Yesterday after my daughter finished a.m. kindergarten, I loaded up her little bike in the back of my car, and we drove to my favorite training spot, the wonderful South Trail (not to be confused with the non-existent and ever elusive North Trail). I love this trail because it is marked every 1/2 mile, and has benches every so often to rest. And its a very scenic trail.
My daughter was excited to be going with me! She recently brought home this flyer from school, and it was an "exercise log". For every 30 minutes of exercise the children do, they can mark off a square. When she has all 50 squares marked off, she can turn it in to the teacher, who mails it to the program sponsor, which happens to be an outdoor water park! Any child who submits the completed form, gets a free pass to the water park for this summer! This is a Win / Win ! Now she wants to exercise every day, and is a little reminder for me! "I need to exercise today Mommy! Could we go ride our bikes? YOU BET! So, now we have our daily bike rides together, and I love the quality time we are having (and the fact she is getting outdoors, and away from the television set!) And we started doing other activities as well. Silly as it may be, I am exercising like a 5 year old!!. We've been roller skating, we've been skipping, we've kicked a soccer ball around. We've even hula-hooped! Yes, I can actually fit in that thing! Although the old hips don't move like they used to! I used to be a champ at that thing, and could make it go round and round forever. Great was my embarrassment the first time I tried it again, and it dropped right to the ground! After a few try's, I got my groove back ( a little....)
So yesterday after school, I took my 5 year old with me to the South trail. I did a walk/jog while she rode her bike a little ahead of me. I wasn't sure if she could do the whole loop actually. It was 2.4 miles. She was fine for the first mile, then we sat on the bench to rest. Then we made it a little further, before another rest. Had to stop to walk her bike up the big hill. Then finally finished the loop. She was so proud of herself. "Was that 30 minutes mommy? "Can I color in another square?" YEP! It was actually a little over 30 minutes. I had brought a timer with me, and started/stopped when she was riding, or resting to make sure she was actually riding for the full 30 minutes She loves exercising now, and I love having "my little reminder" at my side.And I also know that when I take her to the water park this summer to celebrate her victory that I will look much better in my bathing suit!
Ok, I've got to be honest. I am still recovering from yesterday's fiasco. Getting on an unmarked " trail" that led me to the middle of nowhere, with out a coat, with out water, with out a cell phone. Pure stupidity on my part. And it was downright dangerous. What was I thinking!!! I guess I thought since I had done so great on the South Trail, I was ready to take on the world!
I am still sore. I ache all over. I even skipped out on my Zumba dance class today. I needed to recover both physically AND MENTALLY! Somebody/ Anybody- please re-iterate to me how ignorant that was for me to even THINK of doing something like that. Seriously. I am ready for your verbal bashings. I need it so that this really sinks in how stupid that was yesterday. See original post "search for the north trail" if you have no idea what I am talking about.
So yesterday the weather was fairly nice (about 48) and I decided to go to this new park area that was supposed to have a 2.4 mile south loop, and a 1.4 mile north loop. I figured, if I could do them both, it would give me a pretty good idea of what my time will be in the 3.7 (6K) on 4/18. I was so excited to be in this new area and try out these new trails!
I parked the car, looked at the map that was posted at the beginning of the south loop trail, stretched out for a few, and was off!
It was fabulous! I LOVED the south loop.
I started with a 5 minute walk, then jogged for 15 minutes, then a 4 minute walk, then jogged the final 8 minutes til I crossed the finish line. So, a 2.4 in 32 minutes. I was very happy.
And the trail was really pretty, so lots to look at as I was training. Nice ponds, some soccer fields, pretty wild grass fields , a wetland area and a natural prairie restoration area.There were several other people out on the trail. A happy "hello" was said every time you encountered someone. And the best part, all along the way, there were mile markers. Well, actually ever 1/2 mile. So I could tell how much I had gone, and how much further I still had left.
