Monday, January 28, 2013

Yo? Yo.

I seem to be trading the same two pounds with myself, week after week. Today's weigh-in: 207.6. What?

Now, last week I wasn't super-strict with myself, plus I only had three relatively short runs on the training plan; that's probably the cause. But let's get this under control, okay? No more yo-yo; I'm here for a steady downward slide.

In other news, in four weeks the half marathon will be a memory and I'll be preparing to head home from Orland. Last night I spent a bit of time chatting with Carrie, my sister Kathie's friend (and now mine, too) and the ultimate running coach. She is always motivational and inspiring, and she has given me reason to suspect that I can run a sub-3 half marathon. I am not sure I can, but I'm going to try. I'm going to stick with my plan - run three, walk one - and just go for it. We'll see how it works out. I'm planning to go relatively technology-free, just wearing an interval timer (either on my watch, if I can figure that out, or on my phone) and enjoying my surroundings. Last year I ran with music in my ears, and this year I want to go more unplugged. I think sometimes I psych myself out with too much information.

Anyhoo, ever forward we go. And coming into February, there are LOTS of events to move me forward! There's the Super Bowl Shuffle 5K next Sunday, the Lifetime Indoor Tri on February 10, and then there's Half Marathon Weekend, when I'll be doing the Royal Family 5K and the Princess Half Marathon. I'm psyched. And nervous.

But mostly psyched.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Weigh in, run strong

First things first: I weighed in this morning. It was a day late, because I was out of town for the long weekend. Anyhoo, today's weight: 205.2 (or 206 in Maggie's world). All good! In 5.2 more pounds, I'll  have reached my initial goal. (It only took what, five years, to get here?)

In other news, I am seeing lots of progress on the running front! Yahoo! On Saturday, I ran 10 miles (which was actually closer to 9.5, but the GPS lost me in the woods). It was such a beautiful day; I feel so lucky when I'm able to go outside. I did a run/walk interval combo, running three minutes and walking one. This is making a huge difference in how I experience training. Whereas last week I ran nine miles in two hours and 32 minutes, this week I managed to run about 9.7 in 2:18. HUGE difference. Plus, the way I felt was totally new; last week I was in pain. This week, I could've kept going. Needless to say, I learned a few things;

  • Don't do other workout activity the day of a long run. A 10-mile training run should not be tacked onto a swim and weightlifting session.
  • Eat carbs for breakfast (thunder muffin, anyone?) and take some gel with you. I usually do this, but I got it down to a science on this run.
  • Run/walk instead of trying to run the whole damn thing and then taking long-ass walk breaks.

It really helped! I went from running over a 16 minute mile to running a 13:10 minute mile in one week. So I tried the same tactic last night on my five-mile run on the track, and I hit the 13:40 minute mile mark comfortably. It felt great!

So my hope is that I will be able to run the half in less time than last year. My time last year was an abysmal three hours, 24 and a half minutes, running about a 15.5 minute mile. If I can keep up my recent pace and run at about a 14-minute mile, I would feel pretty good about that. Heck, if I could cut my finish time back to three hours and 15 minutes, that would be a huge win. So, no pressure ... I just gotta do my best.

And keep taking off the weight.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


I admit it. Sometimes, I weigh myself too often.

Sometimes when the scale yells at me, I give it another chance the next day to play nice. Because scales can be total assholes sometimes.

So today, I gave the scale the opportunity to knock off yesterday's 209 shit. And you know what it said to me? 206. Actually, 205.2 and 205.6, respectively. I always round up.

What the what?

Is it possible that Saturday's long run left me with so much extra water that it weighed me a full three+ pounds extra? I mean, it's not like I peed all that much yesterday ... so what gives?

I dunno. But I'm eager for next Monday to see what it says. And I promise to stay away from the scale between now and then. Mostly.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Well, shit.

Last week was sorta rough. I missed a couple workouts, and at least a full day of calorie logging. We had some family sadness and apparently I overdid the food thing. Today I weighed in at 209.

Up a little more than two pounds.

I am bummed. But I am determined!

The half marathon is in six weeks. I have work to do if I want to be below 200 by then! If I'm not, it won't be the end of the world - I'll just move the date again - but it would sure feel good to have that to celebrate while I'm out running.

