Monday, October 29, 2012

Weight a minute!

Monday. Weigh-in day. I just never know what to expect anymore. I have days (sometimes two or three strung together) when I'm able to really watch what I eat and I exercise beautifully, and then I'll get on the scale and BAM ... gain. This week, I did well with the workouts (ran quite a bit, lifted weights, felt great) and it showed up a little on the scale.


But here's the thing: I also succumbed to such things as butternut squash gnocchi, beer, gyros and french fries. How is that possible?

I think this new world - I call it Menopause Land - is much less of a perfect equation of energy in + energy out = weight lost or gained. It's trickier now. It's a friggin' crapshoot, but this week at least it worked in my favor.

This week brings the final week of training for the Hot Chocolate 15K. On Saturday's training run, I had a nasty calf knot (for the first time in quite a while) and had to cut the run short. The cool thing is, it doesn't bother me. I'm pretty sure I can get through 9.3 next Sunday, so I'm just rolling with it. I've done what I can, and I'm just gonna power through now. I mean ... I run nine miles, I eat chocolate, I go to breakfast. How could that be bad?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Weigh in, recap, list

Well, I got on the scale again today, and it's just beating me up. 217.2; that's about 10 pounds heavier than I was at this time last year. I'm trying not to let it get to me.

It's depressing, realizing that I'm growing older and my body is just refusing to cooperate with me. Sure, there were donuts and pizza this week. But not the way I used to eat that stuff; I used to stuff myself! But I am not who I used to be, and I can't let a little setback (or a few years' worth of setbacks) truly hold me back. So I simply keep trying, doing what I can to make progress. We'll see if things look any different next week.

Yesterday found me once again off and running; it was Monster Dash time! Linda and I dressed in our kilts and headed into Chicago for a 10K (with a little extra run at the end, because we had seven miles on the training plan). It was a perfect day for a run; a little chilly, only a few clouds, and a lakefront full of like-minded people. LOVELY!
Maggie, race-ready.
 We ran into our friend and group fitness instructor, the lovely MaryAnn! What are the chances that we'd randomly bump into one another? So much fun to see her. Love that girl!
Me, MaryAnn and Linda. 
The race itself was hard for me. I need to remember that I am pushing 217 pounds through space; it's not going to be easy. So I shouldn't be surprised that I did not do particularly well. I should also acknowledge that I don't really have to do well; it's about getting the training miles in before the Hot Chocolate 15K on November 4, right? So I should knock off the pressure?

Anyway, in the end I finished in 1:30:52, with a pace of 14:53 per mile. I was 519 out of 532 overall, 14 of 15 in my age group and 357 of 369 women. All things considered, I did a little better than I ran my last 10K, in January. The fact that the January race was in blinding snow and I was only two and a half minutes slower kinda pisses me off, but whatever. Sigh ... at least I'm moving.

I guess the whole point is that I'm moving. A lot. I started this year with the goal of completing 12 events during the year. As of now, I am on track to double that, with 24 events in 2012. Here's what I've done so far:

January: Polar Dash 10K, Frozen Zucchini 5K
February: Super Bowl Shuffle 5K, Disney Princess Half Marathon
March: Shamrock Shuffle 8K
April: Race to Wrigley 5K, LifeTime Fitness Indoor Triathlon, Healthy Parks 5K
May: Fat Ass 5K
June: Sweetness 5K, SheRox Spring Triathlon, Warrior Dash
July: Arlington Heights Stampede Run, Chase the Moon 20-mile bike ride
August: Run for Your Lives Zombie Obstacle Race
September: Firefly 5K, Midtown 5K, Harvest Hustle 5K
October: Monster Dash 10K

That's 19. (The only one that isn't included in this blog as a race report is Chase the Moon, because it was not a timed race.) So between now and the end of the year, I have the opportunity to do five more and bring my total to 24. Here's what I'm registered for:

October 27: Delavan Skeleton Scurry (while I'm taking a weekend away in Lake Geneva)
November 4: Hot Chocolate 15K
November 18: Yorkville Chili Chaser 5K
November 22: LaGrange 3.14 Run for Pie (Thanksgiving day)
December 1: Arlington Heights Santa Run 5K

That's it! 24 events in one year. I guess that's proof that you can be active even if you're carrying 50 extra pounds.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Race Reports; well, you're a little late

The day before - and I mean the day before - I left for Hawaii, I ran not one, but two 5K races. A little crazy? Perhaps, but it's no different, really, than running a 10K ... or so I tell myself. So, no big deal, and I think it helped with the jet lag.

