Sunday, January 24, 2010

Half Marathon Training - Week 2

Week 2 of 15 of my half marathon training is now in the books!

It was a good week for running! The bad part was the my foot pain continued this week, so I went to the Naperville Running Company yesterday and got properly fitted for a new pair of running shoes. I am now the proud owner of a pair of ASICS Gel Kayano 16 running shoes!

I ran in them for the first time today on my long run of the week, and I felt good! Some different muscle sensations in my ankles and calves, but no pain. Let's hope the trend continues!

My running consisted of two 3 mile runs and one 4 mile run. Total mileage for the week (including warm-ups and cool down) was just over 11 miles. I was actually quite proud that I got all three runs in because I skipped my Thursday night run to attend a fitness class with a friend (more on that later!). So I had to be crafty and find a way to make up the run, which meant going to my brother and sister-in-law's house on Friday night and using their treadmill while they ate dinner as my daughter sat in the playroom next to the workout area! Mission accomplished.

My cross training consisted of a 20 minute elliptical session, and the aforementioned fitness class with a friend. It was called Kwando Extreme, and it was 1 1/2 hours of serious work! From 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. on Thursday night, I had my @ss kicked with kickboxing, cardio step, weight training, pilates, and yoga. What a workout! We plan to go back every two weeks, so I am going to have to move around some runs during the week to allow for it.

My weight loss this week was great! Despite some horrible eating last weekend, I tightened my belt during the week and I was down 3.9 pounds at my weigh-in on Friday morning! That sets me firmly in the 170s, which makes me VERY happy!!! :-)

Tonight I will be cooking up a storm for next week's meals, and getting some laundry done so that we will be clean and presentable. Onward to Week 3!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Half Marathon Training - Week 1

Before I talk about my first week of training, I want to extend a HUGE THANK YOU for all of the support that you gave me on my big half marathon announcement! I am amazed to hear from those of you that I "know", those that I follow on their blogs, new friends training for their own half marathons, a lucky lady who just trained for and ran a marathon with her husband (now THAT'S bonding!), and so many more! I feel like I have a group of supporters cheering me on, and that is very inspiring to me!

I am following the Hal Higdon Novice Half Marathon Training Plan but, seeing as I have 15 weeks instead of the 12 that this plan outlines, I have stretched it out a bit to ease in more. Week 1 of 15 had me lined up for two 2-mile runs and a 3-mile run, all three of which were accomplished as scheduled! Each workout also includes a half mile warm-up/cool down, so my total mileage for the week was 8.5 miles.

I know that is very low mileage for many, but seeing as I only ran a total of 10 miles for the entire month of December (YIKES!), I am easing into the plan to avoid injury. I have known so many people who rush their plans or dramatically increase their mileage in an attempt to speed up their weight loss who then end up injuring themselves, and of course the old body is not what it used to be, so I am happy to be slow and steady and in good shape for my race!

I felt good this week in my runs, strong and steady and happy. I got a new iTouch for Christmas and loaded it up with over 500 workout-specific songs, so I used that for the first time this week (with its built-in Nike+ functionality... yea!), and I really enjoyed my expanded music selections.

One thing I realized is that I am going to use the treadmill as I get to some of my longer runs because lapping on the track gets SERIOUSLY repetitive as the length of my runs increase. At least I can watch TV while on the treadmill, which will keep my eyes off of my watch and help the time pass better until I can take my runs outside again in the spring.

I did notice that my knees are hurting just a bit today, and I felt some discomfort in my feet and ankles during my run today. That leads me to believe that it is time for new shoes, so I am going to take a trip to Fleet Feet and get some help in selecting a new pair. I have lost over 80 pounds since I had help selecting the shoes that I currently use, and I know that my running stride has changed dramatically since that time, so I am ready to consider a new type of shoes if it will help me more than the ones that I currently use (Saucony Progrid Hurricane 10).

On the food front, things were okay. I was officially down 1.4 pounds this week at my Friday morning weigh-in, but I really struggled (READ: totally overate and drank too much) with my evenings on both Friday and Saturday of this weekend so I am going to have to be very careful this week in order to show another loss on Friday. I am currently preparing some healthy food for the week... balsamic roasted brussel sprouts, Greek-style green beans with mushrooms, etc. I also have a bunch of broccoli slaw on hand for big salads, which will add bulk to my meals without adding too may calories.

This week is going to be a very stressful one at work as I have four big changes in the departments that I manage, so I have to find a way to deal with this that does not include hitting the candy dish in my area. My current plan is to write it out, so I am going to carry a beautiful little journal in my purse this week to jot down anything that keeps repeating in my mind in order to get it out and move on so that I do not stuff my emotions.

