Week 9 was alright

I have nothing clever to title my post this week. I barely have the words in my head to form anything worth reading this week. I’m not going to make an “at least I’m not,” statement because that would totally damn me for that thing to happen because that’s my luck lately. I had fun that didn’t involve running. I totally mommed like a pro (I know “mommed” isn’t a word, spell check). I accomplished running things I didn’t think I was going to. Overall…

Week 9 was alright. Tuesday was a hill workout. I was on time for the warm up, did my hill repeats, and ran the additional mileage to equal 5 miles total. I didn’t want to finish after the hill repeats, but it wasn’t physical pain, so I moved along. I was pleased with myself for actually pushing through the barrier and going for it. I was dealing with finding long term solution for my oldest child after her voluntary treatment stay.

Wednesday was actually pretty awesome because I went on a first grade field trip to the pumpkin patch with my youngest child. She learned, played, and picked out her very own pumpkin to take home. We played in a silo full of corn. Yes, WE. I climbed in and sunk down to my thighs in dry corn. No, I haven’t seen the movie “A Quiet Place,” yet. I am aware there is corn.

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Pumpkin Picking

I don’t even remember Thursday clearly. There were 6 miles on the plan. I’d announced to a friend that I was going to do 3 and call it a day, but I went out and ran 6 miles. It wasn’t pleasant, but I recalled that I didn’t want to do 5 miles on Tuesday and was still able to. I was fortunate enough to bump into a runner friend at one of the parks where I’d stopped for water. We chatted for a few minutes; Me declining her offers of NUUN electrolytes and an ice pop. I picked up the energy needed to take the 1.5 miles back home for 6 miles. Another run that was better after it was over.

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Friday, I had a conversation with my teen that did not go well. She was not wanting to be in treatment due to other clients there. It was unpleasant and generally stressful to discuss. We hadn’t settled on a place for ongoing help and I was working on budget forms to determine the cost of one option. My husband and I agreed he would drive the couple of hours to pick her up on Saturday morning after my long run of 11 miles. I’d need to be finished by 10 am for him to leave on time, which shouldn’t have been a problem. It totally was Setback Saturday, I tell ya.

Saturday at 5 am, I began to consider just getting my run over with since I was already awake. I still considered a solo run when I arrived for the group before meeting time. Running felt crappy inside of the 2nd mile, but I was with the group that keeps me accountable. I stopped for a bathroom break at mile 6 and my wheels fell off. I found company in another miserable runner who needed to be finished at the same time. We ran, walked, and talked our way to finish 9.5 miles of our run. I said I’d make it up later, but I didn’t. I was frustrated with that.

Sunday, we went to church in the morning instead of our usual 5pm service. Our pastor talked about Joshua 24:15-16 and contemporary idols we enslave ourselves to. I actually thought of the Nine Inch Nails song where he refers to “God Money,” as the pastor spoke. This didn’t take away from the message, though. After, I was a volunteer at a benefit concert for a local animal rescue called My Loveable Angels. (I know about the spelling, guys). It was nice to be busy and have the distraction. Then, my phone started buzzing with messages from my husband. I decided to forgo fast food on the way so I could get home. I realized a contemporary idol of mine was food. Now that I’m aware of it, I have to make the right choice to lower food on my list of where I turn when I’m sad, lonely, happy, or confused. I’ve known for a long time it was a problem, but I hadn’t seen it as turning to something instead of prayer.

We have had so much support from family and friends through all of this stress. We have a more positive outlook for how things will be moving forward despite not being sure how we’re moving forward at times. I appreciate it, though and I want everyone who has reached out to know that I am so grateful and blessed to have this much support. Thank you!

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Seriously….this corn. Every time I take the kids here, I’m in awe.

Running helps me

My depression and anxiety have been really annoying lately. I had a shaking anxiety attack that left me completely exhausted. My depression has been rather unkind in making me feel ‘not enough’ lately. It is tiring.

My running has taken a huge hit lately. I had intense hip pain that spread into my pubic bone. Stretching, ibuprofen, and Epsom salt baths were not helping at all. My runs were reduced to the minimum of 1 mile per day due to my reluctance to stop the running streak I started on Memorial Day. The runs became slow and were often more of a quick walk. Running is my outlet for my days spent “momming.” I listen to music, pray, and/or sometimes just relish in the fact that I’m not in the heavy air of conflict (with 2 kids 18 months apart and a teenager).  The mile breaks weren’t enough. I physically needed the rest, but I also mentally needed the outlet.