I had a nine-mile training run this weekend, and it was really hard. It took me two and a half hours to run it. I did not think it would take me that long. I'm embarassed to say that I'm "running" a 16:30-minute mile. That's bullshit. So ... time to get serious.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Weighing in, running on

Got on the scale this morning. 206.8. I'll take it.

It has not been easy these last few weeks. Christmas celebrations seemed to last forever, and that makes it hard to watch the calories. Plus, it creates more of a challenge for finding time to work out. I am beyond pleased that I was able to get the workouts in (and complete my streak! Booyah!) and not gain over the holidays.

My goal now is pretty much the same as usual: get below 200. Much as I wanted to reach that goal before the new year, obviously that didn't happen, so I'm moving the deadline to February 21 - the day before I leave for the Disney Princess Half Marathon.

Here's the thing: I know I'm heavy. I also know that I weighed 220 pounds a few months ago, so I am totally up to this challenge. I can do this; it will take time and effort. I think it's realistic to target the half marathon as my new goal date.

Speaking of the race, I've been working the plan, and sometimes it hurts. Last week (on January 1) I had a five-mile speedwork run on the training plan. I did it outside, so the exact speed wasn't 100 percent accurate, but I think I came close. The next morning, I was in dire agony. My gluts were crying, my hamstrings pissed off ... it was un-good. So over the weekend when I had to do a seven-mile long run, I wasn't sure what to expect. This time, the pain came early. Like, while I was still running. The last mile, I ran very little and slogged most of it. I really really wanted to finish the half this year in three hours, and I just don't see that happening.

I hate that I am this slow.

I hate that no running calculator sees what I do as "running". Or even "jogging". I'm walking, as far as my pace is concerned.

I hate that my progress is so slow, and I hate that sometimes it's not really progress at all. I really hate that my last Hot Chocolate 15K was slower than the first one.

But I know I will keep going. I will proudly hang out at the back of the pack. I will acknowledge that I'm a big girl, and I will run as well as I can on any given day.

Someday, I'll run a sub-40 5K. Someday, I'll run a sub-3 hour half marathon. Someday, I'll stumble across the finish line of a marathon.

For today, I'm going to be grateful that my body and my mind allow me to keep trying.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

2012 Highlights

If my life were a television show, and I had the opportunity to recap 2012 in a highlights episode, this is what I'd want you to know about. Here are my Top 12 fitness accomplishments of 2012.

