Week 7 Wrap-up: Race Registration, Trust The Plan

Week 7 seemed like a big week to me.  I’m all registered for the Princess Half Marathon, I had a great (but exhausting) 4 miler on Saturday.  I’m feeling confident in my workouts, and even though progress isn’t coming as quickly as I want it to, it is measurable and I can see the numbers going in the appropriate direction.  I just need to not let negative voices in my head get in the way, and to trust in my training plan.  Trust the plan. 

Loving The Warm-up

 

The warm-up is something that all athletes know is an important part of training.  As a competitive swimmer in my youth, I was familiar with the concept. However – when people tell me that I should do a 5-minute warm-up I find it humorous, that does nothing for me, and my legs feel exactly the same after 5 minutes as they do when I start. As a walker, it takes me a long time to warm up, sometimes it takes me a mile, sometimes it’s more like a mile and a half.  For me (right now) that can be up to a good 30 minute walk.

Before I hit the trail, path, or treadmill I have a short stretching routine, but my physical therapist wants me to do most of my stretching work after my walks, not before. Because of this – I’ve been thinking of the first parts of my work out as my warm-up. I make sure that I don’t start off too fast, I don’t push my pace until I know that I’ve hit my warm-up point. How do I know when that is you may ask?  Because I can feel it, and you can too if you pay attention to your body.

Now – this may sound super weird – but not having ever been a runner, I wasn’t aware that my legs would actually warm up. When I was a teenage swimmer, I didn’t have the same level of awareness over my body as I do today. I thought that doing a warm-up was just a nice way to stretch out your body and get your head in the right place before hand.  That’s just a very small part of it though.

According to Active.com “Relaxed, sitting in your chair and reading this column produces a relatively low 15- to 20-percent of blood flow to your skeletal muscles. Most of the small blood vessels within those muscles are closed. After 10 to 12 minutes of total body exercise, blood flow to the skeletal muscles increases to some 70 to 75 percent.” That is HUGE!! And if you pay attention you can feel even it happen, because “with more blood flow comes an increase in muscle temperature.”

Raising the temperature in your muscles doesn’t just feel good either – it helps your blood release oxygen. “More blood going to the muscles, along with more oxygen available to the working muscles, means better performance.” That heat also contributes to better nerve transmission, which means faster muscle contraction and relaxation making for easier and more fluid movements.  Warming up is pretty awesome.

I hear many people say – the first part of my workouts suck!   Yea, I know what you mean buddy. That’s because the body isn’t yet properly warmed up. It’s always a pleasant surprise to me when I get that flush of heat running through my legs. Once it hits I feel so much better, the pain goes away, it’s easier to move, and I can increase my pace work to get the biggest benefits from my work out.

When I hit that point it’s the best part of my work out, I love how my legs feel once they’ve warmed up, and I know that I’m ready to crush it.

I think now that my workouts are getting longer and my distance farther I’ll be able to make strong improvements because I have more time where I’m in that warm receptive state that feels good. Today that meant I reached and sustained 20 minute a mile pace for about 5 minutes. I was really pleased with that.

I’m In! 2018 Princess Half Marathon Weekend Registration

It feels like something completely crazy, but I am actually registered for the 10th Anniversary Princess Half Marathon.  Yep – stuck that money where my mouth is and things are getting real.  This will be my first Half Marathon and it’s been on my bucket list for what feels like very, very long time.  I’m nervous and excited, things feel a bit surreal, but in a very good way.

I was lucky enough to be able to register a little early because I’m a Disney Vacation Club Member, this race usually sells out pretty quickly.  Registration opens to the general public next week -May 2, 2017 to be precise – and you can get more information on general registration at runDisney.com.  

Tuesdays Are Now My Pool Days

This week is my 7th week of training for the Princess Half Marathon, and I’m moving into a 5 day a week plan by adding in a bit of cross training.  That’s a little scary to think about, but take that all doubters, this fat girl is getting her mega butt to the gym five days a week.  And – I absolutely slay it in the water.  Tuesdays are now my pool days and it’s bliss.  On the schedule is a 60 minute or more cardio workout that will probably include both lap swimming and water walking/jogging, accompanied by a great deal of stretching my legs. It’s all about working on my endurance, getting some active recovery for my legs, and stretching out my shins and calves on a non-walk/run day.

