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All posts for the month April, 2011

Feeling Like A Slacker

Published April 28, 2011 by Jasmine

So according to my training plan, I am supposed to run six miles today.  However, I have decided to do nothing but rest today even though tomorrow is my designated rest day.  Yes, Mondays and Fridays are my designated rest days.  This was the plan even before I had decided to train for a marathon.  A lot of people would probably choose to take the weekends off and workout during the week.  The reason I didn’t choose to do that was because it was much easier to get in the habit of being lazy (aka not making it back to the gym) when I had two days off in a row.  I really like having Mondays and Fridays off. It just so happened that when I found my training plan for the marathon it called for rest days on Mondays and Fridays.  My current training plan is a mileage build-up plan, and the marathon training plan will begin around June 5.  Although my current training plan calls for running five days a week, I usually have only been running about four.  I usually take a third rest day on Wednesday as my body is tired and sore.

Back to today, today is not Monday, Wednesday, or Friday yet I am resting.  I kind of feel like a slacker.  I did work out yesterday, but not as much as I should have. I should have run six miles, but only ran a little over two miles.  I did have an hour strength workout with my trainer, and did 20 minutes on the stair climber.  Even though I burned about 850 calories, it just doesn’t seem like I did enough.  I had every intention of running today until I woke up and realized how sore my body was, particularly my arms, chest, back, and abs.  You see I got a whole new strength workout yesterday, so I am a bit sore.  I love the new workout and am super excited to get to do it again.  JUST NOT TODAY!

I learned something important about myself yesterday. It is something that I think I have always known, but maybe never verbalized.  I will tell you what I learned in a moment, but first I will tell you how I came to realize what I had learned.  I am always just a tad bit apprehensive about meeting with Sherry, my personal trainer.  I am worried about what new moves she is going to expect me to be able to do, that I am not going to be able to do them, and how big of a fool I am going to make of myself in front of everyone else who is at the gym (especially the cute guys)! Lucky for me there were really only two things she asked me to do that I really didn’t think I was going to be able to do.  Since I am not really sure how to describe the first one, I will tell you about the second one which is the one I was most worried about.

Anyone know what the “PLANK” is?  For those of you who are not sure, here is a short video  to get you up to speed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHQmRINu4jU. Seems easy enough, right? Well I’ll be the first to tell you that looks can be deceiving.  The goal is to be able to hold this position for at least 60 seconds.  If I am lucky I might be able to keep it for 30 seconds.  Now I didn’t get this “easy” version, no I had to do an advanced version.  All I could think was there is no way this is going to happen, I hope nobody is watching.  My plank was with the medicine ball (minus the leg lifts): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEIl1JmMfr8. Luckily she only asked that I do this for 30 seconds, and I DID IT!

I underestimated myself, and I realized that I have been doing that my entire life.  I still don’t know why I do that, but I know that I do.  You can’t do better, until you know better.  I know better now.  I am stronger and smarter than I have ever given myself credit for.  Of all the judgments we make through life, none are more important that the estimate we place on ourselves.  It is time for me to harness that strength and intelligence to become the person I was always meant to be. It’s not who you think you are…or even who you think you are not that really determines success…it is who you think you are becoming.

So yes, today I will rest and reflect on the person I am becoming.

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Time For An Experiment

Published April 26, 2011 by Jasmine

What a nasty day today is, and it got even worse when I stepped on the scale.  I gained three pounds.  Now considering all of the ham and other salty foods I have been eating over the last three days, I am hoping this is just water weight. I burned more than the 4,000 calories I was supposed to burn this week, and I ate the number of calories I was supposed to eat. There is a chance that the weight gain could be from all the sugar I allowed myself to eat.  So since I gained three pounds, and have already eaten sugar this week I am going to do an experiment.  I am going to make sure I burn at least the 4,000 calories I need to burn, and eat the 1700-1800 calories per day I am supposed to eat.  One caveat…I am going to allow myself to eat whatever I want as long as I stay within my 1700-1800 calories.

