Friday, July 5, 2013

Experiment 626

Experiment 626 .... aka "Stitch"

Stitch is my mascot ... He is one of my favorite Disney characters.

But Experiment 626 also feels like what I can call the innumerable attempts I've tried at weight loss & becoming a healthier person.  I can honestly say that I don't have much willpower, and while I have been known to stick to a program & have reached the goals that I've set out for myself, I also have a bad habit of quitting, and then regaining all the weight that I've lost.

In August 2012, I wrote this post:  Insert Witty Title Here that discussed my weight loss to date & my plans and goals for the future.   From the end of June through Aug 30th, I had lost 16.6 pounds.  Not a bad tally for two months!  By the end of the year, I had lost about 27 pounds.  And right after the holidays & then through the Princess Half Marathon weekend and on until now, I've put it all back on.   My name should be "Yo Yo"!!

Stitch found his family & was able to change his ways and his habits to be a more positive part of the family unit & society.  That's pretty much my goal.  I want this to be my last Experiment & my greatest success -- to get committed, move more, lose the weight & become the person I've always wanted to be. 

I'm still running (sort of - need to get more organized w/ my training) and have races coming up over the next few months.  But I also know that running alone isn't going to be enough.  I'm reworking my food plan to take in some of the changes I'm trying to initiate to combat my insulin resistance.  I'm going to be adding in some 'monthly challenge exercises' and I'm brushing off the dust from my Turbo Jam DVDs. 

It's time to get serious.  No more hiding.  No more cheating.  No more excuses.

What do you find works the best for you for exercise?  Going to the gym?  Cardio?  Weight training?  DVDs at home?  I'm open to suggestions.  :)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Back to Basics

Now that the Princess is over, it's time for me to get back to basics ... back to watching what I eat, back to concentrating on my health.   And of course, back to training.  I have four weeks till my next 5K and 9 weeks till my next half marathon.  Until tonight, I honestly didn't realize that either of these events was coming up so quickly!  (insert minor freak out here!)

Over the past few weeks since the Disney trip, I've slacked off when it comes to much of what I have spent the whole last year working on.  I've put some of the weight I lost back on (though to be honest, some of that started creeping on over the holidays), and I have barely looked at my treadmill since I've been home.  The poor thing looks so lonely without anyone to play with!  :)

The treadmill is going to become my best friend.  We're going to start hanging out at least three times a week & I'm going to pick up with the 1/2 training plan I had been following for the PHM, I'll just jump into it a few weeks in, since I'm not exactly a newbie anymore.  I've gone back to Weight Watchers & checked in for the first time in quite a while.  The results aren't pretty -- but they're the truth and I needed to see it in black & white.  I have no one to blame but myself for that number going up instead of down.

I have a lot of work to do, but for the first time in a few months, I'm really looking forward to it.  I'd love to not be re-doing part of it (I'm still a bit annoyed with myself for putting some of the weight back on), but I also know that it has to be done no matter what.  I have so much I want to accomplish, and it's going to be difficult -- trying to keep that voice in my head from winning the fights that we get into sometimes about whether or not I'm worth it -- but I'm going to win.  I have to.  Especially after seeing some of the Disney photos of me .... Someday, I'm going to retake the pictures, and I'll have a waistline & I'll be at a healthy weight, and I'll be able to look at them with a smile instead of the small cringe I do now.  :)

Until then, I'd love to hear from others who've lost weight, slipped back and then battled back to not only regain the loss but kept going further.  What did you find to be the hardest part of losing the weight, then regaining it, then trying to lose it again?  Did you come up with any of those "tried and true" tricks that you rely on even now?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

I Keep Moving Forward - PHM Race Recap

It's been a while since I've had a chance to update here, so I hope you'll bear with me that this will be a long-ish post! :)

 I have to start by saying ..... I DID IT!!!!

I finished my first half marathon on Sunday, February 24, 2013 -- the Disney Princess Half Marathon in Orlando FL! And yes, I was able to get my "castle picture"! A HUGE thank you to the Princess in line behind me for taking the awesome photo -- it's better than the one the 'professional' photographer took! :) I love it! I am going to try not to bore you with every little detail but so that I can remember for the future, I'm going to discuss my experience here -- the good & the bad, what I learned & what I would change in the future!