I discovered that there is a 10:00am Water Walking Class at the Y that I enjoyed a lot yesterday.  I’m not sure that I will be able to make it to the gym by then every week, but I did this week.  It was a good workout, and I could feel it working my calves and shins.  We walked forwards, backwards, and sideways to some fun music, engaging all of the muscle groups in our legs.   We also did a little bit of arm work with some  foam barbells and a pool noodle.  When I got home I did a little bit of research to try and figure out what sort of calories it burns.  I’m having trouble figuring out exactly how to log the water walking into my apps but I think as long as I just consider it timed cardio activity it will be good enough.  I found a site called calorielab.com that helped me calculate what the workout would expend calorie wise. I don’t really care that much about the calories, but I like to have all the information I can.

The women in the class are friendly, though a little cliquish.  They did invite me to lunch with them, which was sweet.   I discovered that I need to get a new swimsuit though if I am going to keep doing this.  I wasn’t self conscious about the one that I was wearing but then someone said something because the back edge was kind of rolling down a little.  Then – I couldn’t stop tugging at it and thinking about it.  Every time I pulled it up, it rolled down again.  So – I came home and ordered a new swimsuit.  I went with a unitard design, and I’m hoping that it fits because it should take care of all my needs.

I’m pretty excited about this addition to my training plan.  Hopefully it will have benefits that I didn’t even imagine. 

 

 

 

Changing My Diet, Changing My Tastes

For the past several months I’ve been trying to eat cleaner.  I’ve given up a lot of artificial foods, and I’m trying to stick with real, slow foods, with much less processing.  This means that I have a much healthier diet than I used to, even though I’m still eating fast food a few times a week.  I have a lot more chicken, interesting grains, fresh vegetables, and fruits are going into my body.  It’s been a subtle change, but one that has almost immediate results.  Within a week I started noticing myself getting fuller faster, and recognizing when I have reached that cut off point.  Diet soda doesn’t taste the same to me anymore, and I’m not craving those artificial sweeteners like I was.

I took my husband to dinner for his birthday last night.  We ate the most amazing beer battered cheese curds.  I felt like I needed some extra protein so I ordered a pulled pork sandwich for dinner.  Huge, huge mistake.  My stomach completely rebelled at all the grease I had consumed, and I couldn’t even finish my dinner.  It was just gross. I’m sure the food was good, it just wasn’t very good to me.  My tastes have changed.  I struggled with the heavy flavors and rich mouth feel of the pulled pork.  I was wishing that I had ordered the spring pea risotto, or a salad with some berries and chicken.

I didn’t set out to change my diet majorly, I wasn’t trying to reduce calories, or to eat smaller portions.  However since beginning to eat closer to the earth all of these things have happened. My body simply can’t handle the same sort of things that it could before, and honestly, I don’t want it to.  I’m happy eating cleaner, and as long as I’m getting the nutrients that I need that is good enough for me.  It will be interesting to see how this develops and if I continue to change my diet because my tastes are changing.

A Rough Workout In My Head

I had very little motivation today.  Tori had today out so I didn’t have a buddy, I couldn’t decided where I wanted to walk, or what sort of training I wanted to do.  Once I got in the treadmill my legs were feeling pretty tight even after my warm-up.  Not worth risking injury to push out intervals when I’m already in pain.  So I just walked, slow and steady.  I had 35 minutes on my training plan, but I did 45  (1.92 miles 24:05 average pace) including my cool down. I stretched out afterwards and then got the heck out of there.

It was a really rough day in my head though.  Race registration for the 2018 Princess Half Marathon is Thursday for me.  No – I can’t wait to register because it sells out pretty fast. I’ve got to put my money where my mouth is on Thursday.  The problem is that I’m no where near where I thought my starting point (20:00 pace) would even be yet.   Yes, I’ve done several 5K training days, and I’m working on the 10K training program right now.  BUT I’M SO FRICKING SLOW!!!  I’m registering, because I want to be able to do this.  And I’m training to do this, I’m just not sure that I can do this.