When I started this 90 day weight loss challenge, I made two drastic changes. 1) I drastically lowered the number of calories I was eating per day (I was eating anywhere from 2500-3500 calories a day.  This is what happens when you don’t track what you eat. I dare you to keep track of the calories in everything you eat for a week…you will be amazed at what you are consuming.  If you want a double dare, keep track of the grams of sugar you eat as well.); and 2) I cut out refined sugar, white flour, and packaged foods. (I went from eating 150-250 grams of sugar a day, to averaging between 40-45 grams a day.)  The good news is that by doing these two things and working out, I was consistently losing weight.  I lost the most that first week to two weeks, most likely because it was a shock to my body.  My eating/workout plan was designed so that I would lose two pounds a week.  In four weeks, I lost 13 pounds.  So even with the three pounds that I have gained, I am still on track with my weight loss as this is just the beginning of week five.

What my experiment is designed to find out is would I continue to lose weight if I simply stayed within my alloted calories for the day, irregardless of what I eat.  I have received conflicting opinions from different trainers based on their individual philosophies. I know sugar isn’t good for you, but I like sugar. It makes me feel good, and it makes me happy. Feeling like I am finally getting into the best shape of my life and being able to run, also make me feel good and make me happy.  There has to be a middle ground, because all or nothing isn’t going to work for me long-term.  I knew when I started this 90 day weight loss challenge that I wasn’t giving up sugar forever.  I don’t want to give up sugar forever.  There is a social aspect to sugar…giving up sugar would mean that I couldn’t ever go out for a drink with friends, I can’t enjoy Christmas cookies at Christmas, and I can’t ever have a piece of birthday cake.  I am not willing to make those sacrifices forever, but I am willing to work my butt off at the gym.

My transformation is so much more than this 90 day weight loss challenge, it is about my life.  I would love to be one of my friends or family who can just eat whatever they want, never having to measure or weigh their food.  This is where the middle ground comes in…I am willing to do that if I can just eat what I want.  Life is too short.  I want to be HAPPY and HEALTHY, not HEALTHY, OBSESSIVE, and SAD.

So if by next Tuesday I have not lost any weight, then I will go back to no sugar for the rest of the 90 day weight loss challenge because I know that works.  Although I know I will not lose all the weight that I need to in these 90 days, my goal is to see a number on the scale that starts with a “1” and not a “2”.  It’s been a long time.

Oh yeah, I did run today!  Today was a decent five miles, not hard but not easy.  My glutes and my calves were sore from my run on Sunday.  I am excited for tomorrow because I get a new strength training routine!

9 Miles…This One’s For You Harv!

Published April 24, 2011 by Jasmine

I DID IT! I just finished nine miles…outside.  The farthest I had run prior to this was eight miles, but it was on the treadmill. The farthest I had run outside prior to today was only five miles. Now granted I didn’t run the entire way, I did my fair share of walking, but I did nine miles!!

My face feels grimy, I had a few gnats stuck to my forehead, and I have tan lines.  That is what you get after nine miles.  I have a sneaking suspicion that tomorrow I am going to have an aching body as well. I don’t know how any one can survive an ice bath. I tried taking one when I got home and within a minute I felt as though I was losing feeling in my feet.  Now I am sure some of you are thinking what is an ice bath and why would you take one.  Well an ice bath is a bathtub full of cold water and ice.  An ice bath is supposed to reduce inflammation.  I sure didn’t last very long, but hope it works.

Yesterday, I was really dreading having to run nine miles today.  I was actually offered the opportunity to go to the Twins game today, which I declined more than once because I needed to run these nine miles.  (Remember, you can’t get good if you only do something on the days you feel like it.) I had a major change in perspective last night.  I didn’t HAVE TO run these nine miles, I GOT TO run these nine miles.  There are many people out there who would like nothing more than to be able go out on a beautiful day like today and run nine miles, but they can’t due to things outside of their control, like injury and illness.  This is especially true for my friend and colleague W. Harvey Skees.  He is one of the most athletic people I know, has completed and Ironman, and right now can barely walk to the end of his driveway due to an injury.  He has surgery scheduled in early May, and all of his friends and family are praying for a fast recovery. So Harv, these nine miles were for you.  Keep your spirit strong, and remember sometimes we have to go slow (or not move at all) to go fast.  My time didn’t do you justice, but you got me through nine miles.  Thank you!

