Oh. My. Goodness.
I was totally planning to go for a walk/run today but I decided not to. My hip is still a little sore and I’d hate to push it to an injury, so I thought why not one more day? I hopped on my bike and decided to mix it up a little and do the second competition cycle. It was long and intense. Lots of hills. I was sweating it up pretty good and had to keep slowing down to bring my pulse down. When the going gets tough on a bike I have a tendency to push hard – you know, to get to the top of the hill! Today I realized that pushing myself to a heart rate of 170 (Holy muscle burning, Batman!) in order to get to the top of the virtual hill was doing me no favors. Ha ha!
Oh. My. Goodness.
I often joke that there are few thoughts I have that aren’t shared with someone. Fortunately, I’m married to a very patient someone who is totally willing to listen to me ramble about anything that happens to come to my mind. The most amazing parts to me are that he remembers all of this mental unpacking and can participate in the conversations days later AND that he is not enough of an outlet for me. I also have two blogs, Facebook and a classroom full of children who are subject to my verbose nature.
It’s a given then that they know I’m working towards being my healthiest self, and part of that means I am exercising a lot. They even know I have started running as I celebrated that with them too. At my school there is an after school fitness class that kids can participate in if they want to. On Mondays they have what is called ‘mileage Monday’. Every Monday as I leave I see the runners going around and around the building. A few of my students are in the club so I decided to train with them on Monday. You know. The day after my first mile.
In general my workouts have alternated with one ‘easy’ day and one ‘go hard’ day. The easy days usually consist of just a walk or stationary bike ride for 30 minutes and about 15 minutes of crunching and lifting and planking and… The hard days are run days and the 15 minutes of toning/strength/weights/whateverit’scalled training [I should point out that the whateverit’scalled training is hit or miss at this point – inconsistent but something I am trying for]. I take a day off in between to let my hip heal. I know, what an old lady, right? But for serious, I run and that night I have an achy hip. I looked it up online and it seems like as long as it has that quick heal my body will get used to being used like this and I’ll adjust.
Enter Mileage Monday. It was not a good idea. My muscles were mad at me as I started to run. I felt it. But I was there to work out, to push the kids along, to be a part of the infectious spirit of fitness, so I just did it. The warmer I got the better I felt, but I never felt good running on Monday. I felt beat up, used up, chewed up and fatigued. Suddenly I understood why all the books say to take a day off when you’re training. My body needed it.
I finished my mile and did two more laps walking. My hip hollered and my knee actually made some noise too. I took Alleve when I got home and slept on the opposite hip, hoping to feel better by the next day. I did, somewhat. But what I really took from that was a lesson about listening to my body. Be smart and don’t push. That run knocked me out yesterday and today I’m still taking an easy day on my bike and weights.
Tomorrow will be good. Tomorrow ill venture outside again to see what these gams can do!
It’s gone. I asked Bradley to hide it somewhere since I seemed scale obsessed and I was allowing it to control my determination blah blah blah… I came home Monday afternoon to find it still exposed, out in a useful area. I looked furtively around, tried to walk by, but instead, like a junkie, took one final look around, quickly shed my clothes and hopped on to take measurement. Of course it was up from the morning and of course I was a giant grimace. I went to put away my clothes and get sweats on to find my scale gone. In my absence, she was hidden away for real. So, I’m off the scale. And this is significant enough to note in writing it’s effect on me. Just sayin…
The hard part is realizing what a motivator stepping on that silly thing was! Seeing that number dipping and rising is enough to propel me forward sometimes. Other times, not so much. I guess it’s finding the balance. The balance, I’m sure, is not getting on the scale in the morning, after a shower, after work, before bed, the middle of the night – basically anytime I’m in my bathroom.
I haven’t lost weight in ages. I’m trying to just trust that a clean diet and lots of exercise will take me in the right direction. I don’t know how how true it is, but my mom always says ‘muscle weighs more than fat.’ I hope it’s water retention and a little muscle mass. But I know it takes a long time to build muscle so… It’s fat or water mostly. Sigh.
I’ll admit that I’ve been feeling my determination oozing out of every pore this week. My determination is running low, I’m looking for motivation, and like yin and yang, it seems to be very important to allow both to play their role; determination takes over when motivation runs low and vice versa.
Not having a scale has forced me to seek motivation elsewhere.
*In the soreness of my muscles.
*Window shopping my spring and summer wardrobes in smaller sizes.
*Running and training for the Color Me Rad 5k.
*Writing about weightloss.
*In talking about exercise and weightloss. Ad nauseum.
*In the compliments from my friends and coworkers (I hate/love compliments so am awkward as ass receiving them but glow for hours after receiving one- I’m a total praise-junkie)
*When my friend (who runs half marathons y’all) tells me that she’s so proud of me and my training- that she thinks I’m a runner now! (I cried real tears privately after that one. I’m such a cheeze.)
