I ran this race last year, and I remembered it being a fast, flat course so even though I haven’t run for two weeks, I thought it would be a fun thing to do this Saturday. The day dawned cooler than normal for an August day, so that sealed the deal. The race starts and ends at a beach, so I packed my flip flops and planned to hang out and enjoy the sand afterwards.
I was excited to get a cool number as I signed in and chatted with my fellow race goers. I knew a few of them, started up conversations with some strangers, and generally passed the forty minutes pre race very easily. The race started on time, and we were off.
I felt really good starting out, passing some of my slower comrades and settling into what felt like a good pace. I didn’t worry when my RunKeeper told me at the five minute mark that my pace was slower than usual; I knew that was part of the starting crush to get moving and just kept going.
It got warmer. And warmer. Even though I was feeling good, my pace just wasn’t where I had hoped it would be. By mile 2 I was feeling that familiar “I am so hot and starting to run out of steam” feeling that i haven’t felt in quite a while. My half training just didn’t survive two weeks with absolutely no maintenance whatsoever. And frankly the runs in the last month have not been very long or very fast either. Damn.
I decided to just enjoy the views and the race and not worry about time. Even so, I was shocked to see the clock as I rounded the end read a whole minute slower than last year’s time. I wasn’t happy about it, because if not for that, I really loved the run. Felt good, beautiful views, people were nice, great course. I know I don’t run for time, but I also don’t want to be going backwards.
Still, I was glad I got out there. It kicked me in the butt and reminded me that to keep running, you have to run. You can’t just magically wake up one morning and have it all fall into place (well maybe some people can, but I am not one of those people…it is hard for me, all of the time…just varying degrees of hard). You have to put in the time.
But it was also a good lesson in that it isn’t always about time and pace. I loved this run and I am going to hold onto that, regardless of my time. Because at the end of the day, if I don’t enjoy it…I’m not going to do it.
6:13am on a summer Wednesday and I’m up and posting my weigh in this morning. That can only mean one of two things: I am eager to write about it (aka good news) or I am battling a minor case of poison ivy and can’t sleep any more.
Actually it’s both.
After four weeks of gains or static, I knew I had to change things up last week. I’d definitely let the summer slide take over, and I was getting careless. I was going to type lazy, but that’s not true. I am not lazy. I am still exercising five days a week, and that’s not lazy. I’m not running ten mile long runs right now but I am still running, walking, and taking bootcamp. So I’m not lazy. But I was gaining weight.
I realized it was the decrease in activity since I’m not marathon training any more, coupled with some less than careful food and drink choices that had to be fueling the gains. I know that I am not capable of ramping up the activity much more in the summer with the kids at home and the schedule completely out of whack. So it had to be the food.
I set up three goals last week for food choices. Small, quantifiable goals that I said I’d check in on every week when I reported my weigh in. Here we go:
1. Cut back to one drink a night on weeknights.
I succeeded at this. I called M-Th a week night. I had one glass of wine Wednesday, none on Thursday. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday I allowed myself two glasses. I had none on Monday and one last night.
I am a bit ashamed to admit that represents a significant decrease in my consumption. The only consolation for me is that I was having this discussion with some girlfriends two days ago and they all admitted they enjoy two glasses or two beers nearly every day as well. Either they were lying and secretly calling me a booze hound behind my back, or us women in our forties like our drink.
Either way, I am glad to be cutting back. It’s not good for me or my liver. And I think moderation is the balance I am striving for here.
2. No snacking after 8pm.
I mostly achieved this one. I did slip a bit last weekend when we went to some outdoor shows we are involved in, which don’t get started until 8pm. But when I was home, I adhered to this to the letter. It has definitely helped. Last night I was out until 9, and hadn’t really eaten much since 4pm. I wasn’t terribly hungry, but if I didn’t have this edict in my head, I probably would have had some mindless snacks. It’s really keeping me on my toes.
3. Salads to replace 3 meals.
I had two green salads and one pasta salad that I made from scratch from a health blog this week for meals. I know the pasta salad isn’t really what I was going for here, but it had lettuce in it and it was a lighter meal. This one has been tough because of this week’s schedule but it’s a good goal that I am going to strive to hit perfectly or exceed this week.
I think sticking to three small, manageable goals coupled with my normal (mostly) healthy eating and exercise habits really worked for me. The scale is 3.8 lbs lighter this morning than it was at this point last week. :)
Here’s to taking action and moving forward.
Current Week: -3.8 lbs
Total Weight Left To Lose: 11.4 lbs
So I am officially dumbfounded and irritated and I risk sounding like all of those weight loss bloggers who secretly are eating more than they think they are but remain mystified as to why they are not losing (or actually gaining) weight.
