Thursday, February 16, 2017

Plugging Along

Yes, I know it's been a minute since I've posted, but not because I've slacked off and gone back into hiding, thank goodness. Not this time. I've actually been a very good girl this past week, but a very busy one, as well.


Oh, and all that I said in my last post about getting all frisky and running extra between my scheduled runs?


HA. No need. None.

These girls have been knocking it out of the park on every run we've had since then. I am so incredibly proud of them both! Neither Angie nor her daughter Kailey have ever run before, and they are both smokers, to boot. But they have already gotten to the point where they are pacing me on each run we have done, and are improving far faster than I am.  Of course, I haven't really been pushing myself, either, but at this rate, I will be very, very soon. Maybe even sooner than I'm ready to push, lol.


Not complaining at all. Believe me.



We have been using Runkeeper's Beginning 5K training program, which has us running every other day, and so far, we've only missed one day (Valentine's Day). That was my fault...I had a minor issue that felt like a major one and required an after-work doctor's visit, which cut out our run time that day. Thankfully, it was completely worth it, and I am Not Sorry.  I'm just going to mark that run as skipped and move on.

Today will be our first run in four days. Intervals are on the schedule and I am really looking forward to winding it out a bit.  We'll be going back to the track for this run, but I made the mistake of introducing the girls to the joy of running the Tweetsie instead of track work, and now they're spoiled, so I expect to hear a lot of belly-aching today when we get there. That's ok, there's a place and time for track work, too. Thankfully, it's not too often, and most of our runs WILL be on the Tweetsie, especially on the shady parts of it this summer.

The crazy weather is still holding for the most part, although we did have a bit of unexpected snow yesterday, and as a consequence, is a bit chilly today. But the sun is shining, and there is no snow or ice on the ground. In February. In the mountains.  Color me extremely happy.

And last, but certainly not least, I lost another .5 pounds when I stepped on the scale on Weigh-In Wednesday. Any loss is a good one, as far as I'm concerned....and most definitely a step in the right direction.
 
 How about you?  Having unusually awesome weather where you are?

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Running with Friends

This weather is CRAZY. Like, seriously. The last couple of winters here have been really brutal, and I guess I've gotten it in my head that it's the norm, but this year has been very mild so far (knock on wood). I've been really happy about that for several reasons, the main one being that I'm sick of having to deplete my leave every winter because I'm snowbound and can't get to freaking work.  Last year, winter completely derailed me.  And this year, now that I have a treadmill in the house, the weather has been in the 60's with very little snow. I've only been housebound one day so far. One. Day.


Ridiculous.


But in the best kind of way.  I just wish I could say I've been taking full advantage of it.

I've really got to get better at getting outside. I'm still too chained to my desk for my liking, and I've got to get harsher with myself and MAKE myself go walk at lunch, if nothing else.


Monday, I finally started my Beginner 5k program.  I'm so stinking excited to be back out on the track, I can't even.  I convinced my friend Angie to do this with me, so that we can both run the Covered Bridge 5k in June, and she agreed, but she has never run before, so when I say 'beginner', I really mean it.  I am so stinking excited to share this journey with her and her daughter, Kailey! I was kind, though...after 10 months of no running, I had a vested interest in slowing my roll, too, so even though the plan called for a five minute warm-up, followed by a mile and a half of running or walking, we basically wound up doing interval shuffles.  Walked for about a half loop around the track, shuffle-ran the rest of the way, until we got a mile and a half in.  Then we walked a cool down lap. That's cool, because even shuffles mean you're moving.


It was really hard for me to keep it a shuffle, though. I didn't think it would be, but Kailey went with us, and with all the abundant energy of youth, she kept bouncing out in front of us. I told her to keep going, but she hovered, and I'm kind of glad because watching her take off would have made me itch too much to join her.  At the end of the run, I felt like I hadn't really run at all, and I never got out of breath, or really even pushed myself, even though Angie was all in.  They both did so, so well, and I am so very proud of them, especially Angie, who laid it all out on the line....but I was also proud of myself, to discover that maybe...just maybe...I wasn't quite as out of shape as I had led myself to believe.

