Thursday, June 30, 2011

Do Life 5K - from the desk of my roommate

My post today comes from the person who lives the behind-the-scenes of this blog daily - my roommate, KG. She was the driving force to me completing my first half-marathon as we signed up from our hotel in in New Orleans on New Year's Eve in 2008. And then she loyally completed all the training walks with me in addition to her own training schedule. Having completed 5 half-marathons of her own, she is definitely an inspiration for me to get out and run. She has kindly submitted to my constant request to do a guest post! And what a better subject than the Do Life Tour? Thanks KG and don't think I won't make you do it again!

Do Life: Nashville group. Via Do Life Facebook page

My roomie Emily has invited me to do a guest post on her blog even though I told her it’s a slippery slope towards me wanting to take over and post every time I do anything remotely post worthy. But as she was unable to make it to the “Do Life 5K” on Monday-I told her I would do a recap!

For those of you who are not familiar with Ben Davis and his “Do Life” movement, check out the video that started it all here. I dare you not to get a little teary by the end. Ben’s message is that if you want to run a 5K or an Ironman, or whatever your goal maybe that now is the time to start “doing life”- no matter what level you are at.

I am always a little nervous going into a situation where I don’t know anyone but our good friend Miss Lynn was nice enough to accompany me and I was glad I went. If anyone is nervous about heading out to these events- don’t be. Ben was super nice and came up and introduced himself right away.

We ended up with a group of about 30, including runners and walkers of all levels. There was even a six kid stroller- as in a stroller that holds half a dozen! I have been passed by a lot of strollers in my day in races so I was hoping to not see this thing go whizzing by me!

The Nashville location was at Edwin Warner Park and they had marked the few turns well with sidewalk chalk. It was pretty flat (in Nashville that’s hard to find and a very pleasant surprise!) and good scenery. I found out that a lot of people had come from surrounding areas, up to a couple hours away for the run so Ben has some faithful followers!

Eight people were doing their first 5K. I was telling Lynn during the run that I wished my first 5K would have been like this. We were told to “walk as slow as we want or run as fast as we want” so we ran as slow as we do. As a self-proclaimed member of the “Slow Runners Club” I am always glad to find people my pace and I fit right in here. The stroller that holds half a dozen even stayed behind me so it was a great success!

KG and Miss Lynn doing their thing. Via Do Life Facebook page.

It wasn’t even really quite a 5K in distance but the purpose of the event is much more about just getting out there and doing something positive for you than it is your finish time. It did make me reflect on when I was first getting into running and how it seemed like I would never be able to run that distance.

I think Ben’s message is a great one. There’s never going to be a better time to start than today. I love talking to people who are first getting into running because there are so many little victories in the beginning especially. Even when you have been running for a long time, there are still many days when my head tells me I can’t do it.

I can’t imagine now if I had never started though. I take it for granted most of the time and of course it always seems like I should be doing more to improve but really running has become such a positive thing in my life. I will leave those stories for the next time I hijack Emily’s blog though!

If the “Do Life Tour” is headed your way, I encourage you to go check it out. Here’s all the dates. And to Emily’s St. Louis peeps, they are headed your way July 5th…better go Do Life!


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

It's just one cupcake...

I wrote this awhile ago and never posted seems like a good time now, why? I don't know, for some reason it just feels right and it's something I keep coming back to...

When starting a weight loss journey at 500, 400 or even 300 lbs the weight is quick to fall off. If you've reached 300 lbs or above there is a reason for it. You've most likely succumbed to a lifestyle of processed, fatty foods and eating excessively beyond what your body needs for fuel in addition to a sedentary lifestyle.

When you cut out sugary cokes, your 5x weekly fast food meals, and begin measuring your food into reasonable portions, your body reacts extremely positively. After easily losing the first 50 lbs, you're motivated. After 100, you may still be going strong, but at some point you may become comfortable and lax. You stop measuring food and cease to be acutely conscious of what and how much you are putting in your body. You tell yourself "Oh, it won't bother me if I have a 2nd plateful of food just this one time," because it didn't when you were 300 lbs. And you forget you've said that to yourself twice already this week. You have moments of lapses when you bring home the Little Debbie's from the grocery store and eat all of them in 2 days. I know, I've been there. Both situations have happened so many times.