I’m up a whole pound this week. And since my half marathon, up nearly five pounds. WTF?
I could see the slide happening a few weeks ago, but I put on the brakes. Started really paying attention. Forcing myself to get up early to exercise. And while I knew I wasn’t losing, I was OK with it taking a few days (weeks) for the good habit changes to finally kick in.
This week? I’m truly at a loss. I am. While I’ve reached pretty much all of my fitness goals for the year and feel really good about them, it’s clear it’s time for some new goals. Food goals. Because I am disciplined when I set myself up for a challenge with a goal. I have to clearly really get some clarity on my food choices because I simply have to be eating more than I think I am.
So here’s a recap of my previous goals, with some new ones added:
1. Run at least one race a month.
July’s race was the Sunset 5K I ran last week. It was awesome. Loved it.
2. Run at least 2 10Ks this year.
This was done in April and May. Looking for a fall one.
3. Run a half marathon.
Done in June. I don’t think I will find another one this year. I am definitely going to put in for the lottery for the NYC in March. There is a chance I might be able to join a local charity group to do it, and if I can do that and guarantee entry, I will.
4. Finally reach my goal weight.
Here’s the one I’m sliding on. Have gained nearly 5 lbs this month. Obviously this requires some serious thought and new goals. I’m no closer than I was when I set this goal in January and it’s now the end of July.
5. Cut back to one drink a night on weeknights.
Just typing this makes my hackles rise up. Makes me sound like an alcoholic. But the honest truth is I do relax with a glass or two of wine pretty much every night. And it has to be part of my issue.
6. No snacking after 8pm.
I don’t do this a lot, but when I do, it becomes mindless, and I think a few hundred calories go out the window in minutes. Even if this happens three nights a week, that adds up.
I’ve been doing a better job of this in the last few weeks, and it reminds me that if I get creative, I really do love a good salad. Salads are key to weight loss. They fill you up for lower amounts of calories. I need to aim for at least three meals that are salads (likely lunches) a week to start.
I’m going to stop there. These are three new goals that are quantifiable and measurable, not vague like “pay attention to portion size”. I can check off when I eat three salads a week. I can look at a clock and know I’m not going to eat anything else. I can pour one drink and have that be it.
I’m going to check in on these three new goals in next week’s weigh in, a month is likely too long for me to go without wanting to be accountable to them.
Here’s to taking action and moving forward.
Current Week: + 1 lb
Total Weight Left To Lose: 15.2 lbs
I signed up for this evening race a few weeks ago. It had been on my radar since last year, but schedule conflicts prevented me from doing this one. I haven’t ever run an evening race before, and I wasn’t sure what to expect.
Luckily, the heat and humidity from earlier this week broke and we ended up with a low humidity 80 degree day. That being said, that’s still pretty hot to be running. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do with this one. I haven’t run distances of more than five miles since the half, and my running has been sporadic because of the heat; three miles here, four miles there. Nothing like the frequency of my runs before the half, maybe three times a week. They haven’t felt bad or anything, but still. It was my first race back.
And, I heard the race was hilly. I posted about it on Facebook and several friends chimed in who’d done it last year: “Oh, that’s a hilly one. Pretty much all uphill. Have fun.” Yikes. I set myself a very conservative goal of under 38 minutes for this 5K. I know that is a very crap time, but with the heat and the hills I just knew I wasn’t going to break any records. My friend who helps set up the race told me to just go easy for the first 1.5 miles, and then after that, it’s overall downhill (a few hills but net downhill from there). I figured that sounded good.
The race started and ended at a lovely park only about five miles from home. I arrived around 5:30 and parked. The park was already crowded, even though we were over an hour out of the race.
I didn’t know a soul at this race. That’s often the case for me; I didn’t know anyone at the half I ran either. But somehow, in this smaller setting, I was really feeling the being alone thing. No one really to talk to. Not much to do. I used the bathroom a few times. Maybe it was because everyone else there seemed to be with friends or partners or families, but I really felt alone for this one. Boring wait for the start.
Finally, it was time, and we all lined up. I took my usual spot in the back of the pack, just near Really Old Guy and People Who Look Like Me and Double Stroller Dude. After the instructions that no one could hear, we started.
Actually found a shot of me at the start of the race on the race website. Shocking. I’m wearing my new favorite running shirt, which I made myself on one of those T shirt websites: 13.1, Only Half Crazy. Only one person asked me about it. :(
Started out in a relatively flat section, and I felt fine. I’d placed myself well, very few people were pushing past me. The park was really pretty, but you had to dodge the goose poop as we started near the lake. The sun was indeed starting to set, and it was fairly shady, so the heat wasn’t terrible.
