Monday, July 21, 2014
I always do my weekly blog on Sundays, but yesterday my internet connection was not cooperating, and I decided it was a sign that I should go to bed early. Which felt good, so I was glad I did.
Had a really busy week with lots of things going on at work, some long workdays, and several evening activities. I was ready to feel exhausted. I guess just feeling prepared for it was half the battle, though, because it turned out fine. It was really busy, but all went well.
I missed one of my runs, but did a little bit longer on my other two runs to make up for it. I am about a month from my first half-marathon and feel well prepared. I have been trying to do hilly routes on my short runs. My distance runs have been on the bike paths which are pretty flat. I have yet to put together both hills and longer distance, and am debating whether to give up my beautiful bike path route this weekend so that I can get in a 15 mile with both hills and long distance. I really love it when my long runs are away from roads, traffic and stop lights. I can lose myself in the solitude of a quiet, tree lined path for hours and it actually feels like a treat. Somehow I "feel" the distance more when I go along roads. But ... I do want to feel well prepared for my half marathon, and that means hitting those hills.
I think I have found my ratio for distance runs. Using the GymBoss interval timer has really helped me with staying consistent throughout my jog. When going by feel, I was taking short walk breaks in the beginning and longer at the end. And hitting a wall in the middle. I'm anxious to try another long run this weekend with a 5 minute jog/ 2 minute walk ratio. Last time I started with shorter walk breaks and adjusted it a few times during my jog. Which I thought went OK, but when I later tried doing the longer walk breaks throughout, I found I felt better and ran a better overall time. But the longest I've done with this method so far has been 8 miles, so this weekend's 15 mile will be the test.
Need to stay in the mindset that it is best to start out a long run slow, so that I can keep up the pace or even pick it up later. No point in starting quicker if it just slows you down later! Patience is hard. But I am happy that I have the stamina, if I do get over-tired, to take a longer walk break and then be ready to keep going. I know I will get there, no matter what!
Should know this already. It is similar to weight loss. If you try a crash diet, you might have early success, but you'll pay for it later. It is much better to set realistic goals, keep steady with them over time, and find long term success.
Patience, patience, patience. I will be the tortoise.
Sunday, July 13, 2014
And it actually felt good, especially the getting done part :-)
From the feedback of several people on the Jeff Galloway Training for any Length Race Team, I bought and used a GymBoss interval timer for the first time today. Loved it! So much easier than relying on my phone app to manage my run/walk intervals. I changed the ratio several times during the jog, which I never would do on my phone app for fear of making the program quit. Also, I was able to set the timer to buzz and clip it on my waist band, which is so much less annoying than hearing the interval changes on my earbuds. I get tired of that automated voice in my ear!
I waited out some potential thunder storms this morning and so didn't get going until about noon, but thankfully chose a beautiful wooded trail along a river. I haven't done this trail since last year, because I have to drive to it, but it is so beautiful! It was shady much of the way, and a lovely breeze at times, too. The two long stretches of full sun and no breeze killed me, and I mostly walked mile 13 to 14 because it was a long, slow uphill as well as being in full sun. But I got re-energized when I hit the wooded area again and finished it out well from mile 14 to 15.
Mostly, I'm just proud that I made it 15 miles and was still on my feet and feeling good at the end!
I kept moving past many of these lovely rest areas along the way out and back, as well as a tempting splash pad at a park along the route, but made good use of the rest area that fell right at my 15 mile mark. Yay! I made it!
And these pictures were from my very enjoyable mile walk back to my car after I finished. This is one of my favorite trails! So pretty!
This last bit of trail is not along the river, but most of it has pretty views of the river, as well as nice trees and flowers. Need to remember that it is well worth the drive, when I have time to get out there and back!
Just over a month until my half-marathon. I've definitely noticed that my "wall" of slowing down and needing extra walk time is moving farther and farther out, even in hot weather.
Also, today was the first time ever that I didn't stop for a restroom break on a longer than 7 mile run. Thankfully my turn-around point hit at a handy fire station, where I asked if I could refill my water bottle. I had been conservative with my water sipping because I knew there wouldn't be water along the trail, but was so glad I found a place to refill. The trail back would have felt longer otherwise, especially that hot uphill climb!
Along with my pause to refill water, I snacked on a Larabar. That was the most delicious thing I think I've ever eaten! Having started later than planned, I jogged through lunch time and was getting pretty hungry! I am often frustrated with the tiny pockets in jogging shorts and skorts, but as I increase my long run distance, I begin to see the advantage. It would be awfully tempting if I could fit, say, a double cheeseburger in that pocket instead of just a small, healthy snack bar. :-)
Going to be a really busy week, so I'm glad I had today to take a long jog. Now I feel tired, unstressed and relaxed. Ready to get to bed early(ish) after just a couple more quick chores, and start the new week tomorrow.
Sunday, July 06, 2014
The other day I was contemplating that I am almost to my three year Spark anniversary, and probably should be frustrated that I have not quite met my goal weight. Been hovering just above it for quite a while now. But I'm not. In fact, I sort of lost sight of that weight goal completely. I had to look at my start page to see what it was.
