Saturday, January 19, 2013

My Saturday

It's Saturday and there's no better way to start off the day than with a nice six mile run. Although it was a little chilly, it was a beautiful morning! The sun was shining and the skies were blue. It felt as though God made this day just for me... for my run. My endorphins were flowing and it felt great!

After my 6 mile run

After my run I stretched and iced my knees. I've been experiencing some mild to moderate knee pain beginning a few miles into my runs. I'm thinking it may be my iliotibial band. (If anyone has some tips for how to manage knee pain while training please let me know) I'm thinking about visiting a running specialty store this weekend to get some good advice and possibly new shoes, a knee band, and a foam roller!

Next on the agenda - trying out my new baby cakes donuts maker. It was my first time making donuts and, I've gotta say, they didn't turn out half bad. I know what you're thinking... why run six miles and then ruin it by eating donuts? But you've gotta splurge every once and awhile. I've found that if I'm too restrictive with my diet, that I end up having a "cheat" day that goes way overboard. It's a lot easier to stick with exercising and eating right if you allow yourself some sweets and other "junk" food once and awhile. Moderation is the key.


Then, after demonstrating my mad donut-making skills, I took a nice hot shower and laid my little man down for his afternoon nap. Micah's new favorite thing to do is to climb out of his crib and pack and play. I'm glad my baby boy is so strong and mighty, but the pack and play is the only place we can could put him for a minute to keep him safe and out of the way while we got some stuff done. So I spent the next half hour repeatedly putting my toddler back into his crib and attempting to settle him down for a nap.

Here's a picture of daddy holding the little crazy man after we finally gave up on the nap .

Now it's time to kick back and enjoy the afternoon. The big boys are outside getting some exercise old school style by riding their bikes and playing Nerf wars - a totally made up game they play with the neighborhood kids that includes a very serious set of rules. In a little while, I will take Riley to Walmart to spend his Christmas money. (He's been begging me to take him for like two weeks and we just haven't found a good time when neither he or I are busy with other obligations and we both felt up to going.) I took Khegan shopping to spend his Christmas the week after Christmas, but Riley was up visiting my grandparents for x-mas break so he didn't get to go. 

Then, a little later I will make dinner for the family and possibly the boys' friends if they are still around. Dinner is going to be either spaghetti or tacos. I haven't decided yet. Any votes? 

Finally, I'll wrap up my Saturday with a family movie night and some snuggle time with my man. 

I LOVE the weekends!

And this one has THREE whole days - yay!  :-)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My Running and Weight Loss Journey Part IV

By August of 2012, I had lost 24 lbs and was weighing in at 168 lbs - just 5 lbs from the goal weight I had set for myself in January. After recently completing my first 5k, I was feel confident and strong. My husband & I had our weeknight routine down. When he got home, I was off to the gym to hit the treadmill. Things were rolling along smooth as could be...

Until football season.

Now you're probably thinking college or pro season ... nope. I am talking about Western Irish youth football. The boys were playing tackle football for the first time through our church. They've never played in that league before and we didn't know what to expect. We were used to 1 hour practices one night a week & games on Saturday mornings. We were in for a rude awakening...

Practice was 2 hours a day 4 or 5 days a week! My husband LOVED it... He loved watching those boys struggle and sweat as they ran drills and did up and downs in the late afternoon August sunshine. And, I've got to admit, I enjoyed watching them as well - my little men. ;-)

Still... it cut into my workout time!

MY time!

Now I was rushing home from work, picking up two big boys wearing full football gear, one baby boy who needed his own gear (stroller, diaper bag, sippy, snack, etc), and loading them all in the car to get to practice by five! My husband would meet me at their practice between 5:30 and 6 pm. Now, I could leave and head to the gym, but you moms know how important it is for your kids that you watch their practices. Not to mention that these practices were in several different location, some of which weren't that close to home.


What was I supposed to do?

After an internal debate, I resigned myself to what I knew I had to do... run outside. If I changed to my  running gear before heading to the boys' practice, I was able to watch the first 30 - 40 minutes before my hubby arrived. Then I would pass the little one off to him, get my run in (usually in an adjoining neighborhood), and be back to watch the last 30 minutes or so of practice. It was challenging. And forced me to face my fear of running outside. But it was worth it... for so many reasons.

