Day 283 – Evolution of my run

So my run yesterday turned into a death run. I had to step over a dead snake in the road, run around a very surprised looking dead squirrel, and then I heard this weird buzzing sound before realizing there was a dead doe in the ditch swarming with flies. All of this got me thinking about life and death and other deep running thoughts, and then the craziest thing happened! When I made my second pass, I realized that the squirrel was GONE! I even backed up to double check that I hadn’t just missed it. Nope. It was completely MIA. A vulture, hawk, or other bird must have swooped down and scooped it up. This led to me thinking about how fast things can change, which led to me remembering what it was like when I first started running last fall. And I’ve decided that my evolution as runner is as crazy weird/cool/disturbing/shocking as the disappearing squirrel.

Back in July and August, I had signed up for a 5k without being able to run… well… at all. I found the C25K app on my phone, put on a pair of yoga pants (that I used as pjs), my Lorax t-shirt, and my 3 year-old sneakers (with a hole by my right pinky toe – for ventilation, of course!). I remember how hard running for a whole minute was. I got super sweaty instantly and struggled to keep breathing through the whole jog. I hated it; it was hard, and it hurt! But I kept doing it. I wore those cotton yoga pants and a cotton t-shirt and beat-to-crap holy sneakers every other day while trying not to die while running. I honestly didn’t think it would ever get easier (and it usually felt like it was getting harder), but I was totally committed to finishing that 5k. I’d also have these moments, teeny-tiny moments, of the biggest, bursting pride imaginable. Every day that I went out and worked my ass off (literally) I’d accomplish the impossible. Running for 5 minutes while weighing almost 230 lbs made me feel like I was on top of the world. At least once a week, I’d end up tearing up as I ran, because I was so overcome with emotion at the realization that I was actually doing it!

First full mile run

I took this selfie after the first time I ever ran a whole mile without stopping. It was definitely one of the moments of awe!

As I kept going, I started reading about running, and I read that running in cotton is bad. That baffled me for quite a while :-). Now, I won’t run in cotton because of how it stays wet and heavy when I get sweaty in it. It also takes me about a mile to even start sweating (which still feels a bit unbelievable!). Looking back, I’m still amazed that I managed to run 3.2 miles without walking after just 8 weeks. It was SO hard at the beginning. I wish I could go back and tell my old self how much better it would get. I never dreamed that I’d actually be running 4, 5, and 6 miles and actually enjoying it!

My Hanson’s book has the following quote in it:

“We tell runners to start at the ridiculous, or what they think is completely beyond their capabilities, and work backward until they reach a point that is both mentally and physically manageable.” (Humphrey pg 10)

That sentence really struck a cord with me. When I signed up for the 5k, it felt ridiculous and impossible – but I did it. Last fall, I cried because I believed a sub-10 minute mile was impossible for me to ever achieve – but I’ve done it (twice!). When I signed up for this half marathon, it felt ridiculous (and sometimes it still does), but then I turn around and remember how far I’ve already come and how much I’ve accomplished. I look at the calendar and realize that it’s only been 9 months, and I’m blown away. It’s an incredibly powerful feeling to look around and realize that a) it’s actually possible to accomplish crazy hard goals, b) I CAN control my life, how I feel, and what I’m able to do, and c) none of it requires anything more than me making the choice to move forward and do what I want to do.

Somehow, my run-addled brain connected the suddenly squirrel-free road with the way my life now feels free and clear (or at least I feel like I can physically move around freely). Sometimes this journey feels never-ending and impossible, so I think it’s important to remember that I’ve already come this far because I chose to – not because I bought fancy equipment, followed a special plan, or discovered some secret magic trick. The only thing I need to do to continue on this journey is choose to – choose to run, choose a piece of fruit,  choose to log my food, and choose to believe that I deserve to be whomever I want to be.