I visited the chiropractor, who needed to adjust my hips and the left side of my pubic bone. My husband encouraged me to go to a fun run that involved a visit to a brewery afterward for a social. I guess I’m a little insufferable when husband says: “get out of here awhile.” I went and planned to plod through my mile, and go have a beer and chat with other people who enjoy running that I don’t see as often as I used to.

I met up with people I hadn’t run with in awhile and they were doing run/walk intervals. I had such a good time talking to them and spending time out on the trail, I went 3 miles with just a little soreness and not the same pain I’d been having. It was a relief. Then, I got to talk to even more people after at the social. I actually stayed awhile and really enjoyed myself catching up with people and talking.

I had one more adjustment at the chiropractor to get the hip pain under control. I invited friends to join me at a pop up yoga class at a local brewery Saturday morning. The yoga instructor worked on hips at the request of a few people including me. It wound up being hot yoga because it was already in the 80’s and humid at 10 am. I think the session really helped my hips.

This weekend, I intended to knock out some miles to ensure I’d be ready for the 4th of July race that is 5 miles. Saturday night, my stomach wouldn’t behave and I had to stop in at my house at 3/4 of a mile to use the restroom. I made it another 3/4 of a mile before I had to go back home for the same reason. Sunday, I planned a visit to the gym. My stomach wasn’t agreeing with my plans. I took a nap and didn’t wake up until the evening when it was time to leave for our 5 pm service at church. While we were at church, a storm rolled in and the temperature dropped dramatically. After dinner, I was able to change into running gear and head out on a 3 mile run. It was still hot. The humidity was still there. I enjoyed it, though. I felt myself going faster than I had been. I glanced at my watch and saw the distance just pass by. I stopped running at the 3 mile mark and walked the remaining 1/2 mile home as a cool down. I took it all in. Finally. I got a run in.

I was exhausted after I did my hip exercises and stretches. I sat on the floor in my room and drank my electrolytes and played on my phone instead of hopping up to take a shower. It was tiring, after all.

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Almost a grin. I’m pleased with myself.

My running doesn’t miraculously heal my depression or my anxiety. I’ll admit that I’ve wanted it to. I thought if I could just go further, faster, or better that I’d be healed. While that’s not the case for me, it dramatically reduces the intensity of the symptoms.

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I wanted to go 3, but was happy with my 1.5 miles.

Do you feel like fitness helps you in another aspect of your life? Does it help your mental health?

Thanks for reading! I try to come back weekly with updates for you.

Certainly Uncertain

Certainly Uncertain

By Jenn M

Let me start by saying I started adding a “by line” to my posts because one of my fitness posts was translated into another language and posted to a website with no mention of my name. I went through the usual channels and had it removed, but I thought I’d make it more difficult to steal. Content creators know the feeling, I’m sure. This stuff takes time and thought, so seeing your name attached to it is its own reward.

Now, the reason I came to my blog today to chat with you. Things are never certain and that’s really the only thing that is for sure. I bought an outfit last year for triathlon training this year. I told everyone that was my next step after a marathon. It still could be the next thing I learn, but not this year. I’ve chosen to limit my races this year and avoiding burnout.

I swam some laps yesterday and it was difficult to get back into the groove of it. I should try to stay on top of my swimming so I can improve. I’m not sure I would have swam if nature hadn’t gone on vacation and turned off the sun. I haven’t wanted to run outside in the cold as often, but I have a poor relationship with the treadmill. I figured since I’d be at the gym for my kids to take swim lessons, I’d do laps while they learned. I’m glad I did it.

I’m still mad that the scale doesn’t move and I’m generally hungry and/or tired most days. I’m planning an overhaul of my nutrition yet again. I think I’ll need to work on my mental fortitude again. I do so well at controlling my eating when I’m training for a half marathon, so I should probably tell myself that I’m starting now for my October race. It is all about planning my meals for me. I get off track easily and I really like snacks that have chocolate in them. So when I stop for convenience, I pick up a dessert that I don’t really need. I am aware of these things. I know there’s no magic to be worked there. It is an attitude adjustment that I need. I tend to wax and wane with how I take care of myself.

My current goal is running in a marathon relay with a team at the end of this month. Wish me luck in running 1/4 of a marathon.

