Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Perhaps you're wondering ...

Well, how did l'il miss do on her weekend of calorie-counting? Yeah. Not so good.

Friday night found me having dinner at a friend's house. She'd had a bad day, so "dinner" turned out to be "chips and guac". I just kept telling myself, "avocado is the good fat." And it was delicious. Plus, it was nice to just visit, chat and relax. Yummy girl time (with a glass - just one glass - of wine.)

Saturday morning dawned bright and early; far earlier than I generally greet a Saturday. We've changed up our gym routine, and nowadays we're getting the run in before weight training. That means I'm at the gym before 7 a.m.

I gotta be nuts.

It was difficult, mostly because no one seems to have mastered the gentle art of air circulation. It sucks big time to be running in a pool of your own sweat. But I was with my girls, so it was all good. Then we worked out with Pam and got our weight training done, and then ... well, it's a Memorial Day Weekend tradition! Linda and I goofed off.

We treated ourselves to breakfast in the cafe (seriously? Egg wraps from heaven.) and then put on our suits for pool time. It was cold and rainy, so we used the indoor pool, and it was awesome. We sat for a bit in the dry sauna, swam around in the pool, got splashed by some obnoxious children who obviously don't know how bad chlorine is for my chemically treated hair, and then retired to the hot tub.

Sweet, delicious hot tub.

And now you know why I love my gym! Good food, and enough to do that I could spend the whole day.

The rest of the weekend was challenging, calorically speaking, but I did manage to get a run in while in Wisconsin (heat + hills + humidity = a not-so-easy "easy" run) and I didn't feel like I was overdoing things. There was cheese, there was beer ... but all in all, pretty balanced. We'll see if the scale this week agrees!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Holy shitballs

What kind of idiot choose the Friday of Memorial Day weekend to re-dedicate herself to her fitness program?

This kind of idiot.

See, I got on the scale on Wednesday. It read 206.2 - same as last week. Okay, I can live with that; no change. Then I got on again on Thursday, because that's my regular weigh-in day and, therefore, would produce my "official" weight. 209.2. Fuck. So I got on again today (obsessive, much?) and it was 209.2 again. So it's official - I gained three.

In my head, I said, okay, you can get back on the bandwagon on Tuesday. And then the other voice in my head said, "do you realize how much damage you can do in four days?"

So here I am, staring down the barrel of a three-day weekend, and knowing I will be tracking every morsel that passes my lips. Dinner tonight with Rebekah; party tomorrow at Millie's; two days in Wisconsin (and you know that means beer and cheese). Yep. All of it. AND, I'll be finding time to exercise in there. Tomorrow morning is a run and weight training. Sunday morning I may even make it to the gym before I head out of town, and Monday will bring me a run in the hills of Wisconsin. Yep. This Memorial Day will be memorable!

Not beating myself up, just letting myself be inspired. I mean, come on ... Rome wasn't built in a day. Neither was my ass.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Rainier cherries

We have reached that time of year when crack is in season. Yes, ladies and gentlemen ... Rainier cherries are available in the produce section.

Mind you, the ones I picked up in Wisconsin on Sunday were better than the ones I got at Jewel in Illinois on Monday, so maybe it's not quite time yet. But still, it signals that amazing time of year, when food is good, grown locally and, occasionally, addictive.

At the height of Rainier cherry season, I will eat a pound a day. (I will also be very regular.) I love the damn things. The realization that these things are like crack to me dates back to the summer of 1999, at a drive-in theater with Rice and Rae (and probably the ex, but he doesn't figure prominently in the story, so for the purposes of this post, he can just go fuck himself.) Anyway, we sat in our bag chairs before the movie, snacking on baguettes and olive oil, fresh tomatoes ... and these cherries. Neither Rice nor I could stop eating them, and he said, "These are like crack to me."

Truer words were never spoken. This, my friends, is my favorite fruit.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Good week, good weigh-in, good GOD, is it the weekend yet?

First of all, I'd like to curse the sonofabitch who brought caramel corn into my office. I don't know who you are, but I hope you get VD.

Now that I have that off my chest, on with today's post.

It's been a great week. After the run last Saturday, I have only had a tiny bit of residual pain. What that means, I think, is that I'm not doing any new damage. Yes, the Achilles still hurts, but most of the time, I can walk without a limp. And, I've slowly been able to add a little running back into the regimen. My wimpy-ass intervals are four minutes walking, one minute running, for 34 minutes (starting and ending with four minutes walking.) It feels pathetic. But it feels powerful at the same time. If the ankle cooperates, next week we up the run interval to two minutes. We'll see how it goes.

