Monday, June 30, 2008

A New Plan

I did something new today: I ran two days in a row! After yesterday's lackluster outing, I got up early this morning and tried again. Honestly, I surprised myself by doing this -- I had gone to bed a little later than I like to and only got about six hours of sleep. Still, when the alarm went off at 6am I just couldn't resist trying to run again and see if I couldn't do a little better. (Talk about pod people! Where has the real me gotten off to?)

I wasn't the speediest ever, but I took a different route than normal and it turned out to be quite a lot hillier than what I am used to, so that didn't help my pace. No matter. I managed two and a quarter miles in 43 minutes, and it felt great. It was a really nice run; at times I felt like I did pick up my pace a bit so I was actually surprised it was as slow as it turned out to be. Maybe I should get a Garmin after all, so I know these things for sure? All does is give you the average...

Anyway. It was a good way to start the day (Monday, ugh) and the week (a short holiday one, yay!) and, after being inspired by Wee I decided to research Hal Higdon's various running programs to give myself some structure and definite goals, post C25K. Behold! I have chosen the Spring Training for Novices, a twelve week program that starts at a level that's good for me now, and will put me at 10K capabilities before winter sets in. Then, after that, I could continue on with his marathon training if I am so inclined. Exciting! I like having a plan to follow; I admit I've been feeling a little forlorn since finishing up C25K. Unfortunately, he prescribes Mondays as rest days and I ran this morning, but I will just bite the bullet and run yet again tomorrow (it's just 1.5 miles anyway, easy peasy!) and get right into it.

Last week after I wrote my race report I sent my mom the link to it. Turned out she liked it so much that she printed it out and gave copies to her co-worker and her two sisters (and who knows who else)! I'm blushing. Anyway, if any of you are out there reading this because of my mom, welcome! And thanks, Mom, for the kudos! I love making you proud.

All is quiet on the weight front. We had a crappy eating weekend, pretty much, but I tried to keep it to just meals, and balanced it out as much as I could with activity. The result was: NO GAIN! In fact, I am back down to 307 again. Both C. and I are ready to get back into our healthy eating routine full-on again, so this week just might be the week I see some new numbers on the scale! I think that combined with Hal's plan will equal success. I can't wait!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

WTF? Plus and minus

Well, it's been a day of WTF???s, both good and bad.

1. Good: I looked up the 5K race results online, and my chip time was 50:15, with a pace of 16:13. Also, I came in 99 of 133 in the women's group, which means that either a lot of people didn't finish, or maybe they didn't show up? I have no idea, but I also think that the chip was on crack. I have never come close to running a 16 pace before, and as I said in my last post, the finish line clock was approaching an hour when I crossed. There's no way that it took me 9 minutes to get to the start line at the beginning of the race. Anyone wager to guess what is up with that? I mean, hey, I am excited to see those stats, but can't believe they're correct.

2. Bad: I went on my run this morning with the hopes of finishing the Wee Little Virtual 5K, but alas, 'twas not meant to be. I didn't feel particularly well this morning in the first place, and the run just never got comfortable, even after 20 minutes, when I usually break through. After my first mile or so, I half walked and half ran, and even that was tough. I only managed 2 miles. It was my worst run to date, for sure. I blame my period totally. The last time I had a hard time running like this when I was still doing C25K was when I had a bad period. Hopefully I will be back to my regular self in a few days, but for now, I'm sorry to Ms. Wee Little Me and all my fellow runners doing the 5K for not making it. I tried, really!

Weight remains stable, which is great. I'm ready to drop now.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

A Quick Update

I am still recovering from the 5K race and haven't run since then. Of course, getting my period on Friday hasn't helped -- it's really knocked me out and I've got pretty bad cramps this time. However, I do still plan to run the Wee Little Virtual 5K (see sidebar) tomorrow morning, first thing, no matter how long it takes me. Then, starting next week I want to implement my 4x a week running schedule, with one "long" run on the weekend. I think maybe two 2-mile runs, one 3.1-mile, and a 3.5 to 4 mile run for my "long" one each week to start sounds doable. I really want to kick it up a notch.

Also, my weight seems to have stalled, or stabilized, however you want to look at it. I've pretty much maintained it between 307 and 309 since the first week of June. One one hand, I'm disappointed that I haven't done more, but on the other, I'm glad that I am capable of maintaining. Now that I am approaching the six-month mark of weight loss, it is something interesting to test. But, now I need to really get back into it and start losing consistently again. I really want to get into the 200s soon!

So, I am officially declaring July as the month I enter the 200s (sorry, I refuse to call it "twoterville", ew. It can be done! It must be done! It will be done.

Last, but not least, I must sincerely thank each and every one of you who commented about my race report! I felt completely overwhelmed by the response, between here and Livejournal (where I keep a personal journal and belong to various fitness communities) -- I felt like a superstar. :) It made me feel like coming in last is its own kind of honor. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your support! It really keeps me going!

