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Starting Over…

3 Jan

Whenever I see those two words put together, I instantly start singing some John Lennon:

I really wish I could write an awesome post about how I spent my holidays healthy and fit, getting in 3 miles every day on the treadmill (or even better, outdoors) and lifting weights like a mad man. I wish I had pictures of how buff I am now or how great my butt looks in two size smaller jeans.

But, I bring you nothing but a scale reading.

And it ain’t pretty.

It’s 6lbs uglier.

Even for photoshop, that's a pretty ugly scale.

So, what does a girl do when she’s gained 6lbs in less than a month?

Eat chocolate?

Nope.

Cry into her pillow?

Uh... creepiest pillow ever.

Get pissed off?

Yep. That’s it. I’m going to get pissed off. And then I am going to go to the gym and freakin’ work the crap out of the free weights. Maybe I’ll even torture the elliptical with my added 6lb weight. Either way, I am going to move in to the kitchen and actually watch what I put on my plate. Take that plate. I bet you dont like being a victim in a Sting song.

Oh, and I joined Weight Watchers. I swore I would never do it, but then I started seeing and hearing more and more success stories that were close to home. I do like the points program so far. It’s fairly simple and it does make sense (though I still dont agree with how they give diet soda no points but juice 1 or 2).

In other news on the home front, Ms. Greer has left us. She was adopted last week and was picked up on Sunday morning. I cried and spent the day feeling empty over her loss. She was such a great dog. She was truly the “Right dog, the wrong me.” And while I almost lost it this morning when there was no dog licking my ankles at 6am to get her food ready, I am so grateful that she was picked up by New Leash and was given a great fur-ever home.

We thought we would have some time between fostering again, but there seems to be a need for a foster transfer. So we are meeting a new potential pup tomorrow. I hope she’s as good as Greer (and equally potty trained).

I really have more posts planned with wedding details and my crafty-Christmas. But for now, this covers it. Have a happy (and healthy) re-start!

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Getting Started…

8 Nov

I’ve had a couple people (hey y’all!) ask me how I started running when I was out of shape and overweight. So much so, that I am going to write this out. Please note that I am not a doctor. People’s individual conditions (asthma, injuries, heart conditions, etc.) should be taken in to consideration before you start any program. I hate to say it, but I firmly believe that many people have bodies that are not meant to run because of these conditions. However, I’ve been proven wrong before. So what do I know… again, not a doctor.

Why yes... I've been watching Doctor Who non-stop for the last week.

First of all, you CANNOT run if you cannot walk. I am dead serious on this. You cant just go out there and run unless you are in great shape or completely healthy. I recommend building up slowly by walking 30 minutes a day for four to six days a week. When that becomes too comfortable, find some high tempo music and walk faster. Then add some hills. Treadmills are great ways to amp up your workout. Most modern brands have different types of workouts. Even now, when I’m too tired to run or it’s an off day, I’ll set it on a random hill workout and let the treadmill dictate my workout.

When you are able to walk 3 miles outside or on a 1-2% treadmill incline without stopping AND with it feeling like a medium level effort, then you are ready to run.

Running will not happen automatically for the majority of us. It will frustrate the hell out of you. You WILL want to give up. You will burn out. There will be plenty of bad days that can certainly outnumber the good ones. Avoid burnout by:

  • Limiting how many days you run. DO NOT run every day. Your body is essentially building up new muscles. You need time to rest and recover. When I started, and even today, I only run 3-4 times a day.
  • Start SLOOOOOOWWWWWW. Speed comes with time. I promise. My first run was a 14 minute mile. A year later, I can run 10:30s. If you insist on running at a certain pace for whatever reason, then give yourself:
  • Time to get better. Just as speed will come, so will endurance. Your first run may only last 10 seconds (or less). Be proud of that. Write it down. Tell your super supportive and understanding friends. Send me an email! Try to run at that same level for a 2 or 3 more runs until you try to run for longer. Add on another 5 seconds and repeat. Celebrate, record it, run at that level a couple more times, and then add on. In a month, you may go from running 10 seconds at a time to running for 4 or 5 minutes.
  • Sign up for a race. Be realistic. For most people starting at my level (which was obese and overweight), give yourself 3-4 months to train. Or, if you are ready to go, try interval running (which I will go in to) or walking a race. 5Ks are the best way to start. They are 3.1 miles long and are a great distance to play with.

