Archive for November, 2012

Interweb, I will begin by telling you that it is damn near impossible to have a tuna salad w/ pepperjack & banana peppers WITHOUT potato chips & chocolate milk for accompaniment. Yum! Also one of the few things that my work cafeteria gets right. Probably because they don’t actually make the chocolate milk or potato chips. And in this case, dude was kind of skimpy with the  tuna salad & pepperjack, so it was more like a banana pepper sandwich with tuna flavoring and a very very small hint of spice. Okay, so maybe it’s one of the things that the cafeteria kinda, maybe gets somewhat right.

You needed to know this, I know.

One of my more unhealthy lunch options. Being enjoyed consumed at this very moment.

None of that has anything to do with this post.

Also, I am probably going to hell for using the word ‘unholy’ in my title. So there’s that.

The other day I posted a bit of a mini-rant on FB about how people frequently comment to me that working out* in the morning before work is “just TOO HARD” and they could never do that because they could never get out of bed that early. Frankly, it makes me want to gag. Thus the rant. There is a difference between something being too hard to do and you choosing to not do it. I bite my tongue on this response every. single. time.  Also on the part where I say, so what’s stopping you from working out at lunch or after work or before bed or at any other time in the 24 hours of the day you’ve been given? Because it would be judgy and unkind and also call them on their bullshit.

Is getting up at 4:35am to go work out hard? Yes. Some days more than others. Do I make it every day? No. But more than not. Not many people pop out of a warm, husband-filled bed with their eyes all sleepy to go pull on a sports bra in the kitchen & scrape the frost off their car that early and call it ‘easy’. But I do it anyway. It is hard. In that moment. Once I’m up and moving, it gets easier and by the time I’m 10 minutes into my workout, I’m very glad I got out of bed.

Same with evening runs or workouts. Am I tired after work? Do I have things to do when I get home? Yes. Yes. Yes, again. (For dramatic effect even though there was no question #3.) Sometimes – and especially at the beginning of a program – it’s hard to make the decision to go gymward in spite of tired and busy and hungry. But I do it anyway. And once I’m 10 minutes into my workout, I’m usually very glad I got moving. Also, is my house usually dusty and sometimes do I have a turkey sandwich for dinner? Yes. I’m okay with that because my adrenaline high is very satisfying.

So anyway, I posted this mini-rant, and as is wont to happen once in a while on my fitness posts, someone chimed in with a ‘you’re so inspiring to me’ comment.  In this example, she’s my cousin and I love her (and I hope she’ll forgive me if she ever reads this), but when she followed it up with ‘I’m going  to start walking this week”, I wanted to bop her on the head. It was Monday. It ALREADY IS this week. What’s with the ‘going to’? Why not ‘I’m doing this today’?

For me, inspiration is a call to action. When I get inspired, I want TO DO something. Usually something different than what I’m already doing.  When someone tells me that I inspired them, I feel happy about it. I’m glad I encouraged them to get some movement into their lives. But when they then don’t start moving, it makes me sad. Then frustrated.  ‘Going to’ and ‘sometime this week’ are pretty damn vague. Which tells me you’re not going to do a damn thing. HOW EXACTLY AM I INSPIRING YOU TO NOT DO A DAMN THING?  To me ‘going to’ might as well be cursing at me. I’ve gotten other similar responses from people telling me I’ve inspired them, but then they don’t move. That’s not inspiration, that’s admiration. An ‘I respect what you’re doing, but I’m not going to step away from the Cheetos’ admiration. While I don’t work out to inspire anyone or to gain admiration from others, I would strongly prefer to inspire rather than be admired.

On Wednesday, I sent a quick note to my cousin that the week was half-over – how’s the ‘going’ going? No response. Now it’s Thursday and the week is moving towards being over. And how many miles could’ve been logged if ‘going to’ had been ‘today’ way back when on Monday?

*sigh*

Admiration sucks.

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*I’ll clarify here that, to me, working out isn’t necessarily even going to a gym or running or lifting weights. When I say working out, I mean any kind of movement that benefits your physical fitness wherever you are on that path. If that’s a 5-minute walk right now, then that’s your workout and that’s perfectly fine. Just do what you can do with an eye towards improving your body.