Thanks for reading! Do you have something that helps you stay on track? It could be a mantra or even a few words of wisdom. I like to remind myself not to quit because I hate starting over.

*Featured Image is my Garmin app. I had a goal to run 4 miles the other day. I got terribly bored after 3 treadmill miles, so I ran the rest on an indoor track. I still got my 4 in.

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Quick update

By: Jenn M

It’s November 5th. Actually it’s the 6th. Dang it. So I don’t know the date. No biggie. I have some things running around in my head and I haven’t updated my blog since my interesting experience at the Chicago Marathon about a month ago.  Yes, I want a rematch with 26.2 eventually.

I have been extremely aware of and self conscious about my weight gain. I put on around 25 lbs and allowed myself to put weight loss on the back burner during marathon training. I decided upon ‘no weight gain’ during training to ensure I was properly fueling. I actually succeeded at the plateau. I didn’t gain anything training, but I’m still disappointed in my appearance. I know I’m more jiggly and wide than I want to be. I’m not happy that I bought new clothes to wear this winter because nothing fits.

I got a new swimsuit to wear to the gym because the old one is simply too revealing with my new curves [mine are rolls, not curves]. I am really hard on myself and my husband would probably be the first to say so. He tells me every time I have a clothing catastrophe and resulting breakdown in my closet.  The good part is that I’m actually thinking about and starting to plan going to the gym. I haven’t had the energy or the courage to step out and do something about my weight.  I get so caught up in wondering why I should try to hard to just be average.

I am trying to get back to where I was before my injury and hopefully make it stick this time. I want to enjoy working out and look forward to it. I know that the energy comes from exercise and I have to get started to want to continue. This isn’t new to me. I never thought I’d be back at this size or have slipped this far back in my fitness routine. What I know is that I don’t like the results I’m getting from being inactive and lazy about my health. Laziness comes in so many forms and in excuses. My depression is better when I’m eating right and working out. I feel more confident when I’m healthy. I want that back and I have to work for it instead of whining for it. Fortunately, I joined a program that will at least get me into the gym once a week and running once a week. It’s up to me to do the rest.

Do you feel like you let yourself slip up? Do you have something that motivates you when you feel like you want to give up?

Apples are my go to snack. They’re full of fiber and they’re portable. These are Fuji apples, but I love golden delicious, honeycrisp, pink lady, and many other types.

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Just struggling…

My last blog post, I was feeling pretty down on myself. Low self esteem and body image will do that to a person. Major depressive disorder likes to rear its ugly head when it feels like being a jerk and I have very little control over when I’ll have a huge down swing despite the meds and exercise that keep it at a minimum. I didn’t suddenly start loving my body or feeling better about it. I’m actually still in the stupid down swing where I’m critiquing my existence and my impact. I just wanted to pass along some tidbits I’ve picked up since I’ve been trying to come back from having the cast and boot off of my ankle from the tearing and spraining I did 2 days before I planned to run my first marathon last November.

Yes, I find myself questioning my decision to sign up for another marathon after not completing the one I’d trained for last year. Of course I would feel ambivalent about it. I’m running much slower than I was this time last year and I feel like any distance takes me an eternity to complete.  I actually have the ability to run a mile in just under 11 minutes. I simply don’t have the endurance to sustain that speed for over a mile. I ran a 4 mile race this past weekend. I’d signed up to run the 15k (9.3 miles) race and asked to be moved down from the longer distance upon realizing I wasn’t in 9 mile shape.  I met up with people from Fleet Feet Bloomington to take a group pic before the race. One of the people in the group was Nikki, who I had run with a few times in the past. She started the race with me and I was starting to feel worn out and told her to just go ahead if she was feeling energetic. She assured me she wasn’t there to run fast, and we finished the first mile in under 11 minutes. We walked a little because that first mile was exhausting. The rest of the race went on in an erratic walk/run cycle. We picked up Barb (from our group) near mile 3, who had recently felt the sting of injury and needed some walking time as well. We went on to walk and run until the last half mile.  The three of us finished the end of the race running. My split times were crazy. Mile 1 was just under 11 minutes, mile 2 was over 12, mile 3 was 14 minutes, and mile four was 12 again. I somehow averaged in the 12 minute range, so that was impressive for my comeback race. I don’t think that I’d have started running again if Nikki wasn’t there to encourage me and ask if I was ready to pick up again after walking. So, that’s a testament to how I can really count on my running “family” to support and encourage me through this crappy time where I have no idea why I started running in the first place.

