Wednesday, June 29, 2016

What's Next

Today marks the end of my week-long self-challenge! The goal was to lose 10 pounds in a week – though, actually, the number goal was 277 which would make it 11 pounds. I started at 288.2 last Wednesday, and this morning weight's is 279.8, for a total of 8.4 pounds lost.

(Please note: This is not a normal weight loss and I don't suggest anyone plan to lose that much weight in a week. I did the challenge because I know my body well and it has been known to lose that much (and unfortunately gain that much!) in a week. It's happened several times before, after a period of eating like crap and then diving in to more mindful and higher-quality eating, more water drinking, and regular exercise. I don't expect this to happen again, trust me. Also – I did NOT starve myself or do anything extreme.)

Not too shabby! I am not disappointed by any means. I am so happy to have squeaked into the 270s on this momentous occasion. It's been a while, at least a couple months since I've been in the old 27.

So, what's next?

First of all, I am not going to do what I have often done in the past after a successful weekly weigh-in or a challenge like this, and that is, "reward" myself with junk food. Honestly, I don't even have the desire! The last thing I want to do at this delicate time is take a step back. At a time like this the thing that I MUST do is continue doing what I've been doing, and so I am.

To recap:

• Logging my food, water, and exercise every day

• Eating mindfully and staying within my self-imposed nutritional parameters

• Doing some form of exercise or activity every day (this has included gardening and yard work; running; walking; and tennis).

• Drinking a gallon of water every day (not hard in the warm weather!)

• Writing down my thoughts here at least a few times a week, if not every day

• Savoring every morsel that goes into my mouth

• Eating larger meals earlier in the day, and not eating in the evening (generally)

That's really about it! Simple things that make all the difference.

And my brain? I don't know, but that part of my brain that makes this all happen is suddenly back at full attention and doing its job. Seeing all the things I am doing as making deliberate and desired choices makes a big difference, too. Turning on the positive and avoiding the negative. Doing the best I can do and not beating myself up for what I can't.

Always, always, always getting back up after a fall. That's the main reason why I've managed to keep at this so long this time – 2+ years and no signs of stopping. This is my life now, even when I am not at my best. I will never, ever give up on this.

I don't have the luxury to give up anymore.

New goals:

• 276 pounds (the weight I was at the very beginning of the year), then...

• 272 pounds (100 pounds lost, again), then...

• sub-270 pounds, then...

• 264 pounds (the weight I was on Thanksgiving morning, which was the lowest weight on this journey so far), then...

• sub-260 pounds, then...

• 250 pounds

And that is what I will focus on for now. Once I get to 250, I will set new goals!

But you see what I did, right? I made tiny, bite-size goals to break up the bigger one. The bite-size ones are way more manageable and easier to envision happening.

I am so excited. I am so ready to meet my less-hefty self again.

Oh, but before I leave you again, I wanted to share another triumph: I went out for a run after I got home from work last night! It was the first day of a half marathon training app that I bought. I set it up rather on the fly, actually, and didn't realize that the first day was asking for 30 minutes of straight running with a 5-minute warm up and cool down. So, I was running running running and waiting for a prompt to tell me to walk for a few minutes, and it just didn't happen... at the 15-minute mark when it announced, "You're halfway there!" I got wise, and kind of groaned but also knew that I could do it, and so I did.

It's a good thing, too, because I have a 5K coming up on Saturday, and *gasp* I ended up signing up for that 10K I mentioned before, taking place a week later. Man, I know... but, I've done the distance before and I know I can do it again, even if I have to walk some of it (but you know I'll try not to).

So anyway, I'm still not in a super running groove, but I haven't abandoned it by any means. I've just been totally grooving on tennis lately, is all. We're testing out some demo racquets today after work, can't wait! It's always fun to try out new equipment.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Three Pounds


Tomorrow is my mini-challenge official weigh-in. I have three pounds to lose today in order to "win".

I'd say that is probably not going to happen, though knowing my body, stranger things have happened, so we'll see.

Either way, I am pretty happy with what I've been able to do this past week. The best part is just totally getting my mindset back to a good – no, make that excellent – place! I am ready to rumble and loving it. I love how I've been feeling and I even love how I look. Proof, a photo at work this morning:

Sun-kissed and braided, happy me!

Could I possibly look any happier? I don't think so. (Yes, I've been getting a lot of sun lately, which could be part of the reason why I am happy! Vitamin D ftw.)

Also: Braids, braids, braids. I wish my hair was thicker so I could do more kinds, but just plain old little girl ones are fine with me. It's a comfortable, easy, and cute style, even for a 46-year-old lady like myself. (If I do say so.)

Food has been working out well today. 

Eating my food earlier in the day! Drinking lots of water!

