Another bi weekly post, since I didn’t bother posting last week. So I’ll recap both weeks.
I’m down this week, both over last week and over the two week mark, which I’ll take. I had gained a pound last week, which is gone plus a bit more. So yay for that.
I’ve been working hard to get my head back in the loss vs. “I care but I really don’t care because I am making all the wrong choices” mindset. It came to a head Monday morning for me when I saw a number on the scale that I haven’t seen in a long time. Certainly not this calendar year. I’d dipped back into a different “decade” on the scale, and it was the wake up call I needed to be more aware and cognizant.
My weight has been steadily increasing since June and I’ve done little to stop it other than watch the march upwards. I’d even stopped tracking in My Fitness Pal, which I know always leads to trouble. So Monday, I started again. Tried making better choices. Haven’t always succeeded but I’m doing better than I was. Which is a start.
I’m honestly grateful the scale showed a loss this week because if it had showed a gain I am not sure I would be motivated to continue. I would be frustrated and angry, as I have clearly been over the last few months, and handled it the wrong way, the worst way: by throwing caution (even more) to the wind with my food choices.
So back to what I know works. I don’t need a cleanse, or pricey meal plans, or prepackaged foods to lose weight. I just need to follow what I know works for me: less processed foods, fewer carbs, more lean meats and vegetables, more water, less alcohol. That’s it. That’s all. If I just do that, I’ll lose, plain and simple. It seems complicated, I make it complicated, but it’s really not. It’s simple. Make one good choice. Then another. Then another. More good ones than bad ones. The choices get easier each time you make a good one. And then suddenly you’re on the right track again.
That’s where I need to be.
Current Week:-1.4 lbs over last week, .4 over two weeks ago
Total Weight Left To Lose: 16.6 lbs
I approached yesterday’s 5K with a a healthy dose of optimism and trepidation. On the one hand, I have been training for the 5K distance to improve speed since late August, so I knew I’d be prepared for it. On the other hand, I haven’t run a timed race for two months, which is one of the longest stretches I’ve gone. I wasn’t sure what to expect.
This race wasn’t on my radar, but through my work on our local Board of Education, I am involved with this local educational services group, which provides special education and school readiness services to students in all of SW CT. I’ve gotten to know the director a little because he runs, and I run, and we keep running into each other (pun intended) at races. Of course he is about 14 minutes faster than me on a 5K, but still. We both appreciate what it takes to roll out of bed early on a Saturday or Sunday and lace up.
The weather was beautiful, in the forties and clear blue skies. I got to the race site, a park right on Long Island Sound (I know, you’re shocked) and marveled at how perfect the weather was. I had high hopes.
I chatted a bit with the director about the course, which he promised was the flattest he’d ever run. Awesome! He also told me that the signups were lower than they’d like, less than a hundred going into the morning. I was shocked. This is the seventh year of this race, I am not sure why it hasn’t taken off. I’d actually met with him and his team this summer to talk about growing their race, but unfortunately the woman at the head of it resigned suddenly a few weeks ago. Too bad, because you simply couldn’t beat the location.
The park features one of the Sandy Ground playgrounds. For those not from CT, you may not realize that an organization called Where Angels Play, which consists mostly of local fire and police, took on a mission of creating memorial playgrounds for each of the Sandy Hook victims in areas ravaged by Hurricane Sandy. The events, as you recall, took place just over a month apart and hit this area hard. The playgrounds are a sign of hope and optimism out of two very real disasters. Seaside Park in Bridgeport features the playground dedicated to Josephine Gay. I snapped a few pictures and felt heavy in my heart about the latest school shooting just the day before, and how little our world has changed.
Finally it was time to line up at the start. A girlfriend from my town came to the race as well, and I sent her to the front of the small pack as I lined up in the back, feeling a sense of dread. In a small race it would likely mean I would be alone, being as slow as I am. I hoped the course was well marked so I didn’t get lost.
The race started right on time. They weren’t kidding; the course ran along the water the whole way, a truly flat course. Beautiful! I did my best to not get too caught up in the herd, but also not take it too easy, for the first mile. My Runkeeper was telling me I was going fast, probably too fast to be able to keep up with. The first mile was fast and I held an 11:11 min/mile pace through it.
