Yesterday’s three mile run was terrible. I felt like I was slogging through molasses. Conditions were very similar to my terrific run on Friday, so it was either asthma or I hadn’t eaten enough. I might have overestimated the calories in my rice and tamari soup. I’m temporarily adding back in the tsp of sugar in my morning lattes while I figure this out.
After my run, I came home and had a lackluster stretch session. My right hip still feels “stuck.” There’s something weird about the alignment of my pelvis, but I’m not sure what. I do know when I lie on my stomach with my knees apart and the soles of my feet touching, my right “hip-bone” doesn’t really touch the ground like my left. If I could figure out what’s going on and then fix it, I would probably see lots of improvement. A visit to a chiropractor is definitely on my list of things to do when we have extra money again.
We’re going through some temporary difficult times right now– nothing too bad and nothing we can’t work through– but it means making some small sacrifices. That makes this the perfect time to experiment with my diet! I’ve long been intrigued by the concept of macrobiotics and I tend to like to eat the same thing over and over. I also like food that is simple to prepare and easy to transport. I’ve gotten hooked on Clif Builder’s Bars, which are delicious and accidentally vegan, but which also contain way too much sugar. I’m at that age where I have to pay attention to my skin and I’ve read that too much sugar makes the skin look unhealthy. Because of losing 65 pounds (with about 18 to go), I definitely have loose skin. Some of the remedies are not available to me because they are not vegan, but I can certainly make an effort to cut back on my sugar and make healthier food choices. I need to do this anyway since as I mentioned yesterday I’ve been promoted to Level 4 in pole class and I need to pay attention to my nutrition to have the energy to do three Level 4 classes a week.
I’m going to ease into this change by making a couple of small changes in the first week of September. I won’t add any extra sugar to my morning soy lattes (the vanilla soymilk I use has sugar in it) and I’m going to try one or two macrobiotic-type meals a day. I’m going to continue to limit my caffeine to before 3pm and only two a day. I will try to report my progress here.
In other news, yesterday’s three mile run was fantastic! I ran at an easy 11-ish mile pace and only really felt like I was pushing it at the top of the two nasty hills on my route. I’m eager to run a timed, flat 5K and see if I can finish under 30. I will give it a few weeks, though. Pretty soon, I can add a mile to one of my runs. Gotta get up to 13.1 by December! I feel good about it. It’s amazing what losing weight can do for your running!
This week, I finally got the courage to ask whether I was ready to move up to Level 4 at my pole studio! My teacher asked how I felt about my strength and spins, and I feel pretty good about them! I was waiting for her to suggest that I should move up, but I think they prefer to wait until the student shows readiness in part by asking. I’m very excited, even though this means being a clumsy beginner again, in Level 4. Level 4 is said to be the level that separates the women from the girls. Luckily, the schedule works out so I can keep going to my beloved Level 2 and 3 classes, where I can feel at least a bit competent.
Level 4 is going to be tough, especially since I have three days in a row with Level 4 classes. I will have to be really careful with nutrition and make sure I don’t live on ramen and soy lattes on that day. I should look for some protein bar recipes. I’m addicted to the Clif Builder’s Bars, but they get expensive and I’m sure two or three a day aren’t really the healthiest choices for me.
Tonight is an “easy” three mile run and then splits training. I’m working on splits six days a week, three days in classes, and three days at home. Tomorrow is a rest day from everything. Yay!
My site was down for a while after it was exploited and used for spam attacks. But now I’m back and my site is secure again. I’m thinking about the direction I want to take with this site. For more than ten years, it was a place for me to document my futile attempts to lose weight. Now, I’ve lost the majority of the weight I want to lose, so I think I want to focus on feats of strength and speed and thinking about the implications of weight loss.
I’ve now lost 66 pounds of the 80 I want to lose. I’m about 15 pounds away from my lifetime goal weight of 118 pounds. I’m absolutely thrilled with my progress. It really has been as simple as eating fewer calories than I burn. There are too many people out there who want to tell you that weight loss is complicated. It’s not. It’s insanely simple. But it is not always easy. This past week, I ate more calories than I burned because I was sad. That happens. It’s not the end of the world, it was only a week, and it did not ruin my life. I’m about three pounds up, but because I’ve been a successful loser, I know it will come off when I get back to doing the right things.
The thing is, people will tell lies about weight loss. They’ll lie to themselves about how many calories they eat. I know. I’ve done it. Calories add up, though. I can easily meet my weight loss calorie limit just through little snacks here and there throughout the day. I can eat too much without eating a single meal. When people are unwilling to admit that to themselves, they will not be able to get the body they want.