Today, we'll be headed back to the track for our second training session...intervals. I'm going to work hard to get Angie to push it with each interval (they're only one minute apiece, but that can seem like an eternity when you're just starting out), but I'm not sure that our pace will improve much from Monday's (which I think was in the 21 min/mi range). That's ok, but I find that I'm really feeling antsy, and that's not ok. I really want to run. I want to push myself, to feel my muscles respond, to feel like I've accomplished something hard. And that's not going to happen for a while.

So...I think maybe what I'm going to do is to try and sneak in a run here and there on my own, between my run dates with Angie, on the days I know she won't be running.  Just until the initial training process is over, mind...so I don't think I'll have to do it for very long.  I wasn't sore at all the morning after, or even that night, and I usually am after a run, so I know that if I add a run or two through the week, I won't be overtaxing my body. I really think I'm ready for that step.

In other news, I managed to drop a couple of pounds this week (the two that I gained back last week), so I'm back on track, even if it IS a couple of weeks late.  All forward motion counts, right?

Right!!

How about you?  Ever tried to help someone else get into running or some other physical activity? How did you handle it? Were you successful?
 
 
 

Friday, February 3, 2017

January Wrap-Up and February Goals

So...I'm not able to post as frequently as I used to right now, but I am trying to post at least once a week, and hopefully it will get more frequent as I get back into the swing of things.  More and more I'm finding myself being able to unchain from my desk, but it is a slow-go, nonetheless.  That's ok...I will get there, I'm not really concerned by how long it takes.  This is a process, and it makes sense that everything associated with it would be a process, too.


This has been a bit of a strange week, but not in a bad way. I've been able to get some walking in, but not as much as I would have liked. The plan right now is to do as much as possible to make up the difference this weekend.

I've set the highly ambitious goal of 1000 miles this year, and in order to reach it, I have set smaller monthly goals. Since I've always had trouble in the winter, I purposely set smaller goals for those months.  January only had a goal of 40 miles, nothing when I'm running to speed, but when one is starting back from a 9-month-long dead stop, it's a bit daunting, to say the least.  Still, even with the slow start I had, I still managed to eek out a respectable 25....which just means that my goal of 60 miles in February will need to include an additional 15 miles to make up for January, if possible, and come March, I'll be back on track. Or, I can just add an extra 5 miles to each of the next three months.  I'm not trying to kill myself, but if I can just manage to not fall behind any more, I feel pretty sure that I'll be able to stay on track the rest of the year.  At my top months, I'm aiming for 100 miles, and I've done 120 easily in the past, so I'm really not too worried.


Providing, of course, that the weather cooperates for the next two months.


I feel pretty good about my progress in January. Getting back on the horse is never easy, but I've managed to make a very good start, I think. Of course, my goals for February will be more of the same, but I really want to focus on tightening my game.  And I want to get my run back on.  Badly.  I know that will make all the difference in my attitude and my drive. January was all about getting moving.  February is all about really moving. 

I've signed up for the Beginner 5k training course in Runkeeper again, and talked my friend Angie into joining me. We're slated to begin this on Sunday, always providing the weather holds, but if we can use February and March for this course, then by the time the weather turns in April, we'll be running smooth, and that's when the fun REALLY starts!

Can't wait to get really moving again!

How about you? How'd you do last month?  What are your goals for February?




Thursday, January 26, 2017

Hello, Tweetsie, My Old Friend....

Wow. Can't believe the weather right now. It's been in the sixties for the better part of the last two weeks....and it's JANUARY. In the MOUNTAINS.  Not trying to look a gift horse in the mouth or anything...I know this could very well be extremely short-lived.  (As a matter of fact, they're calling for snow flurries tonight and tomorrow). But I sure am enjoying it while it lasts. :)


Even though it's been raining a lot too (today included), it's been nice enough for me to take advantage of the weather and get in a lot of outside walks.  That's good, because I really despise the treadmill (although I love having the opportunity to get my walk on, no matter how crappy the weather might be), so any time I can avoid it makes me hate it less when I actually DO have to resort to using it.


