Losing the Love

Running sucks right now.  So does CrossFit.  It all just seems so hard.  I mean, for crying out loud, I just ran a marathon, and now running 3 miles feels like a long distance.  What’s up with that?  And weights that I used to lift in CrossFit just seem too heavy.  And let’s not even talk about shoulder mobility.  I just feel like I’m not progressing.

As if it weren’t obvious, I’ve been feeling rather discouraged lately.  Running and CrossFit are not things I do because I HAVE to; I honestly enjoy them.  I look forward to running and throwing around weights in the gym.  Or I used to.  What’s happened that what I love has become a chore?

The owner of the CrossFit gym I belong to saw me leaving a few days ago and called out asking how it was going.  I guess my voice betrayed me because he picked up that something wasn’t right and called me over for a chat.  So I spilled my guts.  I ran a marathon, but now I can barely run 3 miles, and I’ve taken steps back in CrossFit.  I’m discouraged.

Jake is a wise man.  The first thing out of his mouth was, “So you ran a marathon.  How many days did you take off after?”  Touche.  I knew rest was important, but I guess my inner teenager thought I was unbreakable and would be good to go after a 2 day rest.

His advice to me?  “Have fun!”  Basically, chill out.  Relax.  Don’t push yourself so hard.  He’s right; I’m not training for anything right now, so why do I have to run that pace or get that mileage or lift that amount of weight?  But I’m super competitive when it comes to myself, and I feel like I’ve let myself down if this run was slower than the last or if I don’t go the miles I had planned or if I still can’t overhead squat more than 20 pounds (Grrr….).

But his advice has been unshakeable.  Have fun.  Run until it’s not fun and then stop.  Or just don’t run for a while.  Walk instead.  And if the CrossFit WOD (workout of the day) doesn’t appeal to you, cheer on your peers and do something else, or go super light that day with the weights.  Just give yourself a break.

As crazy as it sounds, sometimes I just need someone to give me “permission” to let up.  I need to hear that it’s okay to take a break.  Even though my recent vacation gave me a boost of confidence that I can make healthy food choices away from home, I’m still scared to death of gaining weight if I’m not burning tons of calories a day.  I’m still working on finding that balance.

But for now I need to find the fun in my sports again.  I’m thinking maybe I should go running without my running watch.  Forget about pace and distance and just run at a pace that feels good and quit when I get tired.  Same with cycling.  I’m already in that mindset when I get on my bike that I have to ride for a certain number of minutes or get one more mile in than I did last time in the same number of minutes.  I need to just forget about how fast and how far I’m riding and just focus on the wind in my face and enjoy the ride.  And instead of obsessing about the weight on my bar, I need to just focus on the feel of the bar in my hands and the thrill of completing a tough workout, not on “I should be doing more.”

001We all know that life’s not a bowl of cherries, right?  And there’s something to be said for pushing yourself.  That’s how you get better, faster, stronger.  But there’s a time for resting too.  It’s hard for me to admit I’m not enjoying running right now, but I’m going to trust Jake’s advice and just have fun.  I’m just going to chill, try to forget about the numbers and do my thing because I LOVE it.

How are you doing with exercise and fitness?

How do you keep that balance of rest and pushing yourself?

 

 

What I Ate on Vacation

So this past week, I got to spend about 5 days at the beach in Florida.  I’m not much of a swimmer and my skin does not like the sun, but I love walking along the beach, listening to the waves, watching the sunsets.  It’s a very relaxing atmosphere.

St. Pete beach 035But this was my first real vacation since I began this journey to health and losing a boat load of weight.  I was a bit nervous about how I would handle eating.  Would I be able to find healthy options?  Would I be active enough to keep up my usual calorie burn?  I didn’t want to be so caught up in the fear of gaining weight that I couldn’t enjoy myself; on the other hand I didn’t want to just throw caution to the wind.

We ate at beach front grills with names like Caddy’s and The Toasted Monkey.  Usually I like to look at menus and nutrition information before I go out to eat, but that wasn’t an option this week.  Instead, I had to rely on all I had learned about portion size and choosing the most healthy option.  To do this meal after meal would certainly test what I had learned.  How would I do?

