Saturday, December 31, 2011

9 Miles and a New Year

I suppose I should be writing a year-in-review and something like a resolution post but I'm just not up for it.  Maybe later this week.  I don't plan to make any resolutions, but maybe I'll put a few goals out there.  We'll see.  I certainly won't be making any weight loss goals for the coming year.  I've already registered for two events so those are easy targets.  Anyway, on to more pressing matters.

I did that 5 mile run this past Thursday - on the treadmill.  And it nearly was the death of me.  I have decided 5 miles on the treadmill crosses a line for me.  It's just too far.  I found myself getting very negative in my head during that last mile and all the mental work that went into keeping my legs moving for that long was just too exhausting.  Instead of getting off feeling content with myself I got off feeling irritated.  That's not good.  So, no more treadmill runs over 4 miles.  At least not for a good long while, until I have some reason to believe things will be different.

The only sort-of cool thing was that I maintained a 5mph pace the whole time.  I did some intervals but averaged out to 5mph so that was good.  I had legs/shoulders/core to do after and when I tried to drop into my first lunge I thought my legs would melt.  I was able to do a couple sets.  Fortunately I was pressed for time so that, coupled with my wiped legs from the run, left me doing only two sets of everything instead of three.  And let me tell you, I was fine with that.  You know I'm not one of those no pain, no gain people.

I'll sneak in a word here about my weigh-in this week.  2.6 pounds down!!  Wait...what?  I eat a ton and I lose the most I've lost in months?!  Wouldn't it be nice if I've not been eating enough?  That's a nice thing with WW, if you're tracking you know, roughly, how many calories you're eating and can compare week-to-week how that affects things.   But I'm not ready for WW yet so I'll just carry on for now.

Friday was a day off from training and I was lucky enough to receive an invite to share some wine at a mom friend's house after work.  The kids ran around like the crazed maniacs they are while a few of us sat around drinking wine and eating pizza.  I posted about my debauchery on Facebook noting, "it's not cheating, it's carb loading" (though I concede wine is not the idea).  Anyway, I had a great time.  As soon as I got home I promptly drank a huge glass of water and hit the sack.  I just realized this is the second week in a row when I drank the night before my Saturday run.  I blame the holidays.

I got up on Saturday feeling fine, thank goodness.  We took the kids to BADM for some new year fun.  I had the 9 mile run planned for the afternoon and I found myself wondering how all this morning activity would leave me come run-time.  Fortunately a friend I texted to run with me was up for the challenge!  (Thanks Karen!!)  We left the house around 3:30pm and ran until dark.  As we neared the end we cut through a park and boy was I glad I wasn't alone!  I might have been a bit nervous by myself.

Whew!  Those were some long miles.  We did 2 loops that involved a couple good sized hills and then decided we were done with big hills so we tacked on two mostly flat loops after that.  I ate two shot blox at mile 3 and mile 6 and I think I ate another one at mile 8.  I'm not sure, my brain was getting foggy around then.  This 13.1 mile thing should be verrry interesting.  My knees were hurting a bit, the back more than the front, and my hips were happy to be done too.  I'd call it a good run - not fantastic (I blame the hills) but certainly not bad.  I forgot to stop my garmin when we stopped so I'm not sure what my official pace was but I'd guess somewhere between 12.5 and 13 minute miles.  Some of that were the brief water and route discussion stops, some were the hills and some were just me being slow.  As usual, I am just glad I got the miles in.

We wrapped up 2011 with Karen and her husband and cutie son over for dinner.  It was a nice, relaxing way to end the year after the longest run of my life thus far. 

I'm going to close with a few pictures of the kids from our outing today.  These two little buggers are giving me the time of my life and I couldn't be more grateful for their energy and love!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

More Thoughts on "The Fat Trap"

So I've been thinking more about that article, The Fat Trap, which I just wrote about yesterday.  I'll tell you the truth, I got somewhat angry after reading that.  I think it was the hopelessness of it that ticked me off.  I see so much hope, so much opportunity for change, so much potential for growth - that article is just the opposite, a big downer.  I've concluded that the author, Tara, is working through some food/weight issues and trying to figure the whole mess out.  And it is a mess.  We get so many mixed messages, so many theories and systems of weight loss - it's hard to know what the "right" thing to do is.

Anyway, these are the points I want to add to my last post.

1.  Tara describes 1-2 hours of exercise a day like it's an extreme amount.  But I'd want to dig deeper.  Are these people sedentary the rest of the day?  What's their muscle mass like? 

2.  Build muscle.  It burns more calories than fat and makes life easier.  Being strong feels good and makes this whole thing more fun.  The article didn't touch on this at all really.

3.  And by the way, what's 1 hour of exercise out of 24?  Not that much really.  I know busy - I have 2 small kids, a full time job and a household, husband and volunteer work to consider.  Some days I'm squeezing in the exercise at 8pm, other days it's 5:30am.  It's not always easy, though sometimes it is.  Like when I go for a run while the kids are napping.  You don't have to wait until you retire to get in shape.  I know you have a down hour somewhere - use it to exercise.

4.  What do you want to bet that all the other things Tara seemed to characterize as extreme are actually a daily habit, a part of these folks' lives that they don't consider a burden anymore.  Like logging their food, weighing it, planning what to eat at a restaurant.  None of that sounds so extreme to me.  Then again, some people would look at my blog and say, "oh right, I have to do triathlons to get in shape?"  No, but they're fun.  And not as hard as they look!

5.  The article was validating too. I remember reading some years back about Oprah essentially giving up on being thin.  I think she said something about having to run 8 miles a day to maintain her weight and she just wasn't up for that.  I found that to be incredibly validating.  I felt like I too had a body that required extreme behavior to keep weight off.  Sometimes it's reassuring to hear that this really is that hard.  All that said, I think I was missing a lot of knowledge back then.  I didn't know about strength training and how important muscle is in this whole thing.  I didn't really understand balance and I certainly didn't have the drive I do now because I hadn't yet found physical activity I enjoyed.  That final piece is a tough one, to enjoy the physical activity you have to be in decent shape.  So it takes a while, but hang in there, it will come.  And when it does - you will LOVE it!!

Ok, enough about that article, I have to move on.

A little exercise update.  The funny thing is I thought I was squeezing in an extra run on the 25th to balance my food intake.  Nope, I was supposed to run that day!  Good thing I did.  I forgot that I'd re-arranged my workout schedule due to my gym being closed.

Anyway, on Monday I hit the gym and did the bike for 25 minutes followed by chest/triceps/core work.  The pushups were hard again.  Ugh, will they ever get easy?  And I threw in some leg extensions (even though it wasn't "leg" day) because I'm worried my quads are getting weak.  The bike is harder than it should be.  I think it's all the running combined with dropping leg extensions.  So I'm going to do leg extensions whenever I can squeeze them in.

