Friday, May 30, 2014

Be Still (and Youth Track Races)

Low moments in life are hard. I'm knee deep in one now. I breathe, I take the next step, breathe again, and just try not to stop moving for too long. I'm sure that's one reason I've kept myself so busy lately. Just don't stop moving.

Well, this weekend I plan to stop moving for a bit. I'm doing it in a funny sort of way in that I'm headed to Lake Tahoe for the weekend with a cycling group. The group is doing a 24 mile ride on Saturday and the 72-mile ride around the lake on Sunday. Not sure I'm up for either but I'm going anyway. I'll decide how I feel once I'm up in the thin mountain air. Other options are a run or a hike.  All that said, even in movement, I hope to be still.

Things remain the same in the food and exercise department. My eating is marginally better and exercise remains promising. Not promising, more like damn good. Last week started with a Memorial Day run with my tri training peeps. I ran 4-miles in an area in which I'd never run, it was absolutely gorgeous! There were some wetlands with tall grasses rising out of the water, and the sun shining on the hills in the distance...I nudged myself to get lost in the green beauty of it all. I find if I can do that, I can carry that moment with me through the day, or even in the coming days. No music, no talking, just breath, my body, movement and serenity.

After that my mom and I took the kids to a youth track race. It was so cute!

Marek was really nervous about running, at first saying he wouldn't, and then saying only if I held his hand the whole time. But then, ready...set...GO! And he was off like a bolt of lightening.

In the end he ran three "races", the 50 yard (or was it meters?), the 100 and the 400 meters. 400 meters was all the way around the track. Kids don't know how to pace themselves so it was a series of sprints with near stops as he lost energy but each time I was able to rev him up again with an on-the-go pep talk. After he crossed the finish line he puffed up with pride, "Mommy, I didn't think I could do it but I could!!" A life lesson youngling. [For both of us, see how he later inspired me with this statement to also do something I didn't think I could do].

Myra was one-and-done. We later found out she had strep throat so no wonder. Poor girl was a trooper considering she was sick and we didn't know it. She did have me hold her hand the whole time, a job I was proud to do.

Maybe I'll re-package this post at some point and add to it my Race Reports page. After the run we went straight to breakfast and I held nothing back. Omelet, hash browns, buttered toast...and then to a party at a friend's place. The kids got in the pool some but it was too windy for me. Instead I had a few drinks and did my best to lounge while the kids played. And then the holiday weekend came to a close.

Tuesday I hit the gym. I rode the upright bike for 25 minutes and then did legs/shoulders/core. Again I did as much of my regular routine as I could. My back is paying the price for that right now so I'd better take it a bit easier. My legs were sore on Wednesday so I decided that would be a day of rest.

Thursday I went to the gym again. I started with an outside run which I think was around 2.4 miles. It was super hot out and because the distance was shorter (than my normal 3 miles) I decided to include a monster hill. I had to talk myself up that hill, reminding myself that I don't quit. I. don't. quit. Don't get me wrong, walking is not quitting...but for me, in that moment, it was. And I had to say whatever I had to say to keep myself going. 80+ degrees and a ridiculously steep had to be done.

After that I did chest/triceps/core. I was out of time before I could complete everything but I managed  to get my pushups and enough triceps work to feel like I'm making progress. Not sure if I'll have time to get to the gym today but it's on my mental list. If not, maybe I could sneak in a run tonight once I'm up at Tahoe. Or pay a day-use fee at a local gym. I'm not too worried, I know my body will see plenty of action this weekend. Wait, that doesn't sound quite right. Eh, you know what I mean.

Food? What to say. I'm working on things. And I'm reminding myself that each time I fall out of my normal habits - whether it's due to illness or an injury or a slump or all of the above - each time I ease back into things, and as I ease in, everything slowly falls back into place. The point being, I'm trying to be mindful, make conscious choices, and not see having a whopper jr (hold the mayo) and a small fries for lunch, followed by some pseudo-healthy quinoa cluster snacks - as a sign that I'm failing.

I'm not failing, I'm right where I'm supposed to be. I'm over my goal weight a bit but that should come as no surprise given I had major surgery. I'm moving, more often than not I'm making good food choices, and I'm thinking, blogging, paying attention. This is what real life success looks like. At least for my real life.

