Sunday, January 31, 2016

End of the Month!

My Happy Scale chart is finally back in the green! Hooray!!! Crisis over.
It's amazing that we're through January already.

It's even more amazing that today it was in the 50s and all the snow has melted. And I live in western New York! I am totally NOT complaining, let me tell you. It makes for great running conditions and just not having to navigate snow and ice all the time is so, so nice.

Anyway. Since I last checked in a week ago, things have been pretty great! Things have felt right. The intuitive eating I've been trying out the past few weeks seems to be working well for me. There are some days when I do enter my food and calculate the calories on MyFitnessPal, but more as a check-in to see how I do on guesstimating my intake. Otherwise, I've been trying to eat reasonably and eat more better foods than not. I'm learning to trust myself and food more.

And I'm continuing to build my base miles for running. As I'd mentioned before I was down to running once a week, but last week and this week I've built back up to 8-10 miles split among three sessions. I'm trying hard not to care too much about my pace and just focus on getting the work done and feeling good about that alone, no matter how fast I'm going. My official half marathon training begins in just over a week. I'm a little nervous about being able to do it at the end of the 17 weeks, seeing how getting two, three, or four miles seems challenging now. There's a lot of negative thinking I battle during my runs and I need to get past that – the truth is, if I do the work there is no reason I shouldn't be able to finish the half in June, and again in October.

I finished out the month at 270, which I am pleased with – a six pound loss and getting back on track is very happy-making. I have been so back-and-forth in this weight range that I feel like I'd do just about anything to get into the 260s again and just keep going, never to return. But how many times have I made that statement? Too many. It's not that I didn't mean it those times before, but I was obviously lacking something. This time my determination is so real, so palpable. I can taste that I CAN finally get past this wall I've been facing for months.

One big thing that I really need to remember is that I've managed to keep off most of the weight I've lost for six months now. That is a huge achievement for me. It's huge that I am not done yet, too. In the past when I've lost a chunk of weight (50 or 60 pounds, never as much as I have this time), I hit some block, tried to hold on... and then within months I'm gaining and gaining and find myself back where I started, and worse. The fact that this has not happened, that I have committed to this for over a year and a half makes me so proud of myself, despite not actively losing for a while. I've learned that I can actually maintain within a range, and that's important, too.

Anyway, I've got an appointment with my GP on March 9th. I'd really love to be able to walk in there and hop on the scale in the 250s. I really, really would.

The new session of the Ton of Fun program at Fleet Feet started again recently, and that's a good motivator; the new session of No Boundaries running group starts in the middle of February and I can't wait.

There is just so much to look forward to in 2016. I am ready to do the work and I'm ready to enjoy the results of that hard work, too!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Random Check-In Post

Hello hello!

I've been aiming to send out January on a good note. Since last week, my eating has been pretty good. I'm not counting calories so much as trying to eat intuitively and smartly. It seems to be working out well so far. I was up to 279 last Friday, and after my run this morning, the scale read 270. I'm pretty excited about that and really, really want to keep the momentum going so that I can finally land in the 260s and never look back.

It's been a great running week. I'm easing back into a regular routine after doing just one run a week since the holidays. Including this morning's run, I squeaked in three, hooray! Wednesday was a pretty cool four-miler run mostly on my own (though out with a group) – I wanted to see if I could still do that distance, and was very happy with the results even though the snow-covered roads slowed me down a little bit. Yesterday's outing was disappointing, logging just 1.38 miles and suffering the whole time. Not sure why, it was just one of those runs. I still got out there and did something, right?

Today was better. I finally joined a group of runners called the Old Falls Street Run Club at the nudging of one its members who I often run into at Fleet Feet events. After all, it's based right here in Niagara Falls where I live! I was always a little scared to come out for their free runs, though, because I was worried that I was too slow, and just a general fear of the unknown. I found out how silly that was today, because for the first time in a while I had someone to run with at my pace! My friend Janice, in fact. I got 2.5 miles in with her at a good pace, averaging around 14:40. Niagara University, where we ran, keeps its roads nice and clear, so no worries about ice or snow to navigate – just the extreme cold, a frosty 18 degrees.

It's so nice to get back into the habit of running more regularly. It makes me feel so good afterward, and the effect can last into the next day, as it has for me this past week! I love it.

I've been having a lot of thoughts related to what I am doing and keep thinking, "Oh, I need to remember that for the blog," but then it gets forgotten. So many things. I've been at this now for about 20 months, which is the longest I've stuck with it in my whole life. The fact that I've been able to maintain most of what I've lost for almost six months totally dazzles me and gives me hope that this is something that I can stick with for the rest of my life. I feel like I did find the secret in some ways. I'm doing it. But really, only time will tell, won't it?

There's still so much work to do. And after that, after I reach my goal, it's going to be staying on top of it, well, forever. And I am OK with that. First I need to get to where I am going, though.

At least 100 more pounds. It's a lot, but I've already done it once. That one time? It wasn't so bad. I can do it again for sure.

100 pounds is a lot to think about, so I need to keep my focus on the smaller goals, the smaller steps that will get me there. Lose 25 pounds four times. Lose ten pounds ten times. Lose five pounds twenty times. Lose one pound 100 times.