First and foremost, it allowed me to watch a good portion of the boys' football practice. I also learned the many joys of running outside. I learned to run without worrying about pace. Or distance. Or calories burned. I learned to soak in the scenery. To enjoy the warm weather. To relax and let the stress of the day melt away.

I learned to LOVE running.

My endurance increased. My speed increased (although I am still a slow runner).

And I continued to lose weight.

In September, my work held their annual health evaluations. We have this program at work designed to assist employees in getting healthy or staying healthy. As part of the program they provide annual health assessments. They take your blood pressure, review your blood glucose levels, weight, cholesterol, etc.

Guess how my I weighed on the assessment day?

163 lbs!

I had finally reached my weight loss goal and was officially in a "normal"routine BMI range! I was ecstatic.
Aside from my weight, my good cholesterol was high and my bad cholesterol was low - so low that it didn't even register on their machine! And my blood pressure was 110/70! WOW! Look what running did for my health! I was truly amazed and more motivated than ever to keep on running!

So I signed up for another 5k... the Thanksgiving Wattle. I ran that race in 30 minutes and 32 seconds!
Around that same time (Thanksgiving) I slipped into a pair of size 10 jeans - a fete I hadn't accomplished since my Sophomore year in high school.

2012 was quite the journey for me - by the end of the year I was down to 157 lbs and feeling better than ever! My total weight loss to date has been 35 pounds and I am maintaining at 157 lbs.

Now what is a weight loss success story without the before and after photos?

Before 11-11-11
After 12-8-12

This journey will continue... 

...because I will keep on running!

My goal for 2013 is to run my first half marathon. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

My Running and Weight Loss Journey Part III

It was May and I was focused on pushing through the grief from my miscarriage in order to continue on the path for which I had set out in January - to lose weight. In January, when I had joined Weight Watchers, dead set against exercise, let alone running, I had set a goal weight of 163 lbs. Based off of the BMI scale, for a women my height and weight, 163 lbs was the highest weight in the "normal" range. 

It was a lofty goal.

The last time I weighed 163 lbs I was a Sophomore in high school. 

Late May 2012
Four and a half months and one miscarriage later, I was weighing in at 176 pounds - just 13 lbs away from my goal weight. I had already lost 16 lbs and I didn't want to give up on the tremendous (for me anyways) progress that I had made towards my goal. I was really liking the way I looked. And, since I was no longer sick from an over-abundance of pregnancy hormones, I was also liking the way I felt.

However, I was not sure I wanted to go back to Weight Watchers. While, WW gave my the jump-start I needed to begin seeing weight loss success, I was tired of counting Points.... I truly felt that if I focused on my fitness and eating healthy foods that I would no longer need the meetings and Point restrictions in order to continue down the path to a healthy weight. 

Around that same time, my sister, Sara, asked me to run a 5k with her in July.  The race supported a cause close to our hearts so I decided it would be a good motivator to sign up for the race. That would give me about two months to "train" and build up to the distance. My goal was to run the entire race no matter what the pace. 

Although it was spring time and the weather was good, I preferred doing my training indoors on the treadmill.  Honestly, I was frightened at the thought of running outside. Outside, people I know might see me running on the trail near my home - a risk I was not yet ready to take. Plus, when you are outside running and you get a mile away from your house, you are a MILE AWAY FROM YOUR HOUSE!! What if I had to use the bathroom, or needed a drink of water? No, thank you! I was perfectly happy running on the treadmill in the temperature controlled gym with my water bottle, sweat towel, and music all at arms length away. 

Still, I knew that at some point, I would have to run outside. I couldn't complete the 5k race on a treadmill, after all.... 

Time was ticking away. I was taking it day by day. My hubby and I had fell back into the routine of my coming home, getting the kids situated, changing to my running gear, and starting dinner. Then, when he got home, I would leave him to finish dinner and head to the gym to run. When I arrived home, he'd have dinner waiting. What an AWESOME husband I have! 