When I finished, I stopped back at my car, and logged the time and distance on a sheet of paper,. I was really warm by now, so I shed some layers, left the heavy jacket behind, the cell phone, the water bottle, etc. Then I checked the trail map again, and went across the street to what I assumed was the north loop. Although I did find it odd that nothing was marked like it had been on the south loop. But it would only make sense that the South loop was on the south side of the road, and the north loop would be on the north side of the road. Right?
So, figuring I did the 2.4 in 32 minutes, I could certainly knock out another 1.4 in the same time or less, allowing me plenty of time to get my 5 year old picked up from kindergarten. So , off I set!
I was "power walking" on the trail, and it began up a hill, then past some soccer fields, then took me past some corn fields, hmmm... I thought.... this should be curving back at some point soon. Still, I pressed on. Huh, don't see any homes in sight. Don't see any people. No bikes, no dogs. Where exactly is this trail taking me? Up a big hill, winding around, now down the hill. Ok, this is getting kinda scary.I checked my watch. I've been walking for 30 minutes already. Shouldn't I been done? But I've been going north this whole time! OH NO! I'm starting to panic. I will never make it back to my car in time to get Eloise from school. Now I'm getting cold because I had left my jacket in the car. I couldn't call the school to let them know I was going to be late, I left my phone in the car. Fear is setting in. Where am I? Ok, calm down. I am coming up to some kind of building. There are two buildings down there at the bottom of this hill. What are they? Oh my gosh, it is an Animal Control Building, and the other one is a Water Treatment Plant! I am definitely NOT on the 1.4 mile "north trail". I don't know where I am, ok, I see a subdivision off in the distance. Maybe the trail goes through that housing area, loops around and brings me back to my original starting place. NOPE! All of a sudden, the trail ended. Just stopped! Just like that! Boom- DONE!. It ended in the parking lot between the two buildings. Boy this is a stupid trail. I hate this trail. I will never take this trail again. Ever. I am now standing just a few feet from a two lane road ( which fortunately had guard rails) and some train tracks. Ok, get your bearings.
Then a train came by. A train. OK. What route does that train take? THINK. THINK! OK. Got it! I know where I am now.WHAT THE HECK AM I DOING WAY OVER HERE? I AM NO WHERE NEAR MY CAR! Ok, calm down. I just need to head East, and I can pick up this one road and go south, and I can get back to my car. This was a very scary moment. I was jogging again at this point, knowing I was pressed for time. I was going to be down to the wire to pick up my daughter. The "Panic Mode" kicked in. Although I was so sore and tired I had been out for over an hour and a half, it seemed like I had the adrenaline to be able to keep pushing, knowing I had to get back! It was nerve racking to say the least, to have to be running along side of the road. But I finally made it to my car, and drove like a bat of of you-know-where to my daughter's school. My fingers were frozen, my face was sweaty and purple (from running). My heart was still racing. Everything ached. My ankles, my calves, my thighs, even my rear. So much for this nice little 1.4 mile "North loop". I hated that "trail" or whatever the heck that was. Maybe it had been part of a bike path at one time, who knows. But it is the "trail that leads to no where!" now.
OK, I am at the school. Yes! Eloise was still there!, The teacher looked a little irked like "Don't you realize I need to each lunch, lady?" or "The afternoon class is probably already on their way! " "Can you please pick your kid up on time ??!" I didn't bother explaining to her that I had been foolish enough to go out running alone, on an unmarked, unfamiliar trail, with no jacket, no water, no phone. I was just glad to be back home, with my daughter safe in tow. Several safety lessons learned that day!!! (And I still never found the north loop!)
Ok, so I am borrowing this idea from my 5 year old, who is in her first year of girl scouts. I'm sure you have all been hit up at some point in your life to purchase girl scout cookies.How can you say no to the thin mints or the tag-a longs?? Well my daughter Eloise came home from her scout meeting a few weeks ago, all fired up to get out and SELL SELL SELL! You see, the troop had set a goal, that if EACH girl sold at least 120 boxes of cookies, then the whole troop was going to get this big pizza party. Well everyone wanted to sell the 120 boxes, because if the troop didn't get the party and it was because of YOU, everyone would be mad. And no one wanted to be "that kid" that made the troop not get the party.