Yesterday, it was BEAUTIFUL outside. Blue skies, temps in the 60's....by the time I left work, I was ITCHING to get out in it. So I headed to the Tweetsie Trail...my first time in almost a year, and boy...have I missed it!!!


It was my goal to get four miles in yesterday, as it will be for the rest of this month. By my calculations, even with the spasmodic start I had, if I can finish strong in the next week, I will be on track to hit my monthly goal of 40 miles, which in turn will keep me on track to do 1000 miles this year. I really want to hit that goal.


I wanted to hit it last year...but Life happened...


I digress. It was a great walk on a beautiful day, and my body just hummed with happiness at being back out in it.  Unfortunately, my Runkeeper app apparently didn't share my sentiments, because the time spazzed at roughly the halfway mark, and started over.  Fortunately, the mileage didn't, but it completely threw the computations off, so by the time I finished my walk, it looked like I had run my best pace ever.  I'll get there...one day. But when I see that number, I want it to be because I worked for it, not because my phone decided to have pity on me and throw me a bone.

In other news, I've been doing amazing with my eating. I'm completely back in the groove...actually fell back into it pretty easily, to my surprise. Not that I'm complaining, I just thought there would be more head games involved.  I guess my body was as ready for me to start being good to it again as my mind was. 


Yesterday was Weigh-In Wednesday, and by my worn-out scale, I've lost another 1.8 pounds, for a total of 6.6 pounds...down 16 pounds from my highest. A good weigh in, but I think honestly it may have actually been more of a loss, for two reasons.

First...my scale is toast.  I've had it many years, and never changed the battery in it. It's been a really, really good one...but it's tired. Now, to get a reading, I have to keep stepping on it until I get the same reading 3 times, and that's the number I go with. Yesterday, I actually saw lower numbers than what I posted...but none of them read twice, so I kept with the higher number.

Second, I was an idiot Tuesday night, and ate something with a really high sodium content, forgetting that I would be weighing in the next morning, and that probably wasn't the smartest idea, even if it was within my calorie range.

Ahh....how quickly we lose our mindfulness.  Oh, well...all good things in time. If I'm correct in my assumptions, I should have a nice loss next week, too.  And in the meantime...I mean to keep on truckin', come sunshine or snow.

How about you? How's the weather in your neck of the woods? Have you been able to take advantage of it?
 
 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Weigh-In Wednesday

Well, the  Dreaded Week Two has come and gone. In all honesty, I actually fared better than expected. As committed as I am to this process, I haven't yet hit that moment where I feel like I'm 'all in', if that makes sense. I found myself cutting a few corners this past week that I wouldn't do in the full swing of things...corners like not eating all my meals, not making time for my workouts, eating stuff I should stay away from at this stage....and finding reasons to justify my decisions.

That's a dangerous place to be this early on.

This coming week, I plan on working on a few areas to see if I can improve my game a little:


1.  I want to make sure I'm eating at my scheduled times.
                I really have to make myself stop working to do this, and that's very hard to do most days. I have to keep reminding myself that my lunch time and breaks are not special privileges that I only get to take if my work is caught up...they are necessary parts of my day, and I need to take them, for my body and for my mind.


2.  I want to make sure I'm eating ONLY what's safe for me to eat at this stage of my program.
                Justifying sugar, simple carbs, junk food, etc. is not beneficial.  Even though I stay within my calorie allotment, all it's doing is slowing down my metabolic rate. Later, after my metabolism has started burning well again, there will be options to add small amounts of things, sparingly. Now is not that time. 