 

So last night, as I was finally tucked into bed and drifting off into my post-turkey coma, I was thinking about the pace for my morning 10k. I’d checked my results shortly before bed and my tired mind circled back to it as my pillow was whispering in my ear ‘sleeep, sleeeeeeep’.

Having not run & shaken out my legs in a few days, I decided not to put any pressure on the 10k at all – just get it done. Especially considering that the Thanksgiving Day 10k is much like the Race for the Cure around here – it’s a HUGE HUGE HUGE field for a 10k. More than 18,000 participants HUGE. Crowded with lots of walkers and strollers that have no idea about run etiquette. It was a good guess that I would spend a lot of my run going sideways around groups of walkers. So I decided I was just going to deal and run slow and not worry about all of these people I was going to have to pass. And if I get held in place behind walkers, then I would just jog in place behind them until a pass opportunity opened up.

They were there to have a good time with family, at a family run, on a family holiday. I would have a good time too.

Instead of getting frustrated, I would channel some of my triathlete friends and look for good feet in front of me to pace myself with – now mind you, they use ‘fast feet’ for swimming, but I decided to make it work for running. And change ‘fast’ to ‘good’. Let’s be realistic here.

I was going to be distracted by dogs and children and costumes – and probably forget all about listening to my internal dialogue. 

I had no plan at all for this route – which involved 3 bridges that I strongly dislike running. So I made a plan on the fly as I went into mile 2 – basically the same as I used for the Greak Human Race 10k – get to the halfway point without intervalling and call it a win there. Do whatever it takes to get you to the finish line after that. And much like the GHR 10k, I watched miles 4, 5 & 6 tick by as I was still running along – breaking only twice, once to walk up the last (& worst) of the bridges and again shortly before the finish when I winded myself somehow. I let myself be happy with how I did even though I needed to walk those two times.

But my sleepy brain paid no mind to that. It didn’t beat me up for not PRing the thing, or for even close to PRing the thing. It pulled the thread of one small detail from 2011 and pushed that right up front next to my turkey time –

that with the decided slow running, and the dodging around things, and the walking the last bridge –

2012’s totally relaxed 10k pace beat out 2011’s stressful 4-miler pace PR by 3 whole seconds.

And it let that bit of bliss sink in.

15 months of hard work turned a hard struggle into an afterthought

marked evidence of improvement

that this body is getting better, faster, stronger all the time

 

Peeps, sometimes running sucks. Plain & simple.

And it’s not about a bad run or a series of bad runs.

It’s about me already knowing how to fix all the stuff that makes me think that, but then I have to fix all the stuff.

I’m being obscure – which seems to be my word of the day today.

So Saturday, I’ve got 6 miles on the schedule. While it’s about 15-20 degrees too warm out for a perfect run day – it is my perfect version of an enjoyable run day. It is a blue-sky, perfect breeze, run-clothes-I-like-on, kinda day. A sleeveless-70-degrees. IN NOVEMBER. Not too many of these kinda days left in 2012 ’round here – and it’s very possible that this is the LAST ONE.

And I’m lucky enough to have a 6-mile run on my schedule. I’m also lucky enough that I feel good about that run. I woke up musing to myself that I was at the point that I could just put 6 miles on a schedule, or even go run it on a whim, and my body doesn’t stress all that much about it. Hey Me – I can just up and run 6 miles ’cause I want to – high-five myself! Whee!

And off I go! With the intention of mating my 3-mile hill route with my favorite 5.5 miler & producing a 6-6.5 mile pretty route for a perfect weather day. A route which crosses right by my favorite 2-mile checkpoint – a drinking fountain right next to a pretty sculpture.  I conquer two hills from ghosts of trouble-spots past and swing down to the checkpoint.

Where the drinking fountain is turned off. This is important information. I can run 3-4 miles without a water stop, but not 6-6.5. Lack of water might as well be kryptonite. If this fountain is off, then so is the one at the turnaround. No water on this route at all.

And my first reaction is to shake my fist at clouds about the water.