That said, I am trying to figure out which real-life 5K I will do next. I have a couple picked out for August, but I'd like to fit one in July also. Don't worry... I will keep you posted! I am totally addicted to racing now!

Yours in hangover recovery,


PS: Hey, look! I really am losing my double chin! These was taken just a moment ago.

And this was taken back in January, when I started.

I can see a difference!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

My First 5K: A Story about Coming in Last

(Stupid arms-behind-back pose. What's up with that? Also, I am very proud of my sweat stains! I took a few photos of pre-race stuff with my phone, but didn't get any taken of me, except after I got home and had C. take a couple of me still in my sweaty outfit. Maybe next time I will have a buddy there with me to have photo duty!)

I did it! I finished my first 5K race last night. It feels amazing, if a little (OK, a LOT) achey and sore. People, I am 300 (and some) pounds of RUN!

I was nervous for nothing, really. I got to the registration table early and got my number (200, cool!), chip, and goody bag (neat!), and then had over an hour to kill. The race took place on Goat Island in Niagara Falls, NY, so it was a beautiful park setting (the oldest National Park in the country, in fact), with an amazing bonus view of the falls right at the starting line.

It wasn't a huge race. I'd guess maybe 300 people? It was an exciting feeling to be among all the people as we waited for the signal to begin. I positioned myself back with the walkers (who were doing a 1.5 mile route as opposed to the full 5K), since my pace is probably slower than even some of them! (More on that shortly, heh.) Of course there was a great surge forward at the start, but I was cautious to not let it get the best of me and I stayed at my usual pace: SLOW. People of all types passed me: very old, very young, walking soccer moms, people with strollers... eventually pretty much everyone passed by me. Yet somehow, I didn't get discouraged. I kept going. It felt weird and disconcerting, yes, but I had one goal that I was going to achieve no matter what: finish the damn race.

Early on middle-aged older lady and a young girl of about six walked by me. The girl asked the lady, "What's she doing?", looking at me. The lady answered, "She's doing a combination!" I turned to them and said, "No, actually, I am running. I'm just really slow." The lady smiled and said, "Well, you're doing great." Ha ha.

Not too much longer after that, a motorized cart came by, and the driver said something to the people behind me, who were part of the walking group. I turned around and asked the group what was going on. This man was like, "There's a marathon (sic) taking place here," like he didn't realize that I was participating in it! When I told him, "Yes, I KNOW that, I am running in it, too!", he acted all surprised and apologized, and said that the cart driver told him that the elite runners were starting to come through, so we'd need to watch out and stay out of the way. I admit, I threw him a dirty look, not very sportsmanlike, I know. But come on! I've got a running outfit on, sneakers and all, and I am making running motions with my body! What would make you think that I was not IN the thing? I don't know why, but it really pissed me off.

That was the only thing that threw me off a bit. The rest of the race was great, but hard. During the first mile, I really didn't think I had it in me to finish. But, once I passed by the guy who was announcing the first mile marker along with the time, I started to feel better. At one mile I was at 18:38, pretty standard for me. Plus, I tried to keep in mind that the first 20 minutes are always the toughest for me, so I just kept going. Also, seeing the "elites" -- actually, seeing all of the other runners pass by -- was really inspirational. Big bonus points go to the few that said, "Good job, keep going!" and the like as they zoomed by me. Truly, it meant the world to me and made a big difference in my mental state. Ah, to be a gazelle. Maybe someday.

I was glad once the walkers were out of the picture. The route looped around the island twice, so for the second loop I was essentially on my own. It's what I am used to, and I preferred it to the annoying chatter of the gaggles of walkers who seemed to smugly stroll by me. Bastards. Ha ha, just kidding! While I was on my second loop I started to see the occasional elite runner coming toward me on their cool-down. They, too, gave me encouraging words and told me to keep going. Again, I appreciated this more than I could ever express.

The last 700 meters was weird. (I know it was 700 because some guy was walking by said, "You've just got 700 meters left! Keep it up!") The race route was also the island's trolley path, where the sightseeing trolleys take tourists around the island. They had stopped service during the race, obviously, but since I was out for so long, it had started up again. So twice, I was honked at to get out of the way by a trolley car, which threw me off a bit, both mentally and into the grass. Still, I kept going.

Then, finally, I could see the finish line! They kept it up for me, and the clock was still ticking away. The only people left there were the official and a few volunteers, but they cheered for me. I could see the clock read 59:30... 40... I think I crossed the line at 59:50. A little slower than my time on Friday, but that's OK. I finished! I did it!

The folks at the finish line were awesome. I had a brief sob of relief and happiness, had my chip cut off, and headed to the after-race party for a banana and a beer.

Overall, it was an amazing experience and I can't wait for my next race! But, I can't help but wonder if I got a little overzealous and tried to do it before I should have? Of all the reading around I've been doing about slow 5Kers, or on forums and the like, everyone says, "Don't worry about being last. There's always going to someone slower than you." Not in my case! I mean, it doesn't really bother me that much -- just a teeny bit -- but I have never heard about someone running as slow as I do in a race. I don't know... maybe it would have been different if the walkers had been doing the whole 3.1 miles as well, but maybe not. I guess it is a moot point, really. Someone's got to finish last, and I don't mind it being me, as long as I finish.