Sunday, I got up at 5 am. Some folks may think of 5 am and shrug. I think that’s the crack of dawn and there is very little that could convince me otherwise. I like staying up late reading, so waking early isn’t my jam. Anyway, I met up with a local marathon training group for the first time at a a park all the way on the north side of my town (I live pretty far south along the main strip). One person I’d met before was there. Denise has been running at least 1 mile every day for a few years now. She just needed to get her mile in, but she started out with me because I didn’t really have anyone my pace there to run my 6-7 miles with. The training plan dictated 7, but I accepted that I’d be happy with 6 if I made it. Anyway, Denise ran with me and I notified her when 1/2 mile passed and she said she’d go a little bit further. She ran the first mile with me before turning back. That mile averaged 14 minutes, and it settled me in for the rest of the run and helped me finish all 7 miles. Without starting out with someone, I probably would have set out to ‘just get it over with’ and blown all of my energy. I didn’t do that this time and I caught up to my training plan distance.

I’ve received a lot of encouraging words and offers for people to help me get back to running. I have tried new things to make it easier. I think running insoles have a little to do with having a good distance weekend. I am still hard on my body for being so much more round and heavy than before my injury. In a way, I wish I’d given myself time to work up to training for a marathon again. Most of it is nerves and self doubt which are purely mentality issues and not whether I’m physically able. I trust that with training, I’ll get there. I feel like it’s difficult to complete each run and that I don’t remember it being quite as hard to push through in the past.

Most people ask me how my ankle feels. The truth is, my ankle is fine. No pain with running [during or after]. My endurance could use some work. My attitude could use an adjustment. I could use a shot of self esteem. I’m getting there. My injury is gone. I’m just trying to make a comeback and I somehow forgot to exercise that toughness that I had in me when I started running distances. There aren’t really any foot holds on this incline and I’m trying to claw my way back up. It’s freaking hard. That’s all. I’m struggling. I’m not quitting. Screw that. I literally don’t know how to quit. Even when I joke that it looks like me laying down and waiting for the struggle bus to run me over….I doubt I’d even take a knee to try to lie down. My depression is truly a jerk sometimes, but I’m not going to let it get the best of me.

Thanks for reading! Marathon is October 8th. This will be my first. I’m fundraising for Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation because my teen has Crohn’s. If you want to throw a few bucks at the cause, just go to my link. Click here

Here’s a pic of my ‘fluffy self’ finishing the 4 mile race:

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I was exhausted, but look at that hint of a smile at what I achieved. (Thanks for the photo Steamboat Classic)

Body Image Issues

I started on this journey running long distance to prove to myself that since my body isn’t exactly cooperative in looking how I wish it would, I’d show myself that it can still do amazing things. I’ve had some amazing experiences with that journey and I’m glad that I have shown myself that I can set goals and I can accomplish them. I don’t know that I would have imagined myself enjoying physical fitness and having it become an important part of my everyday life.

My injury and recovery has been a major setback in how I feel about myself and the way I look. I gained around 25 pounds. I’ve lost and gained 10 pounds a few times. I hate the number on the scale and my pants are a little snug lately. For some reason, I was doing much better with eating well at first than I have been eating lately. I hadn’t gained any weight until the first of this year. Then, it just piled on quickly and my confidence dropped. When the cast and boot went on and I was restricted from moving, I started to worry about whether I’d even be able to run my marathon this October. I have started training and easing back into running. I’ve been slower than I wish to be and I get tired much more quickly than I’d like to. It has had an effect on how confident I am in my ability to train for and complete my race.

Last week, I went to the Gulf Coast in Alabama for vacation. This was not good for my ego as I saw women walking by in their swimwear confidently as I wished I could just hide a little more of my chest or that my shorts were a little longer to hide my fat legs. I have never loved my body. Even at a slim 150 pounds and 5′ 7″, I wore a size 11 and I felt chubby. *I’ll have to cover my female influences as I grew up in a blog post [and probably a therapy session] at some point. Let’s just say that I’ve been trying to diet as long as I remember.

