Saturday, August 27, 2011

Even When I'm Bad, I'm Good

I got on the scale Friday morning not sure what to expect. I'd had the camping where I knew I'd eaten a lot of snacks, including more chocolate dipped biscotti than I will disclose. Then there was the weak evening where I ate a packaged El Torrito chicken caesar salad (with out of control salad dressing) AND a piece of tres leches cake. A large piece. But I also knew my workouts were consistent so I had no sense of whether I'd be up, down or sideways. I was down! .4 pounds down, and happy with it. I am now 13 pounds from my intermediate goal of weighing what I did after Marek was born, 178.4 pounds. I'm moving in the right direction.

And my clothes are getting a little loose. I checked out Ann Taylor Loft the other day in case they had something decent on clearance. I don't want to spend a bunch on clothes that will hopefully also be loose soon. I found a pair of pants for $4.98 but they were a size 12. I'm wearing a size 14 now. I decided to try them on and, while they were a tiny bit snug, they are totally wearable! The sizes at the loft are a bit generous I think but I'll take it. I bought some 14 capri pants at macy's the other day and feel better with them un-bottoned so there you go, sizes are weird.

So I went to for a link to the site and I noticed the main page picture included women that actually look normal. I love it! Most of the time you see something more like this. Those ladies don't appear overweight but they don't look like size 0 mannequins either. My "like" for this store just went up a notch. Now if only they'd carry more pants in "big" sizes (i.e. 14, 12) in the petite section I'd be happier!

Oh, I should mention the gym since this isn't a blog about the portrayal of women in advertising (though I'd LOVE to follow a blog about that - don't get me started). I decided to go on Friday, which was good. I did the bike for 25 minutes on Level 5. I looked back in my gym journal and noticed I started a few months ago on level 1, shot up to level 2 pretty quickly and have steadily moved up since then. Back when I started level 4 was unthinkable, but I've already surpassed that. There's some tangible progress.

After the bike I did chest, triceps and core work. Afterward I did the stairs but instead of doing my normal 5 minutes I did 10 minutes to sort of make up for what I missed on Thursday (when I didn't have enough time). The 5 extra minutes were a challenge but not too bad. I won't be doing 10 minutes from now on though, I don't have the time and I don't enjoy those stairs that much. I stretched and man, I am still pretty tight on the inside of my upper thigh. I don't know what that's about but I'll keep doing the happy baby pose, despite feeling a bit funny when I do, and hope it gets better with time.

Today, Saturday, was a day off. And it's a good thing I didn't plan to exercise today because I didn't have time. We drove 2 hours to a baby shower of some good friends and then 2 hours home. It was a good day catching up with friends and there were a lot of kids there so our little ones had fun too.

Tomorrow is the start of a new week and I'm ready for it! I'm doing week 5 for the second time and feeling good about that too. Week 6 is the last week with walk breaks so I'm in no big hurry. Oh, I ordered some vitamin B complex yesterday and I think I'll take some iron before I go to bed. I'm not feeling tired like I was but I can use all the help I can get!

I hope this blog finds you in the midst of a fun, active weekend!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Mind Games 2011

I got on the treadmill yesterday with high hopes. It seemed the circumstances were ideal, I'd been following c25k on the each-week-twice plan, I felt good in the week 5/day 2 run, I had a rest day the day before...and I was feeling good mentally. Everything seemed in place for a triumphant 20 minute run. Oh but it wasn't. It was a fight. Minute by minute, step by step, I had to fight to finish those 20 minutes. Here's a sort-of breakdown of what went through my head.

Warmup walk: Let's do it!
Minutes 1-3: Oh, that hurts, but it will get better, once I'm more warmed up it will get better. (I was having tightness and pain in my Achilles area)
Minutes 4-7: Not sure I'm going to be able to finish this one, this is really hard, but I have to at least make it to 8 minutes, the time I did the other day. Why isn't it getting easier?
Minutes 8-9: Ok, make it halfway, you can make it to 10 minutes, go, run, you are strong, you can do this. Maybe it's not getting easier because you did legs 2 days ago for strength training? it doesn't matter, just keep running.
Minute 10: halfway, don't stop. maybe I should stop? if it hurts I should stop, right?
Minute 11: does it really hurt? not that bad, now it's just a dull ache. at least my heart rate isn't too high. just run to minute 12.
Minute 12: 8 more minutes to go?! don't think about that, just run, just keep running, look out the window, look at the tv, make it one more minute, you can do one more minute.
Minutes 13-15: one more minute, you can run one more minute, some people are disabled and can't walk at all, you are fortunate, you can do this, remember running into the finish area at the tri, how exciting was that? my heart rate is climbing pretty high. if it gets to 170 I'm stopping.
Minute 16: YOU ARE SO CLOSE!!! 4 minutes to go, you can do it! It hurts, it's hard, but you must have the will, do not give up now. 168, 169, 167 - not 170 but even if it hits 170 i'm not stopping, i'm too close now.
Minutes 17-20: I am going to do this, I know I am, hard but not impossible.
Minute 21:00 - Whew. No celebrating here, too beat, just a quiet acknowledgement that I did it. I tested my will, I dug deep, and I used my mind to push myself.