Tuesday was a planned day off and Wednesday (yesterday) I was planning to get up at 0'dark hundred to go to the gym before Miguel left for work.  But I had a sore throat and couldn't pry myself out of bed.  Fortunately Miguel is getting off a bit early this week so I went after he got home.  I did the bike again followed by back/biceps/core work.  Bam!  I felt like I really killed it with the weights.

The rest of this week is packed with fun.  If you can call it that.  I have a 5 mile run on the agenda today and a 9 mile run on Saturday.  The loop I ran this past Saturday has a couple good hills so I think I'm going to do that 3 times.  It's time to add some hills or they are going to knock me on my butt come half-marathon time.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Is Being Fat Really a Trap?

I can see the marketing world gearing up.  More ads for exercise equipment, "diet" plans, and other things to tempt us into spending money to kick-start our fitness goals.  I hope you're feeling motivated as the new year approaches.  I know I am.  I hope 2012 is the year I *finally*, after what will be 5 years, reach my goal.  I could go on and on about how, in many ways, I've already reached my goal and so much more, but the number goal is still out there and that's the one I'm speaking of.

So many of us have been down this weight loss path before and for many of us it can start to feel like a lost cause.  But it's not.  Though I am a firm believer that how you go about losing weight matters.  A friend posted this article, The Fat Trap, from the New York Times and I found it thought provoking.   It's written by Tara Parker-Pope, a self proclaimed overweight person who's tried time-and-again to lose weight, only to end up heavier in the end.

In summary it proposes that once we become fat our bodies strive to re-gain the lost weight.  That hormonally we are driven to seek out those lost pounds, otherwise we stay in starvation mode.  I've heard various reasons for this over the years, empty "fat" cells just waiting to be plump again is the one I've heard most often.

The thing that gets me is that in the first study Tara cites they put participants on a starvation diet
...the extreme low-calorie diet, which consisted of special shakes called Optifast and two cups of low-starch vegetables, totaling just 500 to 550 calories a day for eight weeks.
After 10 weeks on this "diet" participants lost an average of 30 pounds.  Does the following come as a surprise to anyone?
After a year, the patients already had regained an average of 11 of the pounds they struggled so hard to lose. They also reported feeling far more hungry and preoccupied with food than before they lost the weight.
I know it doesn't surprise me.  They were starving for 10 weeks.  That's not a lifestyle change one can sustain.  And it obviously wreaks havoc on the body.
A full year after significant weight loss, these men and women remained in what could be described as a biologically altered state. Their still-plump bodies were acting as if they were starving and were working overtime to regain the pounds they lost. For instance, a gastric hormone called ghrelin, often dubbed the “hunger hormone,” was about 20 percent higher than at the start of the study. Another hormone associated with suppressing hunger, peptide YY, was also abnormally low. Levels of leptin, a hormone that suppresses hunger and increases metabolism, also remained lower than expected. A cocktail of other hormones associated with hunger and metabolism all remained significantly changed compared to pre-dieting levels. It was almost as if weight loss had put their bodies into a unique metabolic state, a sort of post-dieting syndrome that set them apart from people who hadn’t tried to lose weight in the first place.
What I want to challenge here is the conclusion that "dieting" will leave you worse off than when you started.  I think the conclusion should be something more like extremely low-calorie diets will leave you worst off than when you started
“What we see here is a coordinated defense mechanism with multiple components all directed toward making us put on weight,” Proietto says. “This, I think, explains the high failure rate in obesity treatment.”
NO, NO, NO!  What explains the high failure rate (in this case) is the extreme, un-maintainable, starvation diet.  And I believe that making changes that are not sustainable, trying to lose too fast, trying to make too many changes at once, trying to change yourself but not your environment, not finding exercise you enjoy - these are the causes of failure in maintenance.  You must make changes in  your life that you can sustain, for the long term, forever - or at least for as long as you want to be thin.
For years, the advice to the overweight and obese has been that we simply need to eat less and exercise more. While there is truth to this guidance, it fails to take into account that the human body continues to fight against weight loss long after dieting has stopped. This translates into a sobering reality: once we become fat, most of us, despite our best efforts, will probably stay fat.
This rubs me the wrong way.  I feel like I'm being told that no matter what I do, I'll probably become fat once again.  And if not me, than most of my peers on this journey.  And that just makes me mad.  Don't tell us that.

The article goes on to talk about a “biological determinism” that can make a person susceptible to weight gain or loss.  I think there must be some truth to that.  But while reporting on the genetic factor Tara noted this:
...after testing positive for fat-promoting genes, some people were more likely to eat fatty foods, presumably because they thought being fat was their genetic destiny and saw no sense in fighting it. 
Eeeexactly. And that's why I don't like this article.  Don't tell people they are likely doomed to fail based on a study that utilized a starvation diet for weight loss.  It's just not good science, in my humble, non-scientist, opinion.

Later in the article they talk about The National Weight Control Registry and go on ad-nausea about a woman who lost over 100 pounds, Janice Bridge, and how much she has to do to maintain that loss.  She's keeping a food log, weighing daily, measuring all her food, etc, etc.  The article says she "never" lets up and goes on about how she avoids sugar, white flour, etc... Tara (the writer of the article) feels overwhelmed and hopeless after hearing all this woman has to go through to maintain her weight loss. 
"Just talking to Bridge about the effort required to maintain her weight is exhausting. I find her story inspiring, but it also makes me wonder whether I have what it takes to be thin." 
But then Janice is sharing a Ben & Jerry's ice cream with her husband.  And she includes gardening as exercise.  So she does get to let up now and then.  Just not entirely.  It's called balance.  Janice is a food junkie (that's my preferred term) and is working to overcome a lifetime of bad habits coupled with using food for emotional fulfillment.

So ok, Janice Bridge has to eat 300 less calories a day to maintain her weight (than a person who was never fat).  300 calories is not a lot.   

Later the article references another study in which participants are placed on an 800 calorie diet and, lo-and-behold, they are "metabolically different than a similar-size person who is naturally the same weight."  Sure they are, after starving them.
After weight loss, when the dieter looked at food, the scans showed a bigger response in the parts of the brain associated with reward and a lower response in the areas associated with control. This suggests that the body, in order to get back to its pre-diet weight, induces cravings by making the person feel more excited about food and giving him or her less willpower to resist a high-calorie treat.  
But could it be that prior to weight loss they weren't as "excited" about food because they were indulging all the time?  But after becoming a "dieter" the food becomes more exciting?  I know that's been true for me.  Back when I posted my Top 10 Changes After Losing 67.4 Pounds my #4 change was "I actually enjoy junk food more since it's now a treat and not just an every day thing."  The kicker though, is that the areas of the brain responsible for restraint are less active.  Perhaps that's because the participants didn't really build restraint during their starvation, short-term, "quick" liquid diet.

Tara writes about another weight-loss success story.
She (Lynn) has also come to accept that she can never stop being “hypervigilant” about what she eats. “Everything has to change,” she says. “I’ve been up and down the scale so many times, always thinking I can go back to ‘normal,’ but I had to establish a new normal. People don’t like hearing that it’s not easy.”  
No, she can't go back to "normal".  But remember, Lynn's normal involved being 300 pounds.