And with that, comes my next recommendation. Typically, I would tell everyone to try Couch to 5K. It’s a pretty popular program that has gotten great results. I did it… twice. But here’s what they dont tell you: Couch to 5K doesn’t build you up to a 5K unless you can run a 10 minute mile. Instead, it builds you up to running 30 minutes straight. That’s great if that is your goal (and can be a great one)…

But what if you cant run 30 minute straight? What if your body needs that walk break? Are you still a runner? Can you still become one?

YES. Yes, you can. And dont let anyone ever tell you that you cant.

How do I run 10:30s? I do it with intervals. I run 3:1… in other words, I run for 3 minutes at a 9 min/mile pace and then I walk for 1 minute at a 17 min/mile pace. And then I repeat… over and over again.

I can run a straight mile. In fact, I can run a 5K straight. I’m pretty sure I could run 5, if I really wanted to. But I dont. Running intervals has kept me injury free, helped me avoid burn out, and has made me fall more in tune with my body. And it’s all thanks to this guy:

I bought this book about two weeks before my first 5K in March. A week before that same 5K, I tried it out. I ran a 5K at my normal pace (a 14 minute mile) and finished in 43 minutes. Respectable, but I pretty much wanted to die afterwards. Two days later, I tried to do the 5K with intervals (I started with :45/1:00… run for 45 seconds and then walk for a minute). My time on that run? 41:40. With the race a week away, I turned to Jeff Galloway’s many message boards on Spark and, with their support, ran the race with those same intervals. I did it in 40 minutes.

I was blown away! How could walking while running longer distances help so much? ¬†And even better… I was in no pain. I finished my race feeling like I could go another mile. And with a few exceptions, I’ve felt that way after every single one of my runs ever since. I’ve ran the Galloway method for over 8 months now and I will not be going back to straight running any time soon.

But ultimately, it comes down to what works for you. There are a MILLION plans out there that will get you going. Some will have you run almost every day. Others will have you running only once a week…. your level of commitment should be reflected in the plan you chose. And when you hit a milestone (say, run your first mile or minute), reward yourself. Make it a fun game.

And with that game, make sure you’ve got ample support. People who laugh at you, tell you that your slow, or try to squash your plan are not support. If you end up with no one, send me an email. I’m not joking. I’m here almost 24/7 to help you, rant with you, and jump with joy when you cross the finish line.

And, while I’m thinking about it, I’ve got one more major tips: BUY RUNNING SHOES. Dont just go to payless and pick out the prettiest pair of Nikes you can find or the cheapest pair in the store. Invest in your fitness. Get yourself to a running store and ask to be fitted. Running shoes fit differently than your regular shoes (I wear an 8 in regular shoes, but an 8.5 Wide since I need more room in my toe box and my feet and ankles tend to swell). They will watch you stand, walk, and run to determine your shoe support needs. Shoes can be expensive, but be honest with them. If you cannot afford $150 pair of shoes, then let them know at the start. They will give you options.

So, that’s it. Start slow, avoid burn out, and try different plans till you find the one that works for you. When you do poorly, let it go and move on. When you do great, celebrate.

I hope this helps!

She's Was Working In a Barbershop…

19 Oct

I think there is only one person who can accurately describe my current feelings, so I’ll let him do all the talking:

..

.

It’s weigh in day.

..

.

I worked my butt off. Wait, scratch that. I didn’t in fact, I apparently worked so hard, I worked some of it back on.

Mother f$%ker.

My workouts last week were awesome:

Friday: Hard 5K
Saturday: Spin class
Sunday: 8 miles on a treadmill… on a g-damn treadmill… while watching the BEARS game, damnit.
Monday: 20 minute intense core workout
Tuesday: 60 minute upper body strength training
This morning: Tempo 5K

To be honest, this has been the best week I’ve had in eating as well. I’ve even gotten back to tracking.

But what did all my hard work and persistence get me? 168.4
(For those keeping score, that’s a ounce weight gain)

I've sunk so low, I'm not even above posting a Garfield cartoon.

