Failure is NOT an option

I had a great run at the gym tonight, at least it was great for me.  I am really new to this whole running for pleasure as opposed to running from danger thing; a lot of what I have done to this point has been lots of trial and a little error (do not want too much error someone could get hurt).  I have done some reading and research to try to understand so I do not pull a bone or break a muscle, or something like that.

I think I mentioned in one of my earlier posts about how I really need to see how I am doing so I like the treadmill, tells me all the neat little stats I want to see.  I want to note that I am going to buy some sort of measuring device this weekend, I will write and let you know how that goes; could be dangerous, with one of those things EVERYONE will be timed for everything :).  Anyway, I like to see how I am doing.  In my attempt to get better I have tried many methods, some of them I read about, others I just tried thinking they might work.

Trying not to give you every boring detail of my workouts, here is a short version of things I have tried and what I did tonight (Please do not take these away as sound advice, as I mentioned earlier I am new to this).  My best time for an official 5K race is 42:22 on a pretty hilly course in a local park.  I want to get my time better AND I have to build distance to run 10k and half marathons I have planned over the next year.

1.  The longest run/walk I have done to date is five miles, I have done this twice.  Once I did not time it, the second time I was running/walking at a 15 minute mile pace.

2.  I spent two nights at the gym last week keeping my run to 30 minutes and trying to improve my run each time.  The first night I finished 2.15 miles in 30 minutes, the second night I finished 2.25 miles in 30 minutes.  Not much improvement, but I will take it.

3.  And finally – Tonight I decided to focus on doing half of a 5K or 1.55 miles.  I did that 1.55 miles in only 18 minutes!  That is roughly 11:40 minute mile, better than any mile time I have done to date, if I can push that time to a 5K I could finish my next 5K at about 36 minute; six minutes off my best time!  I want to make that my goal for one of my next two 5k races.

I am going to run/walk another five miles this weekend and see if I can get just a little better than my last, and then next weekend I am going to add a mile.

I will get to and finish my Half Marathon in February, my only goal for that right now is to finish!

174 days smoke free, 42 pounds down and 175 more nights sleep before the Disney Princess Half Marathon.

Leave the gun, take the cannoli

Ugh!  I am really getting frustrated with myself and my current eating habits.  I have lost just over 42 pounds since January and I am very happy with that.  My workout routines have gotten more frequent and intense lately and I think less about smoking every day.  But eating lately is making me crazy!

I know I have to get it in check, the time I know that the most is the time that a cookie is passing my lips.  I found out in January that I have Celiac disease, I cannot have gluten, which is pretty much in anything not grown in the ground or extracted from an animal.  With this discovery I changed my eating habits and felt like a different person, all in a very good way.

First starting out eating Gluten Free I stuck primarily to naturally GF food and ate a lot of fruits, vegetable, meats, dairy, that is a big part of why I started to lose weight and start exercising and a good part of the reason I am feeling so much healthier today.  Then I discovered that you can buy GF cake and waffles and cookies and I thought “oh, I have to try these”.  Any Gluten Free bread I have found to this point is not very good so that is easy to avoid, but GF cupcakes, they are yummy!

Until recently I have been able to keep these in my diet in moderation and with the increased physical activity it has not been an issue, I could “Have my cake and eat it too” but the past couple of weeks  no matter how much positive self talk I try I am definitely overeating!  Not to the point that I have gained weight but to the point that if I do not get it in check I will start to gain.

Whew!  I had to get that out there and want to thank anyone who hung in for the duration.  Any advice is certainly welcome, anyone who has gotten past this phase in your diet and successfully gotten back on track, I would certainly welcome your comments and feedback.  I am not worried about gaining all my weight back, my biggest concern is staying healthy and active.  I have truly fallen in love with running I will not give it up; that will keep me going but today, right now I would definitely leave the gun and take the cannoli and then go home and eat that cannoli with a nice glass of milk.

173 days smoke free, 42 pounds down and 176 more nights sleep before the Disney Princess Half Marathon.

We are a strange little band of characters

This is a late post tonight and probably a short one.  Tonight I spent time with my family, some of that time was at the gym with my daughter and some of the time was chatting online.

I enjoy spending time with my family no matter how that happens, my love for them is very deep.  We are definitely a strange little band of characters all very different in our opinions, and when we have an opinion we have no problem expressing it!  I think that is one of the things I love the most, really we could go at it pretty hardily and then have dinner and laugh.

Cherish your family, they may drive you crazy, you may disagree with them, and at some point you will get mad at them, but remember your “roots remain the same”.

A short note on my gym visit, I did 30 intense minutes on the treadmill and was happy with my distance and how I felt afterwards.

