Life has been busy so I haven’t been keeping up with the blog as I should have, so with a few minutes early this Saturday morning, I want to get some thoughts down on where I am at in my recovery, weight loss, etc.
Recovery: I am finally feeling mostly back to normal. I still feel some tightness from time to time in my hip, but it isn’t even on a daily basis at this point. I do feel like I limp still when I am first getting up in the morning and a bit stiff, but others have reported to me they don’t really see a visible limp. I am worried that my right foot is turning inward when I walk, but my surgeon at my last visit did not seem concerned. It is nice to finally feel like things have returned to where they used to be. I still struggle carrying heavy items and walking up the stairs without leaning on a railing, especially if I have something in both hands, is not easy. But overall I am feeling very good. It has been four and a half months.
Weight Loss: I finished my 28 Fast Metabolism Diet down about six and a half pounds. I tweaked it here and there: didn’t stop drinking (though I definitely cut back), didn’t stop drinking coffee (let’s be real) and if I was out with family or friends, I didn’t get all “Oh, I can’t have this and I can’t have that.” Instead I increased portions of the stuff that was on plan and had very small amounts of what wasn’t on plan.
Since then I have been just trying to eat healthier and avoiding the bad stuff. I am down about two more pounds over three weeks, which I am not happy with. I am probably going to start another cycle of the FMD next week to kick start things again. That being said, I do feel like I am on track and in the right mindset. Even if I were losing a pound or even half a pound a week, I can live with that. That’s how I gained the weight (ten pounds in a year) and if I lose it that slowly while still enjoying life, that’s OK with me. It’s a marathon not a sprint.
Exercise: The doctors say I should still avoid running and any high impact exercise indefinitely. So lack of cardio is probably not helping me lose weight. I did join the local YMCA and have been there several times a week to do the stationary bike and the weight bearing machines. I don’t love it the way I did running but I know I need to continue at least short term to get my muscles strong again. I have also walked, both on the treadmill and outside, and I am up to two miles. It’s a long way off of running miles and miles, and I finally just cracked 3mph, but I’m getting there. I have attended one yoga class, and plan on going again once a week when I can fit it in my schedule. The one class I went to really helped loosen up my hip and was really the start of feeling much more “normal” again.
Races: I have one, possibly two 5Ks coming up in a few weeks. Obviously I will walk them. The first is the Vicki Soto 5K, which I have done every year since they started the race. I couldn’t imagine not doing it, so I am signed up. It will be my first “race” since my injury. It will be bittersweet in so many ways, but it is a race where tons walk, so I won’t feel strange about it. I have a second one a few weeks later, but I’m going to wait to commit until I see how the Vicki race feels. I don’t want to be the last one across the finish line, and with my times still likely putting me at over an hour to finish a 5K (ugh) I don’t want to embarrass myself too much.
Family: I don’t talk much about my family here other than the occasional mention of how we’ve had a pretty rough year. Right now things seem to be smoothing out a bit and I am very grateful. It has been one horrible thing after another since last fall and so I am hoping that we’ve turned the corner. We spend every Christmas in Florida, and I am hoping to go this year feeling healthy and happy.
So this week was my second week of work at school post broken hip. Last week was a three day week, and this week was a four day week. Let’s just say I hit the sofa at 5pm yesterday and pretty much stayed there until this very moment right now (fifteen hours later).
I forget easily how far I’ve come. Just two weeks ago, at Freshman Orientation, I hoofed around with a significant limp and a crutch in my car that I had just stopped using. I was slow and sore. With both exercises at home and formal PT, I have gained significant strength. When I am well rested, I have hardly any limp at all. I can stand for a whole class period. I still am slow when I walk, but not as slow. I feel stronger. People are commenting that I am looking better.
But progress always comes at a price. These longer days with more standing and more aggressive PT have lifted me tired. On Wednesday, I had sharp, shooting pains that woke me up overnight. I am accepting that when I do more, I can do more….but I must recover and rest to keep those gains and not go backwards.
With work has come more planning to try and stay on (or close) to the new eating plan I am working on. I am happy to say that I just started the third week of the plan and it feels like something I can stick with long term. I am modifying it to fit in my lifestyle, which means I’m not dropping jaw dropping weight every week. But you know what? Two pounds is what I lost last week. I lost three in the first week. These are results I can live with, and if a modified plan is working for me and giving me results I like, and I can stick with that plan? I’m in. I am so happy to feel like I have finally gained some control over my eating and drinking.