I started feeling my energy flag during the second mile. Still, I was really hoping for a great time here, the course was seriously flat. I kept pushing. I slowly passed people who had gone out too quickly. And surprisingly, even though it was a small race, I had a group of three our four all around me. As we approached the water stop, I willed myself to keep going. I routinely run without water for a 5K and it wasn’t hot. I didn’t need it. I kept the pace mostly even, just dropping a little during mile two: 11:19.
I’m not sure what happened after the turnaround. It was the same course, beautiful and flat. But I really started to struggle. It was very sunny and even though it was 50 or so degrees, my long sleeved tech shirt seemed too hot and I was sweating a lot. There was a bit of a wind we were running into as well. All around me it seemed the people I was keeping pace with were struggling. A woman near me broke into run/walk breaks. I finally joined her at one point for 30 seconds, just to kind of hit the reset button and get back into a groove. I hit mile 3 not knowing where I was time wise, knowing that I hadn’t hit 35 minutes yet. Mile 3 shows the struggle: 11:51.
After the mile three marker, I expected to see the finish line right around the corner. But it wasn’t. It was still a good distance away, and I knew that the course had to be long. There was no way that was only 0.1 mile from that marker, it seemed so far away. Still, I pushed myself as much as I had left in me to cross, and was truly pissed off when I saw the clock turn to 36:xx as I approached.
Official time 36:12, which is about a minute slower than I’d expected I’d run the course.
When we all were cooling down afterwards, many told me that they too felt that the course had to be long. Everyone’s GPS tracked it at 3.17, 3.19, 3.2. Sure enough, when I spoke to the director, he admitted that the course was a bit short last year so they had moved the finish line. He too seemed surprised at how slow his time was because of the flat course, and realized that perhaps they had moved the finish line a bit too far.
Which made me feel slightly better, but still a little frustrated with myself that I didn’t run faster. I had hoped to get in UNDER 35 minutes, which should have put me somewhere in 35 and change even if the course was long. I’ve been working on speed for months, but I suppose since my weight is up and I didn’t plan out my week well (ate and drank plenty on Friday and did 1.5 hours of bootcamp) that might have affected my performance.
Even so, I’d definitely do this course again, just adjusting my expectations for the slightly longer course. It was truly flat and seaviews the entire time. Just beautiful. And my fears of being alone were unfounded; this isn’t an “elite” race so there were several people nearby all the time, which made me feel better.
My friend ended up taking second place in our age division since she’s Speedy McSpeederson.
So onto next week’s 5K, which has been my goal race for months to crack the 35 minute mark. We’ll see if I can do it with better planning and forethought this week. It’s the Vicki Soto 5K, which I ran last year. It promises to be an emotional, and special, day.
I haven’t disappeared. I’m still out here. I am not one of those weight loss bloggers that disappears when the going gets rough. I’m still here. I’m still trying. I am still plugging away (and sometimes, still sabotaging myself).
I honestly have stopped posting every Wednesday because it feels like rinse and repeat. I either brag about the miniscule loss I have been able to post at the scale or I complain about the gain. Back and forth, over and over. I discuss my headspace which is either in the game or out of it. I go up and down in motivation, I go up and down in food choices, I go up and down in exercise routines and levels.
I read a lot of blogs about health, running and weight loss and I find myself continuously amazed (and definitely jealous) of those that seem to have this all figured out. Ones that are consistently losing and really in control. Or the runners that are knocking out run times routinely that I only dream about. I feel like even when I have my stuff together, it isn’t ever really together. I just happen to have had a string of decent days or weeks.
I’m still way up over my numbers this spring, but I happen to have posted a loss this week. That’s likely because the number was elevated from a girls’ weekend the week before. I’m grateful for that and recognizing the positive choices I made last week to get the number on the scale lower. If it had gone higher I would have pushed into territory I haven’t seen for eighteen months, and that would be very disheartening.
I guess what I am trying to say is that I’m still here, still going at it, not giving up, but recognizing that this is a road I think I will always be on. I have to put in place the permanent kind of changes (no bread at meals, no second helpings, fewer carbs/grains in general, less alcohol) that are the difference between near my goal and nowhere near my goal.
I have definitely realized in the last few weeks that the exercise thing, which is always pretty consistent for me, simply is not the way I will lose these pounds. The food choices are where the weight loss comes in. I’m not saying the exercise isn’t important, because it is. It improves my cardiovascular fitness and energy and mood, but it isn’t going to help me lose weight (maintain weight yes, lose weight no).