They are addressing my concern.
One question many researchers think about is whether losing weight more slowly would make it more sustainable than the fast weight loss often used in scientific studies. Leibel says the pace of weight loss is unlikely to make a difference, because the body’s warning system is based solely on how much fat a person loses, not how quickly he or she loses it. Even so, Proietto is now conducting a study using a slower weight-loss method and following dieters for three years instead of one.
I still think they are missing a big point though.  It's not just losing weight slowly, but making sustainable changes, changes you can live with.  It's not about the pounds lost, it's about how they are lost.  That point couldn't have been made better than by Tara's statement here:
Losing a few pounds may be good for the body, but it does very little for the spirit and is unlikely to change how fat people feel about themselves or how others perceive them.
If it does little for the spirit, I suggest the person doing the losing needs to take another look at their goals and motivations.  I believe that there's hope for all of us.  I am in love with Tara's closing sentences...
"And even though all the evidence suggests that it’s going to be very, very difficult for me to reduce my weight permanently, I’m surprisingly optimistic. I may not be ready to fight this battle this month or even this year. But at least I know what I’m up against."
I would say this to Tara - yes, it's going to be hard.  Very hard. But not for the reasons you might think.  It's going to be hard to tap into that drive, to change your habits, to change your environment.  It's going to be hard to prioritize yourself, to learn new ways to cope. It might be hard to gain a higher level of fitness but the real challenge is in finding that physical movement, "exercise" that you enjoy. And yes, sometimes it's going to be hard to be hungry. 

I would say Tara - when you are ready, when you want it...go slow, make one change at a time, balance, move, do things you love that don't involve food ... to steal ww line - Stop Dieting, Start Living!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Christmas Run (or two)

Ahhh, I'm sitting down in a quiet, warm house while the kids are napping and Miguel is out picking up tamales.  The last couple of days were a blur as we neared today's big day.  Friday night we had an impromptu lounge-wear pizza (and salad) party at our place.  A few friends and their kids came over and we had a fun, relaxing evening.  I drank 3 glasses of wine!  And I liked it.

On Saturday Miguel got up and went mountain biking with his friends while I stayed home with the kids talking up Santa.  Fortunately the wine didn't interfere with my running plans.  A couple friends showed up to run with me.  We did a 5k loop from my house.  It was the first time I ran with someone other than Miguel and I felt like a real runner going down the street chatting with my two running partners (Thanks Danielle and Catherine!).  How cool!  We maintained a 12 minute mile pace without too much difficulty.  I think I can firmly say I have achieved that pace.  It's no longer a struggle.  I don't think I can keep it up on the long runs yet but that's something to strive for.

On Saturday evening we were lucky enough to get an invite for dinner at a neighbor's.  They have a little boy around Myra's age and a grandma was in town visiting and would be cooking dinner.  And boy did she!  She made a seafood dish she calls Sinfonía de Mariscos (Seafood Symphony).  Oh. my. goodness.  I don't go nuts about food very often but this had so many things I love.  Lobster, shrimp, scallops, salmon and it was in creamy mushroom sauce.  I went back for seconds.  And possibly thirds.  With all the champagne it's sort of foggy.  And then for desert she made fruit trifle!  All from scratch.  That picture was taken with my cell phone so it doesn't do it justice but you get the idea.

The meal was especially cool because my mom couldn't be in town.  She's in Southern California tending to my ill grandfather.  My mom makes a similar seafood dish and strawberry trifle is a signature dish of hers.  It felt like home.  Thank you Karen and Nestor for a great evening - so much fun!  Only bummer was we had to leave so early to put the kids to bed.  I was planning on taking Christmas day off from exercise but in the midst of all that eating I knew it would be a good idea if I went for a run.  I said this run would be "off the record" since it wasn't for training but just an effort to make a dent in some of those calories.  Miguel and I ended up staying up until after midnight putting toys together.  That tiny kitchen was a lot of work! But I will still hoping I'd get that run in.

We got up this morning and had tons of fun with the kids opening their presents.  Marek got a scooter and Myra got a little kitchen and an easel.  The whole thing was perfect and I can't believe this is my life.  My mom got me a garmin running watch, a forerunner 110.  I got it charging right away so I could use it on my run.  We got the kids out to the local high school track after lunch.  The kids kicked around the soccer ball while I did 13 laps around the 1/4 mile loop.  According to the garmin I maintained a sub-12 minute mile (11:47, 11:44,11:20) for all three miles.  Really?  I'm skeptical.  I was trying to hurry on that last mile so I'm not surprised that was faster.  Maybe the totally flat track allowed me to run faster than usual?  How trustworthy are these garmins?  Miguel took that picture of me with his cell phone.  I was pleasantly surprised by how much smaller I'm looking these days. Anyway, it said I burned 461 calories so that's at least a dent in last night's meal. It was totally worth it though. I'd eat that meal right now if you put it in front of me!

We're having another big dinner tonight, steak and baked potatoes.  I'm turning the calorie watch off for one more evening and then tomorrow it's back to reality.  I plan to drink a few more glasses of wine before the night is over.  Well, I'd better wrap this up and get back to the celebrating with my family.  Blogging always reminds of my goals, which is good, even when I'm indulging!

Oh!  I want to share a cool thing Miguel got me for Christmas (besides my electric teakettle for the office).  It's a wall thing to hang race bibs on.  I love it! 

Alright, I'm signing off.  Before I go - To all those celebrating this holiday season I wish you a healthy, active winter!!  I'll close with our 2011 installment of a photo with Santa. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Mini-Goal, Mini-Goal.... Yes! Yipee! Yay!

The week has been flying by toward Christmas.  I'm so excited to celebrate our 2nd Christmas as a family of four.  I feel so grateful to have my family around me and healthy.  Warmth, health, love and laughter - what more could I ask for?

This is a fitness blog though so I'll get to it.  Monday was a day off.  I'm finding this day off on Monday thing to be ok so far.  It's sort of nice to ease into the week.  On Tuesday I had a 3 mile run, which I did on the treadmill.  Mostly I did 5mph but I threw in a few 6mph to keep it interesting.  Then I did chest/shoulders/core work for strength training.  For some reason the pushups were noticeably harder than they had been.  With the half-marathon training I've dropped a day of strength training, now it's four days a week instead of five as I don't strength train on long-run days.  I wonder if that makes a difference?  Eh, pushups are just hard.  Speaking of hard, remember those hanging leg raises I was so proud of on Sunday?  Well, on Tuesday I felt sore in places I didn't even know were ab muscles!  Can your diaphragm hurt?  I was sore just below where your ribcage meets...weird. 