BUT, in addition to the goal that the troop had, each girl was asked to set her OWN personal goal, and was given a list of "prizes" that they earned, as they reached the next cookie sale level. For example, sell at least 12 boxes, get a patch. Sell 50 boxes, get a bandana. Sell 100 boxes, get this statue of a panda. Sell 125 boxes, get a t-shirt. Sell 150 boxes, get a stuffed panda bear, sell 200 boxes, get a t-shirt for the stuffed panda, that matches the one that you earned! And it went on and on, all the way up to 1000+ boxes, where you could get digital cameras and even an i-pod!. So, the more you sold, the more rewards you got. You had the pressure of meeting your own personal goals, and also the troops. Bottom line= work hard, get rewards!
So, I thought, why not try to incorporate this into the "getting active" program that I am embarking on. Ok, so I don't have a "troop", but I have a "team". Maybe there is something we can do if we all meet our challenges? I realize we all live in different states, so maybe we need to get creative here. Maybe everyone email me a picture of themselves at the finish line of their race, and I photoshop them , and put all of us together in one " Team photo" that everyone can get framed?? Ok, open to suggestions here.....
Alright, but what about my personal goals and rewards. The idea is to make sure the goal is achievable, and the reward appropriate. (no, I don't want a pizza party, a patch or even a stuffed animal!)
Here is what I came up with, breaking the 8 week training program into four 2-week segments.
Finish the first two weeks, never skipping a training day, never forgetting to fill out the log, never forgetting to blog, encourage my team mates, and lose at least 1-2 pounds. Reward= go get a pedicure! (cause my feet gotta be getting sore, right?)
Finish the second two weeks, (same requirements about not missing a day, etc), lose at least an additional 2 pounds. Reward= Get a massage! ( by now, my whole body would enjoy this, not just the feet!)
Finish the third two weeks, (same requirements as above), lose at least another 2 pounds. Reward = I'm thinking a new pair of jeans! You never know, I might be down by 10 pounds by now, and getting a pair of jeans in a smaller size would be AWESOME!
Finish the final two weeks of the 8 week program- are you kidding me? The reward is that I am going to cross that finish line, with a big smile on my face. AND I think we get a T-SHIRT along with our entry!
And to top it all off, when I reach my final goal for my weight loss, I'm going to buy myself a BATHING SUIT!!!!!!! Can you believe it!!
So, I challenge you all to join me, keep pushing yourself, set goals, and reward yourself for meeting and exceeding them. YOU CAN DO IT!!
p.s. in case you were wondering, my daughter was tied with the troop leaders daughter as the TOP SELLER for cookies, the troop exceeded their goal, and they get the pizza party! Lots of happy 5 years olds!
Today was glorious! It was a balmy 36 degrees here in Chicago, the sun was shining, and I decided I was not going to work out in my dark dreary basement today. I said "hasta la vista" to my treadmill and the same four walls I had been staring at for the last few weeks, and headed to the great out doors. Most of the sidewalks and bike paths in my neighborhood have not been shoveled yet, but at least the street were plowed, for the most part. I sure wish I had seen Coach Jenny's video about dressing approriately for cold weather l BEFORE I headed out. I was WAY OVERDRESSED! I had on a t-shirt, a thick hooded sweatshirt, my heavy winter ski coat, complete with winter hat and gloves. I was SO HOT after about 5 minutes, and had no where to toss the extra layers, so I just unzipped my jacket a little bit, and then stuffed my gloves in my pocket.
I brought a timer with me, so I could keep track of my training time. I decided I would try to incorporate a little bit of jogging to the training. The program I tried was a 30 minute segment, which consisted of a 7 minute jog, a 3 minute walk, another 7 minute jog, and a 3 minute walk, and a final 7 minute jog and 3 minute walk. I was so excited that I was able to complete the program! So all together, its like I jogged for 21 minutes!!