I sat behind my sunglasses in tears trying to battle my inner thoughts about how I looked fat and ridiculous and it wasn’t fair that I gained so much weight just over a matter of weeks. I thought about how I understand that I’m not 100% healthy eating and that I don’t work hard enough to look fit. I still don’t understand why I can’t seem to look the way I want or a way that I’m comfortable with. I was starting to feel good when the injury happened and I still did into this year. I felt like I’d made real progress and I wasn’t as focused on the scale. I was confident in myself. As much as I try to convince myself I’m the only person that sees what I see in the mirror, I can’t look out of my eyes from this body and feel okay with it. I get stuck on saying internally all of the things I think other people will think when they see me. I’m quite mean to myself despite knowing that I can run distances some people would only consider driving and I’m always trying to encourage others to “do the hard stuff.”

Tonight, I’m nervous that I need to train for a marathon and I’m not feeling the usual confidence that I have in the past. I want to run a marathon and I planned to last year. I don’t feel like I’m going to be capable of finishing. I am in a week where my long run should be 7 miles and I’ve run 4 miles at the most. I am lacking confidence and despite knowing that it is 100% something I need to change in my head, I wish I could change my body instead. I wish that it showed that I work hard to be this chubby woman and if I didn’t, I’d be larger. I wish I didn’t feel like crying when I see someone else having a good time in a 2 piece and not trying to cover herself or hide. I am pissed that I’m this person when I work so hard to be the person I feel like I should be.

I wrote the above paragraphs, took a little break, and went to the store. I spent time thinking about what I’d written here. To some degree, I feel this is just a mood that I get into at times. I am truly envious of people who have a slender build and I often get caught up in the “why can’t I just,” attitude about my body. The cure for this would seem to be plastic surgery or taking more extreme measures to aggressively shape myself into the woman I want to be. It isn’t the solution, though. This is a psychological issue. This is hating my body for just being the way it is. This is something that people struggle with and rarely talk about. People will encourage by commenting on other redeemable qualities, but truly, what you need to know is that you’re being too critical of yourself and it is great to want to take care of your body and your health to be healthy. Not because you think it will change what you look like. That is something I need to work on changing from within myself. I’ll continue training to run 26.2 miles because I know my body is capable. I’ll find a swimsuit that covers more of my chest so I feel more comfortable and spend less time tugging at it and looking down at my body and more time enjoying the moment I’m in. I’ll realize that I can’t really know what’s going on in the heads of those women who seem so comfortable in their own skin as they walk by and that I can’t compare myself to them. Also, I don’t mention these things in front of my kids and I hope that I can one day carry myself in a way that they find admirable and they find confidence in themselves.

Sorry that this one was kind of a downer. I plan to get out and run tomorrow as my schedule says. I figured out how to get intervals on my watch, so I’ll run/walk if needed. I am still fundraising. That’s another issue altogether with how hard I’ve been working on that. I’m $916 to my $2k goal.

Here’s a pic of me drinking wine on the balcony while on vacation. The Gulf Coast is gorgeous. I had a great time and I think my kids really enjoyed themselves as well.

 

Getting closer

I’m finally getting closer to running! At least I hope so. I saw the doc today again. Foot rotations, poking, and prodding were all painless to my ankle. I was impressed, but also very stiff when asked to move things around.

He said I could get fitted for a brace and no longer wear the cast that I’d been having changed weekly for the past 5 weeks. I’ve been through light blue (twice), pink, purple, and red for cast colors. So, he said that I’ll be wearing the brace with the boot full time (except shower and sleep) for the next week. After that, I’ll wean from the boot, but not the brace, for a week. I’ll slip out of the boot and wear my brace and an athletic shoe for increasing time increments until I’m fully out of the boot. Once out of the boot, I’ll still need to wear the brace full time (except showers and bed) for 6 weeks. Then, I’ll have to wear the brace every time I do anything where I could re-injure my ankle. I forgot to ask him if that meant walking to the bus stop, since that is actually how the injury occurred in the first place.

I tried to ask if I could go swimming, but he asked if I meant for exercise or pleasure and he said I could get in and do water aerobics, but not any lap swimming for awhile. He once again directed me to the stationary bike , which I explained the issue of the boot making one leg much longer than the other and me banging my knees or missing the pedals entirely. He agreed that as long as it didn’t hurt my ankle, I could wear an athletic shoe to operate the bike (with the brace on).

So basically, I didn’t exactly get the news I was hoping for. STILL….I get to shave the part of my leg that has been steadily growing hair for 5 weeks. I can take showers without that foot condom thing to protect the cast from getting wet.