From here on out, I plan to continue to work on my 3 mile runs until they become easy. One mile is fine, two is fine, three is still an effort for me. I want three to be like one and two, and I don't think it'll take too long for me to achieve that. I'm going to keep shooting for distance and endurance, and continue to lose weight. It's bound to get easier naturally!

I'm going to make the Run in the Mist 5K "my" race -- this year was its first and my first, a match made in heaven. I'll run it every year that I am able. It seemed well-organized, the scenery can't be beat, and it's less than five minutes from my house!

Got on the scale this morning and I'm back down to my lowest weight again. Yesterday was a fluke after all (I hope!).

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Nervous! Need to Refocus

Ugh. Yikes! I am nervous about running in the 5K tonight! But I also excited. I have no idea what to expect but I'm just going to go and do my best, and hopefully I will make it through OK, and that they will let me finish. I am trying to prepare myself for the likely possibility that I will come in last of the runners, and that even some walkers will beat me to the finish line. I'm pretty certain I am OK with that; I mean, someone's got to pull in the rear, right? At least I am out there doing it, and that's what important.

I slept pretty well last night, and long -- from 10pm to about 6:15am. But I was a little worried because I've been really achey the past few days, probably mostly PMS-related. I should probably pick up some Motrin or something this afternoon on my lunch break to help with that.

Also, this morning the scale was most disagreeable. I had a bit of a free-for-all last night, which was the result of saying, "Oh, I will just have some popcorn for dinner, it'll be fine," and then end up grazing for a good portion of the evening. How discouraging! Still, I can't imagine that I really ate 3.5 pounds worth of gain. :( That puts me back up over 310 again, which I was hoping to avoid ever again. I think maybe at least until I get down below 300, I'm going to start tracking food intake again, just to make sure I am on track and not getting too loose-goose. It'd be so sad to see all my hard work go down the drain because I got careless.

I know it's probably not just the food I ate last night (one night does not make or break), but also TOM and just normal fluctuation noise... but still, I want to nip this in the bud and get really serious again. I haven't been serious enough lately, to be honest. I want desperately to be under 300 pounds, but I am not going to get there half-heartedly. I have to MAKE it happen; I have to effect change.

Anyway, would y'all wish me lots of luck tonight? I won't have anyone there to cheer me on personally, though don't worry, I'll be sure to take at least some photos, and grab a stranger to take mine so I've got proof I really did it. (I'm not sure I will believe it myself, haha!)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

HYC Check-in: 3.2K and beyond

After a three-day break after my momentus 5K run on Friday, I was back on the road this morning. It was hard the whole time, like my body was made of lead. But, I managed to slog through just over 2 miles in about 38 minutes, so I wasn't too disappointed. I am sore! I wonder if biting off that extra little bit of distance was too much, too soon yet?

Well, if it is then darn it all, because I've decided to go ahead and run in my first 5K race tomorrow as I planned months ago -- the Run in the Mist 5K that goes around Goat Island at Niagara Falls in two loops. Should be fun! I wasn't sure if I was going to go ahead with it, but I emailed the contact person for the race asking if it would be a problem if it takes me an hour to finish. She said, no problem, that it was the first time they are mounting the race and that there would be plenty of walkers. That sealed the deal -- I'm in, and I plan to run the whole thing! It'll be interesting to see how I will do running in the evening as opposed to my regular morning run.

As far as my weight goes, I am still hovering at and just above my lowest, with which I am totally fine. It's funny, I think my body might be going through an adjustment period right now -- as I was taking a bath this morning, I looked down at my belly and it seemed really different somehow, like the shape of it is changing. Really interesting. My experiment in less/no food tracking has seemed to work out OK so far, though it still feels odd, like I am cheating the process somehow. This is all becoming easier and easier as time goes on. My lovely family showered me with compliments on Sunday about how much slimmer I am looking -- that's always nice. This morning a co-worker commented on my cute jeans, but that I am swimming in them (these were the ones I bought at Target a few months ago that wouldn't fit at first!). I am learning to accept that this is a slow, ongoing process. Still. But it's really starting to stick in my craw, I can tell!

My latest realization is how my weight loss happens. I see a cycle occurring within a five pound range. I'll sort of go between that range for a week or two (or three), seeing a good dip here and there but then evening out, and then finally going down to the next step, and so on. Again, really interesting to me, and I'd never have been aware of that without weighing in daily. It goes so far in educating you about how your body operates. I very much appreciate that knowledge...

