Hitting a wall

Here I am again. I’ve been here so many times before. I’ve hit the wall and am drained of energy and drive. I’ve been working at a job that requires a 2 hour commute each way, five days a week for about four years. That means that during an average week, I spend 20 hours a week in the car. You may have heard all of this before. You may be wondering why I’ve been doing this so long and/or what sort of head trauma I’ve suffered. To answer the why, I’m going to cheat a little and borrow from an email that I sent to EB.

Just a heads up, EB and I will say “leans in” before we’re about to confide something, so when you see that in my email, you won’t think I accidentally pasted those words out of place. Also, I did submit an application for a position half an hour from home yesterday and I make reference to that in this email.

It’s funny, I’m about to make a parallel between my attitude about food and my attitude about a new job, but leans in I’m eating like crap today. It’s because I’m so tired (which will tie in later) and I’ve made a conscious decision to eat junk food (it’s in addition to healthier foods, but my gut is still protesting), so it’s not like I’ve tossed my good attitude out the window, but I still think this upcoming parallel is sort of ironic. (I looked it up because I wanted to be sure I was using that correctly.)
Parallel:
My attitude about food, fitness and weight loss used to be, “If I’m not perfect, it’s not worth it.” Now it’s a much more practical and laid back approach that focuses on my health and happiness. There are many paths to health and fitness and I found one I can live with.
My attitude about finding a new job used to be, “I must find THE. PERFECT. JOB. or I’ll just be selling myself short again.” Now I can see that even though there are wonderful things about this job and these people, they are not the be-all end-all. And even though I would love to find a job that I would be just as happy with, I know there are many paths to happiness and so even if the environment is a bit different, being that close to home, getting more sleep and having more time for my LIFE would be worth it.
All of this seems obvious when I write it out, but it’s one of those things that, even if the logic is sound, it doesn’t always make its way to the heart right away. I know it’s made its way to my heart now because instead of just thinking, “I don’t want to come here any more, I don’t want to get up early, I don’t want to drive so far…” I’m actually picturing going to this place close to home. In fact, I almost drove there on the way home yesterday, but was so tired I talked myself out of it. Still, I looked it up on the map and have pictured myself driving there. As I was getting dressed this morning I started thinking about how even when [E3] has 7 days off in a row and I don’t get weekend time to myself, I’ll have something like 3-4 hours to myself every night he does work, so it won’t matter as much.
Oh and that application? Was long. Like, really long. Government long. But I did it and didn’t feel nearly as frustrated as I’ve felt in the past.
Even if this isn’t the place or the job, I can feel it in my bones that the right one is close.
You see, my head and my heart were not on speaking terms regarding this matter until, it seems, yesterday. Oddly, while I feel relieved that I feel ready to move on, my body and heart have now gone into a sort of grieving period. All the bone weariness that I’ve been staving off so that I could do this day in and day out will no longer be silenced and really? All I want to do is be quiet, cry and sleep. Well, and write.

I’m still trying to figure out where exercise and eating well fit into things right now. It may be that in a day or two, I’ll be right as rain. Last night, though, I went to bed at 9:00 and woke up twice from nightmares. I plan to go to bed early again tonight and have plans to do a walk/run with a friend after work tomorrow (although in truth, I haven’t the heart for it). I just want to honor the part of me that needs rest and healing.
Run on, y’all.
I’ll catch up.

 

 

Operation 130 – Week 4 – Back from Vacation

Hi there, Friends! I went on vacation to NYC for the first time ever from the 13th to the 17th and it was wonderful! It wore me out – we walked a total of 32.06 miles in four days and I barely had energy to shower each night before passing out – but it was wonderful. I don’t really feel like going into the details of the trip. It was fun, but I don’t have the drive to make a post out of it. I really just want to get back into the swing of things here with my fitness and weight loss.

