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Posts Tagged ‘training’

Yesterday was a wonderful family day.

Yesterday was a 10-mile run day. 

Today is a Rest Day. 

Who knew after you’re 40 your body does most of its hard work when you’re actually resting

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Ahhhh.  Life is good.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

 

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I am planning on celebrating this holiday in the same way I celebrate everything special these days:  by going for a run!  I have a 10-miler scheduled for this weekend, so since I have no intention of hauling this body through the fine streets of our little community while full of the feast I fully intend to devour later today, I opted to get out there and go before our family meal. 

It’s supposed to be rainy and snowy.  What a wonderful mess!  I sure hope it stays that way. 

So, in lieu of Long Run Friday, Presenting…Long Run Thursday!

Away we go!

THE PLAN:  10 mile run today.  Gotta try and get done early enough to be useful for the Thanksgiving preparations. 

PREDICTION:  Awesome, of course.

THE REALITY:  To be determined.  I’ll update you all afterwards, assuming I survive.

[UPDATE]:

Awesome 10 mile run in 37 degree drizzly weather!  I was able to finish at my 5 mile pace, which surprised me a lot, since I didn’t look at my watch the entire time.  Also didn’t need to stop at Mom’s HalfWay House Potty Stop, just kept right on running the entire way!  Definitely needed the trail shoes (cold, rain) and the gloves and thermal headband today!

Also tried out a hydration belt, which worked pretty well, but I’ve got to figure out an easier way to snap those little bottles back into their carriers.  It was great having my hands free and still having access to fluids and my beans. 

I keep thinking about how grateful I am that my family has made it possible for me to get out there and go on these long runs.  I couldn’t do this training without their support.  Just so much to be thankful for.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Thankgiving, full of the people, places, things and memories for which you’re truly grateful!

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Well, one of my friends just lost her 100th pound on her 40th birthday.  (I would post her name here, but I don’t know if she’s willing to be a public figure, so you’ll have to die of curiosity.)  Another friend is in size 9/10 jeans as of this weekend, in spite of her PMS.  (I have absolutely NO qualms posting her vitals here, since she’s crazy bold enough to share them with the world herself!) 

I am SO happy for them.  Not a bit jealous.  Not. One. Little. Bit.  Okay, well maybe a little.  But sheesh, these ladies have quite literally worked their fannies off, so it’s not like I can begrudge them their awesome achievements.

This just ain't right.

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As for me, faithful readers of this blog know just exactly how much weight I’ve (not) lost.  Indeed, LOTS of you have weighed in (No pun intended…I leave the puns to Linda and Charlie, who are really, really good at puns.  My humor usually occurs by accident.) with really great recipes in my recipe contest, designed to give me ideas and inspiration to be able to cook/eat/feed my family in a more healthy manner.   (Do you notice how often I interrupt myself?  Imagine being my husband (known here on this blog as HH).  Constantly being interrupted by my bursts of inspiration.  He’s such a lucky guy.)  Thanks for your entries!  I will be using them!

Anyway, it is not that I haven’t worked hard enough.  As you (may) know, I’m training for a marathon, so I am getting bunches of exercise.  And as you (may) know, distance runners are particularly weight-loss-challenged because of the distinct nutritional requirements of their sport. 

However, it occurs to me that my sport does not require me to have a burger and fries twice in one day.  And it also occurs to me that I now do have LOTS of awesome recipes from my faithful friends who read this blog. 

Further,  it occurs to me that I have this most salient reminder of two friends that have had MEGA success in the fanny-shrinking department, that these women are really normal, nice, friendly gals, who weren’t doing anything faddish or into some wierd trend.  They were just doing the Hard Work of monitoring what they put into their pie-holes.  These women aren’t supermodels, but they’re superheroes–at least in the weight loss department (and my eyes).  Worse yet, they are totally likeable.  I really LIKE them.  You can’t hate someone who you like, so since I like them I am now left with:  No Excuses.

Since I found myself today at the crossroads of No-Excuses and Forever-Fat, and since I found myself at the end of My Own Strength and Will-Power to Do Anything About It (seriously–I’ve made this a pretty public journey–the public nature of any “failure” would have been enough to have caused me to change if I’d been willing/able/ready to do it), I did the only thing that there was left to do.  I prayed.

[Time out now, because this is something I’m actually serious about.  I take myself pretty lightly, but God?  Now, I take Him seriously.  Just because God has a sense of humor doesn’t mean He’s a joke and He is one of the few things you won’t find me kidding about.  Just wanted you to know.]