ETA: Oh! And I almost forgot to mention the fabulous dinner C. and I cooked last night. We do love our stir-frys, and last night we tried a ginger chicken and green beans version. We'd made it before, but it had been a while, and we don't really use a recipe... you just never know how it's going to turn out. Well, let me just say that it was incredible! And easy! And super-healthy! The sauce was made up of chicken broth, soy sauce, corn starch, rice vinegar, sliced ginger and canned ginger juice. We marinated the chicken slices in soy sauce, corn starch, and brown sugar. I simply rinsed fresh green beans, and snapped off the stem ends, and threw 'em in the wok along with some garlic, red pepper flakes, and more ginger -- and we use peanut oil to stir-fry with. The beans come out of the wok once they are bright green and tender-crisp, and in goes the chicken to do its thing, with a little of the sauce. Finally, the beans come back into the mix, we throw the sauce in, a bit more corn starch to thicken, and voila! Almost better than Chinese take-out!

I love when we come up with killer meals that are also good for us. Plus, it's fun to cook together!

Friday, June 20, 2008

My first 5K!

Wow, I'm totally proud of myself. On my run this morning, I ended up deciding to try for 5K. I didn't have a particular route planned ahead, but I knew that at my normal pace it'd take me just under an hour to cover that distance -- so I went for it. I ended up covering 3.2 miles in exactly an hour. It blows my mind that just three months ago I could barely run for 60 seconds, and now I can run ten times that!

I don't know whether to be more proud of the distance I covered, or the amount of time I was out there on the road, running all the way! OK, I will be proud of both. It's pretty awesome, even if I am super slow. :) I know a lot of people would balk at running for an hour straight, you know?

I also had a good weigh-in, my lowest weight so far at 307.2.

Hopefully today I will feel a little better about everything. I was pretty sad when I went to bed. My stepdad isn't doing too well, and I can't stop thinking about him and worrying about the pain he's in, etc. plus all the other stupid crap I worry about in my life, as usual.

I'm really glad it's Friday, I will tell you that much. I'm going to a birthday party on Sunday that's in my honor, along with my two younger cousins -- we're all June babies. I also have a lot of catching up to do on lawn and garden activities, since it's been raining here almost every day. It's supposed storm all weekend, too, but we'll see, hopefully I can at least mow the lawn quick. It is well on its way to jungle status at this point!

One. Day. At. A. Time. It's the only thought that gets me through lately.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

PMS Strikes Again!

I should know better. I've been feeling a little bit down about my efforts lately, feeling like I am getting nowhere with any of this, and today I finally pulled my head out of my a$$ and realized that it's PMS time again! That almost always brings overall feelings of malaise and personal failure in ALL aspects of my life -- relationship, finances, work, art, and you guessed it! My health and fitness.

Just wait. In a few days this will pass over and I will be back to my usual optimistic, gung-ho self who is able to see quite clearly all the positive things I am doing for myself and the subsequent results. I just have to ride through this, wait it out, try to be as kind to myself as I can in the meantime. Which is why I took down the photo I posted yesterday. It didn't portray a positive image at all. Not just because I am fat (duh!), but because I was caught with a weird, unhappy-looking expression on my face, and I was kind of slumped, and... as was commented upon, I don't need to punish myself. I don't need to put myself up for inspection and criticism in that way. (Though I may want to reconsider my posture!)

I did have a small NSV this morning -- more pants! Two pairs of capris that I haven't been able to wear in about four years, and even then they were on the tight side. Today, I was able to zip and button each with no problem, though I think I will probably hold off on wearing them for another ten pounds or so, when they will be more comfortable and fit better. Both are size 24 from Lane Bryant stores; as I have mentioned in the past I can already fit well into Old Navy 24s, so I guess 22s in that brand must not be too far away at this point.

It looks like I will probably not see 305 until next week or even the week after that, which is fine. I seem to be holding at right around 308-309 for now, I get the sense that my body is making an adjustment. And hey, I never did celebrate the fact that I am now below 310, which was the weight at which I started losing in my last big effort seven years ago! In the next 30 pounds I will really start to see a big difference in my face, which I am really excited about. I don't want to hate on myself, but dude? I really don't like my double chin, and how I become such a moon face when I am heavy.

To make up for that, here are some things I do like about my appearance right now:
• Lovely long hair (needs a shaping or a trim, but I still love it)
• Smile
• Strong legs!

OK, so that's only three things -- I was hoping for more -- but it is better than nothing. This is something I will work on. How about you? What's your list look like today?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Ups and Downs, Lows and Highs

Weight: 308.4
Total Weight loss: 41.6

OK, OK, there's my weight! I know I said yesterday that I would stop posting it every day, but I was pretty happy to see it still under 310. Especially after the rude awakening I had yesterday evening.

I had a really great time in NYC, as you might recall. I was there for some art-related stuff with a bunch of other artists. One of the artists took photos throughout the weekend, and sent everyone a link to his Flickr account to see them. Well, they were great! I didn't take many photos at all myself so it was nice to see all those faces and places again. He took a lot of snapshot-style photos, unposed slice-of-life kinds of shots, which I love. And there I was, in a few of them. I was shocked at what I saw.

