First off, I am not a fancy runner nor do I own much fancy running gear. A few weeks back I got some Nike fleece pants at a Smith's Grocery Store and they work great. I think they were meant for moms to run errands in but they are cozy and warm and light all at the same time. Next I got a fleece top from Costco. Once again - not fancy. It's really thin and you'd think you wouldn't stay warm in it but it works really well - last night it was in the low 20's and I was perfectly warm. Underneath that I'm wearing a t-shirt my husband got in a race. It's made of slippery fabric to make you think it's a technical tee but it's not. Then I wear a fleece hat I got at the thrift store for 50 cents. On my hands I've got those two dollar gloves you see sold EVERYWHERE. I am pretty cozy when I go out except for my face - my cheeks are so dang cold for the first mile or so. Last night I put on a fabric headband and wore it underneath my chin and up over my cheeks to the top of my head. I looked like Jacob Marley in A Christmas Carol but it actually worked. And hey, it was dark and cold and no one was out so what do I care?
Speaking of which, no one was out and it was quiet and dark and I could just run by the Christmas lights. It was one of the best runs I've ever had. I left the house uptight, cranky, and tired and by the end of my run I was loose, happy, and energized. My only complaint was for my neighborhood peeps who don't shovel their sidewalks which makes them so so slippery so that I have to climb over the piles of plowed snow to run on the road until I find a shoveled sidewalk. So, shovel those sidewalks people!
And as an update, I'm really glad I got Ashley to come up with some training plans for me. They are really detailed and great and take the guessing out for me. I'll write a whole post about that in a few days...
Until then...Merry Christmas!
It has been snowing all day and it looked so lovely that I decided I would go running early so I could run during the snowstorm. And...it wasn't nearly as dreamy as I thought it was going to be. I couldn't see the ground so sometimes it would look flat but there was bumpy chunky ice underneath so I nearly rolled each ankle like 3 times. Oh well...I think I need to put some screws in my shoes...
p.p.s. This is not my usual hat - my four year old borrowed my fleece one so I dug this old one out of my closet. Just so you know that I know that this hat isn't fleece...
And in other news I have gotten myself a trainer. Remember Kristi and her sister who is a trainer? Well, I am doing a photography trade with her sister Ashley for some help. She doesn't live near me so she is going to give me a schedule to help me get ready for the half marathon I am doing in April and to help me lose all my weight by my 10th anniversary at the end of April. That is going to be tough but I believe that with her help I can do it! I have 32 pounds to lose to be to my goal of 130 pounds. So, did all of you just do the math in your heard to see how much I weigh? That's ok, I just don't want to have to write it or say it out loud.
She is sending me my schedule on Monday and she told me to get myself a ball and some bands from Target. I'm so stoked!
But in other news, I'm doing pretty well. I'm working my mileage up and my knees are doing better. I have to stretch for like 10 full minutes beforehand and then have my knees taped and then watch my form but it's working. I'm still not running very far but I'm trying not to think about it. I'm staying positive. Though the other day I saw some girls status on facebook say she lost 4 pounds last week. And it was hard not to get discouraged. Though I haven't been doing weight watchers for real. I need to update my credit card with them and in the mean time I've been slacking on that end. Oh well, at least it's going down slowly rather than not at all. As soon as my mileage increases again I'm sure it will speed up. I am sure of it.
p.s. I realized one of my goals on here was to be in the 130's by Christmas and that there is NO way I'll be there unless I don't eat anything until then - literally I'd have to stop eating all together to be there. So I got a little discouraged but then I decided to screw that and not worry about it. So I took that off my goals. I've decided not to give myself dated deadlines for weight. And in other news, Asher just weaned himself so I'm free! Maybe that will help a little too.
And for fun I thought I'd share this image of me and my two youngest - the reason I got myself so chubby in the first place. And they're worth every pound!
I have this beautiful friend Kristi who recently lost a bunch of weight by eating less and running! I was so inspired I asked her if I could do a little interview. Here it is...
Me: Tell me your story.
Kristi: I think that what happened is that I got a real job – you know you get married and you get a real job and you stop doing the things you do. I got out of my routine - my healthy lifestyle routine. And then when you're poor – you know, eating veggies and fruit – that's expensive. So when you're young and poor you start eating bad alternatives.
Me: Did it happen slowly?
Kristi: Ya, you gain five pounds and then another five pounds. And then you turn into that person. You just kinda wake up and say to yourself, "How did I get here?" And I would work on it for like three months and then give up and then start over again six months later – but then five years passed. I was just looking for a quick fix.
Me: What was the breakthrough moment?
Kristi: When I saw this picture of myself and I thought, “Who are you?” And also I ran into an old friend at Disneyland and she looked so good and then I wondered if someone saw me would they even recognize me? Would I recognize myself? Then who am I? So I said to myself, "That's it – this is the year I will finally change it." I made a goal to be healthy, not to lose weight. It was easier and simpler. I also thought I couldn't let myself down since healthy is really broad. So I set small goals like "change the way I eat" and "stop eating after 7 PM" and "exercise". That was it really.