Disney has a 16 minute mile cut off – that means that I have to be able to drop about 6 more minutes a mile to just reach the cut off.  However I know of plenty of people who could do that pace but got swept from the course anyhow because they did something crazy during the race, like stop to pee. Disney suggests training for a 15 minute mile.  That’s 7 minutes faster than I am now.  I have to be able to drop 7 minutes a mile.  That just sounds so impossible to me.  It makes me want to cry.   If I’m going to take on this course, I really want to be able to finish the race.  I don’t care if I’m the a last person to finish, I want to finish.  I’m terrified of being swept.

I know that at some point I will have to work in running to accomplish my goal.  My physical therapist says  that now is not that time.  I have to be smart about getting to my goal, it’s just so discouraging to be so very far away from it.  SO VERY DISCOURAGING.  I’m trying to give myself every advantage, doing things slowly, using the support structure that I have.  It’s a struggle though, up hill all the way. 

Week 6 Wrap-up: Schedules, Physical Therapy, Recovery

The end of week 5 was rough, but I worked hard at getting back into the swing of things in week 6.  Bumps in the road will always happen, but as long as I don’t give up I’ll continue be successful.

 

Here are a few highlights of my week!

  1. I went to Physical Therapy this week..  My trip to the physical therapist bolstered my confidence as she said that my shoes are great, and that it sounds like I’m doing everything right.  She gave me some more exercises to work on and I’ll see her again in next month.
  2.  Rearranging my training schedule.   I’m moving to a 5 days a week training schedule.  This will allow Tori and I to walk outside for my short days, and to add in a day for cross training of some sort.  I swam on Saturday and it was absolutely blissful.   I’m going to try and work more swimming into the schedule on Tuesdays, and possibly some yoga on Wednesdays.  Though adding in the yoga would take me to 6 days a week at the gym and I’m not sure I am mentally prepared for that right now,
  3. Aggressive Recovery.  I’m moving to more active and aggressive recovery techniques.  Just taking a day off isn’t working because my muscles just seem to tighten up and make it harder for my next training day.  I scheduled a massage at the wellness center for my tight calves, I am stretching every day, and I’m using the TENS unit to reduce pain and relax my muscles.  I needed to call in for a prescription muscle relaxer as well.  Hopefully soon my legs will relax a bit and the muscles with get a little more stretch into them, that will really help me to increase my distance.
  4. Naps!  My long days really wipe me out, naps have become a regular  thing.
  5. I was SUPER happy that on one of my walks outside I was able to do 1.5 miles at a 21:48 minute pace.  My times are dropping, not as fast as I want them to, but they are dropping and that makes me happy.

April Physical Therapy Check-in

I went to see my physical therapist today, her name is Bernie and she’s just awesome.  We’ve used her for various injuries for several years now and I just adore her, she’s nice, and funny, and really doesn’t judge at all.  Anyhow – I’m off track.  I decided that if I was going to meet my training goal and actually be able to have a chance with this Half Marathon next year I needed to get in for a visit and some training tips.

My legs have been working fairly well, my ankle seems strong, however I just haven’t been able to shake this lingering tightness in my feet, calves, and shins.  I’ve been doing some shin split exercises at home but I wanted professional help so I had my doctor write me a prescription for some physical therapy.  Many people get a physical therapy allotment on their health insurance and never use it because they aren’t injured in a way that would warrant a trip to PT.   The thing is, people like me (out of shape couch potatoes) who have just started working out can really use a trip to the Physical Therapist to help identify the kinks in their training plans and come up with solutions to problem areas.  For me, a visit with Bernie a solid way to help me reach my goals and get the most out of my healthcare system.

Bernie was thrilled that I’m doing well since my accident last year and saw that I’m pretty strong, she helped me identify two problem points that have been keeping me from reaching my fullest potential when I’m out walking.  1) My feet are about as flat as they can possible get, and 2) I have no stretch in my calves.

Adding the Soleus Stretch to my routine.

