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!

Restart after a false start

Ok, I know I was getting back on track in late March, but I got right back off track, which is why I haven’t posted until today.

Today I can proudly say that last week, mid-week, I went back to the second day of my second week of couch to 5K training. I’ve been helping out my parents by cat/house-sitting a few days/nights each week while they’re out of town (neighbors check in when I’m not there) and they have a treadmill. This has been a tremendous luxury to me – I’ve even gotten up early to run before work!

Yesterday, Sunday, I was home and decided to do the first day of week three there in the neighborhood. I ran only on my street because it’s the most level street in the neighborhood. It still involved a cumulative climb of 182 feet! Surprisingly, however, it was much easier than it’s been in the past, which was encouraging.

A particularly motivating factor is that both my younger and older sister now have fitbits, so my competitive spirit is coming out. After my training run, I felt so good that I decided to walk a while until I’d met my 10K step goal for the day. By the end of the day – with housekeeping and errands – I’d completed 18,707 steps, 59 flights & 8.65 miles. Still, my sisters have an edge on me since they continued walking even when I was in “fuck it” mode. I’m scrambling to catch up to them with steps since my average is about 1.5-2K lower than theirs.

Of course, weight and fitness are highly motivating to me, too. I like being able to breathe more easily, to have more stamina and to be able to reach all the bits that need reaching in the shower without acrobatics. (That one is HUGE for me.) So while tonight is not a running night, I’ll be walking at home and, time permitting, doing some strength training.

And with that, it’s time to go.

Run on, y’all!

Pulling myself together

My father died on Wednesday, March 12th. I spent Thursday traveling to Texas, then joining up with my siblings to handle his affairs. There was drama involved – not among the four of us, but related to our father’s friends. Daddy was an alcoholic with a soft heart and a lot (not all) of his “friends” were leeches. The drama was not fun, but thanks to two wonderful sisters and one wonderful brother, we made the whole as pleasant as possible. We were unified – tired and stressed, but unified. The other good part was that I got to go home to Fort Worth and, in spite of the circumstances, enjoy it. I love my hometown and it felt good to be there.

My older sister and I, both getting back into running, optimistically agreed to bring running clothes, thinking we’d run along the Trinity River Trail in the mornings. HA! We were drained and tired and not sleeping well. Running didn’t happen. Except once. We’d kept up our step count throughout the days of activity (we both wear the Fitbit One), but on Saturday, we were falling short. Older sister said she was going to go run a little. I could hardly let her best me, so I sighed and flopped up to the loft area where I was staying to change, too. I’d like to add that we’d both had at least one glass of white wine and we’re both lightweights.  And it was raining. No matter. We slogged outside, hopping puddles to get to the paved trail and did some walk/running until we felt surely we’d not only made our step goal, but our active minutes goal. NOT. We got back to the room, synced our devices and saw that we were still short. This time I clutched my Fitbit in my hand, set the stopwatch and we took off. Rain or not, we had a good time. My Dear Sister was cold, which I found hilarious since it was in the 60’s and I’d come from 33 degree weather with a nasty wind chill. She was a sport, though, considering she lives in Austin and a rainy 60-something IS relatively cold. I didn’t use RunKeeper or anything to track my distance, so no idea how much we ran and we walked a good deal, too. She has a lot of discomfort running on cement, so I felt like a rock star since I hadn’t run in four days, she weighs a lot less than I do and I was able to run much more than she was. I didn’t like leaving her behind, though, so I’d run a bit and then wait.

That was the last time I ran. It’s been six days now.

I’ve also eaten a ton of crap since then. First it was just getting through the grief and giving myself a pass for a few days. Then this past weekend my sweet boyfriend and I took a road trip we’d had planned and I don’t care if the Amish do bike up and down those hills, I wasn’t gonna.

Today, however, after feeling low yesterday and feeling stiff for days now, I got my poop in a group and packed healthy meals and snacks. I also packed my gym bag. I’m tired of feeling so run down and sad. I need an endorphin boost. Don’t get me wrong, I in no way feel like going to the gym and getting on the treadmill sounds like fun. Going to bed sounds like fun. But gaining back all the weight I lost, getting more stiff, feeling worse…that sounds like hell to me. So it’s off to the gym I go this evening.

My plan is to start week 3 of my couch to 5K over again since week 4 was hard enough when I was running regularly. I hope I haven’t lost too much of my fitness, but if I have, it just means I need to keep at it to get it back. It’s time to pull myself together and let my father lead by example of how NOT to live. I love him. I will continue to mourn and miss him. I do not want to hide my head in the sand the way he did. It’s time to start showing myself I care again.

Run on, y’all.

Love,
Cassia

Coworkers, friends, family and other things that go bump in the night

In my last post I talked about having patience with myself and my fear that I’ll lose that patience and revert back to my old, self-sabotaging ways.  In this post I’m going to talk about something that’s at least as scary to me, if not more – sabotage by people I care about.