So for now, my head is above water. I’m still here. And I’m still trying.
Current Week:-1.6 lbs
Total Weight Left To Lose: 17 lbs
Well, I can paint this one of two ways: since my last weigh in post two weeks ago, I’m up 0.2. That would make me feel a little better about the number I saw on the scale this morning. 0.2 isn’t that much.
Except I didn’t write a weigh in post last week. If I had, I would have written that I was down 1.2. Great right? But if you put that together, that means I’m up 1.4 pounds over last week. YIKES! That’s a big jump, and officially puts me at my highest weight in the last 12 months. WTF is wrong with me?
I can tell it to you straight up in one word: wine.
I’ve written about it before, but seriously, I have got to get a grip. I’m drinking two glasses minimum a day at this point and I have to seriously break the habit. I’m so disappointed in myself. I have gained nearly eight pounds since my low point in March. This is how putting on weight starts. You get used to a little bit here, and then a little more, and then all of the sudden you’re up twenty pounds. I was pretty stable most of the year until the summer hit, and then I don’t know what happened. I am Off The Freaking Rails, people. It’s not a happy place to be, and I’m not sure where to find the motivation to fix it.
Not only that, but my beloved bootcamp studio closed its doors this week. The bootcamp studio where I finally learned how to be active and strong, where I finally found the courage to try new things, new exercises, feel capable. I feel lost right now. I need to find my way. I know what to do. I don’t need a diet plan or a meal plan or a cleanse. I know what to do. I just have to, HAVE TO, force myself to make the hard choices instead of giving up a little bit every day.
Which kind of tells you what September looked like. September was a crap month in terms of progress towards my goals.
1. Run at least one race a month.
I did not run a September race. I ran two races in August, and there just weren’t any great choices. I will run two races in October, a trail run that I will do “virtually” and then a 5K for a local education foundation.
2. New Goal: 5K in under 35 minutes.
I am still working my My Asics plan. I’m in the “Getting Faster” phase, and since I am working towards a 5K race, it means right now all of my runs are 2 miles, which seems weird after having gone for big distance goals earlier this year. But I do see the sense in it for improving speed. Right now all of my runs are either interval runs, where I am trying to maintain a very fast (for me) pace for 5-6 min at a stretch, or a “faster than usual” run, which means a steady pace but faster than what I have been doing. Right now those runs are showing some improvement in speed at the 2 mile distance. I’m hopeful that with a few weeks left to train before my next race, I will be able to hit this goal and maybe even shave another minute off of it.
Finally reach my goal weight.
Obviously I’ve already mentioned this. :( I am now sixteen and a half pounds off of what I have in my head as my goal weight. It was in single digits earlier this year. I’m so frustrated by it. I feel like I am in this vicious circle. What is it in my head that I had been tapping into and that I am currently not? It’s OK to be hungry sometimes. Cantaloupe can be just as satisfying as popcorn. And that’s the kicker, is that I really don’t eat a lot of crap. But clearly I am eating too much. Because I am so short, I pretty much have to either run a zillion miles a day or I have to eat very few calories. Because I know at the end of the day, it is always the food that will make or break your weight loss. My exercise is good, and I continue to blow away each goal I set for myself there. The weight is all about the food.
I have seriously got to get my head back in the game.
Current Week:+1.4 lbs
Total Weight Left To Lose: 16.6 lbs
Yeah, I know the calendar reads Thursday. You know what that means. When it has been two weeks since I post about a weigh in, and I finally am forcing myself to do it a day late it can only mean one thing: the scale is up.
But I refuse to be one of those bloggers that simply disappear when the going gets tough. Yes, I have gained one pound since last week. Yes, I am hitting panic stations with my weight. Yes, with the cooler weather my pants that fit so nicely last spring are on the snug side. Yes to all of that. But that means that I need to really be forcing myself to think about why that is and really hashing that out. Not ignoring it. Ignoring it means that I just keep on keeping on, and that isn’t working so well right now.
So why am I not making better choices? Because when it comes down to it, it’s the food. Exercise has been pretty great all year, even with my summer drop off in running. I’m working on a new 5K training program to improve speed, and while it is HARD, I am doing my runs. I am not slacking off. I am not skipping out on what i need to do. What is different between that and food?
