Monday, June 29, 2015

I Feel Good

I feel really good today. Had an excellent 2.5 mile run this morning, and I'm just super pumped.

I'm just going to leave this here for you and me. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Four Weeks

I'd like to get a Public bike one day, so stylish! Image:

Within the next four weeks, I want to...

... lose 8-10 pounds.
As I mentioned in the last post, this is something I want to do because things have been so slow and I really want to put a concerted effort in, plus I want to earn that $25 Fleet Feet gift certificate! Starting at 281, wanting to get down to at least 273 by the end of July. (272 puts me at 100 pounds lost, btw!)

... learn how to kayak.
My region has several options and ample opportunities for this!

... get my bicycle road-ready, suit up with some fun accessories, and ride!
I'm going to take a couple classes here, and I'm researching a number of bike blogs (see sidebar).

... go on a hike, even just a short one.
One of our very local favorites is Buckhorn Island, which takes you right along the edge of the Niagara River.

... play more tennis.
Wimbledon starts tomorrow, will be watching the pros for inspiration and continue to try to improve. We're also getting more demo racquets to test out this week.

... run four times a week.
NoBo started again last week! So happy. Two group runs each week, and two homework runs. I really can't wait to get some much-needed new running sneaks.

... include stretching and strength exercises in my regular routine.
I've been slacking on these. My pal Amy F. was telling me about a new habit she's started – whenever she gets up to go to the bathroom at work, she does a set of 20 strength exercises, like squats, wall push-ups, etc. I think this is a brilliant idea and I'll be trying it myself.

What would you like to get done in your July?

Getting Down to Business

Ah Sunday, how did you get here so quickly? Sundays are always a little sad, aren't they? At least this week I just have a three-day work week because of the 4th of July holiday, so there's that. And I may decide to take some vacation time around the long weekend, too. Hm.

Anyway. I've been feeling pretty thoughtful lately about stuff.

As you may know, my weight loss has slowed down a bit since the new year. I'm pretty OK with that as long as it's still happening (which it is), but sometimes it is a bit discouraging. I feel like I should have been way past the 100 pounds lost mark long ago, but I'm still hanging in the low 280s.

Hey, progress comes in all forms, I know. And honestly, if I really put in more effort, made more sacrifices, I could probably make the weight fall off me again. I'm really resistant to drastic measures, though, after so many taken in the past – and where did those get me? Now I am just determined to go slow and make sure I am creating a sustainable lifestyle for myself, because it is how I am going to live the rest of my life.

I must be patient.

At the same time, I wonder: What if I just went into high gear for a little while, even just a week or two? The beauty is that I have total control and can change back any time.

I guess because I am less than ten pounds away from that 100-pound mark I'm really antsy about it. Maybe I could just get myself to that point and then resume normal programming.


OK, I just had a conversation with my partner, who tends to be pretty hardcore about getting things done, and he's going to help me get that ten pounds off once and for all in the coming weeks. Basically, he'll be my personal Jiminy Cricket reminding me about stuff and helping me stay accountable. We agreed that my exercise level is good as is (usually about an hour a day, six days a week most weeks), but that I need to reign things in just a little bit so that I'm only eating what I need.

This will be a good chance for me to reset and start with a renewed enthusiasm.

I'm also motivated by the weight loss group I'm in at Fleet Feet. For that, my goal was to lose a total of at least 15 pounds by the end of the 12 weeks – partly because 15 pounds, but partly because that would put me at just over 5% lost, which would entitle me to a second $25 gift certificate at the store. (The first is earned by losing 2% of your initial weight and weighing in at least eight times during the program.) I'm going to have be really focused to reach this goal, but I just know I can do it – I've already lost seven, so eight pounds in the next four weeks? (Maybe even ten?) I don't like doing time-based weight loss, but for this, I will make an exception. Let's do this! I want to get it done!

Finding myself back down to that point puts me not too very far away from the lowest weight I got down to since my 20s – in the 250s. I'm remembering myself at certain weights and know that in the low 230s, I felt relatively "normal". This was also the time when my then-boyfriend said to me, "You're fine now, but don't gain any more weight." Ugh. This is obviously NOT the boyfriend I have now.

Realizing that I am just 50 little pounds away from that is pretty incredible, and to be honest, beyond that point it is all going to be gravy.