For dinner one night, I chose grilled white fish, a healthy option, but it came with french fries and coleslaw, not so healthy options.  So I concentrated most on filling up on fish, and only eating bites of coleslaw and maybe half of the fries.  I have to say, those fries tasted so good.  I seriously cannot remember when the last time was that I had french fries.  It was hard not to eat them all, but I left the rest on my plate.

For other meals, I chose salads with grilled chicken, the dressing on the side.  When possible I chose fruit, snacked on nut and protein bars I brought from home, and just made sure to be active every day.  I ran 3-4 miles every day and then usually followed that with a walk along the beach with my friends.  Still, though, I found myself eating more white bread than I usually do (although that homemade croissant at Beverly’s for breakfast was AMAZING!), eating more french fries at John’s wedding (he had a slider bar–perfect for a beach wedding!), and just generally not eating as many fruits and vegetables as usual.  I came home afraid to step on the scales, sure that I had gained weight.

The moment of truth arrived.  I decided to see what the damage was, and the morning after arriving home, I stripped down and stepped on the scales, afraid to open my eyes.  Imagine my surprise when the number was almost exactly where it had been when I left!  I say almost exactly because it was actually almost a half pound lower, but you know, that may not be reflective of actual weight loss.

I was so relieved…and encouraged!  I had survived 5 days of eating out, eating things that I don’t normally eat and managed to maintain my weight.  To me, that just says, “You’ve figured it out, girl.”  Finally, I know how much to eat, and I can trust my judgment in making menu selections without the benefit of nutrition information.  Happy dance!

What is your recent success story in finding your healthy?

What are you struggling with in finding your healthy?

A New Running Experience

So this happened this week:

That’s right!  I got to experience running on the beach for the very first time.  Another friend got married, but this time the wedding was on the beach in Florida.  A group of us from Tulsa made the trip to Florida to celebrate our buddy and decided to make a vacation of it.  Might as well, right?

I’ve visited the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico before, but this was my first visit to the beach as a runner.  I packed my running shoes, knowing that running on the beach would be on my agenda.

Day 1 of vacation, I was up bright and early to hit the sand.  Getting up for a view like this was not hard!

St. Pete beach 008But I quickly discovered that running on the beach was not at all like running on the pavement.  This is what I learned about running on the beach.

  1.  Run on packed sand.  Running in loose sand works leg muscles much differently that running on pavement.  My feet wanted to sink into the sand, so it took much more effort to run.  I quickly discovered that if I ran closer to the water where the sand was packed hard, running was much easier.  It helped that it was low tide when I went out in the morning, so there was plenty of packed sand to run on.St. Pete beach 046
  2. Watch for obstacles on the beach.  Among the fisherman with their poles set up, and the people walking along the beach, I had to watch for clumps of seaweed, trenches that used to be the moats of collapsed sand castles, and the mounds of sand that used to be said sand castles.
  3. Wear running shoes.  I’d heard of many runners running barefoot on the beach.  That was not an option for me.  This beach had a lot of small shells covering it, so while I could walk on the beach carefully, running on the shells would have been painful.  I also discovered that just walking in the sand made my feet hurt.  My feet, I think, are used to the support of my running shoes and fatigued easily with trying to keep my balance on a softer surface.
  4. Be aware of the camber of the beach.  Since my bout of iliotibial band syndrome last year, I learned about the camber, or the slope, of running surfaces.  Running on a slope can be bad for your knees and cause a lot of pain.  I like to run in the middle of the road if I’m in a quiet neighborhood or even on the right side of the road if there’s no traffic just to give my legs a break from always running the same slope.  That can help to prevent injury (trust me, I learned the hard way!).  Beaches, I discovered also have a slope, but since I ran out and back, both of my legs got an equal workout on the slope.  I tried, though, to find the flatest part of the beach to run on to avoid running on a slope.
  5. Run slower; run shorter.  Running on unfamiliar surfaces can increase a runner’s risk for injury.  One way to minimize the risk of injury is to run slower and to run for shorter distances.  My pace was about 30-60 seconds slower per mile than usual, and I only ran 3-4 miles a day.  Because running in sand took more effort, it wasn’t difficult to slow the pace or cut the mileage!
  6. Don’t forget sunscreen!  The sun is not kind to my super pale skin, but the beach sun is even less forgiving.  The reflection off the water just makes it easier to get a burn.  Even early in the morning, I put sunscreen on before I went out.
  7. Leave the music home.  I always run with music when I run alone.  It’s a good distraction, and the beat of the music propels me on, but at the beach…yeah, I didn’t need music.  I had the waves to listen to.  I could listen to that every day and never tire of it.  Plus, one of my friends who also made the trip is a runner, so on most days I had someone to run with and talk to.  Oh, and did I mention dolphins to look at?  When do I ever get to see dolphins on a run?  But I did this week!