I know it is no big news -- everyone knows I am really fat. I still weigh over 300 pounds, and just because I lost 40 pounds doesn't mean that I have become thin somehow. Intellectually, of course, I know this, too. But it is amazing the disparity between the image I have of myself in my head vs. the reality of my girth. It's crazy -- just the total opposite of how I imagined myself as a teenager (thinking I was a huge whale, when in reality I was quite slender). I mean, I guess my delusion now is a more healthy one, and maybe once I really am thin again my mind's image will match. It was just such a shock. I am still BIG.

It's OK and everything. I mean, I know I've come so far and that I am still making progress. I also can't deny that seeing the photos was like a kick in the stomach, there for a while. The thought almost crossed my mind that I've done all I have for nothing, even though I know this is not true. I was also like "Well, no wonder no one at work notices," and "My family was totally just being nice when they say they see a difference every time they see me," (See? Damned if you do, damned if you don't).

I guess there is really no point to this post except to record these feelings. It's not going to change anything as far as what I am doing, except maybe to keep me going even stronger and harder. I guess in a way it is good for me at this point to truly understand that I have so far to go, that six months in is no reason to slack off or give up. Now is the time to instead up the ante.

(EDIT 6/19: I took out the photo I had posted. It just seemed too... something... not helpful?)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

HYC Check-in

Weight: 309.4
Total Weight loss: 40.6

Heading into Tuesday, this week still feels good. I'd really love to see 305 by the end of the week, but I don't know if that is reasonable. Probably not, but I'll shoot for it anyway, even if it's just for a "blip" like 307 was initially. I am up a little today, but this is the "noise" we talk about over at Physics Diet. I don't worry about small fluctuations. In fact, I'm sort of wondering if I should just skip my daily explanations about what my weigh-in means to me each day; I find it a bit tedious, and since I log my weight every day elsewhere, should I bother doing it here? It's not that interesting. Maybe from now I on I will give a weight report on a weekly basis and talk about any strange or remarkable fluxes then.

So things have been changing slightly since I was on vacation, and since my scale ran out of juice. I realized that I can indeed gauge proper eating without logging my food intake every day, like I had been, and still lose weight successfully and still make healthier choices. It's becoming more natural now, totally done out of habit and desire. I suppose I can try it more loose for a while, and if I start seeing things head in the wrong direction, I can always go back to tracking my food. Then again, maybe I should continue at least until the end of the year and make the most of my Daily Plate gold membership... hm. Things to consider. But, I must say that I like much more not having to obsess so much about what goes in my mouth. As long as I can keep myself honest, I'll see how it goes. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this!

I'm heading into my 24th week of healthy habits, a couple weeks shy of six months! In that time, I've lost over 40 pounds, about 22 inches all over my body, and borderline diabetes worries. I've gained a fresh perspective, more energy and strength, and just a plain awesome overall attitude adjustment.

Monday, June 16, 2008

What a difference a week makes!

Weight: 307.8
Total Weight loss: 42.2

Well! I am back down to where I was one week ago (plus two ounces, but whatever). Just what I thought would happen. It feels good!

This morning I went on my first run in nearly two weeks. I missed it! I also got to try out my new pair of beautiful sneakers, the New Balance 768 Stability. It seems to get mixed reviews online, but when I was getting fitted at the running store, they were the shoes that were the most comfortable to me (I tried on three pairs total, these were the last ones I tried), and the run went just fine. Granted, I was a little slower and didn't go as far as where I had been before my break, but I did manage just over a mile and a half in just over 30 minutes, which was fine by me. I'm sure I will be back up to where I left off in no time.

Overall I am feeling much better. My cold pretty much disappeared Friday evening, and Saturday was spent running errands and cleaning out the basement space I'm going to use as my art studio -- it was quite a job! Yesterday was more of the same, plus transplanting our tomatoes and other plants into larger containers, also a heart-rate increasing activity (yes, really! They were BIG containers that I wrangled all by myself!), plus miscellaneous garden and lawn stuff, as usual.

So today I feel all fresh and renewed in my efforts, and totally back to normal, which is sometimes a really nice thing. Here's to Mondays!

Friday, June 13, 2008

I've been tagged!

The lovely and awesome Michelle has tagged me for some survey questions, which I am happy to answer.!

The Rules:

Tagging is easy. Just copy the following onto your post. The rules of the game are posted at the start of your blog post. In this case, I'm asking you 5 questions about running. Each player answers the 5 questions on their own blog. At the end of your post you tag 5 other people and post their names. Go to their blogs and leave a comment on their blogs telling them they've been tagged and to look at your blog for details. When they've answered the questions on their own blog, they come back to yours to tell you. Got that? (Stolen in its entirety from Flo by way of Irene ;)

1. How would you describe your running 10 years ago?
No running at all. Maybe some bike riding and walking. Five years before that, I was going to a gym regularly and using the treadmill, among other things. Some years before that, I was on my high school's cross-country team for one season, mainly because I had some encouraging friends on the team, and I wanted to see if I could do it. I was really slow (as I am now), and always came in last at the races, but my coach was awesome and encouraged us all to do the best we could, no matter what. He wasn't one of those crazy "You have to win!" coaches. Sadly, I didn't keep it up after that.