It can only be attributable to human error

Despite the title and the graphic above this is not a post about 2001: A Space Odyssey; both are quotes from the movie and after feeling a bit controlled and dependent on the machines tonight, the theme just seemed appropriate.  Hope the reference is not too nerdy.

When I started working out to improve my health and lose weight I spent a good deal of time working on the strength equipment at the gym.  I could plug-in my number in the computer, it would help me setup my workout and tell me when I reached my goal and tell me the next machine to use.  Very convenient and very helpful for someone new to all of the gym stuff.

At that time I was still a smoker and dreaded the cardio!  Although I knew I needed to get on the stationary bike or the treadmill I really did not want to at the time.  As my desire to walk and run continued to grow, I quit smoking and started a cardio routine of elliptical, bike, treadmill, etc.  and moved my strength training to free weights, the exercise ball and even some yoga.

I have focused more and more on my walking and running and started spending less time with weights and core workouts, making them just a cursory part of my routine at the end or in the middle of some cardio.  Over the past couple of weeks I could definitely see and feel the difference in my arms, core and legs and not in a good way and I knew I needed to take more time on weights and core.

Tonight I walked into the Y and as I walked towards the treadmill I heard the FitLinxx machine say – “Just what do you think you’re doing Beth?”  I tried to fight it, tried to resist but resistance was futile and I plugged in my number and had a great weight and core workout.  So now knowing that I need a little disciplined assistance to keep to this part of my fitness regiment I will bend to the will of the machines and spend at least one day a week with them.

171 days smoke free, 42 pounds down and 178 more nights sleep before the Disney Princess Half Marathon.  “Fitness – if it came in a bottle, everybody would have a great body.”  ~Cher

I am Iron Man!

I am not Iron Man as the title of my post implies, nor do I have an Ironman Tri on my bucket list.  I did however go watch the running portion of the Ironman in our city today and it was inspiring.  As most of you know an Ironman consists of a swim, a bike, and a marathon length run.  The run portion of our city’s Ironman goes through the streets of the city two blocks from my house and I decided to walk down and humbly support the participants.

The location I chose to view the race was right before the 12 mile marker for the run.  To watch these amazing athletes was nothing short of breathtaking!  I have only participated in a 5K I cannot pretend to know how they felt at that point but I can tell you I found myself cheering and shouting words of encouragement.

These athletes are truly admirable and I am so glad I got to see their faces as they worked towards that finish line goal, although at that point what they have accomplished is astounding with or without a finish line.  Next year I am volunteering I want to be around that energy all day not just for the 60 minutes or so that I watched.  I also want to be at the finish line and meet every one of them, get their stories.  OK that last part sounds a bit stalkerish; I promise I will not follow anyone home.

170 days smoke free, 42 pounds down and 179 more nights sleep before the Disney Princess Half Marathon.  “There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.” – Beverly Sills

Ease on down the road

One more run down towards my half marathon goal.  Today I ran my 2nd officially timed 5K race.  I ran the race at the same place where I ran my first one.  This course is at a local park with many hills, it is so easy to forget how hard it is to run uphill. I beat my first time!

When I did the 5K at the end of June I ran the course in 43:38, today I had an official chip time of 42:22!  Shaved over a minute off my time, and my daughter was there at the finish line to cheer me on, it was an awesome feeling!  I placed 10th in my age group, 44-49 and 290 overall out of a field of 700.  I am not exactly an Olympic athlete BUT considering I just took up running a few months ago at the age of 48, I am very happy.

Already signed up for the next one, on a much flatter route, it is a few weeks away, hoping to do a little better than this one.  Each incremental improvement, no matter how small, makes me feel amazing.  I have a friend who participated in her first Half Iron Man today; she was nervous, a little scared and uncertain how she would do. When someone suggested perhaps she should wait and do one at a later date this is what she said – “It is ok for me to not finish, it is not ok for me to not start.”  I thought that was a pretty strong statement about overcoming fear and doubt and allowing yourself the courage to move forward.

169 days smoke free, 42 pounds down and 180 more nights sleep before the Disney Princess Half Marathon.  “It’s the job that is never started that takes the longest to finish.” – J. R. R. TOLKIEN

Why do you do it?

 

My family and I did a fun little run last night sponsored by a local athletic store.  Myself, both of my daughters and my daughters boyfriend paid $5 each to participate in the run, a portion of that money goes to a local charity and we got a free beer and a “Run to Live Lager” pint glass to take home.  My husband came along to show his support and afterwards we had a nice dinner at the pub.  The store sponsors these about once a month and we have agreed to get out there and run for beer each month.  Fun night out that can count as a workout for me!

