Friday, February 25, 2011

Last night's run, and a lunch confession

I ran last night.

It sucked.

Sometimes, it's just gonna suck.

But I did it. Took me an hour to go 3.85 miles. The goal is 4 miles in an hour, for a solid 15 minute mile, but that was not going to happen yesterday. I could whine and bitch about it, but here's the dill pickle:
  • I'm getting over a pretty nasty cold. A week ago, I felt like death. I think having a bad run after spending the weekend trying to get over the Death Plague is allowed.
  • As far as my cardiovascular system is concerned, I am not as healthy as I wish I were. The simple truth is, my VO2 max is just not where it needs to be. (VO2 max is the volume of oxygen my body absorbs per minute; it's a measurement of cardiovascular health.)
So it's hard for me. I don't mean to make excuses; it's more of a way for me to acknowledge why it is hard for me ... and why I need to keep trying.

What I need to try not to do is go to Crazy Buffet for lunch. For $7.99, you can have sushi, and more sushi, plus fried rice and shrimp and kung pao everything and dim sum and ice cream and GOOD GOD. I have to eat air and broccoli for dinner to make that shit okay. Don't get me wrong, it was delicious, but yowza with the regret, yo.

So tomorrow, it's back to the treadmill. Bam.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I'll take the .2, thank you very much


That's down .2 (point-two) from last week.

You remember last week? Yeah, that one. The week when I kinda felt like crap, ate everything that wasn't nailed down, and only worked out twice? Right. So the fact that I didn't gain weight is okay with me.

During my conversation with Trainer Extraordinaire Donna Thomas a few days ago, I fessed up to a serious slowdown in my weightloss since the holidays. She gave me a new perspective, saying that sometimes, ya gotta release your grip on perfection. Let yourself off the hook, just a little, and test the waters. It was good advice. After all, I do believe that each day is a new opportunity to do better. So, Tuesday morning, I was back counting the calories. I'm allowing myself more than I used to, because I've been really effing hungry, and I don't think it's sensible to starve myself. On days when I do a cardio workout, I get to eat more. (Who wants to meet me for sushi?) I'm not obsessing, but I'm coming back around.

Which explains why, first thing this morning, I could be found leaning against the kitchen counter, downing a protein smoothie. I don't get enough protein, so I've added the smoothie to the regimen. (It is not delicious, but it is palatable.) Rice protein, milk, fruit, yogurt; a little chalky, but down it went. Followed by a huge glass of water, my fish oil supplement (yes, really), my vitamin, my calcium and my vitamin D gummies. I am that girl who does all that before 7 a.m.

It stuck with me pretty well. I wasn't ready for morning snack time until 10; usually at 9 I'm already talking myself down from the ledge. So, we'll see where this goes. Build muscle. Lose fat. There's a fit woman in here, somewhere. Even if she does weigh 210.4 pounds.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Age is relative

I had another assessment done at the gym this week. This one was actually a re-do of the fitness testing I did when I joined the gym - a multi-point assessment of my fitness level. I was happy and sad with the results.

The most pointed part of which is something called "body age". I hate the idea of aging, mostly because I feel so damn youthful most of the time. So when faced with a number, I cringe.

There is a lot of good going on here, though, and I need to acknowledge it. First of all, my original assessment, in September of 2007, showed a weight of 270. This was after I lost the first 10 pounds on my quest for health. On Monday night, I weighed in at 213. (I was wearing shoes, and clothes ... so I'm not too concerned about the several-pound spike in my weight.) That's a significant loss of 57 pounds; I'm owning that.

My BMI, or body mass index, went from Obese Class III (meaning "danger, asshole, you're close to death) to the low end of Obese Class I. I am, quite literally, just a few pounds away from being just plain "overweight". I'll take it.

My cardiovascular health has gone from very low to fair. This is where I need to improve to progress as a runner.

Finally, my body fat percentage has gone from very high - 46.1 percent (yikes! almost half of me was fat!) to a just plain "high" rating at 33.3. Moderate is 25.1 to 3o percent fat, whereas Optimal is 20.1 - 25.0; so that's where I'm headed.

So like I said ... good stuff, in many ways, although I am not as far as I'd like to be. But my Body Age? Yeah. My body is 52. It's gone up a year since my last assessment. But let's be fair - my body age was 51 when I was 41; it's 52 and I'm 44. I think I can live with that. AND, if I become more flexible (hello, hot yoga!), increase my cardiovascular health, and lose the fat, I can decrease my body age to about 38.

Okay. What's the plan?

Well, I'm going to continue my basic focus here. Sticking to the current workout regimen, which is:
  • Monday night - three to five mile run
  • Tuesday night - lift weights, Salsa/Funk
  • Wednesday night - hot yoga
  • Thursday night - short run (two to three miles) and elliptical
  • Saturday morning - lift weights, long run (four to seven miles)
And I'm adding to that four push-ups every day, until that gets easy. Then, we bump it up to five ... and six ... and so on. Also, I'll be doing a few yoga poses every day. Every day. Flexibility does not come easily. I'm going to have to work at it. Add to that taking supplements (fish oil, anyone?) and we're set. I'm commited to being below 200 pounds by the time I run the Shamrock Shuffle. That's 13 pounds in six weeks.