Hopefully, this is the first of many runs on the beach!  But because this beach is an 18 hour drive from where I live, it has got me thinking about trying trail running.  Even a short run on the beach gave me the feeling of a much harder workout.  Trail running might be my urban beach run!

What’s your favorite vacation destination?

The Unexpected Side of Weight Loss

Losing weight feels great, no doubt about it.  My self-confidence has sky rocketed.  I don’t break out into hives when I have to stand on the scales at the doctor’s office.  I’m sleeping better.  Aches and pains that used to bother me have disappeared.  Losing 63 pounds is the best thing I’ve ever done for me!

But the fact that all those things happened was really no surprise.  I’d read of all these benefits of weight loss, but still it’s nice to experience them in person.  However, there were a few things that happened that I was NOT expecting.

  1.  My choice of food gets scrutinized by everyone.  It’s true!  I had probably lost 30-40 pounds, and a friend saw me pick up one of those mini cinnamon rolls.  You know, the ones that are about 2 bites?  “Should you be eating that?” he asked.  At first I was annoyed, but I just laughed, and told him, “I can have anything I want.”  Seriously, that’s how I eat–whatever I want.  You can read about that here.  But people make comments about what I eat frequently.  After a while, I stopped being annoyed and just took the comments as genuine interest in my weight loss and quest for health.  Now that I’ve reached a healthy weight, I welcome the scrutiny because it gives me an opportunity to talk about how I approach food and eating.
  2. Wrinkles and flab happened.  Yuck.  Who wants to hear about that, but 001it’s true.  Losing a lot of weight made lines in my face more visible and caused a little more jiggle you know where.  This has been my least favorite thing about weight loss, but if I had to take wrinkles and flab over being fat, I’ll take the wrinkles and flab!  They only happen because the fat that used to make my skin tight is no longer there.  That’s a good thing, folks.  And running and CrossFit have helped tremendously with the jiggle.  The more I increase my muscle mass, the less flab there is.  It just takes time.  As for the wrinkles…Well, I haven’t found the magic cure yet, but I’ve started using Rodan & Fields skin care products and am hopeful that will help.
  3. Finding clothes that fit is hard.  I bet you didn’t expect to hear that as a side effect of losing weight, uh?  Yeah, neither did I.  I figured I could just walk into any store and find tons of stuff that would fit.  Shirts are no problem.  Small size tops are pretty easy to find, but I’m fitting into size 2-4 pants now, and that size is really hard to find.  I was really surprised!  My wardrobe has been very slim over the last 2 years as I’ve lost weight.  I didn’t want to buy a lot of new clothes until I reached my goal weight, so I would buy one or two pairs of pants in my current size and wear them for as long as possible.  But I’ve been at my current weight for a while now, so I feel safe in building up my wardrobe again.  The problem is that I can’t find pants in sizes 2-4!  A nice problem to have for sure, but still kind of maddening.

But don’t let these things discourage you from losing weight!  I just want to be honest about weight loss.  Believe me, feeling so much better physically, mentally, and emotionally FAR outweighs any of these unexpected consequences of weight loss.  And honestly, I’ll take all the wrinkles in the world if that’s what losing weight and feeling better means.  And as for pants?  It’s a good thing I live in scrubs and workout clothes anyway, uh?

What expectations do you have about losing weight?

Girl vs. Lawnmower

I have married friends who tell me sometimes how easy my life is, you know, being single and all.  They’re probably right most of the time.  My fur baby is happy with his daily scoop of catfood, a string or a stick to play with, and fresh litter for his box.  Yep, I guess I’ve got it pretty nice.

