Sunday, May 27, 2012

Women's Run 5K - Check!

With Sarah & Rachel

Well, I found out today that I am not (yet) acclimated to running in the heat. Oh my.

We ran in 22C with a slight humidity and I quickly realized just how different summer training is going to be from winter training. This was a day to be hot & sweaty and with heavy legs. Good heavens - what is July running going to be like?

That being said, I had a good run. I'm pleased with the steady pace that I stuck to, and pleased with the amount of walking that I did - more that I expected but I am A-OK given the warm weather that I am not (yet) used to running in. 

I finished in 39:47 and I'm very pleased.

Funny thing about that - it's slower than my current PR of 39.06, but that time was set in a terribly uneven run that I really didn't enjoy. I almost don't even want to call that one my PR since my run was so terrible. 

However, it's faster than the 40.35 that I earned in the fabulous Around the Bay run, a great run. Perfect weather and I paced myself well.

So I'm pretty proud of besting that time despite the heat slowing me down.

Any advice for a new runner facing warm weather running for the first time?

Other than that, the past week has been pretty quiet on the exercise front -

Last Saturday - Rode to my gum (6K round trip), circuit/bootcamp

Last Sunday - Headed out for a 9am run with Stella but the heat (21C but baking hot sun) made us have to cut it short. We covered 3.8K of some running, a lot of flopping down on front lawns and a lot walking. After this, we run after dark - poor hot dog! Later - the 5 of us headed out of town to a provincial park. Did a hilly 4.5K hike in reasonably shady trails and had a picnic dinner.

This tree always amazes me. Completely hollow and somehow yet still alive.
It's slightly creepy shape earned it our nickname the "Tim Burton Tree"

Monday - Victoria Day! Puttered in the garden,  short dog walk, neighbourhood street party

Tuesday - Saturday - Between a gigantic blister (gardening without gloves, not a good move) and a generally crazy busy week, I ended up having a lot of days without exercise. 

Had a lot of fun on Friday, though - my son is crazy for parkour and I found a local studio that runs an intro/safety lesson. Brought him over and was amazed to see what he can do. He added some great moves to his reperatoire and picked up some good safety tips. Walking to school is about to get a lot more interesting!

With Ana

Sunday - Women's Run 5K! Followed by a 2K dog park walk and a birthday party for my nephew. Earned the 'awesome aunt' award - our present is that we will take him on a tree-top trekking & ziplining day this summer, and he's really pleased. Looking forward to it!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Week 4 and a Revelation

I mentioned last week that I was turning into a crankypants towards the end of Week 3 of Project Recommit to Weightloss. Wondered it if was fatigue with the process or maybe hormones.

That crankiness extended into this week, and things got kicked up a notch when I developed a ravenous appetite and started having dreams of serious cheat meals. I'm not on a strict diet by any stretch of the imagination and have small treats here and there. So I'm definitely not deprived - just watching what I eat and having smaller portions.

Which got me to thinking - is there a physical reason behind this?

Turns out there might very well be. It took some digging, but I found an article that indicates that our metabolism increases 5-10% for a few key days each month. Which means that, yes, your appetite will be higher during those days. Which just might mean that eating an additional and sensible 100-200 calories won't sabotage your weightloss efforts. Which also means that if you're feeling bloated during this time, you really do need to remember that it's water retention and not let your hormones trick you into thinking that you gained fat from eating a bit more.

This all seems very reasonable to me but I have to tell you - it was quite the revelation. Having 3 good weeks followed by 5 difficult days is a definite pattern for me from month to month. There have been months where I've been so discouraged by those 5 days that I've put weight loss efforts on hold for a few months afterwards.  

I am really hoping that I'll have a better perspective on things next month and beyond. I'll certainly allow myself an extra snack when I'm feeling hungry - and really try to have faith that it's not going to make me gain 5 pounds. 

Now, let me ask you - did you know about this? The women I've talked to this week didn't, and found it to be an eye-opener.

I do have to ask why it was really easy for me to find thousands of discussion threads online with women despairing over their (temporarily) ravenous appetites, but so hard to find any information about what could be the cause - nutrition, biochemistry, metabolism...? Something's behind it and I am astonished that we don't have clear answers. We could save a lot of women a lot of anxiety.

I only found one other article which touched this topic. It suggested that although every other species of primate (observed during a study) increased their food intake slightly during their cycle, that human females are different. Apparently we aren't physically hungry - it's that our monthly hormones make us depressed and so we eat for comfort.

Almost threw my laptop across the room when I ready that one.