I'm determined not to push, though. The fastest route between now and re-injury would be to push too far, too fast. So I'm taking it slowly, following the program. (It should be noted, however, that even my walk intervals are almost painfully slow. I'm rocking the 17-minute mile pace overall. But remember when the tortoise beat the hare? Yeah; I'm holding on to that.)

Also, today was weigh-in day. It wasn't cause for celebration - 206.4 - but it was certainly better than last week's 210.8. Fuck you, scale. So I'm pretty sure that I've shed the water weight, and all that's remaining is pretty much bagels. Guess I'll have to get rid of them, huh?

All things considered, it's been a great workout week. The weather, while chilly, has allowed me to walk at lunchtime, getting an extra half-hour of zone two cardio. Here's where we're at so far with the workouts - what I've done, and what I'm planning:

  • Sunday, 5/15: Rest

  • Monday, 5/17: Walk half hour over lunch, half hour run/walk intervals (treadmill) in the evening, followed by a half hour on the elliptical.

  • Tuesday, 5/17: One hour of strength training followed by one hour of Salsa/Funk cardio, taught by the best trainer and instructor in the 'verse.

  • Wednesday, 5/18: Half hour walk at lunch, half hour run/walk intervals at the gym, followed by an hour of hot yoga (the yummiest hour of my week.)

  • Thursday, 5/19: Half hour walk at lunch, half hour run/walk intervals on the roads by my house after work.

  • Friday, 5/20: One hour Moon Yin Yoga at the gym, followed by two hours of Salsa/Funk. This event is a fundraiser for ALS, and a total bonus workout! (It also makes it possible to take Saturday "off" and not feel guilty about not working out.

Pretty cool, huh? So, while the scale may not be leaping downward, the weight will continue to come off as I continue to take care of myself. A body in motion tends to stay in motion.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Running Wild

May 14 was Run Wild, my first "race" since the St. Paddy's Day run on March 13. If you recall, on March 21 I injured my Achilles tendon. It's been a long healing process ... one that's still happening. I'm taking my time and letting it do its thing. No sense adding injury to injury (or insult, for that matter).

So Saturday morning, the alarm went off at 5. I hit the snooze three times before I could coax myself forward, but eventually I was out the door and headed to Brookfield Zoo. There, I met up with my posse, pictured below. (That would be my sister Jenn, my other sister Pat, me, my friend Pam and my friend Linda.)

Naturally, we did some pre-race stretches. A series of dynamic ones, to get the blood flowing - marches, butt kicks, walking lunges, etc. Then it was time to stretch the calf/hammy/Achilles. I learned my lesson; I will never go into a walk or run without properly warming up!
And here's me, ready to run. Apologies for the repeated photos if you've already seen them on Facebook.
It was a chilly day! Mid-40s at run time, although that might have been a good thing seeing as we were in a zoo and heat makes the poop smell more poopy. Anyway, we lined up at the start. Linda and Pam worked their way toward the front, because they're the more accomplished runners in the group. Pat, Jenn and I hung back, and when it was time to go ... off we went! For about 30 seconds I left them in the dust, due more to the people around me than my lightening-fast speed. (Slowest. Lightening. Ever.) Jenn caught up with me, and for a little while I totally dug running with my sister. It was great! I think, once my Achilles is better, she will be a good pace buddy.

We made two laps around several of the zoo areas, and on the second time around got to see animals! No baboons threw poop at us, which was a good thing. The camels said hi, and the zebras seemed a little irritated. All in all, it was a very fun run. (Except for the woman whose hair seemed to be styled after a squash, and who clearly didn't like the idea of me being in front of her. Every 10 minutes or so, she'd run past me, just to slow to a walk again. I wanted to trip her.)

I walked most of the course. I ran at the start, and then when my friends met up with me at the end, we ran together to the finish. Here's me, approaching the end of the race with great style.
I had saved enough energy to sprint across the finish line (and by "sprint" I actually mean "ran slower than most people's slow pace".) I felt good. Sore, but good. My knees ached, and my Achilles was kinda annoying. I was worried that I had re-injured the injury, but I took a little time, stretched and it felt better. The key here? Stretching. It made a huge difference.

So there was a lot to be happy about - finishing vertical being the most important among them. Here's Jenn and me, smiling post-race. We did it!

In truth, running would not be nearly as fun or rewarding if it weren't for these women - Linda and Pam. I met them both at Life Time Fitness in Schaumburg, which has brought many incredible people and experiences into my life. I'm so lucky to count them as my friends!

