Saturday, February 28, 2015

Still plugging along

I have been so negligent about writing in February! I wish I had time to truly update this blog, but it's a hectic time, and I'm juggling so much work and so many projects I can barely come up for air.


But I'm still walking/jogging, though less jogging in the past two weeks. I must get re-focused as there are some key dates coming in March: registration for the MCM (!) and the 11-mile race that, if I finish, means I'm automatically in the MCM and don't need to rely on good luck (it's a lottery system for getting in the marathon). Both events mean I must seriously get my mind back in the game.

It's only been about halfway in the game these past few weeks. The streak continues, but with not as much heart as before. And my eating is hit or miss, with more misses than I'm comfortable with. But if I'm proud about anything, it's that I haven't allowed the bitter cold weather to stop me from completing my long distances. Last weekend, faced with doing 8 miles either on Friday (sunny but a "feels like 4 degrees") or Saturday (warmer, in the low 30s, but snow), I took my chances on Friday. I was out there a long time (not only did I do 8 miles, I did it on the very hilly Custis Trail) and it took forever to warm back up, but boy did I feel proud. Today was only 6 miles, and a little warmer, and while I was utterly exhausted from a busy week, I'm able to check that off, too.

Here's where I stand in my training. (Yes, there ARE more 1-milers than I'd like....) But this makes 123 days in a row!

252 days until the MCM: Walked 1 mile 
251 days until the MCM: Walked 1 mile 
250 days until the MCM: Walked 1 mile 
249 days until the MCM: Walked 1 mile 
248 days until the MCM: Walked/jogged 8 miles 
247 days until the MCM: Walked 1 mile  
246 days until the MCM: Walked 1 mile 
245 days until the MCM: Walked 1 mile 
244 days until the MCM:Walked 2 miles 
243 days until the MCM:  Walked 1.5 miles
242 days until the MCM: Walked 1.5 miles 
241 days until the MCM:  Walked 1 + 1 miles
240 days until the MCM: Walked 6 miles 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The fall

It's been a hellava week. 

It started well. I was thrilled when, on Saturday, I ran/walked 7 miles and then went for a 4-mile walk with friends. 11 miles! I was certainly hurting in the end, but it felt so great. I spent the night stretching and stretching and prepping for another great week.

But that week threw me some curveballs.

First, I was in a lot of pain all week. Not the bad pain -- it was just a deep, deep ache in my legs. The kind that screamed to me "YOU NEED TO TAKE A BREAK!" So I did. Most days I only walked 1 mile. And, really, I strolled those 1-milers. But the aches continued.

I worked some long, hard days on the job, and by Thursday, I was just done. So tired. Plum worn out. When I weighed in Thursday morning, I was furious when I stepped on the scale and saw a weekly loss of less than a pound. Why oh why was it taking so long? Why was it so hard? Why, when I was doing everything right, was the weight not coming off faster?

So I was sad on Thursday. Frustrated. And on Thursday night, I ate more than I should have. Not much more, but more. About 400 calories more than normal (total of 2,000). The next day? A 1-pound weight gain. Because, of course.

(I must note here that I passed up loads of free pizza in the newsroom on Thursday, plus cupcakes, plus giant sugar heart cookies at my apartment building.)

Thursday night brought the news about David Carr's sudden death -- he was an NYT columnist I have admired for years and always wanted to meet -- and then news of the death of a former colleague. I spent nearly the entire day on Friday in bed. I was in a deep, dark hole. Still, at night, I crawled out of bed and made myself do 1 mile on the treadmill downstairs. Saturday was Valentine's Day, and while I try not to care, I felt buried in loneliness. By the grace of God, I found myself outside on Saturday afternoon and was able to walk 6 miles. It took just about everything in me to get it done. Not much running at all.

And then today. I ate. Nothing "bad" but too much of the snacks I usually allow myself in moderation. It was a big fall. 

As of today, it's been 110 days of walking/running straight. I haven't broken the streak. But I have definitely fallen. The walks have been torturous. I have little desire to work harder. I'm not excited about the progress I've made. I don't see a change in how I look. I don't want to eat just 1,200-1,400 calories. I fear I will never, ever get where I need to be.

But I will try to refocus tomorrow and hope, hope I can get back on track. These are some crucial days ahead. Will I keep falling or will I bounce back and stride ahead?