It was also good that I got in with Bernie because as we discussed my training plan she warned me against making some small changes that I was going to start next week.  She advised that until I could get my calves to lengthen a bit I should stick to the treadmill for my long walks.  The treadmill will help to absorb some of the shock on the long days and not put too much strain on my legs.  She also didn’t want me to start adding in running yet, even a little.  She knows me so well, and how much I push myself, she saw it all when I was relearning how to walk.  Bernie gave me a gentle reminder  that becoming injured from pushing myself too much on the front end of this journey wouldn’t help me cross the finish line. 

I’ve got some new exercises and a new goal for stretching every day.  I’ve got a long way to go, my legs need to work correctly to get me there. 

Fighting Inertia With Walks Outside

No, I haven’t given up already.  I just hit a couple of training snags – I’m blaming Easter.  I took two days off from training over last weekend and, well, inertia.  I was a complete blob last Saturday and Sunday.  No training, no watching my diet, no blogging.  I wasn’t a complete blob, I actually worked 11 hours on Saturday, but my physical fitness simply wasn’t.   But Monday came and I got back to it!

Now that the weather is nicer my daughter Tori has become my Monday training buddy. We walk really well together, but she says that she is sure she does not want to run the Princess with me next year.

We’ve been walking outside on one of our favorite paths near a local living history museum. It’s about a mile and a half loop around a field that’s being replanted with prairie plants, and a small woods.  I like it because there are gentle hills that give me some elevation to work with.  I know that everyone claims Disney has a flat run, but between mile 4-5 alone there is a jaunt beneath a lake and back up the other side, and then about 30 foot slow rise up Main Street USA. The gentle elevations on this loop do a pretty fair job of getting me used to those light elevation changes.

I went walking outside without her today and I was very happy to make a 21:48 pace!  I’m getting closer to that 20:00 minute pace goal I wanted to start out at.  I think it will take me 2 months to finally get there.  That is super frustrating for me, but it is what it is.

Food Journaling With MyNetDiary

When I went to the doctor last month to get cleared to start training for the 2018 Princess Half Marathon, I also mentioned that I would like to lose 40 pounds. It was my hope that by seriously training, I would have the happy side effect of losing the weight. But other than that I wasn’t going to worry about it much.   She told me that she wanted me to start keeping a food diary so that I would be aware of what I was putting in my mouth all day.

I was not really happy with that, and left the office with absolutely no intention of keeping said food diary. I had already started changing my diet more healthy “clean” foods, but this wasn’t one of those things that I really want to worry about. My goal is to be healthier and more active than I was, in no way is it all about weight and I felt like recording my food was going to lead to her putting me on a diet. I wasn’t going there.

Flash forward two weeks and I decide that I need to know what my basal metabolic rate is so that I know how many calories I need to eat a day just to keep going. My best friend told me that she was using MyNetDiary  to track her food to manage a health condition. I bristled and complained – I wasn’t going to go there – and then about a week ago I downloaded the damn app for myself.  I love it.

 

What It Is

MyNetDiary is a friendly, simple to use, website and mobile application for iPhone, iPad, and Android that helps people maintain optimal health by tracking their food intake. Users have several different options as far as membership, each with increased levels of service. Members can join for free (what I’m using right now), download the “Pro” app for a set fee, or pay a monthly fee for the full service MyNetDiary Maximum. In addition, there are also special modules for running, and tracking your critical information if you are diabetic.

At its simplest, MyNetDiary is an electronic diet log service. It offers users a place to “write everything down” so you know what you’re eating each day. But stepping off rom that simple concept MyNetDiary has gone much much father.

With its simple and cheerful interface, MyNetDiary allows you to track exercise, steps, and water intake, along side the calories you consume for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. As users input information into the diary a bright green apple fills with color the closer you get to your caloric goal for the day. If you go over that goal the apple turns red, but unlike some the app never chides you for having a bad day.   One of my favorite parts is that when you input your exercise (mine automatically inputs from my gym app) it calculates your bonus calories! Bonus calories are those extra calories you can consume even beyond your daily intake because you worked them. I love that this app allows me to see exactly what sort of caloric impact working out has on my diet. Being armed with this information really encourages me not only to work out more – but makes me feel better when I leave the gym starving and feeling like I need to eat.