I set my cell phone alarm for (I think) 2:30am, to be on the bus by 3:30am (absolute last moment to board a bus to the start was 4:00am). The only problem was that I didn't double check my settings. I had it set to the "M-F" setting, not a weekend setting, which means that the alarm never went off!!! So rather than having a little time to get ready & get my head on straight, I woke at 3:37am and had to rush like a mad person to get ready.  So I dressed hurriedly and left the hotel room, realized I forgot my bag (with a change of clothes, flip flops & a snack for after the race), ran back to get that, got 2/3 of the way to the bus & realized I forgot my bib!!!! and had to run back to get that.  I had already run/walked a huge amount before the race even started!  I was the LAST PERSON on the bus at 4:00am & I barely made it to the starting line on-time because of the traffic.  So if you're going to do something like this, I stress -- double check the alarm!  Arrange a wake up call from the front desk (I forgot to do this), have a friend call to make sure you're up -- anything!  You DON'T want to rush around before a huge race like I had to & you DEFINITELY don't want to sleep through it!!

I made it to the start line & was fortunate enough to have a friend there with a bagel & a bottle of water -- enough to put something in my stomach, though if things had been different, I wouldn't have eaten so close to the start time.

The race started with very loud music, a kick off from the Fairy Godmother & fireworks!!   It was HOT (70 degrees & 94% humidity at race time!  At 5:30 am!!)  Stopped for a bathroom break around mile 2, separated from my friend, and then went on my own.  I knew how much time I had to complete the whole race & decided that I wasn't going to push myself through the heat and the humidity, so I was going to have fun!  I stopped to meet up with Captain Barbossa & Jack Sparrow (whom I told was one of my daughter's favorite characters & he leaned in & told me "well then you send her my love") .... saw the Heroes on the side of the road but didn't stop for the photo (Prince Eric, Aladdin, Shang, Flynn Rider & John Smith) .... and crossed under the Magic Kingdom entrance!  Finished the first 5K, ran by some villans, entered the Magic Kingdom to pass the 4th mile marker.  Stayed on the road past the 5th mile marker with Space Mountain in the background, then it was on to Main Street USA!!!

 Ran past Gaston & Belle (lines were much too long for pictures), then the back of the castle was in view and the trumpeteers were announcing our entrance!  Through the arch under them, and I came out the other side in front of the castle (picture above).  I was with a TON of people at this point, but it was still amazingly exciting and awe inspiring!  I couldn't keep from smiling!  Left the Magic Kingdom (saw Cinderella & Prince Charming as we neared the 10K mark) and proceeded toward the 2nd half of the race.

This is where many struggle (so I've heard) because it's a long road behind the buildings, and some have a hard time keeping the momentum going.  Disney helps this issue by providing more characters & entertainment.  I probably split this half and half --- half I took pictures just in passing, but half I stopped for the character photos.  The line was too long for the Mary Poppins group, so I took a picture from the side (Bert waves hello!!).  Music around mile 6 1/2 was provided because it announced the Halfway Mark!!  (Too bad it was Alicia Keys' "Girl on Fire" -- I can't stand that song & the pace is all wrong for a running event).  Then there were the four men in tuxedos carrying a pillow with a glass slipper on it.  No photo of them at all -- too many girls crowding around!  :)  Somewhere around mile 8 or so, I stopped for a second bathroom break (because of the heat, I was drinking water and Powerade at every hydration stop).  This one took FOREVER.

Then I ran into some of my FAVORITE characters -- Lilo & Stitch!!  I dressed as Hula Lilo for the 5K race the day prior, so having pics with them in both of my running outfits was sort of fun!  I also stopped to have a pic taken with the Genie (from Aladdin) as well as Pocahontas (I would have LOVED it if Meeko had been with her at that point, but it was so hot in those costumes that occasionally characters left to cool off & came back, so I missed Meeko).  By this point in the race, it was so hot I was walking more than running, but still trying to keep up some sort of interval, and to add to the experience, this is where I think a bit of heat edema began to set in.  My hands were swelling & I was still sweating.  At one point, I had a 'heat flush' go through my body from around my midsection up to my head, leaving my head tingling under the hat.  I drank two waters & two Powerades at the next stop and figured that if it didn't go away, I'd remove the hat, but the extra fluids seemed to help greatly.  (Heat advisories before the race did suggest that runners NOT wear head covers or hats, but I wanted to get at least a few pics with the hat before I took it off, since it's such an integral part of the costume.)

Passed the mile 9 marker & was feeling a little tired, but still moving.  With the heat flush now gone, I was actually running a little more & wasn't going to take a break - till I saw the Heroes again with a much shorter line!  I had to stop!  Especially since this Aladdin (whom my daughter & I had seen the day previous during the 5K) was her favorite character of the trip!  He was very funny & she thought he was cute!