261 days until the MCM: Walked 7 + 4 miles 
260 days until the MCM: Walked 2 miles 
259 days until the MCM: Walked 1 mile 
258 days until the MCM: Walked 1 mile 
257 days until the MCM: Walked 1 mile 
256 days until the MCM: Walked 2 miles
255 days until the MCM: Walked 1 mile 
254 days until the MCM: Walked 6 miles 
253 days until the MCM: Walked 1 mile 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

100 days! (Well, actually, 101)

A lot of little things to report, all which add up to a big thing for me: I believe I'm making solid progress now.

The scale: I still find myself beyond frustrated with the number on the scale. For someone who is working so hard and eating so well and drinking soooo much water, the scale is not responding. I lost about 1 pound this week. I've been trying to be patient and tell myself that one day the scale will show a big drop to make up for all of these drips, so when I stepped on this week and saw another drip, I sank into a funk. That was, until I decided to focus on the number that really matters …

The important number: 101. That's the number of days in a row I've walked/jogged. It's mind-boggling to think I've made it this far. But it feels really, really great. I think about those days when a walk seemed impossible, but I did it anyhow. And then I think about some recent walk/jogs of mine when I haven't wanted to stop because I was enjoying it so much. A scheduled 2-miler turned into a 3-miler a few times. That's really the progress I need to focus on.

Another milestone number:
I was excited Tuesday morning when I had a breakthrough in my running. You see, I've been trying to go longer and longer, but I haven't been monitoring my speed much, and that's something that will become increasingly important as the MCM gets closer. To complete the marathon, and not get picked up by the sag bus, I need to maintain a 15-minute mile. So far, on average, I'm nowhere near that in my small walk/runs. But on Tuesday, Mile 2 took 15 minutes. (Because I only walk, not walk/jog, the first 0.5 mile and last 0.5 mile, my overall pace was 16 minutes.) I was thrilled. It was just one mile, but it showed that I can do a 15-minute mile. It may sound like a minor goal, but it was/is huge to me. (Side note: I did 3.1 miles in about 50 minutes. When I checked my 5Ks from last year, they were all around 52 minutes. More progress!)

And another:
This summer, I discovered that a crucial number -- one I never had a problem with, even when I was at my heaviest -- was way too high. My blood pressure was consistently bad. Each week, I'd see 150/100 or 140/90 or some variation of those numbers. Hypertensive, the guidelines told me. When I had my annual physical in November, my doctor told me that if the number didn't go down in four months, she'd have to put me on medication. I told her I didn't want to take another pill. And she said, well, if it doesn't go down and you don't take the medication, you're doing irreversible damage to your heart. I had already been walking/dieting for about a month at that point and was bummed to see that my BP hadn't changed much at all. I worried that stress was more of a factor than my weight, and I had no idea how to reduce that at work. I'm supposed to check in with her in mid-March but because I had no idea where I was with regard to my BP, I had the nurse at work check it. I was thrilled to hear her reading: 136/82. Pre-hypertensive: Progress!

The clothes effect: I still don't see a huge difference in the clothes I wear -- OK, mostly in the jeans I wear, which I swear look and feel the same -- but there have been some moments this week when I started to feel a difference. I was wearing a pair of black pants at work the other day and put my hands in my pockets, only to discover a few minutes later that I had pulled the pants down over my hips and they were somewhat in danger of falling off! I hiked ’em back up and kept my hands out of the pockets, but man did that feel good. I also ordered some clothes this week: three sweater dresses and a pajama set. I ordered the sweater dresses in a size smaller than normal and the pajamas in my current size (because, comfort). The dresses fit! The pajamas are big! Oo-rah!

The attitude: I'm feeling good. I have days when I want to throw the scale out the window, but never the progress. On Monday, I was walking on the treadmill at work after a really bad day and I came across an ad in Runner's World magazine for the MCM. I immediately broke out into a silly grin. I don't think I've ever felt as excited about anything as I am about this. (Well, maybe journalism, back in the day.) The ad is now taped to my wall. Here's a photo of me grinning like a fool at the gym:

277 days until the MCM: Walked 1 mile 
276 days until the MCM: Walked 6 miles 
275 days until the MCM: Walked 1 miles 
274 days until the MCM: Walked 3 + 2 miles 
273 days until the MCM: Walked 2 miles 
272 days until the MCM: Walked 2 miles 
271 days until the MCM: Walked 3 miles 
270 days until the MCM: Walked 1 mile 
269 days until the MCM: Walked 2 miles 
268 days until the MCM: Walked 6 miles 
267 days until the MCM: Walked 2 miles 
266 days until the MCM: Walked 1 mile 
265 days until the MCM: Walked 3 miles 
264 days until the MCM: Walked 3 miles 
263 days until the MCM: Walked 2 miles 
262 days until the MCM: Walked 2 miles