I am on it.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

A Little Help from My Friends

A photo my wonderful friend and mentor Pat took of me running a couple weeks ago. I am liking what I see!

Not much has changed since the last post... YET.

But today I got some help from my partner, who did his best Jiminy Cricket imitation to get me to snap out of the mindless eating crap I've been indulging in lately. Because of his reminders, my eating wasn't too bad today.

And I also got to thinking seriously about half marathons, specifically the Niagara Falls Womens' Half Marathon in Ontario, Canada, just across the border from where I live. It's in early June, just a few days before my 46th birthday. So yeah, I was thinking... I'm doing the No Boundaries program version 3.0 starting in February, which will take me to being able to run eight miles by the end of April. The NFWHM offers a handy training schedule that also acts as a money-back guarantee to finish the race if you follow the plan. So, I had a careful look at it and plugged it into my calendar. It looks to me like as long as I stick to the schedule, I should really have no problem being able to do it. I am capable of running the miles required up until week 6 out of 17 now, so it should be totally doable.

Of course I wanted to check in with my pack of running friends to see if what I was thinking was crazy, or if this is indeed something I can do. I got nothing but positive feedback, and these are the ladies who have continuously supportive and encouraging and helping me to achieve my goals this past year. In the conversation several of us also decided to make a commitment to sign up for the Wineglass Half Marathon in Corning, NY, a few hours away, in October. So now I've got not just one, but two halfs to train for in 2016!

The NF training schedule begins on February 9th with three runs per week. I've only been doing one run each week since around Thanksgiving, so until then I'll work on building up to the 3x/week again, but shorter runs between two and four miles. Starts tomorrow on that.

I also feel that having this major thing to train for will give me extra impetus to really get serious about my eating and losing weight again. After all, the lighter I am, the easier the runs will be. Obviously I am not interested in crash dieting, not saying that at all – but just really being dedicated to eating quality foods and eating reasonable amounts. I will also need to get back to strength training to protect myself from injury. I know what I need to do there.

My schedule will be looking something like this:

Monday: Strength and cross training at the gym

Tuesday: Prescribed run (NoBo)

Wednesday: Strength and cross training at the gym

Thursday: Prescribed run

Friday: Rest day or cross training (swim?)

Saturday: Prescribed long run (NoBo)

Sunday: Rest day

I'm very excited to get started!

The training plan! The sticky notes have mileage vs. k. :)

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Happy New Year, Belated

Hello all!

I am still here. A few days turned into a couple weeks, and... well, here I am.

Not too much new and exciting to report, to be honest. I am still going between doing really well and really not-so-well as far as eating goes. Exercise has fallen to running once a week since before Christmas, but that's better than nothing. I am still playing around in the 270s – a couple times nearly hitting or dinging 280, and last week getting back down to 271. Today finds me solidly PMSing and in the middle at 275, which I will take gladly.

Part of me is sad that I haven't made any new progress, but the other part appreciates that I am still more or less maintaining, not giving up.

The best news has been that I seem to be getting my running groove again. I ran as part of a four-person half marathon relay team last weekend, and it was great – I've had a couple good ~three milers in the 14's, and the relay had me at my best pace since summertime, about 14:40. The Winter Warrior half in Rochester, NY was pretty fantastic, a very well-presented race with lots of awesome volunteers and a loop course that allowed me the amazing experience of running among people instead of always being behind them. What energy and inspiration! All kinds of people throwing out kudos as they passed by. I loved it.

Obligatory race photo: Me (3), Amy F. (2), Emily (1), and Angela (4) as the Buffalo Gals relay team! 
Now I am all signed up for the next session of No Boundaries at Fleet Feet and I decided to go to the next level – 3.0, which will take me to running eight miles by the end of April. I'm also registered for my first longer-than-5K, the Shamrock 8K in Buffalo in March. I plan to do the Grand Island 10K in May! Very exciting. 

Otherwise, I have just been continuing to enjoy the fact that regular daily activities that were becoming challenging at my heaviest are now nothing to me – snow shoveling, cooking, cleaning, walking from a distant parking spot, tying my shoes, getting dressed. I truly take real pleasure in all of it. I will never take my physical abilities for granted. 

I should never want to give them up, either, which is what would happen if I don't really buckle down and get back to the business I need to. Truth be told, if I never lost another pound I would be OK, however, at this weight I still feel precariously close to an edge I don't want to be near. 

I can just challenge myself to move farther away from the edge. It doesn't have to be the whole 100 or more pounds I think I'd like to lose. What if I only thought about, say, 25 pounds? 

Maybe that would help. 

Maybe knowing I want to run faster and easier would help. Losing 25 pounds, heck even 5 pounds, would take off thousands of pounds of pressure off my knees when I'm running, for example. 

Hey! I also rejoined my old gym. They made me an offer of my old rate and no initiation fee, so I jumped at it. I haven't yet gone, but I will be using the pool and I'll go to a class every week. (When do I start, hmmmm??? What am I waiting for???) Yoga, maybe Zumba. Oh, but the swimming! I kind of can't wait!

So anyway, that's where I am at for now! I'm proud to say that I am better off than I was a year ago today, and that is what I will always strive for. 

How are you doing?