In running news, I'm finding being in the 2.0 group at Fleet Feet to be challenging – super hard, but super satisfying. I honestly still can't believe that I am doing it. Saturday's group workout took us on a 2.5 mile route sandwiched between 1/4–1/2 mile warm up and cool down walks. The route itself was pretty gorgeous, winding through one of Buffalo's prettiest neighborhoods and into Delaware Park around Hoyt Lake. It was, however, also quite hilly – little baby hills all over the place that added up to quite the challenge. I did end up walking a tiny smidge up one of the last and most killer of the baby hills, but otherwise, good stuff! A mile is a mile. I seem to be settling into a 14 and change pace pretty consistently now. Not bad for this fat, old girl!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Miscellaneous Thoughts

No Links I Love today.

I'm more in a bullet point kind of mood. Scattered thoughts.

• Not being embarrassed to wear a tank top/singlet when I am out exercising anymore! I still am not in love with my arms (I refer to them as "Peasant Stock" arms, thick and meaty), but I tell you what, I am at peace with them. Not only that, I want to be comfortable when I am doing active things – in the summertime, this means sleeveless. I'm over it.

• I had another great run this morning – on my own running two miles at a 14:33 average pace! I'd expect numbers like that running with someone else, but not solo. It's pretty exciting for me.

• I like how having an off day no longer really spells disaster. Yesterday was one of those days, but today I am fine and back to it. Off days are but a blip on the radar anymore, and that feels good.

• I get genuine yearnings to ride my bike in a meaningful way, so I should probably get going on cleaning and lubing the chain so that I can! Just the little tiny rides I have taken so far gave me such a great feeling – so freeeeeeeee!

• On Monday, I had my first appointment with my new gynecologist – my previous one retired. It was, dare I say, great! The office was super nice, friendly staff, and the doctor herself was perfection. I went to her based on a recommendation from a friend's mom and because she is just down the road from where I live. I don't feel like I could have picked anyone better, which is such a relief, and now I have an awesome GP and GYN! Best of all, my blood pressure was freaking 122/74. BAM.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Running Changes Everything

That's me and mentor Angela rounding the first mile of the time trial this morning – in the pouring rain! "You know you're a real runner when you just run through the puddles," she told me. We were all squishing in our shoes by the end!

Today I celebrate my most proud running achievement yet.
I began the No Boundaries 2.0 program at Fleet Feet today, and we had time trials this morning to place us in pacing groups. With the help of mentor Angela, I was able to run two miles in 27 minutes 53 seconds, which means I ran sub-14 minute miles. It's something I never, ever imagined I would be able to do at this point. On top of that, we all ran those two miles in the pouring rain.
I am so grateful to everyone in the program who knew I could handle this next step in my running journey, especially my running pal Amy. We ran together yesterday and I was still debating on whether to join 2.0 or do a repeat of the Learn to 5K program. She helped me make the decision to move forward to reach my goals, not step back into something comfortable and familiar. Yes, 2.0 is going to be hard, but I'm not going to make progress unless I push myself to the next level. I have to do the work!
After today, I no longer doubt that I can do it!
"Running Changes Everything" is the motto on our program t-shirts, but it's also so much more than that.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Links I Love #5

This sounds like a most refreshing recipe!

For good training tips for when I start to train for the 10K.

There are lots of good reasons to cut back on your sugar intake.

Headphones vs. none on a run.

Working up to pushups!

The 12 habits of highly motivated runners.

More yoga stretches – these are seated and good for runners.

Running and weight. Does thinner equal faster? (Probably.)

Does running ever get easier?

If I get aches and pains from running, it's usually in my hips.

Tips for running in hot weather? Since I began training in sub-zero temps, um, YES PLEASE!


Generally, it's been a good week so far. I did pop on the scale real quick yesterday to see if anything was going on and was not thrilled to see it UP a couple pounds, however I know how this goes and I'm not going to worry about it too much. Just keep doing the best I can to eat well and keep my regular activity up – that is what's important. Sure, I had an off weekend (Friday and Saturday were BUSTS, calorie-wise), but that isn't the be-all to end-all, is it?

Today I'm excited to get home so that we can go out and try the demo tennis racquets my boyfriend ordered. It's this cool program where you get to try several racquets for a week, for $20. Fortunately the weather forecast has improved dramatically, so it looks like we'll be able to get lots of practice time in between now and the end of my extra-long weekend (Friday and Monday off!).

