Day 40 – A good run & my view of the world

August 29, 2015

Today I travelled 2.5 miles in 35 minutes. I jogged for a total of 25 minutes and walked the other 10. This would put me on track to run the 5K next weekend in about 43 minutes. I’d love to shave 3 minutes off that. Of course, I’d also love new running shoes, stronger legs, and a slimmer waist. I don’t think much is going to change in the next 7 days. I am starting to get both nervous and excited.

We used to live in VA beach, so it’s kind of like going home. We lived there early in our marriage, so we’ll be going back to one of our favorite date night spots. I’m excited to smell the salt air again, see how they’ve renovated Lynnhaven Mall, and be back on the boardwalk. I’m nervous about the 5K, but not in the way I expected. I expected to be all worked up and embarrassed about attempting to run a 5K while fat. Luckily for me, I had the good fortune to encounter numerous runners who have made nothing but supportive and encouraging comments. The logistics of the event still make me nervous. I’m very glad that I will have my husband with me.

After my run, I was sitting on the front porch thinking about a post that I read last night about Married Life. I realized that this journey toward healthy is not something new that just started in July. July merely marked the beginning of a new chapter in a journey that actually began in January of 2011 when my best friend very bluntly suggested that I quit complaining and start changing. This realization also cause me to really look around and see how far I’ve come. This week, I think I’ll type up the whole story (both for my records and your reading pleasure), but for now I’ll just say that my life is good and leave you with my current views:

This is the view off the front left corner of my porch.

This is the view off the front left corner of my porch.

This is the view off the front right corner of my porch.

This is the view off the front right corner of my porch.

This is the view off one side of my porch.

This is the view off one side of my porch.


Day 39 – 216.9 lbs

August 28, 2015 – 216.9lbs

            Today was weigh-in day, and I lost 1.4 pounds. Out of curiosity, I stepped on my old fishy scale as well. The analog scale says that I have lost a total of about 7 pounds in 39 days, but my nice, fancy, new, accurate scale says that I’ve lost 7.4 lbs in 21 days. Moral of the story – never trust a fish. I do really wish I had an accurate starting weight; not because it matters, but because I’m too curious for my own good. Based on my “guesstimated” starting weight of 232, this means I’ve now lost 15.1 pounds!Aug 28 216.9lb Aug 28 216.9lbs

            I’m at a point when I need to add some strength training to my schedule (and I’m kind of missing my yoga), but I’m still not willing to lose sleep over it – literally. I’m not sure when I can fit it into my week, and since we are just finishing our first full week of school, I’m thinking it might be good to settle in a bit more before I try adding too much more to my week. I have just about a week before our trip to VA beach for the 5K, so I’m thinking when we get back maybe I’ll start a weight routine challenge where I do strength training 3 times each week for 6 weeks (while maintaining my jogging). Something like that. I’m still thinking about it, but if anyone has ideas, thoughts, or knows of a group of people doing something along those lines this fall – let me know!

Day 38 – Help! I need a math teacher!

August 27, 2015

Here’s my problem of the evening:

Every time I go jogging I start by walking for 5 minutes to warm up. I believe I walk at about a 16 minute/mile pace. After that I jogged for 8 ½ minutes before hitting the 1 mile mark. (I continued jogging, but I don’t usually hit 1 mile until I’ve been jogging for closer to 10 minutes.) Since I hit that mark so much sooner than usual, I really want to figure out what my jogging pace was.

Before we proceed, you must understand, I am an English teacher. I also teach life science, but at heart, I’m an English teacher. I like words and pictures. Numbers scare and confuse me. I can usually figure it out when they are in a real-world context (like in science), but my version of figuring it out almost never includes an equation. Usually it involves a crazy story, some hard-to-follow logic, lots of estimating, and more words than numbers.

The way I see it, I had to have travelled approximately 0.3 miles while walking a 16min/miles pace for 5 minutes (5 min at a 15min/mile pace would be 0.33 miles, and I was a bit slower than that). That would leave me with just about 0.7 miles to travel in 8.5 minutes. Here’s where it gets a little “special.” Traveling that 0.7 miles in 7 min would mean 1 minute per 0.1 miles. I then need to split the remaining 1.5 min. between those 0.7 miles. I figure that means I need to add 0.2 minutes to my tenth-of-a-mile time. 1.2 minutes per 0.1 miles would put me travelling 0.7 miles in 8.4 min which is pretty close. Two tenths of minute is 12 seconds, but it took me about 8.5 minutes, not 8.4, so let’s round it up to 1 minute and 15 seconds per 0.1 miles. Are you with me so far? Based on that, 1 mile would take me 10 minutes and 150 seconds or 12 minutes and 30 seconds. WOAH! That’s the same pace I hit Tuesday when I was jogging for speed. Huh, now I wonder what my pace is when I don’t hit 1 miles until I’ve been jogging for 9 ½ min.

