Monday, December 17, 2012

Finding myself (and a weigh-in)

Here I am, in the last work week of the year for me. Hard to believe that one week from today is Christmas Eve (aka, my favorite day of the year). Harder still to believe that with all the celebrations that have been happening, I have managed to lose weight.

Today's weigh-in: 206 on the nose. That's down about a pound and a half from last week.

I've been somewhat diligent counting the calories, though Friday and Saturday of last week were difficult. Lots of snacks + plus two parties + plus cinnamon whisky = tough logging intake! So there is no day-by-day recap of what I ate vs. what I burned. However, I will say that I have kept up my running streak (as of yesterday's run, I've run every day since Thanksgiving; that's 25 days in a row! Granted, unless I've had a race or a specific run on the training plan, it's been just one mile, but still ... I have run every day for almost a full month! That's pretty incredible. I'm proud of myself for making the time to do it.

There's a lot to be proud of this year, and a lot of things that have set me up for tackling even greater goals in 2013. This year, I became a half-marathoner; next year, I'd like to PR in the same race. This year, I became a triathlete; next year, I would like to improve on my race time.

This year, I lost weight, then gained weight, then began to lose it again. Next year, I would like to reach my goal weight. And stay there.

Goal weight is a tricky thing for me. It's like trying to hit a moving target. When I first started on the weightloss journey, I thought it would be enough just to get down below 200 pounds. It's been years of working at it, bit by bit, and I will definitely celebrate when I get there. But now that I'm hanging out within six pounds of no longer being considered obese (yes, my BMI says I still am) I think I may have to revise the goal. At 180, I will still be technically "overweight", but I think I can get there.

I also think I'd like to wear a two-piece bathing suit this summer. We'll see.

The fact of the matter is, I have done something incredible: I have become someone I've never been before. I have unleashed my inner athlete and uncovered the real me.

And she's pretty cool. I'm excited to see where she takes me next year.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

This shirt

It's weird to me how a small amount of weight can have a tremendous impact on the way I look and feel. Back in October, when I got back from Hawaii, I saw the dreaded 219-point-something on the scale. HORRORS! That's almost 220! So I got serious and I started tracking every morsel, and working harder (and more) at losing.

This week I weighed in at 208-ish (207-point-something) and I'm wearing this shirt that actually fits.

How does that happen? How is it that a mere 12 pounds off of my frame (I'm tall; I'm lucky) makes such a huge difference?

I need to remember this feeling. I need to acknowledge that it isn't easy, but it is so worthwhile.

Monday, December 10, 2012

A year of races draws to an end; Rudolph Ramble

December 8 brought an end to the Races of 2012, and I don't think there will ever be another year quite like this one. Twelve months; 23 events. It's safe to say I exceeded my goal of one race per month, I think. It feels like quite an accomplishment.

Sunday dawned dark and cold. By "dawn" I actually mean "an hour or more before dawn". The race kicked off in Lincoln Park at 9 a.m., so we had to head out by about 6:30 in order to get there, find a place to park and make it to the starting line. It's parking that's an issue, so we ended up getting there about an hour ahead of when we needed to, but we parked for free! We got a great spot, too, so it was (almost) worth the early wakeup call.

Before we headed to the race start, it was time to suit up! For me, that meant green wig and kilt, but for all of us, it was time for race ribbons on our shoes, jingle bells on our shoes and antlers!
Linda and Kristen, the red-eyed reindeer.
And then, it was time to forge ahead to run the Rudolph Ramble 8K! We headed toward the starting line, where we'd meet up with Diane and Justin (or "Meat" as we call him, after a massive plate of chicken-fried steak he ate more than a few years back) and their three kids, Aidan, Eva and Koen. It was misting and windy, and we shivered while we waited for the race to start. Oh, and we took time for a few photos.
Me and Justin (or Meat, as we call him; chicken-fried steak, anyone?)
Our shoes, complete with jingle bells and festive ribbons.
The race felt pretty good - all five miles of it! This was the longest run I'd taken in a long time, and I knew it wouldn't be easy. I was sick last week, and when you aren't particularly good at running anyway, being sick makes a difference. But I had fun, and I finished smiling.
Me and Linda, makin' our way to the finish line. I'm not sure why she's making that face.
The official results say I finished in 1:08:55, running a 13:51 minute mile. I've only run one other 8K, the Shamrock Shuffle, and I finished that in 1:06, or a 13:20 minute mile. I'm a little disappointed in this, but only just a little. We can't always get a PR, can we?

But the true victory here is the magnitude of the yearlong achievement. I started the year with a goal of 12 in 12 - a dozen races during 2012. I surpassed that. By almost double. Yep, 23 events (one wasn't a timed race) in one year. I have to acknowledge that there's something extraordinary about that.

The coming year will not likely include this many races; I simply don't have the finances to bankroll another year like this! But looking back, this has been an incredible experience. When I first started running, or doing anything remotely physical, I couldn't imagine putting myself out there, in public, and reaching for a goal. Today, I reflect on a year that included a 20-mile midnight bike ride, two triathlons (in addition to learning how to swim!), a half marathon, two obstacle races and an array of Ks (5, 8 and 10).

