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!

 

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!

Midweek Motivation

Yes, yes – another post with motivation in the title. Motivation is a very big deal to me, what can I say?

Unintentional Encouragement

StY has done a marvelous job of repeatedly, yet inadvertently motivating me to either stick with the program or get back to it when I start to lag. She’ll do things like send me pictures of herself in a cute outfit – usually just to say, “Hey, isn’t this cute?” To which I always agree that it is cute (sincerely, not just to be nice) and usually follow up with, “DAMN you look GREAT!” And then I think (not very nicely) to myself, “I hate being the fat sister. I believe I’ll take a walk/go for a run.” Or she’ll send me a shot of her pool, where she is lounging, that often contains some happy looking feet or legs and I think, “I think I’d enjoy having a pool, even if my beloved doesn’t want one. I’d take care of it.” Those thoughts are quickly followed by, “I’d better go for a run – I need to get in shape for summer!”

Recently she sent me a big ol’ box o’ clothes she’s outgrown. Except really, they’ve outgrown her. Or she’s ingrown? No, that sounds like a painful toenail or body hair. Ew. The point is that she shrank and the clothes didn’t. So I got ’em! Now, I can only wear some of the tops at this point, so I have some shorts, jeans and dresses (in sizes ranging from 10-14) that are grinning at me from the closet saying (in StY’s voice, which is fun), “You GOT this! Keep it up and you’ll be putting us on in no time!”

Then just Tuesday she sent me some before and after pic’s to illustrate how she does feel better about herself, but she’s not where she wants to be just yet. I feel like this is paving the way for me. It showed me a realistic view of some of the way-points for me as well as helped me to really understand that while I won’t get from here to where I want to be by tomorrow (oh woe is me), I will feel better and better as I go – and LOOK better and better. That was really exciting for me!

Motivation from the other direction

Sister the Eldest (StE) offered to send me a box of clothes she got from a friend that are in size 16, which is the size I happen to be in now. I wholeheartedly accepted because what I can’t wear, I can bring to work to share and the woman who gave up the clothes has great taste. So if nothing else, I may be able to ditch some pants I’ve probably worn to long in exchange for some that are not as beat up and feel better about my attire for zero dollars! As StY says, zero dollars is in my budget! And I’m all about feeling better about myself – the old phrase, “Look good to feel good,” has proven itself to be true over and over again. I confess that I hope that I may find a few items I can use in the box coming from StE, but that they won’t fit for long. I’m eager to shrink out of size 16 quick, fast and in a hurry!*

Setting myself up for success

I set a plan for myself to get to bed earlier each night this week, even if it means I don’t spend much/any evening time with my beloved. I’m SO much nicer when I get at least 7 hours of sleep and I’m much more inclined to stick to the program. It’s total win/win.

The best laid plans

I was looking forward to a walk last night, or at least an exercise DVD, if the rain started again. It was not to be. I pulled up to our mailbox, got the mail and when I got back in the car, I wasn’t feeling right. I felt woozy. It turned into a full-blown incidence of vertigo – possibly from an inner ear disturbance due to congestion, but we’ll never know. I just felt completely off-balance and walking across the room was challenging. I managed to feed the cats, get in bed and send whiny texts to StY & my beloved, who brought me crackers and Dramamine. Then I slept. Not the evening I had planned, but sometimes God/the universe says, “Not tonight. Rest.”

Run on, y’all!

*Note to the reader: There will be many phrases sprinkled throughout my posts now that may sound offbeat or goofy. They are what StY and I refer to as “Daddyisms”. As our funny, brilliant, creative ol’ mess of a dad went back to God on March 12 of this year, we find that sharing his crazy verbiage helps us keep him present in our lives in one of the most fun ways.

(To StY – I couldn’t type that without weeping. Damn.)

Disappointment

I was doing so well! I’d found my sweet spot – the speed at which I felt I could run forever (4.0 on the treadmill) and because my stamina was so good, I didn’t care that I was slow. Speed can come later. I’d even changed my running form and gone were the shin discomfort, plantar fasciitis & knee discomfort! Success! Hooray! Huzzah! I really felt like a runner! Then I did something foolish.

Thursday last week, after sitting in the car for over an hour, I stopped for gas and in my boredom as I waiting for the tank to fill, I stood stretching my cold calves against the curb at the gas pump. Oh, and did I mention I hadn’t had enough water that day? Yeah…not smart. I felt fine, other than noticing that my calves felt tight, until I got on the treadmill at the house.