The basic tenets of the plan are that you eat different foods on different days, with some foods completely off limits. Some days are more restrictive than others. You can have most fruits only two days a week, although there are some that are good for five days. You can only have nuts, avocados and oils on three days of the week. Dark, green leafy veggies are always OK in unlimited amounts. Never any corn or dairy (I have had small amounts of cheese and yogurt since I am still healing from surgery). For the most part I have been able to find foods and recipes that work for every phase of the program. When we have family dinners, it’s grilled meats and veggies, all of which are good most every day.
Here are a few recipes that I want to remember for myself. You’ll notice a lot of these are from Skinnytaste. She has some great stuff!
Phase Two: Raw Cucumber Salad (For Phase Two you can eliminate the olives, tomatoes and oil…still very tasty. I kept a very small amount of crumbled feta on top for flavor)
Phase Three: Raw Zucchini Salad With Avocado This recipe as written has edamame in it, which I skipped. Herbs could be varied in this.
Spiralized Sweet Potatoes with Roasted Tomatoes: I used the linked method to roast my spiralized sweet potatoes (Rosemary was my fresh herb of choice, plus red pepper flakes). Ten minutes into the roasting I popped some cherry tomatoes in the oven tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper. Both were done at the same time, and I threw them all together. The juices from the tomatoes coated the sweet potato noodles and it was insanely good.
I am still looking for some bigger recipes that include proteins. For now we’ve done a lot of grilling and I’ve used foil packets in the oven for fish. As I find more, I’ll record them here so I know where to find them!
What I loved about these recipes is that they reminded me that eating clean, low calorie, healthy food can be delicious. I needed that reminder. 🙂
So it has been a few weeks since I wrote about my life changing hip fracture and subsequent surgery. It has indeed been a long road. I am so grateful that the worst of it does seem to be behind me, and life is starting to get back to normal.
I have a few more weeks left of PT, which I am grateful for, because I still am not walking well. I definitely have a limp with my right side, and I’m told it is due to muscle weakness. The muscles had over two months of none or minimal use. It has been nearly a month since my doctor said that I could start walking again, but it just wasn’t that simple. At first I used one crutch on the opposite side from my injury, and still used the walker if we were doing any significant distance. But as I grew stronger I started walking without it. I was sore at first, but as the days have worn on, that has gone down too. The cliche of “I feel stronger every day” is bearing true.
Work started back last week, and it starting to finally feel like life is returning to normal. The routine of it is exactly what I have been missing, not to mention the social aspect. One of the harder parts of my recovery was the isolation of it. While many people will tell you they are there for you, it turns out very few actually make the effort to do so.
Unfortunately for me very little of my work clothes fit. I honestly gained very little weight during my recovery; only about five pounds. But, I lost so much muscle tone that everything loosened up and now very little fits. And to be honest, I wasn’t happy at all with my weight at the point I was injured; I had gained ten pounds over the last twelve months, and another ten in the year before that, putting me a good 20 pounds above where I had been just two years ago.
I spent the last month kind of floundering around trying to find direction in the weight loss department. I was tracking my food intake on My Fitness Pal to no avail. Since I still can’t do much in the way of exercise, my calorie budget is extremely small with nothing getting burned off. I was over calories every single day I tracked. It wasn’t helping.
Then a friend told me about the Fast Metabolism Diet. She had been following it for nearly four weeks and raved on and on about it. She had lost 11 pounds in those four weeks and she was willing to share the knowledge she had built up about the program.
I was a little unsure about it at first. I had a vacation coming, so I told her to send me the stuff and I would start after the vacation. I downloaded the app and looked around on the Internet a little. It seemed mostly doable, but I wasn’t 100 % sold.
Then I went away on vacation and managed to eat and drink so much that I gained four pounds on vacation, officially putting me at my highest weight ever, outside of pregnancies. That was it. Even if I didn’t follow the plan perfectly, I reasoned, it had to be better than what I was doing.
So I started about a week ago. I am mostly following it, with a few exceptions. First, I am still having coffee. On weekdays I am only having one cup, which is less than I had been drinking. On the weekends I am allowing myself two, since I can compensate with more water intake. I replaced the second cup of water with a second water bottle at work, so I am able to consume 48 ounces during a day at work. This won’t work forever, but with my current teaching schedule it does.
Second, I am not cutting alcohol out entirely. I had been drinking more than I should, that is definitely true. I have scaled back to one or two most days, which sadly is a lot less than what I had been drinking. It is a work in progress. Ideally I will scale back a bit more each week.
Other than those two things, I have been pretty good at following the program with no deliberate cheats (accidental ones, like not realizing zucchini isn’t a Phase 2 food have happened). And even if I am not perfect, trying to get as close as possible is helping me remember the important things I used to know about weight loss: eating real food, eating small portions often, drinking water, not adding artificial sweeteners.