 

Day 281 – Weak running

Since my husband is entering finals, he’s been busy. This leaves me with Little Man (who I’m enjoying spending extra one-on-one time with), but no chance to run. Combine it with the trip this past weekend, and I’ve missed 2 runs in the past 5 days! YIKES! Luckily for me, my running week is Monday-Sunday, so Friday’s missed run fell under last week, and I’ll be taking the hit for missing Monday during this week. It doesn’t actually make any difference, but it makes me feel better.

Running Update April 4

Last week, I had 20.2 miles planned and ran an even 20 miles. This past week, I had 20.2 miles planned and managed to pull off 18.2, even with missing my Friday run! I was pretty happy with that. 🙂

This week, I have 21 miles scheduled. I’m not going to hit it, but I am hoping to still hit 18+ miles. My first 10k is scheduled for May 7th, so that’s coming up quickly!

I’m starting to get really nervous about the 10K – mostly because I’ve missed 2 runs recently! I know that I can run 6.2 miles. I mean I ran that far on Sunday, but this course will be hilly (about the same amount of hills as my daily route, but I ‘m not familiar with the exact layout of these hills). I’m also just plain nervous about the whole getting to the run, picking up my packet, etc.

I don’t really have any many goals for this next week other than trying to hit as close to 20 miles total as possible.

I know that my running will go back to being a bigger priority in about 2 weeks. Of course, the weekend of May 14th is another watershed weekend full of travel and adventure, so that will throw things off again. That should be it, though.

Happy running!

Day 278 – Blogger guilt, reality, & updates

I feel guilty! I’ve not been posting the way I should! Last fall, I really learned that reflecting on my day (here on this blog) has a HUGE, and positive, impact on my choices, how I feel about all sorts of things, and my general mental well-being (BTW – Thank You, to all of you willing to read through all of my craziness). That said, I’m recognizing that reality may dictate fewer postings for the next 3-5 weeks. I promise not to disappear, but I’m prioritizing. I’m thinking that I’ll do a weekly food/weight update each weekend and a running update each Monday or Tuesday. I really want to do at least one other post during the week to just share thoughts and reflect on life, running, and weightloss. That will mean 3 posts/wk instead of my usual 5, but I’ll still have both accountability and a record of my journey. It’s a compromise I can live with – and isn’t that really what life is all about?

Day 277 weekly

My water intake wasn’t perfect, but it wasn’t terrible, either. My calories were at the higher end of normal, but within my goal range. I’m so proud that I ran 22.5 miles, last week! I know that number will continue to increase, but it still amazes me that I can run even 1 mile, let along ENJOY running TWENTY-TWO!

IMG_20160422_060723[1]

I lost another 1.3 lbs this week, so I’ve now lost 66.3 lbs total! Sometimes, I still find myself surprised to realized that my weight starts with a 1, now. Other times, I feel like life as a fat woman was all just a bad dream. In both cases, I’m SO glad I’ve changed the choices I make!

This weekend is another teacher professional development focused on the watershed, and as always, it’s AMAZING! We’re in the mountains looking at the headwaters this month, so we’re only about 2 hours from home, which made for a much less stressful drive here on Friday! It’s beautiful, and we got to spend the whole day hiking, today! We hiked to the actual spring that starts this particular watershed! We did water quality testing at the spring, at the point where a waste water treatment facility discharges their treated water, and then farther down stream (near a beautiful waterfall!) where the treated waste water has rejoined the stream from the spring. The total hike was almost 4 miles, and it was so interesting to see the whole cycle of the water. We even had/got to see the waste water treatment facility and it’s process (It was right before lunch, and I totally could have lived without EVER seeing/smelling that, but I suppose it’s important to understand how it works).

Once we’d hiked down to the waterfall, we had to hike the whole way back up (a little more than 800 ft over almost 2 miles). Guess what!!???!!! (You should be picturing me bouncing up and down on the balls of my feet while clapping my hands with excitement, now.) IT WAS EASY! Yep, not only did I do it, I did it COMFORTABLY!! I was the first one of my whole hiking group to make it back up the trail! Yes, my breathing got heavier and my heart rate did increase, but I was never out-of-breath, nor did my legs burn, nor did I feel tired, frustrated, or even need to stop and rest. It was EASY!