055Except for those times when I have no idea what I’m doing, which as a single, female, mechanically challenged homeowner is frequently.  I’m not at all handy so when it comes to things going wrong in the house, I’m either duct taping it, living with it, or paying to have it fixed when it finally gets on my last nerve.

Right now I have tons of dry wall patches in the bathroom from having some cracks repaired.  Oh, and that patch in the hallway where the plumber had to cut a massive hole in the wall to change out the leaking bathtub faucet (I decided after letting it drip for a year, I should really do something about it.)  But painting isn’t difficult; I just need to do it–which is the thing about being single.  Everything falls on my shoulders.

But the one thing that continues to whoop my tail, even after almost 9 years of home ownership, is the lawnmower.  It remains my number one nemesis.

Now, I’m a fairly stubborn (maybe prideful?) gal and hate asking for help.  So when I bought a house, I told myself I was not going to rely on others to help me take care of it.  I was going to learn to do the things I need to do to maintain a house on my own.  I decided to start with tackling lawnmower maintenance.  I had my new mower blade and a new air filter, and I got up bright and early one Saturday morning, sure that I could change the mower blade, the oil, and the air filter, AND have the lawn mowed by noon.

Well…After an hour of trying to get the old blade off with a pair of plier things I found in the garage, I wound up with several bloody knuckles and the mower blade no where closer to being off.  So I gave in and called my big brother (love him!) who came over and loosened the blade for me.  Unfortunately, the new blade I had so confidently purchased was too big.  So off for trip #1 to Home Depot for a new blade.

I returned home, screwed the new blade in place, feeling immensely proud of myself.  Unfortunately, I then discovered that in the tools my brother left for me, there was not the right size wrench to undo the oil thingy (you know, so I can dump out the old oil).  So off for trip #2 to Home Depot.  The salesman tells me I need a socket type wrench.  I tried to tell him I don’t think that will work since the nut I needed to loosen was in a groove on the deck of the mower.  He was insistent, though, and since I had no idea what in the heck I was doing, I trusted him.  Only to find that, indeed, I was right, and the socket would not fit into the groove to loosen the bolt.

Trip #3 to Home Depot.  My blood pressure was rising.  I’d been hours already trying to get that stupid machine taken care of.  I avoided all sales people, found the wrenches, but wasn’t sure if I needed metric or standard size wrenches.  Promising that this would be my last trip to Home Depot that day, I picked them both up.

Thankfully, I found the wrench that fit the nut, loosened and removed it, only to have dark, dirty oil flood the garage floor.  I was beyond frustrated, but bound and determined to get the job done, I cleaned up the mess, and proceeded to replace the oil.

Changing the oil filter was a piece of cake compared to everything else and finally at 12:00, I was ready to mow the grass.  I took the mower outside, yanked the starter cord a few times, but nothing happened.  Haha, gas!  I hadn’t filled up the gas tank.  Unfortunately, the stupid thing still wouldn’t start.

I was just plain mad now.  I marched inside, slamming doors, throwing shoes, and yelling at the walls, since I’m single and there’s no one else to yell at, you know.  My poor cat was cowering under furniture.  I decided breakfast and a nap were in order, and an hour later, inspired by the sound of my neighbor’s lawnmower, I decided to try again.

This time the mower started, but it sounded like it was chewing rocks.  One pass down and back, and I found the mower blade laying in the grass.  Sigh.  I screwed the blade back on, torking it with all my might, and at long last, the yard was successfully mowed.

Years later, I can look at my first lawnmower maintenance experience and laugh, but still that machine bites me.  This year, I completed all the maintenance activities in about 20 minutes.  I had to get a little MacGyver like to hold the mower up so I could change the blade, but it worked!

003As usual, the mower wouldn’t start right off.  I yanked the starter cord hard, and suddenly that thing recoiled so hard, snapping me in the jaw, bouncing off my chest, and landing with a snap against the mower deck…while I heard the unmistakeable clatter of the blade hitting the driveway.  Oy!  Not again!  But yes, I had put the blade on upside down.  Way to go, girl.

So being single is sometimes hard in ways people don’t see or understand.  It can be frustrating to get things done when you’re just not skilled in doing some kinds of tasks.  But on the other hand, there is a strange sense of satisfaction in conquering something as mundane as lawnmower maintenance.  I only hope one day, I can do it on my first try without walking away in a limp, bruised, or bloody.