SO, I prayed that God would just help me care.  Seriously.  I obviously hadn’t cared enough to do something about it.  I’m not trying to be hard on myself and I’m not trying to make light of God Almighty here.  But I knew that He cared about me taking care of myself, and I obviously wasn’t caring enough to make the necessary changes in the Eat Less curriculum of the Eat Less/Move More game plan I’d taken on. 

If God cared and I didn’t, then I had a problem.  So I asked Him for help.  And of course, He gave it to me.   [Aside:  Even if you’re not a Christian, the exercise/weight loss/diet stuff you’re about to read will probably interest you.  It’s worth it to continue reading.  If you are a Christian, please do not believe for a minute that I “heard from God” just because I said so.  Test it.  If you don’t know how, then message me or ask your pastor.   I’ll be happy to share my testing-process with you personally, but that’s way beyond this post.  Listen, the important thing to know is God does care and He does talk to us, but our “feelings” are not the litmus test for the will of God.  Even if you love everything I say, I don’t speak for God.  God is perfectly capable of speaking for Himself.]

SO…very surprisingly, the help that I received was in the form of several distinct and unassociated people who’ve had great success in this weight loss program called Weight Watchers.  Perhaps you’ve heard of it. 

Now, I’ve done WW before and was quite successful with it.  I have clothes that used to fit me in my closet to prove it.  The problem was that I “did” WW before and I’m now really, really looking for a permanent lifestyle change.  One that can accomodate my new lifestyle as Mom-Who-Runs.  One that I can do as a Normal Person (which I desperately would love to be) instead of either a Dieter OR as a Rebelling-From-Being-A-Dieter-And-Doing-Whatever-I-Please-Person. 

My big objection to WW was that I would have to go to those meetings.  Now, when my world operated on a different schedule, the meetings were not a problem.  At this point in my life, though, the meetings are Out Of The Question. And so, WW was out of the question.  Until now. 

I know this is old news to some people, but it’s new to me, and I’m kinda excited to hear it.  Weight Watchers now has an ONLINE program.  Which means no more (stupid) meetings!  No more needing to get a babysitter so I can step on a scale!  No more lecturettes!  

And *ahem* no more excuses.  

Undaunted, I had one last remaining excuse.  This bit of being an endurance athlete.  Seriously, people.  We need CALORIES to run 26.2 miles.  Or 13.1.  Or 10.  Or 6.  Reasonable people understand that there’s no way to safely crash diet and safely train for a marathon.  But THEN, while poking around on the WW site, I discovered something I’d forgotten entirely.  ACTIVITY POINTS.   

Hallelujah, activity points!  I don’t remember the way they are calculated.  (It’s been a long time since I achieved lifetime WW member status.)  But essentially, activity points help to account for the activity you do by giving you more points that you can/must consume for that day.  So there was actually a chance that I might be able to lose weight, train for my marathon, and not starve/injure myself in the process. 

There was a light at the end of the tunnel.  I just needed to reassess my WHY.

My motivation to lose weight is no longer what it used to be.  I’m not even willing to tell you what it used to be.  Seriously, I don’t even know if I can get my brain to go there.  NOW, however, my desire to lose weight has to do with not having to caring this extra 40 (to 45) pounds with me as a passenger on my marathon on February 21st.  My motivation is to lose some of that weight so that it doesn’t have to come along for the ride on my first marathon, or even most of the training for it.  Losing the weight will help me avoid injury, improve my time, and enjoy the experience (not to mention take a cuter picture) during that race.  So THAT’S the motivation.  And I can’t wait until January 31st to start thinking about it.

So here’s my question:  Who among you has tried (or knows someone who’s tried) this Weight Watchers Online thing?  Would you recommend it for someone as random as me?  Would it yield itself to the odd requirements of an adult-onset-endurance-athlete with a sweet-tooth husband and two athletic daughters to feed?  Would I injure myself trying it while training for this marathon?  Would you recommend it?  In essence:  HELP! 

Please, please, please give me your comments about this if you’ve got an opinion.  Even I’m not such a lover-of-contradiction that I’d start WW three days before Thanksgiving, but I’ll be making a decision about What To Do very soon.  It would be great to have input from people who’ve been there.

As it stands now, the extra weight I’d be carrying would be like carrying a preschooler in my arms for the entire 26.2 miles during my race in February.   Um, pass.  Clearly, it’s time for drastic measures. 

Can’t wait to hear your words of wisdom.  I thank you from the bottom of my…well, never mind. 

P.S.  Another benefit:  HH doesn’t know that there is a WW for Men Online available.  I feel a master plan cooking up.  This could be good!

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Well, today is long run Friday, and I am completely clueless how this happened.  While this did seem like one of the Longest Weeks in the World, it also seems like last week’s Long Run was just yesterday. 