In fact…

Run Apr 23 2016

I just want to point out that I drove 2 hours further up into the mountains and somehow ran a path much flatter than my everyday route up and down my road – does that seem messed up to anyone else? (It does explain my super-speed, though.)

After the hike, they gave us 1 hour to hang out, visit the gift shop, check out anything we hadn’t got to see, or pull ourselves together before dinner. I actually used my time to spend 30 minutes running an additional 2.75 miles! I had planned to run after dinner, so my running gear was in the car. I didn’t have a way to shower, but I had baby wipes and most people were pretty sweaty from the hike. I ran to the car, grabbed my stuff, ran to the bathroom and changed, ran down a gravel access road for 1.4 miles, ran back, did a quick clean-up, changed, hopped in the car, and met everyone for dinner! It was a bit crazy, but I was glad to get my run in. The weather cools down quickly this high up, and running after dinner would have been a bit chilly. I’m also not sure how much motivation I’d have been feeling at that point. I felt so much better sitting down to dinner knowing that I’d gotten a good, fast run in even after our hike! There is exactly 0% chance that I’d have been able to do any of this last year. In fact, I’d probably not have made it through the hike!

In other news…

Run Apr 18 2016

I totally PR-ed my mile time on Monday night – after running my 3 easy miles!

plus…

  • my clothing dryer blew-up
  • Little Man lost 2 more teeth
  • Hubby got sick
  • 6th grade had 2 really AWESOME days (and only 1 rough day – even it wasn’t too bad)!
  • My mom came out to visit for 3 days
  • She walked her first full mile with me while she was here!
  • We decided to walk a 5k together at Thanksgiving, this year!
  • and all sorts of everyday, life-stuff

I hope all is well with you and yours and you are enjoying your weekend!

Day 274 – A view from my run

I have shared pictures from the fall and winter, so with spring starting to blossom, I thought I’d take a moment to share what I’ve enjoyed watching pop up along my running route recently. Today has been adventurous – I had pizza and cookies for lunch, but then I had salad for dinner (that totally makes up for it, right?? 😉  ) I did my scheduled 4 miles today, but after doing 3 slow and easy, I decided to do the forth one fast. In fact, I did it in 9:44!!! I hope you had a great Monday!

Spring Run 2016f

Buttercups always look so dainty poking up from the old dead leaves.

Spring Run 2016a

Skunk Cabbage always looks like such pretty little umbrellas this time of year.

Spring Run 2016b

I think this is some kind of chard, but I’m really not sure. I do like the way it looks, though.

Spring Run 2016d

I have no idea what these are, but I love the way their little white blossoms arrange themselves.

Spring Run 2016h

I’m not usually big on dandelions, but I’m telling you, these dandelions were determined to be the best dandelions they could be. I have to admire and respect that about them.

Spring Run 2016i

The wild onions are out in abundance! I used this one in my salad last night. (Since my mom is in town and hubby was out of town and I chowed down on pizza and cookies for lunch, I actually ate salad for dinner!)

Spring Run 2016j

I’m not sure what this is (maybe Redbud?) but I absolutely LOVE the light purple color. They are always one of the first bushes to flower around here, and I’m always a bit sad to see the pale lavender color become overwhelmed as other colors arrive.

Spring Run 2016k

These daffodils are in my yard, but I can’t do a set of spring pictures without them!

Day 270 – A quick weigh-in

I must weigh-in quickly before tonight’s Mexican food settles in!

33 Scale April 15 168 lbs

I’m down 2.7 lbs (following that trend where I lose pretty big after a 2-week stall). This makes for a total loss of 64 lbs!

In all seriousness, I weighed-in this morning, as always. 🙂 I also ran 4 miles (at a VERY slow pace) before going out for said Mexican food. I also had a Margarita tonight!!! To give you some perspective on how BIG a deal that is for me, I must explain. Since my hubby got sober in October, I’ve had 2 beers and 2 mini bottles of wine. My last alcoholic beverage was consumer on March 10th (it was a Corona Light).