I honestly don’t know. I know how great it feels to drop the weight. I know how great it feels to eat healthy, unprocessed food. But some times, too many times, the little voice in my head says, “Just go ahead. One more won’t hurt. A little more is OK. You might as well finish it. It’s no big deal. You can do better tomorrow.”
And then the vicious circle stuff kicks in. Today I actually looked at my reflection and thought, “God, I wish I’d been born pretty. How different my life would have been if I had just been more attractive.” The self loathing teams up with the questionable self control and before you know it, it’s a battle of wills that usually ends up somewhere in the bottom of a bowl or glass. “Well, I might not be pretty, but at least this popcorn/granola/chardonnay/cake/whatever makes me feel good.”
Somewhere, somehow, I have to quiet the crap that lives in the dark recesses of my head and remind myself of the good stuff. The healthy patterns that lead to healthy thoughts and healthy living. I have to find the lightness of heart that will help me bring the lightness back to my body.
Current Week:+1 lbs
Total Weight Left To Lose: 16.4 lbs
The end of another month. Another mixed bag in terms of my progress and goals. It’s an odd feeling to be proud of myself and frustrated with myself all at the same time, but that’s where I am at the start of the ninth month of the year.
At least I didn’t gain this week. That’s a plus. It still puts me at my high point for the year, but the high point hasn’t elevated any higher. :( I didn’t lose either, but after a frustrating few weeks, I’m happy with simply not gaining.
In terms of progress towards my yearly goals, here’s where I am:
1. Run at least one race a month.
I actually ran two races last month, the MADD Dash and the Newtown Road Race. I was unhappy with my performance in the MADD, but really psyched about my results at the NRR. Both inspired me to work specifically on 5K race times.
2. Distance Goals.
My 2 10Ks and my half have been done for a while. Which is why I have devoted the last part of this year to improving my speed.
3. New Goal: 5K in under 35 minutes.
I have yet to run a 5K in less than 35 minutes. The closest I came was last March on a cool day and a flat course. I have another race coming up on 11/1 that should be similar. I am now using a My ASICS training plan to help me reach this goal. More on that in future posts. Right now the plan is slowly building me up to running faster. Today’s run will be three intervals with negative splits per mile.
1. Finally reach my goal weight.
I am actually up half a pound over July, so obviously wrong direction. :( I only have three months to now shed 15 lbs so this goal is not looking likely. I struggle with why of all of my goals I just can’t seem to commit to this one. I keep thinking maybe I need to do some sort of a whole foods cleanse (I don’t believe in those shake kinds) where I really get back to whole, unprocessed food with less sugar and carbs. I want to look into this over the next seven days.
2. Cut back to one drink a night on weeknights.
Blew this one badly this month. Basically managed it for a week. :( Sigh. I know it works when I do this, so I need to recommit.
3. No snacking after 8pm.
I haven’t done too badly here unless I’ve been out at parties or gatherings with friends. But I need to make it a hard and fast rule in my head, and like most of my food choices lately, it’s felt more like a very flexible guideline.
4. 3 Salads As Meals Per Week
I’ve been doing very well with this one. I can turn most leftovers into a salad. I’ve definitely been doing this at least three days a week if not more.
So that’s where I am. Still pushing forward with fitness, still struggling with food and weight. Really need to find some inspiration and fun ways to get myself back on track with the food. Because it all just seems great for a few days and then goes to pot. I can’t really understand why I am so disciplined with my fitness goals but less so with my weight goals. I seriously need to find a way to make the food choices as fun and rewarding as I find the fitness.
Current Week: 0 lbs
Total Weight Left To Lose: 15.8 lbs
I ran the Newtown Road Race last year for the first time. It was the first time I had simply woken up and just decided to run a race that day, without pre registering. The day was hot, humid and while I was glad I showed up and helped a great cause, I was very disappointed with my time.
I hoped to run it again this year and vindicate myself, but after my awful performance in the MADD Dash two weeks ago I wasn’t sure if I should. I had decided (and meant to post about it but haven’t) that after that race I was going to seriously concentrate on getting my 5K times down. I’ve done the distance goals I set myself for this year, and now I have a new goal: running a 5K under 35 minutes. I started a My ASICS training program towards that end two weeks ago, but I’m only two weeks in. I knew running this race, which is a hilly course, wouldn’t be anywhere close to that. Should I go or should I skip it, and get some more training in?
