A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Self image and weight loss

Last week, I got my annual survey from the National Weight Control Registry. As a brief recap, the National Weight Control Registry is a national database of thousands of people who have lost a significant amount of weight and maintained that weight loss for at least a year (more about it here).
Survey title
It was an enlightening process to answer these questions and be reminded of exactly why I’ve regained weight after maintaining successfully for the first couple of years. My answers to questions about how often I track, how often I weigh in and how often I eat “sometimes” food show that I’ve slipped from prior consistency with good, healthy habits. When I forced myself to honestly answer these questions, I had to confront the reality that I’m responsible for these extra 30 pounds, not some mysterious outside force. It was a wake up call for sure.

Other than checking in with my weight and my habits, this survey included several questions about self image. It was interesting to answer these now and realize how much stronger my sense of self is now than it was before I lost weight. Importantly, even though I’m not pleased with my weight regain, it hasn’t shaken my self-image as much as being obese did before I lost weight.
Selfconfidence

My weight doesn’t affect how I feel in terms of competence, attractiveness, anxiety or value now as much as it did before. If I’m honest, even when I’d first reached my goal weight, I still felt a lot like my sense of self was tied to my weight. It turns out a HUGE success of maintenance is that I’ve managed to disconnect my sense of value from the number on the scale. I feel really good about that. It’s been a gradual, but steady change, and I’m so grateful for it. I need to do some thinking about exactly how that happened, so that I can be sure to reinforce those thought processes.

My favorite question? This one:
Im hot
You know why I loved this? My immediate mental response: I rock. Anyone would be LUCKY to have me. My husband agrees.

Do you let your weight affect your sense of self-worth? How do you shift that?

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The most challenging part of running . . .

Today’s Tuesdays on the Run topic is the most challenging part about running. I know this is going to be different for all of us. To look on the bright side, I decided to focus on my challenges but also the best ways I know to counter them.

  • Today, the most challenging part about my run was getting out of bed. I know I’m more likely to stick to the training plan if I get up to run in the morning, but I stayed up too late following the debate on Twitter and it was hard to get moving this morning. I deal with this by promising myself (like I did today!) that even a little bit of a run is better than nothing and hopefully, by getting to bed at a reasonable hour when I’ve got training runs in the morning. I’m going to be looking at 9 pm bedtimes through marathon training and at finding ways to speed up my morning routine so I can get out of the house faster to run.
There are other perks to working out in the morning too - gorgeous sunrises!

There are other perks to working out in the morning too – gorgeous sunrises!

  • I know that strength training would make me a healthier, faster runner and is good for my overall well-being. It would decrease my risk of injury. Even just a few minutes a few times a week would help. And yet still, I don’t do it. Grrrr. I just cannot find the motivation. I’ve asked Darrell to work out with me to see if a partner can keep me more on task.
  • Time is always a challenge for my training. Fitting it all into a busy work and family schedule can be tough. I can’t imagine what it will be like once O has more on his schedule with school and his own activities! Google calendars are a HUGE help with this, in helping us keep things on track as a family. Of course, that requires that I keep things up to date and that I take the time at the beginning of the week to identify when I get my workouts done.

Of course, there’s the little matter of running itself. Some days that is a HUGE challenge. Thank goodness I’m totally okay with walk breaks and with not hitting any PRs for time these days.🙂

What are your biggest running challenges? Got any advice for me in terms of staying motivated with strength training? Because of the time issue, I can’t squeeze in a trainer or a class, which would definitely help, so I need to find a way to get motivated at home!

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Thanks as always to Erika, Patty and Marcia for hosting Tuesdays on the Run!

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Weekly Wrap Up: Back to back 11 mile runs!!!

Not only did I tackle back to back 11 mile training runs this weekend, I can walk like a normal person today. That feels like a huge achievement.🙂

weekly wrap up

Thanks as always to Holly and Tricia for hosting our Weekly Wrap Up link up!

I confess, my workout week was pretty light other than those two 11 mile runs because I had 7 am meetings on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and missed my Tuesday/Thursday runs. However, I did get walks in every day last week and did the best I could to stay active even if I wasn’t running.

In this training cycle, I’ve definitely learned that A) I have to run in the morning or it isn’t going to happen and B) I need to seriously step up my strength training game before marathon training continues. I’ve done well with the back to back long runs for the last two months, but seriously slacked on the weekday work and that’s not a safe way to train. I’m grateful that I’ve got a supportive husband who is willing to work out in the evening, even though he’d also prefer morning workouts, so I can get the morning workout slots in our family schedule. A healthy lifestyle is definitely a whole family endeavor!

Workouts

There were walks on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday and a half hearted strength session, but nothing to write home about. Not the best week!

Saturday 11 warm miles around the lake, with an early start because we had thunderstorms coming. It was 82 degrees when I finished this run – ugh – but finish it I did! Until the last half mile or so, it didn’t even feel too bad. I just kept up my slow and steady mantra and enjoyed the scenery.