After I got home, I took the car out, and re-traced my path to figure out my distance. It was 2.3 miles! I logged into the active.com site to use the tools to calculate my pace. It said it was a 13 minute mile! I was so excited! Yes, I realize this is a pretty slow pace, but for me personally, it is an accomplishment. Just a few weeks ago, I was a coach pototato. Today I was actually jogging! I felt so good afterwards. I was really proud of myself. And I am looking forward to tomorrow. I hope the sun will be shining again, hoping to be outside again. What a difference it makes to be outside ! The fresh air, the slight chill. Something about it just improved my whole mood. I just felt healthier!
We are going to spice up the Who Wants to Get Active? program with a blogging contest. Starting today we will be monitoring the blogs for volume, inspiration and creativity. The contest runs through Sunday March 14 and awards will be handed out for:
Most inspirational post from March 2 to March 14
Most comments on other participants' posts from March 2 to March 14
Funniest post from March 2 to March 14
Post from March 2 to March 14 with the most views. For this one we encourage you to promote your post--share it with family and friends, post it on your facebook page, etc.
And in the team category:
Most posts from a single team from March 2 to March 14
We will have some great prizes including pedometers, $100 gift certificates to a sporting goods store and more!
Way to go in your training so far and keep up the great work!
Got up this a.m. at 5:30 to get my training in. Kids were all sleeping, the house was quiet. I laced up my shoes and got on the treadmill. I stretched before I started, which I had forgotten to do last night, and ended up waking up at 2:30 in the morning with a really bad leg cramp! Don't know if it was related or not, but thought it a good idea to stretch well before I started walking this a.m. Did the 5 minute warm up, and then a 20 minute walking program on my treadmill that proved to be very (too?) challenging. In two minute segments, the treadmill changes both pace and incline for 20 minutes. So at one point, I was walking at a 4.0 pace, at a 8% incline (the max incline is 10). So it was like walking up a very steep hill, very very fast. It was the longest two minutes of my life! I was relieved when it then dropped to a 6% incline for the next two minutes. But then back up for another 2! This hill segment might have been a little to early for me to try. I think I was higher than a "7" for my exertion rate. By 12 minutes, I was breathing very heavily with sweat pouring off my forehead. But I did it. And I feel like I can enjoy my day knowing that I've exercised.
I will be glad when the weather improves. I live near Chicago, and we got another 4 inches of snow on yesterday, and as I look out the window as I am typing this, it is snowing again. I am looking forward to being able to get outside and do my training.
I'm so looking forward for official training to begin! I've added workout times in my schedule and added the Lose It application to my IPhone to log food and activity. I've got a treadmill that has been dusted of cobwebs and a great Core Secrets exercise video by Gunner Peterson for my cross training days. I'm so sick of this soft middle tire that has developed! What other excuses do I have that could stop me now!!! I'm going to rock this thing!!! Well, I do have other excuses and I still need to tackle them so my journey to a healthy life has no forks in the road. I've just started working the graveyard shift 4 nights a week (Sat-Tue) as an intensive homecare nurse and have just started homeschooling my youngest son. Food is a way for me to cope with how I feel and when I feel tired, emotional, ect. and my resolve to make healthy food choices or to get motivated to exercise is seriously jeapordized. But since I'm a nurse, a healthy lifestyle is so important to me and is a value I want to instill into my family. I was talking to my husband last night. He is so wonderful and supportive!! I would not be the person I am without him and God in my life. We discussed how I need to structure my days backward. Just like most people work work full days and have to come home, make dinner, and help the kids with homework, I too will need to follow this schedule except the time of day will be different. I will set aside my work out time when I wake up...at 7pm, shower and go to work. When I get home, I'll have a good meal, and start my son's homeschool day. By 1pm I'll say good night and let him work independently (he's 10), until Dad comes home.
