Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Major Bummer

The past couple days, the knee that prompted me to visit a physical therapist a couple weeks ago really started bothering me. My PT poked around it a little bit at my visit this morning, and said that I had two choices: I could keep running with my knee feeling like this, and probably aggravate the situation and making it worse, OR stop running for a while, and work on it for a few weeks with the strengthening exercises I've been building on (so many now!) and come out a stronger runner.

My immediate response was, "Well, I know what my answer is!"

Of course, the latter choice. Although I am very sad about having to stop running after having made so much progress, I am grateful that I can still walk for exercise and look forward to getting stronger and better in the end. It takes patience, right? I'm willing.

In the meantime, I am going to follow my running schedule but doing walking for the workouts instead. This Saturday I was going to run 6 miles... well, now I will walk them. I want to keep my endurance up and I want to prepare for that 10K trail race I am signed up for; fortunately there is a walking option and so that is what I am going to do. There is a 10K road race in November that Amy F. is doing and hopefully I will be in shape by then to join her. So nothing is lost. I will still get to do the cool 10K trail race (though no longer racing, per se), and I will still get to achieve my goal of running a 10K this fall.

Win, win, I'd say.

In eating news, some days are so easy and effortless, and others just aren't. I had a couple good ones this week, but today has definitely been in the latter category. I'm chalking it up to emotional eating and leaving it at that with no juicy detail for you, my dear reader. It probably doesn't help that I am in full PMS mode, either.

All that said, I still haven't moved beyond the low 270s. It's a bit discouraging, as it has been about two months now without any new weight loss – just losing the same few pounds over and over, and touching down on 270 once. I mean, part of me is like, it's OK, it's good – I'm maintaining, more or less, but on the other hand, well, you know. On the other it just feels like I'm maybe not taking things as seriously as I could or perhaps should.

I'm being totally honest here, with myself and with you. Let me repeat that last line.

I'm maybe not taking things as seriously as I could or perhaps should. 

OK, I still want this. Very much. I still want to lose another 100 pounds. What do I need to do?

• Meal planning and prep so that I don't have room to worry about what to eat (sometimes that is what totally screws me up on any given day)

• Exercise – this hiatus from running (oh, and tennis, too – no tennis for a while) is a good opportunity for me to try something else. Back to walking, back to some gym workouts which I feel like I need anyway? Hiking, something I have been missing a LOT. Cycling.

Tomorrow morning I am meeting with a friend to try out her gym and have a nice workout together. My PT said that I can do any standing exercises and cardio (except running, of course).

• Mindset needs adjusting. I need to get serious again, at least for a while. Have been thinking about seeing the nutritionist I know through the running group to get some help with stuff in general, to get myself in a good direction again – maybe just trying something new to jog things up a bit?

• Remind myself how far I have come. I can almost fit into some XL shirts I've had tucked away! If that isn't motivation, I don't know what is.

Photos from the other day in my favorite striped shirt, again. Not bad. Hang in there, kid.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Week

It was, well, a week.

Nothing special. Kind of the opposite, really. It was kind of hard but kind of carefree.

Basically, I wasn't too terribly pleased with my eating or with my activity level. I had two runs (a 3 miler and 5.5 yesterday) and one lame half hour session of tennis. We were both tired and a little out of practice and played on a not-so-great court. Not the worst, either, but we've been spoiled by usually playing at a nearby high school's courts that are just about perfection, so... anyway. I was also in a pissy mood because the local Pickleball enthusiast have had the city paint all the courts with stupid Pickleball lines, which I find very distracting. Stupid Pickleball. Go play ping pong or something and stop ruining our tennis courts!

Ugh. I had intended on Monday's run to be 4 miles, but ended up with 3, which is fine. I did another 5.5 yesterday, which was on my training schedule. I should have had one more run in between, but it just didn't happen. I'll blame it on physical therapy, which has been kicking my butt. Or should I say, it's kicking my glutes. My whole body, really. When I started with PT a couple weeks ago, they had given me a couple fairly easy exercises, but now we've entered into some really hard-core, super sweat-inducing stuff – like planks done the right way. I've done plenty of planks in my time, but never have I done planks like the ones they have me doing – engaging all the right muscles in a way I'd never done before. Honestly, it kind of ruins me at this point.

So yeah, I've been taking it a little easier this week for sure.

Weekly weigh-ins for the Ton of Fun program at Fleet Feet began this past week. Mine are on Saturdays, so after my run in the morning I went over to the store, none too enthusiastically since I didn't have a great scale reading at home and expected to show a gain. BUT, by some grace of god I showed a 2 pound loss. I figure it wasn't just because of the run, because I weighed under the same circumstances last week. Good enough, and puts me below 272 again, just. I'm pretty pleased.

Today my big goal is to get the week planned entirely for food. I want to know what I am eating every day ahead of time, and I want to have as much prepared for that as possible, too. I know that will go a long way to help me get back on a really good track and moving confidently into the 260s and beyond.

Here's to an awesome week ahead!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Some realizations

I need to PLAN.