As you know from my previous post, I had been recovering from a recurrence of calf pain. The DIY myofascial release really helped, nearly immediately, but I kept doing “active recovery” by abstaining from running, yet walking plenty. It worked out well. On Thursday, June 19th, I gave my C25K, Week 4/Day 3 training another go and had great success! The next day I did nothing – I was still tired and ran errands after work, so by the time I got home, I was really pooped. Saturday I did a walk/run and then some weight training. I went 4.27 miles on my walk/run and at the beginning, after a 5 minute warm-up walk, would run a minute, then walk a minute. I wanted to work on my stamina, but not push myself too hard and cause more pain. I don’t recall how frequently I did this, but I didn’t do it throughout the walk and I didn’t suffer any pain.

Sunday I did Week 5/Day 1, but I didn’t do it until about 11:30 a.m. and it was warm and humid out. YUCK. The running stretches keep increasing, too. I ran 5 minutes, with a three minute walk, then a 6 minute run, three minute walk and ended on a 5 minute run. It was hard. The hills don’t help. Tomorrow’s training starts with the same 5R/3W cycle again, but then there’s an EIGHT minute run followed by a 5 minute walk, then another 5 min. run. Ok, 8 minutes doesn’t sound like much, but it’s the longest I’ll have run in AGES and I’m a little nervous.

Enter My New Plan.

Even though the campus rec center is closed during the summer, the locker rooms are still open and the buildings open to around 7:00 a.m. I will rise early (4:00-4:15), throw on running clothes, grab a pre-packed bag of toiletries and work clothes and hop in the car to drive to work. I should get to work around 6:00 (assuming a departure time of 4:30), where it will be light, still relatively cool and absolutely less hilly. I’ll do my run around campus, then fetch my stuff from the car and hit the showers. I like this plan because it sets me up for success for the day. I’m not worrying all day about whether I’ll have the energy to run when I get home either.I’m feeling very good about this plan!

Speaking of feeling good let’s get to my Goals, etc…

Goals:

  • Continue with my C25K Training
  • Continue with my newly implemented weight training
  • Get more sleep (an ongoing issue)

Successes:

  • I only gained about 2 lbs in NYC
  • I’ve lost those two plus almost two more
  • I feel like I’ve found my groove on this journey toward a healthier, fitter me

Needs Improvement:

  • Sleep
  • Sleep
  • Sleep

Weight loss: 1.8 lbs.
Total loss: 7.4
Current weight: 183.4

Run on, y’all!

 

Operation 130 – Week 2 – Becoming more grounded

Note to the reader: I began writing this post early in the week – I had things to share and didn’t want to forget them. Of course, as often happens, things came up later in the week (in this case, today), that gave me even more to think about. I will do my best to see that this post flows well, but I make no promises – just a heads up.

Imitation: The Sincerest Form of Flattery

Maybe you’ve picked up on the fact that I think EB has some stellar ideas that I like to copy. God love her, she’s totally fine with this and has not once called me a copy cat. Coming up with a title for my weight loss/fitness endeavor is one of those ideas. It took about 7 minutes of tossing ideas around with EB before I settled on Operation 130 because my goal is to get to 130 lbs (about 59 kg). Once I get there (or perhaps before) I will reassess and see if I like how I feel at that weight or if I think I need to tweak things.

The Same, But Different

In spite of my best intentions, I didn’t get to sleep early any night this week AND I was premenstrual. As usual, this resulted in a tired, impatient, crabby Cassia. I indulged in A LOT of Diet Cherry Dr. Pepper and on Wednesday? Well, let me just show you:

6.4 snack 1

My morning snack

How’s that for a morning snack? I mean, it’s not horrible because I didn’t go crazy on the portions, but not great, right? I ate the lunch that I brought, which was healthy and involved no candy, but my afternoon snack and “dinner” were another story altogether:

6.4 snack 2 and dinner

Afternoon snack and the dinner of champions

Brilliant, right? My total calories for the day were 2404. (Cue the sad trombone.) But there are many bright spots in this experience:

  1. I didn’t throw in the towel. I decided to eat those Fritos for dinner (without doing the math, I should add) and then did my run for the day instead of saying, “Fuck it,” and camping out on the couch.
  2. Rather than thinking, “I’ve screwed my week! Oh woe is me!” I turned to “the Google” and found this:
Calorie calculation

Still at a loss – but in a good way

Yes, even without the run, I was under the calories I need to maintain weight and with that run, I brought it down to a net of 1674, which is still in the loss zone! And this is just one day. I did mostly better the rest of the week.