With the bf on board with the lifestyle change thing, I'm already planning and scheming for what we can do to stay active this coming winter. I'd really like to get some snowshoes finally, as well as maybe try out some skiing – cross country with bf, and even some downhill with one of my good friends who asked if I was game. I am! Let's do this!

Can you tell I am totally over the moon about not having to do this alone anymore?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Back in the ------ Groove

(Love this Ace Frehley song.)

I'll just cut to the chase.


The first time since my last 5K race twelve days ago.

I was SO worried that I wouldn't be able to do it anymore. Seriously. And even though I went to bed later than usual, I was up this morning much earlier than usual and my body was just all like, "It's time." It was not a struggle at all to get my gear on and get myself out the door.

You guys, I even wore my running tank top out in my neighborhood. With no hoodie on over it. I mean, yeah, I did that for the Gay 5K, but somehow it's easier to show a little more skin when you're among a bunch of other people whom you'll likely not see again. Wearing clothes like that to run around where people see me regularly is a big step. I'm sure it has something to do with having also worn the same outfit sans hoodie when we play tennis, and just wanting to be comfortable as I do physical activity. It's just getting too hot for anything else – and summer is not even in full swing yet. So it's really great that I am gaining confidence like this.

I don't have to hide my body.

On top of that major NSV, I ran well, too. I wasn't pushing myself, I just took it nice and easy – yet my average pace was one of my best at 15:15. I did two miles in just a squeak over a half hour. And I even ran in the drizzle! (That was actually pretty nice.) It felt pretty natural and easy overall.

Anyway, I am super proud of myself for getting out there and getting it done despite all the fear and "what if?" feelings I was having. Group is starting up again on Sunday and I wanted to be sure I was ready for it, especially because I decided that I wanted to move up to the next level (aptly called 2.0, btw) instead of repeating what I did last session. The qualifier for 2.0 is that you must be able to run two miles at a 16 minute pace or better. Check and check, people! I may as well move ahead instead of staying in the same place, yes? I'm capable.

Basically, 2.0 is for people who have successfully run a 5K and want to improve their pace and feel more comfortable with the distance. (3.0 is also available for people who want to go longer distances, I think up to 10K.) I am so there.

Super psyched.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Links I Love #4

O.M.G. TWO Wednesdays have passed without a Links I Love post! For shame. And I have collected quite a few since last time, too. Maybe I will do half now and save the rest for next time. Without further adieu, here you go.

I run slow. Do you run slow? Who cares?

I am so excited to connect with this Buffalo, NY all-things-bikes organization. I'm going to be taking a couple of their community classes in July, and I can't wait!

A corrollary to that, cycling in the city scares the bejeezus out of me, but I want to get past that.

These tips should help, too.

God bless the broken road. Amen. The journey is indeed littered with potholes.

Embrace the plateau!

Some unexpected benefits of running.

Even nutritionists are human beings. And we're all awesome.

So many lessons to be learned from yoga. This is one of them.

Now that I am another year older, rest is even more important.


I'm still recovering from the stupid cold I picked up over the weekend, but starting to feel better – no more sore throat or coughing or sneezing (well, I was coughing a bit in bed last night), but I still have a stuffy head and I still feel loagy and woozy and not quite up to snuff. This thing is turning out to be not as bad as I thought it would be, though. So there's that.

Despite my birthday, eating has been on track. I haven't overindulged in sweets. Which, to be honest, is a little disappointing – I wanted a decadent chocolate cake with chocolate frosting – but I did have some tastes of good stuff here and there. Teasers, really. I also want an ice cream cone, and gosh darnit, I will have one sometime this week!

It's been really helping that my boyfriend is now also working on losing weight. He's a lot more conscientious than I ever am, and he's also got a competitive streak so anytime I snack on some pretzels in the evening, he's all like, "See, that's why I am going to beat you!" which cracks me up every time. Yet, at the same time, I kind of don't doubt it. When he is determined about something, he gets it done. I'm excited for him and hope he does beat me to it. Another thing is that he wants to exercise – well, he wants to play tennis – as much as possible. Like every day. That's awesome, but we're going to have to balance it out with my running, especially when my group starts up again soon. Either way I win because it is so much more fun to exercise with someone else. I love that he wants to be more active now. LOVE IT!