At a certain point, you have to start working harder to lose the pounds. Having your weekly (or 2x a week) cupcake isn't going to work for you anymore. Indulging in hamburgers and french fries on a regular basis just doesn't work. You have less to lose and in result have less wiggle room to fix your lapses in judgment. You can't starve yourself 5 days a week to overeat the other two days. If you are spending 2 days eating unconsciously, you are eating unconsciously 28% of the time. 3 days and you're there 43% of the time.

It's hard to go from 3,500 calories a day to 2,000. It's so much harder to go from 2,000 to 1,600 or 1,200 and be committed enough to sustain that level through to the end of losing 100 or 200+ pounds.

So much of this journey is a mental game. You have to be constantly motivated, eyes wide-open and re-evaluating your actions at every turn. Sometimes you have to do things that are hard, or uncomfortable or that you don't want to do. It sucks to have to think about every piece of fuel you put in your body as calories or putting it into a calorie tracker, it takes the joy our of savoring a meal, but you know what else sucks? Being 300+ lbs. I know, I was there.

If what worked for you before isn't working for you now, don't you think it's time to re-evaluate how you're doing things and perhaps recommit to the journey that you've started?

Just something to ponder the next time you say, "oh, but it's just one cupcake."

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Weigh in - Post-Colorado edition

Last week's weight - 262.0

This week's weight - 260.4

1.6 pounds LOST

69 pounds lost since June 2010

It may seem like a measly 1.6 pound loss, but I am really happy with this weigh in. Mainly because I know I was active every day at the conference in Colorado. I ran, biked and walked. Admittedly, I did not track what I was eating and I ate dessert twice a day. However, I felt in control of what I was eating. My portions were in check, I stopped eating when I felt full, leaving food on my plate, and I drank plenty of water.

It sounds silly to say since it *was* a work trip, but I feel really refreshed coming back from Colorado. I feel more in control of my food choices and I actually WANT to get out and be active (except the fact it is 96% humidity in Nashville right now).

I know I won't hit my July 1 goal, but I am so close to the 250s that is motivating me to keep moving.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Riding a bike after 15 years

Yesterday I did something I never would have done 67 lbs ago. I rode a bike! I have wanted to ride a bike since hitting my first milestone on the scale (under 300 lbs) back in November and I just haven't gotten around to it despite Nashville's free bike share program.

Yesterday though I got on a bike for the first time in about 15 years. We rode 8 miles on a mountainside trail. You know what a mountainside trail means?


I mean really, this looks like a background someone created for a Hollwood movie set.

The weather was perfect with clear, blue, sunny skies and just the right mix of physical challenges and reassurances that I am in shape or at least getting there. On the way out we were apparently going downhill with a few rolling hills in the mix. We made it to Lake Dillon before having to turn around (we are here to work afterall). I felt great on the way out. Coasting on the flat surfaces, riding the hardest-to-pedal gear.

Stopping to pose by Lake Dillon.

After reaching the lake we headed back. Unbeknownst to us, it was all uphill on the way back. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't huffing and puffing. It felt like a much slower return, but as it turned out we arrived back at the bike shop in the same amount of time ending up riding for an hour and a half.

I felt so accomplished before 9 in the morning. Accomplished in a way that walking a marathon or learning to run hasn't afforded me. It was a whole new sort of accomplishment. There were, however, challenges. Like the moment I practically stopped on a rather large hill due to a gear shift issue and had to get off my bike and walk it to the top. Or towards the end of the bike feeling like I wouldn't be able to do anything else for the rest of the day.

Of course, after a 20 minute rest in my hotel room and a shower I had great energy for the rest of the day. I attended the rest of the conference, sipped some fine local microbrews and soaked in my last Colorado evening at the resort stables for the "Barn Dance."

