Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Child - she's baaaaack!

My Inner Child has been making appearances lately.

It's important to note that when I speak of her, it is not a touchy-feely warm sentimental thing, like wanting to be carefree and innocent and go make sandcastles at the beach. Rather, she's that small, petulant and often quite vocal part of me that makes decisions as a spoiled child would - not very wisely - and who, when she gets mad, throws tantrums. (I think most of you are probably familiar with her, because her siblings probably reside in *you* as well!)

Yesterday morning when the alarm went off at 5, I lay there under the covers, debating about going to the gym. The evening before, the plan was to get in at least 3-3.5 miles on the treadmill, and perhaps a bit of upper body work with the weights. As I staggered into consciousness, hitting the snooze button two or three times, I realized I was already grumpy about the day and still really tired. I really, really, REALLY didn't want to go, and The Child was coming up with all *sorts* of reasons and excuses as to why I didn't have to. Eventually, I let her get her way - reset the alarm, burrowed back down under the covers and went to sleep.

When I got up the second time, I felt guilty that I had blown my chance to go work out, and immediately went into a negative spiral about anything and everything. Life, it sucked, and all I wanted to do was go back to bed for the rest of the day. Then I made the mistake of stepping on the scale and spent the next few minutes cursing at it was not a number I wanted to see, and everything just sort of viciously cycled upon itself as I got ready for work.

I spent the rest of the day being generally crabby and bummed out, and made some really poor food choices, all the while letting The Child justify why I could just go ahead and eat whatever, because, you know, I was having a crappy day so why not eat crap to make it better.

Oh yeah, right. It was one of those kinds of days.

Well, today, I was determined to have none of that. I got up (more or less) when the alarm went off, got the workout clothes on, told The Child to STFU, and ferried my butt to the gym amid whirling snowfall in the dark of the morning.

I muscled my way through a 3.6 mile sweatfest in about 50 minutes on the Dreadmill. I didn't have time to do weights, but by golly by gum, I got my sweat on and pushed my heartrate to a nice, consistent 150 BPM for the duration.

On my way to work, I picked up some good, healthy things to eat, including a nice chicken caeser salad for lunch (dressing on the side, of course.) I feel physically great and mentally strong, and very pleased that I ignored the petulant whining and did what needed to be done this morning.

And The Child, well, she was sent back to bed - for as long as I can possibly keep her there.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Oxygen optional

Went for my first run today in nearly a whole week, with sincere hopes of having gotten over this chest cold enough so that it wouldn't be a wholly miserable affair.

On deck was a supposedly easy 3 miles with the Runner Chicks to see if I might be interested in joining their half marathon training program.

The forecast was for wind and rain this morning, but when I woke up it was snowing off and on. Glorious! Jenn and I met up at 9am at Road Runner Sports, mingled with the other runners among the shoes and gear and clothes, and after a few moments of introductory remarks and instruction, off we went. It was chilly but dry until about a mile and three quarters in, when it started in with a heavy, sloppy mix of rain and snow that kept up all the way back to the store.

Throughout the first half of the run, I kept up with Jenn but felt as if my lungs were filled with cement. I needed to hack up crap really badly, but couldn't get enough air and cough hard enough to get it up. After a while I let Jenn go and finally managed to settle into a pace I could handle without constant walk breaks. I wish I had taken a picture of myself when I was done - I was so rockin' the "drowned rat" look - absolutely soaked to the bone.

It was a frustrating run overall, because 3 miles should be a piece of cake. But I talked myself through it and was reminded that recovery from illness is just that - recovery - and not a state of being at 100%, and that the body is only going to do what it is capable of doing at any given time. At least I was able to get out there and run in any case, so I shouldn't complain too much...

Not sure if I am going to join the training program. Jenn has already joined, but I wouldn't be able to make many, if any at all, of the Tuesday night training runs, and many of the weekend runs would be pre-empted by races I really want to do. Not sure if I want to pay 80 bucks for just a few group runs and a shirt.

In any case, in spite of the soggy weather and the challenged lungs, I had a nice time.

Next week, Ft. Vancouver 10K. I bought a box of Mucinex on the way home, and I'm hoping it can get my lungs cleared out by then.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Spirit of Adventure

Having been planted on the couch for yet another day, waiting for this stupid creeping crud to go away, I starting digging into the Internet for info on 2012 races. I'd already started a list a couple of weeks ago, but hadn't paid much attention to it recently, so I thought this would be a great time to see what I could find and beef it up a tad.

