The past few days, I’ve been a bit of a slacker with my exercise. I’ve been doing some informal exercise, but not enough to make up for the lapse in my regular workouts. I’ve done some dog walking, some other walking, etc. but I know it’s not been the kind of exercise that will get me results. As I’ve been struggling with my weight, and watching the scale not budge, I’ve found my motivation waning a bit, so today, I decided to set a new challenge for myself today.

The goal: my first 15 minute uninterrupted run since my black belt training.

The result: I stepped off the treadmill, soaked, and with a grin that won’t go away.

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I was so proud, I had to take a picture! (Nevermind the poor quality- it was taken with my cell phone) I have to admit, though, that there was a 2 minute walk break in the middle, and during the second half (after I accomplished my 15 minute goal) where I had to step off the treadmill to change the music a couple of times. I’ve lost my cable for my mp3 player, so I had brought the laptop downstairs to listen to music from it. Can’t do without my music. I’m such an addict that as soon as I realized that I couldn’t find the cable, I promptly got on ebay and ordered another. Hopefully it’ll come in in the next few days.

Other stats of note:

  • avg HR: 156
  • max HR: 176
  • burn: 389

The best part, though, was the change in my heart rate over the past couple of months. When I first started running, my average HR and max HR were a full 20 bpm higher than now, and the most amazing part was that during those quick breaks to change the music, my HR dropped back down SOOOO quickly. I was amazed. Obviously, making such an increase in my time was definitely pushing myself, but I really don’t think I overexerted myself. In fact, I feel great! I was amazed at how easy it was, and I could go again already… or maybe that’s just endorphins and adrenaline and such. Either way, I definitely think that taking a few days off helped me. I was worried that going back to the treadmill today, I would be dragging myself through a torturous workout and feel halfway dead at the end, but instead, I think that it gave my body a much needed break to heal up from how I was pushing it.

So today, I run because I love the feeling that challenging my body gives me.

Yesterday I decided to take an “easy” day. I only ran for about 10 minutes, and then I decided to try out a new game Nate had gotten for the Wii. He got the EA Active game. I have been such a skeptic about using the wii for exercise, but I was pleasantly surprised by this game. I wouldn’t rely on it alone for my working out, but I will definitely have to admit that my thighs were burning by the end of the workout. Still, it left me really looking forward to today’s run. I was a little bit shaken up by that- I looked forward to running. Who would have thought it?!!

I think I’m beginning to really love exercise again. That’s really refreshing for me, because for such a long time, it was such a huge part of who I was, and I feel like I have a long lost friend back. Today’s run was awesome.

  • Time: 33:36 (counting a 5 minute warm up and 2 minute cool down)
  • Avg HR: 151
  • Max HR: 177
  • Calories: 380

I would love to know the distance, but since I don’t have a pedometer or anything, and I’m running on the treadmill, I would have to remember to check the distance before I get off, and I never do. I’ll have to make a mental note to do that tomorrow. Regardless of the mileage, I’m thrilled to be moving again. It’s great to have no more foot or ankle pain, and even though progress is slow, it’s still progress.

I was talking to a friend at work earlier today. She’s our school’s speech teacher, but has recently (within the past year) taken up running. She said something that I really hadn’t thought of, but once she said it, I have to agree. Most sports (or other areas of our lives, for that matter) when you say something that is an accomplishment, the response often includes a touch of competitiveness. For example, when I say that I have a martial arts background (yes, I am a black belt), the immediate response is something related to rank. There’s a level of disregard by many if you are less than a black belt, and amongst black belts, while there is an immediate level of respect, there is often (not always) a comparison amongst styles (my style is better than your style, etc.)

Amongst runners, though, there doesn’t seem to be as much of that. There is a definite level of competitiveness on the track/road, but off the track, there is a camaraderie there. As a beginner to any sport, for many of us, there is a feeling that we are somehow lesser than those who have been in it longer. Instead, when the subject of running came up today (with another runner at the table) I made the comment that I was only able to run 5 minutes or so, and the immediate response was that it starts that way for everyone. There was no lessening of what I was able to do. I was met with encouragement, rather than someone telling me what they were able to do. It made me feel like I was more of a runner, to know that even as little as I am able to do, every runner starts there and it builds. I mean, I knew that, but after feeling for so long like maybe I just wasn’t cut out for running, it’s nice to hear that from someone else.

Then to follow that up with a nice run tonight, it really makes me feel good.