Thursday, February 17, 2011


I'm bloated.

And I gained two pounds.

I don't feel that much heavier, though. I actually feel pretty good (despite the fact that I'm sicker than a dog) so I'm not letting it get to me. I weighed in at 210.6 today, but some of that is water. (Some of that, however, is ice cream bars.)

Every day is a new opportunity to do better.

For the moment, I'm concentrating on getting well. Whatever death plague I have is doing a number on me! But I'm fairly confident that next week, the scale will have another tale to tell.

Friday, February 11, 2011


Okay. 209.

208.4, actually, but I round up.

Makes me a little giddy, actually - I am 9 pounds away from weighing less than 200 pounds, for the first time in a very, very long time.

This week has been one full of thought. Here I am, the fittest I've been in probably 20 years, the strongest I've been in probably ever, and I'm unsure how this works, or where to go from here. See, I have about 35 more pounds to lose to reach my original goal. When I started out at 280, I figured I'd be happy at 175. When I get there, I'll be content. And I might be.

But I might not.

Because from here, having seen what hard work can do for my body, I begin to wonder ... what's the difference between 175 and truly buff? How muscular can my abs get? What, exactly, am I capable of? I don't know. I don't need to know. What I know for sure is, I'm not looking at 175 as an end point. I'm looking at it as a goal to be reached, just like my incremental goals along the way. When I get there - and I will - I'll re-evaluate.

Monday, February 7, 2011

This is hard. It may never be easy.

By "this", I mean "running".

Sometimes it's difficult to feel like I'm making any progress at all, because with every race I'm still fighting my body every step of the way. It's like swimming through honey. (Well, it's like I would imagine swimming through honey would be. I've never actually done that.)

Anyway, I had a race yesterday. It was my fifth race ever. And it was mighty hard.

There was snow, and ice, and I had to walk a lot of it. I started out a little too fast, and I felt like crap on a stick right out of the shoot. (What's funny is, my "too fast" start still found me getting passed by 98 percent of the runners. I am okay with this.) So I pulled back. Lots of ice and snow on the ground, so I had to be super careful; my feet kept slipping out from under me.

I didn't fall. I didn't trip anyone. I didn't mind that there were dogs on the course. That was actually one of my favorite things! I met two or three different Golden Retrievers out there, each of them willing to cheer me on. At least, that's how I interpreted them sniffing my butt.

I got to the Mile 2 marker in under 30 minutes. That meant I was running/walking at less than a 15-minute-mile pace. I have never done that before. It was possible that I would finish in under 45 minutes! Run run run ... walk. Repeat. Katy Perry's "Fireworks" came on my iPod, and I took the hill as quickly as I could. Which was still pretty slow, but it felt good because I love that song. Pressing forward, I knew I was near the finish when I could see the middle school to my right. As I rounded the corner, there was my dear friend Linda to cheer me on and run the last leg with me.

And I ran. I was already over the 45-minute mark, so I wasn't going to reach my goal, but I was having fun. And then I stopped having fun; I was gasping for breath and feeling really awful for what felt like eternity but was actually just a few seconds. A quick check of my watch told me why - my heart rate was at 198 beats per minute. Um, yeah. Slow down, girl.

So I walked a little bit, and then took off (and by "took off" I mean "slogged like buffalo") toward the finish line, running those last few yards.

I was disappointed in myself, because my goals was to finish under 45. I knew I hadn't done that. I had failed.

I hate failing.

But I finished. In snow and ice, I finished.

This morning, the results were posted. Here's where I stood:

Finished overall: 335 of 360
26 of 27 in my age group
Time: 47.37
Pace per mile: 15:21

What does that mean to you? Well, for starters, it means I'm a slow runner. But, just for fun, let's compare it to my last two races:

Santa Run
December 4, 2010
Finished overall: 795 of 837
Time: 51:41:0
Pace per mile: 16:40

Hot Chocolate 5K
November 6, 2010
Finished overall: 11627 of 12702
Time: 49:56
Pace per mile: 16:05

Yeah. I shaved 4 minutes off my last time, which was also in snow. And I was even faster than my November time - on a beautiful sunny day - by more than two minutes.

It's progress. And that's all I'm looking for.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Platypus plateau

I'm a little stuck, and I'm having a platypus day. Don't know what that means? Explanation found here.

Anyhoo, my weightloss has plateaued. And by, "it has plateaued" I really mean, "I haven't really hit it hard since the holidays and I've not lost any significant weight since then."

Today's weigh-in: 209.4.

Or, ya know, 210 to anyone with a brain.

What to do about that? Well, that's really the easy part: Get. Back. On. The. Horse.

It's not as though the horse has been left to roam free. I just haven't been back on my five-workouts-a-week schedule in awhile. Snow has been horrendous, work has gotten in the way and it has been hard to get my shit together. But the beautiful thing is, there are always opportunities to do better. Every day, I get to try again.

So I know I have some eating to do this weekend. Lunch out today, dinner out tonight, and Super Bowl food on Sunday. But I will have a great workout tomorrow, and my first 5k run of the year is on Sunday. My goal is to finish in 45 minutes. I completed the Arlington Heights Santa 5K in 51:41, in lots of wet snow. I'll let ya know how it goes!