Sometimes Learning Hurts – Observations After Sunday’s Run

In my obsession with weight loss, it may have gotten lost that this blog is theoretically about my running. Well I’ve been plugging along, having resumed my Couch to 5K training after recovering from the severe calf pain I experienced in April. Then I started thinking that I need to add some strength training for toning and because I’d like some definition in my arms all over. (Speaking of which, I saw this chick with BITCHIN’ arms on Thursday. They were trim with defined muscle and I thought, “THAT is what my arms are gonna look like.” #ExtrinsicMotivation) I’ve done strength training before and I have some weights at home, but I find myself getting carried away in trying to create routines and wondering if I’m covering every muscle group, etc…and I get bogged down. Also, with my desk job and long commute, I needed a way to get in some more steps in the evening #FitBitAddict, yet not eat up what little time I have at home. I thought, “I’ll do Jillian’s Ripped in 30!” Oh boy! How brilliant! That was an excellent solution!

Except that it wasn’t.

In doing Ripped in 30 on non-run days, I was essentially taxing my legs in the same way that running was on days when I should’ve been resting them. I would experience some discomfort in my left calf, but would massage it, ice it and/or take an anti-inflammatory and feel better the next day. Except what is pain telling us? That something isn’t right. So I was basically telling my body to shut the hell up and expecting it to just fall in line and play nice.

Thankfully, I do a lot of reading and podcast listening and realized that maybe what I really needed was to take it easy. I was possibly increasing my activity level too quickly. If I wanted to keep running, I should just walk on the days in between, so I skipped RI30 on Thursday and just walked on Saturday. Unfortunately, I was a bit too late, and perhaps four miles was a bit much for my Saturday walk.

I was all going well when I went out for my run today – week 5/day 1 of my C25K. I was feeling great! The cycle went like this:

  • 5 min. warm-up walk
  • 5 min. run
  • 3 min. walk
  • 6 min. run
  • 3 min. walk
  • 5 min. run
  • 5 min. cool down

However, right in the middle of my 6 minute run my left calf started to ache a bit. I say my calf, but it’s really the fascia, which is a different sort of pain, and could mean compartment syndrome. Anyway, as I was running it would ache and then ease off, then hurt worse, then ease off – and like many other runners, I ran through it, taking those moments when it felt better as encouragement. I convinced myself the pain was different than before, when I’d had to go to the Orthopedist. I finished my 6 minutes and started the walk cycle thinking, “Wow. That’s really uncomfortable.” I stopped to rub my leg and dig my knuckle into that tight, sore spot hoping to loosen it up. I started walking again and then running and my leg let me know that this was a bad idea. Then I knew I was lying to myself – this was exactly the same as before and the more I walked, the more it hurt. I was pissed.

In the beginning of this training run I could tell that my stamina had improved tremendously. I could feel it when my lungs opened up after the first minute or so of running and I started to feel like I could run forever. I love that feeling. So it was especially disappointing to realize I wouldn’t be able to finish my training and to think about compartment syndrome and how long would I need to rest this time…the spiral of negativity was a real treat.

A Pragmatic Approach

When I first experienced this in April and Dr. P. said the dreaded words, “It could be Compartment Syndrome,” I freaked a little. I was praying that it was just a minor strain. The All-Knowing Internet said that it takes MONTHS to get over a fasciotomy. Thankfully, while I was still resting the leg, I ran into one of the students where I work and she’s had a bilateral fasciotomy. She said she was running again in three weeks and not to believe what I read on the internet – it had freaked her out, too. So now I’m not so scared of this procedure (although don’t look it up unless you like gross pictures of flayed calves *shudder*), but I would still like to avoid surgery, if possible, and ease this discomfort.