Yes, I did lose just over 30 pounds. Most of it in a smooth, steady way during the first year, and more slowly in the second, but very little in the third year. Yet it is not driving me crazy to finish it off, and in fact, I don't really care about that weight goal anymore. Somewhere along the line I sort of moved into maintenance mode without meaning to. Why? Because I feel healthy, I feel fit, I feel happy.
But I don't mean that I'm done. In fact, I hope never to be done. At the beginning I was very focused on weight loss. I wanted to do it slow, I wanted to do it right, I wanted to do it permanently, and I wanted to do it in a healthy way, but weight loss was what I wanted. And probably it had to start that way, because I needed some of that weight off to feel healthy again. However, after that initial push, as I started to feel better, I shifted my focus. Many times. At first I did my own thing, focusing on the principles outlined in The Spark, but not using the online site much and rarely interacting in the Spark community.
Slowly that changed. As it did, I found so many new goals and things to focus on. Every few months I come up with something new. I have done a cooking challenge, the organized life challenge, a challenge to eat "real" foods, went vegetarian for a month, joined the outdoor group that got me walking outside regularly, which then led me to the 5k challenge, and then jogging regularly. Now I am training for a half-marathon, participating in yoga regularly, and still focusing on mostly eating home-cooked food from "real" ingredients.
Somewhere in all that, the number on the scale lost its significance. I just want to feel and be healthy. I enjoy interacting online with so many people who also enjoy being healthy, to hear from others about their goals and their new focus, what they've learned and are excited to share.
Love this Spark community and all its positive energy. I hope to always be a part of it and continue this journey (and as many side roads along the way as interest me) always. I wouldn't mind losing a few more pounds, but as long as I am learning and practicing healthy habits, feeling good and energetic, I will be happy.
The number has lost its importance. So to those of you who might just be starting out, or might be frustrated with your progress toward whatever goal you are currently focused on, I'd say this: There is no finish line. Forget about the end point and focus on the journey. Getting there is ALL the fun, so don't bother to hurry. Take all the detours that interest you, as long as they keep you moving in the right direction. After a while, you might forget where you were going. And yet have more fun getting there.
Enjoy your trip!
Sunday, June 29, 2014
Got my long jog in Saturday - 12 miles - early enough to just have the heat and humidity catching me at the end and on my walk home. Whew! Felt stronger this time than when I last ran that distance, although I'm sure it was at least partly due to getting it done earlier. That heat and humidity really hits hard.
I am pretty conservative about running in heat. I actually enjoy it, but I take extra and longer walk breaks, and on a long run will even stop completely and cool off in the shade for a bit if necessary. Breaking up the distance still builds strength and stamina, as long as I get the miles done in the end. But, I have been trying to run earlier since my half-marathon will be at 6:30 am. And of course for that I want to be able to get it done without having to stop completely. I already know I can do it, but hope to get a bit stronger and faster so I will not have any doubts as I set out that morning.
Yoga today felt great. Just what I needed after yesterday's long jog. Did some tough work with light weights and lots of arm poses, and the room was humid, so I was dripping with sweat but well stretched and relaxed by the end. Went from the yoga class to the outdoor pool for a refreshing dip before I headed out to run my afternoon errands.
Have a bit of computer work to do before I can call it a day, so I am still debating whether to join my local running store's 6 am coffee run tomorrow. It is nice to get up and get it done, but if I can't get to bed early it cuts my sleep short. And I'm not really a social runner. Usually I just run on my own, and socialize with the group afterward over an iced green tea at the nearby Starbucks. I like chatting with other runners, but not while I'm actually running. One of the reasons I've enjoyed jogging is that it drives out other thoughts and gives me quiet solitude. Anyway, if I don't run tomorrow morning, I'll push my jog back to Tuesday after work.
I have been dong better with my eating lately. Enjoying the pressure cooker and have been doing more brown rice and veges. Also grilling a lot since the weather has been good. I have been craving watermelon and cantaloupe, so I need to get them on my grocery list for next week. I have not been tracking my food for a while now, which I should, but I am not really in weight loss mode while I am training for this half-marathon. I am more focused on eating healthy, nutritious food than on how much I am eating. Still ... Tracking keeps me more aware of what I put in my mouth. I ought to do it, but just haven't been making it a priority.
Yet, I feel healthy and strong, and happy with my fitness level.
Sunday, June 22, 2014
Almost forgot it was blog day, so I will keep this short and sweet. Got everything done and ready for the start of the week. I was just about to download a new book to start on before bed when
I realized I hadn't done my weekly blog earlier in the day.
Had a great weekend, but had to shuffle some of my usual Saturday "chores" to Sunday since I was busy with the family yesterday. Had to be creative last week to get all my exercise and home-cooked meals in, because my schedule was all flipped around, but I did it. Yay! And I felt the difference. What could have been a hectic, stressful week just wasn't because I planned ahead and rearranged things ahead of time, rather than being frustrated about not getting my usual workouts and cooking done in my usual way.
I still am not really settled into a new summer routine, anyway. I have changed around my workout times and cooking schedule a few times and am still debating what works best. So it's a work I progress, but the important thing is that I am staying consistent in the amount of exercise and in my eating, even while juggling the schedule of how to get it done. Still struggling with getting to bed eight hours before getting up, but I will make it tonight.
Hope everyone else is enjoying summer as much as I am!
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