Me: When you say change the way i eat what did that mean?
Kristi: Eat more vegetable, more protein, and less carbs. I also cut soda. Before I was drinking maybe 1 a day which is like an extra 160 calories.
Me: And did it work right away?
Kristi: It actually didn't not right away but I knew if I kept doing it something would work. It was prob 2 months before I noticed. I wasn't weighing myself so it took me a while to realize the results. My clothes fit differently and i wasn't so "bulgy".
Me: Were you exercising at this time?
Kristi: Only walking for maybe 30 min at a even pace.
Me: You did this for two months?
Kristi: Yes, through November and December of 2008 then Ashley(her sister) came for New Year's and my goals changed.
Me: Ashley is a personal trainer?
Kristi: Yes she's really great at it. She helped me set goals and gave me pointers and exercises. She taught me basic pilates mat excercises and yoga, weight training and cardio programs.
Me: And so what did she suggest for you?
Kristi: One thing that she sent was the self challenge. I'm a believer in self magazine now. They have great cardio and weight training programs for you to follow spice up your work outs. And that's when i began running. I started out slow. I was basically walking fast and going maybe 2 miles. It took me a while to build up my stamina so I would work on my endurance with "hard days" and and easy days and interval training. My "hard" day(Monday) I would run 3 miles no matter what - coughing, sputtering, it was my goal and I was going to do it. Then I would take it easy and do 2 miles on Tuesday. Then to increase my pace I would do an interval training on Wednesday. And then Thursday 3 miles and Friday 2 miles. Then I took the weekend off but would usually end up doing a fun run - whatever I wanted for however long or fast just so it was fun.
Me: That's a great idea!
Kristi: By mid February I was in love with runnning but then I got injured.
Me: Tell me about your injury - how did it start?
Kristi: I have low arches and I've been told that's what causes shin splints. So I had very bad shin splints and strained my arches. I didn't see a doctor, I just went to the runnning store instead and they helped me with the tape. I was told not to run for 2 weeks but I was too afraid to stop and lose my momentum so I just ran through it. And I'm glad I did. When I felt better in March I increased my hard days to 4 miles and my easy days to a 5k. That's the same for me now i haven't changed it since.
Me: Tell me about the weight loss.
Kristi: After running for 1 month it just started falling off. I decided to get new pants and in 4 weeks they didn't fit - it was a great problem. I think it was the combined diet and exercise. The no eating after 7 thing is really important and the most difficult. I actually got around it by putting in bleach trays at 7 PM. I couldn't eat with them in so it was killing 2 birds with 1 stone. I'm still trying to improve but I'm pretty happy with my results so far. I wish I could say it's easy but I can say it's well worth the effort.
Me: You look amazing! So, all in all, how long did it take?
Kristi: I want to say 10 months
Me: So, what now?
Kristi: Keep working - I want to be healthy. I want to be an example of health to my family. I want my boys to find a sport they love and we can share together. Being healthy brings us closer. I'm going to start a new regimen soon.
Me: Well, that is one inspiring story Kristi!
Kristi: Thank you!
But I'm still losing weight thanks to weight watchers. I decided last week that the online WW wasn't enough so I'm paying a little extra to be able to actually go to meetings. I want to talk to other women who are doing the same thing as me once a week and get motivation. And I want to know that some woman is going to weigh me once a week - that's pretty motivating.
So, I need new shoes because when I run with my shoes on I am constantly trying to have correct form but it's really hard to and yet barefoot my pain is almost gone. But I just know there's NO way I'm going to go running barefoot when it's 30 degrees outside. Which it's only weeks away from being. So, I went to a local running store and had them record my cadence with a camera while I jogged on a treadmill only to have them tell me I needed the shoes I already have. No thanks. Been there - doesn't work. So, I'm kind of stuck...any advice on that front?
Till next time...
The actual experience of buying them was actually pretty stressful. I tried to prepare myself in advance because if you buy the jeans that fit just right at the store then they'll be too big within a couple hours of wearing them, at least in my opinion. So I knew I'd need to buy jeans that are tighter than normal which takes a leap of faith - that eventually they'll fit just right. And it took me forever - and I think I even got a little sweaty in the decision making process. But alas - I chose correctly and they fit perfectly within a half hour of putting them on plus a little help from my jean stretches. I had to laugh recently when I read on a friend's blog about the necessity of jean stretching in her life right now too. I've added some pictures to illustrate my just out of the wash jean stretching routine.
First, bend your knees and push back forcing your bum out behind you like you are about to sit down. This is the first stretch I do and since I've got a big bum - it's my most important stretch.
Next, push one leg way out to the side and lean over towards that side. Then repeat with the other side.
If your jeans are feeling a little tight through the knee and lower leg region, bend your knee and grab your foot with the corresponding arm and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat with the opposite side.
And after completing these stretches your jeans still feel too tight repeat the stretches and then wear them for several days. And make a note next time to hang dry this pair.
p.s. Don't think I only have a little left to lose...I still have over 30 pounds to go so...it was just a good day but nowhere close to the destination.