Yesterday, Wednesday, I got up at 5am to go to the gym.  Getting up for boot camp was easier somehow than getting up for the gym.  I got to the gym by 5:30am and started with a warmup walk.  After 4-5 minutes I got on the bike for my 25 minutes and it was SO HARD.  My muscles just felt so stiff (I was going to make a joke about being stiff at 5am but they all sounded so lame).  I usually push myself on the bike to reach certain rpms and this time I just went with what my body felt like doing.  I didn't have the mental desire to push through the pain.

That reminds me, I've been thinking about pain in relation to exercise lately.  There's the old, "no pain, no gain" phrase and I think a commonly held belief that exercise involves suffering.  And it's true, sometimes it does.  But it doesn't have to involve any suffering that I don't want to endure.  It doesn't have to hurt.  I think a lot of couch potatoes would be better off if they knew that.  Start slow, ease into exercise at whatever pace is comfortable.  You don't have to wreak havoc on your body to get into shape.  Now there are times when I'm willing to suffer and be uncomfortable - like on a long run, or during an event - but mostly I like to avoid suffering.  And I can get in shape and maintain fitness without it.  In training I can push myself just enough to know I'm challenging myself but not so much that I'm feeling "pain".  That's why I stopped doing lunges for a while, that's why it's going to take me longer to improve my pace, and that's why I think, for me, I'm more likely to maintain this lifestyle long term.

Anyway, back to the gym.  After the bike I did strength training - back/biceps/core.  My abs were still sore!  I lost form during the leg raises in the captain's chair because they were so achy.   I think they're back to normal now though.  But we'll see how the gym goes today.  I left the gym feeling very glad that my workout was done for the day but also hoping these early morning workouts don't always make me feel like my body is made out of old furniture parts.

Yesterday, Thursday, was another run - 4 miles.  I was really pressed for time and not sure if I'd be able to get the whole run in and still have time for strength training.  I had a chiropractor appointment with a massage that I didn't want to miss!  So I got going on my four miles and started doing this thing of running at 5mph as my base speed and then going up to 5.5 for a quarter mile of each mile.  During each mile I also tried 6.0mph for a quarter mile but was never able to complete it.  I'll keep at it and get it some day.

After the run I whipped through my legs/shoulder/core routine.  I was pushing myself so hard my heart rate was soaring!  I've made some changes to my legs routine, dropped the smith machine altogether and doing walking lunges again instead of reverse lunges.  Basically it came down to not wanting to suffer too much.  It was also about what was realistic for my body and fitness level right now.  I just can't fry my legs with each workout.  I was already starting to dread "legs" day and I would suffer the doms (delayed onset muscle soreness) for a couple days after.  The dreading was more concerning than the doms but both led me to go back to walking lunges and no smith machine.  I'm still doing increased reps and still doing the shoulder press with my squats so all is not lost.  I did a quick stretching session and ran off to the chiro.

I will have to write about the chiro tomorrow because it was interesting and I'd love feedback but this blog is already too long and I need to get toooooo....

Mini-Goal!!  I weighed this morning at 177.4 pounds.  Yes!  The goal came from wanting to weigh what I did after Marek was born back in 2009.  So now I am picking up where I left off and that feels spectacular!  I have lost 21.6 pounds of baby weight and I have 20 to go.  Then I'll be back to where I was when I got pregnant.  It's taken me 6 months to lose this 20 pounds.  If I can be down 40 in a year - wouldn't that be awesome????? 

So, the new mini-goal - to get down to 158.8 pounds, the all-time low I hit shortly after learning I was pregnant.  That's a loss of 19.6 pounds.  I remember back in my "big" days when I had 80+ pounds to lose I thought 20 pounds was nothing.  Now I know better.  But it's still not 80.  I am so grateful that I got back on the fitness wagon before I put on even more weight.  50 pounds to lose is serious, but 80 is serious-er.  And now I have 30, which is more like significant, but not serious. 

For now I am going to dwell in my success.  I feel great!!  Thank you for the support.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

My Wonderful Body

I am so happy with my body today, what can I say?  I went to the gym to do non-running cardio and strength training.  The upright bikes were taken so I hopped on the elliptical, which was probably a good thing because my knees, especially my right knee, were sore.  The elliptical is easy on the knees.  I had a nice 25 minutes and then set out for the weights.  I wasn't looking forward to legs and shoulders because with all the running - well, the thought of doing squats and lunges is not a pleasant one.

But I did them.  I had to modify things, instead of doing three sets of reverse lunges I did two sets plus one set of walking lunges.  I did all my squats but my new training plan called for a second 3 sets of squats.  I canceled that plan.  Again, not into torture.  One set of three is enough.  But I upped the challenge in my core area - I added a 4lb medicine ball to my decline crunches and I did hanging leg raises (in those arm sling thingies pictured - you know that's not me, right?) instead of straight leg raises in the captain's chair. I did two sets of 20!  It was fun to switch things up and I have never felt like my core was as strong as it is these days.  Maybe having a couple babies did something good?

After all that exercise I left the gym feeling so happy with my body.  I asked and it answered.  8 miles yesterday, cardio and a nice, solid legs/shoulders/core routine today.  It's a refreshing change that when I think of my body I think of it in terms of strength and endurance and not so much in terms of size.  What more could I ask for?  Oh, a day off.  Yes, tomorrow is Monday and I will be taking a break from the gym.  I think my knees will be grateful.  Now I just need to keep the food intake in check and all will be right with the world.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Running Down a Dream

Thursday was a planned gym day and while my mind was up for the task, my body wasn't.  My back felt really tight and it was my mid-back, which was a new feeling.  My legs were quite sore too.  I had an internal debate all day long about what to do.  I was driving toward the gym when I realized it was a bad idea.  I need to listen to my body.  And my body was saying it needed rest/recovery.  The good thing is, my schedule allows for either a Thursday or Friday workout without any consequence.

So by the time my workout rolled around on Friday I was feeling up to the task - both mentally and physically.  My half-marathon training plan called for an easy 3 mile run.  Do you see the air quotes around "easy"?  The concept of an easy run made me chuckle.  My how things have changed in the last 6 months.  I did a 3 minute warm-up and then set the treadmill to 1° incline at 5mph.  And off I went.  There was a guy grunting and groaning on a nearby treadmill - he sounded like he was in labor.  At first I was irritated but after a while it became entertaining.  I kept telling myself that I was lucky not to be suffering like he apparently was.  He was hilarious!  I was bummed when he was done before me.  My three miles were done before I knew it.  I maintained a 12-minute-mile without much difficulty.  My heart rate stayed in the high 140's for most of the run, got into the low 150's toward the end.  Still, I wouldn't call it "easy" just yet.  Maybe some day.

Today, Saturday, was a long run.  8 miles.  Only one more mile than last week, right?  I took the kids to playgroup in the morning then we came home for lunch.  I wanted to wait at least an hour after I ate so I played with the kids for a bit and then put them down for naps.  I mapped out a route that took me down a nearby footpath and back home, which was 3 miles out/back.  I did that twice before a final 2 mile loop around the neighborhood.  I planned the two home pit-stops, at mile 3 and mile 6, so I could drink some water.  Both times I ate two Shot Bloks just before getting to my house (Thanks Laurie!).  Then I'd stop long enough to take 3-4 big gulps of water from the bottle I'd left in my driveway before heading off.