One thing I am a little sad about is how I got totally off my Galloway 10K training plan. I made it through 4 weeks' worth and then I just petered out, didn't feel well, and/or life got in the way. If I had stuck to plan, I'd be running five miles by now.

Yet, at the same time, I feel like that was a little unrealistic for me. Sure, I have all my running friends telling that of course I could do it, and maybe they are right, but honestly, three miles is still so hard I just don't know. But whatever! I am not quitting or anything. I think I really needed a bit of a meaningful rest, and once running group starts again I'll be in a new groove. I'm not worried. And it's not like I've been totally idle, not while I am living with crazy tennis boy.

I feel good overall, even with the cold. Things are headed in the right direction. I have a lot to look forward to – one thing I was thinking about last night was that this time next year, for my 46th birthday, I should solidly be into regular sized clothing. I might even be teetering at around 200 pounds for the first time in 20 years! Now that's something to really get excited about. I can't wait.

For some reason, this song has been playing in my head this morning. I have no idea why, but it rocks well enough and I like the line "Get Free!" on its own as like a mantra or affirmation.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

I am 45!

Happy birthday to me. 45 big ones! (Love me some horror flicks!)

I'm one of those people who happen to embrace getting older. I know myself better, I like myself better, I feel like I understand the world around me a little more, hopefully I am smarter, etc. etc.

Of course, I feel extra happy to celebrate my birthday this year because of all the fabulous changes I've made in my life since the last one. (Too bad I just started with a bad cold and I'm in the middle of my period! Ugh!)

At last weigh-in, I've lost 92 pounds total. Yes, I had an amazing drop this past week and who knows why, but I'll take it! As you know, I had a rough week last week dealing with fast food addiction and just plain eating more than I probably should, but somehow, it worked in my favor. I am definitely not looking this gift horse in the mouth, though: despite it being birthday week and having all kinds of little celebrations, I've done my best to keep things reasonable. Yesterday, for example, I knew that I was going to be noshing on a friend's homemade sweet surprise for me after dinner, so I didn't have any of the doughnuts my boss brought in the morning in honor of my special day. I was pretty proud of that. And dinner was some delicious Thai food that I saved half of for lunch today!

Today I'm not doing anything too special since I'm not feeling great. I am leaving work a little early, though, and I'm picking up a pizza from my very favorite place on the way home – along with some orange juice and vitamin C pills!

Last Thursday, I ran another 5K with my running buddy, Amy F. She registered me as a birthday present, how great is that? It was the fabulous Gay 5K in Buffalo and we had a great time. My finishing time was actually the worst I've had of the three I've run since training ended, but honestly, I was happy to just have finished the whole distance without walking at all. Three miles is still so tough for me, but I did it, and I had gorgeous drag queens waiting for me at the finish line along with my faithful friends cheering me on.

Amy F., our young pal Janice, and me before the race!
I haven't run since, but don't worry – I have not been idle! My boyfriend has been tennis crazy lately so we've been going out every day we can. It's been really fun and I'm already improving some. It is definitely hard work and I feel it!

That said, I do miss running. Ever since we shifted to our summer schedule at work, which requires me to be there 45 minutes earlier than usual, I haven't made the according adjustment to my running schedule. I really need to get on that! Hopefully I haven't gotten out of my groove or anything yet. Fortunately, my running group starts up again on the 21st so I'll be running regularly for that four times a week! I guess I shouldn't worry too much. 

On a final note, I had a great NSV this week. There are two bras that I can now wear again that I've not been able to for probably a good ten years. And they are actually pretty! Yay!

I still have well over a hundred pounds to go, but by gosh I am going to get there.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

I Confess

I always try to stay positive about things, even when they aren't going so well.

Let me admit to you: I've been having trouble lately. Not eating well at all, and combined with my exercise break things feel awful.

I know this is a temporary state, but it still feels crappy. And I feel kinda loser-ish, even though I know better.

My biggest problem has been reverting to eating disorder behavior, which for me involves secret eating and binging. I've been doing OK at home, but this week I've been running errands on lunch break at work and so indulging in the stupidest indulgence ever, only because it doesn't really taste that good: McDonald's.