During this little break from jogging I've been reading up on knee problems and trying to figure out exactly what is going on. And I think I've got "runner's knee"and I've realized this is something I've had for a long time. Like I thought it was normal that after you sit on the couch for a while, like while watching a movie, for your knees to get stiff and painful so that you can't stand up straight right away. And I thought it was normal for your knees to hurt when you keep them bent too long at night when you are sleeping. Or to hurt any time they are bending. And I realized I always walk down the stairs kind of sideways to avoid bending me knees too much. And I honestly don't know how long this has been going on. Maybe it started with that first pregnancy a while back and I just chalked it up as a pregnancy pain. I'm not really sure.
So here I am. I know I've got runner's knee but I don't know how to correct the problem. I don't think rest will solve the problem. I need to strengthen my legs so that the load on my knees isn't so great. AND I need to lose weight. I have no doubt that the added weight is a big contributor to the problem. And I need to stretch better so that my legs aren't pulling in strange directions during my runs because the muscles are tight. And hopefully after the break from jogging, which I am replacing with swimming and the elliptical, the pain will be gone - or at least minimal.
But how long am I supposed to break for? I was thinking maybe I could just take a couple really slow really short runs in the mean time as long as the pain is really low. I just don't know. Maybe I should go to the doctor? But I have a few fears with that. First that he will take a look at my chubby body and say, "Well, anyone your size is going to have a lot of problems with running so you can't anymore." OR that he'll say, "I'm not finding anything. You just must be a wimp." OR "You sure don't look like you run. You obviously just want to get out of having to." I don't know. We'll see.
Anyone else have this issue?
p.s. Is how slow my progress is boring you?
Here's a great article from the Weight Watcher's site that I thought I'd share...
Always wanted to try running? Go for it: It's a great way to boost your workout when you've reached a rut, and it's fun!
Tawni never thought she could run a marathon. In fact she never thought she could run a single stride. "It never occurred to me," she recalls. "I thought I was too fat."
Tawni, a 33-year-old San Franciscan, tried one fad diet after another. But it wasn't until 10 years ago that she began to add consistent exercise to her regimen. "Before that I was sitting on my butt," she confesses. "Domino's Pizza was on my speed dial. That's not a good sign."
She started on the road to fitness the way most women do: by walking. But after about a year, she started thinking she needed something more. One day she heard some friends talking about running on the treadmill at 4 miles an hour. That was about how fast I was walking," Tawni says. "It had never occurred to me to run. I remember a light bulb turning on in my head."
She decided to pick up the pace, and immediately felt the difference. That was three years and two marathons ago. Tawni has transformed her life, and her figure, through running.
And she's not alone: Participation in running events — from the 5K race (3.1 miles) to the marathon (26.2 miles) — has grown steadily over the years. Many declare we are in the midst of a second running boom, and, unlike the original boom in the 1970s, this one isn't fueled by middle-age men emulating Olympians, but by middle-age women inspired by their new health.
Instead of running for competition or medals, today's runner is more likely to run for health, weight maintenance, self-confidence and fun. They've discovered what researchers have confirmed: Running is one of the best ways to burn calories and strengthen your cardiovascular system. It can also help lower the risk of many diseases, including breast cancer, stroke, and high blood pressure. And it can help boost levels of self-esteem and reduce stress.
Of course, if you're a walker, these statistics are no reason to abandon walking, especially since the above benefits apply to you as well. But running can give you an exercise intensity boost.
Ready, set, go
Get an OK from your doctor before you begin. You'll need precious few things:
- Comfortable, light shorts
- A T-shirt
- A supportive bra
- Good shoes. You don't have to buy the most expensive pair in the store, but plan to invest in supportive, stable shoes that can carry you for a mile or more. Shop at a specialty store, or at least where the salespeople are knowledgeable and can help you find the right pair
Before you give running a try, work up to a point when you can walk briskly for 30 minutes nonstop. The idea here is to gradually progress from walking/running to running. Don't worry about speed: Running is not sprinting. It is not done at a breathless, my-heart-is-going-to-explode-at-any-minute pace.
But it is more demanding, especially at first, than many other forms of aerobic activity. Just try to maintain a conversational pace (meaning that you can carry on a conversation while you run). Be conscious of proper running form:
- Look ahead as you run, not at the ground (this will help you maintain good posture)
- Keep your upper body upright. Don't slouch
- Bend your arms at a 90-degree angle. Your arm swing should extend from about the hip up to the middle of the chest. This will help keep you from getting too much side-to-side motion in your stride, a common problem among beginning female runners
One of the best ways to ensure the success of your running regimen is to run with someone else. Safety lies in numbers, plus, a running buddy can provide motivation and inspiration.
Remember: It's not just about losing weight, it's about gaining insight. It's not only about building a stronger heart, it also builds a stronger character. Particularly at first, running takes discipline and patience. But once you hit your stride, you won't look back.