*In the stories all over the Internet.
*And in the stories I know:
That look on my dad’s face when my mom came home with her stack perm in the 1980’s. We all stopped short that night and SAW my beautiful mother and what she done clearly for the first time. She worked for ages on Weight Watchers and was trim and tiny. My dad got the camera out that night and took several photos of my mom. Every time I see those photos in the scrapbook, I see the power and determination on her face. I can also see, quite plainly, that she felt smoking hot that night. It was true. She looked amazing.
A parent friend of mine from my school with a similar build to me melted away one spring, revealing this tall, striking amazon woman (we share an adoration for Wonder Woman so I know she will hear that as a compliment). She looked amazing. She felt amazing. She wore heels and stood so tall against the sky. I wanted to join her superhero squad so I decided to follow her footsteps. If she could do it then I certainly could too.
One of my oldest friends dropped ten pounds and another ten and another and kept going for a year before she met her husband. She turned into this powerful motivational speaker of sorts. She modeled this healthy lifestyle as she fought her way down the scale, passing me by and leaving me in the dust. To this day she is still shaking it at Zumba and grooving with water aerobics. She still is heavy, but ever determined, thus incredibly inspiring to me.
My husband picked up running a few years ago using the Couch to 5k app. He regularly ran miles upon miles for a few years before he built our house. He fell out of the habit but is getting back to it. His willingness to jump into anything physical is pretty amazing to me. And to go from not being an athlete at all, really, to being able to run miles at a go showed me how fitness is accessible to anyone.
There are more stories. My brother lost weight and ran races. Friends upon friends have lost weight successfully. My mom revisited her lower weight recently and became tiny. The battle still wages for her, but she still fights. Blogs and websites and Facebook and… It all comes together nicely to motivate me. Hopefully as I continue to read and explore, my determination will become stronger again. I’m resolute, just a little thinner on determination. But I’m determined to get my determination back. Ha!
The other day after I had my big run I went out in my car and drove obsessively all over my neighborhood measuring each block so I could know how far I was running. Using the app Bradley told me about might be a simpler, more precise measurement tool, but I prefer the car. Of course.
The other brilliant suggestion my husband had was to go run at the track that is two blocks from our house. Brilliant! I had decided that my next running goal was to run a mile. A mile on a track feels farther to me than the mile that goes from my house to the cul-de-sac on the opposite corner from me. A mile on a track repeats four times before you make it. A mile in my hood allows me to see each house once before I need to stop walk the rest of the way. Anyhow, a mile on the track feels like a quantifiable distance. Inarguable. An accomplishment. It feels real.
Let me just say first, though, that this is only the second mile I have ever run in my entire life without stopping. The first was in ninth grade. Ninth grade was the year where I look like a staff member in the school yearbook – fat makes you look a lot older and I had gained a lot of weight the summer in between 8th and 9th. Mr. Parrat was just the nicest man. He was able to be the PE teacher of a girl who was ballooning in her weight and not applying herself to her fitness with total encouragement and kindness. He was able to kindly encourage me and never humiliated me. (I do have to give credit to the MJHS PE teachers- they were never the stereotypical set of PE teachers shown on movies making teams of shirts and skins dodgeball. I was never humiliated or felt less than because of my fitness level). However, it came to the point when I was the only one in class who hadn’t passed the fitness test. We needed to run the mile in less than 12 minutes. It was my fourth attempt. I was annoyed because softball was starting and that was my forte. I could hit, pitch and do it all. But I wasn’t allowed to play ball until I got this running thing out of the way. Mr. Parrat chose a girl named Stacy to run alongside me while I took my fourth and final run. I think she was encouraged to not let me stop, to talk me through my fear, to playfully bully me over the finish line. She did and it worked. I exceeded the twelve minute goal and made a nine minute mile. I was astonished -I didn’t know I had this in me, how did Mr. Parrat know?- and I briefly adopted a goal of running in my day to day life. I tried. I ran around the block a few times wearing ridiculously cobbled together workout outfits (picture long-johns under summer shorts with Keds- yup. A serious athlete folks). But I never took to it and the goal faded.
Now I know that to train to run doesn’t mean to go outside, start running and don’t stop for 30 minutes. Now I know it really does start with ridiculously small baby steps. I started with running for a puny little thirty seconds. But just like the baby’s initial steps, they are wobbly at first but quickly they build fluency and momentum. Running is like that. You conquer thirty seconds, and within 14 days there you are running a complete mile. Or maybe you won’t be running a mile. But you’ll be a heck of a lot closer! (Or perhaps you’re like my friend who will remain nameless who can just get up and run a 5k without even training thakyouverymuchOMG!).
