Thursday, January 22, 2015

Fun, fear and frustration

The fun
I'm really pumping up the workouts, adding much more jogging and strength training. I'm working out, on average, about an hour a day. Every day. Still! We're at 85 days straight!

What's been most fun has been getting back, slowly, to who I was before. The added jogging has been glorious: It makes me feel great to go a little longer every day and to see growth. And my laundry consists mostly of workout clothes, which makes me smile as I'm folding. It sounds silly, but it's huge in my world.

The fear
The added jogging renews that fear that I will get hurt. I've had shin splints lately at the starts of my walks and occasional knee discomfort after. The added strength training will help, I hope; I'm doing specific exercises to strengthen my hips and legs, though I also need to add the dreaded foam roller to loosen up my muscles. But I also need to listen to my body and not push it. Today, for instance, I think I will do only a mile, even though I've enjoyed this string of 2-milers a lot. But I want to feel good during my long walk/jog on Friday or Saturday and to do that I need to give my legs a rest. 

I just know an injury could really set me back, and it's my big fear.

The frustration
The reality is, I know that 1-2 pounds of weight-loss a week is ideal. But I still get utterly frustrated at the scale. Working out an hour a day, stepping up the workouts, eating great, always under 1,600 calories, drinking tons and tons of water, you'd think would translate to a little more of a loss. Sometimes I worry that I'm eating too few calories, sometimes I worry I'm eating too much. It's such a mystery to me, even after all these years. (Or should I say, especially after all these years.)

But I am proud of myself. Not only for sticking with it but for keeping a positive attitude when it comes to imagining myself at that MCM finish line. I KNOW it will happen. I am confident that I can do this. I understand the steps it will take to get there, and every day is a step closer. I think about that when I'm exercising. Yesterday, I upped my jogging intervals to 2 minutes, from 1:30, and all I think during those 2 minutes is that this push is what I need to get there. It reminds me of the days of me running 15-20 miles during my last MCM training. Toward the end, around 18 miles, I'd be super tired but I'd push myself by thinking "These are the miles that matter the most. You have to conquer them to move forward." And while 2 minutes of jogging versus 20 miles is a big difference, I keep the same attitude.


293 days until the MCM: Walked 2 miles
292 days until the MCM: Walked 2 miles
291 days until the MCM: Walked 2 miles
290 days until the MCM: Walked 2 miles
289 days until the MCM: Walked 6 miles w/jogging
288 days until the MCM: Walked 2 miles
287 days until the MCM: Walked 1 mile
286 days until the MCM: Walked 2 miles
285 days until the MCM: Walked 2 miles
284 days until the MCM: Walked 2 miles w/jogging
283 days until the MCM: Walked 2 + 2 miles
282 days until the MCM: Walked 6 miles w/jogging
281 days until the MCM: Walked 1 miles
280 days until the MCM: Walked 3 miles
279 days until the MCM: Walked 2 miles w/jogging
278 days until the MCM: Walked 2 miles w/jogging

Sunday, January 11, 2015

A milestone

When I decided to attempt to walk every day, as a primer for MCM training, I made up a list of days to keep track of my progress. I started with "362," which is how many days there were until the marathon. And I typed in six lines of numbers, ending with "291." I didn't want to type out a complete list -- all the way to "1 day till the MCM!" -- because when I've done such planning in my past, I would never make it all the way through and then I'd feel bad seeing a big, blank, failure-to-achieve calendar.

So I started off with 72 days.

And last week, I completed those 72 days! Here is the proof:

On Friday, I began a second set of 72 days, and so far, so good. I even completed 6 very hilly miles on Saturday in 20-degree temps. Bundled up in two layers of pants, two shirts, a fleece jacket, two sets of gloves and an ear band, I actually felt pretty good out there. And the sun was shining the whole time, so that was a huge bonus.

I've made it through the week back on track with my eating, and my weight is back down to the pre-Christmas number. It's a shame I lost three weeks of potential progress, but I'm moving ahead, not looking back.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The good, the bad and the new year

So sorry for the delay in writing -- the holidays, as you'll soon read, threw me for a loop. Once I was off my routine, things got ... hard.