I have no problem with people who are happy with where they are. Frankly, other people’s bodies aren’t my business and I don’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about them. However, I have actually had the experience of being verbally attacked because I was publicly happy about losing weight. When someone tells me I can’t express happiness about reaching a goal, I have to assume she is not as happy with her body as she claims she is. Someone who is really secure about her own body is not going to attack someone else for being pleased about reaching a physical goal. My weight loss goal is important to me because I am not a gifted runner. I have to give my body every advantage if I ever want to qualify for Boston. That means being very light, perhaps even lighter than 118 pounds. But even if my goal were purely for vanity, it’s all right because this is my body and it is my right to decide how I want it to look.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot since I discovered the dark side of “body acceptance,” which is a lack of acceptance for thin bodies or people who want thin bodies. I have a feeling that this theme will come up a lot on this blog in the future. This is a site where it is okay to want to be thin and it’s good to work hard to achieve goals. And in today’s society of gluttony, this is a site where it is okay to rigorously maintain a specific weight. Yes, I weigh myself every day. I don’t beat myself up over it because it’s just data, but when the trends show I am eating too much, then I need to eat less. That’s all. There’s no moralizing here, no “good” or “bad” or “evil.” Simply, my goal is to weigh 118 and if the scale is not moving in that direction, then I am not doing what I should be doing to reach that goal. Once I am 118, I will continue to weigh myself every day for the rest of my life. It’s not good or bad, it just is what I have to do to look the way I want to look and feel the way I want to feel.
I’ve had asthma for a while, probably since I was stationed in Korea in 1990-1991. For a long time, it was “just” exercise-induced asthma that I could keep under control by taking albuterol before running. While I was in grad school and didn’t have time to exercise (working two jobs, raising two kids, going to grad school full time– I do not recommend that approach), my EI turned into “real” asthma. It was also treatment resistant. I basically have to take a COPD drug (which I hate because it ruins my voice– painful for someone who made a living with my voice for a while.) Recently, I downloaded an app to keep track of my peak flow and discovered that my peak flow is much better on days that I run. I have long suspected that regular exercise kept my asthma under control for nearly 16 years, but now it seems I have proof. I’m going to keep an eye on the numbers and see what happens. I’d really like to have my voice back.
I’m finally reading Daniels’ Running Formula – 2nd Edition. After I finish the Couch to 5K plan and run a couple 5Ks, I’m thinking of planning a schedule built around his concepts. The 5K results will help give me an idea of where to start with my paces. Right now, my fitness is barely high enough for his pace charts! I have a long way to go.
Tonight’s run was week 3 of Couch to 5K, the one that has the 3 minutes of running in a row for the first time. While I can run 3 minutes in a row at a slow pace, I’m trying to get faster. My first 3-minute repeat was at a 9:30 pace, my second at a 10:20 pace. Slower than I want, but I did manage to time my warm-up so that all of my running repeats were uphill. Wednesday, I’ll warm up longer so I have more favorable inclines!
I finally feel well enough to run! I decided to get back into it by doing the Couch to 5K program. I’m running the intervals faster than I normally run– about an 8-minute-mile pace vs. an 11-minute-mile pace. I’m on week two and surprised myself by being able to keep up the faster pace for a minute and a half. Week 3 might be a challenge because there are 3-minute running segments. I’ve never really pushed my speed before in all of my years running. I don’t even understand concepts like “comfortably hard.” For me, there has only been “easy” and “OMG, I’m going to die!”
I also joined Run Your BQ, a site by Jason Fitzgerald and Matt Frazier. I felt strange signing up since I am still so far away from even thinking of running a BQ, but I was happy to see that there are others who are pretty far away as well. It seems to be a good program that includes strength work as well as a variety of running workouts. A key to my joining is that Matt Frazier is plant-based and I really need good resources for getting faster as a vegan. Being vegan is not optional for me, so sites like Spark People, that sneer at vegans, are useless to me. I was so happy to see that this program includes info for us.
I’m very sore right now. I got a great workout Sunday night playing with a four-year-old for hours. I’m fueling now for tonight’s run– Week 2, workout 2. I’m using my Garmin 305 to alert me if I’m running slower than 9:30. I need to get a better feel for pace and I need to work on pushing myself.
There’s a decent-sized 5K in town next month and I think my son and I are going to try to run it.
The Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon
My calf still hurts, so I’m still not running. I think I’m just about to the point where I can start walking again. My injuries are educational– they tell me that something is wrong. When I deal with one area of concern, something else pops up, which tells me I am out of alignment somewhere. I’m probably out of alignment everywhere, really. So I’ve been using the Alignment Snacks from the Restorative Exercise Institute to work on various areas. So far, I’m working on Adductor Madness and Balance… with Lateral Hips. They’re about half an hour long and deal with the little alignment muscles and areas that don’t often get a lot of attention. Now I’m trying to decide which one to do next.
