Sunday, September 21, 2014

Getting Paid by the Hour

I don't want to boast, but the truth is, I'm awesome. And not always humble.

Seriously, I can't quite believe how I pulled myself out of the hole.

As I mentioned in my post on Tuesday, I went to the gym that day.

On Wednesday I did it again. I rode the upright bike for 20 minutes and then did an ease-back-in weight training routine, a bit of everything, including a couple sets of pushups even. Thursday was more of the same. I ran one mile on the treadmill and did a short full-body weight routine.

And then came Friday. I had the day off and was toying with the idea of a long run. What if...what if? Midday came around and I had that get going! feeling, so I ran with it (pun intended) and changed into my running clothes.

I knew I was going out for a run. How far? don't know. How fast? don't know. My body would be my guide. What I did know was this would be an indicator as to whether or not I would be able to run the US Half Marathon, San Francisco coming up in 6 short weeks. If I want to get up to 11 miles the week before the half I had to do 6 miles. But I can't force it, not this time.

So I set on my way, running so easy and slow that, in terms of my exertion, I almost felt like I was walking. "I could run like this all day," I thought. The running continued to be almost effortless so I started to have ideas about shooting for 3 miles before I turned around. But I wasn't wearing my Garmin so I had to run for time. I figured 13-minute miles are about as slow as I could possibly be running. At that pace, I would need to run for roughly 80 minutes to get to 6 miles.

So I kept shuffling along with a plan to turn around after 40 minutes. I should add, I was running in a beautiful area, next to water, with perfect conditions. That helped. As I ran I started having all these amazing, positive thoughts. It went something like this...

Later in the day, after my run.
My body is incredible, I'm running!, this is the way to run, slow, easy, effortless. How lucky I am to be able to do this! Look at that sky, beautiful. And the temperature is just perfect, with plenty of shade. And the breeze that's coming along every once in a while, straight from heaven. I'm so lucky, so grateful that I can do this. See? I still got it, I'm not done-for. These legs, they're carrying me along, slow, easy, smooth.

On my run out I'd look down at my shadow and feel like I had a running companion. Yep, there I am, running. I lost that buddy for the return trip. And on the return I started to feel twinges of discomfort, indications that despite running easy, this was still a challenge. So I slowed down, backed off my already easy pace.

And I figured, why not? I'm running for time. It doesn't much matter how far I go, I've decided to run for 80 minutes and how far I cover in that time-frame isn't all that important. It's kind of like getting paid by the hour to paint a wall. Why rush? The longer it takes, the more money I make. I chuckled at that concept and kept myself entertained for a good 10 minutes thinking about how running for time is like getting paid by the hour. What's the hurry? Slow down, take it easy, enjoy!

And so I did. When I hit the 80 minute mark I laughed, probably in part to being high on endorphins. But no matter, I felt great, and I'm pretty sure I ran 6 miles. The half-marathon is still possible. I came home and mapped my route - 6.6406 miles in 79:30 (I stopped just before 80 minutes because I'd reached my starting point). That's a pace of roughly 12-minute miles. Snap!

My eating has been much improved. I did do a lot of indulging over the past few days but not in a bad way. I was mindful, present, and not just munching on snacks I didn't enjoy at 11pm at night. And as the weekend wraps up, I'm thinking about getting back to my "regular," less indulgent eating. 

Ok, so I still got it. And, I exercised four times this week. Though I was missing one weight-training session. So yesterday I went to the gym, I ran a very leisurely 3 miles (roughly 11:30 pace!) and then did another round of full body weights. Admittedly I was worn out but I was happy worn out, not exhausted worn out. There's a difference.

And so there you have it. I'm all about the comeback. I was down, but not out. Lost, but not forgotten. And now I'm up, found, and working my way to back. It will take a few weeks in the weight lifting department, and who knows how long in the running department, to get back to where I was but you know what? I don't care this time. What matters is that I'm here. And right here is a damn fine place to be!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Did I Say That?!

