Monthly Archives: July 2011

Kilts and Dollas

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I’ve mentioned it briefly before, but I’m currently giving myself $1 per mile run (doubles on races).

It’s a sweet little motivator considering I am horrible about not putting money away voluntarily. Sure, I have direct deposit where I put a portion in to my 403B (whatever the hell that is, but it sounds fan-cy) and another little portion in to my savings account. But those portions are small and insignificant and I rarely just move money over when it’s left over from bills and fun stuff.

So, every morning I run, I spend about two minutes transferring over small amounts of money back and forth from my checking account to savings. Obviously, the amounts are small- $3.10 on Tuesdays, $6.20 on Thursdays, between $10-$14 on Sundays. But in total, it’s a good $20ish a week or around $80-100 a month.

I already know what I’m going to spend it on (because you really dont think that I’m saving for nothing)… VACATION!

 
I haven’t had a real vacation in years. Seriously, multitudes of years. I love traveling and since I’m not saving up for babies, weddings, homes, cars, etc…. I can afford (har har) to take some me time and move around a bit. 
My sister and I are currently talking Scotland. I should mention that my sister had to be dragged screaming on family vacations, so her wanting to go to Scotland is a complete surprise. I did have to explain, with utter frustration, that you couldn’t just do a weekend in Scotland. The plane alone would take 7+ hours and we would lose time. The concept seemed lost. 
We still dont get it, Daniel.
 
However, I’m more than happy to visit Scotland. It’s not the first place on my travel list. But, if it gets me out of the house and using my passport, I’m down with that. 
Plus, who doesn’t want to see the land of Sean Connery? 
So, from now on, during my runs I will be thinking about martinis and Sean Connery. Maybe I’ll try to pace myself to Annie Lennox or use some Braveheart quotes as my running motto when I’m in a rut. Sounds good to me.
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I Had a Dream…

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Woke up in a panic this morning. I had just come out of dreamworld and I was PISSED OFF.

My dream started with me signing up for the Chicago Marathon. In real life, it’s my ultimate goal. I plan on running it in 2012. I was excited, nervous, but for some reason, I felt like I had trained enough. The night before, I was at a party and got home late (much like my last 10K). I didn’t have time to pack or put out my outfits. I kind of just crashed on the couch.

When I woke up, I realized that I was running horribly late, which happens to be my biggest pet peeve and fear, so I ran to the start lines without double/triple checking my gear. As I made it to the start line, I saw that all the corals were lining up. I was in the third to last one (even in my dreams I’m slow… must work on that), so I knew I had a bit of time to relax and get warmed up. As I was making my way to gear check, I noticed that I didn’t have my bib (the race number) on me. I knew that I couldn’t run without it so I frantically begged and pleaded with the race organizer to let me run. She looked a bit like this:

After realizing that Ms. Trunchbull/race organizer wasn’t going to let me get anywhere near the corals without a bib on, I called up a sleeping SOB and demanded that he race downtown with my bib. As I waited, I watched, horrified, as all the corals left in 2-3 minute intervals.

As B arrived and handed off my bib, I darted to the start line. But when I got there, they were packing it up and putting up the finish. The sag wagon had already left with the last runner to officially cross the start. And I was left alone, in tears, as the elite runners were coming in (even in my dreams, everyone is MUCH faster than me).

Odd thing was that when I woke up, I noticed that it was 5:40. My alarm didn’t go off and I missed a training run. Not a big deal, but a bit odd considering my dream.

Now, knowing me, you know that I HAVE to analyze this dream. Sure, it could be nerves. My first half marathon is less than 3 weeks away! While I got in a great 10 mile run on Saturday morning, I’m still feeling anxious. This could be the same as brides who have nightmares about walking down the aisle naked or guests eating chicken instead of steak… that sort of thing.