And on top of that, I had a friend ask me this afternoon how much weight I have lost lately. It’s not a significant amount, by any means, but the change has not been a scale change. A few pounds, at most. But when I look at my legs and my tummy, I see a definite change. My legs now have some muscle, and my stomach is beginning to flatten out a bit. Mind you, it’s not a huge change, and I’m shocked that she can see it. I can only tell when I’m wearing shorts or a tighter shirt, and I didn’t wear either of those today. Still, I’ll gladly take any change I can get! Scale or not!

There is a children’s book about a little boy who gets a pair of white shoes, then they get stained all of these different colors, and he keeps singing about them. The authors of the book came to my school earlier this year and performed the song/book for our students. I was going to try to find the song to share, but I can’t find it anywhere.

At any rate, I do like my white shoes.
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They are asics GT-2140’s. I have to say that I’ve been a loyal asics wearer since just after high school. I have tried other brands in the store, but never made it out of the store with them if there were also asics available. I once owned a pair of new balance shoes, and at one point just after high school I had a pair of adidas. Both were OK, but I would leave it at that. I guess I’m just incredibly loyal to a brand that has always been good for me.

I just bought this particular pair this afternoon and immediately had to rush downstairs to the treadmill when I got home. The slight bit of pain that I’ve had in my foot was completely gone wearing these. These shoes are AWESOME!!! I did start out my run with some knee pain, but it was gone by about 2 minutes in, so I’m guessing it wasn’t anything major. Hopefully?

  • Time: 30:18
  • Avg HR: 153
  • Max HR: 180
  • Calories: 347

I decided to switch my run up for today, just for variety’s sake. Today I did a 5 minute warm up and cool down, and the rest of the time I alternated running 5 minutes and walking 2.5. It was tough, but I made it a little bit tougher by deciding that I was going to push through the last minute, rather than just coasting. Right as I was at my most tired, I was going to try to power through to the walk break.

I had intentions of doing the Jillian Michaels DVD, but I’m going to skip it for now. Possibly I’ll go back down after dinner for some more punishment, but most likely I’ll just call it quits for the day. I still have to run to the store to get the stuff to grill out tomorrow. Nate is wanting to do burgers on the grill, so I have to go get some veggie burgers, something for him, some veggies for veggie kabobs (I have squash and tomatoes, but I don’t have anything else.. I want mushrooms and zucchini. Maybe even eggplant.), and the toppings for the burgers. I’d also like to get some soy yogurt, but I don’t really want to go to Publix, and that seems to be the only place in the area that carries it.

I don’t know if I’ve said anything about this or not, but I’ve realized that since I started consuming less dairy, my allergies are virtually non-existant. I’ve switched to almond milk, soy yogurt, and soy cheese. Normally, this time of year I’m on both Clarinex and Nasonex, and have been in at least once (sometimes more) for a sinus infection despite the two medicines. This year, I’ve not been to the doctor for any of the above. I don’t have a prescription from this year at all, and my sinuses are perfectly clear. I was so skeptical all of the times I heard something about dairy, but it’s made a world of difference for me.

I think I’m going to run to Publix, whether I want to or not, and then decide when I get back whether to do the DVD or not. I love 3 day weekends.

Meant to sound like Run, Forrest!

Today was another great treadmill workout. Today’s was a little bit more intense than yesterday. Yesterday there was some ab work, and about 25 minutes on the treadmill. Today, the whole 30 was spent on the treadmill, meaning that I added an extra run segment in today. I’m hot, sweaty, and ready for a shower, but it’s with a smile on my face. I’m starting to feel pretty hopeful that this time I’m going to be able to stick to it. Having a treadmill in the basement is making a world of difference for me. I feel guilty every time I look at it and know that it hasn’t been used that day, and getting on there is much easier than beating myself up over it! haha!

  • Time: 30:32
  • Avg HR: 152
  • Max HR: 178
  • Burn baby burn: 346 calories

I also spent some time online today looking at the Race for the Cure website. The race is Sept. 27. There is absolutely no reason that I can think of that I wouldn’t be able to run it. I don’t think I would want to do the competitive race this year, but the 5K untimed race would be fun. Especially if I can get a friend to go with me. And it would add to my motivation. I love having a goal I’m working toward. Especially one that is something I care so much about.

Now, off to get a shower, and then figure out what in the world I want for dinner tonight. Nate’s at work, so tonight’s dinner will be easy and veggie filled. I’m really craving some peas. I haven’t had them in ages.