Blogging two days in a row, you know something's got my attention. I'm writing to respond to this comment on yesterday's post:
Why does it have to be so hard ALL the time?? I'm trying to wrap my head around the fact that this is going to be a daily battle for the rest of my life.........really??? EVERY day?? not fair not fair :( Maintenance seems to be a different animal....I wish I had the need to tackle it but alas I haven't even gotten to the lose weight part in order to have a need to maintain....what an effing struggle this all is....grrrrrrr thanks Michele for being so "real" we all need to hear to truth. It gives us ideas and suggestions on how to find our own unique way through the our quest for good health. Keep on Keepin are on the other side now. Find a plan and routine to keep you there...oh and then tell us how to do it? lolol
Oh no, no, nooooo. I think I'll separate thoughts in this comment and respond to them one-by-one.
  1. Why does it have to be so hard ALL the time?...this is going to be a daily battle for the rest of my life.

    Not true! It's not hard all the time. It's true there are hard days, sometimes hard weeks, but it's just not true that it's hard every day, for the rest of your life. If I believed it would forever be as hard as it is right now I'd probably give up. I would not choose to endure this kind of tension if it were daily and forever. But I know this will pass, it will get easier again, it does, every time.

  2. not fair, not fair :(

    Maybe it's true that it's not fair. But everyone has unfairness in their lives, at least mine is something I can do something about. Plus, either way it’s unfair. Either I face unfairness by limiting your eating, or I face all the unfairnesses and hardships that come with being overweight. Besides, it’s a common misconception that other people can eat whatever they want, they’re limiting themselves, too.

  3. Maintenance seems to be a different animal.

    Yes and no. Maintenance is different in that you're not trying to get to a specific goal, and I think it's mostly easier than it used to be because I have more skills, habits, etc now. I know when I'm in a down place it sounds super hard but if I really think about it, I know it's easier, that I have way more tools and insights than I used to have. So yes, different, but also the same. The same in that I have to keep paying attention, I have to remember how important this is to me, how much it matters to me. I have to be careful of thinking I'm cured and can move on to other things.

  4. what an effing struggle this all is.

    I would add to the end of that sentence, at times. This goes back to #1. It's not an effing struggle every moment of every day. And I wouldn't even say it was an effing struggle on average. Most of the time it's great. And even when it's not great, it beats the alternative of not struggling at all. In fact that's the true struggle, being overweight and not taking action to do anything about it. That's when I felt truly hopeless. It's a struggle, at times, and a struggle that I happily take on. When I sat on the couch eating donuts I thought that was easier but I now know it was WAY harder to live like that. Down with "easy"! Bring on the struggle!

  5. thanks Michele for being so "real" we all need to hear to truth.

    You're welcome. And I also hope you're reading my happy, alive, dancing in the sunshine posts and saying to yourself, "Look! It can be easy and fun and joyous." Because that's part of the "real" truth too.

  6. you are on the other side now.

    I can see how it looks that way but really, there is no other side. There is here and here is there. I am where I am, haven't moved really, took me with me. Maybe this is too zen mindfulness whatever. And I guess I am on the other side if the other side means I've realized that this is worth it, that I want to work for it, that I have what I need to get here, I've always had it. There was never anything wrong with Michelle that could not be fixed by what is right with Michelle.

  7. Find a plan and routine to keep you there...oh and then tell us how to do it?

    I have! It's called never giving up. It's called paying attention. It's called mixing up my approach depending on how I'm feeling. There's no one plan, no one routine. Last month I could keep tortilla chips in my house no problem, today? Nope. The how to do it changes over time, and then goes back, and then changes again. So the biggest thing I've found is taking charge of my thoughts, my behaviors. I will not deny my desire for a fit, healthy body. And I will use that desire to drive my thoughts and behavior.
I want to thank you Colleen for this comment. It put me in the position of writing out some things I really needed to think about. You voiced some of my inner sabotaging thoughts and by challenging them I reminded myself. Thank you.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Fake It 'Til You Make It

Oh woe is me.

I've been down in the dumps.

The other night I went to bed with a bag of tortilla chips and a bowl of salsa. Really.

That, coupled with some other equally disturbing eating behaviors, has me feeling like crap. When will I learn? Nope, not going to tackle that question. The question I do want to answer is what am I going to do now?

This morning I had the thought, "I want things to change" (and by things I meant my eating behavior mostly).

So then I thought, if I want things to change then I need to change. Things don't magically change on their own, I change my behaviors, choices, thoughts, habits...that's the ONLY way.

