Friday, February 27, 2015

Before and Now

Been thinking a lot today about change and where I’ve come from and where I’m at.  Like I said earlier in the week it’s easy to forget where you come from.  Honestly I wish I had more “before” photos but as we all know when you don’t feel paticularly good about yourself you aren’t so keen on getting in front of the camera.  These are just a few random photos from various times, not even necessarily at my heaviest, just some random stuff. It’s hard to see myself like this because honestly its been a long time since I’ve been this girl.   But I was her and she did live and she did have a life and it wasn’t all awful and miserable, although some parts of it were.  The two photos of me in the black sweatshirt and jeans were in Disneyland and I remember having to go to Ross Dress for Less a couple days before we left to buy jeans that actually fit me.  I remember being in the dressing room and wanting to cry because nothing fit well. I bought those jeans and I hated them, but they were what fit.  I distinctly remember that. That was an AWFUL moment.  Ugh….

The comparison photos were all taken in the last two weeks. It’s hard to consider myself anything but blessed and happy when I am visually reminded of where I’ve come from. Ugh and those jeans, yup totally remember that horrific experience in the dressing room. Quite vividly actually.  I’m only happier in the now photos because I love myself and accept myself and am willing to live my life. 

Just a little Friday reminder that life is exactly what you make it and you can have anything you really want if you are willing to put in the work.

Caution Weekend Ahead

 It’s been a very busy Friday at work for me this morning but I just finished up my big task for the day so I feel good.  Payday is Monday and I had to process the payroll and get everything in order and now it’s done. Yeah! One less thing on my plate which is a GOOD thing.  Oh sure, I still have some work to do but nothing as pressing as that so I can breathe a little for the remainder of the morning before tackling another project after lunch. Sometimes, on occasion, I do work.   But it’s boring and monotonous and really not so much fun to talk about so we are moving on.

Last night I was feeling that sluggish thing where you have to force yourself to workout. My legs were still pretty fried from the previous two nights so that makes my 1.5 mile warm up run that much tougher.  I typically like to do a 15 minute 1.5 mile run before I do anything else to just freaking wake my body up.  Some days I can just fly thru it and knock out a mile and a half in like 12 minutes and sometimes, like last night it takes 16 minutes.  My legs hurt to move.  It happens. I accepted that and took the speed down a notch or two.  I should clarify that when I say my legs hurt it’s always that good kind of sore way and not a painful something is wrong kind of way. There is a big difference between the two and I am always very mindful of that. Sore pain you can push thru, actual pain, stop immediately do not pass go and for the love of God just quit.  Actual pain will only be worsened by continuing to use it.

Anyhow, Thursday nights are usually one of my biggest struggles in terms of exercise nights because it’s my last night in a row of workouts. For me that means its day 6 of working out.  Sure some days are more involved than other days but it’s still day 6 nonetheless.  I give myself permission to be tired on Thursday nights.  And it always makes Friday’s all the more enjoyable because it’s my rest day.  I do believe in the value of a good rest day.  Our bodies recuperate and grow during rest day. They are needed.  I honestly don’t mind taking 2 rest days in a week, I generally speaking think working out 5 days a week is more than acceptable, but more often than not I just am too excited and end up working out 6.  I try very hard to never push it beyond that.  My body will fry if not given at least 1 rest day a week. 

I need my rest day today for sure.  Tomorrow is also going to be a very light day for me. I have a 5k in the morning that I will just walk with my mom.  Walking is fine and dandy and I have no problem with it, but it’s not exactly physically tasking in my body.  I would definitely classify that in the light workout mode.  Since that is in the morning and then I have other errands in Portland to run I won’t be going to the gym tomorrow.  I’m saving up my strength for my insane Sunday anyway.  Depending on how the day goes we could possibly take the girls to the dog park Saturday afternoon which would be some more walking, but it all depends on time.

Sunday is one of those insanely busy days. Wake up early to drive an hour to run a 12k race.  12k is 7.5 miles.  I haven’t ran past the 6 mile mark since my last half in November.  I’ve run the 6 mile mark a couple times in the past 2 weeks so I am probably pretty prepared for it. But that is a decent distance not going to lie. Just going to take it easy and again just focus on the enjoyment in the run.  I try to tell myself that the reason I do any of this anyway is for the high or the enjoyment of the experience.  So I should just listen to my body and let go.  I tend to do that anyway when running outside. Overall it’s a much more enjoyable experience.