So, today I woke up and I knew that it was going to happen. We ate a light breakfast of yogurt and scooted down to the high school. There was baseball practice, but that didn’t deter me. We walked one lap, then we were off. As I hit the end of lap two I wondered if this was going to be too much. Then I remembered that was just fear telling me I couldn’t do it. But determination said I could.
My family ran with me the whole time. I run really slow right now, so at times they were able to keep pace with me by walking. I rolled my eyes and told them that NO, walking alongside me is not acceptable. For realz, yo. That’s humiliating!
Really, though, I’m not running for speed right now. It’s all about endurance. So I endured my butt around the track and at the last straightaway Jude decided to join so Gigi and Bradley fell back with him and left me out in front, running ahead to meet my finish line on my own. I swear to you, I could hear the music (Chariots of Fire in my head, Madonna’s Music in my ears) and the world seemed to slow down for a minute while I stared straight ahead at the finish line coming closer and closer and closer. As I came up on it I started sprinting, pushing myself as hard as I could just to show myself that I still had juice. I could keep on going if I wanted.
I crossed over and had to fight off the tears again. I wanted to throw my hands in the air and screech that I did it. I wanted to do a touchdown dance and raise a big fat fuss, but I didn’t. Instead I smiled big, took the next step and squeezed Bradley’s hand when he caught me. We finished the 5K to train in steps, if not in speed, then headed home.
I think I’ll just start adding a quarter mile each time now until I get to the 3.1 miles needed to finish a 5k. I know I’m just beginning, but I’m wondering if a 10k might be a fun challenge sooner than later. We’ll see.
I asked Bradley to take the scale and hide it until next week. I’m going nuts working hard and not losing so I’m going to focus on my fitness and caloric intake for now and I’ll allow myself to weigh again next weekend. Right now, the lack of movement on the number line is making me feel frustrated and at times I’m feeling like giving up. I refuse to let something as stupid as that number and that measurement tool dominate my brain and energy. I refuse to give up or give into something this silly.
I made a goal last week to stay on track, push myself to work out harder and to continue to eat healthy food. I also made the goal of making it out of my current decade by this weekend (meaning to go through one ten pound set like 79-70). I’m happy to report that I made the first part. My practice was great. I hit my calorie targets every day and stayed very active. But I didn’t lose anything. In fact I gained three. I’m all bloaty.
I remember back when we lived in Bellingham. I was at my one of my highest weights and having one of my most wacky hormonal times. Suddenly I threw myself into a weightloss regime. Bradley joined me. We were both determined and, while he steadily lost weight, eating the same calories I gained a pound or two. Back then, it was enough to take my steam and I acquiesced to a lifetime of big.
But when it mattered more, I had more determination. When I was chasing getting pregnant with Jude, the cost was so high if I didn’t succeed that I just had to do it. It wasn’t a choice, it was an expectation. I was successful, of course. I remember, at one point, sitting for an entire month without losing anything. I would become frustrated then suddenly four or five pounds would disappear and I would know it wasn’t all for naught.
The stakes are high this time too. I only have one life. I want to live it long and well.
To stay on target I just have to keep it in my head that it will all pay off. And while that scale number may not change, my pants fit differently (when I’m not bloaty), my skin looks and feels different, I’m getting in shape and I feel good about what I’m doing.
My goal for this weekend is the same as last – eat well. Work it out. Play with the kids. Sleep. Ignore the fact that the scale is not moving in the right direction! Maybe consider stopping looking at the scale so much!
I just went and looked at the day I started with running intervals. It was only ten days ago. I’ve gone from barely running 30 seconds to jogging for 12 minutes straight in ten days.
I jogged a little over a mile today. Not consecutively, but I did jog for 12 whole minutes in a row at one point (.7 of a mile if that tells you how slow I ‘jog’). My entire workout was 1.7 miles and I jogged for 1.1 miles of that. I hurt right now, but I feel so good in my soul.
I’m amazed that I’m doing this.
I think I’m going to sign up for the Rad Run 5K that will happen in July in Seattle. I have no doubt that this is possible now.
It is so frustrating to keep stepping on the scale this week and not show a loss. Instead, the scale shows a small gain. I’ve been working out so hard and eating soooo cleanly! How am I showing a minor gain and no loss?!
Common sense says there are normal weight fluctuations with water. I’m working out really hard and I’m working pretty much every muscle possible on my body. When that happens, one’s body goes into a little bit of shock, the muscles grab a little water and hold it, they bloat and become a little puffy. I know all of this.