But let's start with the GOOD.

I am still on a streak -- it has now been 69 days straight of walking. There were times during the four-day weekend and then the following three-day weekend when I didn't want to leave the apartment. Or I wanted to just go watch movies all day. Instead, I got in a mile in between a double feature on Christmas Eve, and then on Christmas Day, I walked the 1.5 miles to the theater. Then there were days in the last week of December when I worked till 11 or 11:30 p.m. three nights in a row -- but still managed to get in a mile afterward (once, in order to not miss the last train, I had to actually walk at midnight in my apartment gym).

My legs have been super tired recently. The good tired but still tired. There was one day (my scheduled Saturday long walk) when I had to scale back. I was scheduled to go 6 miles but I went 1 instead because I was having leg/knee pain. I don't want to screw this up, so I made myself cut back. But I'm feeling better and now trying to make my minimum walks either 1.5 or 2 miles instead of 1. There will likely be days I can do only 1, but I'm trying to make a conscious effort to walk longer when I can.

I've also started incorporating some strength training. It's been slow, but I'm trying to add one new exercise a day. I've got to build up strength in my legs (and eventually core) to help with the running and to help avoid injury.

OK, I know you're dying to hear the BAD. Schadenfreude and all.

I cracked. I fell off the wagon. I "cheated." However you want to put it. And it wasn't for just a day but for 10 days. It started on Christmas, when I had no idea what to eat for dinner and didn't want a frozen meal, so I defrosted a small baked rigatoni I had made in November. Eating all that pasta started the slide  -- I then ordered some churro bites at the movie theater (they had fewer calories than most stuff, but it started the sugar slide). 

Actually, now that I think about it, it started Christmas Eve. I stepped on the scale and I had gained. And I got mad. So I had hot dogs at dinner at the movie theater, which while in my calorie range were chock-full of sodium. Which made the scale go higher. Which made me say screw it, let's eat the rigatoni.

The day after Christmas, I got a "sharable" pizza from Cosi. And -- the most shameful thing -- I ate a box of chocolates. I had purchased it for my concierge for Christmas, but he had apparently taken the week off. And once I started thinking of those chocolates, I couldn't stop thinking of them. (Believe me, I'm sure this all will be a major part of therapy this week -- I haven't been for three weeks because of the holidays.) After that binge, it was just little things here and there -- two cookies at work, another two cookies at work, Chipotle with chips, gelato and, on Saturday, my last day of poor eating, a frozen pizza and cookies. It's insanely embarrassing to list these things, but I know it's important for me to move on. And, honestly, I know what drove a lot of it: I was mad at the scale and my lack of progress. I was alone. I was sad. And I started feeling frustrated that everyone else around me was eating all these great, rich foods and I wasn't. And once I slipped, I couldn't stop. It was like "This is my one chance! I've got to eat what I can!" Horrible.

But now for the NEW YEAR. 

Oddly (but very happily), I have not been beating myself up over the poor eating. Yes, I gained weight. Yes, I stopped a dieting streak that was nearly as long as the walking one. But it's done. And I refuse to allow that slip-up to stop this journey of mine. I want to do the Marine Corps Marathon. I want to run again. I want to wear a cute winter coat and scarf without sweating underneath because of my weight. 

So onward. 

308 days until the MCM: Walked 1 mile
307 days until the MCM: Walked 1 mile
306 days until the MCM: Walked 1 mile
305 days until the MCM: Walked 1.5 miles
304 days until the MCM: Walked 1.5 miles
303 days until the MCM: Walked 6 miles (with 8 bursts of jogging)
302 days until the MCM: Walked 1 mile
301 days until the MCM: Walked 1 mile
300 days until the MCM: Walked 1.5 miles
299 days until the MCM: Walked 2 miles
298 days until the MCM: Walked 3 miles
297 days until the MCM: Walked 1 mile
296 days until the MCM: Walked 1 mile
295 days until the MCM: Walked 2 miles
294 days until the MCM: Walked 2 miles