After one of my workouts a couple of weeks ago, I made a decision that I would not be posting about my workouts anymore. It was just depressing, and I was frustrated and feeling pretty hopeless about ever getting back into the kind of shape I was in a few years ago. I think this afternoon’s workout changed my mind on that. Right now, I am on top of the world!!!

Several years ago, I was in training for my black belt test. I was running 3 miles 3 or 4 times a week, in addition to working out at class 3-4 nights a week, often taking 2 or more classes back to back. Needless to say, I was in pretty good shape. On the heels of that, I let myself slack off a bit, but then a couple of years later, went through a very painful divorce, and to cope with the pain, I once again buried myself in my training. Since I had been kicked out of my home, and I was staying with my sister at the time, the dojang became my “home” for that time. As a result, I was in the best shape of my life, and even once the divorce was over, I felt more at home there than anywhere else.

And for the first time in my adult life, I was confident in my body and in who I was on the inside, all at once. I had stood true to myself through everything that was going on. I had done everything I could to save the marriage, and had no regrets. And I walked away with my Bachelor’s degree, a newfound appreciation for the strength I didn’t know I had, and a killer body, and even I have to admit that.

All of that changed with the dunebuggy wreck a few years ago. Nate still feels horrible, and we had a discussion about it a week or so ago. He feels like he ruined so much of my life, but what I can’t get him to realize is that he didn’t ruin anything. If it weren’t for the wreck, I would have never let myself trust him. I would have never given him the chance, because I was proud of my strength and afraid of getting hurt.

Still, after the broken ankle, I babied that leg for a long time. I didn’t go back to karate. I didn’t go back to running. I didn’t do anything. And slowly, the pounds crept on until I looked in the mirror and didn’t recognize the woman staring back at me. Worst of all, I still know that ankle is weak, by comparison, and so I am afraid even now of hurting it. So now that I have started trying to run, I constantly worry about that sort of strain on a weak ankle. I mean, 200 lbs coming down on it can’t be good for it.

I’ve told myself, in my head, that it’s this catch 22 situation- I need to lose the weight so that I can work out, but I can’t lose the weight unless I can work out. I know that I can control some with diet, but for me, working out has always been what really worked… which is exactly what I can’t do too much of because it truly does hurt (in a bad way, not muscle soreness) sometimes.

But today’s workout was awesome. I was trying to do the Couch to 5K program because I’ve heard so many good things about it. For whatever reason, it wasn’t working for me. Every time I got off the treadmill, I wanted to die. I felt like I must not even qualify as a beginner, but I think I know why now. I don’t do so well with alternating short periods of running… In my head, if I’m only running 90 seconds, I’m going to push for them to be faster than I probably should, where if I mentally prepare myself for a slightly longer run, I tend to pace myself more appropriately for my level. Since I’m going for duration, and not speed, I felt like going with how I would pace myself better was important. So with that in mind, I decided that I was going to do today back like I did when I first started running years ago.

I walked a 2:30 warm-up, and then jogged as long as I felt my body could reasonably handle. That turned out to be 2:30. I could have gone longer, but I was trying to listen to my body while still thinking about the fact that I was not in for a 10 minute workout, but for a 30 minute one, and what would be a more appropriate plan for that timeframe. What I ended up with was alternating 2 and a half minutes of walking, and then the same of running. I ended up on the treadmill for 25 minutes, and adding a couple of minutes of ab work for a grand total of 30 minutes and 353 Calories burnt. There was also no pain in my foot today, but my legs did start to really burn. I did step off of the treadmill for just a second midway through one of my walking portions to stretch my calves.

Still, today’s workout makes me think that there is some hope there. This was the first time in a long time that I have ran more of the workout than I walked. I know that I have a very long way to go to get back to where I once was, but I feel like I’ve found at least a way to start down that road that works for me. Will there be frustrating workouts- sure… but not every single one. And knowing that makes me much more hopeful about becoming a runner again, losing the weight, and maybe even going back to karate at some point.

So, that treadmill that I was so excited about? Yeah, I had forgotten what hard work it was. I used to be a runner. In high school, I ran cross country and played soccer, both of which required running, for obvious reasons. After HS, I ran some in college. I took a jogging class and after that class was over, I continued running on my own through most of the rest of college. Then I started karate, which took away from running, but required me to keep in shape, not to mention that during my training for my black belt test, I was running 3 miles every other day, at least.

All of that to say that I am not new to this, by any means. I just had never let myself get this out of shape before.