I’ll spare you my mess of mental logic and just say that I came up with a pace around 13:45. That’s a bit slower than I had previously estimated (and very scarily slow). I guess it’s good I didn’t realize just how slow I was until I got faster.

Day 36 – Translating love

August 25, 2015

Let me start this whole thing by pointing out that I am married to one of the most amazing men in the world. I won’t go through all of the things that make him amazing, because it would take too long. I will say that we have been together through thick and thin. He took me to my high school prom when no one else would. (I had beaten the crap out of my previous date, but I swear, it was justified.) He is an amazing dad; he cooks; he’s kind; he’s funny; he’s sweet; he even vacuums. 99 times out of 100, he says exactly what I need to hear to feel pretty, strong, loved, or simply heard. Unfortunately, tonight just so happened to be that 100th time. I was getting ready to go for my run, and he made the following comment, “I bet if you work hard, you can hit the 30 minute mark for a 5K.” Now let me explain. When I was in college, I ran 3-6 miles, 3 or 4 times a week. I weighed around 130lbs, and my absolute fastest mile time EVER was 10:09. I have never in my life run a sub 10 min mile. My goal for this 5k is to finish it. I’d love to be in the 40 minute ball park, but I will celebrate anything that involves me crossing the finish line in a mostly-vertical position. When I heard Hubby’s comment, I freaked. Was he saying I’m not working hard enough? Will he freak when he sees just how slow I am? Do I totally suck at running? Is this whole idea of getting healthy a crazy Lucille Ball, “I Love Lucy” like bunch of insanity? Should I just quit kidding myself and give up already? YIKES!

At this point my shoes were tied and my phone had turned on, so I went for my run. I decided to run a mile as fast as I could to determine just how slow I really am, and along the way a few things occurred to me.

  1. My husband was trying to be encouraging – for him a 10 min mile is a comfortable and realistic goal. He was trying to say that he has noticed my hard work and believes in my ability to accomplish what I’m striving for.
  2. My husband and I are COMPLETELY different – he is a smoker who eats whatever he wants. His history involves struggling to gain and maintain weight. He woke up one day and decided to go for a run – and completed 3.1 miles in 35 minutes.
  3. It’s OK to just be me – I am always telling my students that each of them are unique and special in their own way. I remind them not to compare themselves to their peers, because they each have their own strengths that make them who they are. I need to start taking my own advice.
  4. Someone should invent a perspective translator – As soon as I filtered what my husband said through what I know to be his perspective, I was able to see that he was really saying something supportive and encouraging. My perspective is what made it upsetting. How often does this happen and how cool would it be to have a translator to help with these misunderstandings?
  5. I ran a mile in 12:30 – and it felt AWESOME! I am slow, and I probably look like a freak. My form is a mess, and I shuffle as much as I run. Most importantly, none of that matters because I keep running, and I love it. 12:30 is a great time for me! My lungs were burning and my legs were pumping. I was running with everything I had, and I felt powerful. When I jog at a pace that I can maintain for longer than a mile, I think I’m closer to a 13 min mile. That puts me close to my 40 min 5K goal time. It will be a stretch for me, and I will likely end up closer to 42 minutes, but
  6. SO WHAT? – It matters exactly not-at-all how fast or slow I travel down this road. It does not matter how fast or slow I lose the weight, and it doesn’t matter how fast or slow I run. It matters how I feel and what choices I make.

At this point I had finished my mile and walked for 3 minutes to get my breathing under control. I was feeling good, so I spent another 10 minutes blissfully jogging about 0.75 miles.