Around what I would guess to be mile 7 I started to feel a bit of aching in my legs and hips but nothing too uncomfortable.  I finished the 8 miles in 1 hour, 40 minutes.  Only 6 minutes more than my 7 miles last week!  Worked out to be an average of a 12.5 minute-mile.  I was very pleased with that.  During the first half of the run I was on pace to finish with a 12 minute-mile average but I must have slowed down during the second half.

And something different, I listened to music!  I felt like I needed something to keep me entertained, besides my thoughts, during all that running and I figured I haven't been needing to pay such close attention to my breathing anymore.  And it was great!  The music really makes a big difference, especially when a good song comes on like "Running Down a Dream."  I found myself wondering, more than a few times, "why am I doing this?"  It's not exactly fun to run for 1 hour and 40 minutes (though it does motivate me to work on my speed just so it doesn't take me so darned long to run a farther distance).  I wondered if the friend who asked to train with me and got me thinking to sign up for this race is training too (Hey Erinn, you better be running!).  But I can see, once I lose weight and build up more strength, how it could be more and more fun.  Right now I have short periods of fun but most of it still feels like pretty hard work.

But, there you have it.  Once again, my longest run ever!  And only 5 miles short of the half marathon.  Ha!  Next week the training plan recommends an actual 5k event for race and pacing practice.  I don't see any 5ks being on Christmas Eve so I'll just have to run my own 3.125 miles.  Or I could do my 9 miles next week and a 5k the following Saturday, which is New Years Eve.  There are a few choices for 5k on new years - unfortunately they are at 11pm so that probably won't work. 

So, sadly, I didn't get any questions for the video q&a I was hoping to do.  All for the best I suppose, who knows how much time it would have taken!

Oh!  I almost forgot, I lost a whole .4 pounds this week.  That's twice as much as last week.  I'm not even averaging a half-pound per week these days.  I wish I cared more but the truth is I kind of don't.  I mean I do, sort of, but not enough to make any big changes.  The only reason I'd like to lose faster at this point is to be lighter for the half-marathon.  But that doesn't seem to be translating to less food intake.  It is what it is.  As long as I'm headed in the right direction I'm not complaining.

Running down a dream, that never would come to me, workin' on a mystery, going wherever it leads...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

11:45 (!!)

I managed to take Monday off from exercising and it didn't kill me.  I did miss that feeling of being ahead of the game as I start the week.  I went to the gym on Tuesday and the training schedule called for a 4 mile run.  I mis-read and thought it was a "pace" run.  Since this was on the treadmill I decided to do a bunch of intervals that would keep me from getting bored.  I did the first mile doing incline intervals, increasing .5 degrees each minute until I finished a minute at 5 degrees.  For the second mile I did 5mph, 5.5mph, and 6mph for a minute each and cycled through those until I got to a mile.  I did the same things for mile 3 and 4 and when I was done I felt like I'd kicked butt!  And the neat thing was I beat the 12 minute mile pace, I averaged 11:45 minute miles - I did 4 miles in 47 minutes - with inclines!  That was pretty cool.

What was NOT cool was that I had legs/shoulders/core to do for strength training when I was done.  I tried to do the lunges and squats on the smith machine but that was just not happening so I did them with free weights.  Much better.  I still had to take lots of breaks but I got them all done.  Later, when I was supposed to do three sets of squats with shoulder presses I could barely do one set so I didn't quite do everything but I felt great about my workout nonetheless.

I don't think I've mentioned that boot camp is out.  I liked it but financially I couldn't justify paying for classes when I already have a gym membership.  So today was to be my first day getting up at 5am to hit the gym instead of boot camp.  I got all my clothes together last night but I wasn't sure if I'd actually do it.  Unfortunately I stayed up later than I planned so that made it even worse when the alarm went off.  I rolled over and had a little dialogue with myself:
"Should I go? What's more important - 2 more hours sleep or the gym?  I am tired.  If I go will I be tired all day and cranky with the kids?  Maybe I should just go, see how it is, and if it's awful I will make a new workout plan that does not involve Wednesday morning workouts."
I honestly wasn't sure what the "right" thing to do was but I got out of bed and went.  My workout went ok.  I did the bike for 25 minutes and then chest/triceps/core for strength training.  I forgot to take a few bites of banana before I left the house and I think eating on empty didn't help.  I just didn't feel quite as strong as I normally do.  And I was stiff as heck when it came time to stretch!  But that could be residual from the running and not the fact that it was still dark out and I should probably be in bed.  I got home and 5 minutes after I walked in Marek woke up.  No going back to sleep for me!

The day went fine.  My mom and a friend with her daughter came over, which was nice.  We had pizza and salad for lunch and I'm sure that helped.  I took Vitamin B in the afternoon just in case.  And I had a second round of coffee around 11am - something I never do.  With the extra calories, caffeine, vitamins and people over I made it through the day.  I think I'll keep Wednesday workouts for now but just make sure I go to bed on time the night before and eat a little something before I head out the door.

My legs were a bit sore today but by this evening they were really hurting.  I took some ibuprofen and probably should have taken a bath but that didn't occur to me until just now and I'm heading to bed in a few minutes.

On the food front - I had a low moment last night.  I had cereal after dinner.  Twice.  And it wasn't my "healthy" cereal - it was Miguel's Frosted Flakes.  What really irritated me later is that I didn't even remember tea.  Darnit, tea might have saved me those calories and the frustration with myself.  Ah well, live and learn.  Tonight I was all about the tea.  I ate a small amount at dinner to balance out the pizza lunch so I am a little hungry right now but I'll survive and the tea helped.  That reminds me, wasn't there some "dieter's tea?" that people were drinking back when?  I wonder what that had in it?  I'm off to google.  'night all!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Minor Aches and Pains

My body definitely knows it ran 7 miles yesterday.  Mostly it's been my knees (and hips a tiny bit) that are a little achy.  Another good reason to get this weight off - so my knees don't have so much bearing down on them with every step.  Second most achy thing was my lower back, though neither was painful, just enough discomfort that I took notice.  On the whole my body just felt a bit tight all day.

I spent the morning and lunchtime with the kids and then in the afternoon, during their naps, I did some holiday shopping before going to the gym.  During the shopping I got hungry and knew I'd need something to eat for energy for the gym.  I decided to go to Peet's (coffee) and get my new favorite thing to drink - hot tea and I hoped they'd have something decent to eat.  They did - yogurt.  Yogurt and tea are a strange combination but I went with it.  The yogurt had a bit more than 200 calories, a little fat and even a gram of fiber (raspberry) so I figured that was a good snack choice.  I almost got a mini-lemon scone but I knew I'd get more bang for my calorie buck with the yogurt. 