While not everyone might agree with alternative treatments, I did some research supporting the idea of myofascial release to ease leg pain and came across a DIY video on YouTube. I’m going to give this a try for the next few days and see if it helps. It definitely helped to massage my leg firmly and roll it with the stick earlier in the week, so I’m hoping to work this out in a non-invasive way. By the way, in trying to find a picture of the stick (mine is actually the Pro-Tec Roller Massager), I found this great blog post all about self-massage tools for runners, if you’re interested. I happen to have four of those things! In addition to the myofascial release, I”m going to take it easy this week because this weekend I’ll be hoofing it all over NYC and I really need to be in the best shape I can be.

In Summation

I’m much more calm this week. I’ve encountered the obstacles that arose before now and whether it is due to previous experience or due to my commitment to stick with my plan to get fit and lose weight, I don’t feel like any of this is a reason to quit. It’s a reason to scale back for a while and find other coping skills besides chocolate and salt. It means I may not get to run the Liberty 5K and beat my time this year, but it doesn’t mean I can’t run another 5K later in the year, after I’ve fully recovered, and set a new PR. Beating my Liberty 5K time is a goal for me and it got me running again, and that’s good. The new time may just have to wait until next year. It actually fills me with an impish glee to imagine how much better my time will be after another year of training and achieving my weight loss goals.

Goals:

  • Work on rest and recovery for my leg
  • Get to bed early this week
  • Keep myself in check in NYC so I don’t undo all my progress

Successes:

  • Improved stamina
  • Better attitude about setbacks
  • Being selective with my weight loss discussions – not talking it to death with anyone who will stand still long enough. This is important to me because I can really drain my own energy doing this – especially because it invites input that is not always welcome.

Needs Improvement:

  • Sleep
  • Sticking to the plan
  • Listening to my body

Weight loss: 1 lb.
Total loss: 5.6 lbs.
Current weight: 185.2

Interesting note about my weight – I’d started this weight loss journey before my father passed in March. My highest weight was 198, which I’d forgotten, but My Fitness Pal reminded me. I’ve actually come down 12.8 lbs./5.81 kg.

Run on, y’all. I’ll be here cheering you on!

Be careful what you wish for

Remember how yesterday I said I was a little disappointed that I wasn’t more sore from doing Ripped in 30? Guess what. I hadn’t waited long enough. By the time I got home I felt the soreness coming on and it’s set up camp in my muscles today. Just in time for me to do Ripped in 30 again tonight! Whee!

I’m actually looking forward to it, though. I like feeling stronger and like I’m doing something good for myself.

Lucky you, dear reader! I started this post this morning, then actually had to do my job, so I set it aside. I had started a list of things I dislike about being overweight. It was really upbeat and fun (that’s sarcasm, just in case you were wondering), but by the time I got back around to it, I thought better of it. Besides, the two of you who read this likely already know my list.

Instead, I’ll just say that I’m looking forward to getting home and hangin’ with Jill and the crew to, as they say, get Ripped in 30…or at least get less fluffy. 😛

Run on, y’all!

Would you look at that?!

Nomenclature:

Before I get into my post, I’d like to share that I will be changing how I refer to my loved ones because even though I think StY, StE and my beloved are fun ways to refer to my sisters and boyfriend, they’re actually a pain to type. I will now be referring to my younger sister as EB, my older sister as HK and my boyfriend as E3. This maintains any anonymity they want while making it far easier for me to type.

Ok, now that business is out of the way, how about a progress report?