Onward to Week 2 of 15 of my training!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

It's Official!




I am now registered for my first half-marathon, scheduled for May 1st in Door County.
AHHHHHHHHH!!!!

And my training began last night, so I am on my way!


Monday, January 11, 2010

Weight Off Weigh-In

... or How Nicole Got Her Mojo Back!

I had my first weigh in today for the Weight Off challenge at work. I had to do it alone since the rest of my team (the three men) weighed in last Friday while I was out of the office. Once I was done, our weight totals were added together and our team has the highest starting weight in the whole challenge!!! 1088 pounds between the four of us!!! YIKES! Which means that each of the men on my team average about 300 pounds a piece. That gives us a lot to lose in order to get the highest percentage of weight lost and take this thing. We were the only team above 1000 pounds, and now I am feeling extra motivated to show the other teams what we can do. The pool went up, too, because there are now 12 teams. Winning team takes $1200... I want my $300!

But beyond that, I really want to get to goal. And I really want to kick my running back into gear because I have committed to a May half-marathon with a friend, and I need to get to training! I slacked on my running this past month and it is time for me to get back into a regular routine. I miss it. I miss feeling the strength in my legs, the spent lungs after a good workout, the sense of accomplishment that I get when I meet my running goals. So back to the gym I go tomorrow for a run, and then again on Thursday, and then again this weekend (and maybe twice on the weekend if time allows).

I feel like I have my motivation back. I do not want to let my team down, but even more than that I do not want to let myself down. I have worked hard to get where I am, and I do not want to watch that fade away. I want to keep going!!!

I have started doing the stairs at work again. I did 2 sets of 12 floors today, and plan to do that at least 3 days a week to supplement my formal exercise. And I have started to turn down the treats again. That's a big one because I was very open to them during the holidays. We even had a vendor in today and we all went out for Dim Sum in Chinatown, and I made excellent choices like baby bok choy (oh yum) and sauteed pea pod greens and shrimp and scallops. I passed on the fried and fatty foods, and frankly I did not even miss them. Who knew?

So, hats off to the next chapter in my weight loss journey: The March To Goal. Or should I say The Jog To Goal! Click.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Sisterhood "Rethink Your Shrink" Monday Project Link Up

Here we go... whew... this is gonna be a BIG one! First I will tell a bit of "my story", and then I'll post my pictures, and then finally the answers to the questions for this week's project over at The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans.

I was a skinny child, as in seriously skinny like 5' 9" and 98 pounds in 5th grade. Once I stopped growing and reached 6' 0", the weight started coming on. I got to about 180 by the time that I graduated from High School, but I played volleyball throughout those years so I was still fairly fit.

When I went to college, the weight started piling on with all of the late night eating and drinking. During those years I reached 220 and then took it all off with a healthy vegan diet (for 2 1/2 years) and working out at the fieldhouse, and I graduated college weighing about 155 and sporting a bikini during my 3 months in Greece post graduation.

My 20s found me traveling up and down the scale again, until I met my former husband in 1998. I was about 165 when I met him, and he was a smoker so I started smoking and quit exercising (because he always wanted to go out to eat instead, and well, I was game!). We married in 1999 and the unhealthy lifestyle continued.

In December of 1999 I developed an auto-immune disease called Ulcerative Colitis, and I was placed on a corticosteroid called Prednisone. And I did not get off of it for 4 1/2 years during which I was very very sick, but only had to take more and more just to be able to barely function on a daily basis. I developed a secondary disease called Cushing's Disease from the high-dose Prednisone use (around 90 mg per day), and finally had to have my large intestine removed via full abdominal surgery in July of 2004 in order to get off the steroids and try to live a semi-healthy life. Right before I had the surgery, I hit my highest weight of 301.

After the surgery, I knew that I needed another to construct a j-pouch, but my surgeon told me that he would not perform the next surgery until I lost 100 pounds. I weaned off the steroids in September of 2004 and began the process of shedding the weight via Weight Watchers and Curves. By November 2005, I had lost 100 pounds and I had my second surgery in December 2005. After the healing period, I was finally able to enjoy my life again and I watched the scale creep up bit by bit until it was at 265 again. And that was it.

I am now at my high school weight of 180, and I am headed to my college weight of 155. I lost 2 inches from bone deterioration from the steroids, so I am only 5' 10" now (ONLY!). But now, at a packed time in my life while I work full time, commute 2 hours a day, am a single mother to a grade school child, and manage a household with her and 5 cats, I am happier and healthier than I have been in almost 15 years!

There's so much that I have left out, but that gives you a high-level picture of some of my journey. And it is still ongoing.


