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:
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:
Brilliant, right? My total calories for the day were 2404. (Cue the sad trombone.) But there are many bright spots in this experience:
- 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.
- Rather than thinking, “I’ve screwed my week! Oh woe is me!” I turned to “the Google” and found this:
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.
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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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!