I got to the gym feeling a bit tired, it's been a busy weekend, but willing to exercise anyway.  I did 25 minutes on the upright bike followed by back/biceps/core strength training.  I was SO happy it wasn't a legs/shoulders day.  I debated doing the plank given my lower back aching but I decided to do them anyway and hope for the best.  I left the gym feeling better than when I arrived.

Tomorrow, Monday, is a planned day off from exercise.  I LOVE to exercise on Monday (almost as much as Sunday) - just feels like I'm starting the week ahead of the game.  But with my training plan for the 1/2 this seems to be the best schedule.  I can always change my mind though so if not exercising on Monday gets me down I'll make a change. 

On a totally unrelated note I am sort-of finally getting my period.  Something is going on with my body though because I'm quite late (and no - definitely NOT pregnant) and things are starting out slooooowly.  Gone are the days when my period would just start, bam!.  Now it seems to tip-toe in over a period of days.  But this is the first time that I'm aware of it being this late.  Anyway, I was crampy today though so maybe by tomorrow I'll have a normal period.  Maybe my jokes about perimenopause weren't too far off?  I don't know but all I care about is my metabolism.  I hear menopause wreaks havoc on your metabolism and I don't need mine slowing down anytime soon!  I guess it makes sense because preparing for a baby every month MUST burn a few extra calories.

Anyway, I hope that's not it because I just looked up the symptoms and it's mood swings, sleep problems, vaginal dryness, weight gain...not exactly a party!  I gotta think positive here...maybe all the exercise and weight loss is making my periods wonky?  Yeah, let's just go with that.

Well, that's all for me.  I've been really focusing on getting to bed on time so it's off to dreamland. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

It's Official, I'm Crazy

The alarm went off at 5am and I was out of bed not too long after.  While I was getting dressed in the near-dark, quiet house I felt a little nutty.  A lot of times when you tell people you're training for this or that the response is, "you're crazy".  This is the first time I actually felt they might be right.  Getting up to run before dawn in the freezing cold felt a little crazy indeed.  But with our schedule today it was my only option.

I wore a long-sleeve running shirt with a North Face polartec fleece over that and the matching North Face pants.  I also wore gloves and a wide headband that covered my ears.  I carried my phone and a gel pack in a Spibelt.  I ate a 1/2 bowl of cereal and a few bites of a banana.  Just before 6am I was out the door.  It wasn't quite as cold I was expecting it to be, which was nice.  I did a 4 minute warm-up walk and then started running.

The most amazing thing ever was the lunar eclipse.  I'd sort of forgotten about it but then I look up and I see this giant moon in shadow with a glimmer of sunlight still hitting it from the side. Wow.  I got to stare at that moon a lot during the first half of my run and I couldn't believe my good luck.  There were hardly any cars out at that hour.  I ran some on the sidewalk but mostly in the bike lane because the up/down of driveways is irritating.  And I've read the asphalt gives a fraction and the concrete doesn't give at all. 

I questioned my ability along the way.  Longest run prior to this was 4 miles so I was really upping things with 7.  But my body just kept going and I felt ok.  At about the 3 mile mark started to lighten a bit, which was nice.  By the time I got to the turn around point it was full on dawn - and I was very happy to start running toward my home instead of away from it. I looked at my watch and had been running for 47 minutes.  Eek, that seems *really* slow for 3.5 miles.  I vowed to pick up the pace on the return trip.  I managed to open, eat and dispose of my AccelGel all without stopping.  I really wanted a bit of water but I didn't want to take the extra few minutes to run into the gas station to get it so I did without.  I guess I'll be needing to figure out the water issue as the runs get longer.

On the way home my hips were aching a little bit.  My calves continued with the tight, pre-cramp feeling but nothing ever came of that, thank goodness.  Would compression pants help?  I had a lot of thoughts about running longer than 7 will I do it?  But as I got closer and closer to home I felt better and better. I'll just do it one week at a time. It got *really* cold during the last 1/2 mile and I looked down and noticed a fine mist had formed on my clothes.

When I got to the stopping point I took a big breath of relief and quietly congratulated myself for making it happen.  I looked at my watch, 1 hour and 34 minutes.  I was hoping for an even hour and a half but this was close enough and I was happy.  I etched a smiley face in my fleece and snapped a picture to mark the occasion.  Whew!  Hopefully that will be my last pre-dawn run but if not, at least I know it won't kill me.  Next Saturday is 8 miles.

I got home and did some stretching and then got ready to go with the family to my mother's club holiday party.  It's not even 8am yet!  The party was fun, the kids had a blast and I told everyone within earshot that I ran 7 miles this morning.  After the party we were all pooped and headed home for naps.  I'm going to try and take a nap of my own as soon as I finish writing this.  Miguel is gone to a soccer-watching party and won't be back until the kids' bedtime. And then I'm headed to a friend's house to babysit (while her kid sleeps) so they can have a date night (I participate in a date night swap thing - so cool).  Where's my vitamin B?  Something tells me I'm going to need it!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Endorphines are on the House!

Good morning athletes!  I had a fabulous workout yesterday, can you tell?  I didn't mention this in my last post but during yesterday's employee wellness coaching session (I got a new one, her name is also Michelle) we talked about training for the half marathon.  I told her I'd like to first, be able to run the whole time and second, in an ideal world, be able to maintain a 12-minute mile pace.  She suggested that I do some inclines on the treadmill to build up strength.  She said to go at a steady, slightly easy pace and increase the incline by .5 every minute (without changing speed) until I can't take it anymore and then drop it back down for a minute break - then start "up" again.

I decided that since yesterday was a short run, 3 miles, I'd give it a try.  My calves, especially my right one, felt like it was on the verge of cramping up off-and-on throughout the day.  I was worried I wouldn't  be able to run but gave it a try anyway.  I did a 3-minute warmup walk and then started running at 4.8mph with a 1° incline.  This is what my run looked like:

1-3/1° (walking)
3-4/1.5° at 4.8mph
9-10/4.5°  *Michelle said to keep going up until my heart rate neared max (179) but my legs gave out long before that happened
10-13/1°  *I needed more than a 1-minute recovery so I took 3 and then started climbing
19-20/4.5°  *Whew!  I knew I didn't have another cycle of inclines in me so I decided to do speed intervals until I got to three miles
20-23/1°at 4.8mph
23-36/1° at 4.8, 5.0 & 6.0mph, rotating every minute

It was perfect!  A real challenge, I was really pushing myself.  And what I really love is in the end I averaged a 12-minute mile.  I did a three minute cool-down walk and got off that treadmill feeling like I killed it!  Oh, and I was also feeling like it sure would be nice to drop a few pounds before the half.   I won't talk specifics since I don't like weight-loss deadlines but even just a few pounds would make things that much easier.  Let's hope that motivates me in the food-to-mouth department.