That’s a bit provincial for me. I’m equating this dream to my fears of not being able to lose any more weight. I admit that I’ve been slacking these last few weeks. Between my social life, my want to spend time with my boyfriend at home, and my depression… I’ve stopped tracking my food and my gym visits have dwindled to once or twice a week. I’m taking more “rest” days off, even when I truly dont need it. It’s all excuses.

I seem to do this a lot in life- I get started on a good foot. I’m excited, raring to go, and I’ve prepared myself for every obstacle. But at some point in my journey, I’m always held back by my own doing (i.e. forgetting the bib). And I’m, of course, left to watch the rest pass me by.

Unfortunately, this is where I should write all the things I’m going to do to turn this rut around. I’ll get myself fired up and hopefully inspire one or two of you to at least do a push up. But I’m just not in the mood. I’ve got The Decemberists concert tonight (YES), my niece spending the night on Friday, my nephew’s first birthday on Saturday, and the Paul McCartney concert on Sunday. My free time and devotion to the gym is going to continue to take a back burner this week, along with food tracking. But luckily, I’ve been doing this for long enough to know how much fitness I truly need to get and what kind of food choices I need to make to balance each other out. I’ll be fine.

But after this week, feel free to yell at me till I get to the gym.  

10K Recap

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See these wonderful, delicious, sympathetic things? They were the only thing getting me across the finish line at the Fleet Feet Sports Women’s 10K/5K on Sunday.

There I was, at mile 6, ready to either throw up, cry, pass out, or all three… but the woman next to me (a saint in a red Chicago Marathon shirt) urged me to keep going. “Just think of the popsicles” she said, breathless as I was. “God, I hope they have red!” I replied.

.1 mile left, I spotted SOB waiting for me. He started filming, I started screaming at him to stop. And in about two seconds, I was across that finish line and searching for that illusive red popsicle. No luck, they only had orange and purple. Sucks being a slow runner. No good popsicles left for those slower than a 9 minute mile pace.

It could have been worse… much worse.

Run Hades had basically sucked the life out of me from start to finish. The ground was a sweltering 84 degrees when the 5000 ladies took off from the marina. My first mile was spent thanking all that is holy for giving me the insight to bring my amphipod water bottle along for the ride. It was then accompanied by curses directed at my shin splints. I wouldn’t blame them. My first mile was fast, even for me, causing my calves to basically buckle under me with each step.

“Slow the fuck down,” I probably said out loud (and to the chagrin of the other runners who already thought I was crazy). 5 miles left and I didn’t plan on burning out at mile 2. I was certainly not going to go down because my calves were a little pissed.

I was also not going to fail while trying to pass the herds of ladies walking the 5K, hand in hand. I get it, this is a celebration. You beat cancer, raised some money, got your lady loves involved, etc…. but do you really need to take up a path with all your love? Cant you just walk two-by-two, or a line? It could be a big freakin’ parade. Some of us are not in it to hold hands. We are there to get sweaty, make a PR, and allow ourselves to eat a second serving of popcorn. Next race that has this issue, I swear I’m going to play a game of Red Rover.

 More photoshop skills learned!

At mile 3, I got to witness the craziness of an enraged golfer. To that man, who cussed out a bunch of fine looking women in short shorts and sports bras running past the drive way to the Lincoln Park golf course… well, you deserve no pity. What you said was horrifying, and I chuckled loudly as the cop came and forced you back in to your car before one of the three women chasing you down could kick your sorry, old, white ass. Next time, check the website or the trail. Signs were posted and races happen almost every weekend.

Mile 4, well nothing happened then. Just hot air.

At mile 5, we headed back to the marina. We circled around the soccer fields and past the lake front church. I finally passed a group of girls who were casually chatting the entire time. No one should be able to chit-chat about their kid’s artwork and run a 10K in 90 degree weather. It’s just not fair.

And then mile 6 happened. My angel in a red marathon shirt guided me to that popsicle heaven. I crashed on the lawn, sucking down that orange juicy stick (mmm… dirty). After a good amount of not moving, SOB and I got back on the trail for the 1 mile walk home… in 90 degree temps. I spent the rest of the day happily eating mac and cheese and popcorn. Nothing like post race, non-guilt.

