Saturday, February 26, 2011

Running on an Off Day

So, I didn't run yesterday.

We had a high wind warning for the area (along with rain all day), and the last time we had a warning of equal intensity (i.e. last weekend), there were power lines down and debris.  So I thought it best to stay safe and run today instead.

Of course, I'm still having trouble sleeping and I did NOT want to get up this morning.  I was so tired, and I knew I was driving up to my parents' today, so I also knew I needed sleep so as not to doze off at the wheel.

I slept in later than I wanted to, and debated not running.  But I figured that running would be a good way to wake up and get my body moving, so I forced myself to do it.

And it was a tough one.  It was chilly today, but not terrible, but my chest was burning, my legs were so tired, and I wanted to quit so many times.  But since I've done this before, I knew that I was capable of it, and I just needed to push through the exhaustion

I was so glad I did.  My body is SORE tonight, but I did the run, it did help to energize me, and I felt like I stuck to my commitment, which was a good feeling.

I need to keep remembering that when I most feel like I don't want to run is when I see the most benefit.  Sure, it was terrible while I was running and I felt like keeling over, but after I got home, ate some oatmeal and took a shower, I felt like a new woman.  Good stuff.

Let's see how things go when I ramp it up next week.

And if you're wondering, I am down by 2.8 pounds as of today - definitely less than I'd hoped for this week, but I've found it takes a good six weeks to see major changes when I commit to eating healthy and working out, so I've got another four weeks left.  Still working hard at the eating well - I cooked every night this week, even when I didn't feel like it!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

So NOT Feeling it Today

After yet another night of restless sleep, I reeeeeally was not feeling the run today.  I pretty much wanted to stay in bed all day (I didn't, I've been working, no worries).

But I knew that if I skipped today, I'd find it pretty easy to continuing skipping runs until I was back to not running at all again.

So I put on my running clothes when I got up.  And I had an ongoing debate with myself as to whether I'd get out there until I finally just went.

My thermometer said it was 43 degrees, but it felt more like 23 degrees. I was wishing I'd dressed a little bit warmer as I headed out into the wind.  And because it was chilly, that might explain why I pushed myself a bit too hard on the first interval.  I wanted to warm up FAST.

And the first part of the run was terrible. I was tired, cold, unmotivated, you name it.  But I stuck with it.  I didn't give up on the plan or myself.

By the second half, I was really really tired, but pushing myself.  Watching some other runners recently made me realize that maybe I'm not picking my feet up enough when I run.  So I tried focusing a bit more on form.  That exhausted me a lot quicker on each interval, but I felt like I deserved the walking break then.

I pushed myself almost to the point of throwing up.  And it felt good.

Had I skipped the run today, I would have told myself I was going to do it tomorrow (and I probably wouldn't have).  Then, I would have beaten myself up all afternoon and evening for not just sucking it up and getting out there.

Instead, I did it.  I did every interval that was planned, ran every step I was supposed to, and it was worth it.

I'm still tired, but now I also feel some muscle fatigue.  And muscle fatigue means I did something hard (well, hard for me anyway).

So I'm still plugging away. This week's change to 90 seconds of running (which doesn't sound like a lot, and isn't a lot) has really kicked my butt.  But I know I can do it, because I've done it before. I just have to stick with it and not let myself get in the way.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Start of Week 2 - It's Chilly Out There!

So I'm still having some trouble with sleeping.  Friday night, I didn't get to sleep until about 2:30 (some of that was my own fault because I was up doing laundry until about 1:30 - I know, what a rocking Friday night!).  Saturday, I didn't fall asleep until 4am.  And even last night, it was 2am.  Fortunately, I could sleep in, but it's meant that my days are a bit thrown off, which isn't great, and I'm sure I'll be suffering when I wake up early for work tomorrow.

When I woke up this morning, I did NOT feel like going for a run. I was tired and sluggish, the cold outside has a bitter feeling to it because we're expecting snow later, and it's cloudy and depressing.

But I'm a believer in suiting up and showing up, so I just put on my running clothes and had some oatmeal and gave myself a 1pm deadline to head out.

And I did.  Today, I was ramping up to 90 seconds of running and two minutes of walking, and with the cold, I was definitely feeling punished.  But I did it anyway and now I'm feeling good as a result.

I stuck with my healthier eating this weekend too - there were a couple of times where I wanted to give myself a treat and just take a whole day off from good eating, but it's only been a week of it, so I resisted the urge. I did make a key lime pie on Saturday night, but I've only had a small slice after dinner both days, and that's been enough of a treat for me.

I also picked up some more VitaTops - they're muffin tops made from whole grains, with 15 vitamins in them and only 100 calories.  I get the dark chocolate ones, and they taste like brownies.  No joke.  Anyone who knows me well knows that I'm not into diet anything - I've never liked diet soda, anything that's low fat or low sugar tastes really fake to me, and I just prefer the full fat, full sugar versions of things.

