Tag Archives: Running

Gotta Run One: Day 9

On Day 9, I did a short two mile recovery run and then p90x yoga! Today also marks the first time I’ve used my Heartrate monitor to get a more accurate calorie count. Suffice to say, life is full of disappointments. If my monitor is to be believed, I earned almost 60 calories less than any of my tracking apps said!

All in all, I would much rather KNOW this, though, than not know. As such, life goes on.

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Gotta Run One: Day 8

Day 8: 8.06 miles!

I drove to Scranton and mom and I hit the Heritage Trail. The weather was PERFECT — not quite overcast but definitely cool and breezy. The trail was nearly empty. The run was most excellent. We tried a new offshoot on the path which I think added about 0.25 to 0.5 to things which is also good and necessary if we want to hit 8 comfortably before making it back to the car. Otherwise there would be a lot of running some stretches 3x. Blah!

But yesterday’s run was terrific. I love running with my mom — I love running in general but ever since I was a kid I wished I could run like she did. Well, now I do. And we run together. And it is a celebration of life!

We decided in the picture to wear our Frog Togg’s like the awkward turtles that we are.

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Gotta Run One: So Far, So Good!

Howdy, ya’ll!

I’ve been working on my “Gotta Run One” challenge for, as of today, nine days. How has it been going? Has it been increasing my motivation or detracting from it? How are my little victory sticks doing with no official extended downtime? (Disclaimer: Every knowledgable runner I know said that I would be OK running daily as long as my rest day runs were short, slow and gentle.) Read onward to find out those answers and more!

1. How’s it been going?

So far, so good! I’ve really been getting used to the process of getting out there every day, which surprises me. Why? Certainly not because I lack an interest. Moreso because some days I genuinely do only have time for a single mile — and before this challenge, having only 15 spare minutes or whatever would mean that I just didn’t get my run in for the day. With this challenge, though, I am forced to take those 15 minutes and make it happen every single day. No excuses. And, to my delight, what’s been happening on days other than those time-crunch days? I find that once I’m already out there pounding the pavement, I’m usually inspired to stay out for more than my owed mile. Often it’s 5K for a shorter run; one day, it was 5 miles. I’m trying not to overdo it and overtrain, considering that I am a relatively “new” runner and my long run mileage is really ramping up quickly — I want to avoid injury! So I’m trying to do, out of 7 days, 2 “one or two” mile runs, a medium-length 5 miles or 10K, two shorter 5Ks, a “whatever I feel that day” run, and of course one long run. So far this little challenge has provided great reason to get out and stay out.

 

2. Is it increasing my motivation or decreasing it?

Yanno, I was really interested to see how this would pan out. I figured one of two things would happen: either 1) the mandatory mile-a-day would lead to me resenting running or 2) it would become the type of habit that I loved even more than I had previously. Thankfully, at Day 9, so far the latter seems to be the case. Rather than it being optional, it’s mandatory — that’s the point — and so instead of waging war with myself about “Eh, but this HEAT/HUMIDITY” or “Eh, but I only have time for like two miles which is barely worth it,” I’ve been happily going out there and doing what I can do, knowing that at least one goal — the goal of running every day – is being met. I actually think that’s where a lot of the joy in this is coming from: I’m being freed from my self-hewn prison of thinking that I MUST log bigger miles or I MUST try to keep a good speed every time I run. Of course, I don’t run as fast as I can every day or always run 10K or more. I have speedwork days, short run days, hillwork days, etc. I think what I’m trying to say is that I’ve been hard on myself — and, 30 lbs later, it seems that it’s been a good strategy — and that I’ve been disparaging of running very short distances. For example: the lone mile. This challenge is helping me reclaim that and is helping me find joy in the corners and hollows of the sport where previously I’d either not been looking or never noticed.

 

3. How do I feel?

This was the part I was concerned about before the challenge began. The good news is that so far, I am totally fine! Having rest days where I just jog a solitary mile has really been fine as a recovery method. Otherwise, because I’m tempering my speed and my courses, running hard(er) 5 days a week has been no problem. This week alone, on Monday I ran 5.2, on Tuesday 3.19, and Wednesday 8.18. No real soreness to speak of. Of course, today will be a 2 or 3 mile recovery run. The weekend will likely hold some shorter runs and maybe one longer one. Keeping it switched up. And on the shortest running days, I’m doing yoga as crosstraining. Gentler yoga one day, and more intense yoga (the P90X yoga actually) the other day.

