Thursday, July 1, 2010

Looking Up

I wrote number 14 on my last post and meant every word of it - I had a terrible workout on Sunday, could barely run at all, and I felt complete and total frustration that I've been getting nowhere with this whole running/dieting/getting healthier thing. It wasn't just a one-time feeling, either - in general, I don't feel like I'm coming along as well as I'd like to be with my workout goals (or goal, rather, as I have only one - run one quarter of the Baltimore marathon in October as part of a relay team (which includes my boss!!) without making a total ass of myself).

Since then, though, I've had two really great workouts. Tuesday, according to my pedometer, I ran about 3.5 miles, and today, 3.6. I finally seem to be breaking past the 3 mile mark. Not only that, but I had energy for all but the very end of the runs, and managed to stay fairly strong up all the hills. This week, finally, something seems to be clicking. I give at least partial credit to the light weightlifting I've started to incorporate a couple times a week. I do it during the work day, when showering isn't really an option, so I don't really push myself hard enough to work up a sweat. But the leg presses and squats seem to be giving my legs more juice during my runs, and all the arm reps are hopefully (eventually) doing some good from an upper arm vanity standpoint :-).

I'm still not fast (I'm aiming for 12 minute miles when I run the relay - about a 6 mile distance or so - in October). My face often matches the fuschia color of one of my workout shirts. And I'm pretty sure I still frighten young children with my loud breathing. But I'm getting better at this running thing - for the first time since I started doing this back in January, I finally feel like I'm getting better.

And... in two weeks I'm going on vacation. Which I'm sure will interfere with this momentum I'm building. Not only will it be tough to set aside time to work out, but I find that alcohol really affects my workouts. If I have a couple of glasses of wine at night, the next day I struggle (even if it's been almost 24 hours, which it usually has, as I work out at night after the kids are in bed). And while my family may be unpredictable in many ways, I can always count on there being more bottles of wine than people at any given gathering. Not to mention the beer and the scotch and the Bloody Mary's and did I mention the beer? So, yeah, between the food and exhaustion chasing the kids and the drink and the desire to relax, it's going to be tough to keep this up. My strategy is to aim for 2 runs (I don't want to place unreal expectations on myself) - one early on in the vacation, like the first morning, and one more toward the end. Wish me luck!

Dieting is another story. Talk about treading water and getting nowhere. I was convinced, back in January, that I'd EASILY be down at least 20 pounds by the time this vacation rolled around. Instead, I've managed to lose 5-8 pounds, depending on the day (what is UP with that?). EVEN THOUGH I've been killing myself with these workouts. And quite often, tracking every little calorie that enters my mouth, trying my best to stick to around 1500 calories a day. But there are only so many days in a row I can keep that up, and then I cheat, and POOF! Just like that, the weight comes back in a mere nanosecond.

Rather than dwell on that (and I really try not to, as I don't want to pass on a weight/appearance fixation to my kids), I'm going to focus instead on inspiration for my work out regimen, for getting healthier. I am absolutely loving the new iPod Touch I got for Mother's Day - it makes my runs and my time at the gym much more enjoyable. But I'm starting to get a bit tired of my running playlist - time to go shopping on iTunes and shake things up a bit. What are your favorite songs to work out to, the ones that give you a little boost when you're contemplating quitting?


  1. A, I feel your frustrations with running. You have plenty of time til October to prepare for the 1/4 marathon. It sounds like you've broken through your 3-mile "wall" though, which is great! I think you will only continue to do better and better the more you keep at it. You'll have crappy days here and there, it happens to everyone, in every sport.

    I have a boatload of songs since I make my own mixes for spinning. I find that dance/pop can be very energizing, if deeply embarrassing to admit to listening to. Think Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" or Britney Spears' "Womanizer." An underutilized resource on iTunes is the iMix feature. I find a lot of good stuff based on what other people put into mixes for spinning, running, etc.

  2. Uh, that last comment was me. Not sure why it posted the wrong name.

  3. Sexy Back by Justin Timberlake! Perfect pace. I can send you a mix if you want. Have fun on your trip. Love, Jen

  4. I feel the same way about treading water when it comes to losing weight lately. The influx of house guests has not helped the situation any.

    Somebody to Love by Justin Bieber is at the top of my list, the beat is perfect for running. Also lots and lots of Black Eyed Peas.

  5. I've been bad about exercising lately but I'm down 20 pounds (exactly!) so far. Maybe you'll motivate me to at least take walks while on vacation...