I’m down about four pounds so far. I am hoping that I can work with a modified version of the program long term so that I can continue to take off the twenty pounds I’ve gained in the last two years. I’m hopeful about this for the first time in a long time. I’m feeling like I might finally get back to a place where I like this body I live in instead of feeling like it has betrayed me.
I feel like I am finally ready to start moving forward once again.
Yeah….I have been kind of absent around these here parts lately. Chalk it up to starting a new job (my last post is dated just five days after my start date) and having some challenging personal issues going on.
I haven’t done much in the way of running/training since that last triathlon. True, there was a sort of 4K race at our local park that hardly felt like anything. Then there was a Zombie Fun Run last weekend which was awesome (and I really should write about it) but untimed. I’ve struggled with keeping up with exercise and training now that I am working as a substitute teacher full time.
So it was with zero expectations that I entered into this weekend, something I’d set up months ago: back to back 5Ks on both days. I’ve only ever done races back to back one other time. I wasn’t worried.
This is the third year for the Vicki Soto 5K, the race that honors one of the teachers who were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary. I’ve run it every year. Last year the weather was horrendous, but this year the day dawned warm (for CT in the fall, 50 or so degrees) and cloudy. Perfect running weather.
My girlfriend and I agreed to walk it together. She has been out of training as much as I have, and so we offered to push her husband’s cousin’s stroller so he could really blow it out.
This race is a huge celebration, so much so that sometimes you forget that we are there because someone died in a terrible way. The family is deeply involved in the planning of the event, and it is well organized and put together. This year there were nearly 3,000 participants. The field was immense.
I haven’t ever walked a 5K before. It was a strange experience. Because I wasn’t listening to music, I really did take in more of the event. The organizers had done a wonderful job with signage on the course, with decorations (flamingoes, Vicki’s favorite animal, were everywhere). There were bands and cheerleaders at many of the corners, and you really felt a part of this amazing, huge celebration.
But I also was itching to go faster as we wound our way through It seemed to take so much longer (and it did!). And while it was a very relaxing experience, it seems odd to me to walk a 5K. I guess you do it if you’re in support of the cause. But for me races have always been about not just the cause, but bettering myself, my last time, feeling like I really did something out there. So while I loved walking with my friend and being a part of the Vicki Soto 5K this year, it didn’t really feel like a race. I finished in 52:40, which is slow even for a walk. To be fair, the little girl we were pushing kept wanting to get in and out of her stroller, and that slowed us down. But hey, there are a lot of people who can’t walk a 5K at all, so I’m not complaining.
The only downside to the Vicki Soto race was afterwards. Because we had walked, probably a good 2,000 people had finished ahead of us. And the lines for absolutely everything were insanely long. They had amazing food and all sorts of free stuff for everyone, but by the time I got there, the lines were just too long for me to want to bother with. It didn’t seem worth it to wait in a ten minute long line for a single cupcake. Which is a shame because they had these really awesome vendors giving away great stuff, but the logistics really need to improve if they want to accommodate that many people.
It motivated me to really try to enjoy the Colony Hot Oil 5K today.
So the Colony race is held by a pizza place in Fairfield, CT. It is a 1600 person race and sells out in a matter of days. The “Hot Oil” comes from a type of pizza they sell; thin crust pizza with a spicy jalapeno oil drizzled all over it. Apparently it is a huge thing around here. I’ve lived here ten years and never knew that.
Anyway, today dawned cooler but one of those gorgeous sunny fall days that make you glad to live in New England. I got to the race site early and listened to music in my car. Lo and behold, a friend I had no idea was doing this race walked right by. Fun! This race is so popular I ran into at least five people I didn’t realize would be there.
We lined up under I 95 and set out. I literally haven’t run more than probably ten minutes straight since my triathlon last September, so I told myself I would just do what felt good. Fortunately for me the course was mostly flat except for a few hills in the middle and the dreaded I 95 overpass. But even that wasn’t that bad. I surprised myself by not needing a walk break at all until just before the water stop, when I encountered the first hill. I walked that, and then again when I hit the water stop a short bit later, and kept going.
The course was through a beautiful area near downtown Fairfield, and the foliage is just slightly past peak, so everything was beautiful. The sun had risen and was reflecting off of everything. I marveled at how good I was feeling, and it totally reminded me why I became a runner. I love that feeling of being outdoors and just focusing on your breathing and your legs and not having to worry about anything else right in that moment. After the last few weeks I felt just so grateful to be there, enjoying the beautiful day and the energy that comes from being in a race.