4. So overall?

I’m happy, and not sore, and finding a lot of joy in the process. Stay tuned for more to follow! I’ve heard some people keep patterns like this up for a year or more… We’ll see where this journey leads!

Gotta Run One: Day 3

This morning, I reaaaally wanted to sleep in. It’s going to be such a busy weekend and Friday is usually my day to recharge before Saturday and Sunday (which, in our family, are always as busy as the weekdays!).

However: I made a promise to you and to me and to the Universe. I said I would get out there and run each day for at least one month.

Today is exceptionally busy: I have a staff meeting at 12 noon for which I need to leave by 11:30 and I am teaching at 3:30. So it’s a bit of a bumpy ride today. That made fitting in a run kind of tricky. Don’t want to have to shower twice, etc.

So I got out of bed by 9, and woke up a little and had a banana and water.

Then off I went!

I forgot to check my watch to see when I had hit 0.5 and by the time I realized, I was at 0.8 and near a familiar turnaround point. So I forged on, and clocked about 2.1 total.

The course was entirely flat, all sidewalk. The morning was cool, if a bit humid. I ran strong and steady, kept an easy pace.

The picture of me for today is supremely disheveled and sleepy looking. I was hoping to convey JUST HOW LITTLE I FELT LIKE IT today. The second, of course, is my Garmin shot.

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My Little iPod (To the Tune of “My Little Pony”)

I got a new iPod, gang.

This probably does not sound like a momentous occasion to YOU, but it totally is one. Consider this: how many iPods do any of us even buy over the course of a lifetime? Counting my original iPod (2006), iPod Touch (2008) and my first iPod nano (2012), I have only ever had three and they were all such different beasts that it hardly feels like three of the same thing.New iPod, then = big deal.

My purple iPod nano went missing a few weeks ago. I know it seems like I must have been careless but I really wasn’t — I kept that iPod safe, along with my Beats headphones, in the headphones’ case. Somehow it went missing. And it went missing JUST as I became willing to make the transition to running outside instead of on the treadmill.

For someone who needs to know details, treadmill running is great. You’re told your exact speed, your distance, your time, etc. And for someone who is very loathe to let other people see them run, a treadmill in a basement is great protection from prying eyes. I fall into both of the aforementioned categories, and over the past 5 months my love affair with my treadmill has reached Kim & Kanye status. JK – barf – death – more like Beyonce and Jay, everyone’s true spirit couple. As the weather has improved I’ve considered branching out to run outside, but had several concerns: 1) How would I know how far I’ve gone? 2) How will I know for sure how fast my miles are? 3) How will I even know where to run? 4) I don’t want to hold my phone while running. Hmph.

And so I hemmed and hawed. I stayed on my treadmill, locked away from the world.

But then, on my birthday weekend, my Mom and Chelsea and I all went running at the River Trail in Scranton. I LOVED IT. It was glorious and green and sunny and it was just the best way to begin a birthday weekend. It really was. The next day, Chelsea slept in and Mom and I hit Nay Aug Park in Scranton. That, too, was lovely.

I decided immediately that I needed to start running outside.

The Monday after my birthday, I wanted to attempt Vestal’s Rail Trail. It’s a four mile straight line, 2 out and 2 back, and on its best days — and in the fully florid days of spring, I think we can safely say we are in its best days — it is boring as shit. I wish it wasn’t, but it is. When I got to the Rail Trail, it was around 11 AM and about 80 degrees. OBVIOUSLY THIS WAS NOT THE BEST TIME TO TRY SOMETHING NEW, but like a Justin Bieber and his attempts to be seen as a man/taken seriously, I cannot be deterred from a plan even when all signs point to failure.

So off I went. I tried. But being so used to the treadmill, I was miserably bad at pacing myself. And then, it happened: my Beats by Dre VERY SUPER NICE HEADPHONES… died.

I was running in the 80 degree heat on a boring trail, having to hold my phone in my hand, and with no music.

Honestly: it was one of the worst runs I have ever had in my life.

I came home bitter and cranky and defeated.

I was so miserable that I took THREE DAYS OFF, which never, ever, ever happens.