Nearing the 15K mark and realizing a few things -- I'm coming up on the overpass that everyone talks about & fears (it's pretty much the only real hill on the course), and that once I'm through there, I'm pretty much safe from being swept off the course (not to mention that from this vantage point, one can look down at the road they just came from & see how many are behind them).  The overpass wasn't as bad as it was made out to be -- maybe that's because I grew up on a hill that's a 1/4 mile high?  I LOVED the toy soldier from Toy Story urging us all on "Move It Move It!  Let's Go Let's Go!"  Continued on past the 11th mile marker to the Epcot parking lot & could see Spaceship Earth in the distance (you know, the "golf ball").  Stopped to say hi to Mulan & Mushu and then to Mrs. Incredible, then passed the 12th mile marker.

Inside Epcot, I had to get the "sister photo" to the castle pic!  I realize looking at my photos that when I "pose" for a pic on my own, I do the SAME POSE all the time!   I always put my right arm up!  :)  But then again, I almost never have my photo taken, so no matter what, this is a huge step for me!

After the Spaceship Earth photo, it was back to the course, passing the gospel singers in their gorgeous yellow & purple robes, then back to the Epcot parking lot & the FINISH LINE!   I didn't get a pic of the finish line itself because I wanted an even more important picture -- Mickey Mouse!!   I crossed the finish line & was just elated!  I had finished my first half marathon!!  My final time was 4:07:30, though my Garmin watch posted my running time as 3:24:37, because it would pause when I did.  So in essence, I added 43 minutes onto my run time for the two bathroom breaks & the character photos.  I'm okay with that!  :)  Because I had a great time, and the stopping helped me with the heat issues.

After the race, I got some ice & some Powerade & water, sat down for a few minutes to let the edema settle (and take a few photos of just how swollen my hands were!) and then when I was feeling a little better, I went to have my Finisher's Photo taken.  I'm a little bummed that someone accidentally knocked my hat off, so it wasn't straight on my head for the photo & my hair was visibly messed up, but oh well -- can't win them all!  :)  Then it was to the bag check to get my stuff & then I sat down for a bit to rest.  Took off the sneakers to put on the flip flops (blisters had started to rise around mile 9) and check in with my daughter. Then I waited in the worlds longest line for the bus back to the hotel.  And through it all, I kept looking down - amazed that the medal that I had been admiring for months in photos online was actually hanging around my neck!  There was still a part of me that couldn't believe I had done it (despite the fact that I'm holding a bag of ice for my calves in the other hand!)

Now that I've actually done it, I'm looking forward to future races.  I know the times will be dramatically different!  The heat & humidity will definitely be different, but for my next races, my legs will be "fresher" than they were for the PHM!  I had a FANTASTIC time the whole time I was away, but I was EXHAUSTED!!!  We visited Downtown Disney on our first night (Thursday), then the Expo on Friday (which was just ridiculous -- LONG LONG LONG lines, lots of standing, claustrophobic conditions - and I never made it to the RunDisney side for commemorative items - oh well!).  After the expo, we headed to Hollywood Studios for the rest of the day! And my daughter was "the Rebel Spy" on the Star Tours ride!!  

Saturday morning, we participated in the Royal Family 5K and had a GREAT TIME!  People stopped us repeatedly to either compliment us on our costumes or to take OUR photos!  Someone stopped my daughter & thought she was an 'official Tinkerbell' because her costume was just that awesome!!  And as I mentioned above, I was "Hula Lilo" and carried my Stitch doll in his grass skirt & lei.

After the race, we went to Ohana for breakfast with Lilo & Stitch & then we spent the day at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure -- I FINALLY got to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!!! I can't even describe how thrilling it was to be there -- We're hard-core Harry Potter fans & we'd been waiting to do this for YEARS!!  After a long day at Universal, it was back to the hotel to get some sleep before the PHM.  After the half marathon, we spent the rest of the day at Magic Kingdom (dinner at Be Our Guest was incredible!) and then Monday was a full day at Epcot.  I FINALLY got to ride Test Track!  Tuesday was a partial day at Downtown Disney (last minute souvenirs, etc) and then we were on our way home.