Other highlights of the weekend?:
– Harry Plopper
– Hair cutz. Wish I took a before picture, but my hair was past my shoulder blades and enough to be deemed a mechanical safety issue. So it got the chop. It was a last minute call, one that I put in the hands of a brilliant and awesome stylist. He did great. My hair feels fresh as a daisy and I can actually see my neck now.
– My eating… Cartman style… I’ll get back to you on the nutrition department. I’ve been bad.
– Oh, and hai, SOB’s Brother, SOB’sLBM had his graduation party. That was fun, but SOB’sLBM’s pictures were not flattering. I cannot wait till there comes a day when I do not look at pictures and shudder. A girl can dream.

Better Son or Daughter

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Oh Lord, I was on a high this week. And by high, I mean finally feeling normal. Yippee!

And then, two days later, I’m back down.

Yippee.

I would really love to be out of this- to feel normal, happy, proud. Oh, and I’d love to look at myself and see someone who is smiling rather than looking like the Ghost of Christmas past.

If you can believe it, I spent so much of yesterday just staring at nothing with no thoughts in my head. I spoke more words to the man on the L asking me about the book I’m reading (Last of the Mohicans) than actually communicating with anyone else.

Today, well, it’s no different. I feel, uh, better. But I seriously think it’s because I’ve spent much of the day planning for my niece’s visit and trying to find Alex’s 1st birthday gift online. Seriously, how can you not smile when looking at adorable babies in cute outfits?

Anyways, B sent me this song yesterday while I was in the thick of things, and it’s been stuck in my head ever since. It eerily sums up exactly what is going through my head.:

Oh, and I ran 4 miles yesterday. I should throw that in someplace, so why not here? 4 miles is a pretty easy undertaking, but I ran it after work yesterday. I usually do all of my runs in the morning, before 8am, so there was a huge difference. I obviously felt more self conscious with the added amount of people on the trail. I guess there was more pressure to get through my intervals without looking like I’m about to fall apart or die of heat exhaustion.

Only 3 days away from my tune up 10K- or as my runner friends are calling it, RunHades 10K. I had really wanted to pull a PR (personal record), but with the race not starting till 7:30 and the temps as it is, I’m going to stick with just finishing as my goal. 

This is a great test to see how I will do in the heat with my half marathon. Only 4 weeks out! I’m feeling more and more confident as well as freaked out. My motivation is at a high with my training, but to make sure that I keep on running after I cross the finish line, I’ve decided to pay myself. For every mile I run, I’m giving myself a dollar and doubling it if it’s a race. For July, I’ve already deposited about $21.50. Cha-ching!

Anyways, have a happy and healthy weekend. I’ll be back, I’m sure, with a race recap on Sunday night or Monday.

Why I Dont Support Your Weight Loss

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Support from family and friends means the absolute world to me. Even when you dont know it, you are giving me the strength and courage to fight my deamons- weight loss, depression, desire to eat popcorn every night, addiction to MTV reality shows, etc.

Today, one of my coworkers, whom I only see in the Fall, stopped by my office to ask about music gigs. The first thing she said to me was “Oh my goodness. When did you get so small?” She didn’t know that I had been working my ass (literally) off for the last 9 months. She wasn’t prompted or given a cookie to say such nice things. And I wasn’t wearing lyrca infused miracle panties. She just said it.

Feeling good, I thanked her for her words and we started discussing running and all of my races, including this weekend’s Fleet Feet Women’s 10K/5K. Little does she know that when I’m running on Sunday, I’ll be thinking about how her face lit up when I said, without hesitation, that I am running to get healthy.

It’s easy to blow smoke up my ass. It is still that large, but it’s one thing to show genuine interest. And that’s what keeps me moving. I hope I do the same in return for all of my friends who are out there at the gym or are posting fitspiration blogs and race recaps. We are all in this together.

