Archive for October, 2011

Sugar-Free Halloween

October 31, 2011

As I write this I’m listening for Trick or Treaters’ knocks at the door. I think Halloween 2011 is just about over.  So far only five little kidlets have come by. Had hubs divided all the candy among them, each child would have received about a half a pound.

Yes, we have left over candy. Hubs will eat some of it. We’ll probably take the rest of it to the Tuesday night ESL class where we volunteer. It’s off-limits for me.

I can’t remember the last time I ate candy on Halloween. As I’ve shared before, I have an allergy to sugar. I break out in binge eating.

Just as not everyone who drinks alcohol is an alcoholic, not everyone who likes sweets is addicted to sugar. But I am.

You might expect me to be jonzing right now. But I’m not. One day at a time, my cravings for sugar have been removed. These days, if I’m tempted by sweets, I know there’s an emotional issue lurking that I haven’t acknowledged.

Halloween is one of the high holy days for disordered eaters. I no longer have to participate.

Loving the Off Season

October 30, 2011

Yesterday I finished my first week of my “off season” fitness plan.

I loved it.

On Monday and Wednesday I attended a “sculpt” class. Think weight lifting with cardio thrown in. On Tuesday and Thursday I did 30-minute intervals on the treadmill: Tuesday was an incline session and Thursday was a speed session. On Friday I worked out in the weight room.

Yesterday I ran 3.75 miles with speed fartleks during the 3rd mile. I had planned to run five miles before attending a work commitment, but overslept. I’m a recovering “all or nothing” thinker. There was a time when oversleeping meant chucking the workout…and eating a bag of Doritos. Now I know a short workout is better than no workout. And because I ran fartleks, my heartrate elevated quite a bit and I burned almost as many calories (about 600!) has I would have on a leisurely five-miler.

This is the basic plan I’ll follow until the end of the year, but with running higher mileage as my schedule allows.

So, What’s Next?

October 24, 2011

Several folks have asked me that question following last month’s marathon attempt. I’ve purposely waited until last weekend’s half marathon was behind me before answering.

So, here’s what’s next.

1. I plan to keep my running mileage high enough to remain perpetually ready for a half marathon, but I won’t run one until March’s Tom King Classic in Nashville.

2. I’m moving out of “training” mode and into “fitness mode.” By that I mean I’m going to start working out six days a week (I no longer require rest days before and after high mileage runs). On two of those days I’ll lift weights. I’ll run three days a week. On the sixth day I’ll do some type of cardio, perhaps swimming or cycling.

3. Nutritionally, I’m going to cut back a bit on carbs. Notice I said “a bit.” I won’t cut them out completely but I don’t need as many now as I did while marathon training. Just don’t get between me and my morning oatmeal. You have been warned.

4. My food plan is Weight Watchers. I’m doing it on-line and I have the phone ap. There’s no excuse for me not to track my food intake and exercise. Sigh…

These tactics should have me back in fat-loss mode. I have my annual check up in March and hopefully by then my doctor and I will be ready to have a discussion about whether or not I’m where she wants me to be from a health perspective. Hopefully I’ll be entering the unchartered territory of weight maintenance, but that’s the doctor’s decision, not mine.

5. Yes, completing a marathon remains on my bucket list, but there’s no way on God’s green earth I’ll ever again run 18 miles in 101 degree heat. I plan to choose a marathon that takes place sometime between late January to early March 2012, which means I’ll be “gettin’ my long mileage on” around this time next year.

Now, enough about me. What about you? Leave your fitness goals, bucket list items, etc. in the comments section. I’d like to cheer you on.

A Rewarding Half Marathon

October 21, 2011

As I mentioned in my most recent post, I was registered for a half marathon last Saturday. I had a really bad week leading up to it and I simply did not have the energy to participate.

I emailed the other members of my office half marathon team to let them know I would be cheering them on from the sidelines. A few minutes later I was visited by a colleague, Krista who was also registered for the race. She came by to tell me that she had received a life-altering diagnosis a few weeks ago. A week-long hospital stay combined with feeling beyond-lousy and adjusting to medications meant she was not trained for the half but she wanted to try to walk it anyway. This would be her first endurance event and her heart was set on it. I found myself telling her I would walk it with her. What had I done?!

This particular half marathon requires participants to make it to Mile 6 within a certain time frame or be removed from the course. Given how poorly my colleague and I were feeling, there was no guarantee we would make it, but at least we would try.

Saturday morning arrived and we met at 5:30 a.m. Krista was a nervous wreck; I was exhausted. We found our fellow teammates and posed for a photo. Soon it was time to line up. Another team member, Debe lined up with us toward the back of the field. Like us, she didn’t feel prepared and asked if she could walk with us so as not to spend 13.1 miles (assuming we made it to Mile 6 in time) alone.

We began the event with a walk/run rotation. Krista spent the first four miles stressing about whether or not we would make it to Mile 6. When it seemed obvious she wasn’t experiencing any adverse health effects, I sent her ahead of us. I really wanted her to achieve this milestone and didn’t want Debe and I to hold her back (we were less stressed about our own accomplishments). Debe and I would walk the remaining miles together.

Somehow, all three of us made it to the Mile 6 marker within the allotted time frame. I was still feeling fatigued so I met this milestone with mixed feelings. A seat on the sag wagon seemed sort of nice.

