So. Official pictures from the My Bettter Half Marathon came in and I’m noticing an alarming trend of getting fatter. That’s a 40 pound weight gain right there. The first year was the year I was doing 2016 miles in Run the Year. I was a machine, running my butt off. I was in great shape, training like a champion. The next year, last year, I was coming to terms with my extremely challenging class and was dealing with the stress with a lot of eating. This year definitely shows that progression. I’ve gone from curvy/pleasantly plump to fat and I don’t like it one bit.
We headed out to Seward Park for our third year running My Better Half Marathon/10k on Sunday, February 11th. We ran the 10k version, of course. Gigi ran like the wind, Jude and I chugged along behind. I always love this race because it really does make me walk my talk. I always say I want to celebrate events without it always having to be centered around a pile of food, and this race certainly allows me to celebrate Valentine’s Day without gaining ten pounds!
This race was my maiden voyage since my knee injury that I’ve been babying. I was fully prepared to cut the race into a 5k if need be, but when I came around for my second loop, I was feeling frisky and fine! I kept up with my super slow jog (14 minute miles, y’all) and was able to finish the whole run with just about half a mile walking. I haven’t been able to train with all the healing and resting so it felt GREAT to finish the whole thing and to have run almost all of it! I did pay in soreness, though. Wow.
When I got home I made my race schedule for the year and realized how many races I have in March! I have the Hot Chocolate 15k on 3/4, the Big Climb around the 25th and Shamrock Run 5k on 3/17! That means I really need to get some training miles in, and guess what the weather is supposed to do on this long weekend, perfect for training miles? SNOW! Ha! Of course!
* I’m still fundraising and am 100 shy of my goal. If you are interested in supporting me on my climb and cancer research, please donate. Even a dollar is helpful!
Also, don’t forget- if you register for an Orca race, use code tamarashazam18 for a 15% discount!
My injury played some serious head games on me. That twang hit my hip and knee and I lost it- all of my determination, my stamina, my hope. I just plopped down, threw my hands up and started singing the woe is me tune about how nothing is going my way. That I’m stopped at every turn and why oh why did this happen? Yeah. I had a nice little pity party full of giving up. I went to the doctors and was basically told to take it easy but I was pretty freaked out.
Anyhow, on Friday I kind of woke up and wondered what the heck happened. Sure, I had a minor injury, but it was minor. Minor. Then I happened to look at some pictures of myself from as recent as last summer, when I thought I looked fat, and I didn’t look fat. I looked great! Again: what was wrong with me? A little disgusted with my attitude, I decided to take stock of my accomplishments:
- I lost five pounds. While I was super disappointed to not lose the nine I wanted to lose through DietBet, I did lose five pounds. That’s nothing to sneeze at. Five pounds is great and I should be celebrating, not feeling ashamed.
- My exercise was consistent. I didn’t want to run a bunch outside, but I was getting it done and the work was showing on the scale and in my body.
- I have gained 40 pounds since my all time low of 190. It makes sense that working out is harder for me and will take some adjustment. I’ve got a lot more moving and shaking on my frame!
- I have a big fat roll around my middle that wasn’t there last year. I really despise it (not an accomplishment, more like a consequence, but somehow it belonged in the list 🤣).
- Running is tricky and I have a bunch of races in front of me, but that doesn’t mean I have to run them all. Some can have distances adjusted and others don’t have to be attended at all. I have a gym membership and should use it as much as I need to eat the workouts I need to see the outcome I want.
- I want it. Bad. I want it so bad that I decided I’m truly invested in doing the work that will get the results!
To that end, I decided to go to Zumba today. I danced wimpy, just to make sure things old go well, and they did! I didn’t do all the squats or lunges or leaps. If there was a bunch of jumping, I kind of hopped in place, if that makes sense. I was pleased to note that I still sweated my butt iff, my heart rate still soared appropriately and I got a good workout without the injury. I feel like I’m back. 🙂
I’m planning on going to spin/lift tomorrow and Zumba on Thursday. I’ll see about squeezing something else in, as well. Here we go again! I’ll try for four-six pounds this month and we will see what happens.