But I knew I was playing roulette. I HATE hate hate hate (*insert foot stamping sound here*) to carry my own water when I run. One of the benefits of my running group is that they put up water stops for us on the longer runs & route us near drinking fountains. I know, at some point late in the season, that drinking fountain getting turned off is going to bite me in the butt and I’m going to have to shorten up a run. Today is that day. The line of demarcation between carefree running and feeling like a pack mule has been drawn, and crossed.  On a gorgeous day that feels more like May than November. Ugh. Something karmic has taken a dump in my running shoes.

It’s a mile back to the house. When I get back to the house I will be done. I have a lot of things on the agenda that don’t involve outside and sunshine. This was my chance  to enjoy the perfect weather & it is blown.

This is when I think to myself that sometimes running just really sucks. There is one mile between me and the end of all sunshine for the day – and if I run it, it is going to go by very fast. Why does running have to be so fast?! Why does running have to rush through things?! I can feel myself getting ticked off.

At running. Because, of course, it’s not my fault that I didn’t bring my own water. It’s running’s fault. If running weren’t ally running-y, I wouldn’t need to carry water. Or feel like a pack mule. Or try to remember where I hid water bottles I put out long ago & then couldn’t find when I got there. If running weren’t all running-y.

If running were a person, I would have called it a blockhead and pulled away the football. In that moment, I would’ve chucked a snowball at the back of running’s head & then hid behind a car.  I WOULD’VE MOONED RUNNING. Seriously disheartening moment – looking one way down the road at the rest of my pretty imagined route and looking the other way back at responsibility, adulthood, green vegetables on my plate.

So I walked the mile back. Slowly. For that one experience, I quit on running. Because running was going to take away 5 extra minutes of sunlight, and it needed punked.  I let myself just enjoy the walk. And I’m okay with that.

And of course, the answer to everything is that I should make a habit of carrying my own water. Suck it up Buttercup, it’s part of the sport and all that. All that I’ll start doing next time. Whether I like it or not, I’ve got to be okay with that – at least until the fountains go back on. Pack mule season commence! (yes, that exclamation looks sarcastic).

Tomorrow will be a running group day – in rainy 40-degrees – and I will be back at it. All running-y. With my water bottle. And there will be no excuse – in the crappy, rainy 40-degree-ness – to cut a run short. Grrrrr.

210

Posted: 11/09/2012 in Uncategorized
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Peeps, there were 210 push-ups in my morning this morning.

Two-hundred and ten. 2-1-0. 210.

Admittedly, they were broken up into 20 sets & I could only get out 35 before my knees came down into the girly version. But still, 210.

Who knew I had that in me?

I’ll also admit that I was abso-frickin-lutely the last one done with that portion of it (I think there were a few people being a little generous with their counting skills or that just quit when they decided they couldn’t finish & moved on to the next combination), but nevertheless, I finished it. In good form.

(For those wondering, our workout consisted of all ’21’s today, where you have two exercises and you alternate between them – starting with 20 of one thing, then 1 of the other; 19 of the first, then 2 of the second – so you ladder down on one exercise while you ladder up on the other. In this scenario – 20 push-ups, 1 military press, then 19 push-ups & 2 military presses, all the way down to 1 push-up & up to 20 military presses. So that every ‘set’ you do adds up to ’21’.)

The things you learn…

Posted: 11/08/2012 in Uncategorized
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 So, this not-so-little thing showed up in my life the other week:

image

Dogsitting for a friend. A combination of helping a friend, getting my lab-mix a playmate for the week, and testing the waters on getting a second dog again (we had a German-Shepherd mix we lost to cancer in March).

Also, a 5-mile a day walking assignment.

Whoever owned this little cutie before my friend took custody of her NEVER exercised the little power-eater and she was OBESE for dog. Like, could barely reach herself to take care of her own little doggy grooming needs if you catch my drift. Obese.  So my friend had been walking the dog 5-miles a day to help her get healthy, and thereby, hopefully up her odds of finding a permanent home.  I told her that, weather permitting (we were due for the Hurricane Sandy trickle-down), I’d try to keep up with the exercise regimen for Ms. Fuzzhead.

So, how in the world do you add in a 5-mile daily walk to a schedule that’s already packed with a running plan & 3 bootcamps a week? Oh – and then a work project that goes BOOM!