I began the day (September 29, to be exact) with the Midtown 5K in Palatine. It was the first time the crew of me, Linda, Pam (and Jim!), Dee, and Shelly participated in a race together in a really long time, so that was awesome.
The crew, clockwise: Me, Mama Dee, Shelly's nephew, Shelly's brother, Pam and Linda.
 We had a blast. It was great fun to get out and run a 5K with my besties. The event benefits Bears Care, the charity of the Chicago Bears, so some of our crew stopped for photographs with Big Cat Williams and some other large football player guys. I opted to have my photo taken with Shelly.
Me and Shelly, who is clearly a head shorter than I am.
LOVE that girl, even if she is little.

My results for the race were pretty good, for me. I finished 508 out of 774 overall, and 71 out of 109 in my age group. I ran it in 41:47, with a pace of 13:26. I have not yet been able to conquer the elusive 40-minute 5K! It's out there, though. I will do it!

As usual, we went out for breakfast afterward. Wildberry in Schaumburg is THE BEST when it comes to post-race food. So delicious! All too soon, it was time to head home to get a little rest before the second 5K of the day.

I met Linda at 3 p.m. in Geneva so we would have time do buy new running shoes and eat some food before the Harvest Hustle. Billed as an "All-Terrain 5K", the race wound through Peck Farm on trails, mowed farmland, gravel and pavement. I loved the race; I hated that I, for some reason, cannot run off road. I must not pick my feet up enough, because they get really hot (friction from brushing the grass?) and then painful. So I had to walk a great deal of the race, and my results were nearly abysmal. 371 of 382 overall, 18 of 19 in my age group, with a total time of 44:35, or a 14:23 minute mile. Ugh! But that's okay, because the next day I was flying to Hawaii.

So, a quick check of my races for the year shows that I have completed 18 as of this writing. Through the end of the year, I have scheduled 22. I just registered for another one, the Skeleton Scurry 10K in Delavan next weekend. That means I have to find one more and I will have doubled my 12 in 12 goal; 24 events in one year! Crazy. And yet, kinda cool.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Travels, training, transition

Oh, Hawaii ... I learned to love you. I love everything about you. I love that you delighted all five senses and never stopped giving me a reason to want to hang out with you.

I returned home a week ago ... and I still miss it. But I am also still recovering in other ways. In Hawaii, I achieved a new Personal Best: I gained eight pounds! Imagine how much it would have sucked if I had not run each morning? Well, except for one; I gave myself one day "off".

Anyhoo, Hawaii was awesome, but when I got home, I weighed in at 220. Seriously! That gave me horrors. But I got right back on the wagon and went to the gym that night and I'm following my usual plan. Lifting weights, running, other cardio ... I'm pretty much back into the routine.

Then last weekend I went to Charleston for Homecoming (which meant beans and hot dogs and wine and a short run/walk with a great friend) so things got a little interrupted once again. But in a delightful way! I got to spend time with people who matter, and I worked in a little workout while I was there, too. It's a wonderful place to regroup and allow myself to be fed, in the soul sense of the word. All too soon, it was back home and time to jump back into our regularly scheduled workout regime.

Which is going to be revised, because as I discovered after my most recent blood draw and testing, as far as my hormone levels are concerned, I am menopausal. Yippee! I'm an overachiever! So my efforts - failed, difficult efforts - over the past year to take off the weight have been just that - failed - for a reason. Do I give up? Nope; just gonna revamp the plan.

I will be lifting weights more, adding more muscle to my frame, in hopes to spark the metabolism in a greater way. Will it be easy? Um, hell no. But it's worth a shot. On top of all that, I am also training for the Hot Chocolate 15K in November, and the Princess Half Marathon in February. I am relatively certain I can do this. It can't hurt! So here's the basic plan for the next month:

  • Take my supplements every day. EVERY day.
  • Drink more water. I'm currently getting about 64 oz. each day; I know I need more on heavy cardio days.
  • Add more strength training. I'm going to dive back into the 30-Day Shred.
That's in addition to my regular stuff - running Monday, Wednesday, Weekend (Saturday or Sunday); Salsa/Funk or biking Monday (the Monday run is usually just two miles); Weights Tuesday and Saturday; and additional cardio as fits in the schedule. And yes, I do need to find time for yoga; once I get this stuff coming as a habit, I will evaluate how to make that happen.

So, there you have it. I am battling the feelings of hopelessness and the odd realization that I am now well and truly middle aged. I may be half done, but the second half is going to be the best.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Aloha, moo

I sure hope the eight extra pounds the scale is showing me this week is water weight.

Hawaii was amazing. I woke up there nine times, and I went running eight of those mornings. I'm not sure - even with the hula pie - how I could have gained eight. This weekend I'm out of town, so we'll see what next weekend brings.

Either way, it's true what the say: losing weight in middle age is tough stuff!