Now if you thought that just running 7.5 miles was my crazy agenda for Sunday you’d be wrong. Because I am generally a crazy crazy girl and for some reason can’t back down I agreed to meet Amanda at her gym Sunday afternoon to do a leg workout.  Basically it goes like this, I adore Amanda.  I get jealous and insecure and crazy about the relationship sometimes.  But overall I love her to death.  Above all else she is my friend.  With her not working at my gym anymore I don’t get to see her or hang out with her as much anymore and I do miss her.  Even if perhaps it wasn’t my first choice to do a leg workout on Sunday I feel like I need to invest time into the relationship if I want to keep it.  And honestly there is never going to be a great time and it’s been weeks since I’ve worked out with her.  I agreed.  What the hell right?  I figured if I get tired and need to go lighter that’s fine because I have a perfectly valid excuse, hey I already ran 7.5 miles today.  But yeah, as long as we aren’t doing any cardio I am cool.  

But with all that said, Sunday is going to be an intense workout focused day for me. At least I find these activities fun and willingly want to partake in them.  This is my idea of a cool weekend.  How crazy am I? I guess we’ve already established that I’m fairly nutso.  It just worked because Chris has to work Sunday anyway.  Well on Sunday he doesn’t have to work until like 11:30 and he is running the 12k with me but it starts at 8 and its close to his work so bottom line is he running it and then going to work and then I would be on my own in the afternoon anyway so I guess it’s girl workout time.  Just maintaining my relationships which honestly I’ve never been very good at.

So bottom line is, rest day today and an easy 5k walk tomorrow is just fine.  Sunday is going to be a brutal day so having some rest prior is probably the best thing I can do for myself.  I do my best to try and listen to my body and give it what it needs. That is something I have really learned over the past year or so.  If your body is telling you something freaking listen to it.  If I am exhausted sometimes it’s best not to force it and sometimes when it wants to go beast mode, you just let it go beast mode!

Last night I put in a valiant effort for being day 6 of exercise.  Knocked out an all-around upper body session. Shoulders, chest, tricep and bicep.  Here’s the workout.

It was a decent workout. Nothing is feeling terribly overworked today but that’s kind of because I didn’t focus specifically on any body part. 4 muscle groups and its kind of just an overall good workout. But my back hurts today from Wednesday night.  Wednesday night was all back work and today I feel it. Sore back for sure.  Just another reason that a rest day today sounds perfect!

Here is a picture of me from last night in my most adorable workout clothes. For some reason I really love pink pants.  They are the bomb!

I guess that is about all I really have to say today. I’m excited for the run on Sunday because I get another adorable shirt and medal.  And honestly because I know a 7.5 mile run is going to be a tough challenging thing and pretty much exactly what I need right now to start building my stamina back up for a half.  Did I mention I am signed up for a half marathon on March 15? Yeah, so like soon and I need to just keep running to get there.  I feel like as long as I stay consistent with my running and put in an hour run at least once week and at least another 30 minute run I should be fine. My body will know what to do with the rest of it.  No illusions though that first half of the year is going to be really tough. But I don’t back down from tough challenges.

Have a wonderfully fabulous healthy enjoyable weekend. That is definitely my plan!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Full on Beast Mode

Wow, for some unknown reason a sort of super-sized exercise demon overtook me last night and I was in full on beast mode. As if my Tuesday night leg workout wasn’t beastly enough, somehow last night I just got the bug. You can never predict when it is going to happen so it’s best just to go with it and enjoy it when you can.  I think part of it was the fact that I made a post run back workout list and despite being tired post run and normally without the list I probably would have said the run was good enough, I told myself nope you made the list so do it. This caused the beast mode girl to come out and holy cow I worked it. 

I ran my 6 miles in a little over 60 minutes. 60 minutes and some change, a couple extra minutes I don’t really know. That was exhausting enough but then my list was looming in my head and of course I was completely on my own last night at the gym which meant that I could just zone out with my earphones in and listen to my inspiring music while kicking ass.  I do think this contributed to the beast mode taking over.  This was my back workout.