BUT, and it’s a big BUT, I will not support just anyone. You have to do this smartly. This shouldn’t just be about the number on the scale or the size of your tape measure. This is about obtaining the healthiest, manageable lifestyle. For many of us, that does include dropping 20-30-40-50-100lbs. So, just so we are clear on why I’m not friending you back on Sparkpeople or why I refuse to give you any advice on facebook, here’s a list of my exceptions:

I will NOT support you if you are intentionally eating under 1200 calories a day. Whether it be for a wackado diet or your own need to cut your calories, 1200 is not sufficient. 1200 calories is what you need to have normal brain function- that’s not to strive, create, push yourself through tough workouts. 1200 is the baseline low that you should shoot to get over. And when I mean over, let me say that as a 4’11” female at the weight of this tshirt cannon:

I strive to eat between 1400 calories (non-workout days), 1600 calories (strength and short runs), 2000 calories (long runs or over 2 hours of cardio). I’m assuming you are not as short as me, so add about 100 calories to each of those numbers and you most likely have the number you should be eating at if you are female.

I wont even begin to list all the horrors that could go on if you continue to eat at 1200, but let’s sum it up by saying that you will most likely give up, gain weight (starvation mode really does suck), or wind up with depression/muscle loss/fatigue/hair and nail loss/etc. So dont do it, please.

On the same line, I will NOT support you if you partake in a dangerous or redic. diet trend. That 1200 number? Subtract it by about 400 calories. That’s how much you are allowed to eat for the first week of a diet that requires you to also inject yourself with hormones twice a day. How idiotic does that sound? And oddly enough, it’s a real thing that quack doctors supposedly recommend. Do not tell me you are doing this diet to be healthy when clearly the means of getting you there are downright dangerous.

 Even the caveman doesn’t want to participate in the Caveman Diet.

I will NOT support you if you dont give yourself rest days. It’s a rookie mistake, I know, and there are weeks in which I will forget that my body cannot recover unless I let it. If you’re a new runner, dont run every day. In fact, 3 days a week is what most 5K-10K runners use to train. Any more is unnecessary and can lead to injury. And, if you dont allow your body to rest, I can guarantee you that you will burn out.

I will NOT support you if you are not completely honest about your program and effort. I just read a story about a woman who is tired of listing to her friend complain about all the hard work she puts in at the gym with little results to show. The story goes on to say that the author frequently saw her put in 10 minutes on the “old lady” bike and then spend an hour at the juice bar with a protein shake and a cereal bar.

I know, working out is hard work. And often times, you will get sweaty. Your makeup will run. Your hair will become matted and frayed. And fitness clothes? Sometimes not the most flattering to do squats in. Dont get me started on how boring machines can get or how intimidating classes can be… But these are all excuses. You dont burn a cookie off without sweating just a bit. And you certainly cant take back all those trips to Wendys without making some puddles in spin class. Suck it up. You get what you put in. It may not be immediate and it may not be as exciting as you had hoped, but it will come and it will pay off.

And finally, I will NOT support you if you try to sell me something. When did weight loss become the Mary Kay industry? I’m not knocking those who do it, and I apologize in advance if you do sell for these organizations. But here’s a big warning: Do not even attempt to sell to me. I wont bite. Same thought, but dont even try to make me a part of your “sales team.” I’m not going to your fitness party and I’m certainly not trying your “gourmet” shakes (that will subsequently cost me over $200/month for).

It’s that easy. Eat right, put in the right amount of exercise, know when to rest, and dont try to sell me shit. Do this and I promise that I’ll be there at every mile to cheer you on and blow smoke up your huge bum until it’s small and perky.

4 Till 13.1. Crap.

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Well. I just checked my calendar.

I’m just 4 WEEKENDS off till my Half Marathon. Oh, you know… that thing that I’ve been training all year for.

Cue anxious sweating and mental cursing.