I had my Bodymedia Fit armband on for almost the whole trip - took it off at the airport when we were heading out and forgot to put it back on so I lost about 7 hours of data on our first day, then it was off if I was in water (shower, pool).  Otherwise it was on.  Ready for this??  From Thursday to Tuesday, the armband registered 108,950 steps!!  43,050 alone were from Sunday (the half & Magic Kingdom).  That Sunday alone, I burned over 5000 calories!!  (No wonder I'm still tired!!)  If you figure that on average, one mile takes about 2000 steps to traverse, then I travelled somewhere close to 54 miles in 6 days!!

It was the trip of a lifetime and we had such a great time!  SOO many pictures, so many characters met, so many wonderful experiences!  The few things I would do differently - have a back up to the alarm, not be so rushed before the race, maybe NOT do quite as much walking around the parks (so that my legs wouldn't feel so tired!!), and definitely try to spend more time at the parks overall!  We squeezed so much into such a short time, I need a vacation from my vacation!

I hope that you enjoyed reading the recap!  I have left out so much (the hotel! the food! the costumes! the parks! the people we met!) but I felt that this was already so long!  I may do another blog post about those topics and I hope that you'll join me for that as well!

If you ran the race as well, I can't wait to read your recaps!  If you haven't and you have any questions, please let me know!  I would love to have everyone be able to experience this at least once in their lives!  :)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The final countdown

In two weeks -- 14 days -- I will be done w/ my first half marathon. Yikes!! It's been an interesting journey to get to this point. I'm a bit behind where I wanted to be in my training. Finding the time to get on the treadmill and get the miles in hasn't always been easy, so if I don't succeed and if I don't finish, I have no one to blame but myself. But I really hope I finish. It'll be a hard pill to swallow to go all that way & not finish what I start. I've been struggling w/ the diet & food aspect of running. Trying to balance losing weight with providing my body with enough fuel to run (and not run out of energy) has been really hard to figure out. I still haven't figured it out. I'll definitely have to find some time to really explore this after the PHM (no time to research it now or to implement any changes). I've decided that I really want to find a way to make running a part of my healthier life. So with that in mind, I am currently registered for a 5K in April, another half marathon in May, and a third half in August. After the PHM I'll also have to try to plot out a training plan to be sure that I'm ready for the upcoming races. I want to be better prepared for those races than I am now (and hopefully be at least 30, but preferably 40 pounds lighter). But for the PHM -- this is where I'm at. I still don't have a suitcase for the trip. Not only that, I haven't even started a packing list. :) I had a costume idea in mind for the half, but I'm bailing on it. It's not coming out the way that I want. So I'm working on an alternate. No idea if I'll be able to pull that one off in time. Luckily the costume for the 5K has been done since Halloween. :) I still don't know what parks we're going to on what days. Guess I should start to look into that. None of the summer clothes I have from last year fit. Have to find a few pairs of shorts this week. Found out my room will not have a coffee pot in it. Hmm -- I'm one of those "multiple cups of coffee per day" kinds of people. Dilemma -- buy s single serving coffee maker for the trip or learn to live without it for a week. (I'm afraid fo the withdrawals!) Still want to rework my running playlist on my iphone. Found that some of the songs I have on there just won't work for speed. OH - and I can't forget to write out a list of souvenirs to buy for people while we're there. I'm trying not to let the race stress me out and trying to look more toward the trip as a whole. Because right now, I'm more panicked than excited. And that's really not the way to be when visiting Disney.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

44 days

44 days. That's what I'm looking at .... 44 days. 44 days till I see if I can accomplish this goal that I set for myself. 44 days till I hopefully cross the finish line for my first half-marathon. And I'm scared. I know I haven't trained enough. I have about 6 weeks to try to work on increasing my distance, but I haven't been able to keep up with the training plan that I have sort of been following. But I also haven't just been sitting down for the last few months either. I've run some races, I bought a treadmill. But I've only completed a few 10K's -- nothing further. And I worry that I won't be able to double that distance, that I won't make it through to the finish line. I worry that if I fail, I'll be devastated.
I've raised this whole event up as some sort of grand achievement - that once I complete the task, I'll have accomplished something major and life affirming or something. I've got this whole "finish it & you've crossed a bridge, fail and you're a failure for life" sort of thing going on in my head, and I can't seem to get it to shut up most days. I have six weeks to find the inner strength to find a way to finish what I started. It's much too late to back out now. But I'm terrified. Scared I'll get hurt, scared I'll fail, scared I'll be swept from the course. But most of all, I'm scared of once again looking like a loser to everyone I know. Scared that those who told me "you can't do it" will be right. Scared that I'll only have proven myself once again to be someone who can't reach the goals that she sets for herself.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Self Sabotage & the Continuing Journey

It is said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  By that correlation, sanity would be finding the way to change things so that one isn't doing the same thing over and over again, thereby obtaining the different results one is searching for, correct? 