Geez, you'd think I'd run a marathon! But it was hard, it really was, and I will not dismiss or belittle it. I struggled but I did it.

Like all the other weeks I am going to repeat Week 5 again. Let's hope my next 20 minute run goes something like this:

Minutes 1-20: la, la, la, I love running, isn't this fun?, I could do this all day, la, la, laaaaa.

I can either take today or tomorrow off from the gym and I'm very undecided. We are going to a baby shower 2 hours from home tomorrow so I might be smart to go today in case the trek interferes. I'm feeling ok today, a little tightness in my hips, but otherwise ok. And the tiredness seems to be going away too, hopefully it was just a mild virus (both kids have runny noses and I have a sore throat) dragging me down.

As always, thank you for your support.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Penguin in Tri Clothes

I should not be blogging right now. I am tired, feeling down and just generally not in any sort of state to be writing and possibly infecting anyone with my mood. Why am I tired? Who knows, it's been ailing me since Tuesday. It could be related to my lingering sore throat, or to not enough vitamin B, or not enough Iron, or the weather, or the kids, or, or, or. I know it's not not getting enough sleep because I have been going to bed early every night. Miguel actually suggested I'm getting too much sleep and that's why I'm tired. !? I started to wonder if he was secretly giving me decaf in some twisted attempt to get us off caffeine. Whatever it is, I'm riding it out.

I have been hanging out a bit in the community forums. There's a newbie running forum where a lot of people are doing c25k and so I've been following their progress. And that's where I was introduced to a new term: the penguin runner. Now picture a penguin...short, round, slow, tends to waddle. Sounds about right. So someone posted a quote by John Bingham on the site:
If you run, you are a runner. It doesn't matter how fast or how far. It doesn't matter if today is your first day or if you've been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run.
I had to look up who this guy was - John Bingham, a former couch potato turned marathoner. He wrote a column called The Penguin Chronicles for Runner's World Magazine and eventually a book, The Courage to Start. Of course I love this guy now. And I found a new term to add to Athena (an overweight triathlete).

I am an Athena and a Penguin. Try dressing up like that for Halloween. Actually, that would be funny. I would have to get a penguin costume and then put triathlon clothes on top. That might be better for Bay to Breakers. Whoa, I'm getting off course here.

Is this a fitness blog? Yes, I do believe it is. On Monday I went to the gym and did c25k Week 5, Day 2. Two 8 minute runs with a 5 minute break in between. Did I do it? You know I did! Wow, I'm already feeling a lot better than when I started this post. Ok, so after my victorious jog run I hit the weights to do chest, triceps, core work and then 5 minutes on the stair climber before my stretching/cool down.

Tuesday was another gym day, this time I did the bike. The random route was sort of easy so I upped it to level 5. Things were going along fine until near then end when the bike tossed out 3 minutes of level 8 resistance. Ugh. I have this whole rpm scheme, looks like this:

Levels 1-2: 100+ rpm
Levels 3-4: 90+ or 100+ rpm depending
Levels 5-6: 90+ rpm
Level 7: 80+
and now, with the addition of level 8...
Level 8: just keep pedaling

I think I like the challenge. Maybe. Sort of. Anyway I'm probably going to stay at Level 5 because I don't like to go backwards. Unless I have to of course. After the bike it was legs, shoulders, core work and then 5 minutes on the stair climber before I cooled down and stretched. I did some fancy sideways climbing on the stairs (I wonder, is that bad for the knees?) and left the gym feeling content.

On to tri news. I asked my local tri club about renting wetsuits and got all sorts of tips, etc, even an offer to do a practice swim! Now there's a good idea being I've never swam in the bay. Someone also suggested I join North Bay Aquatics in one of their practice swims. One of them is described like this, "Boats take you out half way to Angel Island and you can practice swimming into the finish area." Ok, that sounds scary to me. I think I really need that practice swim. I'm going to look into wetsuit rental, rent one, and then follow up with the guy that offered to arrange a practice swim for me. Once again, thank you nice people of the world!!