Sure enough, the hills started in that first mile. I ran them slowly, but ran them. I was kind of amazed to discover as they kept coming that I still had the juice to not drop to a walk. That has to be my half training still in effect. Sure they were hills, but only one seemed really major; the others were manageable.
As the hills picked off people all around me, I found myself playing interval tag with a few women. One was this high school girl next to me in this photo and her pal, another was a woman probably about my age, and another was a gorgeous thin runner looking woman. I would have been all puffed up about that until I saw her whip out an asthma inhaler.
I hit mile 2 feeling really strong. I stopped for a sip of water at the stop just because I was sweating so much and breathing through my mouth. There was a bit of a hill after that, and I told myself I could walk it if I needed. But shockingly, I didn’t. I kind of marveled about that as I kept going. I kept waiting to feel that bonk that I’d felt in the second mile at every race last summer. And it never happened. My RunKeeper told me I was increasing my pace now that I was past the worst of the hills, and I wondered how I would finish.
We entered back into the park around mile 2.5 and the path was flat. I tried to push it as much as I could. I felt strong, but I knew the heat was taking its toll because of how much I was sweating. I got back near the lake and could see the finish line around the bend; further than I wanted it to be, of course. I heard 35 minutes tick off on my RunKeeper and cursed. I knew I wasn’t on pace to PR and with the heat and the hills it wasn’t at all likely, but I felt so good that I’d somehow hoped I was making up the time. Still, as I rounded the bend I saw 36:xx on the clock. Still ahead of my goal and for all of the hills and the heat? I couldn’t complain about that.
I crossed at 37:09, feeling fast and fantastic. Yes, they took a photo and no I won’t post it because it looks god awful. I knew the guy was there, I’m not sure why I didn’t smile for him. I thought I was looking fierce but instead I look totally crappy. In my defense, I was trying to sprint and no one really looks great doing that.
I’m glad I did this race. I honestly didn’t know what to expect going into it, and I surprised myself with how good it felt. As soon as I was done I wanted to sign up for another race. I loved the fact that people told me this race was hard and I never felt that it was. I felt good, the whole time. I mean, I was still pushing, don’t get me wrong, but I never felt like I ran out of steam or couldn’t keep going. The post race endorphins were fantastic on this one. I had been worried that I had lost a lot of fitness in the last month, but I haven’t. And that was a huge relief.
Now I just have to find the next race!
I can’t decide how I feel about today’s weigh in. I weigh exactly the same as I did last week.
The good: even though the scale didn’t respond, I know I had a much more conscious week this week. I really thought carefully about what I chose to eat and drink. I (mostly) cut down on my wine and made different choices on my snacks than the usual popcorn and nuts. I filled my fridge with fresh fruit and farmers market vegetables and I could tell the difference in how I felt after making good, solid, healthy choices in my meals and snacks. I also have been much better about getting up early to run/walk and I feel so much better when I’ve gotten my workout done before the kids are up. It just sets the whole day up right.
The bad: I still slipped up out with friends on Sunday. I was very careful with my food, but even still, the food that was available wasn’t perfect. I definitely drank too much and felt like garbage on Monday. I did much better yesterday only to have a bit of a stressful evening. Where did I end up? On my sofa watching Bravo, drinking wine and eating veggie sticks (well, at least it wasn’t popcorn).
The verdict? I am going to call it progress, even though the scale didn’t respond. I have reminded myself how great I feel when I am in control of my eating. I have tried foods I haven’t eaten in a while and realized I really do like them (salads, apples, etc). The trick is to stick to the healthy foods that I really enjoy eating. I don’t need to force myself to love spaghetti squash, it just isn’t going to happen. But I can eat eggs, fruit, yogurt, fresh foods that are in season right now. I feel full, satisfied and no regret. That’s the path forward.
So for now, I’m keeping on.
Current Week: no change
Total Weight Left To Lose: 14.2 lbs
So I vowed yesterday to be very mindful and stick to my plan of tracking, eating consciously and carefully. Here’s how the day went:
Up at 5:30 for a planned walk with a friend at 6. By 6:10, I realize she’s forgotten. I consider bailing, but put on my shoes anyway and take my dog. We get in just over 2 miles before 7am. I tack on yesterday’s Beachbody Challenge moves while I watch the morning news.
Breakfast: One egg, one tbsp mixed shredded cheese, the last of my Farmers’ Market arugula and a dash of hot sauce in a whole wheat wrap. Yum. Feeling virtuous. Nailed it!
