Archive for February, 2010

Everybody’s Losing It

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

Lots of people I know are working hard at losing weight and getting healthy. It’s like an epidemic! One I’m really excited about. Just a few:

Brown Betty: BB was slim and trim growing up, but that changed after having four children. She put on the “correct” amount of weight with each of her kids, but didn’t lose it each time. However, for the last 20 years, she has maintained her weight. Granted that weight is much higher than it should be, but she hasn’t gained any weight in 20 years. For someone who eats essentially whatever she wants (except when on ‘fad’ diets, which never last long) and doesn’t get any exercise, I think that’s astounding, don’t you?

BB has recently started seeing a nutritionist who is giving her some excellent advice on how to eat healthy… and BB’s following it! She’s no longer counting apple fritters and blueberry muffins as fruit. She’s eating three square meals a day – BREAKFAST even! She’s even got her husband to stop enabling her (not a malicious enabler, just a clueless one).

Her efforts are all paying off. She’s lost over 11 pounds so far! The success has spurned her to add exercise into her routine and she’s making arrangements to get a treadmill so she can start walking/jogging.

For the first time in 30 years, BB’s doing it right. And it’s going to work this time. She’ll be slim and trim like her old high school self in no time!

Awesomesauce: Awesomesauce has always struggled with her weight; I think it’s one of the reasons we became such good friends, even though we didn’t talk about it much at first (we secretly bonded over it). A few years ago, she did Atkins and lost quite a bit of weight, then switched to Weight Watchers and ‘watched her weight’ go lower and lower. Then she fell in love, and – as is often a result of cohabitation – put all the weight she lost back on.

Good news, though! Awesomesauce – and Mr. Awesomesauce – have both made a commitment to return to a healthy lifestyle. They understand that getting better nutrition, exercising and losing weight will help them in all sorts of ways – lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, increasing self-confidence, decreasing stress, perhaps even an improved sex life *wink*wink*

Both Awesomesauce and her hubby have started watching their diet, and really sticking to it! And, I’m pleased to say that (thanks to my influence, lol) they’ve both started the Couch-to-5k program. They’ll be running fools!

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I’m so proud of Brown Betty and Awesomesauce (and Mr. Awesomesauce!) for making the commitment to lose the excess poundage for good. And since I know these people, and I know that they can do anything they put their minds to, I’m confident I’ll soon be surrounded with svelte hotties :)

There are others in my circle who are editing their lifestyles to be healthier, happier folks. No doubt, there are hundreds – THOUSANDS – more out there who are doing the same thing! To those of you working on getting in shape and losing weight, know that you’re not alone and that it can be done. And that YOU can do it.

Go team!

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Chugging Along

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

I’ve completed Week 2 of my 12-week half marathon training program! It wasn’t easy, but I’m proud to say that I didn’t miss a single workout. I had to rearrange things a little bit here and there due to weather and…  life, but I got in every single run.

The first week was difficult, but had the benefit of being exciting: I was starting a new training program! To prepare for my longest race yet! And I had all sorts of new running clothes!

That excitement was enough to propel me through Week 1, even though I was forced to run on the treadmill, which can be torturous. You see, one of the things I like most about running is being outside: The breeze (but not wind!); the sun (as long as it’s not too hot!); the people (as long as they don’t look at me funny!). And with the snow we were hit with, running outside wasn’t an option.

So Week 2 was even more difficult than the first: The excitement of starting the new program started to wear off, and I was still stuck running inside on the treadmill.

Until yesterday, when I ran OUTSIDE.

The sun actually emerged. My city had been shrouded in gloom, and then – remarkably – the sun came out! And, as I tend to do, I took advantage of that sun.

It was fantastic. It felt so good to be outside and running in the elements – not on a conveyor-belt inside a stuffy gym. It also was like running through an obstacle course: While many people have cleared their sidewalks, many still haven’t. This led to a lot of hopping and stretching and jumping. That part was difficult, but was still kinda fun.

