Much like Becky's last post, I recently have also been struggling with training a little bit. Mostly the running part. It's my least favorite of the disciplines that comprise triathlons and I've also been having some ankle/shin splint pain. I'll be home in St. Louis for a wedding in a few weeks and I plan to go back to the orthotic specialist that cast my first set a few years ago--hope to get everything worked out so I can go for a pain-free jog. The tri will be only a little more than a month away by then, but that's alright. I'm going to be in Europe (with Becky!) for about 3 weeks during the peak of my training and I am certain I won't keep up with the program. I'm ok with that. I'm still looking forward to getting out there and enjoying race day!
That being said, I do anticipate a super active July prior to the Europe trip. Becky is going to come and hang out for a few weeks leading up to our trip and we are going to rock Chicago's lakefront.
70 miles on the bike this week, with some cross training mixed in:
Everyone said it would happen. I read about it all the time. I have hit a wall. With running I've never done this before and it's most likely because I've never stuck with a running program this long. This week was/is a tough one. I was supposed to run 7 miles on Saturday, 6 on Tuesday, 5 today, and 7 again on Saturday. The first 7 never happened, I ran 3 on Sunday, only got 2 on Tuesday, and ran 5 today. Last week I ran 6 as my longest and although I did finish, my time was over a minute more per mile than my normal runs. Now, normally wouldn't be an issue but my mile time is SLOW and if I go any slower, it's faster to walk and I'll be required to run on the side during the half marathon. Anyways, the negative voices in my head have gotten louder and I've lost some of the mental toughness I had created while running. It's so much easier to stop now.
I started lifting again and so my upper body is starting to gain strength back. This is also a tough time because I'm reminded of how far I have to go still. I constantly have to remind myself that it isn't how far I have to go, it's how far I've come and the steps I'm taking to get to my goal.
The other night I was voicing my frustrations to River and she stopped me mid sentence. I was telling her how I thought it would be a good idea if I didn't run the half marathon. I was explaining all my justifications: hitting a wall, my new and constant knee pains, the hot weather. She wasn't buying any of it and told me that not running it wasn't an option. Even if I had to walk a ton she said she better see my cross the finish line.
So that's why I got up this morning and ran 5 miles. It would have been nice if I had gotten up earlier since the middle and end of my runs got pretty warm, but it got done. 5 miles and all!!!
First off let me apologize for not posting during this very exciting time. Let's start with what got the ball rolling: I signed up for a half marathon! Ridiculous right? It's taking place in Chicago during September and I have been training since April. Actually I was training without even knowing. A friend of mine signed up for an October race in San Fran (imagine running those hills!) and it hit me right away that this is something to strive for. It's one of those goals that seems just beyond my reach so I'll have to give that last bit of stretch, the one in the movies where their arm seems to grow about 3 inches. My longest run so far has been 5.74 miles and that was this past Sunday after a couple days off I'll blame on laziness. Today I was scheduled for 3 and wound up running 3.5, and also 1 minute faster than my mile pace. I'm planning on running the marathon with a 12:20 pace (the slowest one offered with a pace group) but I've been running some of my runs at 11 min/mile paces. I figure this will all be a learning experience.
I'm also excited to say that I'm officially 200 lbs. Somedays I'm 199, some I'm 202, but my consistent weight is 200. This is good for me and I'm starting to continue losing weight. I've been focusing on my running and not as much on eating...I'm pretty sure I can manage both. The nice thing is that I'm able to fit into some of my old clothes and my tight jeans actually fit correctly and I don't look like I'm going to snap out of them at any moment.
My confidence has grown and I'm finding I'm able to handle things in life better. This whole blog started it all off!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I think my soccer team has about a month off in between sessions this time. Four Wednesdays without the soccer routine... sad. I really look forward to getting out there and kicking it around.
Triathlon training is underway. I'm still finalizing the full plan but I feel like I'm off to a good start. The past week I have gone on three bike rides--16, 20 and 18 miles, respectively. I'm waiting for Lake Michigan to warm up some more before I dive in.
The Big Ten softball tournament is being held at Northwestern and beginning tomorrow. I won't be able to make any of the games tomorrow, so I'm pulling for Michigan to win their first game so I can come cheer the team on this Friday and see Becky. Go Blue!
I'm back in Chicago after spending some quality time with Beck in Ann Arbor. I was able to watch four great games while she coached, including a doubleheader against Northwestern on Sunday for the Big Ten conference lead. They spliteach game was decided by one runso Michigan and Northwestern will continue to battle for the title in their last remaining games. I've been a fan of the Michigan softball program ever since Becky transfered there and went on to win a National Championship... but being able to experience their games this weekend, enjoy the new beautiful stadium and get to know the fan base a little, I fell in love with the program. Women's college athletics at its very best!