The list has 18 races on it now, but it's only a tenative collection with the exception of six (6!) races I am already signed up for:
* Fort Vancouver 10K (next weekend)
* Shamrock 15K (March 18)
* Sellwood Scamper 5K (March 24 - it's free, so why not?)
* Rock-N-Roll Portland Half Marathon (May 20)
* Timberline Half Marathon (June 2)
* Bald Peak Half Marathon (June 23)

Needless to say, if I sign up for everything I found, I will be a very busy bee for the rest of the year. My list will also involve having to make a choice here and there, as it would be pretty much impossible to do back-to-back half marathons (Sat and Sun) on opposite ends of the state, and that's not even considering the kind of training that would involve.

I picked several local races as well as a few that would involve some travel and hotel-room purchasing. One race that I've been wanting to do for a couple of years now is the Pear Blossom 10-miler in Medford, my hometown. This one is in April, and the timing perfect for Rock-N-Roll prep.

Another one requiring some travel is a particularly brutal-looking trail run in September called the Cle Elum Ridge Run near Cle Elum, WA - a 25K with a 3900 ft. elevation gain:|
Just looking at the elevation chart makes my chest hurt - this would by far be the most difficult race in my entire life (should I decide to accept the assignment, of course!)

Thing is, though, I think I'm ready to start taking on these kinds of challenges. The thought of hills like this terrifies and exhilirates me at the same time - a bizarre, twisted feeling that surely only those crazy enough to consider for even two whole seconds the idea of running straight uphill for miles on end can feel. I don't doubt that I'd probably be entertaining murdurous thoughts every step of the way up those inclines, but I have done enough running (on hills, even) to know that the feeling you get when you know you've done it far outweighs anything you might say or feel or even do out on the course.

As far as a primary goal for this year, I am thinking hard about a late fall marathon. I've done Portland twice, and I'd rather do something different this time around, so I have put the Seattle Marathon over Thanksgiving weekend on my radar. This would be a good one to do, because I could plan the whole holiday weekend around it with my brother, my aunt and uncle and cousins and potentially my Mom. I've broached the idea to Charles, who thinks it's a great idea, and I am going to run it by Mom to see what she thinks before I sign up, since we spend every Thanksgiving with her. It's cheaper than Portland, and one gets to run on the I-90 floating bridge, which I think would be a total trip. Plus, plenty of training time between now and then. Which had better involve serious hill training, 'cause the Seattle course ain't flat, oh no it isn't!

I used to think I wanted to eventually run Boston. As a qualifier and not as a charity runner, even. This is an admirable goal, but honestly....assuming I was to make it within the next five years, my qualifiying time is four hours flat. The kind of training that would be required to get from my current marathon PR (7:10) down to 4:00...?  Oh, my. So - let's face it - at this point, I don't think I will ever be fast enough to qualify, and I have finally decided that's okay. Because....I'd rather run for distance than speed, and I've also figured out this has pretty much always been the case.

So, this is my new long-term goal, for starters, I'm thinking next year.

And then this before I turn 50.

Ambition, anyone?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

And then, there are the brick walls this case, in the form of a hellacious cold - head AND chest.


I felt it coming on Friday afternoon. Saturday at the Heartbreaker Runs Race Expo, I was congested and tired, slightly achy. Sunday morning (race morning) - I didn't really feel worse, but I definitely did not feel better. It was cold, slight drizzly and we had an early start - 7:40am.

Still, I had a relatively decent run, considering it was uphill for the first mile and a half. Jenn stuck with me as I gasped and wheezed my way up that effing hill, nearly hacking up a lung every hundred feet or so. But then it was all downhill from there, and we came in at 43 and change. Obviously, nothing doing with my desired goal of 40 or less, but considering how I was feeling, I guess it wasn't bad.

Meanwhile, my old "running partner in crime" Donna took third in her age group for the 10K, and Ronda got herself a PR in the half. It was great to know at least a couple of us had a really terrific day on the road! I was wondering, though, if perhaps I should have DNS'd this race, because I think it might have made my cold worse. I did manage to make it through Monday at work but felt like total and utter crap the entire day.

And - presently I am camping on my couch, sniffling, sneezing (EPIC sneezes - the ones that are literally painful) and coughing. I had a midterm this morning, so that's pretty much all I showed up for on campus. I went back to my office after the exam and was very kindly ordered to go home by my boss. Who am I to argue when it's the boss telling me to clear out?  LOL!  In any case, I had been kind of thinking I'd leave early anyway. I highly doubt I'll be heading in tomorrow either.

Lest it really need to be said, I didn't hit the gym yesterday, or today. Definitely not going tomorrow. It is aggravating to think I'm not getting up on that treadmill and sweating it out, but I am pretty convinced my body is telling me that doing so would just not be a good idea.