Normally, this would send me in to an imaginative Rocky-esque montage of me running up and down the Lake Front path to the sound of “Eye of the Tiger”

My photoshop skills are getting better! 
However, this revelation is different. This is a freak out. A freak out in which I spend two days pouring over all material related to half marathon training plans. What should I be eating? What about my shoes I think I need new ones. When do I get them? What should I wear if it’s hot? What should I wear if it’s cold? Should I bring my fanny pack hydration pack with me? Should I also bring my gels, gu, adrenaline bites? What if I’m not ready!?! What if I haven’t trained hard enough or long enough!!! What if I’m the slowest, fattest, ugliest one there!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHH.
The truth is: I’m pretty much ready. What’s making me freak out is a combination of a horrible run on Sunday in which I could only run 8 out of my scheduled 11 (really, it was supposed to be 12.5) and the fact that my views on races are both dread and excitement.
The lead up to a race is full of self-doubt. There are so many what-ifs involved that it becomes a mind game. I hate this part. I hate looking at my training, something I put countless amount of hours and sacrificed so many precious sleeping hours for, and thinking that I didn’t do enough. I hate that I will look at those gazelle like ladies at the Half Expo and know that I will be behind them from start to finish. These four weeks will be nothing but analyzing and agonizing. 
But the lead up is always the worst part. When I get to the race, I’ll be overjoyed, full of nervous butterflies, but calm in my pursuit. At the start line, I turn in to a captain. I know the charts, the path, the intervals. Now it’s time to lead my ship home. And at the finish, I’ll reward myself with a bagel and a banana (maybe even some brunch or ribs). And at home, I’ll put my medal and my bib on my wall and admire it every time I start to feel like I didn’t do enough. 
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Schedule for the week:
Monday- yoga and kickboxing
Tuesday- 5K, New Rules strength
Wednesday- dance or swimming
Thursday- 6 miler, New Rules strength
Friday- Rest
Saturday- Spin class or work outs in the park (yoga, pilates, zumba)
Sunday- Fleet Feet Sports Women’s 5K/10K (doing the 10K), New Rules strength

Fit Book Review

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I own a total of one, count them ONE, fitness oriented books. You’d think with my obsession, I’d have a library full, but I’m sadly not on the book bandwagon.That, and I feel weird about buying books.

Anyways, ever since I started my ongoing Biggest Loser Challenge on sparkpeople.com, I’ve heard nothing but raves for one book in particular:

Friends were getting pretty awesome and consistent results with this book, so I set out to get one. Only problem was my aversion to buying books. While the CPL has a couple in it’s shelves, it is ALWAYS checked out. When I finally got my new toy (my precious!), I decided to bite the bullet and download it. Having an electronic copy made it easier for me to lug it around to my apartment’s gym and local YMCA anyways. Win-win.

Now, for the good stuff.

The book is split up in to four-ish sections:
I. The introduction. Obviously, it does as it should. It gives you a vague overview about what you’re getting in to and some of the benefits of making ladies lift barbells instead of “Barbie” weights. I already lift weights regularly and do not use the pastel colored variety, so this already made sense to me. This is a great section to read if you are on the fence about your need to lift anything but a tv remote and spoon as it does walk you through the medical reasons why weight lifting is better than about 80% of what you probably do in the gym today. Throughout the book, he uses a large number of somewhat recent medical and university based studies to support or break down his findings. He even tells you when they are small studies, which I support as a complete and utter nerd.

What I did not like is how he puts down endurance training. What he says about endurance (especially running), makes sense in that cardio, especially non-interval work for long periods of time, breaks down muscles while strength training builds it back up. However, I think there are many cardiovasucal benefits that outweigh the good and bad of running or elliptical hogging. The trick is, as he notes, is to focus on intervals rather than continuing endurance. Since I Jeff Galloway my runs, I essentially does what the author supports.
 