I have a consultation with a physical therapist next week, so I’ll know more about my timeline with running then. I’ll probably know by the look on her face when I tell her I want to run a marathon in October whether or not I will be ‘cleared’ for it. I’m hoping that by saying I’ll train in intervals, the idea will be less likely to get ‘moved to the recycle bin’.

I miss running. Last week was spring break and I didn’t make time for the gym. I just kind of let the laziness flow into this week and now I feel bad that I haven’t worked out. I was kind of letting the situation get under my skin with having the boot and a harder time getting around. It’s hard to override the voice in my head that is like “f*ck it, let’s go eat chocolate and read a book,” instead of, “let’s change into fun workout clothes and see how many times I can lift heavy things.”

So I’m looking into my eating habits and I’m questioning them. I’m going to do something drastic soon. I’ve prepared by drinking a soda as a way of bidding it farewell. I will not give up chocolate because I’m not insane or delusional. I like it and I associate it with relaxation. So, I’m just going to clean up my nutrition a bit and weed out some bad habits I’ve developed.

All that might bore you to death. Or not. I don’t know. I know that I still plan to run a marathon in October until someone says that it is not in the cards. I will fundraise regardless. I will eventually have my shot at running a marathon, and then I will promptly avoid long distance running for awhile.

I went to a race this past weekend and watched my husband in his first half marathon race. I got to see a few people who I know through running cross the finish line as well. One person had her first half marathon that day, too and she was so elated to finish, it made the trip and the hobbling around totally worth it. Also, I saw Abe Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln at Starbucks….lol. Photographic evidence:

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Thanks for reading! Consider donating to Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation for my fundraising efforts. I’ve got a little more than $1500 to go and I’m really excited at this opportunity to raise awareness about IBD. Thanks for reading! Questions and comments are always welcome!

Brief Absence

Hello, all! I’ve been away awhile. I think rest is an important part of being fit, but I also had some things going on that kept me from my usual workouts.

My husband and I went to Hawaii on our first real trip together since our honeymoon. Before Hawaii, the furthest west I’d been was Omaha, NE. I don’t even remember much about that trip because I was probably 8 years old at the time. So, we went to Hawaii for something that my husband did through work. We stayed on Oahu in Honolulu. While I brought my running clothes, I donned them for the hikes we went on during the trip. We spent a little time on the beach, but the best parts of the trip was spent out on walks or hikes. My favorite part was hiking on the Aihualama Trail. We got muddy and we were on a path less traveled in the rainforest. The day we went, it wasn’t raining. The guides who drove us to see Manoa Falls assured us that was not an average day.

Aihualama Trail. I'm almost horizontal trying to get across these roots on the trail.

Aihualama Trail. I’m almost horizontal trying to get across these roots on the trail.

The trip was good for my husband and I to spend time together without interruption from our kids and with the freedom to do the things we enjoy doing together.

When we got back is a bit of a different story. We immediately started having trouble with one of our kids that I don’t think it proper to go into because we’re still dealing with it at this time and I don’t see an end to it any time soon. Just know that we have a teenager and teens do things that make you wonder how people make it past those years.

I finally made it to a fun run this last Monday night. The last time I’d run before that was October 15th, according to my Garmin history. Of course, my Garmin didn’t turn on at all this time. It felt good to run. I needed to burn off and sweat out the negative energy I’d accumulated. Thursday was the first night of the group I joined called “Winter Warriors.” The group was huge, there was a bit of rain falling, and it was actually a little warm outside. I was glad to get out again and clear my head and chat with other runners.

The break was worth it. I got some good walking in for my health. I wasn’t sedentary during my time off. That’s important to note, I think. Breaks from routine are good, but unless you’re injured or ill it’s a good idea to keep active somehow and get in some physical activity. You don’t have to hit the hotel gym on vacation, but taking a walk somewhere you might think of taking a cab might do some good.

My stress levels have been high and my eating has leaned into emotional snacking more often. I’ve procured some healthier foods for when I’m feeling the need to shove food in my mouth so that I’m not using fatty food or candy to try to feel better. I’ve managed to maintain my weight, so getting back to healthier habits will hopefully lead to some more loss in the difficult months ahead.