Instead, I ranted a bit at my husband about the lack of research into women's health issues. OK, maybe it was more of a full-blown rant, but at least my computer didn't get hurt.

I've now made it to the end of week 4, and am back to feeling like I'm good to keep things up into week 5. I'm getting weighed and measured at my gym in the morning and am looking forward to seeing where I'm at.

Fingers crossed.

Here's this week's recap -

Saturday - 2.5K dog walk; family hike around High Park and a great game of catch; 1K dog walk before bed.

All tired out and waiting for the humans to leave so she can nap

Sunday - Mother's Day! 4.5K run with Stella, then out for brunch with my inlaws. Later - picked my son up from a Scout's camping trip. He came home BEAMING - they went to the archery range gfor the first time and he managed a bull's eye!

Monday - Curves bootcamp/circuit.

Tuesday - 2.2K run (9s and 1s) and 1K walk with the dog.

Wednesday - Rode to my gym and back (6K round trip); circuit/bootcamp insanity.

Thursday - Rest day! 2K dogpark walk and a game of dog soccer; played catch with my son for almost an hour after dinner.

If there's a tree, they'll climb it :-)

Friday - 4.5K run (10s and 1s), and it was a good run. Could have gone further and will aim for 5K next time. Really, really proud of that.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Recommitting to Weight Loss - Week 3 Crankypants

Today marks 3 full weeks of tracking everything I eat and sticking to the calories/fat/protein/carbs for the day. Eat a bit more on the days that I workout, but don't eat more than I earn through exercise.

And right on schedule, I'm getting cranky about it. The scale is moving in the right direction, but I'm having one of those days where I'm frustrated by the slow progress and tired of fighting the urge to eat whatever, whenever.

Yep, end of week three. I remember this. Think that this is a mix of diet burnout and hormones.

The good news? At the same time, I'm not feeling the urge to self-sabotage through overeating or going overboard on treats. I've worked too hard to blow three weeks worth of weightloss with a big bag of chips.

Speaking of treats - my husband just handed me a small square of chocolate and it's helped sweeten up my attitude ;-)

Writing about this hurdle has been helpful too. I'm feeling better now than I was at the beginning of the post. Certainly less surly.

I am dedicated to getting through this, and have made a plan to help get through week 4.

I've planning a cheat day for Mother's Day (we're going out to brunch with my husband's family...wish us luck with the crowds!). I'm scheduled to go for a run first, so my cheat day will be nicely guilt free.  

I've scheduled  an appointment with my trainer to be weighed and measured at the end of week 4. There's a strong chance that I'll be below my low weigh by then, and I'm highly motivated to do the work to see some new numbers on the official scale.

I've also been checking in with a couple of friends who are on the same journey. This helps dramatically - so helpful to remember that this IS hard work and that I'm not alone. Thanks, ladies!

Hope this week has been good to you. Here's my exercise recap:

Saturday - First long ride of the season. As I mentioned last week, this was a bit of a disaster. Next ride will be better!

Sunday - Got Stella to the forested dog park super early and took her on an exceptionally loooong walk. Later, drove out of town to pick up my daughter from camp.

Monday - 2K walk to the dog park and back. Curves bootcamp/circuit; 350m in the pool

Tuesday - rest day

Wednesday - Curves bootcamp/circuit

Thursday - 3.2K slow run

Friday - Rest day. Dropped my son off to go camping for the weekend, then hit the dog park.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Rookie Mistakes Galore!

Loving this bike trail
So, I went for my first long ride of the season today. 26.6K through the cemetery, along busy roads, along an excellent bike path that I've been meaning to try, down a riverside trail that I'd heard about, and back again.

Loving it even more for leading me through this forest

Aside from the sections of busy roads, it was a beautiful ride. Long rolling hills for a nice challenge. Birds, trees, water. Sunshine. Bright blue sky.

In the forest and beside the river. Good spot to stop for a snack!

But I made just about every rookie mistake that you can make on this ride. Oh, I did a few things wear a helmet and gloves and brought water...but that's about all I did right. Let's see...
  • Grazed on some leftover pizza for lunch before heading out rather than fuelling properly.
  • Didn't bring a snack even though I knew I'd be hungry soon.
  • Chugged water before heading out rather than hydrating in the hours leading up to the ride. 
  • Didn't stretch.
  • Didn't put on sunblock.
  • Made a pit stop en route for snacks but bought a Snickers bar (peanuts give energy!), a small bag of baked chips (need salt!) and a diet Coke (caffeine!).
  • Chugged my leftover water when I got home. 