I finished feeling better than I imagined I would have with pretty much hardly any training over the last few weeks. The net time was 37:47 which honestly isn’t terrible for me.
But the best part of the race isn’t the course, even though that’s pretty awesome. It is the after party.
They have a live band, as much beer as you can stand and pizza. And water. That’s it. No granola, no apples, no healthy things anywhere. It was so awesome. The music cranked and I just soaked it all in. I was grateful to be there, and I will definitely be back next year.
Well, I did it. I completed my first sprint distance triathlon. Hear that deadpan? Yeah, I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much I thought I would. What? I thought I would enjoy beating myself to a pulp swimming biking and running for over two hours? Yeah, silly me.
We arrived in town the afternoon prior to go to packet pickup and the “first timers” clinic. Not before my girlfriend and I hoped that we’d loaded the bikes on her husband’s bike rack properly (they didn’t fall off on the highway) and not before we realized we hadn’t thought about bike locks (we miraculously “found” one next to the bike in the garage that I didn’t even know was there).
I’m glad we went to the first timers clinic. Even though I read the twelve page rather intimidating information packet before the race, all of the “rules” about biking really were not very clear. The woman who ran the clinic made everything very clear. Was I nervous? No. Probably should have been, but no.
My girlfriend and I checked into the hotel and went to dinner nearby, taking the opportunity to carb load (wine is a carb, right?) by eating way too much. Back to the hotel afterwards for an early bedtime.
We had agreed to wake by 4:45am and leave by 5:15, with the goal of being early enough to find parking easily and navigate our first timer selves through all of the unknowns that lay ahead. We made it to the race site and found it buzzing already even though it was still dark. It was go time.
We unloaded the bikes. First up: to label the bikes with “bike tents” with our race numbers on them. These are big sticky two sided numbers that go on the bike so if someone can’t see your race number while you’re all hunched over riding, they still can figure out who you are. After a few tries, we got it well enough and went to get body marked.
At our tri they marked both arms and our right hands with the last three numbers of our race number and then our left calves with our age. This became really useful later on when I was seeing people pass me…were they older or younger? Shit, that one is over 50. Ha.
Once we had our bodies marked it was time to get into the transition area and set up our bikes. We had to load in certain racks by our race numbers, so my girlfriend and I were no where near each other. I went about my business and so did she. Before long our little areas were all done, and it was still dark out.
Slowly our other friends started to show up and before long it was time to head down to the beach. I was in the fourth wave of swimmers, so we watched how each group would line up, get corralled and then walk over the timing mat and into the water.
The horn blew and it was go time. As with running, I positioned myself in the back and started out slow. It was harder than my training swims; I had to drop into breast stroke more than I had planned. But I plodded on and just got it done. About two thirds of the way through I saw some new colored caps coming up from behind; the next wave. Oh well. No one said I was here to set any records.
Half mile swim: 28:32.
I left the water feeling pretty good. It was a long slog but I felt I’d done what I could do. It was a fair distance from the beach to the entrance to transition; at first I was trying to walk it to save energy but it was taking forever so I started to jog.
I got into transition and felt calm. I grabbed my towel and mopped off and put on my shirt with my race bib on it. It took a little tangling being wet but I managed. Next up shorts over the suit. Then I quickly rinsed my feet and grabbed a swig of water before drying my feet and putting on the socks and shoes. I put on my helmet and walked my bike out of transition in what I felt was a decent amount of time.
Onto the bike and ready to go. Within a minute I felt something pulling hard on my left shoe; I realized my shoelace was wound around my pedal. Shit! I pulled off to the side and tried to unwind it. I could just feel the precious seconds ticking by as it wasn’t unwinding. Finally I had to pull off the entire shoe and slowly unwind it. I managed that, and then retied both shoes in double knots. I was frustrated at the time I lost, but no matter. I had to get moving.
Once out on the course I felt good. I knew all along I didn’t have a racing bike; it is an old bike that I now know is a hybrid road/mountain bike. It is built for tough trails and can take anything. What it doesn’t do well is hills. And when the first one hit, I could feel my energy sap. Oh well, I told myself, the course was supposedly pretty flat so I should be fine.
Yeah, no. There were several pretty decent hills within the first few miles and I was breathing hard through them. It was a struggle even in my lowest gear and I could feel my energy and enthusiasm drain out of me with every person that passed me. While I knew I wasn’t going to be speedy, I had trained enough for this to want a respectable time and I could feel it slipping away with every rise in the road.
