Monday, April 25, 2011

Good news, bad news Part 2

Bad news:

I ate a lot yesterday. No candy, and, really, not many sweets (just one cupcake and a handful of pizzelles) but a lot of bread and other carbs.

Good news:

I went to bed feeling insanely sick to my stomach and depressed, and I woke up still feeling sick to my stomach and depressed. And I blame it on the sugar and other carbs and the lack of living simply that had been my life during Lent.

I am pretty hopeful that this feeling will take me back to the way I was living/eating before Easter Sunday. I was much happier.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Good news, bad news

I was looking forward to today's Bunny Hop 5K. I had never done an Easter race before, and I was so pumped. Unfortunately, I've been having leg problems since Monday and they haven't gotten better. Following last Saturday's 5K (during which I felt no pain at all and stretched mightily afterward), I started out for a 10-miler on Monday, only to find some severe pain in my left leg when I ran across the street at an intersection. I was determined, though, to complete the mileage, still hoping I could do this half marathon in May. So I walked 10 miles.

I've iced all week and massaged. I was feeling OK at work yesterday and I thought, "Well, maybe I could do the 5K?" Then I walked a block to the mall and 15 minutes later was feeling some discomfort.

So. No 5K. In fact, I only worked out two times this week, which does not make me happy. I love running. I miss running. But I've got to figure out what's wrong and give it time to heal.

So that's the bad news.

On to the good.

My Lenten promise of not buying nonperishable groceries has been a challenge. But add on a new challenge I came up with last week (making the $22 in my wallet last through the end of Lent, which was a week and a half away; no credit cards or checks, either), and it was crazy hard! But I've never felt better. I had to ration what I had left, and it wasn't much. It was so little, in fact, that my calorie intake for the past week ranged from 900-1100 a day. I had to learn to live with what I had.

I ate a lot of fish and Boca patties and soup.

What I have left in my refrigerator: apple sauce and Egg Beaters. What I have left in my freezer: two Morning star sausage links; one Boca veggie burger; a bag of edamame; and lots of popsicles. What I have left in my cabinet: a can of lima beans, two salmon pouches; a couple pouches of oatmeal; and about six granola bars. Enough to get me through today.

I learned to truly appreciate what I have, which was the purpose. And to give, instead, to those in need. I get to eat a nice normal Easter meal on Sunday, but so many people will not be able to do that. I need to always remember what I have and be grateful for it.

While I have been sidelined from much exercise this week (only the 10-mile walk and one Power Cut class), eating well for the past 10 days straight has been good for my weight (imagine that!). While I only record my monthly weight, I felt I needed to record today's. One, because I'm proud of it. But two, because I do fear it will increase by May 1.

April 1 weight: 222.2
April 23 weight: 216.4

It's been hovering around 217 for most of the week, so I feel like the weight-loss is a solid one. But I've got to work on maintaining that this week and not letting the end of Lent get the best of me.

One thing I have decided: I gave up sweets for Lent (all candy, cookies, cake, pie, real ice cream), and because I'm at the point now where I don't really miss it, I've decided that, at the minimum, I'm going to keep my fast of candy. I don't want it, I don't need it, and I can live (for now) without it. Other sweets will be harder, but I will try to keep them at a minimum.

So, here I am. Injured and feeling bad about it; but devoid of sugar and feeling good about that.

Happy Easter everyone. Wishing you peace and love and renewal.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Lions and cheaters and glares, oh my!

Standing at the start of this morning's 5K race and finding it an easy task to count all the runners participating, I was hit with the dreaded realization: I was going to be last. There were less than 50 people there and all looked pretty fit.

The Norfolk police officers who were riding their bikes around the course were going to be following me. The one-mile runners who couldn't start their own race until the 5K was finished were going to be waiting for me.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. My mom loves to tell the story of the race she did where the guy in charge of picking up cones on the course followed her. She came in last but still won a medal and was thrilled. And a few years ago, I ran the first 9 miles of a trail half marathon where the guy in charge of taking down the orange ribbons that led the way ended up passing me (I dropped out). My theory has always been, even if you come in last, you have beat all the millions of people who are still sleeping and never even started the race.

Still, no one who runs four days a week and trains her little heart out wants to be last.

When I arrived at the race on a very cloudy morning, with skies threatening violent storms ahead, I was immediately put at ease by the wonderful Lions Club members who organized the race. They were so sweet and I could tell they put a lot of effort into the race and the cookout that would follow. I prayed the rain would hold off for them.

So, standing at the start line and thinking about the idea of coming in last, my heart was still full with the fact that the $20 I paid would go to a good cause. My bigger worry at the moment was that the Lions Club didn't get enough racers in order to come out ahead. I hoped they made enough money to make the race worth it for them.

The race began on a high school track. We were to run a lap, then go out into a neighborhood, where we'd make two laps, then return to the track for a lap and a half. As I started around the track, my fear was soon realized: I was the last runner by a long shot. I then started to worry that I would be so far behind I'd get lost.

Once out in the neighborhood, I passed a woman. Then another. Then, a woman in a green tank top who was slightly ahead of me decided to wait for her friend (the second woman - in a purple tank top - I'd passed). So that was three! Then I passed a fourth.

So I was feeling pretty good. I'd passed four people, I wasn't last, and I was making pretty good time. And I hadn't stopped to walk. My goal was to finish without walking.


Well, then, around Mile 2, Ms. Green Tank Top and Ms. Purple Tank Top came crossing over ahead of me. They were taking a shortcut. And no one was stopping them. As they turned onto my path, I realized they were now a good 10 yards ahead of me. All of a sudden and without doing anything wrong, I had dropped back to third-from-last.