Easy Day…4 Miles plus Jelly Beans!

Published April 23, 2011 by Jasmine

Wow, can’t believe I just said four miles is an easy day!  I guess when I put it in perspective with the rest of the week, it is easy.  Tomorrow will be my furthest run yet…nine miles.  I am a little stressed out about it, but am going to relax the rest of the day and not think about it.

I achieved my fastest pace today!  I was aiming for a 12 minute mile average for the four miles.  I surpassed my own goal, by 20 seconds per mile!!  My average pace was 11:40 per mile, and I finished in 46:39.  Will I be able to keep this pace for nine miles tomorrow?  NO, but that is okay.  I am not worried about speed for the marathon, as my only goal is to finish.  However, on my easier four-five mile runs I am going to work on speed as this will make my marathon pace seem easier.

Some are going to be disappointed in me, some are going to feel I am making a big mistake, and some might be angry with me, but I am having some Easter candy today.  I have gone 27 days without candy, baked goods, packaged foods, rice, and white bread/flour.  When I started this I told myself that I was going to eat Easter candy.  Even though Easter is tomorrow, I am going to eat it today.  Since I am running nine miles tomorrow, my body will be converting  this into energy to fuel my run. I have to say that I am pretty excited to have some candy as it is one of my favorite things, but I am also a little nervous.  I am nervous that my “addiction” is going to start all over again, that I might not have enough self-discipline to not eat candy tomorrow and the next day, that instead of continuing to lose weight I will gain, and that others may think I am a failure.  Well I am not a failure, and it is just one day.

Third Outdoor Run…Farther But Not Faster

Published April 21, 2011 by Jasmine

So I still think I hate running outside.  Maybe one day it will be a love-hate relationship rather than a hate-hate relationship.  I’m working on it!

I was supposed to run six miles yesterday, but my body just wasn’t up to it.  Considering that I haven’t been feeling good this week, I decided to just rest.  I’m slowly learning that resting is okay, as long as it doesn’t become a habit. Muscles need rest to repair and recover.

Today is a new day and there is no more time for rest.  Today I needed to run five miles.  Was I going to go to the gym, or face the hatred and run outside.  Since it was a reasonably nice day and five miles wasn’t too far, I decided to run outside. Plus, if I ran outside I got to skip the strength training since I wouldn’t be at the gym.  I have been reading as many past issues of Runner’s World that I can get my hands on.  I absolutely love this magazine.  One of the things I have learned is that while training for a marathon you shouldn’t strength train more than twice a week.  I was happy to learn this!  I don’t mind strength training but it is physically demanding, and I am exhausted after I am done running.  I tried to do it before I ran, but it left my legs feeling too heavy.  So twice a week it is!

I didn’t have a five mile course plotted out, so I decided to just run 2.5 miles and then double-back.  This would have worked perfectly if I wouldn’t have accidentally hit “stop” on my RunKeeper.  I LOVE this app on my iPhone.  I think it is $9.99, but I was lucky enough to download it when it was free.  Not only does it play my playlists from my iPod, it talks to me!  Every five minutes it tells me my time, my distance, my average pace, my average speed, my current pace, and my current speed. You can even set it up to coach you for a target pace or intervals.  I usually set it up for target pace, so then every five minutes when it talks to me it tells me how far above or below the designated pace I am.  It also keeps track of your routes, time for each mile, and if you access your account online it also keeps track of the elevation.  It is a really neat tool and would recommend it to anyone who wants to track their running.