Fruit and yogurt for breakfast, and Panera soup and salad for lunch – lots of protein! I had Moe's cookie leftover from last week, too. I may still have a banana or a peach by the end of the day, and I'll likely be drinking at least another seven glasses of water. (It's only 2pm as I write this.)

I know everyone has different ideas about what works, and the nutritionist I was working with told me that it doesn't matter at what time you eat your food, but for me? Eating most of my calories before, say 4pm (totally random time, by the way – but sometime late afternoon) seems to work really well for me, even if it is just a mental thing. I like being able to say to myself, OK, done eating today! and just not have to think about it again until morning. More than half of this, after all, is mental, and I feel like the less time I spend having to think about food, the better off I am. 

Of course I don't do this every day, but in general it's the way I prefer to eat – my partner, too.

So, anyway, thinking about what happens when my challenge is over? I'm keeping going, of course! I'm SO close to the 270s now and I cannot wait to reach the 100 pounds lost mark again (272, by the way). And to be in the 260s again??? Gah! Wow! I'm getting there. Below 265 will be all-new territory – at least in the last 18 years or so, and I just cannot wait.

Oh, and I almost forgot! I ended up walking to Panera, which is about 1.5 mile round trip from my office. It was the perfect day for it, and it was nice to stretch my legs (and burn a few cals!).

Monday, June 27, 2016


Yes, I am. Determined!

Today was:

• Checking on the gardens the morning after rain finally fell! The plants looked so happy. It was lovely to see. We've got a gorgeous veggie garden this year and of course I have my flower beds, too. It's been such a dry summer so getting any rain is just about exciting.

• Doctor's appointment – the "lady" doc (mine IS a lady, she's awesome!) for my annual exam. "You're perfect!" she told me. Hooray! (Though, just to note: My BP was up into the 130s (!) for some weird reason. On the kind of plus side, I lost about a pound since a year ago when I saw her last. Neat.)

• Planting some more stuff – marigolds among the veggies and a few other things going in the perennial beds. I did this for over an hour until my partner came out to check on me, because as usual I ended up being out there longer than I planned. Gardening just makes me always do more and lose track of time. I love it!

• Leftovers for our big meal of the day, lunch. I was off in the morning and did a work at home in the afternoon, so we had spaghetti again. It was yummy and very satisfying, and I didn't overdo it on the portions.

• Some graphic design in the afternoon for my job.

• Drinking 21 eight ounce glasses of water (!!).

• ... and sweating a lot of it out during one hour of tennis in temps almost pushing 90. Honestly, it was probably the least enjoyable bout we've had (tired, hot, grumpy and sensitive b/c I'm PMSing I guess), but I was still glad we got out there and did it. It was probably some of my worst playing in a while, but I also had some notable moments. It's always worth it.

Oh! And also I got to wear one of new tennis skirts, and I loved it. It's by New Balance, it's black, it's got pleats, and it makes me feel like a tennis pro, LOL. Sorry, no photos. I haven't been into it.

• Despite my foul-ish mood today (no good reason for it at all), I relished the day and got to do lots of nice things.

Just one more day before my big challenge weigh-in on Wednesday! I think I have a really good shot at it at this point. But I tell you what, I am also looking forward to what I get to do beyond that, too.

It's so funny how my mindset has shifted so dramatically in this past week. The switch is back on, I guess, and I am ridiculously happy about it. What is happening is that I am choosing whether to eat more food, or whether I want to continue losing weight. So, I see something like donuts, or candy, or whatever, and instead of instant craving or feeling bad that I can't have it, I think, Well, that stuff will be there another day, but today is not the day for that. I'd rather make more progress. Because of that choice, I don't feel deprived or upset that I'm not stuffing my face; in fact, I'm much happier that I am not. Ah, if only I can hold onto this feeling for, like... forever!

And look, it's not like I will never eat that stuff again, of course not. But for now, my desire to lose more weight way surpasses my desire for any given extra food I might have eaten at another time. I just want to do this. I want to stop messing around.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Keeping On Keeping On

Welp, finishing up day 5 of my little challenge and still feeling good about what I'm doing.

Yesterday was nice, a good balance of doing stuff and of leisure. In the morning I was up and out to water the gardens, after which I did a little more planting and weeding, and then... I thought while I had the hose out, I'd wash my car! So I did that, too, trying to make it as aerobic as I could. I was sweating by lunchtime.

We ended up having a late lunch and went out to Woodcock Brothers for the second time in two weeks, where I ordered a delicious wood-fired pepperoni pizza (honestly, the best pizza I've ever had the pleasure of eating, and that's saying a lot!) and had a Hoppycock IPA and a few sips of a tasty porter as well. Yum on all fronts. But I made sure that I stayed within my calorie allotment and, as I have been trying to stick to, eating most of my food in the earlier part of the day. I was done eating by 4pm. It was fine. Better than fine, really.