Morning: Have offered to volunteer at my church Vacation Bible School. In the kitchen. Where there are DONUTS and COOKIES and BAGELS and CHEETOS. OMG. OMG! After the kids are served, and the volunteers are fed, and everything is cleaned up, there are about eight donuts left. All of the volunteers start sampling. It is everything i can do NOT to eat a donut. But I don’t. I hate myself for not being able to. :(
Lunch: Get home, and stare into the fridge. Decide on using leftover chicken breast sliced up on a bed of spinach with cucumbers and some homemade roasted red peppers. The sauce that I made for the chicken is the dressing. Am full and satisfied, so I hate myself a little less.
Afternoon: Spend the afternoon alternately working in front of my computer, doing laundry and doing summer enrichment with my youngest son. Stomach starts grumbling around 3pm. Force myself to wait until after I do the mommy chauffeur thing before I respond to my stomach.
Snack: No way am I going for my usual mindless bowl of Skinnypop and nuts today. I had wanted to take the kids for froyo but there’s no time. I decide on plain Greek yogurt, berries with chopped nuts and a swirl of agave syrup. Yum.
Dinner: Daughter has practice from 5-8, husband is working late so it is just my son and I. After searching valiantly through the fridge, I decide to make mini pizzas on leftover hamburger buns. They are 220 calories each, so even with all of my sauce, sprinkle of cheese, sauteed spinach with garlic and roasted red peppers I figure mine comes in around 350 calories. Not too shabby. My son is thrilled with his pepperoni.
After dinner: After tracking all of my food, I have 275 calories left. I want my wine. I decide to have two glasses because that’s what is left in the bottle. I slowly sip it and enjoy it much more than the three glasses I tossed down without even thinking about the day before. After I’m done, I brush my teeth so I won’t be tempted to have anything else.
And I didn’t.
I felt pretty awesome at the end of the day. Good, solid food choices, never really felt deprived, it’s all good. I can do this. I got this. I am disciplined. I am focused. I should be down at least a pound after eating so clean and healthy, right?
Not so much. I’m down just .4 over the previous day’s reading. And still up over Wednesday’s. Grrr! After such a great day, I totally thought the water weight that I hoped I was carrying would start flying off and I’d get an immediate payback at the scale. Yeah, no.
So I’m back for the next day, the next choice. I’ve already had breakfast, which was 2 eggs with spinach, red peppers and a sprinkle of cheese. I’m drinking my coffee and after shuffling my daughter to camp I will be off to bootcamp.
One choice at a time. It’s all I can do.
I didn’t write a Wednesday weigh in post yesterday. It’s up. I’m mad. I’m mad because I have no one to blame but myself.
It’s July 17 and I’ve essentially erased all of the gains (losses?) I’ve made this year on the scale.
I know you’ll tell me that it isn’t all about the scale, and I’m still doing better than I ever have before with exercise and fitness. I just completed my first half marathon and am still running consistently three days a week. I feel good about that.
And I know this number on the scale is different than when I saw that number before because of my fitness level. Last time I weighed this amount, in 2007, I hardly exercised at all. Clothes fit now that didn’t fit at this weight before. So I know that it isn’t all about the number.
But the number is still a gauge. And it’s rising rapidly over the last few weeks.
I have to get back in a place of control.
I find my days pretty much going like this these days: I’ll get up in the morning with great intentions. I’ll work out on most of them, and have a healthy breakfast. Maybe a healthy snack around 10 if the breakfast was light. Lunch is usually still pretty good, although lately we have had a lot of leftovers to plow through, and when I have leftovers, sometimes it isn’t always the healthiest lunch. By three or four in the afternoon I’m feeling hungry again, and things are calming down with the kids and schedules so I’m usually in front of the computer or TV. So I reach for my go to: Skinnypop popcorn and nuts. I tell myself this isn’t the worst snack I could have and it is filling. Then it is time for dinner. I’m not really hungry because of the snack but I eat anyway because I’ve made dinner for the family. I have a glass of wine most days with that dinner.
And then the kids settle in to TV/reading/God knows what the teenager does in her room and it’s me and sometimes my husband in front of the TV. Another glass of wine. Then the munchies hit. Sometimes it’s something sweet. And the more of each I have the more I want.
Before you know it, I’m regretting the last 500 calories and have blown the day that started off so well.
This happens at least three days a week.
It’s because, I think, by the end of the day, I am on autopilot. I’m not even thinking anymore. Or I am thinking about what I’m doing and just not caring. I want what I want more than I want these last ten (fifteen, actually, as of this morning) pounds gone. The moment is fleeting but the decision is made.
I have to be more aware. More conscious. Think about EVERYTHING that goes in my mouth because it all adds up. It all matters. Every single choice, all the little ones, are what adds up. I can’t keep canceling out the good ones with bad ones. There have to be more good ones if I’m going to go lower on the scale.
Choices. It’s all about the choices. Every. Single. One.