Before (2004)




Current (2009)


What about 2009 (and beyond) did not work? I did not reach my goal weight as planned. As I developed a fuller social life, I spent more time eating and drinking in a manner that defeated my weight loss efforts on the other days.

What were my goals? 1) Reach my goal weight. 2) Improve my mile time. 3) Run a half-marathon.

Did I fall short of achieving them? 1) Yes. 2) No. 3) Yes.

If so, why? 1) Lack of focus on following my food plan/eating and drinking moderately when out socially. 2) N/A as I achieved the goal. 3) Did not train for it.

What were my biggest obstacles? Poor eating and drinking choices when socializing. Occasional binge eating episodes. Lack of commitment to a half marathon training program.

What were my patterns? I often found myself hitting a new low in my weight and then rebounding by gaining back a few pounds, only to buckle down for a couple of weeks to reach another low and then repeat the pattern over and over. I would be on plan all week, and then blow away any progress made by overeating and overdrinking at weekend events.

What was my (most recent) “rock bottom” moment? I met a man who awakened a desire inside of me to be in a relationship again, but realized that there was NO WAY that I would enter into a relationship at my weight and with the body I had at the time. It made me want to make the change for good because I realized how much my weight was holding me back from living my life. Previously, I had lost 100 pounds but then gained back 65 of them as I slacked off on my healthy habits, so I decided to make the necessary changes to re-lose the weight and proceed on to my goal.

What are my bad habits? Binge eating. Not sticking to my exercise plan in the cold and dark months. Too much eating and drinking at social activites.

Take a look at 2009 and beyond and think about what did work. Because you don’t want to fix what ain’t broke. If something worked for you, if you felt progress somewhere, found successes, (because along the journey there are a million tiny victories, many of them non-scale related!), what were those?
All of your victories are a very big deal! Give yourself a high five, out loud, to everyone! I lost 45 pounds in 2009! I entered one-derland again. I improved my 5K time from 44 minutes to 35 minutes. I ran four 5K races. I took Zumba and yoga classes. I was able to buckle down during the week and achieve my food and exercise goals. I was more active in general and did more fun activities with my daughter.

I Got My Boots On

As I enter my third year taking public transportation to and from my job, I finally decided that I refuse to freeze anymore as I wait on the train platform in the wintertime. Seriously, it took me THAT long to figure this out?!?

After getting an unexpected end of year bonus from work, I decided to treat myself to the coat and boots that I *really* wanted but have been too strapped to buy:



The North Face Metropolis Parka




Ugg Ultra Tall Boots



The coat arrived on Wednesday night, so I got to try it out yesterday. At first I thought "Hmm, it is better than my old coat, but is it really all that warm?", and then when I took it off at work I realized that I was FREEZING without it and that, yes, it really WAS that warm!

The boots arrived today, so I will try them out later when I go to pick up the child. I need to waterproof them, so I will be doing that this weekend and need to be a bit careful running through the snow until then.

One interesting thing is that they recommend wearing the boots WITHOUT socks. I do not know if I am quite there yet because it just seems like they would get stinky, but I will wear them with my new Smart Wool socks. I also have a very warm hat and good mittens, so I feel like I am finally prepared to face this fierce Chicago winter! Especially since it is supposed to be in the single digits all weekend....

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

New Year, New Challenge

Welcome to 2010! I am doing my best to make it a fantastic year. including squashing the urge to binge eat and power feed tonight after a very tough day at work. Hey... it's something!

Friday is the start of the Weight Off at work. I am not sure where I am weight-wise right now because I had a horrible holiday season in terms of my intake, and have really only been back on plan since Sunday. I will weigh in myself at home on Friday morning so that I know where I start when the competition begins and ends and can assure myself that I have contributed to the success of my team since our weigh-in at work is all at once as a team. I want to WIN, dammit! It looks like the pot may be $1000, and I just know that $250 of that has my name on it!

My exercise habits have been crap lately. I struggled with all of the extra activities during the holidays, and now I find myself tired and cold and just not getting my ass to the gym as needed. Hopefully this challenge will be the swift kick that I need right now. The good news is that I am doing the stairs at work. Did them twice today, actually. There is another wellness challenge at work that involves climbing the 12 floors of stairs. If you hit various targets in the month of January like climbing them 10 times, 15 times or 20 times during the month, you get entered into a raffle at the appropriate level for a prize. More than anything, though, it is getting many of us to get up out of our desk chairs and do something physical (and quite challenging, actually).

And finally it is photo time!!! Now that my holiday cards are out, I have included one of the photos from my fall photo shoot with the child. This is one of my favorites, and I keep an 8 x 10 of it on my desk at work to remind me of what I am working for every day. Life is good. :-)