Part of me, the evil Fran Drescher side, is like,

“Honey, forget about it! You see those workouts? You’ve been getting back to strength training, which is FAB, but really… you know you gain weight for awhile after pumping irons…”

The other part of me, the Cici Babcock (if you will) screams,

“Puh-lease, you non-sensical twit. You still at candy, chips, and even freakin’ McDonalds. Who are you trying to fool, cause it ain’t your waistline.”

Of course, Fran’s mom has something to add…

Sylvia

“Oh, hunnny… stohp beehting yoself up ovah id! Id wahz a lohng wheek. New dawg, ahnowing clahss, big fight… ah dounat ere an there won hurt ya!”

And because this Nanny reference has to end at some point…

“Most annoying blog post ever.”

All of these highly annoying, fictional characters have a point. I worked out a ton, and strength training does mean some initial weight gain. HOWEVER, while I also ate pretty decently, I slipped up big time in the snack department. The stress of the new dog and some drama doesn’t help either.

What am I going to do? Keep on, keeping on. I’m washing my hands of it and moving on. More strength training, because it makes me feel good, and I am going to continue pushing my 5K runs just because they make me feel great. Next week, I’ll get back to yoga and I’ll make sure that I really sweat it out in my spin class. That’s all I can do at this point.

12

14 Sep

Weigh-in days. I wake up, nervously, and being the weigh-in routine:
6am wake up
Forget that it’s Wednesday
Walk around the apartment aimlessly while admiring my fantastic bed head
Make it to the bathroom after several circles around the kitchen counters
As I turn on the showers, realize that, MY GOD, it’s WEDNESDAY.
Turn on the Wii Fit and attempt to place the board in the exact place as last time.
Curse as the tv’s Wii Board berates you for not checking in since last Wednesday
Notice how disheveled my Mii is. And wonder why my belly is sticking out of my shirt. Do underweight Miis have baggy, hobo looking clothes?
Quickly tear off the layers of bed clothes I have on so I dont get charged a single ounce more.
Wait… wait… measuring… measuring… measuring… ALL DONE! wait… wait… wait…
Watch as the BMI meter shouts out “Overweight!” and it makes the “wah-wah-wah” music
BUT, happily dance as I see that I’ve actually lost weight this week.
Get pissed when it’s only 2 ounces.
Remind myself that it IS 2 ounces.
Hear the water splashing in the tub and run off mindlessly…

Yes, I lost 2 ounces this week.

It’s better than nothing? Or gaining. Or being back to the 30lbs heavier weight than I was one year ago.

It all counts, right? Every stinkin’ ounce adds up… eventually.

And I have been loosing inches. Thank gawd. SOB and I went on a home goods Target run on Monday. And while he was on a search for ironing boards and the elusive $3 iron, I went straight for the jeans. All day long, I wondered “Could I be a size smaller now?” I hadn’t really tried on any smaller pants over the last year, so maybe this was my time. I grabbed a pair of size ___ and a pair of dockers in the same size and headed for the changing room.

I’m not joking when I say it took a bit of courage to even put them on. I’ve tried this song and dance before, and I always end up frustrated and (admittedly) in tears. But I’ve ran a half marathon. I can freakin’ try on a pair of pants!

So, I did. The first pair, the dockers, were tight, but buttoned up and zipped. If it weren’t for some obvious rolls going on, I’d count it a success. The jeans, on the other hand, slipped over my thighs like it was nothing. And as I buttoned the top button and zipped the fly, I looked up to see someone standing in her perfect sized jean. No rolls, no muffin tops, no fly or button ready to burst.

 

They just fit. I did some squats in them, just to make sure. And then a booty dance… just because.

I could have cried. Ok, I did cry. I hadn’t worn that size (correctly) since my freshman year of high school. And since the last thing to shrink on my body is always my stomach and hips, I couldn’t be happier to FINALLY see some tangible progress. It’s been a long, emotion sucking road.

Those 2oz are one step closer to getting me to a normal size. I just have to keep telling myself that, and occasionally checking in on the jeans department.

Will Run For Popcorn

8 Aug

I’ve talked about money being my motivation… but what about food?

I’m not lying when I say that there are times in my run when I think about one thing… one salty, buttery multiple of a thing:

Popcorn.

