the commitment just wasn't there when it started, and then we went to Hawaii on vacation, and life intervened. This will be a get out there and get it done race rather than the PR chasing race I had wanted at the beginning of the year. I am faced with a new normal, and I have to adapt to what my body will give me this time around.

I vow to fuel my body with abundant fruits and vegetables, healthy whole grains, lean proteins and a limited amount of healthy fats with the occasional treat thrown in to prevent the "all-or-nothing" mindset I seem to fall into in times of stress. Now is the time to treat my body with respect and love and get back to my healthy, happy place and then march on to new accomplishments and experiences. I obviously didn't learn all I needed to learn when I lost my original amount of weight and reached goal in 2011, and really, I knew it then. I felt like I was tenuously walking a tightrope and wondered when the bomb was going to go off, and I'd fall off the beam and never recover. Well, here I am, and it's up to me to get back on and stay there; find a way to get there in a healthful manner, and learn something about myself along the way. Who knows, maybe I'll be able to help others with the struggle once I get through this myself.

I am going to take a selfie every day after my run and/or strength training/cross-training sessions until my race in June to document the process mostly for myself, but also for anyone else finding themselves in the same spot. I also have a big race planned for the Fall, but I'm not focusing on that quite yet. Here is today (3/30/16) along with a screenshot of the last song that was on my shuffled run mix -- Don't Look Back by Boston -- my mantra of late. Away we go.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Course correction - where is that map?

Not sure where to start with this one.  I'm really close to finishing a great book that was featured as the book club selection for Another Mother Runner entitled "Down Size: 12 Truths for Turning Pants-Splitting Frustration into Pants-Fitting Success."  The author, Professor Ted Spiker, is someone I had never heard of, even though he blogs at one of my favorite magazine's website - that being Runner's World.  I promise, I'm done linking other pages :).

I wasn't ready to read yet another how to be successful at weight loss book, but I had some time at Barnes and Noble and took a quick look at it.  Much to my surprise, it is full of honesty portrayed through humor and personal experience peppered with scientific studies and a host of prominent exercise physiologists' opinions on the topic.  I enjoyed the first chapters so much that I popped for the version so that I could listen while I'm walking.  On that note, I was able to log over 20 miles of walking last week and am aiming to keep that up until I am cleared to run after surgery on Christmas Eve.

Professor Spiker and I could have been separated at birth.  I laughed; I agreed; I shook my head in amazement of how right on he was with what I've experienced during this journey of improved health and weight loss that I've been on for the past five years or so.  I've been thinking lately that with all of the research and reading I do with regard to nutrition and exercise, I should be able to tweak what I eat and how I exercise to work specifically for me, and not blindly follow a prescribed eating plan, nor a generic half-marathon training plan.  This is not my first time at the rodeo.  I have data that I can rely on of my own accord. 

One of the best take away gems from the book is the "if/then" plan of attack.  For example, if I am at a meeting at school and I haven't had a chance to fuel properly, then I will have a protein bar in the car/mypurse/myworkout bag, etc. with a bottle of water for emergencies.  The whole fail to plan and you're planning to fail.  I've always subscribed to this, but breaking down into this very easy thinking is exactly what I need.  Today, I'm focusing on fueling my body and not my mind.  This morning's breakfast is something I've been looking forward to doing since I saw it appear on my twitter feed a few weeks ago.  I had 2 tablespoons left of Nuttzo in the jar (yes, I measured it!) and made some Bob's Red Mill high fiber oat bran cereal to mix into it with a few strawberries on the top.  It was SO awesome, and so filling. 
I also made a low-cal green protein shake that's in the freezer for later, as this breakfast filled me up so much that I wasn't hungry.  Imagine that.  It's really cold outside and I like to do my longest walk of the week today.  I'm going to go bundle up and see how much I can get done and concede to walking the treadmill for the last portion if I feel I need to warm-up.

I so need to just focus on the present - one meal at a time, one walk of the day and set the rest of the day up for success.  Today, I'm roasting all the squash sitting on my counter, baking up some chicken breasts and getting fresh greens at the store so that I'm ready for tonight and tomorrow and making the best choices possible.  No one is going to do this for me and no amount of me justifying my choices due to my busy schedule or my energy level or whatever is going on will do it either.  Time to put back on the big girl panties and get it done.