I need to be more diligent.

I cannot rest on my laurels.

Exercise is not always going to make up for bad eating choices. (Sometimes, but not usually.)

Monday, September 14, 2015

Another Monday

I can't believe a whole week has passed by since my last post already! Wow!

Since last time I also feel like fall has made a real entrance as well, although it looks like we have warmer temps coming up this week again... which I should embrace. Ask me how I feel about 70s and 80s temps when I am trudging around snow banks in the middle of January. Yeah. So even though running in the cooler temperatures we've had the past few days is infinitely nicer, I will bear more warmer ones if I must.

We were back to playing tennis but only managed two sessions due to more schedule and weather issues. You really can't play in the rain, and we had plenty of that last week. I did run three times, though – two 2 milers and one – get this – 5.5 miler! I'm pretty proud of that. It's the biggest news I have aside from getting back down to 272 and beyond! I hit 270 one morning, much to my excitement, but haven't seen it since. That's OK, I'll get there.

It seems like every other day is a struggle. Or maybe I should frame is thusly: Every other day is a breeze. But I am still dealing with some emotional eating and sometimes wonder if I will ever get over it. (The correct answer is, YES! Yes, I will!) So I'll have a really great, nearly effortless day followed by the day from Hell where I want to eat ALL. THE. FOOD. And sometimes do.

What is keeping me going is the desire to live a long, healthy life. I visited my GP for a yearly checkup and while I was in the waiting room, I saw many examples of the kind of older person I did not want to end up being like. Of course I understand that some of it is just luck of the dice, right? But at the same time I want to stack the odds as much in my favor as possible. I'm also continuing to dazzle my own self with my accomplishments – each week it seems that I am doing something I never thought I would, like the aforementioned 5.5 mile run. It's truly amazing what our not-so-perfect bodies can do when we give them permission (and the proper training) to.

My intention was to get in a 5 mile run as per my training schedule for the 10K trail race coming up. I had arranged to meet up with a few running buddies on Saturday morning and just get it done, no matter how long it took me. Well, it was raining. A lot. Like, cats and dogs raining. But, I got geared up anyway and was just about out the door when my main running pal, Amy F., texted me asking if we were still meeting. I replied saying that I was all ready to go and would be there even if no one else was. I really wanted to get it out of the way and I didn't want to psych myself out.

Long story short, we got to the park and ended up with six of us total ready to go. The rain got worse, but I realized that once I had stood in the rain long enough I barely noticed it. I even popped in my contact lenses so that I wouldn't have to deal with foggy, wet glasses for an hour and a half. As I said, 5 miles was the plan, but by the time my running partner of the day, Emily, and I completed three loops around the park, we were at 5.3 miles. No way is my OCD self going to leave it at that – "Let's do 5.5!" I urged. And we did. Amy ended up doing 6.5!

Emily is a runner from the Learn to 5K program that just ended but she has been totally rocking it. Our pace is similar and she ran the whole distance with me and kept my mind off the miles for sure with her gift of gab. I'm not sure what that run would have been like without the benefit of companionship! But, now I know that I am totally capable of it, and we finished with an average pace of 15:28 – not breaking speed records for sure, but crushing distance, which is what I was interested in. 10K is totally within reach and I am no longer unsure about the race next month, even with its added challenge of trails. I know I can cover the distance.

Photos! Of course.

Stupid, or dedicated? You tell us. Emily, Amy F., me, and Jewel excited to run in the rain.

In between No Boundaries sessions, some of us plan to meet on Saturday mornings in Delaware Park like we do when the program's running.

Me, Emily, Pat, and Liz. Pat and Liz are NoBo mentors and are the best cheerleaders! This photo was
snapped when Emily and I were about to begin our third and final loop around the park.

In other Fleet Feet-related news, the Ton of Fun program started on Saturday with the baseline weigh-in and measurements. I came in at two pounds over the finish of the last session, which, all things considered, is not too bad. More like a maintain when you think about how much my weight has fluctuated. Tonight is the orientation, and I will be one of three mentors who will offer more help and support to participants – and it will keep me motivated and focused as well. I want to set a good example. My goal for the next 12 weeks is perhaps a bit ambitious, but I'd like to see 250 by the end, which means I'm looking at over 20 pounds to lose. I know I can do it, but I will really have to get serious and stop letting stupid stuff get the best of me.

Let's do this! Power in numbers.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Progress Comes in Many Forms

Yesterday I took a few hours and did a full purge of ALL the clothes not serving me well in my life and made the decision to get rid of everything that was too big, even just a little, and everything that I did not feel good in, even if it "fit". What an amazing exercise! In the past when I'd lost weight I always hung on to the bigger clothes, and I think that gave me permission to gain the weight back. This way I will need to be really careful of the decisions I make if only because I will have no "fall back" clothes to wear. Fortunately, I DID hang on to a lot of clothes that I outgrew over the years and so I have rediscovered more stuff I can wear now and look forward to wearing things in another 20+ pounds lost. That is fun!