The months ahead are difficult for many reasons. The sun isn’t out as long. This leads to feeling a little more depressed and tired. Sometimes, it is harder to squeeze in physical activity outside of the house because the winter weather. I’m hoping the Winter Warriors group makes me feel more accountable for that. Then, there’s just something about being indoors all the time that feels a little sad. I’ve loaded up my Kindle with books, I joined a group that will keep me working out at least twice a week. I plan to attend the fun runs on Monday to add another day of accountability to my winter activity.

I’ll try to remember to check in next week after my first boot camp of Winter Warriors. We have Wednesdays for a core workout boot camp and Thursdays are our group runs. So, we shall see if I am feeling optimistic after completing my first core workout of the season.

Do you have a plan for the winter months to stay active? Is there a group or class you can join to help you stay physically active? What do you find difficult about the winter months?

Thanks for the memories, Hawaii. (Manoa Falls Trail)

Thanks for the memories, Hawaii. (Manoa Falls Trail)

From the finish to another start and over

I finished the half marathon alive. I’ve started looking for training tips on running a full marathon. I’m thinking that is still going to be October of next year if I do it. I have things to work on.

I took a week off of running before setting out to keep up my training. I actually had to take the week off because my husband was travelling on business and I was caring for sick kids. Fitting time in to get out and run isn’t plausible in that type of situation. The following week, I did a pretty intense resistance session on Nike Training, an app I have on my phone. I went to the Monday night fun run and tried running as fast as I could go for 4 miles. Tuesday, I went out for a run I intended to go 8-10 miles on.  I ran 9, then walked the 10th mile. Thursday, I set out early for a 6 mile run that I wanted to give up on in the first mile. Somehow, I talked myself through it and realized exactly how much of getting myself to go requires mental strength and positivity. I did a lot of internal bargaining with myself just to get past the 3rd mile, but I didn’t regret the workout once done.

I relaxed the next 2 days for a 5k Oktoberfest run where I wanted to beat my personal best 5k race time of 30:12 from September 2014. I’ve beaten that time in practice, but not yet at a race. My goal is always to get below 30 minutes. In practice, I still haven’t gotten below 30 minutes, either. I pushed myself to stay with someone who I know is faster than me for a little past the first mile. About a quarter of a mile past that, I started losing pace with her and distancing myself. At one point, I stopped to walk and catch my breath next to a runner that was walking from an injury or strain. I took off too fast and I paid for it. The rest of the race was me slowing and sprinting. A friend caught up to me and told me to get going faster and I did. Then, from a couple of paces behind me she told me to “go, go, go!” I sprinted most of the last tenth of a mile and came in at 30:15. Son of a…. Oh well. I kind of knew I wasn’t going to make my time when I stopped to walk. Next time. I haven’t signed up for another 5k just yet, but I will and I’ll whip that time. The girl I started with finished in 26:02, so I was a little ambitious to try to stay with her. It doesn’t mean I won’t try to do that again. I just need to work on my speed and my breathing technique.

My current focus is the 15k I’ve signed up for in December. It is becoming a tradition for my friend and I to run a Superhero Dash 5k in June together and the Hot Chocolate race in December together. I’ll be holding on to the habit of the long run for a long time to come, but I don’t plan to give up on 5k racing. I still haven’t run a 10k, so I should probably do one of those so I have a time to beat with those races also.

I had been pretty steadily losing weight and getting noticed for looking healthier by people. The scale and I are now a little too close and I’m slightly obsessed with weighing more than once a day. I’ve been hard on myself about it, but I’m trying not to let it push me into poor nutrition choices either way. I’m not going to binge and say it doesn’t matter because my mean old body will get heavier anyway. I’m not going to skip meals as a way of ‘punishing’ myself for not losing as fast as I want to. I just have to keep making healthy choices. I’m trying to carry over into making healthy choices the mental strength that I’ve gained from pushing myself to run. It is exhausting and frustrating. It can also be rewarding to know that I’ve conquered something that I felt powerless to before.

I am pretty far from my desired size. I still set smaller goals that aren’t tied to the scale or the measuring tape so I can try to see the weight loss as a bonus to the other things I’m doing. I can run a half marathon. I can do one-legged squats with weights. I can resist eating fast food. I’ve made new friends to talk to and run with. I also happen to weigh 30 pounds less than I did at the start of the year and I fit into my smaller pants.

There is probably something you’re missing that you should be proud of yourself for. Perhaps you are faster or stronger than you were. Maybe you make better choices for your health. You could also be setting a healthy example for someone else in your life. Have you really thought about the positive impact of your own health and fitness journey?