2. What is your best/worst running experience?
My best running experience was reaching the point in the C25K program where it's just straight running, and being able to do it, period. Yes, it was painful and slow, that first 20 minute run, but it was also totally great. I have two worst experiences: one, the time I fell a few weeks into C25K, when I tripped on a crack in the sidewalk (I didn't get hurt and was able to finish my run, but it still sucked), and two, when I developed runner's knee at the beginning of week 8.

3. Why do you run?
I run because I like to challenge myself, and because I wanted something convenient and cheap and simple to do to improve my fitness level. I run because I always, always look on with envy at those runners you see who look so effortless, gliding along -- I want to be like that someday. I run because it makes me feel amazing and invincible, like I can do anything. It gives me a fantastic high, even if I am slow.

4. What is the best or worst piece of running advice that you've been given about running?
Rest if you are injured. Take it slow. Work up your endurance and distance. I guess I haven't heard any bad advice.

5. Tell us something surprising about yourself that not many people would know.
I'm really self-conscious overall. But I don't think you would ever know that if you saw me running my way through the neighborhood. OMG fat runner! Yeah. I just really don't care anymore what people think about that. In fact, I am very proud of what I am able to do, so I don't care if I jiggle like a bowl of jelly or if a kid on a tricycle could ride circles around me. Running has really given me a sense of pride about my body and what it is capable of doing now, and what it might develop into later.

I know I am supposed to tag five people, but... I'd like to see any one of my readers take this survey and post it on their blogs, too! So, go for it!

Oh well

Weight: 313.2
Total Weight loss: 36.8

What a frustrating week. It started out so well, and has ended in shambles.

OK, maybe I am being a bit dramatic. In fact, I know I totally am. I'm thankful to be alive and well, for instance. But I don't understand how I could have lost so much weight and then gained it back so quickly, in the course of two weeks! Well, it's probably just that I expended so much energy and sweat every day that I was in New York, and once I got back to my regular life (and a less active one than usual, at that, because of this cold), my weight evened itself out and reverted back to reality. The reality is that I wasn't eating the best over my vacation before I went away, and that the last time I was able to weigh I was in the 313 neighborhood, therefore I have effectively maintained during that time, which I should be happy about.

There. I think that is a reasonable explanation, and putting it in that context, I feel much better. Like I had my cake and ate it, too. Literally.

I'm not feeling any better today, but not any worse, either. All I can say is thank the gods for Zicam, which keeps my nasal passages free and clear. I don't seem to be developing a cough or anything else, yet. Hopefully, I won't as I really do want to start running again, stat. I decided that tomorrow morning I am going to the running store for my sneakers no matter what. I want them on my feet and at the ready! As I may have mentioned before, C. is buying them for me for my birthday, but the funny thing is that I got a torn out catalog page from my stepmother in the mail yesterday with a note written on it: "Would you like these? They're on me, just let me know!" It's a pair of sneakers from Hammacher Schlemmer that have some sort of spring cushion in them or something. Well, I will tell her that I am all set on the sneaker front, but if she would like, I'd take her up on some other running gear if she is so inclined. Hopefully she will go for it. When I told her about my running goals, including 5Ks, 10Ks, and beyond, she said that she would love to join me on a 10K when I was ready, so that's something to look forward to.

Did you notice, I took my 40 pounds lost "bling" down for now? I don't feel like going back to the 35 pound one, so I'm going to wait it out until I get back down another few pounds before I put anything up announcing my achievements. At this point, it feels like too much pressure, too much to live up to. It's just that kind of week.

I'm looking forward to the weekend, and to a new week coming up. It's bound to be better than this one was.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Physics Diet doesn't lie

(You can click on it to get a better view)

Behold the wonder that is my Physics Diet chart. This covers from January on, but it wasn't until mid-February on, when I first started using that website and weighing daily. You can see how it really demonstrates trends in your body, like how every month I have "peaks", where my weight spikes fairly sharply, then goes back down over the following three or four days. It's why I am really trying hard not to get too down about the most recent occurrence, because, dude! Scientific data doesn't lie, right? Right.

Anyway, just wanted to share. You can see how it interpolated my data from when I wasn't able to weight myself recently.


Weight: 313.4
Total Weight loss: 36.6

Yikes. It turns out I actually am sick. By the time I got home from work last night, I felt like total crap. I'm very stuffed up, and fortunately Zicam does wonders for that, and and Advil substitute takes care of my aches. But ugh! How lame to get this kind of sick in the middle of summer, right? I was really looking forward to getting back into my running routine, but I'm going to hold off until next week. And I probably won't get my new sneakers until this weekend, which is fine, but this whole thing really bums me out, you know?

Well, I'm down a half pound-ish from my big gain yesterday. This is good, but man! I just knew that big loss was too good to be true, or just a result of the NYC craziness. Never mind, though. It'll come back down, just like it always does, and soon I will be totally back on track and headed down into the 200s.