Week three and my gameplay hasn’t changed much, but isn’t it funny how your body just adjusts and all of the sudden your gameplay doesn’t have the same impact?? I’ll admit it: I didn’t get out for a run, again, since last Sunday. I made it to body pump and Zumba, which was great, but the rest of the week seemed to rush by in a freezing, cold, wet blur. I didn’t feel like running outside much or even waking up and driving through the rain!! That said, I do realize that to get the results I have to also brave the yucky weather.
I’ve been handed a blessing and curse, though: Injury! Blessing because it gives me a great excuse to avoid working out. LOL! Just what I don’t need. Curse because I can’t run, body pump, Zumba or spin until I get this diagnosed and in a safe place. In we fat girl is super happy. I’ve been feeling tension in my hips, but that is normal for me. Then I started feeling my knees ache. Then they started popping. Finally I was walking up my stairs and they were straight up hurting, my left knee singing super loud. I decided to get in the bath and when I bent my knee to lift my leg and step in I stretched something that actually made me cry out in alarm, more than pain. So, off to the doctor’s for me, this week. Fun, fun. it feels like sciatica meets swollen bursa meets a cartilage issue. We will see what happens. Hopefully I still am allowed to run.
- I still weigh 232.
- I failed the night eating goal
- I didn’t work out as much as I planned
- I ate within my caloric plan
- I added walking to my plan with Julie on Friday
- I made 10,000 steps 5/7 days with the other two days meeting around 8000 steps
- Eat on plan again
- Stop night eating for reals
- Try some upper body weight routines out
- Go to the dr and protect my knees😖
- Buy a knee brace 😩
I had another great week of fitness and fat loss. I didn’t quite meet my goals, but I definitely took a good bite out of them! I made it to spin-n-lift and Zumba, but I didn’t manage a good midweek run. In spite of that, I did manage to get my 10,000 steps every day except one and I did get a good, long run in, as well as a run last Sunday and yesterday. All totaled, I ran 8 miles. Not terrible.
My nutrition is also doing well. Not eating after 8:00 hasn’t been hard since I tumble into bed sleepy by 7:30. This weekend I did night eat. On Friday night I was HUNGRY so I ate some granola by moonlight. I’ve dialed everything back but I’m still not journaling my food. I’m finding that I’m somehow able to play the head game for now and it’s working. Today I weighed in at 232.6, so I’ve lost almost seven pounds since 1/1. I’m pleased as punch with that.
This coming week I’d like to keep my goals the same:
- Run thrice, one run needs to be greater than 4.5 miles. The others can be any distance. We have a six mile run in a month and a nine mile run in March.
- Spin-n-lift Monday, Zumba or weights Thursday, toy with the idea of Sunday morning Zumba…
- Continue fasting starting at 8:00 each evening
- Continue making smart nutrition choices
- Keep drinking diet soda- that crutch works for me!
- Aim for 10,000 steps per day.
I recently had someone write to me, asking if I could offer some advice to her as a runner who wants to train for a longer distance than 5k who has a history similar to mine: weight, age and experience wise. Once again, I must reiterate that I’m not an expert in anything except my personal experience. What I did worked well for me but should never replace your own common sense or advice from trainers, coaches and/or doctors who know you and your unique situation. With that said…
I realized that running was getting easier and easier. My run that was supposed to take up a specific amount of time going x distance around my block was getting done faster and faster, and my workouts were getting shorter and shorter. At first I was perplexed as to what I should do, but then I realized the answer was right in front of me: add more distance. More distance will lead to a longer workout, and that is how I became a distance runner.
My initial goal was simply to run a 5K. At that time, running for a whole minute was impressive to me. A 5K was beyond phenomenal. After I was able to run for 20 minutes straight, I focused on the distance of 3 miles. I did this by running as much as I could, then finished the 3 miles with walking. My thought was that if I could at least finish the distance, eventually everything else would speed up. It does. Slowly, for sure, but it does happen. That said, here are my basics for gearing up for a long race:
- Plan on spending a lot of time running. This may seem obvious but it’s also not. You think that you’re being generous with yourself when you plan to run 9 miles on a Saturday, but your family has to live without you for three hours on that Saturday as well. Add to that all of the Saturday chores you have and suddenly that 9 mile run doesn’t seem like you’re giving yourself a break as much as you’re giving yourself a job. Running longer distances takes a ton of time and energy. It should go without saying, but for some reason we think that it’s going to be easier to accommodate. When I disappear, my family howls. LOL
- Realize that not all of your runs need to be long, distance, training runs. I thought that once I reached a new distance, that had to be my go-to training distance… but I didn’t have time to run six to ten miles a day! Now I know that I need to train around a distance, not always run the same every time. Diversity is good. These days, my ideal is what I call a 3-6-9 week. Basically, that means I work up to running one of each distance per week. It keeps me in condition but also allows me to have a life with other hobbies than running.