In the end, when I mentioned the race to my son who is visiting from DC this week, he wanted to run with me. We’ve talked a lot about my newfound running habit, and he had even started running a bit himself before the birth of his daughter. We’ve always talked about running a race together, and this seemed like a great time to do it.
After last year’s hot and humid day, they moved the start time up to 8am for this race. I was glad for it, and wish more summer races in this area would do the same. That hour on a summer day can mean the difference of five to eight degrees, and that can be a serious thing out running. So we got up at 6 and got to the race site by 7 to register and get ready for the race.
My son had asked me if we would see anyone I knew. I remembered last year that I hadn’t really known anyone at the race, which had been a surprise since Newtown is the town right next door. I told him I didn’t think I would, but sure enough we ran into a few people that I know from other races. We spent the wait time amiably chatting with them. It was nice to have someone there with me to pass the hour and it went very quickly.
Finally it was time to head out to the start line. I asked my son what his goal was and he said he wanted to run the race between 25 and 30 minutes. Wow! I was surprised at the ambitious goal for someone who doesn’t run regularly, but hoped he could do it. As for me, I had in my head last year’s time of 38:41, and last week’s time of 38:24, and hoped to beat them by at least a minute to feel better about both of them.
The race started right on time and we were off. There’s a hill in the first quarter mile; you can actually see it from the start line. It looks honestly bigger than it is. People who ran out hard were already stopping for a walk and we weren’t even that far in. I hardly noticed it because I spent most of the first few minutes trying to get my RunKeeper to find it’s GPS groove. I stayed with the pack and probably ran faster than I normally would have because I wasn’t paying so much attention. I felt it at the top of the hill, slowed a bit, but kept going.
It was a lot cooler for this race than the previous year, and the sun actually disappeared pretty quickly behind the clouds. This made all the difference for me. I had my hat on, but honestly didn’t need it to keep the sun off my face because the clouds took over. I spent most of the first mile just really trying to maintain a faster pace than I normally do. At some point I thought: let’s push and really see how long we can keep that up.
I kept it up for about a mile and a half before I really started feeling it. And then I started thinking about a training run my friend and I did this week. We ran/walked intervals and when it was over, I was surprised to find how fast our running intervals were. They were faster than I thought they felt, likely because we had the recovery of the intervals. So I told myself I was going to use some well timed intervals (aka hills) to try and see if I could gain some speed.
By mile two I was feeling tired because I was pushing hard, harder than I normally do. But in my head I knew if I kept it up, I could really score a much better time. I started using 30 minute walk breaks to keep my speed up for the runs. People were slowing all around me, and I started playing a passing game with several of them; we were all doing the same thing, using run and walk breaks to power through.
The last mile or so of this run is on a trail. You really have to watch your footing and be careful because it is rocky and not terribly smooth. I kept my head down and paid attention because I could easily see twisting an ankle or something. This portion of the race seemed long, but what was great about it was that once you hit the pavement, you were at the three mile mark. I was surprised, and grateful, that the finish line was right around the corner; not far at all.
I ran as fast as I could towards it, mustering below a 10:00 pace for that last bit and crossing at 36:34, well below last year’s time. I was honestly shocked at how much faster I’d run it. Even faster than my race two weeks ago, by nearly two minutes, and that was a flat course!
I know part of the reason for the speed was the weather. The cloudy, cooler day was definitely part of it. Even two weeks ago was warmer, sunny and I hadn’t remembered my hat, and I felt it. I also have been running regularly the last two weeks and I hadn’t before that last race, so that’s part of it too. But still. Part of it too was definitely my head space: I mentally pushed myself to run harder, faster, and it showed. Finally, I think allowing the intervals helped. I know Jeff Galloway is popular for a reason, but I think there’s something to well timed intervals that can help you power through.
When I crossed the finish line I saw my son and friends waiting for me, and was grateful that I’d scored a more respectable time. When I finally got to the food area and had water and a banana in me, I asked them all how they did. My son, who isn’t a regular runner, came in at 27:53. Wow! I guess that’s what being 25 and in good shape overall will get you. He of course wants to train now and see how much faster he can get. My other friends all were happy with their times too and we all took sweaty photos together to celebrate.