AFTER running 6 miles, I decided that doing this workout was a smart idea. It was hard. It was a solid 30-40 minutes of work and I burned approximately 250-300 calories doing just this back workout.  Running was 600-650 calories.  Total last night I burned a little over 900 calories.  Insane. But that is what an hour run with 30 minutes of strength training will give you.  Had it not been for the list I am certain I would have quit earlier.  I don’t know if that is a good or bad thing honestly.  But I felt good, I felt like I was accomplishing something profound and I was happy. 

In case you were wondering those back exercises ended up being quite brutal.  I say that all the time but honestly I don’t know how to do things light or half ass. It’s just not who I am.  I am a strong tough chick and when I say let’s do a lat pull I am of course talking a heavy lat put. Or when I say heavy barbell row, of course I mean lets pick up like 90 pounds or something and row that shit. I know I am not a weak girl so I would not be satisfied unless I gave it my all. I did.

When all was said and done I was beyond proud of my effort last night and utterly exhausted.  Just the way I like it.  Believe me, not all my days are like this. Plenty of times I have zero desire to put forth any effort at all. Thus when I get into one of those zones its best to just appreciate it and roll with it.  Tonight is my group led workout.  My mom can’t come tonight so it will just be my sister and cousin. So a workout for 3.  My legs are fried from Tuesday and of course that whole 6 mile run last night so that means tonight is upper body.  I will put together a workout later today.  No back, since I did a decent job of that last night.  Thinking its tricep, chest, bicep and shoulders.  A combo of fun frying exercises oh boy.  I mean, I know you’re all jealous of the ridiculous-ness that is my workouts but don’t be. HA HA.  I’m not an actual trainer so technically these workouts are not based on any sound principals. Other than the almost 2 years I’ve spent at the gym taking classes and personal training and working out with a personal trainer on the off time. I mean, I just take the exercises that I like best, and that seemed to work the most effectively and mush them together.  I’m also kind of a slave driver when it comes to my family.  I make them work, but at least it’s fun.  If it was all mean and brutal they wouldn’t come back and as far as I can tell they all love it. 

My cousin pretty much looks forward to the Tuesday/Thursday workouts because it’s pretty much the only time she gets a good workout in of strength training that leaves her sore.  I understand because I have to say that aside from my rare beast like moments, I typically never work as hard as I do when someone else is leading a session. Meaning my maximum effort is always with a trainer or when me and Amanda work out together.  She is constantly telling me I can do more or go heavier and she’s ususally pretty much always right on. I kind of do the same thing for my little group; I constantly make them go heavier because their initial inclination is to wimp out so to speak.  Plus let’s be honest these Tuesday/Thursday workouts are a lot better because they are like 1.5 hours of almost personal training but better because they are done with family and people that we are all completely comfortable with. It makes it fun. Plus for me, twice a week, coming up with a workout and leading it is kind of fun.  I will gladly do that for these people that matter so much to me.

Anyhow, I had a great weigh-in this morning. It is Thursday after all the day I have decided that I am allowed to weigh myself.  I was quite nervous honestly because I didn’t really try that hard this week. In fact pretty much this weekend I ate too much.  I might have eaten 2/3 of a box of Girl Scout cookies.  So much for that whole clean eating thing. But also, I didn’t eat horribly either. Yes I stumbled during the weekend a bit but it wasn’t absolutely insane.  I did eat way too much on Sunday post run, but again whatever.  With all that said I was nervous because I haven’t been trying necessarily.  I certainly haven’t recorded any food or weighed crap.  I do much better during the week that is the truth.  Anyhow I was thrilled to see a loss. 

The scale gave me a number of 150.5 this morning which means I lost .9 pounds, almost a whole pound.  But more importantly that means in 2 weeks I’ve lost 4 pounds. That is impressive to me.  That is killer.  And yes, I am thrilled with a .9 today because holy hell I didn’t work that hard for it. Which means today is a clean slate. Day one of this new week. I don’t anticipate changing much. Other than I’d like to get thru a weekend without having a terrible food attack, but we will see.  The scale is definitely moving in the right direction and that is good enough for me.  I am going to be perfectly honest I was going to be happy with a maintain this week.  So long as the scale didn’t go up I truly was going to be satisfied so seeing any loss was a huge victory for me.

