Posts Tagged 'fitness'

The Hills Have Eyes – a Friday anecdote

So I do my hill repeats on this street which has a nice wide sidewalk. It happens to be next to a cemetery, and that irony is not lost on me.  Anyway, I run up the hill hard, and walk down it, recover, run up again…way too many times. The other night, I’m at the bottom and I see this kind of disheveled looking guy on the the other side of the street at the top of the hill coming down, sort of swaying, while holding a 24 pack of Natty Light. I shrug and hope he doesn’t steal my Gatorade and start running up the hill. I notice him cross to my side of the street in my peripheral vision. I get to the top of the hill, panting, turn around and he’s GONE. Now if you had seen him walking–he was slow and not too steady on his pins– you’d understand my dismay. Where the hell was he? I was totally freaked out. Then I see his case of Natty Light next to a tree, which is next to the sidewalk, but no guy. A zillion things run through my head and I’m pondering at least crossing the street, but then I saw he had plopped down on the grass, pulled out a smoke, opened a beer….all he needed was a foam finger. I hope he enjoyed spectating. I think I need to find a new hill.

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The Whole Fitness Thing

Maybe a year ago, I thought I might want to start blogging again. I was free once again to talk about (nearly) every aspect of my life, and I was making some wholesale changes to my lifestyle. Plus! So many of my friends were having success writing healthy living blogs. People were actually reading them. They were getting FREE STUFF for Pete’s Sake. So I created a blog and tried to jump on that bandwagon.

But I realized pretty quickly that I’m not all about healthy living. I’m about a lot of different things, as we all are. But I, personally, wasn’t very good at thinking of posts about something as limited as I had originally created that blog to be. I also felt like I couldn’t be a proper healthy living blogger as I had fallen off the running a bit, and was just generally living a normal life with ups and downs and twists and turns.

But becoming a healthier person is still a goal in my life, and it is one that I will occasionally be posting about here.

So as an overview, here’s where I am:

In January, I decided that I wanted to try running again, and I wanted to start from the beginning with a 5K plan. This time I went to my friend and (then) newly minted running coach, Krissie of  Committed Coaching, and she created a plan with me in mind. Knowing the race I wanted to run wasn’t until May, she built me up nice and slow. It went really well, lots of little victories building up to a PR (personal record/personal best) for that race in May.

In March, while doing that training, I discovered Fitbit products. I started with a Zip and I now have a Flex. These little gadgets are so much more than pedometers. I credit the Fitbit and their app/website, as well as the running, with the 22 pounds I have lost since March.  There are other products like the Fitbit, and I’m not doing a proper product review here. But I will say that I tell people that using it daily is like starring in my own video game. 10,000 steps a day is the goal, how are you going to get there? Food is fuel. More steps means you need more fuel. And you see, I’m overweight in the first place because I really like to eat. I step more, I get to eat more.  It gives me real time imput, it remembers my typical activity any given day of the week and it balances my calorie goal to how much activity I normally get on, say, my average Tuesday. But it also adjusts if it appears I am not going to be as active that day.

I also had been using My Fitness Pal to track my food. And brilliantly, the Fitbit syncs seamlessly with My Fitness Pal, so I can keep tracking my food on MFP and it talks to Fitbit behind my back and helps it to adjust my calorie goals.

I am now working on a speed plan to get a bit faster. Then I will begin training to run a 10K in February, which I think I will post about later. But again, I will be working with Coach Krissie and keeping up with the other things that I do.  I can’t say enough about how I can feel her encouragement, her wisdom, and yes, her love keeping me going. I want to make her proud of me, but I know I do that just by trying my hardest, too.

So a typical week for me looks like: Monday, a run. Tuesday, line dancing. Wednesday, a run. Thursday Rest Day. Friday-strength training. Saturday, a run. Sunday-volunteering at Last Chance Ranch, which generally nets me about 2 miles of steps, plus some sort of walk or activity with my dog. I’m looking to add more strength training in there, but I’m not beating myself up about it.

And that, right there, my friends, is the key. I HAVE STOPPED BEATING MYSELF UP ABOUT IT. I do the best I can. I enjoy what I’m doing. I wouldn’t exactly say right now that I love running. But I would say that I want to conquer running, and I enjoy the mental struggle of pushing through a run and the victorious feeling when it is over.

I have many small weight loss goals. I’ve got running goals. I’ve got clothing size goals. I’ve missed some and kept going anyway. Because the journey of reaching the goals doesn’t feel like this huge overriding struggle towards this long-awaited ending anymore. It just feels like I’m living my life.  It feels like the way I’m living and enjoying my whole life is allowing me  to lose some weight, not like I’m living my life trying just to be skinny like everyone else. 