Today we played tennis first thing, but only lasted for 50 minutes as the day heated up pretty quickly – it got into the 90s today! We were sweating with a capital s, but it was fun! Afterward we stopped off at a small farm stand and I picked up some strawberries, cherries, onions, sweet peas, and a jar of locally-produced honey.

Didn't do much else today. Grocery shopping, cooking Sunday dinner... spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread (and wine!), again, trying to portion things to fit into my day.

The scale has been showing good results, too – down to the low 280s now, and hoping I'll make my goal on Wednesday. It's within reach.

One thing that I've been thinking about in the past couple days is my mindset. Since I've been more or less stagnating, my attitude has more or less been that well, even if I never lost any more weight, I'd be OK with that – my quality of life has improved measurably. My partner pointed out, though, that that way of thinking might really be hurting my progress, and the more I consider it, the more I think that is true. I think it is great that I arrived at a place where I am happy with my physical self in some ways, but at the same time, why should I sell myself short? Why shouldn't I keep trying to reach my big goals?

So with that in mind, rather than moving to a maintain week or two after this challenge is over, I'm going to just keep doing what I am doing. Of course I know that I won't lose 10 pounds a week every week (LOL!), but I do want to lose a solid pound or two most weeks, you know? I want to experience more positive changes in my body and my life.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Days 2 and 3

Things are still going well! It's nice to just try listening to my body and eat when it's hungry, try to make better choices, and try not to overeat. I mean, it's pretty simple, right?

With this warm weather and my activity levels being what they are, I'm drinking mucho mucho agua. Like, over a gallon of water each of these two days.

We played tennis last night (40 minutes) and tonight (a full hour). I bought a bunch of plants today and gardened a little bit – not as much as I had planned, but enough to make me sweat a bit for sure.

Best of all, I'm just feeling very positive and in control. I feel good. I want to see how many days I can keep this up. Forever would be nice!

I was proud of myself for my dinner choice. My partner suggested getting take-out from a place nearby that has the BEST fish fry (beer battered haddock or yellow pike, french fries, cole slaw). I really liked the idea, but I also really wanted to eat better than that, so he got a regular fish fry, and I got mine broiled instead, and chose a baked potato instead of french fries. It was still very tasty and satisfying, and my partner gave me a nibble of his battered pike (which, by the way, is such a delicious, clean-tasting fish) so win-win!

At this moment, I am NOT drinking some of the delicious beer we bought a growler of today. I had a sip and it's delicious, but right now I have different priorities and drinking a rich, high-calorie beer is not as high on the list as what I'm trying to accomplish.

I am not feeling deprived. I feel like I am making choices, and that is powerful.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Keeping Vigilant and Diligent

I may end up posting every single day of my little challenge this week, just to keep my self accountable and as a reminder to keep on the one day at a time mindset.

Day 1 was yesterday, and it went well! My eating wasn't perfect, but honestly, when is it ever, and what does that even mean? But I stayed close to my calorie goal, which is set at 1750 in MFP but any day under 2000 cals is a winner for me. So there's that. I drank 13 eight ounce glasses of water = 104 ounces. (Just a few glasses under a gallon! Maybe I'll go for that today.)

Drinking lots of water always makes me feel super good. At my best I've never gone much past 16 glasses in a day, and generally I try to do at least 10. I mostly drink it in straight water form, but I also tend to have a couple or few cups of green tea during work days as well.

I got some fruits and veggies in (lunch's sub was piled with veggies!), and treated myself to a single beer at the end of the day. I'm trying to keep the bigger meal at lunchtime.

We had planned to play tennis yesterday after work but didn't, which was disappointing. But, I'm trying not to stress too much over how much exercise I am doing while I am trying to really focus on getting my eating habits back to where they need to be. I think that this weekend will have plenty of activity, though, including mowing the lawn and more gardening, and tennis and at least one run, walk, or run/walk. I'm really looking forward to it!

I'm also plotting out upcoming races that I want to be ready for. Next up is one of those goofy bubble run things on July 2nd. It's just a 5K and a bunch of my running pals are signed up as well, so it should be more fun than anything. The following weekend I really have my eye on another 10K, which on one hand seems a little crazy to try to do right now seeing how my last 5K went, but also I just really want to know that I can still do it. Plus, it's at the Tuscarora Indian Reservation and it's during that nation's picnic and field days, which should be really cool to see. There is a 2.5 mile run as well, but you know... I want to do the 10K, even if it's a little dumb. It's in the morning, but it's going to be wicked hot, no doubt. Argh. I want to anyway! I'm crazy! Besides, I am staring down the calendar to August, when I'll be doing a 10-miler, so...