I have realized that I am about to enter the 18 to 20/XL size range, which is very exciting and motivating. Taking the time to go through piles of clothes helped me remember all the reasons I am doing what I'm doing and why I want to keep doing it until I reach my goal.

Even though I have been stuck in the mid-270s for the past month or so (272 was the 100 pound mark), I'm doing lots of amazing activities, and I am getting a taste of what maintenance will be like. Seems pretty awesome and doable, but now I am ready to take things to the next level. I think that the next 50 pounds or so will be especially transformative.

Here's a photo I took yesterday in all my tryings-on. I'm wearing a t-shirt I used to wear in college 25 years ago, and jeans that I was only ever able to wear for a short period about 10 years ago (and not even that comfortably back then!). Yes, I held onto clothes that I really liked as I gained weight and grew out of them. So glad I did!

My beloved, nearly threadbare Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds t-shirt.
It's still snug, but I can get it on without trouble. 

And, on Friday, I ran another 5K race – it was the "graduation" race for the running program I've been doing. At the beginning of the race, I was running alongside one of the participants in the Learn to 5K section (I was in 2.0). She and I were at the back of the pack at that point, and we seemed to be enjoying each other's company. I had intended to go along my way and up the pace, aiming to get a "good" time, but about a half mile in, I decided that I wanted to stick with Tiffany and be her cheerleader for the race. Since I'm going to be a mentor in the next session of the program, I also thought it would be good practice for me in that regard.

We came in second last and last, and it was an amazing experience. For me, it was nice to take things a little bit slower than I usually aim for, and I felt comfortable the entire length of the race. I know Tiffany was working hard and she was dealing with a bad ankle (an old injury) and so we stopped to walk a couple times, and yet she pushed through and finished strong. I was SO proud of her, and so honored to be part of her first 5K experience. Crossing the finish line involved tears of joy and BIG hugs, what is better?

So, here is a photo of me just about to cross the finish line.

Almost finished!

And Tiffany and I post-race, basking in the glow of our achievements!

Rockin' the 5K!

Finally, I'm so happy that we started playing tennis again after a couple weeks' hiatus due to various issues. We did 30 minutes on Saturday, two hours yesterday (two one-hour sessions), and one hour today. Feeling really good about my skill level and my endurance! Hooray!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Random Thoughts

In plusses and minuses.

+ I tried on more clothes from the big bag of hand-me-downs that Jewel gave me. There was one pair of cords from Lane Bryant with a size 18 label. They just plain looked small to me, and I thought, "Ugh, no way not now!" but tried them on anyway... News flash! While I couldn't quite zip and button yet, I am really close. Color me shocked. I also tried on some lovely Lands' End Starfish pants, size XL (they are a nice quality knit). Totally fit. Maybe not suitable for outdoor consumption, but it's not far away.

+ For real, I signed up for the RidgeWalk 10K trail run! Oh my god, it's a month and a half away. I am crazy. To prepare, I am going to follow most of this training plan. I already typed it into my training log schedule and I'm ready to get started on Tuesday!

+ I decided to visit a sports-focused physical therapist since my left knee and hip have been giving me a little concern lately. I didn't think it was anything serious, but I also didn't want to take any chances and nip it in the bud if it was something that could get worse. I had my appointment today and it was pretty great. I have a slight imbalance and I'm going to be working on strengthening stuff, including the glutes and the core in the coming weeks. I'm excited to get stronger, but man – I sure am feeling funny after the light manipulations the PT did on me today. I would never have imagined how sore I'd be after that. Now I know what my mom is talking about after one of her PT sessions! That shit is hardcore!

+ I had a good week of eating up until this morning. I'd dropped all but two pounds of what I'd gained since hitting the 100 pound mark. I was feeling good and confident and...

- I had a pretty bad eating day today. Can I tell you about it? It was full of stupid choices that I'd like to admit here purely for accountability's sake, and so I can look back on it and remember how yucky it made me feel. Oh sure, I could claim carb-loading for the race I am running tomorrow, but...

Breakfast was over 1200 calories alone. Super stupid Dunkin Donuts breakfast sandwich and too many stale Munchkins and a strawberry Coolatta. Sad, I know.

Lunch was a bagel and cream cheese. I didn't bring anything to work with me and it was leftover from Bagel Wednesday, plus I needed something fast and easy to make up for the time I took on lunch for the PT appointment. More poor planning.

I was more or less planning to just not eat dinner, in which case my calories for the day would have been fine. But no. I got hungry again, and ended up getting a pork and chorizo burrito from the Mexican place my partner was ordering from, and had a pork tamale and a few chips and salsa.

Dinner was a bust. It put me way over the top. At that point I was like fuck it (pardon my French, but not really), and just downed a whole big bar of Chocolove dark chocolate with orange peel for dessert. It just became ridiculous.

And now I feel stupid.

But life goes on, and tomorrow is a new day. And I have a race to run, and after that a race to train for.

I'm OK. Sometimes stupid gets in the way, and you just have to move beyond it.