Most days I was 'running' 2-3 miles. I use the term 'running' loosely because I would take frequent walk breaks. Slowly, I built up my running minutes in between my walk break. Even with the walk breaks I was averaging about 12-13 minute miles. Now it was time to increase my distance. 

By June my workouts were three miles long and it took me between 36-40 minutes to complete. At that point I was still running inside on the treadmill and I knew I had to get myself outside. Finally, one Saturday, mid-June, I decided to run outside!

The logistics were tough for me. At that point I didn't know about "map my run", which I now use regularly to track my workouts, so I had to drive the distance in order to map a turn around point about 1.5 miles away from my house. The idea of being 1.5 miles from my house still scared me. Also, what about my music? I don't run with an ipod like most people do - I use my phone to stream iheartradio and listen to this GenX station out of Louisville, Kentucky. (Love me some GenX music :) For my first outside run, I decided I was going to just hold my cell phone while I ran. There was also the matter of water. I decided I would just have to deal with not have water readily available while I ran outside. 

Big Mistake. 

This was Ohio, mid-June, and it was H-O-T hot outside. 

That run sucked and sent me crawling back to the gym. How do people do it? All the time I see these fit, sun-kissed, gorgeous, tone, runners trotting along with out anything in their hands -no water, no phone, no sweat towel, nothing. And I couldn't figure out how they could do it. 

Then, one morning on my way home from the gym, I saw a gal running along side the road with a hydration belt on and I thought, "I MUST have on of those!" I would have my water, phone, and sweat towel all stashed right in that belt. Everything available to me at the gym would be right there - except for bathrooms, but I knew I could make it for a 30 - 60 minute run/walk/jog without needing to hit up the bathroom. 

So I searched for a hydration belt and finally found one I deemed suitable. Then, I geared myself up for Saturday, when I would run the FIVE mile loop I had mapped out near my house. 

Saturday came and it was overcast. I debated whether to call the run before I even set out due to the possibility of ran, but I decided I had to listen to NIKE and Just Do It! It took some time to get my hydration belt adjusted. When I finally got out the door and moving I realized that I did not like the jiggling of the water bottles on the hydration belt at all. 

Slowly, I traversed the path I had plotted out. I ran a good 2 miles before I had to stop for my first of several walking breaks. About half way through my course, the water in my bottles had gotten warm from the heat of the day as well as my body heat. Still, I suppose warm water is better than no water. My belt continued to jiggle and I continued to stop and adjust it throughout the run. I felt very conspicuous as I wiggled and jiggled that belt every few minutes. 

As I entered into the last 1.5 miles of my run, I began to feel sprinkles.

At first there were just a few, but in a matter of minutes there was a downpour. No thunder or lightening - just a refreshing summer rain. A refreshing summer rain that SOAKED my clothes. Luckily, I had put my phone in a plastic ziplock bag before I put it in the pouch on the hydration belt. (I know, I'm a dork, but I was afraid of damaging my phone if it rained.) My socks were sloshy in my shoes. And I was tired, so I was still taking walking breaks as the rain poured down.

But, as I turned that last curve that headed up to my neighborhood, something clicked. I felt free! I laughed out loud. It was almost if that rain was just for me - to cool me down after my first official "long run". 

Looking back, that run was really a comical disaster. And I never used the hydration belt again after that run. Still, that run was a turning point for me... I no longer wanted to be a runner - I WAS a RUNNER!

Things began to get easier when I bought an arm band to put my phone in while I ran - it turns out I am not the only runner who streams music through their phone instead of an ipod. :-) Also, I realized that for longer runs, it didn't bother me to carry a water bottle with me. 

By the time July 28th rolled around, I was ready! 

My race time was 32:24! 

That was a GREAT time for me! Way better than my goal of 36 minutes. And, although I did have to take a couple 'walking breaks' during the race, I ended feeling very accomplished. 

I was really starting to ENJOY running! 

And, I had lost another 8 pounds, bringing my weight down to 168 lbs

... only five pounds from my goal. 

My Mom, Me, My Sister Sara

Mom & Me

Curious how this story ends? 

Stay tuned for My Weight Loss and Running Journey Part IV ....

Missed the beginning?