No matter how weigh-in comes in on Wednesday, I win. I'm ready to finish up Day 2 with a bang, and so on and so on.

This is how you do it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Everything Old is New Again

OK. Time to buckle down. Inspired and encouraged by my partner, I am doing a weight loss kick-start challenge for the next week, with weigh-in on Wednesday, June 29th. It involves consequences if I don't reach my goal that will remain private, wink wink. But anyway, what's the goal? I know it's going to seem really extreme to most, if not all, of you out there, but I've done it before so let's see if I can do it again: I'm aiming for 277, or ten pounds lost.

I know, I know. 10 pounds in a week is STUPID and totally UNREALISTIC. Yes. Yes, it is. But my body doesn't seem to be like other bodies. It indeed has been known to either gain or lose that much in that length of time more than once. I have also not been eating so hot lately, i.e. eating too much and not eating enough of the good stuff. When I manage my portions and watch the kinds of foods I eat, the weight drops rather dramatically after a period of, shall we say... indulgence, putting it diplomatically?

I'm kind of like a school kid in that I respond really well to a reward system, and I respond pretty well when I am met with any sort of challenge and/or skepticism. So, for the next week I'm doing to keep a tight lassoooo on things and see what it yields. Already this morning I have found myself making adjustments in thinking about food – one thought will creep in, and another will follow immediately making a correction. Already I've thought about lunch time and how any given food might affect me, whether as a trigger, or for the way my body will retain water because of it, etc.

I've also been thinking about how I prefer to eat: Bigger meal in midday, smaller meal or only a snack at dinnertime. I'm working to increase my water intake, too. I finished off the last of the diet soda I had in the house a couple days ago and I have a feeling that will help, too.

More or less, I am getting back to basics. After this first challenge is over, I'd like to jump into another one right away but with not as big an expected weight loss, obviously. Or maybe go for a maintain week challenge.

Another thing I am still working on is my weekly activity and running in particular. I feel like in this case I also need to make it fun, like a game, with rewards. Running for Cookies blog posted a cool summer running checklist and I'd like to see how many different runs I can check off by the end of the summer. She has also mentioned using the online tracker Smashrun, which among many other things gives you badges for myriad achievements. I want some badges, man! I'm still also trying to figure out which running app I want to use most of the time. I may end up going back to Runmeter again, I don't know. Too many choices! I still really like the idea of that training app I was trying out, but at $50 a year I am waffling, even though I think it could be really useful – I just wish it wasn't so pricey! (Though really, if you break it down, it's only a few dollars a month.)

So I don't know. I need new toys and games to keep me at it, I guess. At least I know that and at least there are always new toys and games out there to keep me motivated!

Last night we ate dinner after I got home from work (BBQ ribs and various sides: corn on the cob, roasted cauliflower and brussels sprouts, fresh bread, mac and cheese) and because it was really just the perfect day for it, went and got some tennis in before it got dark! Oof. Tennis on a full stomach is not so much fun, but once we got into playing an actual set it was fun and I was glad we did it. I didn't win any games at all, BUT I felt like my playing was pretty strong overall. We'll be going again today, too!

It's a summer Friday weekend and I'm hoping to get some more gardening stuff in, and I'm going to wash and maybe even detail my car. Perfect weather for any outdoor activities this weekend, if a little on the hot side... bring it on!

Feeling super positive today. Let's see what I can get done!!! I cannot wait to be in the 270s again. I am determined.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Digging Out

The other day I posted about really struggling lately. Nothing new, I know, something that I cycle through quite a lot. The good news is that I have been through this enough times to know that if I can just hang on long enough I'll get by. I'm also never afraid to ask for help, so I did that here and I did it on my Facebook page. It generated some good reminders, some encouragement, and some tough love (I like the last the best, for the record, so thank you, Jewel!). Part of me hates putting myself out there all whiny and vulnerable like that, but it does the trick every single time, so as long as people will put up with it, I will keep that in my survival toolbox.

I ended up having just about a perfect weekend, just what I needed. On Friday after I posted here and on FB, I decided to go out and work in my front garden, which needed a LOT of tidying. Last year we didn't do a vegetable garden and I pretty much ended up neglecting my flower beds, for shame. However, I was able to get quite a lot done in just an hour that evening and my mood was significantly improved – not to mention I built up quite a sweat. So, it wasn't a run, it wasn't a walk, but it was definitely exercise. Gardening and yard work is among my favorite ways to be active!


All perennials, all the time! I need to do some separating out and rearranging next.
I continued that project to extend around the corner along the side of the house on Saturday as well, over two hour's worth! Getting so involved in all that, I forgot that I needed to do a load of laundry so that I would have something to wear later that night for the 4th Annual June Ladies' Birthday celebration. I ended up also taking a nap and getting the load into the dryer a little later than I should have, so I'm texting the ladies saying how late I'd be for our dinner... to which lady Kate replied,

Ack, how much do I love that?