So I’ll hit the road again today on my scheduled Long Slow Run, cleverly designed to get me ready for the marathon I’m running in 13 weeks.  And as always, I’ll post my results here for you to enjoy. 

Now, a word about these results.  I recently read a blog wherein this Very Serious Runner posts a link to his Runner’s World running log.  This is very cool, a wonderful tool and looks quite nifty, except for one teeny little issue:  I ain’t ever going to do that.  Props to him for being willing to post his weight and pace and fuel intake and about every other vital statistic every time he runs.  But that’s an awful lot of sharing for a newbie like me.   I mean, I’m fine making a little note of these things for myself, but sharing it with the known universe?  Way Too Much Information.

So, I’ll be keeping these reports to distance, times and pace (if I like them), how I was feeling, what the weather was, what crazy things I saw along the way, and the general random things that occur during my runs.  I will not be posting my weight or my breakfast here.  Just so you know.  That’s classified information. 

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THE PLAN:  6 mile run today.  It’s one of those “recovery weeks” on the old training schedule, where the long run backs off a little.  Feels kinda like cheating.  But that’s now, before I get out there…

PREDICTION:  Awesome, of course.

THE REALITY:  To be determined.  I’ll update you all afterwards, assuming I survive.

[UPDATE]:

This was a 6.4 mile run on a beautiful, sunny cool day.  That is the nicest thing I can say about it. 

I wanted to enjoy running today, I really did.  But this day seemed to be met with all kinds of delays and glitches and hindrances.  Frustrating, but I did finish and ran the entire time.  My pace was slower than usual, but faster than Virginia Beach and a few recently long runs.  I have to keep reminding myself that I’m intentionally making myself go even slower than my normal (slow) pace on these long runs, so I can maintain that discipline in the marathon and not run out of steam before the end.  Still…

The problems started before I got out the door, since I was way overdressed for the temperature.  Helpful Husband has been freezing and told me that he thought it was going to be really cold.  Walked out the door and turned right back in and changed tops.  Kept the gloves and the thermal headband.  The gloves were a mistake, but the bigger mistake was relying on a non-runner for temperature advice for my long run.  He was trying to be helpful, he really was.  Cold wimp.

I also learned today that when I have the slight thought that maybe I should go back inside and go to the bathroom before running more than six miles, I should listen to that little voice inside my head (bladder) instead of just pushing forward in an attempt to avoid any further delays.  I spent the first half of the run messing with my too-hot gloves and hoping that my mom would be home and her HalfWay House potty stop would be open for business.  (Thankfully, it was.  Got to drop off the sweaty gloves there too.)

The second half of the run was full of bad timing on the stop lights and some crazy drivers.  I can’t be sure how much additional time all the stopping and waiting for lights to change and dodging added to the overall experience, but it was not pleasant.

I finally started feeling good at about 5.3 miles.  The last mile of my route is a slow, moderate uphill climb followed by a very step, short, decline.  It’s fairly challenging, so you know when that’s the most enjoyable part of the run, it’s been rough out there. 

But I am committed to remaining positive. 

I’m grateful I got to get out in my lighter weight shoes and that the day truly was sunny and beautiful.  I’m grateful that my mom was home at that very critical moment.  I’m grateful that  I got the mileage in and I can check it off my training schedule.  I’m grateful my running mentors told me there’d be days like these, so I’m  not overly devastated by it.  I’m grateful this day-like-this  happened during my training and not during a race. I’m grateful it happened on the 6-miler rather than the 20-miler.    And I’m grateful that this day’s run is over and tomorrow is another day.

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Nope, this isn’t a picture of the rain that’s been falling and falling and falling and falling in my hometown for days.  But it could have been.

And nope, I never ran on this particular road on this particular day in these particular conditions.  But I would have, if I’d had the opportunity. 

Used to be, the gray, rainy, windy, cold conditions of late Fall and early Spring, really got to me.  And not in a good way.  At one time, I even considered the possibility that I might have that sunlight deficiency syndrome–whatever it’s called.  I would be moody, crabby, blue. 

This year has been different.  This year I have encountered the Running Transformation.  True, the body hasn’t been entirely very transformed, but my attitude is getting quite the overhaul.  Here (in part) is how:

I discovered that I really love to run in the rain.  The colder and wetter and windier and messier, the better, really.  I think it’s absolutely awesome and my attitude, coupled with the endorphins that flow during and after a decent run, have caused me to have a Pavlovian response to a rainy weather forecast.  I actually feel better when I know it’s going to rain and I can get out and run in it.