I’m trying to be smart about getting back to running. I want to run and I want to run fast, but I also want to run uninjured. I need to walk a lot more and fix all these problems before I can do that.
I made it to 20 days last Thursday. Thursday evening, my left calf felt twingey, so I decided to rest on Friday. That was probably a good idea. That evening, I decided to take my dogs on the same hilly walk around the block we always take, wearing Vibrams (very common for my walk.) About five minutes into the walk, while going up a hill, I felt a searing pain in my left calf. It’s often described as feeling like someone hit you in the back of the leg with a ball or a bat. It took me about 40 minutes to limp home– a distance of less than a mile.
I spent the weekend resting and icing and compressing and elevating. I have some bruises on the outside of my leg, probably caused by blood pooling, but nothing too bad. It hurts to walk, though, and it hurts when I get up in the morning. At this point I’m still self-treating, since I’m doing all the things a doctor would tell me to do anyway.
It’s possible that ramping up my mileage so quickly contributed to the injury, but I felt great right up until the day that I didn’t. I think a bigger contributor is the cant on the road, the fact that I almost always run on the left, and the hills. Also, my left side is noticeably weaker than my right side.
Obviously, I’m off running for at least a month. I’ll be going to the pool and doing upper body exercises to stay fit in the meantime. When the leg doesn’t hurt any more, I’ll get on my exercise bike. And when I’m ready to run again, I’ll probably spend a few weeks just running a quarter or half mile on a track or the treadmill every other day, only if the leg doesn’t hurt. And I’m going to wear compression socks from now on. I do not want this to happen again.
I had kind of a breakthrough today (day 17 of my streak.) Today was the first day I woke up sore. I didn’t sleep very well and I seriously considered taking a rest day from running (which would have been fine– I’m not married to my streak.) Then I thought about the fact that another slow easy run today would be another slow easy run toward my goal. Since I’d be wearing my heart rate monitor, I would know right away whether today was going to end up being a walking day.
Well, as these things happen, today I had a bit of a breakthrough. I run a very hilly course– I’m pretty sure there isn’t even a yard of it that’s not either incline or decline. I tried to focus on running slowly enough that I could run for a longer distance before my heart rate gets too high. I was really pleased that I made it almost the first mile before having to walk and was able to run all the way up and over several of the smaller hills. I also almost ran into a mom running with her stroller and dog because I was focusing so hard on running up a hill! Ooops. I think there were no hard feelings– after all, she’s probably run up the very same hill (which is one of the two very evil hills on my daily route.)
Although I ran slightly slower, I ran more of the route, which makes me feel like I’m making progress. I want to get to the point where I can continuously run at least the easy 2.8-mile route. That’s when I’ll start doing a weekly tempo run.
After the run, I did push-ups, bench presses, flyes, tricep dips, and kickbacks. Trying for strength and endurance without building any mass. Since I’m mostly mesomorph, I build muscle pretty easily, but if I add any more lean mass, I won’t be able to get down to the racing weight that I hope will get me to Boston. Obviously, though, I don’t want to lose any lean mass either.
I’m pretty excited because today I saw a number on the scale that I haven’t seen since 1999. 149.5! Yesterday, I was excited because I hit 50 pounds lost, so today was just icing on the cake. Today is the day I start trying to eat more often. And I’m back to logging my food on My Fitness Pal. Whatever I’m doing is working, so I need to track that!
Today was day 14 of my baby running streak. I did the longest run of the streak so far: 4 miles. Tomorrow is “long run” day, so assuming I get up early enough to run outside, I’ll do either five or six miles. It depends on what my heart rate says to do. Yesterday, I didn’t get up early enough to run outside and I didn’t want to run on the treadmill, so I went out after dark. It was not a great run. This morning’s run was much better. Guess I really am an outside, morning runner. I never thought of myself that way, but I guess it goes with my philosophy of acting like a marathoner. A marathoner gets up early in the morning and runs, so that’s what I do. Fake it til you make it, right? (And while I have finished a marathon and I have the magnet on my car, I don’t really feel like a marathoner. That’s my own issue, and should not reflect on how anyone else feels about their marathon time. I just know I can do much, much better– I’ve just never tried hard enough.)
Yesterday, I started doing weights again. I did a short premix of Cathe Friedrich’s Gym Style Chest & Triceps. Today I did core and hips (my own workout based on exercises I found online). Tomorrow will be Cathe’s Gym Style back, biceps, and shoulders. I won’t be doing leg work other than deadlifts for at least a few more weeks, but I do need to strengthen my core, glutes, and triceps particularly. I’m feeling the daily runs mostly in my ribs and triceps. It’s going to be a challenge working through the daily exercises.