Anyway, backing up... Saturday morning my partner and I got out early before it got too hot and played an hour's worth of tennis. It was our first time out in at least a week – it felt like forever – and so I was definitely rusty. But, we ended up playing one set and by the end I felt like normal again. We were done by 10am and the sun was already blazing down and we were both covered in sweat. Great stuff. 

The birthday celebration later on was awesome. The four birthday ladies – Lizz, Molly, Kate, and me – met up for dinner at Buffalo's Providence Social for small plates and awesome cocktails. As has become tradition, we then proceeded to Essex St. Pub to hang out with our larger circle of friends for the rest of the evening. We were out late, I was tired! I was also kind of proud of myself for being very balanced all through the night – not too excessive about anything. It felt good, and it was wonderful to be around lots of friends even if I was feeling a little passive in my socializing. 

Me, Molly, Lizz, and Kate – the June Birthday Ladies!

Today was more low-key and I was happy to sit out on the back patio and finish reading my latest book interspersed with some very light weeding in the side garden... and then C. proposed taking a drive in the afternoon, and we found ourselves in Wilson, NY for lunch at Woodcock Brothers Brewery, where we each had the best cheeseburgers ever. Like, ever. 

Among all this I ended up back down a few pounds to 286 which was a huge relief. My approach of making sure to be active in whatever way I can is obviously so important. I was able to enjoy some delicious food and drink all weekend, realign myself with my goals and desires, hang out with people I love, and just BE and feel good about myself. 

I'm wrapping up the weekend with my last glass of diet soda in the house for... well, for a long time. I'm looking forward to getting back fully to my water habit not just at work (which has been consistent all along), but back at home as well. It's good to start a new week with so many positive feelings. 

Friday, June 17, 2016

Wrapping Up the Week, in Quicksand

Argh, I made it through the week! It was what felt like my first full workweek in a while. You see, we have summer hours at work between Memorial Day and Labor Day where we work an extra 45 minutes Monday through Thursday so that we can have every other Friday off. Between holidays and summer Fridays and a personal or sick day here and there, I feel like this week was my first "real" one since... I don't know when. Probably not that long ago. But anyway.

So it's Friday and my week was a mixed bag. One on hand, I started into a new running routine and had two great workouts. Hey, two is better than the one or none I'd been logging for a while there! I was actually due for a third today but was derailed. I was supposed to meet up with a co-worker before heading to the office for a run/walk, but instead I ended up working at home and taking one of my cats to the vet for an eye infection on my lunch break, so... it didn't happen. I've been toying with the idea of at least going out for a walk later this evening, but honestly I just don't know.

Anyway, here is a post-run photo of my last outing. It made me really happy.

3 miles of run/walk, half and half. At six something in the morning, too!

I should know. I should just go out and do it.

No tennis happened this week, which sucked, but we are going tomorrow morning. Yay!

What didn't go so well, unfortunately, was my eating. My weight was way up this morning, to *gasp* 290. What is wrong with me??? Augh! I do not want to be here. I want to be FAR away from here. Yet here I am. I am honestly not sure why I have been struggling so much with food lately.

My logging has been sporadic, so that is probably something I need to focus more on. In fact, that should be a priority. So.

Do me a favor? Tell me what to do. Give me a piece of advice. Give me something to think about. I am asking for someone to help fish me out of this quicksand I found myself in.

That's exactly what it feels like – stuck in quicksand. I've been watching my moving average weight creep up and up for months now. My head is still above the sand, but I am sinking fast and if I don't really do something soon, I'm going to be in a lot of trouble.

Augh. Argh. Ugh. Do not want.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Back to Basics

In my attempt to get back to a regular schedule of running again, I actually got out of bed when I woke up at 6:15 this morning instead of rolling over for another 45 minutes of snoozing. There's a new app that I recently downloaded that has a free trial for a week, and I wanted to make sure that I didn't miss out. So, I started on Week 1, Day 1 of Red Rock Apps' Running for Weight Loss program.

This workout had me at about half running, half walking for 40 minutes, which turned to be perfect for me at this point. Lately I've been feeling discouraged about my running level and while intellectually I know that there is nothing wrong with a run/walk approach (in fact, it is AWESOME, even for advanced runners), I'm not so inclined to do it on my own. So having this app guide me through the intervals gave me the permission to walk and feel like it is part of a bigger plan, rather than just a personal cop-out. I'm not saying this workout was easy, because I worked for it and I was literally covered in sweat afterward, but it was totally doable for the level I am at now. I did just over 2.5 miles and it was great. I was able to get prompts from the app and listen to my own music playlist on Spotify with no problem.