I’m not going to promise you that I won’t fall off the fitness wagon, but it seems less likely this time.  I promise you that it won’t happen today. And probably not tomorrow.  I don’t always track my food. Sometimes I eat a large portion of crab fries. Sometimes I feel like I run like the wind. Sometimes I’ve got lead weights instead of running shoes. But I keep going.

This time, I want to keep going.

Life Lessons I Learned While Line Dancing

For about 2 years now I have been going country line dancing once a week, nearly every week, and for a stretch, while I was really learning a lot of new dances, twice a week. My best friend, who had been roped into it and was now hooked, hooked me into it.  Cowboy Gary: DJ, Choreographer, and Western Line Dance Teacher Extraordinaire, is the man who oversees us every Tuesday night. He’s a self-admitted dirty old man, but he’s a great dancer, and a great teacher.  I haven’t just learned the steps to a whole heck of a lot of dances in the past two years. I’ve also learned some helpful life lessons.

1. It’s OK to suck if you’re having fun.

I mean, what the heck? Just get out there and do your best. If you’re having a great time, that will be contagious. If it’s not, who cares, you’re having a great time! So what if you’re going left and everyone else is going right? Laugh, turn around, and move on. Now tell me, to what doesn’t  that advice apply?

2. You’ll get better.

So you get out there to do that one dance you know and you kick your own right foot with your own left foot and BOOM you’re on the floor, boots stomping all around you. First, see #1. Then next week you go out there again, and you don’t fall. Sure, maybe you tripped. Or you might have forgotten the dance in the middle. But give yourself a break, you got better. And next week? Sky’s the limit. You can always get better.

3. It all goes more smoothly if you don’t think too much.

You just have to feel it. Once you know the steps, it’ll all come to you. You’ve got this. Don’t overthink it, let the music in and just dance.

4. Pretend you are awesome.

You know stuff now, you love going out there and dancing. One day you see a video of yourself dancing and you’re horrified. “I’m flailing around out there like a turkey with Parkinson’s having a seizure.  How embarrassing. Never again!” First, see 1, 2, and 3. Then forget the video. It was edited, photoshopped, it wasn’t even YOU for Pete’s Sake. YOU are an awesome dancer, everyone knows it, everyone thinks so. People watch you to know how the dance should really be done. Just get out there and do it! Pretend you are awesome, even if, just maybe, you aren’t.

There you have it: It’s OK to suck because you’ll get better. It’ll all go more smoothly if you don’t think about it too much, so pretend you are awesome.

The Loneliest Number?

My running, aside from in a 5K, has been mainly a solitary activity.  I know not everyone runs that way: running groups, running partners, races, internet forums–running can be very social.  But, for me, the moment other feet hit the pavement around me, the comparisons start. He’s  faster, she’s not as sweaty, they’re breathing more easily. Her form is better, his shoes are nicer, their bodies are less lumpy. They’re real runners. I’m not.

I”ve been asked to run with a dear friend who has completed a few marathons. I’ve been asked to run with a bunch of high school friends who have a lovely, supportive running group. My answer has been the same. No, thanks, I’d hold you back. I can’t keep up. I’d slow you down. (Thinking: You’d find out I shouldn’t even be using the term “runner” to apply to myself.)

When I run alone, I’m free from the comparisons. When I run by myself I feel powerful, strong, accomplished. I put on my gear, pop in my earbuds, start up my tracking app, and go.  And for the next 40 or so minutes the conversation in my brain is positive. I can do this; I can keep going. That’s a little sore, but I’m fine. I can make it. Yes, I worry about pace and improving. But only in line with how I did on my last run. When I ran a 5K under 43 minutes, alone, it seemed like a huge accomplishment. It WAS a huge accomplishment for me. But when I ran a 5K in 40 minutes, and placed 600-something out of a thousand something, it was hard to keep that accomplishment in perspective.

It’s a shame really, because the running community has always been nothing but supportive. During my first 5K last year, when I had strep throat and a bronchial infection, but didn’t know it it yet, two women, who were total strangers to me, ran back on the course to find me (dead last) and run me in, encouraging me all the way. Last weekend, at my first 5K since I began re-training a few months ago, a whole line of runners who had completed their race cheered me along to the finish line “Push it through!” “You’re doing great!” “Almost there!” And they gave me that extra something I needed to sprint to the finish line for my best time ever. The running community is awesome.

Maybe someday I’ll feel legitimate enough to consider myself a part of it.  For now, I’ll listen to my music, encourage myself, plan my day’s to-do list, ponder what to wear tomorrow, and keep running…alone.


Lori

A blog about my life and other stuff.

Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
A medley of extemporanea;
And love is a thing that can never go wrong;
And I am Marie of Romania.

Dorothy Parker, Not So Deep as a Well (1937)