And I was also thinking today about the fake it 'til you make it thing. Yeah, that's what I'll do, I'll fake it. How would I behave if I were in a strong, motivated, self-disciplined groove? What choice would I make if I were in a place of feeling good, confident, powerful? So do that. Past experience tells me this can work.

So I'm clawing my way out of this hole. As slowly and patiently as is warranted. Oh, for those that want numbers, I'm roughly 148, 149 pounds body fat has gone up to 32%!! That's a change of around 4%, which is roughly 7 pounds of fat, some of which used to be muscle. Ugh. Not thinking about the numbers though, instead I want to focus on what I can do, which is make better choices.

I want to make choices that help me feel strong, in control, powerful and in charge of my destiny. I am not a victim. Crappy and too-much food doesn't fly up and into my mouth - I put it there. And if that act leaves me feeling bad, then I want to change. Can I not tell you about the KFC too-much/crap food followed by a bowl of cereal? Yeah, I told you. Not good. Probably outright bad but minimally, not good. My poor body, I'm lucky it hasn't broken out in hives.

Oh boy, does this situation call on me to practice what I preach. It's not about never falling, it's about getting up. So I've fallen, and I'm down in the dumps, but I will get up. I am getting up. And even in the getting up I acknowledge my imperfection, my humanity, but also my strength, will and determination to never give up. Ever.

I know I can gain this weight back, I know it's a risk. I will not pretend, put my head in the sand. I'll stop all the lies I've been telling myself lately about how I can work it off later, or this little bit won't count, or "but I want it." Yeah? What else do you want Michelle? Let's not forget how important this is to you.

So today I made better choices. By example, I walked into an office this afternoon and happened upon a bowl of fun-size candy. I actually had two pieces of candy in my hand. And thankfully, my brain kicked in, "No," I told myself, "this isn't the way, change what you're doing, all the little choices matter," and I put them back.

And after work, I went to the gym. I might as well have crawled in the door for how I felt. I started on the treadmill with a 5 minute warm up walk, then I ran two miles at between 5.0 and 6.0 miles per hour, but mostly at 5.5mph. But pace doesn't matter, I did what felt easy, manageable. I kept telling myself, "See? All is not lost. You can still run. And you'll build on this, just like before."

Dammit if I don't bare my soul on this darned blog sometimes. The inner workings of a sometimes twisted up, pathetic girl. I know, I'm not pathetic, or twisted up, it just feels that way when I expose some of my thoughts.

Not today, chips.
Anyway, I coughed a little and sniffled some but on the whole I felt good. After the run I did some light weights and a bit of ab work, leaving after an hour in total. Perfect for a first day back after being sick. And tired. And unmotivated.

A moment ago I made myself a cup of apple/cinnamon tea. And at lunchtime today I came home to put the rest of the chips down the garbage disposal. Right now I just don't want those foods in my living space. I know what works at a time like this, and that's what I plan to do.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Not So Fast

When last we met our brave heroine she was defiant in her resistance to the common cold. Filled with verve, nerve and perspicacity she challenged the viral intruder to take her down.

Sadly, it did.

Ok, I'm being somewhat melodramatic here but yes, I was over-eager in my refusal to believe that something like a wee sore throat and whatnot could stop me. I'm sad to say I was wrong. That wee cold turned into bronchitis, from which I am just now beginning to mend. I'm mending by resting, steroid and regular inhaler use, some antibiotics just in case (I know, but I can't take the chance it's not bacterial at this point even though it probably isn't) and water. Oh, where's my water?

I can't remember my last workout. Might have been that last (maybe I shouldn't have) run. My eating is mixed, some good, some horrible and everything in between. You probably know I've been doing a lot of thinking, soul-searching, to understand my choices and to intervene.

My weight is up by a few pounds but the more telling, my body fat has crept up to 32%. If I stay on this path the weight number will soon follow. That number on the scale is merely fool's gold. I know too much to fall for that line, "Oh, you haven't gained any weight, you're fine." Hmph.

Patience, self-love, acceptance and gripping with all my might to the belief that this will pass. My motivation always comes back, every time. Guaranteed. Just hang on. Don't give up. Don't throw in the towel and eat a half-gallon of ice cream. All is not lost. Make every single better choice you can. And feel good about it. Read those articles on running and think about that new gym-move you read about in Fitness magazine. Act as if. Because it's only a matter of time until if once again is when it comes to the topic of my motivation and habits.