 

Food Tracking

755,000 foods along with their dietary information are already in the MyNetDiary database, in addition, users have the opportunity to create custom food listings. This means you don’t have to guess when it comes to your nutrition, it also means that by using the custom options, you can recreate those family recipes and still track the nutrition. Users simply search for a food and tap it to add it to their diary for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack. As you add the foods, the app counts the calories and records them on your dashboard apple.

Recording your food does take more time than not recording it, especially when you are creating your own custom options. However the app really does go to great lengths to make it as easy with possible for users. In addition to the search function, and manually entering everything, you also have the option to scan the bar code on the back of the food container and it will instantly input the information you need all you have to do is tell it how much of it you are eating. I just scan everything while I’m cooking so by the time I am done I can get down to eating.

 

Goal Tracking

By answering a few simple personal questions, MyNetDiary will do all the calculations for you to figure out how many calories you should be eating each day for your lifestyle. But this is more than simply knowing what your basal metabolic rate is, because MyNetDiary will allow you to set weight goals whether you want to lose, gain, or stay the same. When you create a goal date and MyNetDiary then calculates how many calories you need to eat each day within that time to reach that goal. I know I’m a dork, but I love the little animation that it uses of different fun vehicles rolling down a hill.

Summing It Up

Overall I am REALLY enjoying the free version of MyNetDiary, and think that if I’m still doing well with it in another month I may buy the Pro version. Being armed with the knowledge of how many calories are in things has actually freed me in a way because on some days I can eat more than I thought I could. Also, I find that I’m making better choices – which means I’m not having to starve myself because foods that are better for you tend to have fewer calories and you can take bigger portions.

For instance, pizza is my great downfall. It’s my favorite food and more is always better IMHO. I’ve discovered that I can eat 3X as much of my favorite thin crust pizza than I can my favorite hand tossed pan pizza. I would pretty much always rather eat 3 pieces of pizza than 1 piece of pizza, so this app helped me figure out how to eat more pizza!

I’m sure that I’ll write more about this app in the future, but for now I give it skeptic starter seal of approval.   Go ahead – give it a try!

5 Pounds

It’s been about a month since I started working out, so while I was at the doctors office with my daughter today I decided to step on the scale.  I’m down 5 pounds!

Week 4 Wrap-up: Interactive Treadmills, First 5K, MyNetDiary

4 Weeks Down / 47 More To Go

I’m so excited because I’m way ahead in my training plan!  I’m feeling pretty good, and I’m still mega excited that I’ve started this journey.  I walked a 5K on Friday, major milestone for me.

Here are a few highlights of my week!

  1. Mondays suck.  I really don’t understand, every time a Monday comes around I head to the gym with the best of intentions and a positive attitude and then my body betrays me.  Mondays never seem to go the way I want to.  However, I refuse to give up and have been implementing my no pain policy and adjusting my work-outs so that I still get some benefit.
  2. I’ve been playing with the Lifescape Interactive Courses on the treadmill.  These courses are videos that play on the treadmill display and allow users to take high-definition hikes and runs through famous locations around the world. The integrated machine controls speed as the exerciser runs faster and the treadmill adjusts to match the incline in the varying terrain you see on the screen.  It’s pretty cool! On Friday I walked through some beautiful parks in New Zealand and really enjoyed it.   What I like best is the changing incline throughout the workout because it better simulates what you find out on the road.
  3. I downloaded the MyNetDiary app on my phone and started tracking my diet.  It’s something that my doctor wanted me to do when I started this a month ago, but I was being stubborn.  My best friend uses MyNetDiary so I figured since we’re supporting each other in this journey I would give it a go.  I think this will get it’s own post after I’ve used it a little longer.
  4. I really need to invest in some new workout clothes but right now my spare money needs to be saved for race registration on the 27th.  After that I’ll be able to buy a couple serious sports bras, I am killing my every day bras while working out.  I need some major support to control the bounce, and  wicking fabric would make me really happy.
  5. I was exhausted and had serious delayed muscle soreness on Saturday.  Today (Sunday) I’m going to need to be proactive on recovering my muscles.  Lots of stretching, naproxen, and bits of targeted time on the TENS Unit.
  6. I walked a 5K!  Yay me!