But these really, honestly taste like brownies.

They come frozen, six to a package (apparently you can buy them online two, and I might think about it, since the only flavors they have at my grocery store are corn muffin and these chocolate ones), and I just microwave them for about 25 seconds, pour a small glass of skim milk, and I have a really delicious snack.  I might go make one right now in fact!


I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself for running when I didn't feel like it, and continuing to eat well when I didn't feel like it. And as a result, I've lost 2.2 pounds in the last week. Woo hoo!

Now I just need to motivate myself beyond sitting on the couch for the rest of the afternoon.  Because I'm still so darn tired lately!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Week One of Couch to 5k Complete + What I'm Eating

So here we are, day three of the couch to 5k, and I actually WANTED to run today.  Mostly because it was either go for a run or kill somebody and throw my computer out the window.  But since I know that running beats the frustration out of me, I figured that was the better alternative!

It was another session of 60 seconds running and 90 seconds walking for twenty minutes total, and today's run was a bit punishing.  In part because I was pushing myself out of frustration, and in part because the humidity is pretty high here today - you know how I love humidity.

At any rate, the run did it's job - I feel much less stressed now and hopefully I can remember this feeling the next time I'm feeling frustrated - running works like nothing else.

Now, to change the subject a bit...

One of the things I remember reading during my last stint as a runner was about how important nutrition is.  You may remember that I was having some serious problems with migraines when I first started running in 2009, and it turned out that I wasn't drinking nearly enough water.  As part of a year-long resolutions project I'm working on, one of this month's tasks was to drink at least four glasses of water a day.

I know some suggest that it should be eight, but I was going from maybe one glass a day.  I know, it's terrible, I admit it.

When I'd done my few trips to the gym, I talked to a fitness coach there, who said that over time, your body will get used to drinking more and more water, and will crave it, so it's a good idea to build up to eight glasses.  So that was my plan.

It's been 18 days, and I've stuck with 4-5, sometimes 6 glasses of water a day.  With that much water, there isn't room for drinking too much else, with the exception of a small glass of skim milk here and there.  I had a pretty major addiction to Pepsi (I still love it), and I've found that I'm not good at moderation.  So I just haven't brought any into the house, and I'm sticking with water.

I hate to admit it, but I feel better.

On the nutrition side of things, this is also the first time I'm focusing on really eating better while working out - usually I'm guilty of doing one or the other.  In January, I gave up "candies" - my definition of candies is anything that's just sugary, like nerds, sweet tarts, etc.  I LOVE that stuff.  But again, I'm not good with moderation.  I would get one roll of sweet tarts one day, crave them again the next day, pick up three rolls, planning to eat them over the period of three days and eat them all in one day.  And so on.

No wonder I put on nine pounds in the last ten months.

So I gave that all up in January - I'm trying to make small changes, so that instead of feeling deprived, I just gradually phase it out.  February was just supposed to be about giving up Pepsi, but now I've given up most sweets.

I read somewhere that oatmeal is the breakfast of champions.  I'd tried it once and hated it, but more for the texture than the taste (I'm very sensitive to food textures).  But I suddenly had a craving for it the other day, so I picked up a box - there are three flavors, which I know isn't the healthiest kind of oatmeal, but it's about baby steps.  I've eaten it for breakfast the past three days, and I have to say that it's really good!

Not only does it taste good, but it fills me up and keeps me full until lunchtime.  Lunch is my other major issue.  I like lunch foods (I love sandwiches), but I never feel like eating them at lunch.  Plus, in addition to processed meats not being very good for you, they're a nightmare for migraine sufferers.  I had a leftover Italian hero a few weeks ago, and it gave me a terrible migraine.  So I'm usually at a loss as to what to eat for lunch, end up eating a yogurt and feeling hungry about thirty minutes later.

So because I'm eating the oatmeal for breakfast, I can now have my carnation instant breakfast for lunch! I get the dark chocolate packets, and blend it with skim milk and slow churned vanilla ice cream and it's good.  And that keeps me full for a good three hours.  So I have a snack then, and have a decent home cooked meal for dinner.

I'm also finding that I'm pretty hungry by dinner, so I'm splitting up the meal into something easy to eat, and what I'm cooking.  If I eat a quick salad (mixed greens, walnuts, dried cherries, oil & vinegar) or a bunch of carrots, I'm more likely to have the patience to wait for my meal to cook.  One of my biggest problems is thinking that cooking will take forever (it never does, but it feels that way), and then I just decide to order or pick up take out. And that's never as good for me as cooking.

So this gives me a bit of food, adds in veggies, which I'm not a huge fan of generally, and motivates me to cook instead.  Another thing that's been working for me is planning my meals - on Sunday, I looked at what I had in the fridge and planned all my meals out for the week.  Then, I didn't have to figure out what I was going to make that night - I just made it.

At the end of a long day, when I'm tired and don't feel like hunting through the cabinets and fridge for what to make, it's handy to just have options in front of me.  I admit I did stray from the list a bit this week - I stuck with the meals on it, but not always on the right days - but in general, it worked out great.