I'm in a bit of a funk, sort of feeling like I just don't look any different, that I will never lose the double chin and rolls, and all of that. I'm usually very upbeat and optimistic about this stuff, all this work I'm doing, and I feel great, but... today? I'm feeling quite low about my efforts. It's probably just because life was so crazy there while on vacation, and getting back into some semblance of "normal" (whatever that means), but still. I have to admit: I am really, really upset about getting down to 307 and change, and then having it come back up to 313. I really am.

Not that I am giving up or falling off the proverbial horse, don't worry about that. I've felt this way before, way back when, and came through just fine. I will this time, too. I'm glad to have a place where I can publicly talk about this stuff, purge it from my psyche and pass it on into the ether of the internet.

Coaching self to regular self: "It's OK to feel down. You're sick, not feeling well and it's totally normal. It doesn't mean that you aren't succeeding. This is but a small bump in the road, a mere flicker in the flame. Go ahead, feel bad today, but work on getting better, feed your body with vitamins from healthy foods and lots of water, and ride it out. You're doing fine!"

*pats self on the head*

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

How to gain five pounds overnight

Weight: 313.8
Total Weight loss: 36.2

Wow, how about that? Birthday cake, or what?

Well. I'm honestly not too worried. When I entered my data at Physics Diet, I saw on my chart that just like clockwork, I had my monthly peak. Evey single month this happen; it's pretty amazing, really. It's not a TOM thing, as I had my period last week before I left for New York. It just is, but I am glad to know it. If it wasn't for the daily weigh, I wouldn't know this about my body and I'd probably be freaking out.

Anyway, if all goes according to history, I should be back down minus even more in just a few days.

I feel like total crap today, physically and emotionally. My stepdad is not doing too well (the cancer is now "progressing", they've been told), and I think it was a big mistake to finish off those chicken wings and blue cheese dressing last night that had been sitting out all day and the night before on the counter. I definitely have some mild food poisoning going on, for sure. Stupid. Also, last night I had the worst night's sleep I've had in a long time. Total. Crap.

I'll be drinking lots of water today, and I don't know what. No wonder my body's holding onto some weight today, poor thing.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Post-birthday, last day of vacation

Weight: 308.2
Total Weight loss: 41.8

Healthy You Challenge Check-in Day

I was quite happy with weigh-in this morning, showing a gain from yesterday of just about a half pound. What? Happy with a gain? Well, one, I am happy to have my scale back in working order so I can weigh daily again. Two, yesterday was my birthday and therefore a sort of free-for-all kind of day, eating-wise. (OK, so was today, kind of -- we got the cake a day late, but I did do some pretty back-breaking yard work all morning, so hopefully it will balance out.) Three, I wasn't sure if all that weight I lost over my scale break was just a result of lots of water lost in New York. (Hey! Have you seen my water?)

Therefore, this sort of gain does not register as a gain to me, per se, and it still reads as a loss on my moving average chart over at Physics Diet, so it's all good.

I am still letting my body recover from New York City. My feet and legs feel much better today, but I am still very fatigued from all the schlepping around and constant stimulus. All can say is, it's a damn good thing I had minus 40 pounds and the C25K under my belt in time for the trip, else I'd have been in really bad shape, I know. It was still difficult for me even being fairly new and improved, I can't really imagine my old self tackling the Big Apple, honestly.

I was going to try running this morning, but C. woke me up bright and early to get a head start on our Lawn and Garden day, which was threatening to be thwarted by stormy weather. I had some brush and errant trees to clear out on one side of our house, and he had some hot pepper and tomato plants to transplant into all our shiny new containers -- plus we needed to stop at Home Depot for some more soil, a shovel, and other miscellany before we got rained and thundered out from outside activity. So it looks like tomorrow will be my first day back on track with the running... I am thinking about giving myself yet one more day, though, as my knee got a lot of mileage and a tiny bit of a twist the other day walking into a convenience store. I don't want to hurt myself. We'll see how I feel.

I am excited that tomorrow after work I will be heading over to a local running store to be pro fitted for a new pair of sneaks -- my birthday present from C. this year. I can't wait.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Vacation redux

Weight: 307.6
Total Weight lost: 42.4 pounds

Wow, can it be possible that it has been over a week since my last post here? For shame it is! I guess being on vacation sort of scrambles all my regular activities, but part of the problem was that since Thursday I hadn't had sufficient internet access to allow me to update, travelling to and being in New York City for four days. (Yes, I've heard of internet cafes etc., but really? I was way too busy to even think about blogging.)

I had a fabulous time. My whole vacation has been fabulous, really, and refreshing and totally making me not want to return to my working life, as A-OK as it is. My NYC trip was no less than life-changing in many ways, but I will focus on the stuff I reserve for this blog for consistency's sake. ;)

You remember how my scale's lifetime battery bit the dust and I hadn't been able to weigh myself for almost two weeks? That was interesting. I found that I was less restrictive, less careful with the food choices I made, and that I even stopped logging my food intake at The Daily Plate like I have been doing. However, I was still mindful in a way. I certainly kept up the physical activity, and my runs are now up to 40 minutes straight, and I am able to cover just over 2.25 miles!