Today I plan to go to the gym and do Week 5, Day 3. That's a 20 minute run people! It will go well, I will have plenty of air, strong legs, and a good mind. Oh, and I want to read The Courage to Start - anyone have it and feel like loaning it to me?

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Hills are Alive...

with the sound of music. I wanted to post a pic of the route I took to the gym the other day AND post a list of my workout playlist and then the Sound of Music song popped into my head. No, I don't listen to music while riding the bike because I need all my attention on the road but if I did I might be tempted to add that song to my cooldown playlist. Without further ado - here is the route:

And, because I spent WAY too long trying to figure out a better way and couldn't, here is my "workout" playlist in image form. This is the "fast" playlist for cycling or elliptical, etc. I have another one that is not as fast for weight training that I'll post another time. To make it readable you'll have to click on the image. Once the image comes up click on it one more time to make it big enough to read.

So, what do you think? Are any of these songs on your workout playlist?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Change of Plans ...and, People are Nice

So much has happened since my last post...

On Thursday I cut my thumb while cooking. I cut it so bad I thought I'd need to go to urgent care but it stopped bleeding and seemed fine. Still, no gym for me. On Friday I wasn't sure if I could lift weights with my thumb so I took a pass on getting up at the crack of dawn to hit the gym. Bummer. I got on the scale for my weekly weigh in and what do you know? I was down .8 pounds! Happy me!!

We packed up the car and hit the road for beautiful Mendocino. We arrived after 4pm and it was cooold. I guess we won't need the swimsuits I packed! The coast is notoriously unpredictable though so I held out hope for a decent weekend. Friday night turned out to be the worst night ever when it comes to sleep. BOTH kids were on some sort of screaming their heads off routine. As soon as we'd get one quiet and sleeping the other would start. I don't know if it was the cold weather or change of routine or what but Miguel and I got nearly no sleep. We decided at 2am that we were not staying another night. At 5am I still felt that way. At 6am Miguel (aka my hero) took both kids for a drive to let me sleep for an hour or so. I LOVE HIM!

We made the best of Saturday and had a nice time with the kids. It was chilly but not that cold. We had a good breakfast and then went on a beautiful hike toward a waterfall. Miguel and I saw that waterfall last time we were there but with the kids in tow we didn't quite make it. They were getting tired of walking and the adults were getting tired of carrying them so we turned around. Still, the walk was beautiful and the kids had fun running, jumping, and eating wild blackberries.

Here's a picture or two from our trip. First, Marek and his buddy on their bikes.

And Myra enjoying the dirt. She LOVED playing in the dirt.

We let Marek run around in his long-johns and jammies most of the morning. He does have shoes on at least :)

We had a gorgeous campsite with a creek running behind it. Too bad we didn't get to enjoy it the whole weekend but we squeezed all the fun we could out of it given the circumstances.

After the hike Miguel packed up and we headed home. Both kids were asleep within about 1 minute - probably a record. But Marek kept half-waking and crying, then going back to sleep. By this point it was clear that both kids were getting colds. Maybe that was part of the horrible screaming night?

We got home too late for me to go to the gym; I was too wiped out anyway. Thank goodness, thank anyone who will listen - the kids slept all night last night. Today (Sunday) I slept in until - get this - 9:30! Again, best husband ever!!

When the kids went down for their naps I was lounging around kind of feeling like going to the gym when I remembered I planned to ride my bike there. Up! I was excited. Got on my bike and headed out the door. The hill between home and the gym was a tad easier than the last time. I felt good getting over that hill.

I was about 2/3 of the way to the gym when I got a flat. My first flat and I'm all alone. I sit down to ponder my situation when a nice guy rides up and offers to help. THANK YOU NICE CYCLISTS EVERYWHERE!!! We get my tire changed and I couldn't really thank him enough. I rode to the gym, did my back, biceps, core and stair climber thing and then got on the bike to ride home. My front tire was low so before I took off I added some air. Big mistake - I broke the valve stem. Call to Miguel to come get me. While he was coming I hit the treadmill for a 7 minute run and felt really strong - who knows how long I could have run, but he got there and home we went.

Whew! That was a weekend for sure. A cut thumb, screaming babies in a tent, two flat tires - but lots of fun to make it all worthwhile just the same. Oh, and .8 pounds lost. At this pace I'll be to my goal weight come this time next year!! Thanks Kristy for doing the math :)