Now, I’m off (to my own comfy couch) to enjoy a movie with said husband!

Day 269 – The Big Reveal!

I’ve put together my half marathon training plan. I don’t want to drone on about it forever right now, but I would like to share it here. I knew today was the perfect day, when I received an email revealing the finisher medals!

VA Beach R&R 2016

The 5k medal is nice, but I’m SO EXCITED to get the big sand castle!!!!!!!

The basic structure of the plan is 3 tough runs: 1 long, 1 fast, 1 moderately long & fast (tempo). Then there are 2-3 easy runs each week that focus on helping the body adapt to running to help me run more efficiently. Those days are supposed to burn more fat while the 3 hard days burn carbs. It’s a whole big thing explained in the book that I’m sure I’ll talk more about at some point. For now, I just want to note that Tuesdays will typically be speed work, Thursdays will usually be a tempo run, and my long runs are usually scheduled on Sundays (once school lets out the beginning of June, anyway). Without further ado, here’s the plan to make it across the finish line – please remember that I’ve never done this before, so this plan will likely change at least once or twice…each week. 😉

HM Plan pt 1

This is my first “phase” of training, if you will. It focuses primarily on building my base by getting me running… a lot! I culminates with the running of my first official 10K!

HM Plan pt 2

Then I move into the actual Hanson’s plan. I suspect I’ll have to modify this, but this is the starting plan. This phase adds more speed work while continuing to build mileage. It gets me up to running 6 days/wk and that scares me! That may be the part that I modify. This phase also culminates with a 10K!

HM Plan pt 3

Then comes the real work. Most of my summer will be spent building strength and endurance. The speed work becomes longer distance to bring up my speed over long distances. By the time I get to this point, I think I’ll have made lots of adjustments and will hopefully better understand what kind of training works for me. This phase culminates at the beach when I cross the finish line!!!!!

That’s really all I’ve got for tonight. I’m nervous about my appointment with the scale tomorrow – as always. We’ll see how it goes. Happy Friday!

Day 268 – 40 days and counting

I’m over the hump and sliding down the hill into a big blue pool of summer vacation! This past week has been a frenzy of planning, but now it’s done. I have a list of 25 lessons left to teach, 15 of which are review. It will be an intense 5 weeks for students, but my preparations are made.

I can only compare the end of school to preparing for vacation. The few days your spend preparing and packing and planning your route are absolute CHAOS. Every time you think your list is complete, you realize something’s been forgotten. Then everything has to fit into suitcases and trunks. Some things have to be left behind. Decisions must be made: do we eat on the road or pack a cooler? But once the bags are packed, the route is mapped, and the car is loaded, the journey itself is simply a matter of putting in the time in the car – well, except when someone gets carsick or requires a potty stop RIGHT NOW!

My classroom is much the same way. I’ve spent the last week planning, organizing, and copying. I had to make choices about what lessons my students most need to review. I had to find materials to support those lessons, and decide what order to cover them. Now I’m in the figurative car, loaded up and heading down the driveway. There will bumps in the road as students are absent, require more or less review than I expected, or fire drills interrupt our day. Mostly though, it’s just a matter of time, now. I will not magically teach my students how to read in the next 5 weeks. Either, I’ve done my job and they’ve put in the work all year, or not.

The funny part is the sense of boredom that comes with this final car ride of the year. I’m not worried about planning for the next trip, since this is the last quarter, but I can’t quite shift my focus to summer or I risk crashing. I’m planning to use this time as an opportunity to have fun with my students (not that I don’t always have fun with them, but it’s often a more distracted fun – like conversations while making dinner instead of conversations while strapped in a car cruising down the interstate). I’m also hoping it will making following my running plan a bit easier, and perhaps even allow me to get back to the crocheting project I started back in September!