Really, it’s not much a surprise if you know me even just a little bit. I am OBSESSED with popcorn. As a fat, lazy child, I would eat a bag twice a week with no shame. Microwave popcorn isn’t terrible for you. It’s just not good. There’s no nutritional content in it and it packs some weird carb/fiber ratio you have to be careful of. But mainly, it’s the chemicals in the artificial butter that make it unappealing.

Now I make my own with my favorite kitchen gadget, the popcorn maker, every Sunday. I have some tricks that make mine extra delicious- like, putting a spritz of water on fresh popcorn to help the salt stick or spraying it with oil to bring out the butter flavor. I’ve also done away with regular salt for all cooking, so I stick to sea salt. It packs more of a punch. I use a vegan butter to reduce the fat and sodium content. I’m not saying that my method is good for you, but comparatively, a bag’s size worth of homemade popcorn is about 30 calories, 10 grams of fat, and half of the sodium less. Oh, and it doesn’t have all the chemical additives and sticky, frustrating mess the microwave leaves.

And because I’m healthier, I share. B gets half of my popcorn when he asks for it. And believe me, my popcorn is like crack. You’ll want more.

Back to the story, so it’s 10am on Sunday and I’m at mile 8.5 of my 9 mile run. I see a group of ladies in pink and instantly realize that they are part of the 3 Day Breast Cancer walk that an online friend of mine was a part of. She flew in from Colorado to participate, so I knew this was a rare chance to find her. However, I didn’t have a phone on me (mine broke on Thursday) so I couldn’t directly get a hold of her. I instead decided to follow the walkers back to their pit stop. There, I asked around for her in vain. She hadn’t come through yet, but she was on her way.

About ten minutes in to waiting and chatting with the walk volunteers, it started to rain. Ok, no, not rain… monsoon.

Eventually, it got so bad that I was yelled at by a man in a neon pink bra and cowgirl hat to get under the undepass for shelter. They wouldn’t let anyone leave till it let up. After about an hour and a ton of impatience on my part, I decided to sneak out with some softball players also forced in the pink filled underpass. When one of the volunteers was distracted, five of us booked it out and in to the rain.

Bad idea. The only thought getting me home was the promise of that popcorn crack. Seriously, many runners have a motto or motivational thought to help them get through a wall. Mine is: Popcorn. POPCORN. POPCORN!!!

After another half mile run home, I came in looking a bit like this:

But, I ran 10 miles, felt great, and even did it in the downpour. I felt amazing. And that popcorn I had later that night was so worth it.

Kilts and Dollas

27 Jul

I’ve mentioned it briefly before, but I’m currently giving myself $1 per mile run (doubles on races).

It’s a sweet little motivator considering I am horrible about not putting money away voluntarily. Sure, I have direct deposit where I put a portion in to my 403B (whatever the hell that is, but it sounds fan-cy) and another little portion in to my savings account. But those portions are small and insignificant and I rarely just move money over when it’s left over from bills and fun stuff.

So, every morning I run, I spend about two minutes transferring over small amounts of money back and forth from my checking account to savings. Obviously, the amounts are small- $3.10 on Tuesdays, $6.20 on Thursdays, between $10-$14 on Sundays. But in total, it’s a good $20ish a week or around $80-100 a month.

I already know what I’m going to spend it on (because you really dont think that I’m saving for nothing)… VACATION!

 
I haven’t had a real vacation in years. Seriously, multitudes of years. I love traveling and since I’m not saving up for babies, weddings, homes, cars, etc…. I can afford (har har) to take some me time and move around a bit. 
My sister and I are currently talking Scotland. I should mention that my sister had to be dragged screaming on family vacations, so her wanting to go to Scotland is a complete surprise. I did have to explain, with utter frustration, that you couldn’t just do a weekend in Scotland. The plane alone would take 7+ hours and we would lose time. The concept seemed lost. 
We still dont get it, Daniel.
 
However, I’m more than happy to visit Scotland. It’s not the first place on my travel list. But, if it gets me out of the house and using my passport, I’m down with that. 
Plus, who doesn’t want to see the land of Sean Connery? 
So, from now on, during my runs I will be thinking about martinis and Sean Connery. Maybe I’ll try to pace myself to Annie Lennox or use some Braveheart quotes as my running motto when I’m in a rut. Sounds good to me.