In the spirit of self-disclosure, I have also been eating about as well as I feel. Crap. There's a piper to pay, I'm sure. Hopefully, this will only last another couple days and then I can get back in gear and get some serious business done.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Movin' right along!

Survey says.............still going strong with Operation Get My Act Together!     ;-D
Diet dialed in pretty tight; journaling every single bite, getting my sleep-addled carcass to the gym at oh-stupid-thirty every morning. I even had a smattering of ice cream with half a brownie last night, and still came in well under 1700 calories for the day.

Down 6.6 pounds.

Mileage so far this week:

Sunday: 3.1m  (Fanconi Anemia 5K)
Monday: 2.85m
Tuesday: 2.29m (strength training day)
Wednesday: 3.55m
Today: 1.53m  (overslept and today was strength training day, so didn't have time for decent cardio. Barely broke a!!)

Tomorrow, I get to make up for today's lousy workout - I plan on making the treadmill my you-know-what.

And oh, speaking of strength training....I spent way too much time on both Tues and Thurs futzing around with the machines and not nearly enough of actually using them. One would think I've never used the stupid things before, but I still need a bit of reacclimation. That, and I really need to get up earlier.

Sunday is the Heartbreaker 5K...but I am seriously toying with the idea of upgrading to the 10K when I pick up my packet on Saturday. I can utilize my time-honored tradition of treating it as a "$35 training run with a shirt" rather than a race, as I tend to do with about 99% of my races. Someday, I will actually race, but this will not be that day, even if I stick with the 5K. If I do, I will, however, try to do at least as well as I did this past weekend...about 42 minutes.

But I won't'd be cool to come in under 40 minutes. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012


I scanned this picture tonight.

This was taken at about mile 8 or so of the Runaway Pumpkin Half Marathon back at the end of October, where I managed my second-best-ever PR for a half - 2:57:10.

Obviously, I am not running fast. I am not anywhere near even the mid-pack.
Obviously, I am not at my goal weight - or anywhere near that either.

But, I love the look on my face.
I love the definition in my legs, in spite of the lack of definition elsewhere.

I loved this race, I really, really did.

So I am posting it.  ;-)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Rubber, Meet Road

So....I didn't work out yesterday morning, therefore I spent a sweaty 50 minutes on the treadmill after work last night.

I didn't work out this morning either, but I didn't have time to go to the gym after work. In any case, I probably need to chill out for a day or so anyway, and I say this with complete confidence that it is not an excuse. Going from zero to a hundred in only a week can be asking for trouble.

When I woke up this morning, I could feel the outer, prickling edges of The Mood.

Yes, that mood.

The same mood that tends to creep in at fairly predictable intervals after I've decided this will be the last time I have to go on a serious weight loss regimen. The mood that numbs me into no longer caring about what I shovel in my mouth, because by God, I am sick of having to think about it, and it's just not fair that I can't have that huge handful of M&M's and a cheeseburger and a nice big bowl of ice cream without unwanted consequences.

But I thought about my goals, and I thought about what I would be thinking if I caved in. And I read an inspirational story I found on the web.

And then I put on my big girl panties and ate sensibly for the entire day.

I won't run again until Sunday, when I do the 5K.

And then next week, it's Game On, Continued.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Mid-Week Check-Up


After two days of working out + (very!!) mindful eating + journaling (exercise log AND food log) - I am already down 3.4 lbs. - !!  Water weight For The Win. The fat cells have been officially put on notice.

The eating has been a bit tough while my stomach and my brain figure out what's going on. Yesterday, I was so hungry in the afternoon I could've eaten shoe this morning, I upped the calories and protein for breakfast a bit to see if that helps. My goal is to keep it under 2,000 cals a day for now, with a more specific target of between 1500-1700 - I think this is perfectly reasonable. As the weight really starts going down, so will my calorie range, but that's another day, another post.

It takes a lovely 5am wake-up call to get to the gym. Including this morning's workout, I've logged a touch over 8 miles and sweated lots. And I'm not overly sore, which means that I'm not overdoing it. 8 miles doesn't actually sound like much, but since I've not been in a consistent, daily running habit for well over three months, easing back in seems like a grand idea. Bob and Jillian would scoff, I'm sure, but screw 'em - they aren't the ones who would have to gimp around the office all day long!!  ;-)

Sometime very soon I will be incorporating strength training into the routine, just as soon as I figure out how to make myself get out of bed a bit earlier. Next week, I think. Then I will be gimping around the office for a while, no doubt!