- Run where you feel safe: People talk about running as though is gives them a ticket to the world. They savor new runs and new views… but some of us don’t. When I am trying out a brand-new distance (beyond 13 miles, at this point) I like to try it out as close to home as possible. I liked the security of knowing the exact distances I was adding as well as the security of having a clean bathroom nearby and the ability to quit the second things got too hard for me. I remember when I was training up to six miles I made Bradley run the smallest loop near our house a bajillion times with me because it was where I felt safest. Later I found out it’s always his least favorite part of our entire run because it has the most traffic, but he never complained. LOL!
- Diversify your running routes: this is after you feel safe running that new distance, of course. I have several different loops near my house and a few trail runs that allow me to add hills of varying inclines and declines so races don’t kill me with their hills. I also live on top of a hill; like, there’s a water tower less than two blocks from me kind of hill. If I run, there are always hills involved!
- Train up to your miles slowly. Yes. Most likely you could go out and run a whole half-marathon today, but how would you feel during mile 11 of that run? How would you feel the following week? My general rule of thumb is to start out with a three mile run then add one mile per week to it as my long run. Over time, I work up my miles to that 3-6-9 and throw in another workout or two for diversity (lifting, spinning, hiking, Zumba). If you add too much mileage too fast, you’re also probably adding an injury to your plate.
- Adding miles can mean slower miles: When I add distance I get tired. My muscles wear out. There’s a growing and strengthening process that needs to happen. Just allow yourself grace. These days my miles are slow because I’ve gained some pounds, so running is harder. That’s changing. 😉
- I like to complete the race distance before the race: Many training programs advocate getting within two miles of your goal distance then tapering until the race day. I like to train to the distance then run it at least two or three times before the actual race. If I don’t, I start my races jittery and full of anxiety, lacking confidence and just not in the best headspace. Running it a few times beforehand allows me to relax and just enjoy the race rather than worrying I won’t make it.
- Consistency is key: I believe in keeping my muscles warm. What this means to me is that I need to run often. It doesn’t have to be far, but it needs to be a few times per week. The second I step away from that I get lethargic, slower, tire easier, injure easily and don’t love running as much. The other positive side effect for me is that when I run regularly I don’t deal with depression or anxiety as much. I love that!
Have fun training! I just signed Gigi and me up for another race: The Snohomish Women’s Run. We are running the 10k and the race was ‘only’ 45, but with a hoodie and medal, I don’t think that’s too bad. The theme: Nevertheless, She Persisted. Oh, yes! We will!
***I’m not an expert in anything except my personal experience. What I did worked well for me but should never replace your own common sense or advice from trainers, coaches and/or doctors who know you and your unique situation. With that said…
The Complete Newbie Runner
Before I decided to make my life change I was pretty chill about working out. In fact, a meander through the mall while I followed my toddler daughter was counted as a workout. I just didn’t. At least on purpose. So when I started running it was incredibly intimidating. Sustaining a jog for even a minute sounded intense.
- Run for your comfort level: I found Katie, from Runs For Cookies, and she started running by planning a 30 minute walk. Over a period of time, she started trading walking time for running time. She started by running for 30 seconds, walking for 29 minutes 30 seconds, so I did too. The next day she ran for one minute and walked for 29. The next day was two minutes of running, 28 walking and on and on. You may simply need to condition yourself for a long walk before considering running at all. Eventually I got annoyed with the timing thing and just went for distance. After I could run for about seven minutes straight, I pushed myself to run a mile, then a mile and a half and so on.
- Add Distance: I started adding another half block, full block etc. I would tell myself I could walk when I got to the next goal destination, but then I would self asses: was I stopping from legitimate exhaustion or because of fear? I found out that it was usually fear. After about a month of running, I was able to run 20 minutes at a time without stopping.