What wasn’t fun were the sections of my route that don’t have sidewalks. Usually I run on the shoulders in these spots, but as the shoulders are filled with snow (not run-on-able snow, either), I had to run ON THE ROAD. Decidedly un-fun.

Tomorrow I’m scheduled to run 5 miles. It’s supposed to be a decent day here weather-wise, and I am planning to get outside again, foregoing the treadmill as much as possible. But this time, I’ll plan my route better, so as to avoid those pesky roads without sidewalks.

Week 3: Here we come!

PS – Yesterday’s weight was 169.5. Finally in the 160s!! 7.5 more to the big 1-0-0!

Gym Musings

Thursday, February 18th, 2010
  • People with long legs would survive a landslide more easily than those of us who are less vertically endowed: I was on the treadmill next to a man who was a bit taller than me. Even though our feet hit at the exact same time with every step, I was going at a 6.0 pace, and he was going 7.5. This is completely unfair.
  • Yesterday I walked by a girl about my age on the elliptical. She was pointing frantically and looked like she was shouting something – I actually thought she was yelling at me for a second – but no sound was coming from her lips. Turns out, she was just really into her music. For the duration of her workout, she pantomimed along to the music. I have no problem with this – to each his own, you know? – but if you do act like this at the gym, be aware that you’re in public, and it’s impossible not to notice such behavior…
  • It’s easier to do interval training (run at an easier pace, with short intervals of high speed) than to run at a pace in the middle consistently. You can end with the same pace overall, and studies show that you increase your fitness more quickly AND have a higher ‘after burn’ (burn more calories in the 24-hour period after working out). It’s win-win!
  • I no longer feel like the fattest person at my gym. In fact, I often feel good about myself at the gym. Of course, that’s only when I don’t see myself in the mirror. I have these pants that are definitely function over form – they are not at all flattering. I figure that if I wear those pants at the gym, I can exercise my self-confidence at the same time that I’m exercising my body.
  • Don’t forget your walkman – or to charge it – when heading to the gym. It makes for a long and boring cardio session.
  • Being next to people who are really putting in effort makes me try much harder than when I’m next to people who are half-assing it. And while I’m at it…
  • People who half-ass it at the gym get me all bent out of shape. What’s the point?! You’ve done the hard part: Getting out of the house and to the gym. Now make the most of it! Quit phoning it in and step it up a notch. You’ll see the results in short order :)

That is all. Thanks for listening.

The Tortoise Becomes The Hare – Kind of.

Friday, February 12th, 2010

Yesterday I went to the gym immediately before my Kung Fu class for my scheduled 2-mile run – the shortest distance I’ll run over the course of the next 3 months.

When I got to the gym, it was pretty crowded. The row of treadmills was full except for one that was out of service and another that had my name on it: Not only was it available and in working order, but it was between two girls who were both running.

I love running beside people who are really putting in effort – it pushes me to try harder. So this was perfect: The girl on my left was going 6.2 and the girl on my right was going 7.8 (yes, I peeked. I always peek, don’t you?). My usual starting pace these days is 5.5, so that’s what I put it on. I generally end up slowing to a 5.0/5.2 , and I average about 11:30 – 12:30 per mile.

Not yesterday, though.

After just 30 seconds or so at 5.5, I bumped it up to 6.0, where I stayed for a bit. It was tough, but the girls on either side of me kept pushing me. Not literally, of course, and not even verbally, because we didn’t talk at all. You know what I mean…

The treadmill I was on had a virtual track with a light that moved around it showing my progress; each lap equals 1/4 mile. For at least 2 of the 4 laps in my first mile, on the second half of the lap I bumped my speed up to 7.5.

If you’re not a treadmill runner and don’t have swanky technology that helps determine your pace (I don’t, and regular watches don’t count) it’s hard to know exactly how fast you’re going and get your precise pace for each mile. For me, 7.5 is fast. That’s an 8-minute mile. Recall that I average approximately 12 minutes per mile.