Being able to move is a gift, and it is not one I take lightly. On days when my feet hurt, my muscles ache or I am just plain too tired to log another mile, I run for them. Here's to another year as a runner.

December loser

I weighed in this morning and smiled: 207.6

It's December, and I'm managing to inch the scale slowly toward my goal. It's challenging! I have to think about what I choose to eat, but it's worth it because the small changes in my weight over the last few weeks have left me feeling really good in my own skin. What a great feeling.

Here's how the week played out:

  • Monday, December 3: Ate 1570 calories; burned 178; exceeded my calorie goal by 172.
  • Tuesday, December 4: Ate 1,872; burned 496; exceeded my goal by 56.
  • Wednesday, December 5: Ate 1,554; burned 581; left 347.
  • Thursday, December 6: Ate 1,593; burned 407; left 134.
  • Friday, December 7: Ate 1,388; burned 151; left 83.
  • Saturday, December 8: Ate 2,290; burned 666; exceeded my goal by 304.
  • Sunday, December 9: Ate 2,006; burned 852; left 166.

All told, I left 198 calories on the table at the end of the week, after eating 12,273 calories and working off 3,061 of the little suckers. I like that my calorie expenditure is all over the map; it shows me that I'm keeping my body guessing as to what's coming up. I also like that I've kept up the streak for more than two weeks; running every day helps!

Is it hard to count calories during the holiday season? Hell yes. But it is as worthwhile as it is difficult. Most years, I just accept a few extra pounds. This year, it's different somehow. Maybe it's the fact that I look at every day as a new opportunity, regardless of how much I overdid it the day before. Maybe it's the way that I don't see bad weather as an excuse not to run. Or maybe it's the half marathon looming in February. For whatever reason, I'm diving in. Let's see what the new year brings.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Last week's totals; winning.

So when posting my progress and weigh-in for this week, I realized I didn't post my day-by-day accounting of intake/output. In the interest of full disclosure, I figured I'd fess up. ;) Here's where I stand. Or rather, stood, last week.

  • Monday, November 26. I ate 1,914 calories and worked off 787 (15 minutes running, 5 minutes on the stair climber praying for sweet death, and 30 minutes on the elliptical), leaving 163 unaccounted for. 
  • Tuesday, November 27. I ate 1,793 and burned 568 (45 minutes running), leaving 95.
  • Wednesday, November 28. I ate 1,568 and burned 354 (15 minutes running, 15 minutes stationary bike), leaving 106.
  • Thursday, November 29. I ate 2,064 and burned 758 (60 minutes running), leaving 14.
  • Friday, November 30. I ate 2,308 and burned 189 (15 minutes running), with a surplus of 799. Moo.
  • Saturday, December 1. I ate 2,386 and burned 568 (45 minutes running), with a surplus of 498. Oink.
  • Sunday, December 2. I ate 2,117 and burned 719 (60 minutes biking, 12 minutes running), with a surplus of 78. Moo oink.

All told, I was over by 1,375 calories for the week. Which sounds pretty high, until you figure that I burned almost 4,000 calories in the same week. Not going to feel too terribly guilty.

The truth of the matter is, losing weight is not an exact science or a perfect mathematical equation. Some weeks you will feel like you were right on and the scale will still weigh you high. Other weeks, you'll experience a loss for no apparent reason. So this week I gained a little. The truth is, I feel fantastic (even though I have a cold). I have kept up my running streak, and my cute corduroy skirt still fits.

I'm gonna call this a win.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Weigh-in and Santa Run recap

Well, I got on the scale this morning and it was not as nice to me. 210.4. Asshole.

But I knew last week's measurement might have been an anomaly; it's not possible to lose four pounds of actual fat over Thanksgiving! So this is probably just a correction. (Doesn't make it suck any less, but whatever.)

Anyway, that's what the scale said, and I'm officially okay with it. (I mean, it's not like I have a whole lot of choice, right?) I'm doing the best I can, and that's good enough!

Perhaps part of why I didn't have a significant loss (or any loss) this week is because I had a 5K this weekend, and a 5K always means breakfast. (It should be noted, however, that I did not lose my mind; I ordered decadent food, tweaked to make it less so, and I only ate half of it.) Sunday brought my third annual Rotary Santa Run in Arlington Heights.

I love this race. Sure, it's a hoot to run in a Santa suit, but it's particularly special to me because it's a run through my old home town. Plus, I run it with the best running friends a girl could ask for.

I have to consider this year's Santa Run a success. I finished it more than two minutes faster than last year, and I really felt great through the process. Oddly enough, I had exactly the same finish time as the Pie Run a few weeks ago! All told, my stats were: 1,323 out of 1,546 total, 41:20 finish time with a 13:20 minute mile. (By way of comparison, in 2011 I was 998 out of 1,083 and I finished in 43:33 with a 14:03 minute mile.)

It was fun. I felt good. That's all that matters. (But it doesn't hurt that we were cute; photographic evidence, below.)
Kristen and Me.
Linda, Meg, Shelly and Kristen Claus.
Linda, Kristen, me, Shelly and Meg. And a random stranger's thumb.
Linda, Shelly, me, Kristen and Meg, seated in the Fat Man's chair. 
So Many Santas!