I remind myself to look at my body. It's real, I've worked for it. And I will one day soon rise up out of this damn hole to fight for it. There's the drama again.

But these things feel dramatic sometimes. This is serious. If I don't focus, remember, pay attention, I could get lost. When was the last time I didn't blog for over 2 weeks? When was the last time I ate cookies and fried chicken and fast-food and, and, and all within a two week window? Random candy bars are always a bad sign in my life. And there have been random candy bars.

So, yes, I'll think of the phoenix as she rises from the ashes, I'll call on Shakespeare to remind me that Whatever you do, you need courage and imagine Pavarotti belting out that I WILL BE OK! This is serious, and I take it seriously. I wanted this for decades, I doubted, I cried, I dreamt and eventually, I fought - and won. I still want this. I still falter and struggle but I still want this. And for that reason, I'm still winning. Though I don't feel like a winner.

My motivation is creeping back. I get a glimpse of it here, there. I know all is not lost. I am not lost.

My sister got married this past weekend. Beautiful wedding. I took a mirror selfie of the dress I wore. I'll close with that.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Too Busy for a Cold (and 10 out of 15k ain't bad)

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I started getting sick in the middle of the week last week. I went to the gym on Monday and Tuesday and then not again for the rest of the week. It started with a bad sore throat and then my energy level just took a dive.

I'd registered for this race for Saturday morning, what they call the Double Road Race. For some reason, which I admit I still don't understand, they split the distance up into two legs. I signed up for the 15k, which means I was supposed to run a 10k, take a break for a while, and then run a 5k. Hmph.

Of course I knew almost nothing beyond this interesting fact. I showed up and started running the 10k, moving very slowly mainly because I was still basically sick but also because I've been running 3 miles and less lately. I decided to run at a pace I felt I could maintain all day long if I needed to.

It was probably around mile 1 when I realized we were running the same loop twice. I had nothing on by way of tracking myself - no heart rate monitor, no Garmin. Can you believe that?! I was doing this for the fun of it, nothing more. At the end of the first loop there was a woman yelling out our times, I was around 34 minutes I think. Take off a minute for being near the back of the pack but still, for a hair over 3 miles, that's my easy, slow pace.

And now that I knew what to expect in the second loop (one small hill), I decided to pick up the pace and comfortably push myself. I started passing people, which is always encouraging, and reminded myself that I know how to tolerate a bit of discomfort. My lungs felt good, so did my legs, so I stayed with this now somewhat faster pace.

I finished and stood around waiting for the 5k to start. They had a live band, which was nice, and the weather was good. But as I stood, my muscles started tightening. The idea of doing a 5k sounded, well, silly. So I bagged it and got the heck out of dodge to go hang with my kiddos. I am very curious as to my 10k time but they apparently don't post your time unless you finish both legs. Oh well, I was happy with what I did.

I'd say this is my first DNF but I have a hard time with that given I crossed a finish line and got to stop running. But it was a 15k and I did only do 10k. Ah heck, it doesn't matter.

Sunday was a super fun day, Marek's first soccer game. We signed him up for the league and they've had 3-4 practices so far. I couldn't wipe the smile off my face the entire game. They were so cute running around after the ball. And some of them, my son included, took it pretty seriously. I mean, like, really played.

I'm looking forward to watching them grow into themselves as far as physical fitness and sports go. This is something I largely missed out on growing up so now I can live vicariously through them. Assuming they continue to show an interest of course. And given that we'll be there stoking that interest, let's hope it sticks for a while.

I took about a million pictures as you can imagine, but I'll only share a couple less than 10 here so as not to bore you with my new soccer mom status.

Game face

#6 !!

kidding around with daddy


I love this picture.

Today, Monday, I managed to get myself to the gym. Still on the cold medicine (DayQuil is like liquid gold) but no real coughing to speak of, which is good. I did 25 minutes on the upright bike and back/biceps/core for strength training because, well, because I could. I've got a busy week ahead so any chance I get to squeeze in a workout, I will. The cold will just have to come along for the ride because I don't have time for it to take me down.