The only issue I'm having in my new focus on self-care is sleeping.  I am having trouble getting myself to turn the lights off before 2am, so I'm really tired during the day.  I'm not sure why I can never seem to meet the basics of self care all at once - I'm either taking care of my sleep schedule, eating well or exercising, but not usually all three at the same time.   But I'll get there!

I've lost 1.6 pounds since Monday, so that's good motivation to keep going.  Plus, I've been checking out some races for the upcoming months, so I'll keep you updated on what I'm planning to run in this year!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Day 2 of the Couch to 5k - Did I do it?

So it's Wednesday, which means it's supposed to be day 2 (AGAIN) of the couch to 5k.

And I must admit...

I did it! I ran today :)

You thought I was going to say I took the day off!

By Monday night, my legs were really tired and sore.  By Tuesday, I was walking funny.  By this morning, I actually felt worse, and the muscles in my legs and in my feet hurt.

But I really, really, REALLY want to get back to running.  So I figured the walking warm up would help ease me past the muscle soreness and I'd just do the assigned run/walk anyway.

And I did it!

Was it hard, exhausting, a little cold and windy?


But today, for some reason, it felt good that it was difficult.  It felt good to push myself again. To feel my muscles ache and still meet the goals (another 60 seconds running, 90 seconds walking for 20 minutes day).

I'm still super sore, and because I'm still not sleeping well or enough, I'm exhausted - physically, mentally and emotionally.  But I'm glad I ran and I do feel better than I did this morning.  It was good to remember that when I'm frustrated and short-tempered (with work, with the fact that my creepy neighbor who's wife supposedly kicked him out weeks ago has been back today, being creepy, etc.) a good run will knock that right out of me.

I've already passed the mental hurdles of "Can I do this?" because I completed the couch to 5k two years ago.  So now it's just getting back out there, being consistent and not letting excuses hold me back.  I really hope I'm on my way.

And yes, I know that if I'd done yoga yesterday, that would have helped both my soreness and the migraine I was fighting on and off all day, but I just felt too wiped out.  Hopefully I'll feel energized enough tomorrow to do it.  I did make sure to walk the dog after my run today, so I got a nice long cool down as well - he's a basset hound, so he's not exactly a fast walker!

Monday, February 14, 2011

I'm Baaack!

I admit it. 

For a while there, I wasn't sure I was ever going to run again.  

I'm the queen of excuses when it comes to working out.  I'm too tired. It's too cold outside. It's too windy. I don't feel like it. I don't like running. Blah, blah, blah.

Of course, I felt guilty about these excuses, but even the guilt didn't make me feel like running.  I figured I'd just give it up.

But then I was thinking about it at the end of last year, and realized that I'd never felt so happy with myself as when I was running regularly.  Seriously.  It's a great self esteem booster and the endorphin rush is awesome.  

So I told myself I'd start running again.  Of course, I told myself that in November, and here we are, February 14th.  My motivation has really been at an all time low lately.  Plus, it really HAS been cold and running on ice is just not my thing.  But living here at the beach, where the milder weather means that the snow doesn't stick around for long when we do get it, I realized last week that I need to stop making excuses and JUST. DO. IT.

And so last night, I laid out my running clothes, set my alarm a bit earlier and went to bed early.  But then I didn't fall asleep until after 3:30am.  Super.

I didn't get up early and run.  But I did put my running clothes on. And I told myself I'd start the Couch-to-5k today with a lunchtime run.  It's 63 degrees here today, people.  I am out of excuses. And if I'm being honest, I need to drop a bit of weight.  And surprise, surprise, it turns out that diet and exercise is the way to do that - who knew?

The long and the short of it is, I ran.  Well, I did the first workout in the program, which is five minutes walking warm-up, followed by alternating 60 seconds of running with 90 seconds of walking for 20 minutes.  And it was so beautiful out that even though I realized how far I have to go to get back to running 3 miles regularly, I still felt pretty good.

My legs are definitely sore - but they were sore when I woke up because I was doing a lot of squats yesterday while painting the doors and trim in my upstairs hallway.  I really wanted to use sore quads as an excuse today, but the truth is that I can find an excuse any day, and I just need to suck it up and do it.

So I'm hopefully back to running.  I rested and slept a lot this weekend, and ate a lot of junk food, and I'm basically sick of myself at this point, so I think that's been motivation enough to get back to working out regularly.  I'm hoping to get a bike stabilizer so that I can ride my bike inside (then I don't have to wear an ugly helmet :)) - I think that would be great for watching tv!  And I really REALLY need to start doing yoga again.  I love the way it makes me feel, it's a great thing to be doing while running, and with a variety of yoga videos available streaming on Netflix, I have no excuses - I can't get bored!  

We'll see how it goes!  I'll let you know how my motivation is holding up so you can yell at me if I need it!