I really don't know what it is about that place. Before I started losing weight last year, I truly felt addicted to the stuff and just stopped eating it totally for a while. Then, I'd have it just once in a while but would fit it into my daily calorie allotment. Recently, I just get it and I eat it and it doesn't fit and I eat it in my car and... it's just all shameful when it really shouldn't be, and just stupid. It's not the kind of relationship I want to have with food. It absolutely feels like a drug or an illicit affair when I do this.

So it has to stop. Hopefully after having written this I will, but I don't want to make a promise right now. I feel that out of control, quite frankly. At least tomorrow I am leaving work a couple hours early for an appointment, so I won't be going out for lunch or any errands, and Thursday and Friday I am off all together – that should give me a much-needed break from the temptation of it and just break the little cycle I have fallen into.

Lunch was another throwaway. What does one do for the rest of a day if one's calories are all eaten? Obviously you can do one of two things:

1. Eat a normal dinner and move on

2. Don't eat anything else for the rest of the day

I suppose you could also take the lunch binge and extend it because what does it all matter, anyway? To be honest, that is kind of how I am feeling lately and I am probably going to just eat a whatever dinner and start again tomorrow.

On the plus side, my boyfriend and I getting back to an old friend (though more so for him, since he played it all growing up), tennis! We've been gearing up and hoping to go out later this week to start hitting the ball around. He's a pretty good player but quite out of shape, while I'm in better shape but not a good player at all. In the past when we've played, he's had to be patient while I send balls to places I don't intend, and swing too early or too late, etc. etc.

I might sign up for some group lessons, but he's also been researching instructional videos for us to watch. Otherwise, hopefully just some light and easy volleying will help get us both up to speed. I'm also hoping that we will finally get out for a hike this week, too! My schedule and the weather have been conspiring against us on that front.

Just thinking about these things get me excited and feeling a little happier about what's going on. I have to ride through the downtimes and just keep looking forward to when I regain control a little better. I've done it before, and I know I will do it again.

(If anyone is out there reading, I could sure use a shout out today – your comments would be greatly appreciated!)

Monday, June 1, 2015

Outside the Fitness Box

I love this cool sketch of wireframes for a mobile app, by Fernando Guillen.

Today's post may seem a little off-topic, but when it comes down to it, it absolutely ties into my overall approach to health and fitness.

I've committed to this challenge to learn as much about Javascript and solidify my knowledge of HTML and CSS as I can in the 30 days of June. Basically, I want to build the skills I need to become an awesome web designer/developer.

How on earth does some computer programming possibly fit into the content of this blog? Well, for one... it's my blog and I can write about anything I like. ;) But, more importantly, I consider stuff like this super important to my personal development. Obviously that has been mostly focused on the physical, but as most of you probably know and understand, the mental holds equal importance. (Let's not also forget the emotional, but I'll save that for another post!)

I have always enjoyed learning whether I am being taught in a classroom, through online tutorials, or doing my own research and doing. My bread and butter is primarily earned working as a graphic designer, and for the dozen or so years I've been at it, my main focus has been on print design. I've dabbled in web design over the years and have worked on a few sites; I know my way around HTML and CSS well enough... but I have never felt as comfortable with it as I do designing things that get printed on paper, like brochures, books, postcards, etc.

I love my current job but I also want to think about future endeavors. When I think of the future in terms of graphic design, I think about things like websites and apps. And I want to really know how to kick ass at that kind of stuff, if only for my own satisfaction, but certainly for more career options down the road.

For the past week or so, I've been studying a little bit already on sites like Skillcrush and Treehouse and Codecademy and Skillshare, so this will carry on perfectly to this challenge. (And even if I am super achey and tired or if it's raining outside, I can still do it! LOL) Just 10 minutes a day of working on these new skills is all that is required to participate in the challenge.

When I learn something new and start to master it, I get a supreme sense of satisfaction – don't you? It's similar to the adrenaline rush that I have become addicted to after a run. In this way, it makes me feel powerful and strong, not to mention smart and confident! Is there anything much better than that? You can see now how it all relates to my overall health and fitness goals, except that it's my brain getting a workout, not my muscles! (Though my typing skills may improve somewhat...)

What new skill or activity would you like to work on for the next 30 days, and will you sign up for the challenge? How does it relate to your well-being and health? I'd love to hear about it!