Monday, October 24, 2011

As Fast as a 70 Year Old (or how I came to strive for a 12 minute mile)

I want to start off by saying a huge THANK YOU to everyone that congratulated me on reaching 15+ pounds lost.  It's nice to be reminded that there are people out there cheering me on.  I appreciate the thoughts on how often we step on the scale.  We are all motivated in different ways (and what motivates us can even change over time), which I appreciate.  Thank you.  We'll see if I do a mid-week weight check again this week.

So this weekend has been really fun!  I went to the gym on Friday for my 5th visit of last week and Week 8/Day 5 was due up on the training plan (a 28 minute run).  It was gorgeous outside and the treadmill didn't sound fun so I hit the road.  I am absolutely convinced that the treadmill intervals I've been doing have made me speedier.  I calculated my pace on Friday's run and it was...*exactly* 12.00 minutes per mile.  That makes me so happy.  12 minutes per mile is my current goal and I'm so happy to be there. 

I don't think I mentioned it here but I watched a documentary recently, The Spirit of Marathon.  The film follows 6 people (from  70 year old Jerry Meyers) to some professional marathoners) training for the Chicago Marathon.  It's super inspiring and motivating and I highly recommend it.  The senior citizen guy was talking about his running and mentioned that he runs a 12 minute mile.  Right then and there I decided I had to be at least as fast as him.  That's where my current 12 minute mile goal came from.  Seriously, I need to run as fast as the 70 year old guy.  And now I am!!  I don't know when, or if, I'll make a new pace goal, for now I want to work on more distance.  In the meantime, thank you Jerry for inspiring me!

Ok, back to Friday.  My run behind me I headed into the gym for strength training.  Back and biceps, core work, and 5 minutes on the stair climber.  I have come to believe that the stairs were meant to be climbed at 43 steps per minute.  Why push myself when I started doing this as an "extra"?  I was starting to dread it and that wasn't the point *at all*.  So I do 43spm and if I'm feeling spiffy I do the last 30 seconds at 60spm just for fun (and to crank up my heart rate before I stop).  I burned 617 calories that day (more than usual - which I attribute to my speedier run) and felt great!

I had the day off from the gym on Saturday and spent the first half of the day running around with my kids at my mother's club Halloween Party.  I was so happy to just keep up with them!  And happy that I avoided the snack table (mostly because I was going out for dinner).  I was really looking forward to a girl's night out with some of my favorite ladies that night.  I call them my "jail" girls since we all met working in the SF jail psych services.  Our evening started with some excellent champagne at the house and then we headed out to dinner.  It was an "all bets are off" dinner for me.  I paid absolutely no attention to "good" choices, or even "better" choices for that matter.  I had onion rings, caesar salad, multiple cocktails, ate my whole "personal" pizza and more than my fair share of our shared deserts.  It was SO FUN!  Of course it was the company that made it good, but the food and drinks didn't hurt :)  I came home and ended up joining in Miguel's poker night and even won a little cash!  Good thing because while I was playing poker I drank a ton of water, which probably saved me from a hangover.

I woke up today (Sunday) feeling a little parched but otherwise not bad.  I made a mental note to eat healthy for the rest of the week to balance out last night's loveliness.  I also got some water and started re-hydrating.  Miguel had soccer this morning so I took the kids to the park and had a fun time pushing swings and watching Marek expand his jungle gym skills.  The kids are so much fun.  And I was so grateful to be feeling good considering all the drinks. 

The weather was pristine so I planned on riding my bike to the gym when the kids went down for their naps.  I rode to the gym and noticed that it's getting easier each time I do it.  I did chest and triceps for strength training and the big news is I lowered the bar on the smith machine for my modified pushups.  I'm getting closer to regular push-ups.  Before I lowered it I was doing three sets of 10 but these lowered ones were noticeably harder so I did three sets of 5.  After doing the rest of my routine I went back and did three sets of 3 just to bring the total to 8 for each set.  Next time I'll try to do three sets of 6 to start.  I wrapped up with 5 minutes on the stair climber before heading out to my bike.

I quickly decided I wanted to go over the big hill again.  I basically told myself that "if you did it before you can do it again."  Once on the other side I felt like I wanted more time on the bike so I took a curvy route home that took me over several more hills.  I was having fun and had plenty of gas in the tank (maybe from the 12 inch (no mayo, no cheese) grilled chicken sub I'd eaten for lunch).  As I neared my house I decided to go for it and do a loop that would add about 10 miles to my ride.  I was about 1/4 of the way through this loop when I started getting a cramp near my ribs.  It felt like a gassy cramp, shooting and painful.  I eventually had to stop and stretch.  It eased up and I got back on the bike.  I had to stop again about 1/2 way when it got to be too much.  I called Miguel, unsure if I'd make it home and he suggested I stop at a coffee shop and take a real break.  I rode on to Starbucks and hung up my helmet for about 40 minutes while I drank a bit of coffee and had a nice phone call with a friend.  By this time I had only about 2-3 miles to get home.  I made it with no problem but I was super disappointed about the cramp raining on my parade.  I was having so much fun!  I still had fun, just not as much.  I guess that was payback for the night before.

And I realized something.  I am not starting from scratch.  I have been so surprised when I can do things (like ride 16 miles without much effort or go over a big hill) as if I haven't yet "earned" the ability to do those things yet.  I can do them because I was in pretty good shape when I got pregnant with Marek.  And while I didn't maintain my fitness level, I also didn't spend long days on the couch eating candied yams.  I did eat and gain weight, I didn't exercise with any regularity, but I moved my body just keeping up my life and I didn't go back to my previous free-for-all diet.  I think starting back weighing 41 pounds more than was when I got pregnant made me believe I was starting from all over.  But I wasn't.  Some sort of foundation still existed and I am feeling VERY happy about that right now. 

Well, that's it for me.  I hope to get out on my bike soon. 

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