Who am I kidding; I run for the food. While I would've loved an omelette, Cracker Jack, bananas and water were okay substitutes.

And what would a day at the zoo be without a picture with the animals? Even if it's just a marble lion! Here's Jenn, me, Pat and Pam, goofing around on our way out. WE DID IT!

And it was a great time; so much fun!

So let's check my progress, since the beginning of my "racing" career. (I don't race. I walk; I run; I pray to make it to the finish. I am a slow runner. You wanna make somethin' of it?)

Muddy Buddy

Gilberts, IL

Team Inconceivable with my friend Mike

August 1, 2010

10K bike/run/obstacle relay
Time: 1:46:28 (1470 out of 1473; we were not last!)

Mad Dash to Madison

United Center, Chicago, IL

September 18, 2010 (My first 5K)

I was dumb and signed up as a walker, so I didn't get a timing chip. But it was fun, and I finished!

Hot Chocolate 5K

Chicago, IL

November 6, 2010

Time: 49:56, average 16:05 mile

Finished 11,627 out of 12,702

Arlington Heights Santa 5K

December 4, 2010

Time: 51:41, average 16:40 mile

Finished 795 out of 837

Super Bowl Shuffle 5K

Geneva, IL

February 6, 2011

Time: 47:37, average 15:21 mile

Finished 335 of 360

Long Grove St. Paddy's Day 5K

March 13, 2011

Time: 45:23, average 14:38 mile

Finished 307 of 347

Shamrock Shuffle 8K

Chicago, IL

April 10, 2011

Couldn't run. Stupid Achilles.

Run Wild 5K

Chicago, IL

May 14, 2011

Time: 50:35, average 16:17 mile
Finished 1367 of 1488

So that's the dill pickle. I had an injury, and I was still faster than my time from a previous race - the Santa Run in December. Okay, I'll take it.

But the very best part? My Achilles still feels pretty good. I don't think I did any further damage, and I think it's possible that it's even stronger now than it was before the run. I asked it to carry me, and it did. So, on we go. We train, we run, we have fun. That is the point, right?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Holy jumping WHAT?

I got on the scale today. It pleaded with me to get back off!

I must be retaining a whole lot of water (and probably a few bagels) because I am UP SIX POUNDS! Six! In a week! That pisses me off.

But it's hot and humid, and I know I'm retaining water, so I'm trusting that (eventually) it will flush its way out. Meanwhile ... FUCK! 210.6, bitches! That sucks.

To make it worse, I was convinced I was going to be down. I thought I'd be under 200 at some point this month. Stupid humidity. Stupid water weight. Stupid bagel.

Monday, May 9, 2011

So I forgot

I weighed in last week: 204.8

That's the smallest number yet, although I'm not sure it's gonna stick. Especially after my weekend of ridiculous carbo-loading for no good reason other than DAMN I wanted white food!

Pasta. Bread. More pasta. Yum. And holy crap, Trader Joe's makes peanut butter-flavored cream cheese. Seriously. It was consumed. And it was good.

So now it's a question of, how to get it off my thighs? Well, the good news is, I was able to start running again. Haven't run at all since I injured my Achilles on March 21, so it felt great to step on the treadmill and take a few tentative steps. I'm on wimpy intervals - four minutes walking, one minute running - but I was able to do it. I completed six intervals, with an extra four-minute walk at the end. I went two miles in 34 minutes. Not perfect, not fast, but not horrible, either. I'll get there.

When I was done, it hurt a little, but it wasn't awful. I went home and put it on ice, then rested the rest of the day. Or more precisely, weekend. On Sunday I did some at-home yoga practice, but that's it. Nothing crazy here, just a little stretchy-poo time. I'm going to try and add a little time for yoga every day. Well, except Tuesdays; that's already jam-packed and I rarely get home before 9 p.m., so ... six days of a little yoga. Four days of a little running. Supplement as I'm able, cross-train doing stuff I like and ... we'll see.

I'm a little stuck, feeling like it's never "enough". Can I claim an active lifestyle when I don't always have one? Can I say I'm a runner when I haven't run in about seven weeks? When is it enough? When will I stop questioning my abilities and achievements?

I don't know. But here's what I know for sure: As of my last weigh-in, I have lost 35 pounds since last August. I have lost 75 pounds in the last few years. It's slow, but that's okay. It's not like I've been very focused or obsessy. I'm letting it be natural; I'm doing it in my own time. And maybe that's why I never really feel like it's enough. So, at least for today, I'm going to be content. Because what I've done so far is an accomplishment. Booyah.