II. Nutrition. As you most likely know, there are a BAJILLION diets out there. Most of the big ones- Watchers of Weights, Carbs Are Evil, Near Starvation, Carbs Are Our Friends, etc.- get some attention. He sums up his “diet” pretty simply. We cannot survive on 1200 calories (the lowest we can go to optimally function, but oddly, what most diet gurus suggest). We need the right amount of fuel from macro nutrients: fat, carbs, and protein. By eliminating or drastically decreasing one of those nutrients, we are depleting ourselves of what our bodies need to survive and prosper. Especially when lifting, macro nutrients mean even more to help build the muscle. He suggests the Zone like 30-40-30 ratio. Meaning, most meals should be 40% of your caloric intake should be carbs, and 30% and 30% should be fat and protein.

Protein is the main emphasis. He suggests buying whey protein powder, which I have been meaning to get for my morning smoothies. I, personally struggle with protein consumption. I tend to eat only about 60-80 grams a day when we should, as exercisers, get 100+. Now, as we know SOB is a vegan and protein consumption can be very difficult for those who are not living off of perdue chicken planks like I am. The author does mention vegan and vegetarian lifestyles in a somewhat positive way, but this book is not for you if you are unable to manage that large amount of protein in your diet.

III. Workout Plan. Basically, his strength plans are all large muscle groups with light emphasis on the core (which, if you read or study the body, you know that the core are actually muscles connected to other muscles… so you are working your core when you use your legs, shoulders, etc). My first workout was last night and it went like this:
Warm Up: Floor to stand squats
Exercise A (continuous): 2 sets of 15 reps of barbell squats
Exercise B1 and B2 (repeated): 2 sets of 15 reps of 60 degree angle push ups and 2 sets of 15 reps of step ups with 10lb weights in each hand
Exercise C1 and C2 (repeated): 2 sets of 15 reps of standing rows with barbell and 2 sets of 8 reps of a jackknife lunge on the swiss ball

Now, this is the easiest workout, so the amount and quality increases over time, but you can personalize it however you want. He does not tell you how much weight to use, but even though I do lift frequently, I struggled with just the weighted barbell on the squats and rows. Unless you are using a very light or smaller barbell, this could be quite the challenge ahead. Oh, and I should mention that even with the 60 second rests in between the sets, I did this routine in 30 minutes. I like efficiency in my workouts.

Overall, the book gives you enough plans for about 6-9 months of workouts. They are also broken down in different stages and the exercises offer vary in difficulty. The pictures of the workouts are great and really helped me decipher what was needed to be done, but if you aren’t a picture person, his descriptions are pretty straight forward. Just read beforehand.

What I did not like… 6 months is all you get. There is really no explanation on what to do when you finish the program. It’s just done. I also do not like that he doesn’t list the equipment you will need. If I didn’t have access to my apartment gym or YMCA, I’d be furious if I bought this. Just in case you’re curious, you will need: a barbell with plates, a step (preferably a block step or a bench), hand weights over 5lbs, swiss balls, and cable machines (but there are modifications mentioned if you do not have this). All in all, I got it done in my bare minimum apartment gym, but my barbell was much larger than the one used in his book, I used a bench as my step block, and I opted to do the standing row instead of a sitting one since I dont have a cable machine that modifies.

IV. Motivation. The last part is about motivation. To be honest, it didn’t really inspire me, but I’ve been on this journey for awhile. When I got to the last section, I just wanted to do it. I didn’t need to hear about all the excuses he hears or how he wishes me well. I do like that he is no-nonsense. Just get your work done. You’re on vacation? Great. Take it, enjoy it, maybe workout if that’s your thing. But when you get home, get in to the routine. Ok. Kids stressing you out? Deal with that. Work out later. Modify. Adjust. Adjust some more.

So my overall opinion is that this book would be great for those ladies out there who are intimidated by the weight room, but who have some experience with weights or lifting. If you have no idea what a barbell is or cannot perform a pushup on your knees, try something lighter until you’re ready. You will not lose weight with lifting, but you will most likely lose inches and gain some balls-to-the-wall confidence. And, dear god, you will NOT bulk up.