But I pushed on and tried to talk myself into a better head space. I was working as hard as I could to move the bike and the course was beautiful. Quintessential New England; historic homes, beautiful landscapes, farms. Finally, finally, I entered back into the park and smiled for the camera as they snapped my picture.
11.5 mile bike: 58:51
I ran into transition and went to rack my bike. As I had feared, the rack was completely full because I’d been so slow. I found a spot a foot or so down from my stuff and went to lift the bike. Damn, this sucker is heavy! I couldn’t get it up facing one way so I had to stop, turn it around and try again. Success! Then I just rummaged through my bag for my hat (easy to find) and my handheld water bottle (not easy). After getting both, I tried to jog out of transition dreading what I knew lay ahead on the hilly 5K course.
Immediately I knew I was in trouble. All the effort keeping my heavy bike moving had turned my legs to jello. I couldn’t believe how hard even shuffling into the slowest jog felt. I sipped on my handheld bottle and tried to just keep moving forward. As we left transition, I saw the first hill loom in front of me.
I slowed to a walk. I had just no juice left in me at all. I felt completely spent and ready to burst into tears. I told myself that I would just keep moving forward. I would walk until I had enough breath to run, and I would run until I couldn’t any more.
The 5K was on a trail course. It was very hilly, sandy and rooty. It would have been a challenging 5K without having done swimming and biking before it. I absolutely hated every second of it. I had so wanted to enjoy this race but by this time it was everything I had to just keep moving forward and not collapse onto the ground in tears.
It seemed to take forever but finally we left the trails and fortunately for me, the finish line was only about a quarter mile or so beyond. I started jogging and ran as fast as I could towards the time clock, noting gratefully that it said 2:29:30. I had hoped to finish under 2:30 and since my wave started 12 minutes after the first in the water, I knew I’d beaten that by a fair amount.
3.1 mile run: 44:22
I’ve beaten myself up in the time since about finishing last of all of the women in our group doing this triathlon. I couldn’t believe I’d trained so hard, put so much time in and I posted such a poor time. My friends were all lovely even though I was stealing everyone’s joy out of finishing our first triathlon. “Comparison is the thief of joy” and I totally let it suck the amazing accomplishment out of the moment for me. I did the best that I could, I tried to tell myself. But my inner mean girl felt like a fat loser who just couldn’t push herself hard enough.
I now know, after having talked to my local bike shop owner, that my bike was my handicap. He said that the bike is so heavy it is not supposed to be used for racing, and that it simply is harder to move. He congratulated me for completing the course as well as I did considering how much that bike must have taken out of me. He told me I should shave at least ten minutes off of my time to get a truer sense of how hard I’d worked to complete the race.
Now I feel proud of what I did, but also guilty for taking away everyone’s high with my own insecurities and frustrations when I finished the race. I will make it up to them when we repeat this experience again. Because there is no way I will let that experience be my only experience doing a triathlon. I put a deposit down on a new bike today, and I’m already trying to decide when the next one will be.
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.
Well, here it is already at the end of another month. Time to look at the progress towards this year’s goals:
May is already over. Here’s the latest on march to meet goals I set for myself in 2014:
1. Run at least one race a month.
I’m ahead on this one. I didn’t run any in January, ran 1 February and 2 in March. In April I completed 2 races. This month I did a weekend of back to back races, a 5K and a 10K; the DAWS Run Your Tail Off 5K and the Norwalk Mother’s Day 10K. I think I will only have my half marathon in June. But this means I’m still ahead by 3.
2. Run at least 2 10Ks this year.
This is already done! I ran them just a few weeks apart. I scored a new PR of 1:13:44 at the first one; the second one was hotter and didn’t have chip timing so my time was about a minute and a half slower. Still, psyched that I’ve done this and I may add in a few more 10Ks now that the distance feels more manageable.
3. Run a half marathon.
Still training and on target for the 6/22 marathon. My long run this week was 12 miles which means I am nearly there! I have three weeks left so I will have one 13 mile run and then an 8 and then shorter runs before the final week of true tapering. I am still worried about heat, especially since we are having a cooler than normal spring, so all of my training is being done in lovely 50-60 degree temps, not the 70+ that I hear this race is known for. Still, I’m doing what I can. I am adding hill repeats and speed drills, something I’ve never done before. Other than super sore legs and feet on long run days, I am really amazed and enjoying my progress during this training!
4. Finally reach my goal weight.
Down just one pound this month, and only two pounds for the year so far. We’re five months in! I won’t get ten pounds off at this rate. Seriously need to get better about the food and drink choices.
Overall, things are good, except for the weight. It all comes back to choices. Must. Make. Better. Ones!