I'll be trying it out for the rest of the week – I have two more runs scheduled for myself tomorrow morning and Friday morning. Bam. Getting back.

I was talking a bit with my co-worker and fellow runner, Kristen S. (there is now a Kristen N., too!) earlier about how we feel about running and whether long distances are something we want to continue pursuing. She is signed up for half marathon training starting this week but expressed concern about the time it takes for longer runs, not to mention the wear and tear on one's body. She recently enjoyed a couple weeks' stay in Scotland where she and her partner walked literally everywhere, every day – 5 to 7 miles each day, and she loved it. For me, I was getting discouraged about my perceived lack of progress with running, still struggling with it. And I am left wondering, why isn't it good enough to go for a 2, 3, or 4 mile run? Why do I feel like I have to keep pushing for more?

Anyway, I think working on my own and using an app to guide me will be helpful. I'm going to do the work, but also be kinder and gentler to myself. As my co-worker Steph reminded me, it's awesome that I even got out of bed early and did something – most people don't. And she's right!

I'm going to continue to work on getting out at least three times each week for a running/walking activity, plus whatever tennis and gardening I squeeze in.

One week at a time.

One day at a time.

On another note, I'm totally NOT a fan of Steph Curry (not to be confused with my co-worker Steph!), the Golden State Warriors' star player (I am a Steven Adams/OKC Thunder girl all the way! I also hate the whole Curry mouthguard business), but when I read this list, I found myself nodding an awful lot and wanted to share it with you. Curry or no Curry, these are some great activities to incorporate into your daily life. I especially like the last one – You can do ALL the things! Yes. Yes, I can.

Curry-inspired 30 Quick Tips to Change Your Fitness Game

And speaking of ALL the things, I discovered today that my health insurance provider offers free fitness classes just about every single day this summer! That's definitely something I'm going to check out on alternate running days.

Working on staying positive and active and proactive. I want real progress again!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

46 Years!

Today's my 46th birthday!

Me, post-run this morning around Ring Rd. in Delaware Park. Lipstick on teeth and all!

I love birthdays, and yes... even now that I am "of a certain age." To that, I say, "Harumph!" I enjoy getting older and continuing to grow and learn and develop. I like that I get smarter and more confident with each year. I like that I challenge myself more and more and try things I didn't think I could do. I like the person I have grown into and wouldn't go back to my 20s if you paid me.

Well, OK, maybe for a day. One of the good days. My 20s were pretty tumultuous!

Anyway, I wanted to make sure to start my new year in a positive way, so I made plans with one of my co-workers to meet up for a run before work, even though we're working summer hours which means coming in early four days a week in order to have every other Friday off (Kristen opted to stay late for her days, so extra kudos to her for meeting me out extra early!).

To be honest, I haven't been feeling super great since the Gay 5K last week, with some more aches and pains and more fatigue. Not sure where that's coming from, but if it continues another week or so, I may make an appointment with my doctor just to be safe. As is often the case, I almost bailed on our plans and couldn't imagine how I could possibly run, but... (spolier alert!) I did!

Granted, I didn't go quite as far as I ideally wanted to. In fact, in retrospect I am kicking myself a little because I fell short of that loose goal by a measly .3 miles – silly to not have gone for the full 2 miles. I did however, have about a 5 minute warm up and cool down walk, so that kind of makes up for it, I guess. All told I got a solid half hour of good exercise in, and that's the most important thing!

Then, I got this in my email – the Sea Change little e-newsletter thingy. Its message was something that Kristen and I touched on in our conversation this morning. Be kind to yourself! We talked about how when you're running, you need to listen to your body and allow yourself to slow down if it feels really hard, and not to beat yourself up for it. It's something I really, really need to keep right in front of my thoughts.

I've really been struggling with running lately. Questioning my abilities, wondering why I bother when progress seems to be so slow coming, feeling all the aches and pains, seeing so many of my friends run circles around me (figuratively, though I am sure they could do it literally as well!)... it has been really hard to not compare myself to everyone else, even though I know that it does me no good and honestly, it really does not matter! It doesn't matter what everyone else is doing or how I compare to them. It matters that I continue making an effort even if the gains aren't so quick to happen. I mean, what am I doing this for? Sure, I'd love to run a marathon one day, but why do I have to do it by a certain date? Well, I don't. Darn those time-based goals again, always getting me where it hurts.

Right now my priority is developing a good running base again, which I lost a little bit in the past few months. I'd like to get back to running a solid 3-4 times a week again, but this time with the only requirement being one mile, at least to start. To just get out there consistently, even if it's only for one mile per session. I plan to get another run in this weekend and then next week try for three times out. Consistency in running is so important. I need to get back to basics.