Day 35 – Hope, frustration, and appreciating the journey

August 24, 2015

Every time I write what day I’m on, or see the streak number on myfitnesspal, I’m shocked. I can’t believe I’ve been doing this for 35 days! I can’t believe I haven’t f-ed up, yet! Along about this point I start hyperventilating with the enormity of hope I feel, so I stop thinking about it. Seriously, just don’t think about it. Someday I’m going wake up at a comfortable weight (I hope) and have no clue how it happened. Of course, then I will wistfully remember all of the uneaten cookies sitting on the teacher lounge table, the cupcake presents lovingly made by students and secretly slid into the bottom of the trash, and the endless calculations of calories, carbs, sugars, and protein. One of those fluffy white thought clouds will form above my head with images of shiny warm brownies and decadent ice cream sundaes as I consider how easy it was to let my tongue lead the way with complete disregard for the rest of my being. Then I’ll have to talk myself off the ledge again and remember, “Oh, yeah, I got here by make the healthy choice day after day after day after day.”

The flip side to this hope is the frustration that I feel every morning when I look in the mirror and still see no difference. Each day, as I button my pants, I check and find them no looser. Since I have only lost 5% of my body weight, this is “normal.” After all, I didn’t really notice gaining most of the weight. At the 6 week check-up after having my son, 6 years ago, I weighed 190lbs. I never noticed the 40-ish pounds I’ve gained since then, so I guess not noticing losing 13lbs is an appropriate corollary. I worry that I could have to drop 30-40 lbs before I see any difference. That’s a long time to make the healthy choice without the reward of being forced to go find new smaller clothing.

Running offers me some sense of accomplishment, no matter how slow I may be. I’m struggling with my husband’s instant ability to meet and surpass my goals. I keep having to remind myself that they are MY goals, and I should not compare myself to anyone else – least of all someone more than a foot taller. To help myself with this, I decided to stop and smell the roses flowers on my run yesterday. I completed a full 20 minute jog with NO walk break! As I returned home, I snapped a few flower pics to remind myself to appreciate the journey.

Black-eyed Susans always remind me of my grandmother. We used to pick them from all around her property and place them in the center of dinner table.

Black-eyed Susans always remind me of my grandmother. We used to pick them from all around her property and place them in the center of the dinner table.

Thistle reminds me of Eeyore, and Eeyore makes me smile, so really thistle makes me smile. No matter how prickly it may seem on the outside, I know it's secretly the coolest flower in the weeds.

Thistle reminds me of Eeyore, and Eeyore makes me smile, so really thistle makes me smile. No matter how prickly it may seem on the outside, I know it’s secretly the coolest flower in the weeds.

Day 33 – Photos, running, and bears – Oh My!

August 22, 2015

Thankfully, my husband was not dumb enough to take a picture of our bear, but this one is exactly what it looks like when it crosses the road in front of my truck.

Thankfully, my husband was not dumb enough to take a picture of our bear, but this one is exactly what it looks like when it crosses the road in front of my truck.

Hubby went running today and saw one of the bears living on our property. I should explain that we live in a very rural area. When we run our choice of routes consists of deciding between turning left or turning right at the end of the driveway. Turning left presents a few situations I’m not comfortable with, so I always go right and so does my husband. 1.1 miles from our driveway, he heard funny scuffing noises. After removing his headphones, stopping, and looking around, he realized the noises were coming from a black bear. Last fall we saw 3 of them sharing our land. This summer, we can only be sure we’ve seen one bear. While today’s close call ended without incident, Hubby was freaked out, and I do worry. I wouldn’t expect it to be much of an issue, but it’s a very vulnerable feeling to be going down the road with no one around, no cell service, and nothing but your own bare hands when you see a black bear within throwing distance. I’m considering looking into one of those stabber club things that women carry while running in cities. When humans have had scarier bear encounters in our area, and it does happen, they have always been able to fight them off and get away. Black bears are not generally aggressive, but don’t like to be surprised and will defend their cubs. Even a small stabber-stick would make me feel a bit less defenseless.

I also took a couple photos to commemorate the 1 month milestone. I see no difference, but it will come.

It looks like I have no arms, but I was trying to pull my t-shirt back to show my waist.

It looks like I have no arms, but I was trying to pull my t-shirt back to show my waist.

I'm not trying to scare you with belly skin - I just wanted to show how I look without a baggy t-shirt covering everything.

I’m not trying to scare you with belly skin – I just wanted to show how I look without a baggy t-shirt covering everything.