I’m happy to say that bumping up the intensity during that first mile got me my fastest (measured) mile at 9:27.

Of course, I couldn’t keep that up for both miles, but I was able to finish both miles in under 20 minutes! 19:28 total. So the second mile took me just 10:01, which is far faster than my typical pace, as well.

Believe me: By the end of that second mile I was dead. Clearly I’m not at the point where I can run at that pace for long distances, but it’s a start! It’s nice to see what I’m capable of.

The way my half marathon schedule is structured, there is one run each week that is much shorter than the rest (2 miles for the first 6 weeks; 3 miles for the last 6 weeks). My plan is to work on endurance on the other runs each week, and really push the speed on the short runs.

Just to see what happens.

For now? You can call me Flash :)

Weather Be Damned!

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Even if you don’t live on the East Coast, I’m sure that by now everyone’s heard of the current weather situation we’ve been dealing with: “Snowmageddon” as it’s being called. In a way, the crapload of snow we have is messing with my workout plans, and in another, it’s actually helping me as I get back in the running groove.

On Sunday, there was too much snow to run outside and my gym was closed, so I pushed my first run to Monday. It would have been tough to fit that in on Monday, though, because that’s when I have my Hip Hop class. But, that class was cancelled, and the gym was reopened, so I got my first run in just one day late.

On Tuesday, I should have had Kung Fu, but it was cancelled. In the late afternoon, though, the roads between my house and my gym weren’t too bad and my workload was light, so I took advantage and went down there for my next run (3 miles – still tough). It would have been a challenge to do both the run and Kung Fu in the same day on my first week – especially if I wasn’t able to cut out from work early. (Thanks, boss!)

Yesterday, the roads were awful again, but I needed to fit a rest day in there somewhere anyway.

Today, I know that I’ll get to the gym for my scheduled 2-mile run whenever I see an open window for it.

It’s like this: I know that I can’t just go for a run whenever I want to at this point in time, so whenever I see an opportunity for it, I seize it! Especially during this first week of trying to get into the swing of running 11+ miles per week again, it’s kind of nice to have that urgency due to the weather, as well as the forced relief from my other class commitments.

Not that I don’t miss Kung Fu and Hip Hop, because I do. They’re both a lot of fun and I’m ready to go back! It’s just helpful to have that break allowing me to ease into the half marathon training.

I love that I’m not letting the weather hold me back, even when some of my standard workouts aren’t available to me.

Take that, Snow Miser!

Curses!

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

Due to the large quantities of snow dumped onto my city over the weekend, I am unable to run outside for the time being (we’re expecting more tonight, too…). And, due to the power outages that resulted from the snow, my gym was closed on Sunday. Which meant I wasn’t able to start my training for the half marathon until yesterday.

But start I did: My schedule called for 3.5 miles, which I completed, but holy hell: It was HARD. (that’s what she said…)

I believe I’ve mentioned that I’ve made excuses for not keeping up with my running lately. Well let me tell you, it showed on the treadmill last night. I was struggling, bad. I didn’t have to walk, but I had that belt moving pretty slowly for a while there.

Previously, I was at the point in my running that 3.5 miles wasn’t too difficult. It seems I’ve lost a bit of fitness in the last month or two. Blast!

It’s good that I’ve found this out now, and I’m certainly not going to let it stop me. In fact, knowing that I’m not where I was is just more motivation to get back there – and then surpass it. I’ve found that my running improves only through consistency, and I’m terrible at being consistent without a schedule.

And now I have a schedule for the next 3 months, so that should help!

It Begins.

Saturday, February 6th, 2010

Tomorrow marks precisely 12 weeks (84 days!) before the Pittsburgh Half-Marathon I’ll be running. The majority of training schedules for the half are 12 weeks, and therefore, I’ll be starting to seriously train for this event tomorrow.