We ate a lot of turkey subs from Subway ($5 footlongs!) and went on what can best be described as a rollerblade excursion. Becky bought new rollerblades and I brought mine along with me. First, we couldn't find the park that was recommended to us. Once we found it, there weren't any paths we could skate on. So we decided finally to just park and get rollerblading...we were on back roads and in random neighborhoods. It was the first time either one of us had rollerbladed in a long time; quite the adventure
I have two soccer games tonight (assuming we win our first game) for the championships. My mom is here visiting and we'll probably go for a bike ride on Thursday. I'll update with a post on how the games and the bike ride went.
I'd been to a cardiologist a few times in the past couple weeks to have some blood work done and to wear a holter monitor for 24 hours. Got everything squared away yesterday, my doc called me, all good news--everything came back perfectly normal. So that was a bit of a relief; glad that's all over with. And I feel really good about ramping up my activity leading up to the Chicago Tri.
That being said, Tuesday I did 30 minutes of light cardio. Yesterday I played a soccer game (we're in playoffs again for this session). This morning I got up for a 16-mile bike ride along the lake before work. And best of all... this weekend I will be taking a little trip to Ann Arbor, Michigan to hang out with Becky and watch some college softball. Sweet!
Last time we were able to hang out, Becky came to Chicago last fall and we sat around and polished off a deep dish Chicago style pizza. This visit will be much different than that.
I haven't posted in a while--but I feel pretty good about what I've been up to lately. And that is no doubt in large part thanks to the motivation I get from Becky. It's nice to have someone to check in with every day to see how a run went, who is expecting to hear how my activity went, to share a new favorite healthy meal with.
I was just about to lose momentum again when Becky started telling me how she had started running very regularly. Neither one of us have ever been big runners, but she was getting out there and it was working for her. It served as a mini jump start for me and I've been moving more because of it--though I usually prefer getting my exercise through cycling or playing soccer.
This week has been one of my best in a while starting on Monday:
16 miles/one hour
It has been great to begin moving these activities outdoor now that the weather here is getting nice (finally!) Biking the lakefront path is one of my favorite things to do in Chicago.
Next thing on the horizon to start working towards = Chicago Accenture Triathlon 2008!
When I wanted to start running I only had my fitness in mind. I could only see what was right in front of me: my growing waistline and increasing weight. The big picture held so much more!
Running has helped me deal with one of the hardest situations in my life: the crash and burn of my engagement. During my runs I play my "Rockin' Christ" mix which is a medley of very upbeat and energizing Christian rock songs. I run when I'm having a negative body image or when the world is crashing down. I found out Brad was dating a very pretty young woman, I ran. I'm not running away from problems, I'm running towards the Lord. My runs are a time reserved solely for me and God. I turn the music up loud and sing the words to Him, sometimes raising my hand in praise. It's moving and at times I am so overcome with emotion I might cry. I knew I didn't want to feel rejected by Brad, or feel bad about my body because someone else looks better. I made the decision to do something about it when I feel this way: I run.
My overall health and energy level has increased too. Taking off ten pounds thus far, my knees are able to go for longer distances and I've had very little pain afterwards. It's easier to challenge myself because I'm up for the challenge, knowing how wonderful I'll feel at the end. My skin has even cleared up (not sure if it's because of running, but I'll tack that one on).
Running has brought me a new wisdom that goes beyond worldly knowledge. It has brought me peace and understanding, with myself, the world, and God. No one can take that away from me.
I've started running. I don't know what prompted me to and how long I'll stick with it, but this week I've ran. It's only been three times, and they've all been over 20 minutes, but it's a start. Yesterday I ran around Ann Arbor and felt great about myself. I took roads that led me up hill to start so that during the middle of the run when I want to quit I'm going down hill and loving every minute.
I really did feel great about it. The main reason is that I get upset when my roomie on the road goes to work out. It's funny that I get angry at her for it. After some reflection I realized it isn't her I'm mad at, it's me. When she goes to work out on a regular basis, it shows the contrast to me and I get upset at myself for not going to work out. So, instead of getting mad at myself and channeling it towards her, I decided I'll just get my butt off the bed and go run. I'm a much better person for it!
I'm losing weight slowly...very slowly...but it's happening. I'm down to 210.5 and really excited for the day when I get below 210...I'M SO CLOSE!!!
Update: I only lost 1.5 lbs over spring break but I'm happy with that since my goal was to maintain my weight. Being gone for a week on vacation makes it tough to eat right but it worked.
Now to the post...
This healthy lifestyle has made my self confidence grow. I have limited my number of negative thoughts and am proud of my accomplishments, even the little ones. The problem I have encountered is what to do when friends around me don't follow my same plan for health. Doing this with Trish has been a blessing and it's great to know I have a friend I can share with. River, another best friend of mine, does not have as healthy eating habits.