 

 

One Year Anniversary 5K

One year ago yesterday I missed stepping off a curb and broke my leg in three places.  It was an impressive trimalleolar fracture, with subsequent tendon and ligament damage.   I spent three months on bedrest drugged out of my mind due to pain.  I spent another three months in physical therapy learning to walk again, after that it was all about perfecting the motions and gaining strength, but even that job isn’t complete and I will forever carry the hardware that stabilizes my fibula.  Today I feel better than I have in years and for the past four weeks  I’ve been in training for a half marathon.  I’m changing the way I look at food, fitness, activity, and meditation.

When I fist broke my leg the doctors didn’t want me to get depressed, so they told me it would be a quick recovery (they straight up lied to me to keep me from freaking out) so I signed up for the 2016 runDisney Virtual Running Shorts 5K.  I thought I would be able to complete it before the finish date on June 30th.  But I was still in a big ass cast when that date came and went, and I hadn’t even begun to start relearning how to walk.  Needless to say – I didn’t do the 5K.

Because I had been a registered participate, they still sent me a medal.   I stuck the medal, still in its box, in a drawer because I hadn’t earned it.

Today I’m happy to say I have finally earned it!  It was damn slow – but I completed my first 5K distance since the accident one year ago.  It’s a HUGE milestone and I’m so happy that I had a bit of Disney magic waiting for me at the end.  I cried as I left the gym, I cried as I took the medal out of the box and put it around my neck.  I’m a sap, I know.

This was just the first of many 5K training days I’ll have on my way to the 2018 Princess Half Marathon, but it’s one that I’ll never forget.   It’s been a long hard road, but I am so proud of how far I have come.

Crap Things Our Mothers Told Us

It never ceases to amaze me, the cruelty of things that mothers tell their children – especially those of generations before mine. The women who relied on their looks to gain a suitable husband and accomplish success, they were especially cruel to the daughters of a new age.  As girls we were groomed to be pretty and desirable to young men, but that often came at the price of our mental stability, and nutritional devastation.

My mother was on my back about my weight from the time I was a young girl. I can remember her being disgusted that I was a size 13 in High School.   I was a competitive athlete, and a dancer, I made the pom pon on squad; but in her eyes I was just plain fat and she never let me forget that I put too much food into my mouth.  My grandmother worried about her figure well into her 70s, and balanced her sweet-tooth  and love for Southern fried foods by eating minute bird size portions.  My mother-in-law used to call my oldest child “chubs” as a pet name.   Why on earth would anyone think that’s OK?

A friend of mine, one of the smartest women I know, carries the baggage of her ancestors words more heavily than I do. I get so mad when I see her struggling, how dare those women who were tasked with raising her into a confident young women betray her the way they did. They did wrong by her, and as a mother myself it enrages me that she still struggles because of them. It angers me that as adult educated women we still battle the ghosts of a culture that didn’t look to science for the best ways to fuel our bodies. It only cared about shaming us for not being perfect and meeting an ideal.  The voices of our foremothers haunt us, but those voices didn’t really know what they were talking about when it came to nutrition and what we actually need to be healthy.

Listen, I know that I’m fat. It is what it is; and decades of unhappiness, self-doubt, and putting the needs of others before my own are carried around my waist. I can’t change any of that. The only thing I can do about it is move forward armed with the knowledge that I am worthy.  And I will – I will move forward armed with the knowledge of nutritional science to help me learn the best way to fuel my body.

Do you know what it takes to keep your body going even if you’re not doing anything? It’s called your basal metabolic rate (BMR), and it is how many calories you need to take in each day just to keep your body functioning correctly.  Yes!  Your  body actually needs a certain amount of calories each day.  Knowing your numbers can help you create a healthier relationship with food by making sure you get enough energy to do the things you need to.  Without enough calories your body can go into starvation mode, which makes the fight to lose weight even harder.  Check out this article from the Daily Burn to find out what your BMR is.

I hope that I have done better by my daughters. I try to encourage them to be smart, but society still pounds out the commercial material that beauty is the key. I want them to approach their diets with reason. I want to approach MY diet with reason. I want to chase away those ancestral voices of doubt and dismay with a giant FUCK YOU.