After checking out a number of different options, I’ve decided to use Hal Higdon’s Novice Half-Marathon Training Schedule as a guide. I’ve used some of his other training schedules in the past (8k and 10k) and have been happy with them, so I figured I’d stick to what works.

It’s been over a week since I’ve really run and – believe it or not – I actually miss it! I’m looking forward to getting out there again, and since I’m so much more consistent when I’m following a schedule, I know this is just the beginning.

Here’s my current concern, though: Pittsburgh got hit with a major snow storm last night and this morning. I’m from Buffalo, originally, so I’ve seen snow like this before, but not in the 10 years I’ve lived in the ‘burgh has as much snow come down all at once. A lot of trees were downed and thousands of homes and businesses were – or are still! – without power. We lost power for almost 24 hours… big pain in the butt.

The roads aren’t very well plowed and many sidewalks haven’t been shoveled yet; clearly not ideal conditions for running outside. And, my gym was closed today due to a power outage. I’m concerned that they will be closed tomorrow as well. If that’s the case, where do I run?

I guess I’ll call my gym in the morning and see if they’re open. If not, I’ll do a quick reconnaissance mission around the neighborhood to see if it’s safe to run outside. If neither of those prove successful, I may have to put off my training start until Monday (unless anyone has any other suggestions for me!).

I’m confident that one of those two options will be available to me. I’m pretty optimistic that I’ll be running tomorrow, one way or another.

Btw: Thank you for all the props at my 90-pound loss milestone! Between here and my Facebook page (wanna be a fan?!) I’ve received a number of congratulations and I’m humbled by your support. I feel great about how far I’ve come, and having finally hit this number that has eluded me for so long has reenergized me in my quest to lose the next 22 to get to my original goal of 150. So yeah, thanks :)

Two Steps Forward

Friday, February 5th, 2010

Good news, friends! After months of dancing around – but never hitting – 172, this morning I hit the elusive 90-pound loss mark!

That’s ninety. NINE-OH. Holy smokes :)

I’ve been focusing much more closely on what I’ve been eating. No more crackers, for one thing. I’ve also been eating out minimally again. Thankfully, for the next month or so I have no plans that will take me out of town (always a huge challenge food-wise), so I’m confident that I can not only maintain this lovely breakthrough, but surpass it.

Now that I’ve lost 90-pounds, my next mini-goal is to leave the 170’s behind me as I bust into the 160’s. Hopefully that’s just a week or two away!

It’s funny: I’ve begun so many diets in my life. I remember in particular starting a diet when I was about 14 (cabbage soup diet, anyone?) and weighing 164. Obviously, at 14, 164 is overweight. But now? That will be a fabulous weight. Hell – when I get back to that I’ll be 2 pounds away from 100-pounds lost.

It’s absolutely insane to me that I once started a diet weighing 164… and then gained 100 pounds instead. Talk about a failed diet!

Today I had lunch with a client and two of her colleagues who I had never met previously. My client (who I hadn’t seen in a while) asked if I had lost weight. I told her that yes, in fact I have lost weight. Then she asked how much and – high on my new goal – I was happy to tell them. Not surprisingly, they were all pretty surprised. One of the women was a bit overweight; the other not at all. The one who wasn’t overweight was very interested, asking questions about how I did it, how long it took, etc,  and the one who was overweight seemed to be dying for a subject change. I was happy to move on to another topic myself, as I could sense her discomfort, but the others kept asking questions. I felt bad for her: It’s not easy to lose weight. And it’s definitely not easy to be around folks who have lost weight while you sit there with a plate of beef enchiladas covered in sour cream in front of you.

However, I refuse to feel bad about my success. I’ve worked hard. And even though I know it sometimes makes people feel uncomfortable or envious, I’m damn proud of myself.

I’ve lost 90 pounds!