As I have mentioned though, I'm now playing tennis regularly, also 3-4 times a week and we'll probably work up to more by the end of the season just because we enjoy it so much. So I'm getting that work out – some of it is standing around, but a lot of it is frantic sprinting, either after an errant ball or just trying to get across court to hit it! We go anywhere from a half hour to an hour lately, again building that up through the season. I'm definitely in way better shape for that this time now than I was last year, and a better player, too, though sometimes I also get discouraged and down on myself for not being better at something I really love to do. Part of it is my body's limitations, and some of it is just needing to master the game better. I've thought about taking a lesson or two, and I think I will try to do that this summer.

Back to running: Originally I was going to mentor for No Boundaries this session, which started a few days ago, but after my Gay 5K experience I really didn't figure I'd be helpful to anyone in the program for the level I was running at – they signed me up for mentoring 2.0/3.0 – where I left off myself. Pulling out at the last minute didn't feel great, but at the same time it was a relief to not have any obligations to the program, either as a participant or as a mentor, the first time since last February! I'll continue to run on my own and with friends (I started yet another group, this time at work, called Rosen Runners where a small group of us try to meet up once a week), but for now feeling relatively untethered and responsible only to myself seems like the best choice. My plan for the upcoming session at the end of the summer will be to do 3.0 over again. (That's the program that takes you up to 8 miles running, but last time I was in it I only got up to 10K, or 6.2 and change.)

Then there is that 10 mile run that I am signed up for in August. I still think I could pull that out as long as I work on my consistency like I'm planning to. It'll be hard, but I will have lots of support and I know I can finish – it just won't be pretty or spectacular.

*sigh* So that's where I am.

Eating-wise, I am still working on getting back to a good plan. I have been logging my food all week and that has helped get into the right mindset – that is, being more mindful – even if I haven't always met my calorie goal. My weight was up to 290 on Tuesday, which was positively frightening, but then dropped back down to 286 and change and that is where I am today, thank goodness. Sure, it's my birthday, but I'm planning to stay mindful and not go too crazy. I don't have any big plans and I don't even have a cake, though I was considering making myself one. I'd like to get solidly into the 270s again ASAP, basically. It's a must.

Like Leo said, trying to be kind and compassionate to myself, especially on my birthday. I've made it this far, right?

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Gay 5K Race Report

Last I left I was telling you that I needed luck to run the Gay 5K last Thursday.

Well, I am happy to say that I finished. I didn't break any PRs or anything, but I finished, and considering how much I haven't been training since the 10K I ran back in early May, I'd say that's pretty good.

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn't give credit to friends for helping me get it done.

First of all, I was really tired and I had a headache. It was a bad week at work. I really would just have loved to go home at the end of the day. But, I remember how much fun I had at the race last year, and that I already paid for it, and I wanted the t-shirt and the burger and beer afterward (the latter two were not half as good as I remember last year's being, but that's OK. The t-shirt was really cool). And some friends would be there, in particular Amy F., who has been the best of the best in my running journey and beyond. And I haven't seen her much lately. And she said she would run with me the whole time because she's at the tail end of nursing an injury.

So I went. I'm glad I did, of course.

The smiles say it all: Me, Amy F., Kelly, Julie, and Emily (photo: J. Carocci/Pride Center of WNY)
This time was extra nice because we knew where to park, we knew where to go, and we knew the course – we are now seasoned! There was plenty of time before the race started to get the swag bag (*sigh*, not nearly as swaggy this year, oh well), get the bib pinned on, take stuff back to the car, etc. Even more so because the race ended up starting about 20 minutes late! Apparently a big truck was in the way somewhere along the race route that needed moved before we could start. That turned out to be OK because I ended up having a nice conversation with an acquaintance I don't see often, and got a hug from another acquaintance who was passing by on his way back from the gym!

Some of the Buffalo Gals crew! (I'm way in the back, LOL)

The race finally got going. As usual, I was at the back of the pack, but this time I had Amy F. pacing me and cheering me on. As I'd mentioned, she was recovering from an injury and was given clearance to run 20 minutes of the race at her normal pace; however she opted to run the whole thing at Amy G. pace, a good 2-3 minutes per mile slower. It worked out perfectly for both us. It was a blast, actually – she was a big positive force and really kept me going, updating me on distance run and the pace. We started out fairly fast, probably a little too fast (in the 13's), and gradually the pace slowed. Overall, according to the race results average pace was 15:34, though MapMyRun had me at 14:48. Apples to apples (that is, my app results to my app results), I can't be too disappointed with that, though truth be told I kind of was. Like I said, though, I was very tired that day, hadn't trained consistently, and it was hotter than I am used to again so that slowed me down a bit. I have to build up my heat resistance (again)!