My only regret is that I have to leave Colorado today. I can't wait to start planning my next trip back. Hopefully, it will be to complete one of my 101 in 1001 items - to go snow skiing.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Running in Beautiful Colorado

View from the hotel - Keystone, CO

Life has been busy since touching down in Denver on Tuesday. After renting a car and making the 2 hour drive up the mountain we arrived in Keystone, CO just in time for me to drop my bags and jet off to to my new member orientation.

To tell you it is beautiful here is a gross understatement and I can only imagine that experiencing its beauty is the only way one could ever know what I am talking about.

We are staying at approximately 9,000 feet. The sky is bluer than I have ever seen anywhere in the world. This is due to the lack of moisture in the air (hello, chapped lips). Of course the beauty does come with the stuffy nose, headache and shortness of breath of altitude sickness. But honestly I haven't minded any of those minor inconveniences. So what if I am out of breath after walking a mile? It's worth it to experience the most beautiful place I've ever laid eyes on.

I honestly slept horribly my first night in Keystone. I fell asleep ok but I seemed to wake up every hour - 11, 12, 3, 3, 5...I had my alarm set for 6:15 Wednesday morning to hit the fitness center and get my run out of the way. Unfortunately, the fitness center was full and no cardio machines were open. I hit the trail instead even though I only had a t-shirt and capris on. Oh, and it was 34 degrees out.

Although I froze, the 30 minutes or so I had with just myself and the outdoors allowed me to experience some of the great scenery. I'm not a big picture taker while exercising as I think it distracts from focusing on my workout, but I couldn't resist snapping a few phone shots.

A little blury, but this is the Snake River, which runs through the area.
Picturesque, isn't it? It reminds me of a postcard.
Note the snow capped mountains in the far background.

Another shot of the river, which I actually saw someone fly fishing in this morning.

Since time was short, I strayed from the actual #5Kin100days schedule and just did a warm up and then eight 1:30 minute intervals. I thought I would of had more trouble with my endurance given the altitude, but I didn't have difficulty breathing until the end of my run.

I am so glad I got out and got a work out in. 67 lbs ago I would have never taken time out from a trip to do this. A major NSV. Tomorrow I am planning on getting up and renting a bike to ride along the mountainside trails before conference activities really get started.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Basil overload

The CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) season is in full swing. With that, we have basil coming out of our ears in the KG/EH Casa.

Here are the results of my "must use as much basil as possible" brainstorming:

Sun dried tomato, basil and mozzarella stuffed chicken breasts
w/cucumber salad and whole wheat couscous

I made this recipe up so the measurements are all estimates.

2 large chicken breasts cut in half
8 large sun dried tomato pieces
8 large basil leaves
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 egg
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

Cut chicken breasts in half and pound to thin out for easier rolling if needed. Layer basil, sun dried tomatoes and 2 tablespoons of mozzarella on top of each chicken breast. Roll into logs and fasten toothpicks to hold together. Whisk egg in one bowl and spread panko in another. Dip each chicken breast in egg wash and roll in panko. Put on tin foil lined, greased cookie sheet. Spray tops of chicken breasts with Pam. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and are golden brown.

Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil Caprese Salad

1 large tomato
1 ounce fresh mozzarella cheese
8 basil leaves
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste

Chop basil, set aside. Slice tomato and mozzarella. Layer tomato, basil and mozzarella. Salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar.

I also have plans for my favorite basil pesto sauce and a basil vinaigrette, but those will have to wait until I return from Colorado.

Until then, tell me what is your favorite basil recipe?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Weigh in - a technical loss

Last week's weight - 262.2

This week's weight - 262.0

0.2 pounds LOST

67.4 pounds lost since June 2010

I technically lost, but really I'd call it a no loss/no gain week. I've been off my game the last several weeks and I'm just grateful I didn't gain. I haven't been diligent in tracking and while I haven't been horrible at my food choices they haven't all been made with the best decision making in mind. (Chinese food anyone?) I certainly need to get my mojo back.

Exercise has been good. I completed all of my #5Kin100days runs and did my regularly scheduled yoga class. I could have done one more cross training day, but for the week after not exercising for 12 days, I'd say 4 days of exercise is a good jump start back to normalcy.