I was excited to get home and find my new shoes had arrived! I’m far from needing a new pair, but I’ve decided to start switching between 2 pairs, so that I’m never without a pair of broken in, super comfy, sneakers. I’ll still wear my pink sneakers most of the time, but I’ll start swapping in the teal ones sometimes. The goal is to retire the pink once about half-way through the life of the teal ones.

Tonight was my second speed workout attempt, and it was a total failure. I managed 2.5 of my 10 intervals before deciding to “let it go” and just enjoy the beautiful evening. I just felt like I was running through knee-deep sand; it was brutal. I ended up enjoying a very pleasant 4 mile series of walk/jog intervals. I even turned off my music, so that I could really enjoy the chattering squirrels, the hooting owl, whatever it was that was bark/howl/woofing off in the distance, and of course the sounds of my neighbor enjoying his evening target practice. 😉 Really, I just enjoyed the journey tonight. My eating has been good today, and I’ve been drinking appropriate amounts of water for the last 2 days now. Hopefully, it will show on the scale on Friday!

Day 267 – Seasons and Tides

Everything has a season and even the moon will wax and wane. I’m starting to see a similar pattern within this journey. Looking back at my data, I see this:

patterns

Notice 1 or 2 mediocre weeks followed by 1 or 2 awesome weeks and about every 10 weeks I have a small gain.

I’ve also notice that my attitude follows a similar trend. When I’m having the rougher weeks, I start to feel discouraged and start struggling mentally. Eventually, I choose one small goal to really focus on and get myself back on track. Then things are good again for a couple weeks. The odd thing is that my calorie intake doesn’t really change. I almost always net right around 1400 calories. This leads me to believe that all of it (my attitude & the weight loss or lack thereof) might actually be hormone related.

In any case, after 2 weeks of losing less than a pound, it’s time to recommit and get back to it – again.

Yesterday, I skipped my run. I had 4 miles scheduled, but it just didn’t happen. I made part of it up today and did 2.5 miles instead of resting. Tomorrow I’ll do my scheduled speed work and be back on track with that.

I’m also focusing on my water intake. I’ve gotten REALLY bad about that again. I realized last night that I actually woke up thirsty in the middle of the night – that’s bad! So today, I’ve been drinking like a fish.

cheers

Here’s to picking myself up and getting back to healthy no matter how many times I may fall down. I do hope to eventually go more than a month without having to regroup, thought!

Day 264 – So much to do, so little time

This time of year is always bursting with excitement and activity! I want to get my garden set up – hasn’t happened. I have stepped up my running game – I’m consistently hitting 18+ miles each week. I want to get my 7th graders out on the nature trail more – I’m working on this one. I have put together some really awesome outdoor labs for 6th grade, though. This week, we looked at leaf packs from a local river and identified all the macro-invertebrates (bugs). It was so cool, and the students loved it! We’re also planning a forestry fun day, preparing for 7th grade promotion. (They’ve been with us since preschool and go to the high school next year, so it’s a big deal.) Of course, there is end of year testing to prep for, plus Hubby is in his last month of the semester. We’re planning our summer vacation, and getting ready for summer school. I’m putting together an enrichment opportunity for students who want access to school books and computers during the summer (I’ve had students request this every year, but this is the first time I’ve been able to get a proposal put together to get approval). All-in-all, its exciting and busy, and full of hope and anticipation!

It also means that sometimes I try to multi-task and send emails that say, “Hi, thanks for volunteering to help 6th grade! I loved having someone with more experience support their exploration of the watershed. It meant a lot to them dirt samples to determine where wetland ends and uplands begin.”

Yeah, I was trying to write an email to 2 volunteers. One was coming in to help me with soil testing with the kids and the other had just helped with our macro-invertebrate study. At the same time, I was having a conversation with a student and got a call from the office asking about a purchase order I had filled out for some new literature circle books. I ended up having to send out an apology along with the correct Thank You email. 🙂

In any case, I DID weigh in yesterday – even though I never got a chance to post it.

32 Scale April 8 170.7 lbs

I lost 0.8 lbs! (I’m headed for the 160’s!) This brings me to total loss of 61.3 lbs!! YAY!

