Friday, October 14, 2011

The Only Way to Know is to Try

So I took Wednesday off like a good sick person, but was back at it on Thursday.  Despite still feeling run-down from the cold I knew some exercise would help my energy level and maybe even kick this cold out of my body altogether.  At the gym I did Week 8/Day 2, a 28 minute run, doing intervals, and felt great.  I ran with that easy feeling of, "I can do this, no problem" that feels so good.  After the run I did back, biceps and core work before stretching.  In the evening I felt a little cough coming on and worried maybe my cold was going to move into my chest.  In an effort to banish the illness I decided to take Friday off and get some rest.

Woke up Friday feeling iffy and was a bit cough-y but nothing too serious.  We ended up having a busy day despite my taking the day off to get some rest.  Marek finally got a Halloween costume (he chose Buzz Lightyear - there's a shocker) and we had some nice family time.  My cough seemed to have disappeared by midday and when the kids went down for their afternoon naps I was feeling good enough to go to the gym.  It was a gorgeous day so I took the opportunity to ride my bike to the gym.  Despite it being 82 degrees out I felt good on the bike and had fun riding to the gym.

I got there feeling strong and did my chest and triceps routine with core work (including two 40 second plank positions - yes!) and stretching.  I debated doing the stair climber since I still had to ride home but decided I was feeling good so I did it, but kept it at 43 steps per minute the whole time (I push it to 50spm whenever I feel strong enough).

I got on my bike and headed down the road.  There are two routes for me to get home.  One with a big BIG hill and one with a small/medium hill (these are by my standards).  I have been taking the small/med route so far.  But I have faced off with the big hill in the past and thanks to my blog I know exactly what happened.  The first time I tried to ride over it (7/8/08 and 160lbs) I had to take a break part way up.  The second time (three weeks later, 7/20/08) I made it.  So back to today - I'm riding away from the gym and I get this idea to try and ride over it.  This is the gist of what plays out in my head:

When you rode over that hill before you were way fitter and weighed a lot less.
Yeah but it doesn't hurt to try.
That's a big hill Michelle.  You can't do that yet, you're not strong enough.
The only way I will know if I can succeed is to try, that's the only way to find out.  If you make it up halfway and have to turn around, fine, you tried, better luck next time.  At least you'll know where you stand.  Failure just means you challenged yourself and challenging yourself is good.

So by the time I arrived at the intersection where I had to decide I turned toward the hill.  I made it up that hill.  I made it.  You are probably not shocked by that but I am.  I don't think I believed I could do it.  I made the attempt more out of a desire to push myself and less out of a belief I could do it.  But I did it, and I felt good, I felt proud, I felt strong.  These small day-in, day-out victories are so special to me.  And they are the kind of reward I never knew existed when I was living my past life as a couch potato. 

So the other side of that hill, what was today the downhill for me, is probably twice as hard.  And someday, I don't know when, I will ride over that hill too.

So I'm taking tomorrow off, which means I only went to the gym (gasp!) four days this week.  But I had a cold, which is almost gone, so I know I'll be back on track next week.  Oh!  I almost forgot, I lost .6 pounds this week, and my body fat dropped down to 40%.  I'm looking forward to seeing that number drop into the 30's.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Healthy Heart Beats!

I wish I'd been tracking my heart rate all along but I haven't.  I was reading an article today that got me to wondering what my resting heart rate is.  I'd been sitting on the couch long enough to watch Pan Am so I figure that's resting.  I took it twice.  The first time it was 60, the second time 62.  That's pretty darn good!  I think that means my heart is "conditioned".  I love it!  For me this is just about as important as losing weight.  You can't get much better than some strong heart muscles.

And now for a little catch-up since Saturday.  I took Sunday off to rest, mostly because it seemed like a good idea.  My body felt pretty good, though my triceps were really sore.  Monday was a holiday for me.  I spent the morning fixing my kids breakfast and enjoying their company and then took them to daycare so I could go to the gym and pick up my bike (I'd dropped it off for a tune-up).

I decided to run intervals on the treadmill even though it was nice enough to run outside.  I guess that means the intervals have made the treadmill less hated.  They make it a challenge and I like the idea that I might get a little faster doing them.  Here's the breakdown of what I do:

Start with a 3 minute warm-up walk at 3.0mph
0-5:      4.5mph
5-10:    4.8
10-12:  5.0
12-17:  4.8
17-19:  5.1
19-24:  4.8
24-26:  5.0

So it's 26 minutes of running and I push past my "natural" 4.8mph pace.  My goal for running is to maintain a 12 minute mile (5mph) for the 5k distance.  When will I reach that goal?  Who the heck knows.  That's the beauty of making your own goals, you decide if there's a time pressure or not.  And in this case, there isn't.  At least not for now.  Anyway, I did my strength training, chest and triceps (those triceps HURT), core work and 5 minutes on the stair climber.  I burned a whopping 587 calories and left feeling good but I knew a cold was coming on.

By the middle of the night I was full-on sick.  Stuffed head, runny nose, etc.  One of my most of my MOST favorite things about not being pregnant is being able to take cold medicine.  NyQuil is the best!  I got back to sleep and didn't miss a thing until morning.  I was groggy and still sickly though so I took the day off.  I sat around watching TV and feeling like a slug for most of the day.  I finally took a shower and some DayQuil and started feeling like I could go to the gym.  Most of the advice I've read about excercising when you're sick is that if it's in your chest, skip it, but if not, go for it.

So I went for it.  I did the bike for 25 minutes and then dove into legs and shoulders.  Everything went really well, especially the lunges.  I felt strong and was able to take even, stable strides without too much wobble.  I mixed in core work and felt strong enough to give the plank a try.  I did one, held it for 40 seconds, and decided to do another one.  At the 20 second mark my back hurt a tad but I held on and held the second one for 40 seconds too.  I felt really good about that.  Two 40-second planks were what I was doing pre-backache so it's nice to know I still have the strength.  I wrapped it up with 5 minutes on the stair climber.  I had enough gas in the tank to do 50 steps per minute for the whole 5 minutes.

On to today, Wednesday.  My cold is still holding steady.  I had a plan to go to the gym when Miguel got home from work, still feeling like as long as my chest is clear, well, the coast is clear to exercise.  When Miguel got home and mentioned that I was leaving soon Marek started crying, "Don't go mommy."  Aww, shucks.  Miguel gave me a little lecture about letting my body rest and that when people are sick they sometimes take an extra day off.  He actually said, "You're not lazy, you're just sick."  Funny, I probably really needed to hear that.  So between Marek pleading for me to stay (and my really wanting to stay home with my family for dinner) and my being sick I decided to skip the gym.  It's not easy.  I can go the next three days in a row so I can hit my 5x a week goal but I'm not going to.  I'll probably go tomorrow and either Friday or Saturday.

My only worry now is if this sickness moves into my chest and I'm down for the count for days on end.  Fingers crossed that doesn't happen.