I'm headed to Colorado for work this week. Since my control over meals will be limited, my main goal is to make the best choices out of what is presented and to get a bit of activity in (aiming for 2 workouts while I'm there).

Happy Father's day to all the dads out there - especially mine!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Weigh in - maintaining during a crisis

5/29/11 weight - 263.0

This week's weight - 262.2

0.8 pounds LOST

67.2 pounds lost since June 2010

I haven't weighed in officially in a couple weeks because on June 3rd my mom had brain surgery to fix a ruptured brain aneurysm. I spent several days watching my mom in intensive care wondering if she was going to survive this, much less ever be herself again.

She goes home tomorrow. And she is so lucky to be back to her normal self with only an excruciating amount of pain left as a reminder. So, so, so lucky.

The last 10 days has been filled with food choices based on what my sister had on hand in the house (lots of processed food), fast food and hospital meals. Not to mention the bag of chips, muffins, candy and cookies kept in my mom's hospital room for visitors. I had some meals made of good choices and some not so good. I am bloated and feel like crap.

How I lost a fraction of a pound over the last 2 weeks, I have no idea. I'll take it as a gift that has been given to me and all I can do is go back to my normal way of eating and regular exercise routine.

I've missed so much these last 10 days - one of them being my blogaversary on June 6th. Hopefully I'll find the time to devote a whole post to this milestone, but I thought it was worth mentioning in passing anyway.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Diary of an overweight runner - Chapter 1

I completed my first official #5Kin100days run last night, which is a program designed by Brad Gansberg (of #7daychip fame) to teach non-runners how to run. I'm really excited about this program because I feel like it will offer me the support I've been looking for in wanting to learn to run.

Running does not come naturally to me. I know my friends have heard this story a thousand times, but every time I think about running, I think back to the time in grade school when we were running the mile in gym class. Now, I'm pretty sure we were graded on our time. None of this "everyone's a winner" they probably teach now. We didn't really have a track, just a long narrow concrete path, which they would divide into lanes and it took something like 10 times down and back to equal a mile. To keep count, we were given popsicle sticks and each "lap" we dropped a stick in a bucket. Now, I was easily the heaviest kid in my class and being lapped by even the slowest of runners wasn't my idea of fun. So I gave myself a little edge, a handicap per se, and would occasionally drop 2 sticks in after only one lap.

Cheating is bad, I know, right?

But my point is I've always hated running. My first attempt at learning to run was a huge, big #fail and ended in my doctor telling me not to run until I lost more weight (I was around 318 at the time) and bed rest for 2 days. To say I've been scared to run again is an understatement.

While I was waiting for #5Kin100days to start, I randomly began running 1 minute at a time several weeks ago during my walks on the treadmill. Since then, I started Couch to 5K and just finished Week 3.

Since I was already running up to 3 minutes at a time, I asked Brad his suggestion of how to modify the program to my skill level. We agreed I could do 3 minute intervals until the program caught up to me.

(Example #1 of how Brad has the ability to help, encourage and modify his program to fit every. single. person. and skill level.)

Going in, I thought, "no way can I run FIVE 3 minute intervals." But I can, and I did! Here are the stats on my run:

  • 5 minute warm-up at 3.0 (20 min/mi pace)
  • 10 minute fast walk at 3.6 (16:40 min/mi pace)
  • (5) 3 minute jogging interval at 4.3 (13:57 min/mi pace)
  • (4) 3 minute walking intervals at 3.3-3.4 (18:11-17:39 min/mi pace)
  • 5 minute cool down at 3.o, gradually slowing down
  • Stretch
  • Total Distance: 2.81 miles
**Note, I should have stretched after the warm-up, but I did not follow instructions. I intend to do this next time.**

Today, I feel pretty good. No pain and I'm ready for my next running session tomorrow! Maybe I do have a chance to be a runner afterall? I'll continue to do these 3 minute intervals until the program schedule catches up to me. Friday, I will attempt 7 intervals.

Oh, did you know today is National Running Day? Since today is my rest day, I'll be celebrating with yoga. How will you be celebrating National Running Day?