The truth is that there are a lot of people in my life who are either overweight and don’t want to do the work to change it (and who does? I’d rather it just fall off and evaporate in my sleep, but ain’t gonna happen, y’all) or who don’t have a problem with weight and can’t understand why I’m so worried about it because, as they say, “You look FINE!” (Oh, good. FINE is exactly what I was going for!) Both of these categories of people are very good at being food “pushers” and I have yet to find a way to get them to shut the F#@% up without losing my cool or giving in. I actually have anxiety about visiting certain people in my immediate circle because of this.

Well, I got this article in my inbox recently and it helped…some. It helped me with people like coworkers because even though I like them very much, I am not as invested in their reactions. I still, however, feel some anxiety about loved ones. Here is a short list of the sorts of conversations I dread:

  1. Would you like something to eat/some cake/ some chips, some more? (Sometimes a simple, “no, thank you,” will do, but sometimes they push and it goes into the next on the list)
  2. Are you dieting? (Oh dear Lord I hate that question.) This goes back to, “Why? You look FINE!” *eye roll*
  3. You deserve a treat now and then. (This comment says that they either don’t know about the slippery slope an unplanned treat can be or they do and it’s all part of their diabolical plan to feel better by sabotaging me.)

I also dislike it when someone fills my plate for me at a family dinner or just says, “It’s really just about portion control.”  Um, no it’s not, but thanks for playing. A small portion of calorie-laden food on a plate with four other “portions” of calorie-laden food = weight gain. Calories in/calories out is what it boils down to and if EVERYTHING on the plate has butter, fat or cream in it, I’m eating at least half of my daily goal in one sitting.

*ahem*

I have some strong feelings about this, apparently. I think I’m just going to have to practice saying, “No, thank you,” and then lying with things like, “I ate a big breakfast/lunch,” or, “I’m full from the meal,” or, “I’m just not in the mood for that.” The last one will come closest to being the truth, so I may go with that one. Oh, and I think I’ll have to plan ahead when I know we’ll be visiting family that is prone to this sort of “food pushing” so that I won’t be tempted by the tasty treats they have to offer. I can either keep a light, but filling snack in my purse or make sure I’ve run and banked some calories in advance.

While I would love to lay all the blame on others, I do know that a large portion of that blame is mine. I’m a “pleaser” – I like to keep the peace and make others happy. Actually, that’s changing or I wouldn’t be trying to come up with tactics to avoid caving in to make others more comfortable at my expense. I guess I can be thankful for that and know that with practice, it will become easier to politely decline whenever someone tries to sabotage my efforts at self care – whether they’re aware of what they’re doing or not.

On that note, I bid you good-night.

Run on, y’all!

Patience

I’ve been told repeatedly that I’m incredibly patient, and in some respects I can be. I get calls at work from people who clearly have done zero research about our program and want me to hold their hand while they navigate our website. Sometimes they ask the same question multiple times because they weren’t really listening the first two times I told them or their grasp of English isn’t great. In the sense that I take my time with these folks and help them get the information they need, I guess I am patient. Does it mean I don’t want to scream into the receiver or just hang up sometimes (a LOT of times)? No. I frequently want to do both of those things, I just don’t. It’s important to my livelihood and, quite honestly, my self esteem that I handle these people gently. Hatefulness has two victims – the hated and the hater.

Fitness/weight loss is an area that I would say I am distinctly lacking in patience, which has resulted in a lot of time wasted being hateful to myself. I want results, oh…yesterday. I have metaphorically hung up on myself many times. The difference that I’ve noticed this time is a new level of attentiveness to the more subtle changes that are taking place. I am taking my time to be aware of how much better I feel right now. In doing so I feel better about myself, about my food choices and strong in my workouts. I’m also able to reason with myself rather than make excuses. For example, this morning as I was lying in bed feeling extremely tired I thought, “but I’m not any more tired now than I used to be on mornings when I wasn’t working out.” The fact is, I have a two-hour commute and driving makes me tense. Going from the office to the car to get my gym bag and then right back to the rec center is easy. I’ve made it as easy as I possibly can. Getting on the treadmill to run – or lift weights on alternate days – gives me that strong feeling, eases any tension from the day and puts me in a better frame of mind for the drive home.

In this way I am handling myself gently. I don’t go home, plop on the couch and eat to ease stress anymore. Why? Because feeling bad about myself and berating myself feels bad and increases that stress. I also don’t deny myself all of my favorite foods – I just don’t consume them in mass quantities or even consume them every day. I get that Starbucks beverage now and then. I have an actual measured single serving size of potato chips (and I really have a deep love relationship with potato chips). And if I’m pushing my calorie limit, I put in a little more time in the gym to defray the caloric costs and keep me from wanting to throw in the towel and pig out.

Even with all of this, I still fear that I will fall back into my old habits. That at some point my weaker side will revolt and declare that it DESERVES to sit on the couch and pig out. Manipulative inner voices will tell me that results aren’t happening fast enough, so I should just quit and learn to love myself as I am.

*BLINKS*

Wow. For the first time I have looked at that thought pattern and I can see that I am telling myself that I deserve to treat myself like crap. Ouch.