River eats every meal out, eats late, skips breakfast, and eats beyond the point of being full (think food eating contest here). So when I go visit her it's hard to stay healthy. I did have fries this weekend but it was planned. Someone mentioned that depriving yourself of something creates a great chance for you to binge on it another time, thus I had a small planned serving. With River it's pizza, pop, wings, fries, and dessert (although I still can't believe she's in such great shape). I was noticing how different our habits are and how much happier I am with myself. She feels guilty after meals and complains about how much she eats, as she's eating dessert. So I finally told her that if you're not happy with something about yourself, change it. It didn't go over well at first (I kind of snapped at her) but eventually she made a list of goals.
Goal 1: No late eating; Goal 2: Eat smaller portions; Goal 3: Drink more water; Goal 4: Workout. They were pretty general so I filled in some specifics she can work on. She said that having someone like her friend push her will help so she won't let me down. Hm, seems like I've heard that before someplace...wink wink.
When I was home grandma also gave me four loafs of banana bread which I LOVE. I had a half loaf and gave one loaf to my other grandma. If I don't give it away, I'll eat it all! I'm taking it back up to school and distributing it to my friends.
Moral of the story, once I leave my protective healthy shell it's hard to keep it up. But it's possible!
For the last week I've increased my activity: swam half a mile on Monday, 30 minutes on the bike on Tuesday, two consecutive soccer games on Wednesday (sadly,we lost in the championship game), 25 minutes on the bike on Thursday (while catching some inspiration from a Tour of California stage) and a soccer game on Saturday.
While I've been exercising more regularly, I have not been focusing as much on what I am eating. My next goal is to conquer the balance between both the fitness and the nutritional aspects of leading a healthy life. I'm also getting restless for spring and anxious to get outside and tear down the lakefront path. I expect my desire to be outside and active to naturally increase as the days get longer and the weather gets nicer.
A little update since my last post... I've been taking advantage of the indoor bike trainer the past few days. I hopped on my bike for a quick session on Thursday and Friday, each around 25 minutes.
One of my favorite times to get pedaling is during ESPN's "Pardon the Interruption" because it's broken into timed intervals that range from 30 seconds to 2 minutes that make it easy to set little goals to go harder, stand, etc. I love the show anyway, so cranking out the miles comes even easier when listening to the bits of sports banter.
I swam on Saturday morning and had an indoor soccer game Saturday afternoon. Sunday was a pretty lazy day, but I did go to the grocery store to restock healthy foods to prepare this week. I'm headed to Halas this evening to swim and/or go to a spin class.
I cannot tell a lie, I've been a little off-track lately. Trish (Trish is my roommate that I've lived with since freshmen year of college for those who thought I may be speaking in third person) and I went down to St. Louis for Mardi Gras and the Super Bowl--two things that make it very easy to not make healthy choices. Between the road trip, Super Bowl snacks, and my parents sending us back with all the leftover food, it was probably my low-point thus far in our decision to stick together and be held accountable by each other to lead healthier lives.
When I got back to Chicago I knew I had to get moving. I made plans to go to the gym at 7:30am with a friend on a couple occasions and then when my alarm went off, we have called each other and decided not go. It sounds so good the night before--but when the alarm goes off and it's still dark outside and zero degrees and snowing, getting out of bed is the last thing either one of us wants to do.
I've learned that getting up that early to work out doesn't work so well for me. So I'm going to go a little later in the morning, during lunch time, or in the evening. I've also learned that participating in group fitness classes (spinning, kickboxing, etc.) gets me to the gym more effectively than going to crank out just an individual workout. I like the idea of doing a class and then getting a lift in on my own.
There will be setbacks. And all is not lost. It gives one time to reflect and the opportunity to return and face the goal with a newer, stronger resolve. Back on track!
So I've been watching what I'm eating only, not working out. I weighed myself about two weeks ago and the scale said 221...AH! But since focusing on eating smaller portions and fewer calorie options I'm down to 217. Sure, I still have 37 pounds until my goal weight but 4 is a start! I think this is the first time I've made the decision to lose weight and actually did. Before when I would lose a few pounds I hadn't tried so I figured I can just keep doing what I'm doing...which meant, still eat a lot (and even eat more since I now had room to do so...terrible mind frame).
At our team meals I've been choosing options with fewer calories, not the lowest, but fewer. The chicken platter was a great option and I'll get that over and over again. At Moe's I had two chicken tacos but did splurge when they brought the chips and queso out. I had a thin crust basil & roma tomato pizza at one restaurant and 1/4 white chicken with no skin, corn and splurged on mac & cheese. So there is room for improvement but overall, I was happy.
I've noticed little positive habits that I already have. When I have pop I have a ton of ice with it so really I don't have that much pop. It cuts about half the quantity.