We kept putting one foot in front of the other, solving the world’s problems along the way. At Mile 10 or so I learned this was Debe’s first half marathon as well. When we arrived at Mile 13 she began to cry. She was so moved at what she would achieve in just .10 miles. Soon we crossed the finish line and volunteers hung medals around our necks. We immediately found Krista who had finished a few minutes earlier. I could not have been more proud of these women.

Walking most of this event meant my eighth half marathon was my slowest. It was also one of my most rewarding. I was honored to be given the opportunity to help two people achieve goals they didn’t think were possible. Of course, I knew they could do it; they just had to figure that out for themselves.

I’ve had so many people help me in my fitness efforts, it felt great to pay it forward. Suddenly, my fatigue vanished.

A Bad Day Became an Exhausting Week

October 16, 2011

As I’ve mentioned, last Monday was a bad day. Looking back, things started unraveling last Saturday. I was scheduled to run eight miles but I could only manage 5.3 due to severe fatigue.

Following Monday’s funkified mood, my outlook improved but my fatigue worsened. I slept eight hours a night yet awoke each morning feeling exhausted. Throughout each day I felt as though I could fall asleep at any given minute. I slogged through the week, trying desperately to appear on top of my game.

I was beginning to get worried about my health. I’m not used to feeling fatigued for no apparent reason. I wondered if this mono-esque feeling meant I’d brought home a case of Lyme Disease from the hiking trip I’d taken the week prior. I never found a tick on me, but I noticed one tiny, unexplained puncture on my leg.

As the week wore on I began having pain in my face and teeth. I self-diagnosed and decided the fatigue was a combination of (a). fighting a sinus infection (b.) lots of hiking the week prior and (c.) a lack of proper recovery following last month’s marathon attempt.

I am a member of a half marathon team that chooses one race per year as a fundraiser for the agency I work for. Yep, the race was yesterday.  I couldn’t imagine covering 13.1 miles given the week I was having. In fact, on Tuesday I emailed my fellow team members to let them know I needed to bow out for health reasons.

As it turns out I was not meant to skip the half marathon. More on that in my next post.

Restless, Irritable, Discontent

October 10, 2011

Sorry to be a buzz kill, but those words perfectly describe my mood today. All day. I woke up a funkafied mess . I pulled the covers over my head and slept another hour, skipping my workout. Maybe I was dreading my first day back in the office after a week’s vacation. Maybe Mercury is in retrograde. Maybe I’m gasp….perimenopausal. I just hope tomorrow is better than today. I’ll be satisfied if it’s even a smidge better.

I’ve just taken my daily inventory. In a desperate attempt to squeeze something positive out of this manic Monday, I take comfort in the following: to the best of my knowledge I wasn’t unkind to anyone today…I somehow managed to keep my mood to myself. I even fielded two complaint calls and by the end of those conversations, both callers were happy. When I made my daily check-in call to mom, I was forthright that I wasn’t having a good day and I wasn’t good company. But I didn’t take anything out on her. (Having said all of that, I’m aware of one department colleague who visits this site. JP, if I’m in denial about my behavior, please call me out so that I can make amends.)

I’m not seeking compliments or a medal simply because I was nice when what I really wanted to do was make like Greta Garbo and be alone (although if you want to send cash I’ll happily give you my mailing address).  It’s just that sometimes life can feel like a test. It’s easy for me to be kind to others when I’m in a great mood. The test comes when I’m in a funk.

I think I passed. I certainly hope so.

It Was Wild In The West

October 9, 2011

Hubs and I just returned from a week out West. Jackson, WY served as home base. We spent most of our time hiking in Grand Teton National Park and one day in Yellowstone.

It was a great trip. It was an eventful trip. We experienced several firsts:

  • First time to see Old Faithful

    Thar she blows!

  • First time to hear male elk “bugle” (We’ve seen elk before but never during rut season
  • First time to see a grizzly bear. We were on the side of the road about 50 yards from the bear. We were about 30 yards from our car. I wonder if I could have sprinted fast enough if I’d needed to. Hubs would have been fine. After all, he only had to run faster than me!
  • Grrrizzzzly

  • First time to see bison crossing the road.
  • Why does the bison cross the road?

  • First time to see a bear while hiking. Hubs and I were 3.25 miles into our hike. We were about a quarter-mile away from an inspirational point on the trail when we spotted a momma bear protecting her cub. Another hiker who had to pass the bear in order to return to his car reported that she was becoming a bit aggressive. I was becoming a bit freaked out so hubs and I aborted the rest of the hike in favor of saving our lives. Sadly, there have been quite a few deaths in the parks this year and I didn’t want to take a chance.

In addition to those firsts hubs and I shared, I had a first of my own…

I hiked without trekking poles. I guess the high mileage I ran over the summer helped to strengthen my legs.

I like lazy beach vacations as much as the next person. But I love a vacation that includes torching calories, working muscles and being surrounded by God’s craftsmanship.

A Quick Check-in

October 1, 2011

I’ve been on the go, go, go and haven’t had a chance to blog, blog, blog.

I’ve received calls from friends asking what I’m going to do next regarding fitness goals. I’ve got several things in mind and hope to report soon.

In the meantime, I gotta run…


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