I Hate Stretching At The Gym

I’ve discovered that I have a weird quirk.  At least I think it’s probably weird, I’ve never heard anyone else talking about it, so if you feel this way too please leave a comment.  I don’t like stretching at the gym.  I can hop on the treadmill with confidence, and not give a second thought to my weight or how I look.  It’s just not the same when it comes to stretching.

I guess I feel that because I’m fat, if I get down on the ground to stretch people will judge me for being on the floor.  Like I’m just being lazy or something.  I’ve been stretching pre-workout at home heel drops, standing on my toes, lunges.  At home I can hold onto the wall and I don’t lose my balance.  That way no one will see it and laugh.  It annoys me that I feel this way, but it annoys me even more that my stretching is clumsy, unbalanced, and assisted – because I’m just not as young and nimble as I used to be.

After my walk/run I am pulling out a mat in the stretching area, lying down, and working out my hips and lower back.  I’ve got some basic yoga poses that the physical therapist wants me to do most involve lying on my back of curled in a bal.  The whole time I’m down there actively stretching I wonder about how pathetic the fat girl looks lying on the ground.  I always hope that no one thinks I’m having a heart attack or am down there because I’m about to pass out.

It’s weird, I’m sure of it, but there you have it.  I hate stretching at the gym.

Three Articles That Inspired Me In March

One of the things I want to make sure I do with this blog is to raise others up, to share the stories that inspire me and help me keep going on this journey.  Here are three great articles that I’ve recently read.   In one way or another they all inspired me to keep believing that running a Half Marathon is something I can actually do.

I Am Not A Jogger by John Bingham  – The Penguin himself, I never get tired of John’s words of wisdom when it comes to beginning a training program.  A dedicated back of the packer, John always reminds me that no matter how slow I go, I’m lapping everyone on the couch.

Anatomy of a Plus Size Athlete by Krista Henderson – Krista is a brand representative for Lane Bryant’s Livi Activewear, and her body is shaped just like mine!  What’s so inspiring about that?  She’s a TRIATHLETE!  Hot damn – she’s out there kicking ass like no ones business. Check out her website, Born to Reign Athletics.

Let’s Talk Running Shoes by Mirna Valerio – Mirna is an ultra runner who is making some real strides for plus sized athletes right now.  She’s even started writing for Women’s Running Magazine and I’m so thrilled to have her voice out there advocating for plus size runners.  This article she wrote about shoes really helped me out because we have the same size feet, and let me tell you, it’s not easy to find good running shoes in our size.

Week 3 Wrap-up: New Shoes, Run Breaks, and 2.6 Miles

I feel like I had a fantastic training week and habits I’m creating right now are setting me up for success throughout this next year of work. Completing a Half Marathon still feels like a gigantic goal that I’m not sure about, but I keep moving forward and feeling good about it. If it was easy everyone would do it, right?

Here are a few highlights of my week!

  1. My no-pain strategy has me feeling great at the end of my sessions.  The no-pain strategy is really simple, if I’m in pain I slow down and modify my workout to something that doesn’t cause pain. I still complete exercise for the amount of time scheduled, no stopping, just changing up what I do.
  2. As part of no-pain I experimented with the Galloway method this week and it worked amazingly.  Since I’m mainly a walker at the moment, I decided that I would take “run breaks” to switch up the muscle groups that I was using.  I was able to insert 20 minutes of run-walk-run into my long walk.  I went further and faster than I expected by doing this, and when I was finished I still felt fantastic.
  3. New Gear:  My Asics are really great and I am very happy with them.  The toe box is nice and roomy without being oversized, and there is plenty of arch support. My only complaint is that they feel a bit heavy, however that’s probably because they are trail shoes.  Perhaps I’ll go with something lighter for my next pair.  Next up in new gear – I need to invest in a couple heavy duty sports bras.
  4. I really crushed my long walk using the Galloway method, but my easy timed walk on Saturday was even better!  I spent 60 minutes on the treadmill and went 2.6 miles. I was exhausted afterwords and needed a nap, but at the same time really proud of myself.  That distance wasn’t on my training plan for another 4 weeks, so if I can repeat it feeling good next week I’ll adjust my training plan for being ahead of schedule.