So if I know all this - if I know the pitfalls and the traps - why is it that I still struggle with self-sabotage?  

For all intents & purposes, I have pretty much stopped following Weight Watchers for the better part of the last two or three weeks.  Can't really say for sure why.  When I join, I go all out & am very precise - write everything down & revel in the victories.  The last three weeks?  I don't care.  Don't want to measure, don't want to watch my portions, don't want to have a salad instead of pasta because I need the veggies.  

Coupled with the lack of following WW, I've sort of stopped training / running as well.  Not entirely - I did run a 10K ten days ago, but since then?  Virtually nothing. 

I have 95 days till the PHM.   And mentally I've checked out. 

I wish I could pinpoint what the trigger is, when this happens.  Is it the colder weather that's making its way into our lives?  Is it the Daylight Savings Time changing the number of sunshine hours we get each day?  Is it just tedium over eating the same things day in and day out?

I don't know.  But I am really hoping that whatever has caused this shift finds its way out the door so that I can back to work. 

Do you struggle with self sabotage?  If you do, what techniques do you use to overcome it?  How do you keep yourself focused for so long, when all you may want to do is take a break?  

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Cinderella is Proof ....

Running the Tufts 10K was a really great experience and I enjoyed it, but some of the aftermath wasn't all that fun.  One toenail on my left foot is now black, and yes, I'll lose it eventually.  Blisters on the toes of my right foot took around two weeks to feel normal again.  All because I was running in shoes that were too small.  Vanity sizing run amuck?  Not really -- more inexperience than anything else. 

I tried going to a running store to be fitted over the summer, and it wasn't an entirely positive experience.  The first time I walked in, I had to have tried on at least a dozen pairs of shoes, mostly by Brooks.  Eventually I purchased a pair and brought them to the gym to run on the treadmill (to keep them clean in case I had to return them).  The pain that developed in my arches was insane.  Thinking I'd tied them too tight, I tried them again a few days later.  Same thing.  Took them back, was refitted, got another pair (by Brooks again- I wonder if the store was trying to fill a quota??) and pretty much the same thing:  pain in my feet, uncomfortable shoes.

So I tried to do it myself.  Went to a shoe store, picked up a pair of Nike Women's Initiator running shoes, felt good in the store, paid and left.  Wore them a few times around the house and at the gym.  Felt okay, thought maybe I'd found the right shoes on my own.  

Except that one thing I hadn't counted on was swelling.  See, feet swell when you've been running, so  you need room in the shoes to allow for the expansion, and room in the top of the shoe (the toe box) for the toes to move so that they're not too cramped.  Otherwise, you could end up with ............. yep - black toenails & blisters.

Around the fifth mile of the Tufts 10K in October, I knew the blisters were already there and couldn't do anything about it.  I swore that day I would find the right shoes before my next race. 

And I finally did -- about 5 days before the race, but who's counting?  :) 
Meet my new "slippers" ... Asics GT-2000 (size 9 1/2, Width D)

After testing them at the gym on a treadmill, on the track, and then for a mile run on asphalt, I felt that maybe I'd found my shoe.  The true test would be a long run. 

On Saturday November 10th, I completed a 10K in 1:14:33 (an even 12:00 mile!!), just about 4 minutes faster than the Tufts 10K, and on a hilly course! (The green in the graph below is the elevation chart - I've never done a course this hilly before.) 

My feet felt great.  I had no real issues after the race, aside from a slight soreness in my right adductor muscles, but even that was gone in a few hours.  No tiredness, no problems walking!  The only real "side effect"to the run was my appetite -- I was eating constantly Saturday & part of Sunday!  :)  Guess my body needed to replace the carbs & energy it burned!  (1500 calories burned!!)

Unlike any other time during this journey I've put myself on, I really think I can do this.  I have 102 days till the race - a little more than 14 weeks - and I'm excited to see what I can accomplish in that time! 

And on a side note, now that I've got the Weight Watchers thing down for the most part, and the running thing seems to be on track, I'm starting back into Turbo Jam.  I would love to be at least 20 pounds lighter by the time the PHM comes around.  Can you imagine what I could accomplish if I were  still a bit lighter than I am now?  The possibilities are endless!