I was all set to do the first day of week four of my C25K training program, having successfully run day two of week three in the morning on the day before and day three of week three that evening. Hmm…perhaps I should also have let myself rest a day before attempting the first day of week four…yeah this was just a trifecta of bad ideas. Anyway, the warm up walk was going fine, but then I started running at my happy 4.0 pace. I was less than a minute in when my calf – specifically, it felt like my soleus – started to hurt…bad. I stopped running and started walking, but even that was too much. Forlorn (and only a little over 8K steps into my daily goal of 10K or better), I got off the treadmill, went upstairs, wincing all the way, and did some research. I had myself convinced it was a cramp – like a charlie horse. Still, I iced it a while, just to be safe, elevated it and rested it. Being at my parents’ house, I didn’t have a way to compress it that I could think of. That night I also massaged Tiger Balm into it. The next morning, Friday, it was significantly better, although still a bit sore. It wasn’t sore to the touch, though, which is why I thought it was a cramp, and walking around actually helped it to feel better. I took it easy the rest of the day, aside from walking, and was rewarded by feeling even better on Saturday morning.

Are you hearing the ominous warning music? If this was a running horror flick you’d have been yelling, “DON’T DO IT!” at the screen as you watched me change into my running shoes that morning. Still, there I went, hopping onto the treadmill, doing a long walk (45 minutes while I watched an episode of “Once Upon A Time” on my tablet), then starting up my C25K, week 4, day 1. Oh, I was so happy. I ran that first three-minute stretch and felt strong, same with the next stretch of four minutes. Oh, sure, there was a little tightness in my calf, but I wasn’t worried. I just kept on with the plan. The discomfort got worse, but it wasn’t unbearable, so I finished out the whole routine. Afterward is when I thought, “Dang. I probably shouldn’t have done that.” Then, that evening, I noticed it. A slight swelling at the back of my calf. Well shit. I did Rest, Ice & Elevation & took an anti-inflammatory. This morning I did a little more research and when I read the description of a level 3 strain, I cried a bit. (I’m even more emotional since my dad’s passing, so no shock to me that I wept about this strain.) Giving it some thought, though, and having my nurse boyfriend look at it, we agree that it seems more likely that it’s a level 2 strain, which is still not good, but would likely not require surgery. I don’t love that I need to rest it for 6-8 weeks, but I love that WAY more than surgery and three months of recovery.

To be sure, I’m going to make an appointment with an orthopedist, but in the meantime, I’ve done the full RICE routine, asking the bf to wrap it for the Compression part and it is feeling better as I carefully walk around the house. I’ve also looked up cardio routines I can do without using my calf –  mostly upper-body stuff I can do sitting on an exercise ball – so that I don’t lose all of my fitness by the time I’m ready to run again. I don’t love going to the doctor, but if I can get some good instructions for how to heal this properly and keep me running for a long time, it’ll be worth it.

Now, more than ever, since I can’t for a while,
Run on, y’all!

Getting to the starting line

An interesting sequence of events happened in my wee world last week.  This may get a little “woo woo/airy fairy” for you, so bear with me.

  1. About the middle of last week I received an email from daily mile, a site I hadn’t logged into in over a year, saying that Gordon Harvey had added me as a friend.  Now, I found Gordon during my first romance with running via his podcast Running to Disney, which is no more.  I loved that podcast because Gordon was a regular guy who took up running to improve his health and lose weight.  (He’s got a blog called This Running Life, if you want to learn more.)  That podcast introduced me to daily mile and I requested that Gordon add me as a friend, but then he stopped using the site, although he never stopped running.  I stopped using the site because I DID stop running so imagine my surprise when I got that friend confirmation from Gordon many moons later!
  2. The day after that email a coworker/friend requested I add her to my friends on RunKeeper.
  3. The day after THAT a friend challenged me to run the Parks Half Marathon with her in September.  There’s no way I’d be ready to run a half by September and I’m not keen on injuring myself, so I believe I’ll pass.

Now, I don’t know about you, but when I get three nudges from God/the Universe that say, unmistakably, “RUN,” I lace up my shoes and do just that.

I got up early-ish on Saturday, fed the cats and donned my running attire (including heart rate monitor, fitbit headphones) and headed out.  At that time I was still under the delusion that a half might be possible, so I cued up the 10K Runner app, did the full run/walk sequence, then went back and did it again.  I completed 3 miles including warm up and cool down and was kind of proud of myself.

Yesterday I walked for an hour over the hills of the neighborhood.  It was hot and humid and gross and I had to climb this bugger…

Hill from Hell

Hill from Hell

…but I did it.

Tonight after work I’ll do Week 1 – Day 2 of my training plan.  I’m kind of excited.

Run on, y’all!