"Cheaters!" I wanted to scream to the Lions Club members, pointing at Green and Purple. But, come on. This was a race for a charity and it wasn't like I was going to win. I'd have to be the bigger person.

That didn't stop me, however, from speeding up a tad. And shooting a few glares at their backs.

And then passing them AGAIN.

Yes, I did, and I was thrilled. I finished the race without stopping, I passed four people (two of them twice), and I did it with my best pace since October.

Afterward, I sat on the sidelines to watch the 1-mile race. I wanted to see those crazy fast runners and cheer them on. I watched them speed by and I clapped. Then, they were followed by a huge crowd of people carrying canes and walking with partners. Many of them were blind. Some had other disabilities. I cheered louder and stronger.

I had planned on staying just to watch the speed demons finish (the winner did in 4:35). But I enjoyed watching and cheering on the others more. They were the true heroes. They had taken no shortcuts. Yet they were winners, all.

POSTSCRIPT: So, turns out there were only 41 runners (and I think two were technically walkers). I came in 35th! And I came in second in my age group! (Though, er, there were only two of us in my age group.) No matter!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


It so figures.

After a great week of exercise and running last week, this week I'm saddled with knee pain. I haven't done any exercise since Friday's spin class when the pain started.

Despite Advil and ice packs and no exercise, the knee still hurts.

Did I mention that I'm signed up for two 5Ks, a 10K and a half marathon all within the next month?

I was cocky and now I'm being punished.

Friday, April 8, 2011

A little truth-telling

Since the beginning of the year, I've "weighed in" for you by telling you how much I've lost and a few of my goals. But I've avoided telling you how much I weighed because I was so ashamed. Of course, if you were dying to know, you could do a little math and figure it out. But typing those numbers was terrifying to me.

It's time to rip the Band-Aid off.

And after I tell you, maybe you'll see why I'm so anxious to get these first 20 pounds off and why I'm so frustrated it's not happening as quick as I'd like.

In mid-October, I got down to 207 pounds. By Jan. 1, I weighed 235 pounds.

Yeah. I gained nearly 30 pounds in two months.

More painful was the idea that I had entered that "100 pounds lost" territory. You see, as long as I weighed less than 217 pounds, I could say that I've kept off 100 pounds since 2005 (instead of focusing on the 50 I regained). At 235, I was entering that Danger Zone: If I kept it up, I could be back to 300 pounds in a few months.

So I have worked and worked and worked to get to my first real goal: under 217. I expected to be there by March 1. It's now April 8, and I weigh 222 pounds.

I have all these mini-goals with incentives attached (217, 210, 199, 185, 175, 167) but I haven't even met the first one yet. Frustrating.

The scary thing is how quickly I could gain 30 pounds and, even with an insane amount of work, how long it's taken me to lose a mere 13 pounds.

On a bright note
I'm not seeing results on the scale or in the mirror or in my clothes. BUT I did see major progress on the street yesterday. After my hourlong Power Cut class, I started on my three-miler. I was pretty sore, so I decided to walk the first mile and then see where things went. I had a great run on Tuesday, so I wasn't going to push myself. If I could run, great; if I had to walk, that was just fine.

After that first mile, I started in on a jog. My arms were sore, so it was hard to even pump them. But after a few minutes, I realized something amazing: The run was feeling effortless. I decided to just keep going, a half mile at a time, and see how far I could run without stopping. I also decided I wouldn't turn around at the 1.5-mile point; it was such a beautiful day and I was feeling so good, I was just going to run until I felt like turning around.

I ended up running three miles straight and those three miles felt wonderful, like I was just gliding along (albeit slowly). I stopped at three miles b/c I have a long run scheduled for Sunday and didn't want to overdo it. Then I walked 1.5 miles home. A total of 5.5 miles after an hourlong class.

For three months, I've been working out steadily four days a week, strength training, running, walking and spinning. And I'm finally starting to see that work pay off in my running.

And that's something.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

March recap

Like a broken record from February: The exercise was great; the weight-loss, not so much.

The goals:
Lose 9 pounds
Work out more than 12 days (or more than 9 days if you don't include at-work exercise breaks)

How did I do?
Lost 3.2 pounds (to make a total of 12.8 pounds since Jan. 1)
Worked out 15 days + 1 day of just walk breaks at work= 16 days
* Nine of those workouts were two hours or longer in length

April goals
Lose 5.2 pounds
Work out more than 14 days (or more than 8 days if you don't include at-work exercise breaks)

I was so upset and frustrated on April 1 when I weighed in. I worked SO hard in March. And I ate SO well. But when I looked more realistically at the past month, I saw that I went over my calorie allotment five of those days. At least one of those five days I went way over the allotment.

A huge part of me still wants to be upset that I spent so much time at the gym and pounding the pavement - and five cheat days isn't huge - and didn't even lose a pound a week. But I have to decide what I really want: Perfection and more rapid weight-loss or the chance to eat lasagna and calamari every now and then.

I know I should seek perfection. But I've got to tell you, I'm so tired. Tired of making goals and failing. Tired of trying so hard and failing. Tired of saying "I can do this!" and knowing the reality of my life.

So all I can tell you this month is this: As long as my legs remain healthy, I will keep running and spinning and PowerCutting. Why? Because I love it. And until Easter, I can guarantee I won't be eating any candy or cake or cookies or pie or anything considered a non-diet sweet. And, for the most part, I will eat 1,200-1,500 calories a day during the workweek. Whether I can meet my five-pound weight-loss goal this month....that I just can't say.

But I'll try.