Add all of that up and you have a ride plagued with low energy, tight legs, stiff back, sore hands, and an upset stomach. Followed by violent stomach cramps and throwing up after I got home (thanks to chugging that water). Which made recovery eating almost non-existent. Um, that means that snickers bar didnt put me over my calories for the day...not that this is the way to stick to plan though.

Honestly - you'd think that I have never exercised before.

I did make sure to take an Epsom salts bath afterwards, and I certainly learned my lesson about hydration, nutrition and stretching. So I can take some comfort in that, I suppose.

Make me feel better - have you ever made rookie mistakes like this, despite knowing better? I'd love to hear about it!

Recommitting to Weight Loss and Thinking About Rewards

I mentioned last week that I'd recommited to weight loss. Time to take off the few pounds that I've been gaining & losing all winter, and smash through the plateau where I've been stalled for some time.

Except it's not a plateau - it's simply where I've gotten comfortable. Which is 30-some pounds above my goal weight. Which is simply too much extra weight to be carrying around.

Consider this: a doctor told me recently that I've done well with losing 80+ lbs and generally keeping it off, but scolded that I'm still too fat and need to get to my goal weight. OK, that felt like a slap in the face, but she's absolutely right.

Took me a some time to wrap my head around it and generally adjust my attitude but I got there. Have spent the last two weeks logging everything in myfitnesspal and trying to eat no more than 100 (if any) of the extra calories that it grants me from exercise. Have had a few small treats here and there but only after making sure that they would fit into the plan, and made sure that I added them to the journal.

Does't look like much, but this was so incredible that I had it for dinner twice this week.
Veggie Bacon BLT salad with a touch of  grated cheddar and toasted sunflower seeds.

And gave myself a cheat day yesterday to avoid a larger potential slipup that I felt was brewing.

It's one hell of a battle, eh?

I find that I'm really great at going full blazes on things for 2 weeks and then flaming out by the end of week three. Which means that keeping on track this week (which is week 3) and next (week 4) will be key.

I've seen a lot of people list out rewards that they will treat themselves to when they reach different milestones. Sounds like a great idea...but I haven't been able to come up with anything that I really want!

My mindset has been more about how weight loss will bring the reward of less tender knees after a run and make this summer's Spartan Sprint more manageable. Oh...and that I'll buy myself this after the 50K ride that I'm doing in June:

I have Sporty Jewels' triathlon spinner already and wear it for inspiration for this summer's try-a-tris

OK - true confession time - a few days ago, I signed up for a half-marathon relay this fall, where a partner and I will each run 10.5K.  Mostly because I finally feel up for the challenge of a run longer than 5K...but...also so that I can earn the 10K spinner.

So clearly I'm good at rewarding physical fitness!

But mayyyybe I need to come up with a few rewards for weighloss milestones to encourage me to actually reach them. Milestones such as -
  • Dipping below my most recent low weight. This is almost in close! Think that getting weighed and measured at my gym will be reward enough for this one.
  • 5lbs below that low weight
  • Reaching Onederland
  • 100lbs lost
  • 105 lbs lost
  • 110 lbs lost
  • Goal! (113 lbs lost)
It's something to think about...hmmm...
What works to keep you on track? Do you reward yourself when you reach milestones?

Here's this week's recap -

Saturday - 1.5K + 2K dog walks in the AM, then out for a scheduled bike ride. Today was a chilly, windy day and I was very tempted to skip, but dragged my son out to come with me for 10K. Short distance but a good stretch of rolling hills made it a decent training ride. Glad we weren't out any longer - it was cold out!

Stopped on a bridge for a quick photo.
Hey - I just noticed that my helmet matches that jacket.

Hey Mom, I want to stop at this park and check out the rock climbing wall.
Me: You're going to want to jump off of it, aren't you?

Sunday - 2K dog park walk in the afternoon; 4.13K run (10s and 1s) with Stella in the evening.

Monday - 60 minute Curves/bootcamp extravaganza, followed by 300m in the pool. Cracked a problem I've been having with breathing (i.e. trying not to get water up my nose) thanks to this.

Tuesday - pseudo-rest day. 1K sprint with Stella.

Wednesday - Back to Curves for another bootcamp/circuit. I walk out there very, very sweaty and feeling very, very sculpted after these. This is good.

Thursday - Would have LOVED a rest day but the family calendar says that needs to be tomorrow, so took Stella for a run. We did a few sets of 8s and 1s (3.85K) under dark, menacing clouds and the occasional lightning flash. Made it home and to the front porch just as the first few rain drops came down. Really happy that we go that run in.

Friday - Rest day (finally!) and a road trip to take my daughter to Brownies camp.