After the treadmill I did chest/triceps and core work.  I started with pushups and I am pleased they are getting a little easier.  I do my three on the ground and then do the five modified ones and I'm no longer grunting like Serena Williams during my third set.  In less exciting news my back is still a bit sore so I was nervous about doing some of my new ab stuff.  It feels like the new moves put a bit more strain on my lower back but everything seemed to go fine while I was exercising so I just went with it.  We'll see if I live to regret it today.

Speaking of today - I have a planned day off from the gym.  But I'm sort of considering, if it works, doing my long run today so I don't have to get up at 6:30am on Saturday to do it.  I'll have to talk to Miguel and see how supportive he's feeling.  If he's up for it I might go after work.  I sure hope I can keep this training up with two little kids through the winter.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Dashing Past the Cookies

My mother's club had a "cookie exchange" board meeting last night.  Our board meetings are always fun and festive but this one was especially so with wine, food and tables covered with yummy cookies.  I ate a 1/2 slice of Papa Murphy's chicken garlic pizza before leaving home.  I looked up the NI and I think my 1/2 slice was probably about 250 calories.

I went to the party and had a couple/few small glasses of cab (wine) and some food, though not much.  After the business part of the meeting was over we exchanged cookies and I went around picking out what looked good to me.  I should have picked out ones that did not appeal to my taste but I wasn't that clever.  I ate a one on the way home and another tiny one when I got home.  Then I promptly wrapped them up in saran and put them to bed for the night and felt okay about my cookie consumption.  I meant to send them to work with Miguel this morning but forgot.  I will have to take them to a potluck at work tomorrow.  In the meantime I'll be flexing that willpower muscle to resist them.  Ahh, the holidays.  Good thing we're not going to a ton of parties.

Today is a gym day - I'll  be going after work.  I have a 3 mile run on the agenda, along with strength training, core work and stretching.  I talked to my employee wellness personal coach this morning and she suggested  I do some inclines on the treadmill in preparation for my half marathon.  I think I'll give that a try today if I don't run outside.

So, while I was on the Papa Murphy's site looking up nutritional info I saw this:

It's bigger than your appetite?!  That's not a good message when it comes to eating healthy.  Then again - it's pizza.  Not exactly healthy fare in general.  Though I did learn they have a "lite" crust?  I'll have to try that next time - just not in the 5 meat variety!

Oh, and yes, tomorrow morning is weigh-in.  I'm feeling like I've maintained but we'll have to see. Sometimes the way I feel is wholly disconnected from what the scale has to say.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Answer is Tea

I have been drinking tea in the evenings after dinner and it is like a miracle cure for the munchies!  I used to drink it pre-kids and sort of forgot about it.  Cherelli reminded me about tea when I had my food meltdown last week and it has really helped.  When I start to feel munchy I get up and make some tea and that solves everything.  It both gives me something to ingest, is also relaxing, and the calorie cost is zero! I want to stock up on more sweet tasting teas like apple/cranberry.  No caffeine of course.

Things continue to go well on the exercise front.  I was sore yesterday from all the lunges and squats but I didn't let that stop me from going to boot camp at 5:30 this morning.  This morning mostly my glutes were sore.  Fortunately it was a cardio/abs day so I wasn't put through too much torture.  I took some ibuprofen and ate a 1/2 of banana before I left just to help with the soreness.  My lower back is still a bit sore too.

I talked to the boot camp trainer about lunges and squats on the smith machine.  He didn't see any advantage to using the machine so I might go back to doing them on my own.  The back of my neck is sore from the bar (even with the pad) and I think I was leaning on the bar more than lifting it.  Ideas, ideas.  We'll see.

Tomorrow is a 3 mile run and strength training and Saturday is that 7 mile run.  Eek!  Saturday is a busy day, we have a holiday party in the early afternoon and Miguel wants the afternoon "off" to watch a soccer game.  So it's either a morning or an evening run.  Another game day decision.

Hope you are doing well, keeping your body moving and the stress down as we cruise through the holidays!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

13.1 - Here I Come!

Another busy weekend that's rolling right into a busy week!  This past weekend was my 41st birthday so I had a lot of fun (and food).  On Friday evening a friend came over for dinner.  It was a totally relaxed affair and it was nice catching up despite the kiddie chaos around us.  We ate pretty healthy too, which was good.  On Saturday I took the kids to playgroup and Miguel went mountain biking.  He's been getting back into that lately.  That evening I went out to dinner in The Big City with my jail girls, as I call them (we all used to work in SF jail together).  We went to cocktails and then Umami burger.  Yummmmmy!  I had a vodka soda, a burger, tons of fries/onion rings, tons of various dips, a pint o' beer, and a cupcake.

On Sunday we went to get our Christmas tree.  What fun!  I felt like I was in a movie or something.  We picked out a fine specimen and took it home. I went to the gym while the kiddos were napping and got in a good bike ride before hitting the weights to do back/biceps/core work.  A bit of stretching and I was out the door.  That evening Miguel and I went out to dinner to celebrate the big 4-1.  I had beef carpaccio, a glass of wine, and linguine with clams.  We shared a creme brulee for desert.  Perfect day.

Yesterday (Monday) I hit the gym for my first legs workout since getting my new routine from Ian.  I didn't have enough time to do my full 32 minute run so I did 21 minutes quickly.  I did a 3 minute warmup walk and then I did one-minute rotations of 6mph, 5mph, 4.5mph.  That means I ran 6mph for 1 minute seven times!  I can't believe how much the feeling of running at 6mph has changed since the first time I did it.  It still feels fast but no longer crazy-fast.  So glad I pushed myself to try it the first time. 

After the run I did legs/shoulders/core work.  I did the new legs stuff - lunges/squats on the smith machine (no weights other than the bar), squats w/shoulder presses, etc.  It was VERY hard.  I still don't know if I'm going to keep these as part of my routine.  You know I'm not into suffering.  I left feeling good that I conquered them as I had to really push myself just to get through each set.  My legs are sore as heck today and my back is a bit sore - which is concerning and another reason I might not keep these.  We'll see, I probably just need to get stronger so my back doesn't have to work as hard.  The smith machine just doesn't feel natural though, which I don't like, I'd rather do things without machines if possible.

So today is a day off from exercise and then back at it tomorrow (bootcamp) through Friday.  Ok...onto the BIG news.

Dun, da, daaaaaa...I registered for a half-marathon!  A friend emailed me that she's doing it and is looking for training partners.  And my running pace isn't too slow for her - bonus!  So I figured, hey, why not?  If I have to do a run/walk that's okay too.  It's the Kaiser half-marathon in San Francisco and it is in 8 weeks!  I found a training plan, Hal Higdon's (Novice 2) 12 week plan, and I'm going to modify it to fit my life.  I'm going to drop one of the running days altogether (the short run) and do bootcamp instead.  Long runs are on the weekends, which are perfect.  Oh, and I have to start on Week 4 since I don't have 12 weeks to train.  That means I have to do a 7 mile run this Saturday.  Eek!  Guess who's getting up at the crack of dawn on Saturday?  I sure hope it's warmer than it was this morning.