3.  I want to make sure I'm drinking all the water my body needs.
               I'm terrible at slurping coffee all day. The rule is No Coffee After 12:00 Noon. I need to stick to that, because when I do, I have no problem getting all my water down...and then some....especially on days when I run.  Which brings me to


4.  I want to make sure that I'm getting my workouts in.
               Right now, that just means walking, but very soon, that will graduate into walk/runs and running.  That needs to happen sooner, rather than later. But I'm battling chronic exhaustion, so I'm trying to be kind to myself and listen. I know that the more I exercise, the less tired I will be, but that first step (re-establishing the rhythm) is a real doozie.

I don't plan on acing all of these in the next week...this IS a process, after all...but I do want to see myself a week from now, having put a serious dent in each area, and there's no reason that can't happen.  So far today, I'm doing pretty well.

As far as my weigh-in goes, this morning I managed to pull off a .2 lb loss, despite not being completely on track.  Not huge or monumental by any means, but not nothing, either.  And considering how much I battled this week, I'll take it with thanks. 

I made a commitment yesterday to get 5 miles in this week, but was so exhausted last night, I couldn't think straight.  Tonight, our plans include dinner out with a friend (planned weeks ago). I know there's a nice salad in my future, but that's not until 6pm, and I've got some time to kill after work. I'm pretty sure I can get a nice walk in if the weather holds, so that's my plan.

How about you?  Have you set any small goals to help you achieve your larger ones? How are they working for you?





Wednesday, January 11, 2017

It's Been a While....

...but everybody's got to start somewhere, right? And I'm starting over. Yes, again. But that's ok, because I know I've got it in me.
Funny how your outlook can shape your life. I know I've talked about that in previous posts, but no matter where we are on our journey, there's always something to be learned. I could not have foreseen it going into 2016, but last year turned out to be one of the hardest years of my life, second only to the year my late husband, Bill passed away.
 Last winter was brutal. So brutal, in fact, that we were literally housebound for three weeks. I couldn't even step outside the door without sliding down the mountain, and there were a lot of other days scattered throughout the season as well where outside workouts and/or traveling to a workout place (gym, track, trail) were just not possible.
 Still, I did my best to hang on, and although I gained back about 20 pounds, I still felt positive about getting back on track with spring just around the corner. I battled a grueling speed-training session to meet my 10k goal in March, a bum knee, and the absolutely unexpected announcement that although we were already incredibly short-handed at work, my department lead threw in the towel and retired. I was left holding the bag with two just-hired trainees who had no clearance access to the system (and didn't know anything at all, even if they HAD)....so not only did I have to do ALL the things (bi-weekly payroll for 2500+ government employees), I had to train the newbies at the same time.
I won't bore you with the details, but all the extra time it took and the pressure I was under caused my stress level to shoot past the moon, and my health suffered tremendously because of it. All my wonderfully cathartic, afternoon process-the-day runs were a thing of the past. All my carefully prepared meals and intake monitoring gave way to full-blown survival mode as I did whatever it took to get through the day.
For food, I either shoveled what was easy or in front of me, or ignored it completely, never leaving my desk through the week, working crazy hours long into the night to keep pace, trying desperately to catch up with home life on the weekends I wasn't working. For exercise, I stressed. I let go of every single thing in my life that wasn't critical. And I lost every shred of my personal life in the process. I can say this now, one year removed from the turmoil...that it is amazing that I survived. But I did survive.
These days, my life has finally leveled off. I am now the head of my department with a staff of four doing the job I did alone for the majority of the year. The training is not over, and probably won't be for some time...but they are all self-sufficient. And I can now go home at the end of my shift, secure in the knowledge that the building will still be standing the next day when I come back. No more overtime for me (unless there is an emergency, which may be once or twice a year), and there is now time to breathe, to focus on my health, and to bring my life back into alignment.
The balance that I had finally found was utterly lost last year, but it's time to reclaim that. I know I can do it. I've done it before, and I have the knowledge and the tools I need already in place. For Christmas, I made sure Santa brought me a new treadmill, so that I will never again be caught in the winter with no way to get a workout in. I went to the store and stocked up on new Tupperware containers and the foods I would need to get back in the swing of my everyday, pre-disaster life. I updated the My Fitness Pal, Runkeeper, and Rock My Run apps on my phone, and I finally stepped back on the scale to face the ungodly gain that was the result of months of bad eating, stress and inactivity expecting to have surpassed my highest weight, and pleasantly surprised to find that despite everything, I hadn't quite gotten there, after all.