But then, Thursday evening, Chelsea and I went for a walk around our neighborhood — we branched into areas I had never seen before. The street on which we live is set apart from the rest of the neighborhood, kind of, and we had never much explored. But when we did, I was delighted — Chelsea has always run in our neighborhood instead of the treadmill, so the sights were all common for her. But the unique houses, the beautifully landscaped gardens, the majestic old and huge trees everywhere…. I could run here, I thought to myself. Then, the best part of all: we discovered, as I’ve mentioned, a woodland trail near our house. It’s less than a block from our front door, but it’s cleverly disguised as a fence and a field. On the other side of the field, a path begins. We walked it out and discovered that it seems to be about 1.5 miles out and 1.5 miles back (it ends at a normal road), so 3 miles total. I HAD FOUND MY PLACE.

Friday morning, I gave my headphones one last dry. No dice. It was pouring outside. Furiously. Should I return to the treadmill? Sigh. If you know me personally, you’ll know that when I’m irritated or angry I can be very effective if I channel myself appropriately. I had a feeling that if I just SET OUT TO DO A THING that morning, despite my disgust about the weather and the headphones, I would have success.

So I put on my old shoes and a windjacket and sans music set into the neighborhood to run in the pouring rain. 6.3 miles later, I came inside feeling calm and immensely pleased.

I was hooked, then, on neighborhood running. But using MapMyRun on my phone was wildly inaccurate, and waiting until I got home to plot the streets was not helpful for while I was actually out there running, and plus MMR didn’t have the woodland trail on it. I needed a better way.

I felt the loss of my little purple iPod more than ever.

That iPod and I had only gone “running” together once or twice a million years ago. I listened to it at work often and in the car, it plugged into my auxiliary jack. I never used its workout capabilities; I only vaguely knew it had them. But when Chelsea gave her blessing to Project New iPod, I felt excited and invigorated and desperately anxious for the new gadget to arrive in the mail. I hoped to use it 1) for sound, 2) for mapping my runs and 3) calculating my efforts. As I waited for the mailman, I contacted the vendor through which I got my old Beats. They offered to send me new ones. I was ecstatic — new headphones, new iPod, new ME out there running.

The iPod and headphones arrived yesterday and my excitement cannot be overstated. I ran two miles by myself, then came home, waited for Chelsea, and together we ran about 3.5 more. 5.5 for the day. The iPod calculated our distances perfectly, as well as our times per mile, etc. The headphones, too, were ideal.

And me? Oh, I was hooked on it all. Finally, with all my concerns assuaged, I had something telling me how far and how fast. I also had something providing some noise so I wasn’t quite so bored.

Most importantly, though, I ran through the streets and didn’t feel like I looked like an idiot. Not because of the iPod, obviously, but because I’m over 20 lbs lighter than I’ve been in awhile and because I felt like ME as I ran along — not like someone pretending at being a runner, but like someone who just IS a runner.

Just like that, I became someone who runs in their neighborhood.

With a snazzy new iPod.

Also, ssssssick headphones.

To me, this is a transformation previously considered impossible.

So this is all to say that I got a new iPod, and it’ll make running easier. I guess this is also to share my delight at my neighborhood running. Mostly, overall, this is me saying that fitness is a journey that is constantly evolving and I love seeing the changes it brings.

Oh and one more thing: It was MY IDEA to actually go for a run with Chelsea. Me? Willingly running with someone else besides my mom? ME? The slow-poke? The amount of courage it took to do THAT will be a post for a different day.

RUN ON, friends!

BIRTHDAY!

Hey everybody!

Nothing much exciting to post for the past two days — sorry I have been slacking. But yesterday was my birthday! And as my WW-journey goes, I do think you’ll be impressed.

I went to campus and went to work. My office mates gave me gifts and sang me Happy Birthday. My students made me cupcakes and sang to me. It was all lovely. After my second class, two of my very best friends ambushed me in my classroom to hug me and wish me Happy Birthday and that was wonderful too — nothing like good hugs from the best people. THEN, after my afternoon meeting, I went home, and —

I WENT FOR A RUN.

Obviously, if you’ve been reading along, you’re like “ok, you run all the time, so” but what’s a big deal is this: If you told me last year on my Birthday that THIS YEAR on my Birthday I would actually WANT to go for a run I would have laughed in your face. No effing way. But I did want to run yesterday — I logged a gentle 4.6 miles, and it felt great.

I weighed myself yesterday, too, and hopefully I don’t gain anything back somehow before the weekend but… I am in the 161’s!

Chelsea and I had sushi for dinner (Thank you, babe!) and for dessert? All I ate was one chocolate Smidgen. That’s it! This weekend I’ll have ice cream cake but for yesterday, dinner was my treat. 🙂

So, for some comparisons:

Last year, birthday dinner: Pizza, piggies, candy, etc.

