Wednesday Weigh In/August Progress Report

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:

Running Goals:

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.

Weight/Food Goals

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
Age: 43
BMI: 28.5

Newtown Road Race Recap

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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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All in all, it was a great race (my best time since March!) and the right thing to put me in the mindset of my new training program.  I can’t wait to see how fast I can run the next one.

Wednesday Weigh In

I haven’t posted for the last two Wednesdays, and when I don’t post about a weigh in (I do dutifully do them every week and record them, regardless of what the scale says) it can only mean one thing. 

Yep.  Bad news.

I did so well on my food based goals that first week and then got sloppy.  And I gained every bit of what I lost plus another half pound, officially putting me half a pound up from my high point a few weeks ago.  Yeah, that means I’m even higher.  In fact, this is now, officially, my highest weight all year.

Hello, my goal was to lose ten pounds, not gain it.  Now that goal is 15 lbs.  Seriously?  What is wrong with me.

I can feel it too.  I think three weeks ago a lot of that extra weight was bloat, but in the last week my clothes are feeling tighter.  It’s definitely time to stop being so blase about all this stuff and actually do something.

I feel like I am beating a dead horse by saying this for the millionth time, but it really does help me motivate myself to type it out and be accountable for it by posting this here to the blog. 

I am going to revisit my goals again and get back to them.  They clearly worked:

1.  Cut back to one drink a night on weeknights.

Totally have been blowing this and it makes a huge difference in how I feel, how my body performs and definitely at the scale.

2.  No snacking after 8pm.

I have actually been doing fairly well at this one.  It will be easier with the kids back to school and our schedule shifting into an earlier mode.

3.  Salads to replace 3 meals.

I have also been doing fairly well with this, I think.  I am part of our local Farmers’ Market committee and so I visit our market every Friday.  It is hard to pass up such beautiful, local veggies, and having such quality and variety makes turning to a salad easy.  But clearly I need to do more here, and remind myself that any leftover really can be turned into a salad.

 

Current Week: +0.8 lbs
Total Weight Left To Lose: 15.8 lbs
Age: 43
BMI: 28.5

 

MADD Dash 5K Race Recap

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

Wednesday Weigh In

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
Age: 43
BMI: 27.6

Wednesday Weigh In/July Progress Report

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.

7.  Salads

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
Age: 43
BMI: 28.4

Trumbull Sunset 5K Race Recap

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Sweaty post race selfie. Better than the crappy finish line photo.

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!

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