In more running news - this weekend is the 8th Annual Fanconi Anemia Run - my third year in a row!  I'm only doing the 5K distance this time, instead of the 12K - definitely erring on the side of caution. Thw following weekend, I've got the Heartbreaker 5K as well...yeah, yeah, another 5K. In any case, I've also signed on for the 15K distance for the Shamrock Run next month - which of course, includes the Killer Terwilliger Hill...not so sure I have erred enough on caution's side for that one, but we shall see.

Run fast but run wise, friends!  Onward!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Starting Over, Part Eleventy-Bazillion

I guess I'm just going to keep posting these kinds of particular posts until I get it through my concrete-like skull. They say repetition is the key, so my apologies if I sound like a broken record. I don't want this blog to be full of nothing but "new leaf beginnings" - but until I can get myself into a groove where I will stay, I suppose this is what it will be.

As if I had a choice.


Interesting thought, that. As. If. I. Had. A. Choice.

Funny thing is, it's all about choices, from the moment you get out of bed until the moment you lay your head back down again for the night.

You can choose to have a bad atittude, or a good one.
You can choose to listen to the voice in your head you know will lead you astray, or to the voice you know is the one of reason and truth (and depending on which voice you choose, you will have a whole other host of choices in front of you, needing to be made.)
You can choose to let your cravings and your moments of weaknesses rule, or you can choose to stand strong, to be strong.

Every single choice will lead to a consequence. The question becomes: what consequences with which are you willing to settle, and what consequences for which are you willing to fight? about me? Well, I might feel differently in the morning (and I accept that, and will deal with what comes) - but right now in this moment, there are some very specific things for which I choose to fight.

And, they say, if you are going off to battle, you need weapons. Strong ones. Ones that, if used properly, won't fail you. I am thinking of starting with these:

If you don't write it down, it didn't happen, right?
These haven't been used much lately. Boy, does that need to change.

Neither has this.

Of course, these weapons will work - in their truest sense - only if I also have this stuff in my arsenal:
This is what shopping solely on the outer aisles of your local grocery store looks like.

In this beautiful little picture I hijacked from the 'Net, you will likely notice the complete and somewhat conspicuous absence of chips, cookies, Outback Steak House Bloomin' Onions, chocolate, french fries, cheesecake, pizza, Captain Crunch and whipped cream. This isn't to say that those things are all I eat, but the core issue with them is that when I do eat them (which is still probably too often) - I am not capable of eating them in moderation, because they are all powerful trigger foods for me. So while it is important to indulge once in a while, I think that for now, abstinence is simply going to have to be my mantra. What will I choose to do?

And as for my running life.....well, I just need to find it again, dust it off. I know it's there. Every once in a while, I hear it squeak pitifully, and for a split second, I almost remember how awesome I feel when I'm out there, doing it, nearly every damned day. How I feel when I'm done, sweating buckets and sometimes sore as hell, but glowing and breathless and full of endorphins. How I feel when I cross the finish line of a race that kicked my ass, but it didn't really kick my ass, because I made it across those timing mats. And oh, hey, in case I forgot, Running On Purpose is a running blog. A blog where I talk about my running life. The running life which currently is lying under a ginormous wet pile of ridiculous excuses. What will I choose to do?

I think ya'll probably get the picture here.

This is going to be hard, and it's going to suck, and the reason I know that is because I've been there before, and on top of that I have disappointed myself so may times now that the thought of trying to do this again is almost too much for me. Part of me feels extraordinarily foolish for even blogging about it, because my perception is that everyone around me has heard it before, over and over and over and over. And perhaps they have seen it before, but only for a few days or a few weeks. And when it's particularly bad, maybe only a few hours. And then, nothing has changed, I'm back to skipping runs and workouts and stuffing my face and gaining weight and essentially flipping myself the bird, because that's pretty much what it amounts to.

I am SO SICK of failing. This is a battle I have never truly finished. All my life. Indeed, the only things I seem to be capable of finishing are those stupid slices of pizza, or those galldarned sugar cookies in the kitchen next to my office at work. To me, the finish line will be the day I see the numbers I want on the scale and can finally move into a maintenance phase. I have no earthly clue what it means to maintain my weight, because - and I mean literally - I have NEVER been there. Ever. E.V.E.R.

So, ok, fine, whatever, yadda yadda, yawn blahdeblahdeblah..thdioadhwjke38i9orbngd.

May this be my last "new leaf beginning" post - and every post after this a progress report of my successes, rather than my failures. Or even, if they must happen, a post about my "two-steps-forward-one-step-back" days, because...they will happen. But...better than three steps back, by my reckoning.


What's it going to be?

Time to choose.