One week ago...I began again to put it all into place, to rebuild once again the life I had worked so hard to attain. I know I can do it, I know because I've been there. I know because I want that life back so bad, I can taste the sweetness of it from here. This morning, I stepped back on the scale for my first weigh-in of the new age. And I had lost 4.6 pounds.  
Confucius was a wise, wise man. That single first step is everything.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Of Train Wrecks and Wagons

Usually when something happens to someone in a negative way, you would say something like, "oh, that person is a train wreck", "they completely derailed", or "they fell off the wagon".

But sometimes...it's none of those things.

If you think about it, all of the above happen suddenly, completely, and often without warning.  But not all things...even negative things (and sometimes especially negative things)...happen suddenly.  Sometimes, it can be a gradual shift.

Years ago, Keith and I decided to go exploring to find a remote local waterfall.  To get to it required navigating an extremely steep gully that we basically had to slide on our feet and butts to get down, holding on to tree branches, bushes, and patches of grass as we went.  As hard as it was to get down, life got really interesting on the way back up, when every few steps had us sliding back, reaching for anything to stop our descent before continuing to scrabble our way back up the slippery slope.

Sometimes, negative things happen like that.


I was so in the groove last year, I felt completely unshakeable.  My food was rock solid, my weight dropping slowly and steadily, and my physical fitness was improving more with every week.  I was running farther and faster than ever before, and I had even managed to finish out the year injury-free...a miracle in itself.  Even the holiday season didn't unseat me.  I was solid.  I was strong.

(climb that slope, sister)

And then...winter.

Days and weeks of forced inactivity, due to being snowbound. Nothing to do but sleep, eat, and watch endless TV.  My spirit drooped, and the scale climbed....imperceptibly, at first, but it was there.

(slip)

With the change in the weather, my hopes changed. I had signed up for a 10k in March that I was eagerly looking forward to, but after being out of commission for the better part of two months, it was a mighty struggle to get back to a point where I could just finish the race at all.  Regardless, after only two weeks of training, I was able to hold my head up high enough to gain a PR out of it.

(grab a branch, hold your ground, inch your way back up a little)


Then my knee started acting up.  Not much at first, just a little griping after my run.  But then it got worse. Soon, it was griping after the first few steps. So I was forced to rest it.

(wobble)


I tried to start back a few times, tried to walk some, even,

(grab a bush, hold your ground)

but every time, my knee (and soon both my knees) would start griping.  And I would stop again. 

Then, the depression set in.

(slip)


More and more food started inching its way into my day, and soon, I couldn't bring myself to log it into MFP....the totals would depress me even more.  My waistline started expanding again, my clothes felt tighter, the scale screamed "failure!!" every time I stepped on it, so that stopped, too.


(slide)


And before I knew it...months had passed, and I had gained back 25 pounds.


The day I realized that I was purposely ignoring all my social media because I was so ashamed of how far I had fallen, and how uncomfortable I had once again become in my own skin is the day I decided to dig in my heels.  Just because I have slid a little ways, doesn't mean I'm a failure. I'm not at the bottom of the gulley...in fact, I'm a long way from it. I'm much closer to the top than I am to the bottom.  There's no need to be so deeply depressed over this issue.

(Grab a tree, steady...STAND.)

Yes, I have a good way to go yet to reach my goal.  But reaching my goal was never the most important aspect of this journey...rather, it was learning how to reach it, and maintain it.  This is an ongoing process, and there are bound to be little slides here and there.  I've said often in the past year and a half that I didn't care how long it took me to get there, and I meant it. It may take me the rest of my life to 'achieve my goal'. The important part is that I not give up, because giving up and going back to the misery of my old life is not, nor will it ever be an option again.