*Breathes deeply*

I’ve been at this for almost four weeks so far. As of March 3rd, I’m down about 5 pounds. Part of me is whining that this isn’t enough, but the other part is thinking that about a pound a week is a good, sustainable pace. That same “other part” is reminding myself that I feel better about myself now than I have in ages, that I’m running again and that I have races planned. I was even mentioned on my favorite podcast! So while today I am especially tired (traffic last night was awful) and feeling like I’d like to nap, I still don’t feel like drowning my sorrows in chips. I feel like hopping on the treadmill (it’s very cold outside) and working up a good sweat. THIS is a triumph and one for which I am deeply grateful.

Run on, y’all!

Deja vu all over again

I was driving to work this morning and I had this great idea to start a blog all about my running and transformation from a chubby desk jockey to a lithe runner. I thought, “I’ll make the web address cassiatherunner. It’ll be great!” I thought maybe I’d make it private until I was sure I could keep up with it.

I just logged into WordPress, clicked on “My blogs” and saw this and thought, “Well no wonder I thought it was such a good idea.”

You know what else I think is a good idea? Taking WP up on their suggestion to help me meet my blogging goals. I’m going to set that for weekly and if I manage to blog more often, that’ll be neat, too.

Aside from feeling a bit stupid for not remembering that I’d had this idea before, I also feel like this is some sort of message from the universe (or God, whichever you prefer – I believe in both). The question is, should I be hearing, “Give up blogging, you’ll never stick with it,” or, “This is an idea you should stick with – I’ve sent it to you TWICE.” I’m choosing door number 2.

Let’s have an update, shall we?

Weight:
I went up to 199 lbs. (EEK!) and then on February 10, 2014 started a Biggest Loser contest at work, where I weighed in at 194. I gained a pound the first week (thanks, hormones) and lost FOUR the second, so a three pound loss overall. To help with this, I’ve joined the campus rec center at work and I’ve been bringing my gym bag every day (minus one day last week) and exercising before I head home. Now, if I haven’t mentioned it before, I live reeeeeaaaalllly far from work. Like it usually takes me two hours each way. I still work here because I have a tendency to resist change and I like my coworkers a LOT and the work’s not bad. I have applied for jobs close to home, but I’m not exactly devoting myself to the effort. Moving is not an option at this point. Adding in the workout after work does mean that I get home even later, but I feel so much better about myself, leaving later means traffic is lighter (it can shave half an hour off the trip home) and I feel less cranky on the road.

Running:
I’ve started the Couch to 5K training again. I’m on week 2 and so far running M, W & F. It’s been bitterly cold, so all but one of my runs have been on the treadmill. I did run outside on my birthday because I’d taken the day off and it was about 50 degrees outside and sunny – glorious running weather. Our neighborhood is wretched with hills, so I stayed on our street, which is probably one of the most mild.

Other exercise:
On T & Th I do weight training. Love it. I was hesitant to incorporate it only because I didn’t feel like taking the time to put a routine together. Guess what! Hal Higdon has a ton of free training programs AND a strength training program for runners! (I found that via a Google search, but oddly, I don’t see it listed on his Training menu. Huh.) Anyway, what, or rather who prompted me to search for something like this was a friend at work who is the Exercise Science Site Coordinator. She can be very persuasive and encouraged me to work strength in on the days I’m not running. I’m glad she did.

Goals:

  • To actually complete the C25K training and then PR in the Liberty 5K in Winchester, VA on July 4th this year. I last ran it in 2010 with a time of 38:47 and an average pace of 12:28.
  • To lose an additional 60-65 lbs. and a whole mess of inches (I need to update my measurements for a more accurate inch goal).

I’ve registered for some races already to keep myself on track and motivated with my training and I have a list of other races I want to register for as soon as registration opens. The next race upcoming that I registered for is the Leprechaun Leap 5K in Boyce, VA. I may not be able to run the whole thing yet, but I’m interested to see how I do.  I’ll have just completed my third week of training at that point. In addition to lining up races (and to facilitate race registration – yay discount) I renewed my membership with the Shenandoah Valley Runners.

Currently I’m a little obsessed preoccupied ok, fine, obsessed with running and all I want to do is talk about it, listen to podcasts about it, plan for it when I can’t be doing it and do it when I can. Because I’m all caught up on my favorite running podcast (love the Runner Girls), I guess the blog is yet another outlet for this obsession. I do have a few friends who run, but I’m not up to running with them yet as they are more experienced and because they are nurses (weird schedules) and most of them live far away. Some new runners might find all of this discouraging. I, however, find it motivating. The more committed I am, the sooner I will be up to running with someone. The more races I take part in, the more potential running partners I will meet.

Ok, at this point it’s turning into babbling, so I’ll bid you all adios.

Run on, y’all!

 

Gross, but worth it

I did week 1, day 2 of my couch to 5K yesterday.  The temp was in the upper 80’s with humidity in the upper 80’s to match. I was sweating buckets, my heart rate was really high and my lungs hurt.  I’m STILL glad I did it.

Additional reward?  This tiny fawn print in the driveway:

tiny fawn print

wee bitty hoof print

Today’s a rest day from the C25K.  I was thinking of doing some HIIT training, but I’ve been annoyed with how messy the house is, so I believe I’ll clean instead.

Run on, y’all!