  1. Completing 23 events. One half marathon, a couple 10Ks, a couple 8Ks, two triathlons, a midnight bike ride, and a goodly measure of 5Ks mixed in. I set out to finish 12, and I damn near doubled it. Pretty amazing, if I may say so myself. (And I may.)
  2. My first half marathon. I wasn't as fast as I would've liked. I didn't run as much as I would've liked. But I finished, and I got a medal to prove it. And I signed up to run it again in 2013!
  3. Running repeats. In 2012, I did several races for the second time (Sweetness, Midtown, Monster Dash, 3.14 Run for Pi, Warrior Dash) and some for the third time (Hot Chocolate and Santa Run). I won't do all of them every year, but it's kinda neat to realize that - if I want to - I can set up an annual streak for any of these races.
  4. Swim. Bike. Run. I completed two triathlons! The Lifetime Fitness Indoor Tri and the SheRox Sprint Triathlon. I must admit, I'm impressed by this, because I learned to swim in January of last year. I love that I can call myself a triathlete!
  5. Finishing unfinished business. In 2011, I signed up for the Shamrock Shuffle 8K, but I couldn't complete it due to injury. This damn near broke my heart, because the race is the unofficial kickoff of the racing season in Chicago, and I was sidelined. So in 2012, I signed up again. And I ran it. And I finished. And that felt amazing.
  6. Weird races. One of my repeats this year was the Warrior Dash, which is a 5K obstacle race. You run, you climb, you crawl through mud. Believe it or not, that's not intimidating to me anymore ... so I signed up for another obstacle race - Run for Your Lives, where you run from zombies. We dressed in kilts and ran like hell. Both were awesome experiences, and I'll do both of them again if I'm able!
  7. Two wheelin' it. I have a bike, and I love it! I'll never be competitive, but I sure do enjoy getting out there and riding. (Sometimes, I even put my helmet on the right way.) One of the nicest attributes to living where I live is that I'm just over a mile from a great bike trail. From there, I can head just about anywhere ... and it's a great way to spend a weekend morning in the summer. (Or, a midnight ride in July.)
  8. Speaking of the midnight ride ... 2012 brought a couple of great opportunities to be active at night. (Not that way. Jeez ... get your mind out of the gutter!) First there was the Chase the Moon bike ride; 20 miles at midnight, the perfect way to end my sister Jenn's 50th birthday. Then, there was the Firefly 5K, when we dressed in fairy wings and took to Montrose Harbor. So much fun; I have got to find more events like that, because I really enjoyed the nighttime aspect of it all.
  9. Running island girl. I spent the first week and a half of October in Hawaii (bliss!) and I ran almost every day. On a path along Waikiki Beach, or along the coves of Ko'Olina ... it was incredible. I loved being able to do it, and feeling the dedication to myself and my health to work of at least some of the incredible food I was eating out there in paradise!
  10. Packing gear. Several times this year, I hit the road. Either for a race (the Fat Ass in Springfield, or the Zombie Run in St. Louis, and of course the half marathon at Disney) or just for the sake of  travel. And each time I found myself packing my running gear, I thought how extraordinary it was that I would be making fitness a priority. It's an amazing thing when you realize you're packing more running shoes than regular shoes.
  11. Completing the streak. Just before Thanksgiving, Runner's World magazine introduced the concept of the holiday run streak. At least one mile, every day, from Thanksgiving until New Years. I did it! Some days were really tough (like when it was windy and I wasn't at the gym) and some were fabulous (like running two Christmas-theme races in a kilt and a green wig). Feels great to accomplish that.
  12. Loser! But what feels better is actually losing weight over the holidays. While I put on a few pounds at the end of the season, overall I took off a significant number of pounds, and that is incredible to me. Some of it is likely due to my dedication to the streak, but some was just tracking my food and sticking with it. Pretty awesome, yes.


I've created an active life. So active, in fact, that a day without some sort of activity is rather rare. So yesterday, when I arrived at the gym locker room and began unpacking my bag, I was dismayed to realize that I had forgotten to pack gym shoes. The gym I was at is about a 45 minutes from Camp Clovertree (aka, "home") so I took that as a sign that I was just supposed to go home.

And rest.

I'm fighting a bit of the schpilkus, and I figured after running every day since Thanksgiving, I was due.

Today when I woke up, I started feeling the effects of rest almost immediately. My legs, which were sore yesterday after Sunday's five-mile run, feel good today. My sore throat feels a little less sore. My brain feels calm. All because I took one night to rest.

I've been told that the rest is as important as the work, but I've never really given a lot of credit to the truth of that. I'm not sure I believe it 100 percent; after all, we have to burn calories, we have to build muscle. But sometimes, we have to rest.

There's time enough to work out tonight.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New year weigh-in

So it's 2013.

I spent the better part of the past two months tilting at windmills in an attempt to weigh less than 200 pounds by now. And, as I acknowledged at the time, it's a lofty goal. A goal which I did not meet.

Today I weighed in at 207.6. So I'm not quite there, but I did something extraordinary along the way: I did not gain weight over the holidays. In fact, I lost weight. Except for the last few weeks.

Since my last weigh in, technically I'm up 1.6, but I'm down about 10 from October. I feel damn good about that.

The last two weeks have been a frenzy of food with little time for activity, but I stayed at least somewhat active. Having accepted the Runner's World challenge of running at least one mile every day from Thanksgiving to New Years, I ran 76 miles in that time. I'm proud of that! I'm also crediting the activity for the relatively small weight gain. Feels good to get to this point and not feel defeated.

So I'm back to logging every calorie and expanding my workouts (oh, how I've missed group fitness classes!) and we'll see about that under-200 goal. I'm thinkin' it will be mine by the time I cross the start line at the Disney Princess Half Marathon. It won't be easy, but it will happen!