So just now, I finished up my first “run” on my new treadmill. I should really say run/walk, because I decided that since it had been so long, I would try the beginning running plan on Runners World. I think it’s a great plan, unfortunately, I apparently don’t even qualify as a beginner at this point. I tried day one, and got less than halfway through before feeling like I was going to throw up or pass out, and I wasn’t sure which. Needless to say, I stepped off the treadmill, and figured I need to go a bit more gradually.

Here are my stats from this morning’s attempt:

Time: 12:00 (ran 4 minutes, walked 8 minutes)

Avg. HR: 165

Max HR: 187

Calories: 154

I know that the goal is to gradually build up my time and mileage, so I’m not out to build it too fast. I don’t want to hurt myself or to burn out, so I’m going to probably stick with this for the next week or so. I know that the plan starts at 30 minutes of run/walk. I figure that since I’m at 12, I can slowly add one run/walk at a time until I get to 30, and then follow the plan. Who knows, it may go quicker than I anticipate, but if not, I’m not going to rush it. It’s not worth it.

I didn’t get this out of shape overnight, so I’m not going to get back in shape that quickly either.

OMFG! I tried something tonight that absolutely knocked my socks off! Ok… actually, I wasn’t wearing socks. I was finishing up a french manicure, only on my toenails, so I guess that would make it a french pedicure? Anywho, more about the deliciousness in a second.

I have been lukewarm about my fitness and nutrition goals the past week or so. I cut myself a little bit of slack lately because my grandad has been in the hospital, so eating has been on the run, unplanned, and totally not in sync with my normal plans. Add to that that I have had strep throat the past couple of days, and it really only compounds the problem. I really haven’t been beating myself up over it, though, because I’ve got bigger things on my mind. We found out this past week that his lung cancer has spread to his stomach, his blood, and his lymph nodes, and he has been wheezing and rattling when he breathes. He went into the hospital because he couldn’t keep any food down, and came out with all of these other diagnoses. Sigh.

Anyway, I am now trying to get back on track, and have decided that to do this, I am going to have to find a goal to commit to in the short term- a definable endpoint where I can check it off of a list. For this reason, I have decided to return to running, but only do it outdoors, limit myself to 3 days a week (so that I save time for some other, “fun” exercise), and to run a 5K race in September. The Susan Komen Race for the Cure is in September, and it’s a cause that is very close to my heart, so I think that it would give me some good motivation.

I will begin running on Monday. I am going ahead and setting tomorrow as an off day, because I know that I won’t do anything. I will be celebrating tomorrow. Because as of 5:00 tomorrow, I am officially finished with my Master’s degree!!!! I have every intention of doing nothing constructive from 5:00 until the end of the day. Hey, a girl’s gotta celebrate a major accomplishment like that! Of course, graduation isn’t until May, but I will be finished with the class tomorrow. So that means double celebration, right? One now, and one then?

Eh… anyway, on Monday I will be starting to run again with a goal clearly in sight for September. Along with that, I will be returning to my more nutritious foods as of tomorrow morning. Green Monster, here I come. I did try to have one the other day, but my throat was just too sore, so I drank about 8 oz. or so, and then poured the rest out. But I have a fresh bag of spinach, a very ripe banana, and some almond butter and almond milk just calling my name, so tomorrow, it’s back to business as usual.

What I have found very soothing the past few days, in light of the sore throat, are hot teas. I used to drink hot tea like crazy. Mom always loved them, so from the time I was 15 or so, there was always herbal tea in the house, and I became something of an addict. I’m not sure why I quit drinking them so much, but I hadn’t had any hot tea in a couple of years. With the sore throat, though, nothing sounded better. I have thoroughly enjoyed some apple chai from Starbucks (which you usually couldn’t pay me to go to, but this is the one thing they have that I love) and some hot Stash green tea.

But my new love (and I’m very sad that I only have one more teabag of it) is Tazo Passion tea. OMFG it’s so good! I wanted to try something different, but didn’t know what, so I bought a variety sampler of Tazo teas the other day, and the passion flavor was the first one I tried. I absolutely fell in love with it. I haven’t tried any of the other flavors yet, but I hope they’re all as good as that one was! I will definitely have to remember to jot down which are my favorites, and this one will definitely be on the list!

So, I know this was a pretty lengthy post, but I haven’t updated for days and needed to just get a couple of thoughts out. Besides, it’s not like anyone is reading!

Most likely, the next couple of posts will be much less upbeat, since even though there is a lot of good stuff going on, I also have a lot going on with my grandad, and it’s not looking good with him right now.