Day 32 – Making up numbers & running as a couple

August 21, 2015 – 218.3 lbs

The first week of school went really well. I’m so excited about this year; it’s going to be great! By today, the kids were starting to get into the routine and things were running smoothly. I know we’ll kind of start over again on Monday, but I also know things will settle into a comfortable routine. I was incredibly proud of how much my 6th grade students wrote today, so I’m thinking that our writing workshop will have some really good moments this year.

I also weighed in this morning, and at 218.3lbs, I’m now down a total of 6lbs in the last 2 weeks! I’ve decided to think of 232 lbs as my official starting weight. Some of that is a guess based on the numbers I discussed in my Day 18 post about my scale issues. Some of that 232lbs is that I’d like to end up somewhere between 130 & 140, and going from 232 lbs to 132lbs would make for a nice even 100 lb loss. Who doesn’t love a number like that? So 232 lbs is my official, maybe accurate, but reasonably close, and certainly possible starting weight. That means that I have lost 13.7 lbs. (Just because I make up some of the numbers, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be detailed to the nearest tenth of a pound.)

Additionally, I will be running a 5k in 16 days. My husband has decided to run with me, which is awesome! I’m really nervous about how big the race may be and the whole corralled start set-up, so it will be nice to have him with me. He’s more than a foot taller than me and 25 pounds lighter, so the chances of him sticking to my slow pace are about the same as me winning the lottery without buying a ticket, but we’ll be together at the start and meet up at the finish. Life is good – now if only my pants would start to feel looser.

Day 31 – Keeping on

August 20, 2015

I’ve cleared the 1 month mark. I’ve started a new school year. My next workout calls for a solid 20 minutes jogging. This is the beginning of the middle, the long stretch of normalcy when it’s all about putting one foot in front of the other. Healthy choices are becoming easier for me. Running is becoming easier for me. Even putting my spanx on is getting easier. (On a side note, someone should really compile a video of women putting spanx on; that would be freaking hilarious.) What I’m trying to say is that now is the time for that mantra, “Just don’t think about it.” I need to just keep on making the healthy choices without over-thinking it. I’m fairly certain that what I’m doing is working, but I’m not seeing major or drastic changes to my body (I don’t think it would be healthy if I did), so it’s just a matter of continuing to do so forever. I’m sure I’ll face challenges when I travel, over the holidays, and on many surprising and unexpected occasions, but I also know I can do this. I didn’t know that a month ago. Heck, I’m not sure I knew that 2 weeks ago, but now I do. I can do this.

Day 29 – The art of practicing Noga!

August 18, 2015

I’ve decided to start practicing noga. It’s the art of thinking calming thoughts and considering stretching while actually doing no yoga. It’s much easier to fit into my schedule, and it means that I don’t feel the need to set my alarm for 5 am – ever.

I’ve always believed that people should work out in the morning, before they start their day. I have no idea where this idea came from or why I believed it, but whenever I’ve tried to start working out regularly, I’ve set my alarm for 5. Obviously, this has always ended in failure.  This summer, I found that I really enjoy running in the late morning or early evening. When I started looking at my school schedule I was dreading running in the morning, so I thought maybe I’d try sticking with an evening schedule. This has worked well for the past week, though I’ve still been getting up early to do yoga – not because I wanted to, but because I feel like I’m supposed to work out in the dark while the sane members of society sleep. I actually chose yoga with the hopes that I could do it while still mostly sleeping. Due to scheduling craziness, I ended up going for my run this morning, and I hated it! I’ve really gotten comfortable enough to be able to enjoy my runs. I get that adrenaline high and feel strong and powerful. This morning I just felt pissed off. I was also way slower than even my normal turtle-like pace. As I chugged along back toward home swearing and cursing the evils of healthy living, it dawned on me that there is really nothing healthy about being miserable, and getting up before 6am makes me miserable. NO MORE! Why have I been trying to force myself to do an exercise I don’t care about at a time of day I despise? Working out is supposed to feel good and make me happy – not disgruntled and homicidal!

From now on, you can find me running in the evenings and sleeping in the mornings. That is my kind of health.


Day 28 – Back to school night

This is my absolute favorite teaching meme.

This is my absolute favorite teaching meme.

August 17, 2015

I survived back-to-school night! (For non-teachers, just know that it’s a 12 hr day that ends with excited children bounding down hallways, leaping into classroom, clanging locker doors, and gushing about summer adventures.) That’s all I have to say for today.