Simple, you don’t.  Between the crazy work hours & the extra 4 legs in the house, the running plan had to give. No runs for 11 days. When I was in a GOOD running place and not wanting the time off the pavement. Ouch! I decided to focus on trying to learn something during the off-period, so here goes –

  1. Never skip a run schedule for BEFORE a scheduled distraction comes into your life. I went to my Tuesday group run that week, but skipped my “pick between Weds or Thurs” run. Fuzz came into our home on Thursday night. Skipping the last scheduled run before she came to our home added 2 full days to my off time. I don’t even remember now why I skipped it, but whatever the reason, it wasn’t good enough.
  2. I’ve hit the point in my fitness that a 5.5 mile walk just doesn’t cut it as a workout. I’m sure I might feel differently if the walk had been faster or involved trails, but even trying to view it as a ‘take in the sunshine & fresh air” wonderful experience was not a good substitute for a salty, drenching sweat. I’m actually proud of this. Once upon a time, after dancing & weight training was over, and after I’d been doing nothing healthy for 2 years, I thought a 2.5-3 mile dog walk was enough exercise. Enough. Because you should only do enough, right? Let’s just say my definition of enough was not enough when I also thought salads were cute, but only drenched in cheese & dressing, and I knew NOTHING about nutrition. I wasn’t fat, but I wasn’t healthy either. When I consider whether I’ve achieved a goal, I’m usually looking at this year, or my last run. Sometimes it’s helpful to consider where you were 15 years ago and just let that wash over you for a minute. I was very proud of how far I’ve come in both my fitness level and my education on exercise & nutrition.
  3. I started getting twitchy by the following Wednesday. Okay, by the Sunday before that Wednesday really, but by Wednesday, I had to admit the twitchy was starting to affect a few other things. My stabby-mcstabby factor was increasing. I was also starting to worry about what my next run – when it finally arrived – was going to be like. Finally getting used to not intervalling at all, and then no running. I was worried that I’d have to start over on the no-intervalling thing.
  4. Also on the first Wednesday, the scale told me I needed to lay off the comfort food – especially since I hadn’t been running. No burning the crap off the ass = no putting the crap in the tank.
  5. My definition of lazy has changed. Carpool buddy actually called me out on that one. I mentioned that I was afraid to weigh in after 11 days of comfort food & laziness. (this was after 2 runs back & 1 bad scale read already). To which she responded, “if you call lazy getting up at 5am to hit the gym…” True. I was still keeping up with bootcamps. Cutting my workout regimen in half had me feeling lazy & fat. Once upon a time, my definition of lazy & fat meant I’d sat on my ass eating cheese for two weeks. Oh, how far I’ve come.
  6. Everything doesn’t just go away in 11 days – unless you tell yourself you’ve let it go away. First run back was a 2-miler to shake-out my legs before this past Tuesday’s group run. And I told myself, whatever pace it took, no intervalling. I was NOT going to lose my good progress on my goal. I got it done & it went way better than I thought. Then I saw a 4.5 mile semi-hilly run on the group schedule – hmmm. Well, the best you can do is try your best. And that went way better than I thought it would too. Still, no intervalling. And I victored over the last hill again – that’s becoming less & less of a trouble spot.
  7. If I could run every run with someone breathing over my right shoulder, I would win the All the Olympics.  All of it. I’ve noticed that every time I have someone pacing over that right shoulder for a little while, I get very determined to keep them there. Not so much if it’s clear they’re trying to pass & then I let them get on with it. But when someone has been using me for a pacer for AWHILE, and then decides to pass, I start pushing myself to keep them on my tail.  I may or may not be proud of winning what turned into an outright sprinting race to the finish at Tuesday’s group run over this issue. I said ‘Let’s finish this’ to the girl that had been pacing me up & over a large hill and started off fast. Then she sped up to pass. Then I showed her what my tailwind looked like. Then she said “wow, when you said to finish this, you REEALLY meant it”. I can really sprint when I need to. At that point she introduced herself & I’m pretty sure she’ll be looking for me at groups. I may have just got myself a good new running buddy.

Fuzz is back at my friend’s place. Life is back to normal. Lessons learned.