Crazy as this seems, I'll make this work and overcome all the excuses!! Thanks for all the other"Who Wants to Get Active" team members and trainers who will provide me the additional motivation and direction I need to succeed!
I've been doing SO much more just knowing it was a task to be done and that I need to be accountable here! I walked 6K on a treadmill and did it in 1:05 so I know I can improve upon that with the next couple of months to train before the 6K in Los Angeles on April 18. I took a late lunch on Friday and walked 3.11 miles in just under an hour (love my iTouch and Nike+ shoes!) and took an hour long walk with my husband and dog on Saturday.
One issue I have is I don't prioritize my exercise. Anything and everything trumps it. I am so fortunate in that I work for a company that has a gym, be it small or large in almost every single building they have. AND they offer FREE fitness classes. Why don't I take advantage of them more? Oh, I was going to go to the yoga/pilates class, but I just want to get a little bit farther along in work. Oh, I can't go today, because then I'll have to shower and start all over because I have a meeting later in the day, blah, blah, blah. I can rationalize anything. Not today! I was having a particularly frustrating morning with work. Colleagues not pulling their weight, huge workload, supervisor giving extra projects on top of everything else. Ugh. Normally that's my queue to (a) work like a maniac, not take a break until I feel like I can breathe again and (b) eat something really unhealthy (pasta with cream sauce anyone??). Nope, not today. I felt myself getting tenser and getting in a really bad mood and I just said forget it. I put on my workout clothes and went to the yoga/pilates class for the first time. I liked it and I was in a much better mood when I left. Since I was in a better mood, I didn't feel the need to "self-medicate" with junk food. Instead I grabbed a yogurt from Jamba Juice. Now, was that so hard? The work was still there when I got back and I tackled it all with time to spare.
It's overcoming these bad habits one day at a time that will make a real difference. Tomorrow is a walking day but hey, Wednesday there's a "Cardio Challenge" class to check out...!
The start of something new is always filled with excitement. Your first day of school, first car and let's not forget that first date. But that is a very different blog. The good news is you can harness the power of that excitement and use it to ease into your training program to create healthy new habits in your lifestyle. The key is to start that first walk, run or run-walk at an effort level (pace) where at the end of the session, you could go a little farther and still feel strong. Less is more. That is a mantra I will repeat over and over again. Going at the right effort level (pace) has a domino effect in leading to maintaining the excitement to the second session, and third, and so on. I realize the title of this program has an "It Off" theme, but in order to keep "It Off," you've got to first create the healthy habits you can maintain for a lifetime.
Weight loss for a lifetime happens when you balance your "In vs. Out Inventory". That is, balancing what goes in your body with how many calories you expend each day. Although there is a population of people that struggle with metabolic disorders, the vast majority of us mortals can lose weight and keep it off by making a few lifestyle changes and sticking with them. Think small, and begin to remove your trigger foods from sight. If you can see it, you can eat it. If you lose control when you're around chocolate, now is the time to remove it from easy access.
Your homework for the week focuses on creating an In Vs. Out Inventory
Keep a log of the foods you eat on a daily basis for the next three weeks. There are a number of free online logs like Fitday.com where you can track your calories in and review the breakdown of fat, protein and carbohydrates. It's a little like being in debt financially and taking a long, hard look into your finances to begin to pay off the debt. The only way to truly make a plan of action is to take an honest look at what you're taking in. In many cases, this results in tweaking portions of salad dressing, sugary drinks and other calorically high, nutritionally low foods.
The most effective way to reduce your caloric debt (weight), is to burn about 250-300 calories per day in exercise and reduce your caloric intake (food) by 250-300 calories per day. That way, the combined total of 500-600 calories contributes to paying off your total caloric debt resulting in weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week. Keep track of your calories in and your activity every day. This is a fantastic way to get a jump start on your program and stay motivated to get out of debt!
Replace two trigger foods this week with two healthy alternatives. For example, replacing chips and dip with hummus and pita chips or veggies like carrots. Set a goal to replace 1-2 trigger foods every week with healthier choices.