Realistically I know at my weight and body makeup that losing weight is hard. Yes, I could be less than 150 pounds for sure, but there is a lot of muscle mixed in that 150 pounds so taking off weight is not an easy task for me at this point in my life.  I am still comfortably wearing size 6 old navy jeans so I’m not complaining by a long shot.  I just know running is easier and more effortless when I am closer to 140 pounds. This is a true statement. I’m working towards that goal but I’m not going to stress myself out about it or push myself into unhealthy behaviors to obtain it.  I fully believe if I just keep doing what I’m doing somehow; someday I will get there on my own.

Just because I can and it’s been a while, here is a picture I took yesterday of myself before going to the gym.  I adore my workout clothes. Victoria Secret workout clothes are the best. Hands down. Those freaking knockout crop pants are simply the best thing I’ve ever worn to run in. They stay put in a way that I have never found with any other workout pant. I don’t even think about it, I run and they stay put. No pulling at them, no yanking, its perfection.  Anyhow, this is me yesterday.

I don’t look to bad for a 150 pound girl. Of course I am still plagued by a ton of emotional insecurities but I’ve kind of learned over time that it really doesn’t matter what I weigh or what I look like I will have insecurities. That is pretty much part of life.  No one is perfect and even the most seemingly perfect looking girl will dislike some part of the image they see in the mirror. Sad reality. Thinness does not equate happiness. Never has, never will.  Happiness is much deeper and comes entirely from within.  But being healthier does make me happier.  Mainly because it makes me more confident in myself which allows me the ability to let go a little bit and venture out of my comfort zone to do the activities that bring joy and fulfillment into my life.  It’s not the fact that I’m thinner that makes me happy, but instead what being healthy does for my life, my mood, my well-being.

But what the hell do I really know?  I’m just a normal regular old girl sitting over here in the corner trying to live her life, struggling with food and her weight and happiness and keeping it all together.  There is nothing that extraordinary about me other than the fact that I don’t seem to give up.  Over 10 years at this and here I still am.  At least that’s something.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Moment of Reflection

It’s earlier in the morning and I do have to say I feel refreshed and happy. I had a great workout last night which always helps with the mood. My legs feel a little sore right now which means that in 24 hours and ultimately in 48 hours I am guessing I might hurt a bit. In a good I am sore kind of way of course.  I have taken to doing my leg day earlier in the week so that I can recuperate by the weekends to run without sore. I don’t personally relish the thought of trying to run any long distances with legs that ache from soreness. The few times I have had this pleasure it wasn’t much fun.

This was leg day last night:

Most of these exercises are deceiving because they were a lot of single leg exercises meaning the rep volume was high.  In fact there in the second group of exercises was a particularly brutal exercise that didn’t require a single thing but your own body. This is kind of cool because it means it’s an exercise you can do anywhere, anytime. I mean if you’re crazy and don’t mind sweating and getting all yucky just standing there.  10 sets on each leg.  One leg is stationary the other leg does a front lunge, and then you bring it back to a side squat and then drag that same leg into a back lunge. So really this is 3 exercises in one. 10 times. And then you move to the other leg.  I knew this was going to be brutal and it was.  In fact so many of these exercises were each leg that the rep count was pretty high last night. And by the end of the night my legs were not so much sore as just exhausted and achy from overuse.  But of course not in a painful kind of way.

Basically, it was a solid night. I did my quick 15 minute 1.5 mile warmup run. Just to get my heart rate elevated and my body temperature going. And then we tackled this workout.  Overall it took a solid hour and a half to hour and forty five minutes.  That’s about the time frame I like to put in at the gym on a good night.  I get off work at 5, get to the gym somewhere between 5:15 and 5:30 typically and depending on the evening, what I’m doing and my exhaustion level, leave mostly around 7 on occasion its 6:45 and sometimes its 7:15 but lots of factors there. This is a good amount of time.