This year, birthday dinner: Sushi, one piece of chocolate.

Last year, ideal birthday afternoon: sloth!

This year, ideal birthday afternoon: 4.6 miles logged at 6.0 on the treadmill

Last year, body image: Shitful.

This year, body image: Getting there. Feeling proud for having put in the work.

I told Chelsea yesterday that, as corny as it sounds, one of the best gifts I could possibly receive this year is the gift I gave myself: getting healthier. I’m starting to look “more like myself” again, and am down over 20 lbs from where I was in January. It feels good to feel good again. And I’m proud, too, that my birthday choices weren’t me flying off the tracks — in the past, a birthday dinner would have meant tons of Italian food, or pizza, or wings. Chocolate, cake, candy, milkshakes. All because it’s “my day.” But “your day” should reflect “your lifestyle” and “your choices” — and yesterday, I realized I actually value my body and my hard work ON my body more than I valued getting cookies from Vestal Bakery.

And the best part: I didn’t even kind of feel deprived. It was an excellent day and that sushi was freaking delicious.

And I ran.

And I’m healthier than I’ve been in years.

So many blessings.

I’m starting to ramble, so I’ll stop.

Whew.  

Project Speed Demon Update

YOU. GUYS.

I ran 40.7 miles last week.

What? HOW? I know! I am as surprised as you are.

I ran every day of the week, though, Monday through yesterday, and tried a couple different running patterns.

I ran some very long runs where I gave myself a 10-20 second break after every lap, but logged over seven miles.

I ran some shorter runs (3.6 or 4.3 miles, depending on the day) and did them without stopping.

I learned that I can easily run a ten-minute mile after all — and that was the speed at which I ran every step of my seven mile run and most of my other runs. Only yesterday did I take it a little easy and do one mile at 6.0, one mile at 5.0 and repeat the pattern 2.5 times.

I ran on days I was cranky and on days when I had too many other things to do. I ran when I was happy. I ran when my mind was racing faster than my legs. Off I went on my treadmill, squeaky beast that it is.

40.7 miles later, here I am.

Now, that all being said, I am torn about running today. I don’t have schoolwork to do when I come home — which is AWESOME — but I had espresso too late last night and didn’t fall asleep until, like, 4 AM. So I am really effing tired. Like, tilted head and squinty eyes type tired. So I’m debating taking the day off. But if I take today off, will I run on my birthday (Tuesday)? I am not at all opposed to the idea but maybe on that actual day I’ll feel like resting. Oh, I don’t know. I’ll tell you tomorrow whatever I end up deciding.

One more fun fact. Or is it the first fun fact? I’ve not really dropped any fact bombs on you this post. Whatever. In any case, a fun little tidbit: Before I ever started running, I did what we all do with various things like playing on my phone or watching TV — I was the queen of “five more minutes.” And five would become ten or fifteen, etc. You know how it goes. And as I would do things like that — begging myself for just a few more minutes of whatever activity — I know I was just trying to hold onto that feeling of rest, and of belonging to myself outside of my responsibilities, for just a few more moments.

These days, I do that with running. “I’m going for a shorter run!” I yell to Chelsea as I trot down the basement steps. But 35 minutes leads inevitably to 40. At 40, why not go for 45? And then 45 is so close to 5 miles. Come on. Stay on for five miles. Then 5 miles hits, near 50-minutes, and if you’ve been on for 50 why wouldn’t you just stay the hour? But oh, 60 minutes is just shy of 6 miles — stay for 6! And on and on it goes. Unless I force myself, and end up leaving annoyed, I never run for less than 50 minutes anymore. The absolute shortest I’ve ran in the past month has been 39 minutes. I’m finding that my daily run is a place for me to exist both with myself and beyond myself, enjoying some space where I can decompress from the rest of the day and offer myself up to the task.

I never knew I could be that person.

Or maybe I was always that person, and it’s just that I know it, now.

Week 15, A Love Story in 2 Parts (Part 1)

This post has been a long time coming.

Together, we have finally arrived at Week 15. Well, it’s Week 16 now, but we’ve reached/passed Week 15, and to me, that’s a big and special week. Long, long ago when this blog first began, I was struggling to keep up my motivation. In one of my posts, I wrote:

“One pound could be anything.

And so, it’s hard to celebrate 1.5 lbs.

It almost feels like the road to weight loss hasn’t started at all yet — it would be so easy to flail and give up now and go back to the world of non-obsessive eating habits. If a pound can fluctuate on any given day, how do I even know I can attribute its loss to my efforts? It’s so tempting to just “start next week,” or have a massive brownie “just this once,” and plan (and then re-plan, and re-plan) on starting tomorrow or next week.