What do you do when things break in your house?

 

A Day Full of Running

One of the things I love most about my life is being Aunt Nita.  I love having nieces and nephews, playing with them but being able to send them to their moms and dads when they misbehave.  Yep, it’s the best!

Most of my nieces and nephews live out of state, but I have one nephew and 2 nieces who live in the same town as me–my brother’s kiddos.  Candice is the youngest and hands down my favorite 3 year old.

004Isn’t she adorable?!

Candice was born with hearing loss.  You’d never know, though, unless you saw her hearing aids.  She goes to a preschool for hearing impaired kiddos where she’s learning to sign and working with a speech therapist.  That little girl can chatter with the best of them!  She has caught up to her peers in speech, and her signing is amazing.  She has so much expression in her hands.  It just blows my mind to see her sign.

Any who, as a fundraiser for this totally amazing preschool, the school hosts an annual run.  They chalk out a start and finish line, mark out the course in the parking lot with cones and let the kiddos run to their hearts’ content through silly string and bubbles.  Candice was a running machine!  Maybe one day we’ll get to run together.  That would be so cool.

019007

 

 

 

I’m so glad I got to attend!  It was fun to be on the other side of the race, to be a cheerleader for these kids and their parents.  Yep, being Aunt Nita is pretty cool.

But then later that night, I found myself back in the runner position, ready to challenge myself to set a 5K PR.  It was the annual Cinco de Mayo run, the first race I ever ran 2 years ago, the run that flipped the runner switch inside of me.  I’ve been anxious to run it again to see how much I’ve improved.  I wasn’t sure how I’d do, since my pace has been a lot slower training for long distance running.  Plus, it was really hot, something like 80 degrees at 7 p.m.  Ugh.  I am really thankful for racerback tank tops!

My legs were sore and tired from a week of CrossFit, and as I crossed the start line, suddenly 3.1 miles felt like an endless distance.  By mile 1, I was already breathing hard, and my legs were sending me nasty messages.  But I really wanted that PR.  The halfway point came and went, and then, finally, we were down to 1 more mile.  I wanted to walk so badly, but I knew I’d be so mad at myself if I walked in a 5K.  So I talked to myself.  “Come on, girl.  You can do this.  You just ran a marathon, for Pete’s sake!  There’s only 1 mile left.”

Somehow I persuaded myself to keep going, and I crossed the finish line with a 5K PR at 26 minutes and 22 seconds.  I was still 4 minutes behind the third place finisher in my age division, but hey, a PR is a PR, and I’ll take it!

029So ends my adventure for last week.  Not a bad way to end the week!

How did your week go?

What’s one of your favorite roles in life?

 

Remembering Mom

It’s easy for me to get bogged down in feelings of inferiority on Mother’s Day.  When the ideals of marriage and motherhood are held up as the standard of womanhood, it’s easy to feel a lesser woman on that day, being single and childless.  It’s an awkward day for a single gal.  I mean, what do you say when someone says, “Happy Mother’s Day!”  to you.  Ummm, thanks, I guess.  Somehow I don’t think having a fur baby really counts as being a mother.

030But one thing I’m working hard to do here On the Other Side is to find a healthy perspective in every situation, awkward or otherwise.  So instead of wallowing in inferiority on another Mother’s Day, I choose to celebrate the woman my Mom was and to embrace the challenge to be the woman she raised me to be.

My mom died on May 2, 2009, just a few days before Mother’s Day.  That makes the day a bit hard for me as well.  Death.  It’s the stinky part of life, right?  But to see Mom suffering from Parkinson’s disease and dementia was infinitely harder than letting her go, knowing death for her was ultimate healing.  I know one day I’ll see her again.

I don’t know how I could ever begin to list all the things my mom taught me, but there are a few things she did so well that I am still working to perfect in my own life.