So my new plan looks like this with 3 runs/1 bike, 3 strength training, 1 bootcamp, 2 rest days.  Looks good on paper, we'll see how it goes in real life!  This week will be different because I just worked out this new plan today.

Sun:  bike/strength training
Mon:  Rest
Tue: Run/strength training
Wed:  Bootcamp
Thur:  Run/strength training
Fri:  Day off
Sat:  Long run

Friday, December 2, 2011

Unnecessary Roughness

First off I want to thank you all for the helpful comments.  I really got a lot out of receiving them - the support and in information.  Thanks!

I'm feeling entirely back to "normal" (whatever that is) today, which is a relief.  I still can't believe how impossible it seemed to resist eating but I'm just glad it's passed for now.  I am taking the advice given and will try to behave differently next time.  I'd love to believe there won't be a "next time" but I suspect that's not reality.

So, back to today.  After my total meltdown this week I got on the scale this morning and thought, "Oh."  I was down from my last official weigh in the week before Thanksgiving.  1.6 pounds down in fact.  Geez.  I sure hope my eating breakdown wasn't related to that friggin' scale because if it was I feel kinda silly now.  But I think it was more than that.  I wonder if not enough sleep was another factor.  I'm trying to get my butt to bed sooner these days.  Anyway, I lost!  Woot!  I needed a little boost and that was a nice surprise.  I am now exactly 1 pound from my mini-goal of getting to my post-pregnancy (pregnancy #1, that is) weight of 178.4 pounds.  Hopefully it will happen before the end of the year - that would be a nice way to ring in the new year.

On to other things.  My legs were SO sore today!  Ouch.  I was even limping a little bit after prolonged sitting.  My muscles are not happy.  But I think that means they're growing so that's good.  I went to the gym after work and figured I'd just try to run and if I couldn't, I couldn't.  I remember that even though they hurt once you warm up that sometimes goes away.  So I got on the treadmill and did a longer-than-usual 5 minute warmup walk and then gave it a go.  I was able to run for 25 minutes without much problem.  Normally I run on 1° incline but decided to go with flat given my legs.  The run was surprisingly easy.  I could feel discomfort in my legs but nothing I'd describe as pain.  I stopped at 25 minutes (instead of my full 32) both because I didn't want to push my legs too hard considering, but also because I was pressed for time.

After my run I did chest/triceps/core.  I feel like I'm getting better at the pushups.  I'm still doing the three "real" ones on the floor followed by 5 modified ones for three sets.  But the three feel a little more controlled, less desperate - if that makes sense.  Anyway, I'm glad to be doing them. 

Ok, so I'm wrapping up.  I'm glad to be back in the 170's for the first time since May 2009.  Again, thank you for all the support.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Bad Mood, Bad Food, Bad Attitude...hey, that rhymes!

Ugh, it's been a tough week.  I don't know if it's the Thanksgiving eating or the resulting weight but something kicked me into a bad mood where I didn't care about my eating and I actually considered throwing in the towel on this whole fitness thing, if you can imagine that!  I figured I must be pre-menstrual but so far, nada.  The good thing is I have stayed steady with my workouts despite my bad attitude.

On Monday I hit the gym and did the upright bike for 25 minutes followed by chest/triceps/core work.  That evening I ate a bunch of m&m's that my mom had sent us home with to help with potty training.  After I acknowledged that I would not stop until they were gone I dumped the remainder down the disposal.  I was so irritated with myself that I could not stop.  So. Irritated.

Tuesday was a planned day off from the gym (poor timing) and that's when things got really ugly in my head.  I had more m&m's from my own stash for potty training and started into those.  Again, I couldn't stop.  I eventually put the remainder down the disposal.  But then I ate 2/3 of a pack of crackers.  And a bunch of dried okra snacks.  And a bowl of cereal.  And more m&ms.  I found myself thinking of words - in relation to my view of myself - like disgusted, disappointed, weak, not normal.  What is wrong with me?  Why can't I stop?  I want to stop, but I'm not stopping.  Ugh.  It was not pretty.  I finally went to bed with plans to go to boot camp in the morning and hopefully kick this bad thinking.

But overnight Marek decided our bed was the place to be and we were up for a good hour+ in the middle of the night.  That, combined with staying up too late to begin with, kept me from going to boot camp.  So I planned to go when Miguel got home from work.  My attitude didn't get much better during the day and by the time Miguel got home I really needed to get some exercise.  When I got on the treadmill at the gym I told myself, "Ok, we're going to use this run time to figure out what the fuck is going on and stop it!".  I thought a lot.  I concluded only two things.  I needed to stop with the self criticism.  Being harsh on myself will come to no good.  It's my go-to self punishment despite knowing it doesn't help.  The second thing I figured out is I just can't have m&ms in my house.  Ever, apparently.  After all that thinking I hit the weights and just rocked out to my music while doing back/biceps/core work.  I left feeling much better than when I arrived.

I had all kinds of ideas about the Thanksgiving eating being a trigger, that my willpower muscle got weakened by all that indulgence, that I was maybe pre-menstrual, or pre-menopausal, or post-crazy.  Maybe, this, maybe that - it didn't much matter because the run itself helped a lot.  By the time I was done I'd decided to go home, have a salad for dinner, and get a good night's sleep.  I felt a bit better already.  Unfortunately Marek came into our room again but this time was slightly less disruptive, he just went to sleep in our bed for a while and then went back to this.  I can handle that.  For a while.

All I know is my mind is coming around.  The negative feelings are lingering, I'm still mad about all the food and I know I need to just let it go.  I hope the scale is not too hard on me tomorrow but whatever it shows will just be a reflection of what I already know.

Today I hit the gym twice.  I went for an early workout and did the upright bike for 25 minutes followed by legs/shoulders/core work.  Then I remembered that I have a training session after work.  Oops.  At the training session I begged Ian for mercy and he went easy on me - sort of.  I got some exciting new things to add to my routine.  Single arm row with the cable - we'll see how these go.  They take a lot of mental effort to do correctly and I tend to shy away from that but we'll see.  Assisted pull-ups.  These I like and am excited to start doing.  Some killer ab stuff I'll have to go into later.  He got me off the hack squat machines and doing regular squats again but this time with a shoulder press thrown in.  And then this lunge thing on the smith machine that is questionable just given how much thought I have to put into doing them right.  And how hard they are.  My legs were SO fried by then, we'll see how I feel about them on fresh legs, hopefully I like them more.

Ian took my body fat with calipers and concluded 37.5 percent.  My tanita scale says 39 so I like the lower number.  In either case, I have a lot of extra fat.  News flash, eh?  The good thing is I'm feeling good again.  The negative attitude is lingering but almost gone.  I can't tell you how much I hate episodes like that but I'm just glad it's over and glad I resisted all the other crap that it came into my head to eat (KFC, other candy bars, chips, etc, etc).  That's good for something.