To give you an idea of how into running I am now, I actually brought my running sneaks with me to New York. Good thing I did, too, because my regular shoes gave me big blisters on each foot (nothing new for me, it's a New York tradition!) and my sneakers cushioned the pain a little bit. (I wore flip-flops on the 9+ hour train ride home, which allowed my poor dogs to breathe!) Really, though, I brought them with the intention to run, whether at the hotel fitness room or on the street or wherever else seemed fit.

I did in fact run/walk on the treadmill the first night I was in town, on a fairly archaic model which kind of kicked my ass. I got a good 30-minute workout in, though, and that was it for the weekend. The rest of the exercise I got was purely natural, beating the sidewalks faithfully and sweating my ass off. I had the privilege of visiting New York for the first heat wave of the year, in 90+ degree temperatures. And I'm someone who basically refuses to wear short sleeves no matter what. I sweated, and sweated, and sweated. Buckets. I also could not get enough water. It's all I drank, aside from some wine and Mojitos, all weekend. Probably gallons and gallons, no exaggeration. How the hell do all those Sex and the City type of women do it and still look their brand of good? Seriously.

I kind of watched my eating, or was at least semi-mindful. I found that whenever I did eat, I didn't eat a whole lot in one sitting. There was so much going on that eating became a footnote in a way. I did have brick oven pizza, a few salads, steak and scallops (a birthday dinner with my dear friend Sherri -- me today and she tomorrow, btw, Happy Birthday, Sherri!), and then mostly finger foods that were served as part of the seminar stuff I was there for in the first place. In short, I wasn't really concerned about it, especially not with all the running around I was doing.

So, when I got home last night (my train was almost two hours late getting in, so C. was at the station picking me up at quarter to one in the morning!), I saw that the scale company had finally sent the replacement battery and that I could weigh this morning again. I had no idea what to expect, to be honest. Part of me felt that I must have lost something, and then part of me was fearful that I'd be back up to 320. It was real pleasure to see such a low number appear on the readout, as you can see above. In the past twelve days or so, I've lost about five and half pounds, which is great. We'll see how it goes tomorrow, today having been, ahem, my birthday and therefore an opportunity for pizza and movie popcorn (we're going to the drive-in movies later), and maybe some ice cream. Amazingly enough? I didn't go crazy on anything. I think my stomach is shrinking, no lie.

I alluded to the fact that it's my birthday today. It is! I'm now 38 years old and really, really happy and proud of all the things I am doing. I don't resent getting older at all and feel bad for people who do. Life is a learning process that I embrace, and I see the vitality of so many others who are around my age, totally living it up like rock stars, totally NOT the age their driver's license claims them to be. This is the way to live, on your own terms as much as possible, with as much reverence to the lives and bodies we are so generously given to care for however long we're on this earth. I am thankful for all the opportunities I've had, both given to me and created for myself. I am thankful for all those who inspire me in one way or another, or in many ways. I am thankful for each day I have to try, try again.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Still in it, I wanna win it


It's only been two days since my last post, so why does it feel like forever?

The no-weigh business still has me a bit discombobulated. I feel lost somehow.

I did take my measurements today. I don't see drastic differences when I measure, but my waist, my thighs, and my neck have shown the most change. I know the waist decrease is the best, since it's not good to have all that extra bulk around my innards, so I am happy about that. Also, my hips are now a full inch smaller than my measuring tape, hooray!

I did something crazy this morning. I guess I am sort of not really following the C25K plan anymore, though I did count this as my W9D2 run, which was supposed to be 30 minutes. Well, it was going so well and I felt so comfortable that I just kept going. I ended up running for 40 minutes total, plus seven minutes of warm-up and cool down. My whole outing took me just over 2.5 miles. Wow! It was AWESOME. And my knees are still with me, so far, so good.

My next run on Tuesday, I've decided, I'm going to go for the distance: 3.1 miles. I've already mapped out a route, and we'll see how it goes. Hopefully it'll take less than an hour, but I will take it on the easy side and just concentrate on getting the mileage done. I'm pretty excited.

As for my eating, well... I haven't been pristine. I've been pretty crappy and lazy about it, to tell the truth, not making the best choices overall. OK, really it was just yesterday that I ate so poorly, but it feels like forever. Especially after today's accomplishment, I'm fully into eating well until I leave for my NYC trip, and while I am there I will try to make healthy choices as much as I can, but I am not going to be overly stringent, either. I will have some free meals throughout that I want to take advantage of, so I will just do the best I can. Also? I am going to try a run or two while I am there, believe it or not! May as well. At the very least I'll take advantage of the workout room at the hotel. No, really. I am looking forward to that part!

Oh, I should also point out another facet of my achievement running today: I have my period, and I still did OK. I remember trying to do one of my earlier runs at that time of the month and how difficult it was... those were the days! Har.

I feel so powerful. Unfortunately, I am also a little stinky, so I think I will treat myself to a nice bath.

Have a great day!