  1.  Make the simple special.  My mom was a master at making something so simple feel really special.  After a long day of running errands, Mom would pick up a loaf of raisin bread, a package of bologna, and a box of Bugles.  Then we’d head to the park for a short picnic or sometimes have a “car picnic”.  It was such a simple lunch (believe me, it tasted much better than it sounds!), but it was such a treat.  Same with peanut M&M’s.  Mom would buy a bag on sale, stash it away, and on a random evening, she’d pull out the bag of chocolate and dole out 10 M&M’s to each of us.  I could make that chocolate last for hours!  I hope that things I enjoy never become commonplace.
  2. Find pleasure in the little things.  Mom got such enjoyment from things I take for granted.  We could be driving along, and she would make such a fuss over the beautiful flowers along the road–flowers that I didn’t even see.  She’d watch birds and squirrels playing and laugh at their antics.  Or the next door neighbor’s little dog.  She got a kick out of watching that little dog run and play in the grass.  I hope I can take a lesson from Mom and see the small, beautiful details in my everyday life.
  3. Take pleasure in giving.  My mom loved giving to other people.  Even when Parkinson’s and dementia robbed her of her ability to read, write, and make crafts, she would get so excited when I would help her make a card to send to someone.  I hope I can always be excited to give to others.
  4. Treasure scripture.  Some of my earliest memories of Mom are of seeing her sitting on the edge of the bed, open Bible beside her.  Mom’s Bible was tattered and underlined in all different colors, sure signs that she spent much time with it.  After Mom got sick, I would read scripture to her.  She especially loved the book of Isaiah.  She would sit beside me on the couch, and I would read chapter after chapter from Isaiah.  Once I thought she had fallen asleep.  She was sitting so quietly with her eyes closed.  I stopped reading, and Mom’s eyes opened.  She wasn’t sleeping at all; she was just reveling in the word of God.  If I could just learn to treasure God’s word as much as she did…

So on this MMom 001other’s Day, I remember my mom, Susie.  I still have so much to learn from you.  Thanks for being my mom.

Which Way to Weigh

I used to hate the scales.  I could feel my blood pressure rise just at the thought of standing on that thing.  I didn’t want to face the truth that the scales told me, and the number it showed me was just ugly.  So yeah, I hated the scales.

025But then, I unexpectedly found my pants fitting looser at the end of the Daniel fast and decided to brave that evil machine.  My feeling about the scales changed when it told me I had lost 10 pounds!  I still didn’t like the number it showed me, but at least I was headed in the right direction.  I was so eager to see that number decrease that I began to weigh myself every day.

And that’s a question I get asked some times.  How often do you weigh?

I’ve read lots of opinions on how often we should weigh ourselves when we’re trying to lose weight.  Some people recommend weighing once a week, on the same day and time every week.  Other people recommend weighing every day.  Me?  I weigh every day.

BUT…there were some things I had to understand about weight loss before I either shot the scales when the number went up or put a bow on the thing when the number went down.  Weight loss is more than a number on the scales.  When I talk about weight loss, I’m talking about a change in body composition–fat loss.  Yes, eventually the number on the scales will reflect the loss of fat in a lower weight, but fat loss doesn’t happen over night.

Scales reflect a lot of other factors that affect our overall weight.  Take clothes, for instance.  Obviously, if you weigh yourself fully clothed with your shoes on, you weigh more than you do in your birthday suit.

026And water weight plays a big role in the number reflected on the scale every day.  On thing I learned in nursing school is that weight is the most accurate reflector of fluid balance.  Many patients in the hospital are weighed daily, and it has nothing to do with calories and losing fat but everything to do with evaluating the amount of fluid they have either lost or are retaining.  The same thing holds true even when you’re not in the hospital.  Weigh yourself in the morning.  Drink your coffee.  Have a couple bottles of water.  Eat breakfast and lunch, and by afternoon or evening, your weight may be 2 or more pounds above where you started the day.  During my recent marathon, I sweated buckets.  After the race I drank several bottles of water, and still after my 1.5 hour drive home, my weight was 3 pounds below where I started the race!  I had lost probably close to 4-5 pounds in just fluid.

A pound of fat contains 3,500 calories, so to lose or gain a pound of fat (here’s a pound of butter for reference)027 you’d have to either eat 3,500 calories or burn 3,500 calories.  As a frame of reference, I burned about 2,500 calories running a marathon.  (Keep in mind, though, that your weight affects how many calories you burn.  At about 117 pounds now, I only burn about 75 calories/mile running, while others may burn over 100 calories/mile.)