Day 262 – 5 min yoga fail

I used to love yoga. Long ago in the days of skinny and flexible, back when I was in college, I would do yoga and feel connected to myself. I loved feeling my body move and flex and stretch. It felt good to hug my knees and pull on my feet. I enjoyed the relaxation of breathing out and into a stretch.

When I started this journey last summer, I tried to incorporate yoga into my life and routine. It was not successful for a few reasons. First, I quickly found that I was too fat for most of the poses I knew. I didn’t let this deter me and quickly found yoga videos for curvy women. That didn’t offer me the yoga feelings I remember and often left me feeling … well… fat. Add to that my attempts to do it at 5am, and I was doomed. I walked away from yoga and didn’t look back.

Except that now I’ve lost 60 lbs, and I can run. After one of my runs this past weekend, I was stretching and had an moment of that old happy yoga feeling. I had placed my ankle on my knee and pulled my knee toward my face to stretch my hip, when I discovered that I could kiss my own ankle! SO COOL! (Yes, I’m aware it could also be considered a bit gross, but it made me happy.)

It got me thinking that maybe it’s time to give yoga another shot, so while I was at school, I found and downloaded some yoga for runners videos. I was all excited to give one a try tonight, and here’s how it went.

Video woman has us start on our knees sitting back on our feet and folding our face to the floor (child’s pose). I try to sit back on my feet and discover I still can’t do that and it REALLY F-ING HURTS to try. I stop the video, and huff past the pain while trying to peel myself off the floor. There are tears involved, but damn it – I am NOT giving up! After trying a pillow under my butt, sitting cross-legged, and attempting the original pose again, I discovered that I can lay on my face on the bed with my butt in the air and the mattress cushions my knees enough for it to work.

Childs Pose

It took some doing, but once I was on a soft mattress, I was able to do something that resembled this pose. This woman makes it look SO simple. I know I ended up with my butt in the air, but I did feel a nice stretch in my hips!

I restart the video. I’m now attempting to do yoga on my bed. The woman has us lay in child’s pose and stretch our shoulders, and I’m DOING IT! Then she has us pull back and stand up. Shit, I’m on my bed. I stop the video and pull my mattress off the bed to the floor, get on the mattress and restart the video.

The woman has us hang like a rag doll and hug our knees. She encourages knee bending which is good, because mine are REALLY bent a lot! But I’m doing it, and it feels good to hug my knees and stretch the back of my legs.

Knee Hugger

This is how she hugged her knees.

my knee hugger

This is what it looked like when I did it, but I must say it felt good! I felt it stretch all down my hamstrings.

Then she has us step back into lunge. It’s awkward and my legs scream in pain, but I hang in there. I make it through downward dog, cobra, and 3-legged dog. By now I am sweating and swearing and my arms are shaking with my massive effort to contort my body to make it do anything. I’m trying to match the video’s second lunge  (with the other foot in front) when I fall over.

I toppled sideways, rolled off of my mattress, stepped on my own finger, and banged my hip and elbow on the floor. I decided that was enough yoga for tonight. When I paused the video, I saw that I had made it 5 minutes and 27 seconds in – that includes the 40 second intro when the host introduced herself and welcomed me to her video.

Part of me wants to laugh, and part of my wants to cry with frustration. How can I lose 60 lbs and still feel just as fat and awkward and incapable as I did 8 months ago? I never expected losing weight to change my life or my identity, but I did/do expect it to change me physically. I want to be able to do yoga again – mainly because I want to feel like I can control my body and the way it moves and stretches again. That’s one of the things I hated most about being fat – I hated not being able to cross my legs, hug my knees, sit cross-legged on the couch, and move freely. I always felt like my fat physically and literally got in my way. I know I’m far from finished; I still have 40 lbs to go, but I’m starting to wonder if I’ll actually get that freedom of movement back…ever.

Sorry for the whine. It’s been a rough day all the way around. I believe I’ll go make myself a cup of tea and head to bed. I do think that moving the mattress off and back on the bed should totally count as a workout!