So, back to my run.  I accidentally hit stop and didn’t really pay attention to my mileage.  I knew I was close to 2.5 miles, so I turned around and restarted the application.  Well as it turns out I needed to go about a tenth of a mile further before I turned around.  I only ended up running 4.8 miles, but this is my furthest run outside by a mile and a half.   The run had hills. The first half of the run I “climbed” 34 feet, and on the way back 58 feet.  So it appears that my run was more downhill the first half, and more uphill the second.  The second half of the run I was also running into the wind which was interesting, but since I was dripping sweat the wind felt good.

I can honestly say that all three times I have run outside this spring I have told myself there is no way I can run a marathon. Today as soon as I started thinking those thoughts, I changed them.  I started chanting in my head “26.2, 26.2, I am a marathon runner, I am a marathon runner, hold your head up high.”  It got me home!  Here’s hoping it will get me through 26.2 miles!

My pace wasn’t great, but it was faster than the minimum marathon pace and that is all that matters to me.  The first time I ran outside it was only 2.35 miles and I was not even close to marathon pace.  The second time I ran outside it was 3.32 miles and I shaved 57 seconds off of my average pace.  My third run outside today was 4.8 miles and I shaved another two seconds off of my average pace.  I am making progress even if it is only two seconds at a time!

I must remember that “pain is weakness leaving the body.” Every day I run I am getting stronger both physically and mentally.

5 Miles Should Be Easier Than 8 Right?

Published April 19, 2011 by Jasmine

It should be, but I don’t know if it ever feels like it.  I think I get excited because I don’t have to run as far and then I set myself up for disappointment!  Today’s run was five miles.  I really, really wanted to maintain a 12 minute per mile pace but I couldn’t do it for the full five miles.  My first mile was a 12 minute mile, and then I started alternating one minute speed intervals with one minute of walking.  I did finish in 62 minutes and 12 seconds, which wasn’t too shabby.  I ended up averaging a pace of 12:28 per mile.

I realize I set myself up for failure by having unrealistic expectations.  Two days ago my average pace was 13:05, and I miraculously thought I was going to shave 1:05 off of that pace the very next time I ran.  I am crazy!!  I am tired, and my body is tired because I don’t think I am giving it the fuel it needs. A friend of mine brought up a very important point when I had commented on not having any sugar.  He said that my body needs carbs, especially if I am race training.  Carbs provide fuel to your body, like gas provides fuel for your car.  Not only have I not been giving my body the carbs it needs to run, I haven’t even really been eating all the calories I need. I realize this is a hindrance to my weight loss because as soon as the body doesn’t get what it needs, it hoards what it has.  By no means am I doing this on purpose, but nothing sounds good anymore.  Some days I also feel like if I can’t have sugar, I don’t want anything!

I need to start adding some more carbs to my diet. I do feel like this is why my body has been feeling weak.  I am working and training too hard without the proper fuel.  In the two days I have worked out this week, I have already burned 2,970 calories.  My weight loss plan is based on me burning only 4,000 calories a week. I still have three workouts and 15 miles to run this week.  I will far surpass 4,000 calories burned, which definitely means that I need to be eating all of my calories including more carbs.

I feel like I am stuck between a rock and a hard place.  On one hand I am trying to lose weight, and the other I am training for a marathon.  I want to believe that if I just stick to eating the number of calories, irrespective of what I am eating, I will continue to lose the weight.  Am I wrong?  What do you think? I am really hoping to get people’s thoughts on this!!

Jelly Beans

Published April 18, 2011 by Jasmine

So today is a rest day from my training and my 22nd day without sugar.  I thought 21 days was supposed to make a habit? I am not convinced that going without sugar will ever be a habit of mine.  I am so ready to cave and eat some jelly beans. Did I mention how much I love candy?  LOVE CANDY!

I would even settle for sugar-free candy right now!  My goal is to make it at least through the 90 day challenge without sugar. Since I started early it will actually be 102 days without sugar. So only 11 weeks to go.

So now that I got that out of my system, I will go back to resting, enjoying my day off, and mentally preparing for the 20 miles that still lay ahead of me this week.