Actually just last night I was saying to my mom that honestly what we do is a luxury. Most people do not have 1.5 hours a day to dedicate to working out. I take for granted my true independence and ability to have so much freedom of choice.  The older I get, the more resound, comfortable and happy I am in the choice I’ve made to not be a parent.  I know it sounds so incredibly selfish and at times I question the decision. I love kids. Don’t get me wrong. I love the kids that matter to me.  And in a heartbeat would take on that responsibility if I needed to. I am certainly capable and willing. It’s just as I have been given a choice, I choose to not. And I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. I like my life. I feel plenty fulfilled and I’m okay not having kids. It is simply the right choice for me. End of story. Occasionally I see a cute baby or toddler and I think I want one and then in the next breath I see an ill-behaved kid or even a normal kid and see how much work they are and say nah, never mind.

My youngest sister is going to have kids in the next couple years so I am going to get another round of baby fix and get to be an auntie all over again and this is quite honestly good enough for me.  I will get to love on another child that will mean everything to me but not have to bear the ultimate responsibility for their existence. I’m too much of a nut job for that.  I am, honestly.

Tonight my plan is to get in a longer run. And for right now that means a 60 minute, 6 mile run. This is not really a hugely “long” run, but for an evening it’s decent.   A 60 minute solid run and then maybe 30 minutes of back work. That’s tentatively my plan. I do much better at the gym when I have a set list of exercises. When I don’t go in with a little piece of paper I tend to just wander around randomly doing stupid stuff without a rhyme or reason.  So for this reason I may just go ahead and work up a little 30 minute or so back workout.  It forces me to do the reps and get the work done.  Plus back is seriously my favorite muscle group to work.  No joke I freaking love back exercises. I love a strong sexy back. Jumping pull ups might be one of my favorite exercises of all time.  They are terribly efficient and hard and fun all at the same time.  Someday I’d love to be able to do an actual pull up but that might be asking too much honestly. Not sure my arms were meant to handle the strain of pulling up 150 pounds of weight. I’m not that strong. I can do it all day long with a little jump attached to it. Guess I should just be happy that I can do a jumping pull up so successfully.

I have been pretty off these past couple months so it seems like such a luxury to feel this balanced and normal finally. It seems like a treat to feel happy and excited about life and to anticipate cool things forthcoming. In a nutshell, without running events my purpose seemed less defined. Clearly I am girl who just thrives on goals and purpose. As soon as I flipped the switch to running marathon things cleared up and the fog dissipated. I had a purpose to even be excited to run halves again because they are training and prep for running a full marathon.  I guess I needed that decision.

Life isn’t about how you look in a mirror or how much a scale says your mass is. It’s about the friend’s family and moments that take your breath away and make it all worthwhile. It’s about experiences and things that blow your mind. It’s about love. Passion. And sometimes it’s about stepping out of your comfort zone and impressing the hell out of yourself.  All of this is possible despite a bad hair day, despite a number on a scale, despite the density of the mass of your muscles, despite a pimple or breakout, despite the clothes on your back. 

Sometimes I forget how far I’ve come. It’s easy to forget honestly, after time, how things once were. I know abstractly that walking wasn’t even fun when I weighed more, but realistically it’s been such a long time I don’t remember what its truly like to be limited by my body. I know there was pain, I know I couldn’t run. I know I didn’t have the flexibility. I know that all these amazing things I am capable of today I take for granted because there is a version of me that can’t do them. I know this is true, and yet most days I forget about her. I forget about that sad girl who didn’t even want to leave the house and let all of life pass her by.  It’s good to stop and think about her for a moment. She continues to inspire and teach me a great deal of things, when I let her.

If I had never been that girl, I am certain I could not be the girl I am today. I certainly would not appreciate the things that I do.  I honestly believe that there is no way to appreciate on the same level the body’s ability to perform unless you’ve been at a place in your life when your body failed you.  Quite honestly I would most likely not be aspiring to run a marathon if I hadn’t been that girl at one point in my life. Everything just means so much more to me because I’ve been “her”. 

So today I am taking a moment to reflect on where I am at, and what my body is capable of today, this exact moment.  Hell, just having the opportunity to wake up each day and get a chance to walk out of the door and live is amazing. Don’t waste it.