July 2015

July 2015

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September 2015

Achy Shaky Legs

I’ve completed week 9 of a 12 week program. This week, I ran 24 miles. The heat and humidity returned with a vengeance and ensured mostly miserable running conditions despite preparation.

Monday was the usual fun run and I ran with one of the mentors from the program. I tried to keep a good pace and she helped me run the entire 3 miles. It was nice to have someone there even on a non group workout day. The run had me worn out, though. We’d had a stretch of time where the heat and humidity had been greatly reduced, so the temperatures in the upper 80’s to mid 90’s made for a tougher run.

Tuesday was a hill workout. We ran a little over a mile to the hill. I ran a faster pace than I intended to on the approach to the hill. Our assignment was straight up and down the hill 8 times. I used some unsavory words, wished for rain, and found myself stopping for a drink more often than usual for any short run (3-5 miles, I call short runs). The humidity made the hill seem endless. The coach was running them with ease while I dragged myself up and down. I was less impressed and more envious. The good thing about it all was that I still ran the mile assigned after the hill even though I considered just going back to my car. I also had 2 people in the group ask me if I’d lost weight. That made me feel good about what I’ve done and gave me a nudge of confidence.

Thursday, I had a plan to run in the morning while all 3 kids were at school and before the heat of the day set in. My son had coughed and hacked the night before, which made me think I needed to clean the house. I disinfected surfaces, vacuumed furniture and floors, dusted fans and intakes, mopped the floors, laundered all the bedding, and cleaned every surface I could think of all before eating my first meal of the day. Not much time was left for a run and a shower before the little ones were soon getting out of school. My anxiety still sets off compulsive cleaning, apparently. At least it was a productive compulsion. I waited until evening and took my husband with me on a miserable 5 mile run. I actually made a sobbing sound without the benefit of tears while running. It was humid and I was miserable. I just wanted him to see how well I was doing with running, but instead I was stopping to catch my breath every once in a while and my mile times were over a minute slower than usual. I was miserable and embarrassed. Had he not been there, I wouldn’t have gone 5 miles. He complimented how proud of me he is that I’m even trying to run 13.1 miles. At the time, it didn’t help how I felt about him seeing me want to quit and lay in the grass instead of running. Later, I realized how sweet it was of him.

Saturday’s run was 11 miles. No relief from the heat or humidity. I was miserable sometime during the first mile. When we got to the turn around point, I tried my hardest to cool down. I had taken an electrolyte pill, drank an electrolyte drink, and taken a nutrition gel by the time we were at 5 miles. Nearing 7 miles, my head was pounding and I couldn’t make it go away with electrolytes or water. I took a nutrition gel with caffeine in it to no avail. By the time I hit 8 miles, my head was pounding and I had chills. My legs started to feel wobbly and unsure. It was time to walk. I partnered up with someone in the group I’d been running with and we walked a little, jogged a little, and repeated a few times until we made it to 11 miles. It was rough, but we both kept each other upright and moving forward. I was honest with myself that while I didn’t want to walk during my half marathon race, I also didn’t want to hurt myself practicing for it. I made it 11 miles. I didn’t run all of them. I still propelled myself forward and still averaged inside of 12 minute miles.

Sunday, I skipped my recovery run. I slept in, went to the pool with the kids, then decided I’d rather get some things done around the house before attending my first fantasy football draft. When I left the draft, it had cooled a little outside, but I decided I wasn’t going to run. According to some algorithm in a computer, I did pretty badly drafting my team. I guess the football season will tell.

I’ve met so many great people and learned so much through this training program. I’m running distances that break my own previous records each week. My knees, legs, and arms get sore. During a run, I think a few times that I can’t go any further. I might think that I’m not capable of covering the ground ahead of me. Each time, I still do it. I push ahead. A few weeks ago, I thought 7 miles was out of reach. Now, I can do 7 with much less struggle. I’m about to take on 13.1 miles on a practice run this weekend. I’m nervous each time I set out for the group runs. I’m tired, but proud when they’re finished.

So, I’ve lost around 30lbs. this year. I have a few weeks left of this training. I’ve already signed up for a 5k in October and a 15k in December. I’m sure I’ll find more races to sign up for. The goal is to keep me motivated to stay in running shape so that I don’t take any long breaks.

How has training changed you? Are you challenging yourself each time you set out to become fit? Do you have any questions about my training?