So all that to say it’s almost physically impossible to see actual weight loss on the scales from one day to the next.  Make sense?  This is the rationale for only weighing yourself once a week.  Safe weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week, so by only weighing yourself once a week, it’s much easier to see actual weight loss.

So why do I weigh myself every day?  For me, it’s accountability.  If I see the number go up for a few days in a row, it’s motivation for me to evaluate my diet and to renew my determination to make healthy choices.

But I also have to remember that daily weights don’t reflect actual weight loss and to not beat myself up when I weigh more today than I did yesterday.  That’s super important!  It’s easy to get discouraged when you so badly want to lose weight, but that half pound you went down yesterday is now up by 0.3 pounds.  It’s NOT ACTUAL WEIGHT GAIN!  How can it be when I only ate 1200 calories and exercised for an hour????  It doesn’t add up.

The key to weighing yourself daily is to look at the trend.  At the end of the week, do you weigh more or less than you did at this same time last week?

I think you have to decide for yourself what will work for you.  If you know that you can be easily discouraged by those fluctuating numbers, daily weights may not be good for you.  But if you can keep in mind that those daily fluctuations don’t really indicate fat loss, then maybe you’re like me, and weighing daily is good motivation to keep making those healthy choices.

What are your thoughts?  Weigh daily or weekly?

What’s Next?

“What’s next?”  That’s the question I’ve been getting asked a lot this past week.  Now that I’ve run a marathon, what’s next?

To be perfectly honest, I’ve been in a bit of a funk since the race ended.  There’s something about working hard and looking forward to an event for so long that just leaves me feeling a bit deflated once it’s over.  Am I alone in that?  I mean, you pour yourself into training, sacrificing other events for training runs, and then…just like that, it’s over.

It’s got me thinking a lot about a question a friend asked me recently.  “What do you do when you get down?” he asked.  I didn’t know what to say.  But I’ve been thinking a lot about it this week, feeling all down and stuff, you know.

What I’ve realized is that since I’ve made exercise a regular part of my life, I don’t feel down very often.  (Check out this article from the Mayo Clinic about exercise and mood.)  But the tough thing about running a marathon is that it takes a while to recover.  Some people suggest resting one day for every mile you run.  Me, rest for 26 days?!  Yeah, right!  But I also know too much exercise right now is an invitation for injury, so I’m trying to do some active recovery by scaling back the amount of activity that I normally do.  That may be contributing to my funk.

What I’ve also realized is that I need a goal to work towards–a vacation to plan, a mission trip to prepare for, a home improvement project to complete, an event to host at my house, a race to train for.  When there’s something in the future that I’m reaching for, that’s what energizes and motivates me.

So what’s next?  I’ve been trying to set some athletic goals to give myself something to work towards.

  1.  The most immediate goal is a 5K PR.  Coming up on Friday, May 7 is the Cinco de Mayo 5K.  This was the first race I ever ran 2 years ago ancinco de mayo finish, 2d the event that really flipped the switch for me on becoming a runner.  I haven’t run a 5K race in a while, and I’m looking forward to running this race again to see how much speed I’ve picked up.  My fastest 5K to date has been 27 minutes, so my goal is to run this race in under 27 minutes.  This is me 2 years ago, elated at having run a 5K!

 

 

2.  The next goal is consistency in CrossFit.  I backed off of CrossFit a good bit towards the end of marathon training just because of time constraints and trying to prevent injury.  But I’m excited to get back to it.  Two skills that I hope to accomplish by my birthday at the end of July is the strict pull-up and double unders.

3.  Try something new.  I’ve just been riding my bike more or less for recreation in my neighborhood, but I’d like to learn more about the sport of cycling.  I have a goal to find a cycling group to ride with this summer.  Who knows?  Maybe I’ll tackle a duathlon at some point.

4.  Run another marathon.  Yep, as hard as that race was, I almost immediately began to think about what marathon I would run next.  I haven’t quite decided, but I’m looking at these summer months, the “off season” of running races, as an opportunity to really focus on cross-training and getting as strong as possible for the next marathon.

I’ll keep you posted on how well I’m meeting these goals!

What do you do when you get down?

What goals are you working towards at the moment?