Common sense also says I can see and feel it in the clothes I’m wearing. My tummy actually is getting smaller. My shape is emerging a little more. Because, seriously, since January 1st, I’ve lost 16 pounds (grand total of 85 lost so far) and some of my clothes are beginning to show that by looking huge on me. That’s nothing to sneeze at right now.
But I still want to see the progress with the smaller number on that scale! Boo-hoo.
It surprises me how quickly my body takes to getting in shape. When I think about it, I have been walking on and off since September. I started with short walks. I teased myself with meandering along, stopping to smell the flowers and tumble in the grass with kids. It was fun and it made me reconnect with our tradition of frequent family walks.
Except… I wasn’t all that dedicated or determined. I allowed motivation to rule my exercise so I would go one week at full speed, walking daily, then two rainy weeks would go by when I’d skip the walk. In January I started a daily exercise regime, rain or shine, no excuses. I either walked briskly outside for 20 (for the first weeks) to 30 minutes or I’d ride my stationary bike. Then I hit that inspiration moment and took off at the end of January with all of my horses rearing! Now, midway through February I’m running down the road, blocks at a time, trying to catch a glimpse of myself in the plate glass windows of the houses to make sure this is really me! Is it??? LOL
Then, a week ago, I found myself at nine o’ clock at night, after I had tucked the kids in, on my yoga mat doing crunches, weights and leaning against the wall pushing up. The next night the same. And after that? Yup. It is part of my regime now too and even more than that? I am on pinterest all of the time looking at workouts for specific body zones and I’m downloading running and yoga apps to help guide my fitness. What has gotten into me? (Determination!)
It’s as though my body is made to be healthy, fit and capable. Like it wants me to jog and run and ride and play. Imagine that.
I got a little bit nervous yesterday, thinking that the day before was a fluke. That the run I took successfully was some mixture of magic and who knows what…
I’ve been trying to take a day off in between each intense day – meaning in between each day I jog. I guess that just turned into a day of doubt for me this time. I rode my stationary bike for 30 minutes and worried…
Today I arrived home with determination. I decided that I needed to push myself a little bit by just going some distance. I asked Guinevere to join me for the walk/jog and I suddenly had a jogging partner who also enjoys trotting along to Katy Perry.
Ill admit, it was a little strange to run down the street with Katy blasting from my pocket, but it was also pretty fun… Remember when Phoebe from Friends ran through Central Park like a crazy kid? It felt like that. Bopping along to our own music blasting…
So off we went. I didn’t hesitate. By the time we crossed the main road I asked to start jogging and we were off. We jogged several times as we went about, and again, I never wore out! I got the threat of a stitch in my side, but I never started flipping out and hurting. Again, I am amazed. During the longest stretch I kept waiting for my body to give out, but the only thing that really happened was I got a little bored. It became clear that focus will be important. 🙂
This map is of the walk we took. The black is the blocks, the purple our route and the orange is how much we ran.
Along the way, I learned all about my daughter’s day. I’ve always wanted to be the kind of mom who exercised alongside her daughter and son. I’ve always admired those pairs you see on the side of the road, an obvious parent and child cruising along. I’ve always thought that running with Gigi would connect us and bring us together, make our bond stronger and I hoped that someday it might be something we connect over during college breaks and, way in the future, as adult women. Today helped me to see a glimmer of that possibility. Suddenly I have a new dream to chase a little harder.
Today was a day.
The good kind.
I went out to take my walk, as usual. Bradley came along and we hauled tail around the block, carrying on conversation, sharing our day back and forth when suddenly I realized we were just a few blocks from home and I hadn’t done the run part of the workout yet.
I turned to Bradley and asked if I could jog the rest of the way home. I’ll admit that I did that all full of hubris, all cocky and self assured, but on the inside I wondered if I had just said something that was going to leave me dry heaving on the side of the road.
Of course, my bearded beau just grinned and kicked up his feet, and off we went. At first I tried to keep pace with him, then realized I would never endure the run all the way home if I kept pace with him. I dropped back before my lungs started to freak out and so did he, keeping pace with me. I got slow. Like slooooowwwww-mo-Tamaraaaaa. But know what? I didn’t stop. Like, I jogged the ENTIRE WAY HOME. And know what else? I talked the whole time.
I kept waiting for that moment when I HAVE TO stop because my lungs are burning, my legs are jelly and I sweat like mad… It never came.
I have always heard that exercise pace is healthiest when you can carry a conversation. The whole time there I was testing that theory talking and chatting it up with him, just to see if I could. I could. I did. I jogged all the way home and burst into tears when I got there. So proud and so amazed by myself. I am in disbelief about my next sentence:
I can’t wait for my next opportunity to jog.
I feel ACCOMPLISHED. More determined than ever. I feel like a possibility. I feel worthwhile. I feel good.