I know, it’s Just. Not. Right.  But I can’t help myself.  I love it.

Partly, I think it helps that I’ve got a few pieces of couldn’t-run-in-the-cold-and-rain-without-them running gear that have made a humongous difference in the enjoyment department.  For instance, the right shoes and socks have kept my feet cozy dry in downpours and while running through puddle-laden streets.  (I promise I’ll do posts on my very useful gear pieces separately.  And soon.  Don’t give up on me…I’m just random like this.)

Also, I think it’s kinda cool to feel cozy, warm and dry, even when the cold rain is splashing on my face.  I love the contradiction.  Plus, it’s perfectly fine for me to have people think I’m a little crazy.  I rather enjoy it. 

Then there’s the idea that I hate being told what to do.  When the weather guy tells us how cold and rainy it’s going to be and the darling little anchor sitting near him becomes all sad and says in her sweet little voice, “Brrr…No fun…Bring your umbrella and bundle up…Stay inside if you can,” I think, “How stupid.  They can’t tell me what to do and how to feel about this weather!”  Yet, this was the first year I actually had a viable alternative to rainy-day-misery.

When I run in the rain, I feel like with every step I take, I’m crushing all that negativity and with every swing of my arm, I punch that doom-and-gloom attitude right in the nose.  When it’s cold, I am awake, alert, and alive–and I often don’t even need that second pot of coffee.  When it’s windy and messy and muddy and sloppy, the challenge is invigorating and (dare I say it?) fun.

And my times are actually better in the rain.  Not that my times matter (like, AT ALL), since my running times still put me well behind most runners, albeit ahead of the walkers.  Still, the contradiction thing keeps sparking my interest–lots of runners have slower times in the rain.  Once again, I am the opposite of normal.

Anyway, just wanted you to know that as we all deal with the downpours together, there’s somebody out here really, really happy about the weather.  If you really hate the weather, I promise to do my best to enjoy it for you!  No need to thank me. 

And just think.  Soon, I get to try my feet at snow! 

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***UPDATED at 3:25 PM CST***Scroll to bottom for Update***

 

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At some point in this running drama, I began to think that it might make a difference if my muscles actually were stronger.  That this difference might help me move along with more speed and efficiency. This is the kind of the difference between a cheetah and a walrus.  Walrus’s move, they just carry around a lot of extra, well, blubber.  So I figured, the more muscle, the less blubber.  And the more cheetah-like my running would eventually become. 

Nearly every training program recommends some form of strength or resistance training.  Actually, every program I’ve seen recommends this, however, I am still holding out hope that I may one day come across a program that can provide the strengthening results without the nasty resistance training. (This is the same part of me that hopes that money someday will grow on trees and the laundry someday will get up and do itself, mind you.)

Some people love weight training or resistance bands or sit-ups.  I am not one of these people.  But I have yet to find a short cut, and at some point I began to look for exercises that would help me be stronger, thereby making my runs more efficient and enjoyable (and less walrus-ish). 

A short while into my research, my friends Chris and Shelly were talking about this thing called The Plank.  Sounded like it belonged on a pirate ship with damsels in distress and sharks (as in “walk the _____”).  Since I prefer swimming only to drowning, this Plank thing really started out with some bad mental imagery for me. 

As it turns out, The Plank had nothing to do with water or pirates at all.  Chris explained that it was part of Pilates, which sounded like some kind of pastry to me, so I was getting pretty excited about the prospects at this point.  Sadly, Chris sent me an email with a link to a Plank video, and my hopes of abs-of-steel-through-pastry-eating were dashed.

I did try to find the Actual Video that Chris sent to me, but I’m sure that somehow I accidentally-on purpose deleted it.  Oopsie!  In any case, I’ve found another video that can share the joy of Plankdom with you:

Now this was pretty much consistent with the video that Helpful Chris sent to me.  Didn’t look too hard.  Not at all.  Easy-peasy.

What they didn’t show was the New Plankster.  The Plankster whose arms shook, whose sweat dripped of her forehead in buckets, whose stomach and fanny muscles wailed in pain.  And this was all after holding the position for a grand total of about four seconds. 

Now the exercise worked.  It was very fast and effective.  Which of course, explains exactly why I stopped doing it and resigned myself to more of a walrusy kind of running experience.  (Not really, but there’s no legitimate explanation at all, so I just made up a Ridiculous Response instead.) 

But things have changed now, and I’m afraid that I’m going to have to venture back to Plankdom and pick up where I left off. 

Since I’m actually going to Run A Marathon (there, I said it again!), I’m going to need all the cooperation from my body that I can get.  That includes my stomach, back and fanny muscles, which are now officially on notice that it’s time to get with the program. 