This photo was taken as we were headed down the strip that heads toward the lighthouse at the marina, right along Lake Erie. It sounds nice, doesn't it? Unfortunately, I hate this strip because every time I run it, it feels like torture – maybe due to when I hit it during a given run, maybe because there is no shade, I don't know. It is picturesque, though, not that you can tell here – but at least we look like we are having fun, right? At least Amy F. is.

Definitely a favorite running photo with one of my best friends! (photo: Vincent Lopez/Pride Center of WNY)

The glory of the finish line in this race are the trio of gorgeous drag queens cheering you in, but I don't have any photos of them and couldn't find any to share – but trust me, they were super fabulous.

So that's it, really. It wasn't a great race for me time-wise, but it was great to spend some quality time with a good friend out on the course, and good to know that I can still run three miles if I want to with relatively little trouble. I've been trolling around for another race to sign up for in June, but haven't settled on anything yet. The next one that I'm registered is just one of those goofy bubble run thingys in July – a bunch of the Gals are signed up, so if nothing else it'll be a fun experience and another chance to prove that I can do it. 

I had other thoughts that I was going to share, but I think I'll just leave it here for now and pick up again another day. Lots on the old brain lately! I'll leave you with my latest favorite selfie, taken post-burger and beer at the race, and after a quick application of lipstick. 

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Keeping an Eye on Things

If you're a regular reader, you know that I've really been struggling to keep my weight down within a reasonable range of the 100 pounds lost mark. Ideally, I'd like to be ahead of that, meaning below 272 pounds, but lately it's been about 10 pounds more than that. At least it's been pretty consistent, I guess, but I'd feel a lot better if I could just drop that 10 and be done with it. How hard is it, right? I've already lost more than 100 in the past two years, what the heck? ("What the heck?" is something I picked up from my friend Amy F., who I don't get to see nearly as much as I'd like these days, so when I use it reminds me of her.)

So anyway. I've certainly been a very active person lately, between tennis, gardening and yardwork, and running. But as they say, you can't outrun a poor diet, and that is what I am dealing with. I just can't seem to get back on the right track. I know a lot of it has to do with how I deal with stress (not well, as in, I want to eat everything in sight), and it's been very stressful at work lately. Fortunately, that should abate starting next week, at least for a few months (stressful time happens twice a year in my industry and lasts for about a month or so each time). It is my intention to make a full-blown effort to knock this weight down, even just a little – even just below 280 solidly! That's not a lot to ask of myself.

I was poking around the Photobooth app on my computer and found a photo of myself from this day last year. I weighed just about the same as I do now, maybe two or three pounds less. (So that's pretty good!) I also found a photo of the time when I was at my lowest weight, the day before Thanksgiving at 264. I wanted to see how I compare now to both, so here are the results.

On the left, 6/2/2105; on the right, today!
I look pretty much the same except for longer hair and different glasses. And I still need better bras and posture, amiright??? (P.S. I think I do like the longer hair better after all.) I'm nothing if not consistent in my wardrobe choices.

Now, here's the other set.

On the left, the day before Thanksgiving 2015 (264 pounds); on the right, today (283 pounds)!
I dunno. Not too much of a difference, but I feel like I can see those 20 extra pounds in my face, can you? My chin looks pointier on the left?

I guess what I am doing here is trying to keep an eye on things – that is, not let the weight come back any more than it already has. There's something kind of comforting about self-scrutinization, I don't know. Like that "I've got my eye on you, so you better watch it!" sort of thing.

Today after work, even though I am super NOT feeling it and I haven't run since last week Thursday, I'm running the Gay 5K in downtown Buffalo. It was a great race last year with excellent swag bags and post-race chow, so I am looking forward to that and to seeing my running pals again. Maybe it will help get me out of this running funk I've been in. I'll see how it goes. 

In tennis news, my partner and I went on a short-ish road trip to Pittsburgh on Tuesday to play on some clay courts that are volunteer-run and open to public play – very unusual as most courts in the US are hardcourt. Well, not only did I fall in love with the surface – so easy on the old bones! – I played some of the best tennis I've ever played and actually won four games out of six in the second set. WOW!!!

Me, post-play at the Frick Park clay courts!
We ended up playing for two hours, which is a LOT for us. We usually top out at an hour, maybe an hour and fifteen minutes. And we usually play either early in the morning, or in the evening to avoid the hottest time of day. In Pittsburgh, we didn't really have a choice but to play in the afternoon, so that made it extra brutal! At least the more gentle and less reflective clay surface kept us cooler, and you can see the lovely wooded surroundings of the park that probably helped in that regard, too. We both got a lot of sun, for sure! (No, I didn't wear my jacket during play! That would have been crazy.)

It was lovely, fun day of exploring a new city and having quality time together. I can't wait to do it again! Pittsburgh is very cool and worth the 4 hour+ drive. 

That's it for now. Wish me luck for the race today – I'm going to need it.