I won't be blogging from Tahoe but I'll post as many pics as I can before my battery dies. Follow me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter to keep up.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

A Fine Line

Has it really been a week since my last post? Well, I have a pretty decent excuse. My laptop is on the fritz. The screen stopped working. To protect the innocent, nothing more will be said about that. My other excuse is that I've been busy as all get-out. My lists are growing longer and all I want to do is get some sleep!

To that end, this will be a quick post as it's already 10:45pm and I RSVPd as a strong maybe on an 8am run tomorrow morning. Truth is, I could sum my week up in as little as four words:

Food, ugh.
Exercise, yes!

That about does it. By way of example, tonight I had a bowl of cereal for dinner. Followed by an entire Costco sized bagel with cream cheese, then a small granola bar, and now some chocolate. Guess I should change my RSVP  on tomorrow's run to definitely. Eh, exercise has never been a means to atone for my eating, why start now?

Yes, that department, I'm feeling better and better. I didn't get into the gym last week until Thursday. For whatever reason the thought of my normal cardio routine sounded dreadful so I pulled an old trick out of the bag. I call it machine-hopping, 10 minutes on the upright bike followed by 15 minutes on the treadmill. Technically I did 15:16 on the treadmill because I was this:close to 1.5 miles and couldn't stop running. I ran at 5.5-6.5 mph and felt damn good about my achievement. After that I did a set of pushups, squats and some shoulder raises and called it quits.

Then Friday came. Cue the dramatic music. I was in a bad mood. Bad. The holiday weekend was looming and I had few plans to speak of and, well, life. So when I got to the gym after work I just wanted to crush it. Crush what, you say? My bad mood. I still couldn't face a straight 25 minutes of anything so I started with 15 minutes on the elliptical (I always forget how hard you can work on those things if you push yourself) followed by a 1-mile treadmill run in 9:55 (yes, I was pushing for sub-10).

After the cardio I decided to dive, head first, into chest, triceps and core. It was either a gutsy decision reflective of my will and determination - or just plain stupid. The jury is still out. In any case, that's often a fine line anyway, right? I started with pushups. I used to do three sets of 20, 15, and 12 reps. Guess how many I did? You guessed it, 20, 15, 12. I wrote myself a little note to commemorate the moment.

I planked and twisted and pressed my way through the remainder of my routine. In the end, I couldn't quite do all the reps of my triceps stuff, those little muscles just gave out. But I kept going back to at least make an effort for every set. And when my abs were screaming at me to stop, I finally listened and did.

Other notes on my workout log that day are, "Owie" (as in, ouch) and "Go easy, M" but "You kick ASS!!!" is my favorite. The bummer is, despite all that my mood was still in the dumps when I left. Now that is unusual.

Riding home from the gym earlier this evening
Add to that, my abs are threatening to never do another crunch as long as I live. But remember, I said, Exercise, yes! Today my mom showed up earlier than I was expecting so I took the opportunity to sneak off to the gym. I rode my bike the 2.8 miles to the gym. Ah, the wind in my hair while my legs power me down the road - nothing else like it. Once at the gym I took it easy, not even logging my workout. I focused on back and biceps and even foolishly tried to do a plank (took me only 10 seconds before I realized my mistake). But I was able to do side crunches so some part of my core muscles are still intact. I told you, a fine line. I rode back home happy to have done something in the body building department.

Now it's 11:15 so I'll close by telling you that in addition to the above we've also been here there and everywhere this weekend. For people with few plans we managed to keep things moving. We had a pizza/movie night at a friends, a playdate at our house, a Lego outing and a pool party (it was a touch too windy for me to get in the water). It's been a lot of fun and a lot of work. Thankfully today was low-key. Tomorrow I'm taking the kids for their first-ever run event! It's a "youth track race" that starts with the (parent-accompanied) toddler dash up to 12-year olds. So cool! I'll be sure to tell you all about it.

Oh snap! Just remembered I also did this last week:

That's me getting a PFT, pulmonary function test. Interesting results, which I'll have to tell you about another day but can summarize by saying my lung functions are normal but still not. I'll say more about that next time. That's it from me!

PS - I'm 147 pounds. Two pounds over my goal weight. Sure hope I rise in time for that run tomorrow morning. 'Night all!