But I suppose I’d never see week 15 then.

And I really want to see week 15. And week 30, week 54.”

In my head, I had a budding romance with Week 15 the way little girls dream of their Prince (or Princess!) Charming. I waited for it. I worked for it. I wondered what it would be like. I imagined myself squeezing into old clothes with ease. I imagined myself running MARATHONS. Actually, I’m kidding about the marathons. Back when I wrote that post, I really hoped in the depth of my heart that I would be able to run a mile or two at once. That was all I wanted. Week 15 became the Camelot, the Promised Land, blah blah blah. Week 15 would not be one ambiguous pound, I thought to myself, Week 15 won’t be able to be denied.

I wanted to see Week 15.

I wanted to see it so badly.

Knowing that if I hung in there long enough, Week 15 would roll around, I realized I had to continually put in the work if I wanted this little waystation/weighstation (har har har) to be what I imagined. So I did. And you helped me. And here’s where we are today.

Today is just past Week 15. We’re on Week 16 now.

And as of a midweek weigh-in, it’s looking pretty definite that I will have lost over 20 lbs by this Friday’s weigh-in, and I’m closing in on the 160’s after beginning this January in the mid-180’s, and beginning WW in general years ago at 198 before finally getting my act together. So that one ambiguous pound has turned into twenty. It cannot be denied.

As of today, I am sitting at my desk and wearing my very favorite shorts. They’re khaki shorts from Loft and they’re comfy and cute and can be worn to look classy or slouchy, depending on whether I feel like a preppy lady or a hipster Q. I love them dearly — and for the PAST THREE YEARS (well, since two full summers and a winter ago) they have not been able to even be buttoned. Today, I’m wearing them slouchily with a flannel and a knit cap, and I’m wearing them with a belt, and I look adorable, and this is the first time I have worn these shorts outside my house (or at all) in THREE YEARS, and it cannot be denied.

When I first began runnning, a “long run” was anything more than a mile. The 30 minutes of Couch to 5K left me beat, every time. The only way I was able to convince myself to keep doing it was to say “It’s only 30 minutes,” and then think of all the other things I could do in 30 minutes and how short it seemed. 30 minutes for Family Guy episodes, a phone game, petting Tag, scrolling through FB… So I convinced myself I could spend the 30 minutes another way. Time went by; I graduated Couch to 5K; I kept running. Now, my shortest runs are 4 miles; my medium runs at 5-6 miles, and my longest runs are 6.5 miles and up. I’ve also cut my per-mile time from 12 to 10. When I first started running, my weight loss was stubborn and I didn’t see immediate changes — and that made it so hard to stick with it. Now, I am losing (on average) 1.7 lbs a week. Now, I look forward to my run each day (well, 5-6 days a week). Now, I do with the treadmill what I used to do with TV: “Oh, five more minutes, please!” I am running, and loving it, and have breezed through most of the 160’s weight-wise with such speed that all I can do is wonder why I didn’t start running sooner. I am a RUNNER, now. It cannot be denied.

Back when I first began my WW-hustle, I used to say to Chelsea pretty much every day: WHEN WILL I GET TO EAT LIKE EVERYONE ELSE AGAIN? WHEN WILL I STOP WANTING SHITTY FOOD? These days, I love everything I eat. I don’t WANT to go back to eating crappy food — the thought makes me queasy. So if that’s how “Everyone Else” eats, well, too bad/so sad. As for wanting shitty food: I don’t, anymore. Aside from the occasional NEED for chocolate, I don’t crave bad foods or large portions anymore. To me, this is perhaps the most shocking victory of all.  I used to get frustrated by smaller portion sizes, by the need to sub ingredients, by the thought that I could never have my “favorite” foods again. Now, I feel as though I eat like a queen. And I feel happier and healthier than I’ve ever been. It cannot be denied.

And so Part 1 of this “Love Story” is the story of all the things I’ve just shared — the weeks we’ve muscled through together, my body and I, and emerged victories. The one pound that has become twenty. The “changes” that became “habits.” The “running goal” that became the best part of my day. Wellness is the slow and beautiful journey of falling in love with yourself. I’m not quite there yet, but I do see more strength and conviction in me than I’ve ever seen before. Finally, my outsides are matching my insides: determined, proud, nuanced and hard-won.

It cannot be denied.