Got to thinking this morning about why I do it, why I have started running and why I continue to do it.  Last night I did not really run for the beer, I actually ended up having one of their custom crafted sodas, I ran to have fun with my family and to push myself to do something I had not done before.  In addition I hope to be a better fitness role model for my daughters.  My daughters are in their 20s while they were growing up I was not exactly a physical fitness role model and in turn did not teach them many good ways to take care of themselves.  I am hoping that fun things like last night, and the 5K we are doing this weekend and of course the Princess Half we are doing will help change that!

They are smart young ladies and can take care of themselves but our work as parents never really ends.  Besides they are awesome to hang out with and we generally laugh ourselves silly when we are together.

So, why am I doing what I am doing?  Why am I taking this journey and changing my life?  I am doing it for me, I am doing it to experience something new, I am doing it because I thoroughly enjoy it, I am doing it to feel better, AND I am doing it for my family.  If I get to have a lot of fun along the way that is all the better!

168 days smoke free, 42 pounds down and 181 more nights sleep before the Disney Princess Half Marathon.  “If you can dream it, you can do it.” – Walt Disney

 

Slutty Brownies and flavored vodka

Sometimes you just have to take the night off, last night was one of those nights.  Both of my adult (I clarify this because this post involves drinking) daughters were home visiting last night and they convinced me that we needed to get drunk and bake.

I need to describe to you what we baked, it is called a Slutty Brownie and it is why our activities for this upcoming evening will involve running before dinner.

I did not eat one of these brownies, I cannot have gluten, but just the look and smell of them was enough to make me kind of want to chance getting sick (I did not).  Here is what is in these  Slutty brownies –

Chocolate Chip cookie mix – we used the kind in a pouch but I am guessing any would work

Oreo cookies – small package is enough

Any brownie mix

You layer a 13×9 pan with the Chocolate Chip cookie mix, then add a layer of Oreo cookies and then pour in the brownie mix (tell me that does not sound amazing!).  That is pretty much it, you bake it according to the brownie mix (we added 5 minutes).  I did not eat any but I can tell you that the three other adults in my house ate about half the pan last night.

Did you know that there is Fruit Loop flavored vodka?  Neither did I before last night.  Seems kind of seedy, but it is tasty if you are an adult of age to consume alcohol.

After our delightfully fun night off from fitness and diet we are going to combine fun and fitness tonight!  At 6:00 PM we are meeting at a local pub to participate in the Brew Mile.  Here is how it works – $5 donation to a local charity, run one mile, get one beer or non-alcoholic (which I will have) beverage of your choice.  We are doing it as a family it will be fun to do a short run, hang out and have dinner and a beverage.  Unlike last nights activities I can count this as prep for my 5K this weekend.

“Live and work but do not forget to play, to have fun in life and really enjoy it.” – Eileen Caddy

To sleep, perchance to dream

I got the most amazing nights sleep last night, my head hit the pillow I turned over and I was asleep.  I love when that happens!

I think there are times when I underestimate a good nights sleep; today is not one of those times.  I do not always get a great nights sleep, when I do it is thoroughly appreciated.

Yesterday I took my run back to the gym and finished a 5K on the treadmill in 39:39 or roughly a 12:45 mile.  Best to date!  I went home excited and happy about this accomplishment.  Between my satisfaction with this and being tired from the physical exertion, my body gave me no choice but to have a good nights sleep.

This is one more reason to continue to get physically and mentally fit, if I am happy and content at the end of the day, and my body is satisfied with the attention I paid to it that day I will fall asleep without all that doubt, self talk and worrying.  Seems so simple and makes so much sense, really because it is simple we just make things complicated.

Satisfy your mind and body today and have an amazing nights sleep tonight!

166 days smoke free, 42 pounds down and 183 more nights sleep before the Disney Princess Half Marathon.

Laugh, and the world laughs with you

Music and humor, I am not sure I would survive getting fit without these two things.  Music feeds my energy and humor, well hell I do not think I could do anything without a little humor.

Picture this..I am running, doing what used to be my morning routine which was a brisk walk or run in the neighborhood carrying 1-2 pound hand weights.  One morning during this refreshing run I was moving along nicely when a small bug flew in my eye.  When a bug flies into or near your eye what is your reaction?  That is right you swat at it, but usually when you swat you are not carrying hand weights like I was that fine spring morning.  The bug flew at me I swatted and had a shiner for a week.

This incident happened about 15 years ago and yet it still acts as a funny story and a stark reminder that I am sure my resemblance to the bottom picture above is far more likely than the top one :).  I do not care though I have to be able to laugh at myself and all of the lighter things in life.  No matter how I look when I run as long as I am doing it and working towards my goals that is all that matters.

After more than a decade away from keeping fit it feels amazing to be moving again.  Five more days until my next 5K and I am so excited!

If you stay with me, in a week or two I will share the roller blade incident; a little more harrowing than the bug but nonetheless pretty funny.