I predict The Plank Experiment will be a success.  And, other than unsightly character flaw of wanting to slap the woman in the video who can do the stinking exercise without so much as breaking a sweat, I’m sure that the effects of The Plank will be well worth the effort. 

And everyone will be happy.  Except perhaps for the walrus.  Who, quite frankly, can go plank itself.

[UPDATE:]

This just in.  An Actual Conversation heard in the Smith household today:

Helpful Husband (HH):  Great post, honey.  Are you, um, actually going to, um, start DOING that now?

Me:  (With a just a hint of sarcasm, flavored with my best June Cleaver tone) As opposed to what?  The way I’ve already been cooking up all those tasty recipes that everybody’s sent in? 

(Fact:  Haven’t even been to the grocery store yet.)

HH:  Oh, yeah.  Well, never mind. 

Determined to not have my hypocrisy underscored in my own household, I actually got down on the floor and did The Stupid Plank.  For 10 seconds.  Human seconds–not Violet the Cute Little Exercise Sadist Extra Long Seconds. 

And here’s what I’ve discovered:  when the stinky dog has been laying on your carpeting, right where you choose to do The Plank, it becomes So Much Easier to refrain from collapsing your exhausted body to the floor with your face in the carpet. 

The Moral of the Story:  There is something worse than The Plank.  It’s The-Plank-Over-Stinky-Dog-Carpet. 

The End.

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Well, here it is.  Some of you have figured this out.  Although you probably didn’t realize you’d figured it out.  Unless you did.  Anyway, here is The Big Announcement:

Late last week, I actually registered, registered, for my Very First Marathon. 

YIKES!  I, quite frankly, am freaking out.  Which explains why this is such a Big Announcement.

Yes, I know I’ve said I was training for a marathon here before.  But training for something doesn’t actually mean that you’re going to do it. 

But now, thanks to that Dotty, I’m registered.  I’m definitely going.  The only thing is…I’m definitely NOT ready for this.  Yikes again. 

Truthfully, I doubt many people are fully ready for their first marathon fourteen weeks before the race.  WHAT?!  Only 14 weeks?  I just looked that up in order to type it here and a new wave of panic has set in.  Fourteen weeks?! 

Okay, now this is all going to be Just Fine.  I am following a Very Good Training Program designed for adult-onset runners like myself to be able to complete 26.2 miles (*gulp*) on their feet and hopefully without need for medical attention.

Since I’ve been in my late teens and 20’s running a marathon has been a dream of mine.  Thinking of it now, if I’d spent less time in the recreational activities I selected at the U of I and more time actually pursuing this 26.2 ambition then, it would have been just a TAD bit easier. 

But why look back?  I am certainly wiser now.  And if you look at the fields of marathon/half-marathon/10k/ultra races, you’ll find that the 40-45 female age range (lovingly refered to as Master Female in lots of races; translation: old lady) usually is MORE full than the teens, 20’s and 30’s groups. 

Personally, I think this phenomenon occurs because this is the time of life when many women’s bodies rebel and start doing things that any normal woman wouldn’t imagine.  I mean, we’d heard about all this stuff, but who paid attention?  We were far too busy with the events of the day to worry about that time far, far, far off in the future when we would become a virtual hormonal time bomb.  I’ve got another post planned for the lovely perimenopausal/menopausal bliss that many of us have had the privilege of encountering, so stay tuned for that sometime soon.  For now, though, just know I’ve thought This Matter through carefully and determined that This Matter is exactly why the women in this age range turn to running. 

That being said, I’m sure that there will be many women my age and maybe even in a similar state of health (or lack thereof) who are running this marathon.   That gives me some encouragement.  Not enough, but some.

The race is the 26.2 with Donna The National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer, on February 21st.  It’s a race with a great and important cause.  I’m planning on getting some pink ribbon and running with the names of survivors and in memoria of those that died of breast cancer.  I’m hoping to get lots of names and have lots of ribbons!  Please send me names of anyone who you would like me to run for.  I’m a rookie, but then, I’d still like to honor you or your loved one. 

I’m not raising money for this cause, although I might do that at some point in the future.  I’m feeling enough pressure just thinking about finishing the race!  Right now, I just really want to honor people who’ve gone through this disease. 

I’m planning on posting my progress here, for all who are interested.  Thanks in advance for your encouragement.  I’m really going to need it, since I’m still convincing myself that I’m an athlete. 

Here’s a picture of last year’s medal.  Isn’t it awesome?  I’m planning on wearing mine at least through my birthday.  (April 4th)   It’s a really Big Deal to me.  Thanks for sharing the journey. 

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