Week in Review:

Food:
I struggled this past week. It has been my habit to start strong in the early part of the week, then not get enough sleep, feel run down and make bad choices. Same thing happened this past week, dang it. I went to sleep early the first two nights and stuck to plan the following days at work. Then E3 had a rough day at work and needed to talk/vent, so I stayed up a little longer one night mid-week and then it feels like my plan stayed in bed while I went to work each day. I didn’t get enough sleep Wednesday or Thursday nights, then spent the next two days justifying eating candy, a chicken tender wrap (half of it), french fries and I drank lots of wine. Oh, and there was the Starbucks grande non-fat, no-whip peppermint mocha (I only drank half of that, but it was still over 200 cal’s). And the McDonald’s sausage biscuit and hash browns (I ate all of that – those biscuits are like crack to me). I won’t lie. It all tasted great. But I was left feeling bloated and run down. Some of that was due to inadequate sleep, but most of it was due to the crap I poked into my face hole.

I can remember most of what I ate as shame burned it into my brain, but I also like to stick my head in the sand when I make bad choices because I don’t want to know the damage I’m doing, so I logged none of this food. This leads to the, “what’s the point?” attitude which means I’m not as committed to exercise, so I didn’t walk as much as I like to and I did none of the strength training I’d intended to do. I did stick with my running plan, however and for that I’m grateful. It’s a small victory, but it may have kept me from completely giving up.

All that being said, this week was far more successful than I expected. I know this because I borrowed yet another tool from EB – I keep a list of my weights with the dates next to them. I’ll be damned if I didn’t lose weight! I’ll get into how much in the successes section below, but let me just say I’m stunned and delighted by how well I did.

Exercise:
As I mentioned above, I’m happy to report that I stuck with my running program and completed week three of my Couch to 5K training (again – can’t wait to actually complete this program). Well, I’ve also been meaning to start a strength-training program, but hadn’t been able to talk myself into it until last night. I was behind on steps, it was getting late and I wanted to do some strength-training. (I have a trip coming up in two weeks and I’d like to get started on my toning so that perhaps my arms don’t look quite so floppy.) I decided to dust off Jillian Michaels’ Ripped in 30 DVD because I know it works every muscle group while torching calories and takes a whopping 24 minutes, which works with my schedule. There is a bit of jumping around in this and it makes me pant, drip sweat and wheeze at times, but when I’m done, I’m glad I did it. I’m mildly disappointed that I’m not more sore today, but I know I gave it all I had.

Tonight is a running night. Good thing because I wore cute new shoes to work and ignored the little voice in my head this morning that said, “Put on some band-aids, just in case.” I now have two band-aids on each Achilles area because the skin is raw and have not been walking around much because, as you may have guessed, it’s a mite uncomfortable. This means I’m low on steps and will need to get in a bunch this evening. Thankfully, my running shoes are gentle on my heels, so a couple of sport band-aids, a pair of socks and I’ll be good to go.

Now let’s wrap things up, shall we? (I originally typed that as “warp things up,” which some would say is a Freudian slip stemming from a twisted personality.)

Goals:

  • Get enough sleep Monday through Thursday night this week.
  • Log EVERYTHING that goes into my mouth.
  • Stick to the entire plan Monday through Friday.

Successes:

  • I did get to bed early on Monday and Tuesday nights, which made for better days on Tuesday and Wednesday.
  • I stuck to my running plan.
  • When I ate “off plan” I did well with portion control most of the time.
  • I lost 4.6 lbs/2.06 kg!
  • Made menus and cooked ahead to make sticking to the plan easy peasy.

Needs Improvement:

  • Obsessive weighing. I didn’t realize how well I was doing because I weighed multiple times this past week. Many times I didn’t like the number I saw (water retention) and so didn’t enter it anywhere and thus didn’t know how I was really doing. I know (and hear it repeatedly from various sources) that it can be disheartening to weigh daily because there are so many factors that can affect your weight from day to day: sleep, water intake, salt intake, stress…but did I heed that? Nope. Weighed almost daily. I’m here to tell you, that shit’s a mistake. If you feel compelled to do so, though, I’m not going to be the one to stop you because I know you have to experience it to believe it.

Overall, I’m satisfied with my results from this past week. I’m also excited to see how I do this week with my new plan! I know there is usually a big loss at the beginning – as if my body is just so damn glad that I’m treating it better – but I’m wondering how well things will go when I actually stick to the plan EVERY DAY.

Run on y’all!