- Make Goals: I made a mileage goal every week and found that some weeks I would run a little bit every day, then other weeks I’d be busy and I’d cram more distance into one day. The result was that when I should be adding miles turned out to be fairly straightforward and common sense. I joined Run the Year in an attempt to earn 2016 miles in 2016, and boy. That got me moving toward half marathons and long distances just for fun. Yeah. Fun.🤣
- Treat Yourself with Rewards: I like medals, craft supplies and beauty products. When things are hard for me, I never hesitate to offer myself a treat for meeting my goals. I’ve earned boots, make up, a squatty potty, NKOTB merch and more. While I don’t care much about the reward by the time I’ve usually earned it, often it can be the thing that propels me forward at the onset.
- Dress Like a Runner: If you commit to the clothes you’ll make sure you use them. If you have the clothes, you’ll blend in better at the gym, on the road or at the track. You may feel like a poseur, but it will help you as you try to fit in until it all feels normal.
- Ladies: Buy a Good Bra: I get nauseous if the ladies bounce around too much. My back hurts, not to mention how self conscious I get when my chest is bouncing around with some pretty terrific motion! I like Living Comfort, the Juno and Jubralee have excellent support. They’re the only ones I don’t have to double up to keep things in control.
- Sign Up For an Event: I signed up for the Color Me Rad 5k. It was taking place six months after I started training- more than enough time- but it allowed me to be certain when the day came that I’d be successful. I’ve since learned that having a race in front of me makes all the difference in the world for motivating me to continue training. I never want to embarrass myself or not finish, so I train my butt off leading up to most events. I’m never training to be competitive with anyone except myself. I mostly just want to finish.
- Allow Yourself to Fail (Call it Learning): Whenever you fail or fall off the wagon, instead of seeing yourself as a failure, choose to see how successful you were before you took your misstep. You learned so much from that attempt, use that to make yourself that much stronger this time around.
- Fresh Starts Happen Anytime: You don’t need to wait until tomorrow or Monday or summer or 5:00. Every moment is an opportunity. Don’t let it slip by.
- Be Unapologetic About Your Health Shift: Whether its running, weightloss or going vegan, people feel the need to question your shift in a way that doesn’t always feel good. I realized that some of my relationships were with people who wanted a fat friend for one reason or another. They’d caution me against losing too much weight, tell me that running would ruin my knees, warned me that Bradley may get jealous when his hot wife emerged, that they better start losing weight too otherwise I was going to be smaller than them and on and on and on. It was sad and strange. My health choices made people I love question their own and they felt judged. They wanted the old Tamara back. The one who made a lot of food for holidays, decorated cookies as a weekly hobby and who wasn’t afraid to commit to a weekend full of pizza, donuts and video games. I had to learn that without me I have nothing. If I lose myself I lose it all. Staying heavy would eventually make me very sick, very dead. I wasn’t going to be able to be anything for anyone if I didn’t get healthy, so I had to stop listening to the naysayers. If it was between my knees and my heart, I said I’d kill my knees because I can’t live without my heart.
That’s a hodgepodge of advice, but hopefully someone gets what they need. 😉
This past week was harder than I expected. We stepped back into the classroom on Tuesday, 1/2 and, for all intents and purposes I should have been ready to return, but man. It was a grind! I came home this weekend and slept hard- 10 hours both nights. I may be ready to face the next week, yet! I couldn’t bring myself to take down my holiday decorations yet, though. It’s still Christmas at Lj House!
I had a solid week. I got 10,000 steps on most days and was able to squeeze in three runs and two gym workouts- not bad! In addition to working out, I did the hard job of shifting my eating habits back to a more reasonable place. Telling myself no was so hard, but by the end of day one, I already felt stronger. Ts morning I still weighed 234, so I feel safe claiming my five pound loss! Four more pounds till I reach my dietbet!!
Going into next week I want to:
- Run three times: 4 miles and two runs just to stay running (1-4 miles, long run next Saturday, total of 6-10 miles)
- Spin-n-lift class on Monday
- Zumba or lifting Thursday
- Continue to eat smart
- Dial back night eating even more- ditch the cereal and just go with the banana, don’t eat past 8:00
- Meet Step goals
There are times when I’m starting up a new health plan and I’m ALL IN. Like, I’m an energizer bunny, going nonstop, complete with a smile and encouraging cheer! But this time? Nope. I was excited to get back to a place where I feel proud of the way I feel and look, but it was more like I was resigned about having to do the work. Last Sunday it just looked hard. Breaking habits is hard. Telling myself no is hard. Letting my tummy growl is hard. Running or going to a gym workout after school is hard and I wanted nothing to do with any of it except the end result.
To add insult to injury, everyone at my work unloaded their holiday pantry onto our staff room share table and it was all of my favorites: Twix, Reese’s, Lindt chocolate, angel food cake and the worst/aka my favorite thing aside from donuts: Danish Kringle. I wanted to cry. Instead I walked to my dear friend Julie’s room to find that she is in the exact same boat. She gained weight and wanted all of the snacks on the table. We linked elbows and didn’t cave, instead secreting away in her room to avoid temptation and stand strong together. It’s funny how triumphant I feel after something like that happens. I had the will and determination to stand up to myself in the face of absolute favorite, flaky, delectable, almond-paste-deliciousness and said no. You’d think I finished a big race, the sense of accomplishment that gave me, but after that day I had an attitude shift.
My fears and worries fell away as the week continued and things just kept working out. I never made another trip back downstairs in the middle of the night. I started keeping a banana or orange upstairs and that seems to be helping me, but mostly I think it was finding out what was really happening: night binging while I was asleep. I had lingering concerns about the impact of my medication, still unsure if it helps me to gain or lose, but after the bloat, water and hopefully a little fat slid off me to the tune of five pounds during the week, that fear largely left me.
Remember in Winnie the Pooh when Rabbit tries to lose Tigger in the Hundred Acre Wood in an attempt to help him lose his bounce? It’s like the opposite happened to me. And if I’m truthful, I think my fat girl was kind of setting up camp again. Suddenly it seemed really hard to work at my health and so easy to simply relax, forget about my health goals and let go again. Have another cookie. Watch tv sitting instead of while getting my steps. Lie to myself… I did get lost again and along the way I gained 30 pounds. When I weighed myself on 1/1/18 I weighed 239 exactly. I was shocked. Today I weigh 234 and my fat girl is shuffling down the hallway, headed to her magician stand where she’ll concoct a plan for the next time I’m weak. She’s always there. But at this point? Tigger’s got her bounce back. 👍
While I can’t blame her for everything, I think I may have solved part of the weight gain mystery: some people sleepwalk and some sleeptalk. It’s been told to me by my husband that I do those (plus more) but now I can add sleep eat to this charming list of special features. How do I know? Apparently, Bradley has casually started keeping track. It started a few months back, soon after I started on my medication. I was startled awake with crackers in my mouth by Bradley, asking if I meant to be eating at 3:00 in the morning. I retorted something defensively about being hungry, but really didn’t know what was up. The night before last, I was startled awake when I dropped a box of crackers that went everywhere and made a big sound. Last night I was awakened, in the pantry again, by Freddie who came downstairs to check on me. Two nights in a row!
When I shared my findings with Bradley, he responded that it’s no wonder I’m so tired lately: he hears me getting up 4-5 times per night, banging around, opening doors, wreaking all kinds of havoc. I know I get up once or twice, but 4-5 times?! Then he admitted that he’s been survailing me a bit, watching me. He agrees that there’s no way my food input should result in this kind of weight gain and my nocturnal binge eating is undoing all the hard work he sees me putting in. Then he said, “Your inner fat girl figured out how to play after all these years,” which is both funny and sad.
I know how much I weigh now. I’m not ready to post it here. I’ve lost 2.25 since 1/1. Gigi and I ran today. I’m doing the work, eating right, working out. But damn my inner fat girl. I hope finding out her secret is enough to banish her for a while again. She can come party every once in a while, but this has to stop.
I remembered, however, when Katie from Runs for Cookies fell off the wagon and went from her 130ish to over 150. She had a moment of realization hit her, too, and she had to get back to basics. She got back to weightwatchers and working out in earnest. She fought off her fat and got back to her comfort zone. I’ll say again like I said at the beginning of my body project: if she can, I can too.