Long run

Sunday Second round! I woke up feeling surprisingly okay, but knew these would be slow miles. I headed out through the neighborhood with the goal of taking it one mile at a time, just like we discussed last week in terms of running and racing advice and for the most part it worked. I confess, my mind wandered and I did get lost once. Oops! Thank goodness for Google Maps.
LostA perk of long slow miles is that you have plenty of texting with friends to cheer you along.🙂 This particular friend ran 6 miles this weekend, a new distance PR!!! Way to go Mildred! I did a lot more walking than usual during these miles, but I finished all 11 upright and feeling like I could have gone on for longer if I needed to, definitely a win!

These were last long runs before taper time for the I-35 challenge in a couple of weeks. After this weekend, I’m confident I can safely finish back to back half marathons (even if they will intentionally be my slowest half marathons ever!). I have a history of completely slacking off with my runs during taper time and I definitely DON’T want to do that this time, both because I’m a little undertrained in terms of those short weekday runs and because even though I have this race weekend coming, in the big picture, I’ve got a marathon to run. All of these miles count toward getting me safely through 26.2 miles in January.

Finding a careful balance between running enough but not too much during taper time is always tricky! I’m just going to stick to the plan.

My NSV this week has got to be the fact that my brain is finally getting itself out of its unhealthy eating rut. Friday night, I went out with some girls to see Bridget Jones’ Baby (surprisingly fun – totally Team Darcy here). I was celebrating a big work success becoming official last week. At the same time, I was a little stressed on the parenting front because O had gotten in trouble for playing with scissors at school, but worse, had lied about it. He was very worried about whether or not Mama knew what he’d done and when Mama would be home. I’m the heavy in my house, possibly because I have a better stern and disappointed voice thanks to 15 years of terrier ownership.

My Abby, a Welsh Terrier. I've known her longer than I've known my husband!

My Abby, a Welsh Terrier. I’ve known her longer than I’ve known my husband!

In the past, the combination of well deserved celebration and parenting angst would have lead to major over-indulgence when I was out with the girls. Instead, I hopped in the car to head over to the bar for happy hour and literally squealed with delight at finding these in the seat:
Unexpected snacks!

Leftover grapes from breakfast! Yay for a healthy snack! The surprise made it feel like a treat and thus, I was better able to resist the fried bar food and focused on edamame (and too much hard cider if we’re being honest) instead. Win!

How do you balance time in your house so that everyone has time to exercise? Darrell and I are still trying to figure that out, now that he’s trying to exercise more. I confess, I’m selfish enough to be a little grateful that he’s willing to defer to my work and my workout schedules so that I can get my training done, but I don’t want him to skip his own workouts! Tell me how you make it work!

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2016 Peak 2 Peak 10 Mile Race

Earlier this month, I ran the Peak 2 Peak 10 mile race for the third time. This is my favorite local race by far. It is usually right about the time our weather starts to turn into fall, so it feels like a nice celebration of cooler weather. The course is fairly flat and ten mile races are weirdly fun (and convenient in half marathon training!). The real reason I love this race, though? The people are FANTASTIC. The volunteers on the course are unfailingly cheerful and helpful. The packet pick up and pre-race communication are always prompt and thorough AND we always get interesting goodies other than just a shirt and medal.

Peak 2 Peak bag

Oliver has already claimed this year’s duffle bag as his own. In years past, we’ve gotten running socks and a water bottle. Considering this is a pretty cheap and well supported race, bonus swag like this feels like icing on the cake.🙂

Peak 2 Peak tee: love the graphic but brown?I love the graphic and fit of this year’s shirt, but it’s a dark brown which is definitely not my favorite. This brown girl doesn’t generally wear brown – just doesn’t look good for me.

My plan for this race was simple: slow and steady, enjoy the miles. I had these 10 miles on Saturday and another 9 coming Sunday, so I had to remind myself over and over not to get caught up in the thrill of the race or I’d regret it the next day!

Quiet race path

Of course, taking that approach meant I was very quickly left at the back of pack and alone for large sections of the path. That actually wasn’t bad at all – very peaceful – and I did get to see a lot of the other runners because of the looping nature of the course. The guy who won the race (in less than half the time it took me to run it!) congratulated me and cheered me on every time he saw me. Half the runners who I passed at some point on the course said “Hi” or “Great job” and those who didn’t say anything smiled or waved. That friendliness is one of the best things about the Omaha running community and this race in particular.

Sandal running

One of the most interesting runners I spoke with was this woman, who ran the whole 10 miles in flat fashion-y sandals. They had a leather sole and fabric straps. She said she’d trained for the whole time in these sandals and really appreciated that her feet didn’t get hot. I can’t imagine that, but it speaks to how important it is to train as you plan to race, because it preps your body in a lot of ways.

Peak 2 Peak swag

I finished in 2:17:12, which is much slower than my prior times in this race, but well within my pace goal for my back to back half marathons so I’m pleased with it. Every race has different goals. While I didn’t love the shirt, I LOVE the medal (even if Peak 2 Peak in now way involves mountains) and I love that this race gives medals, which makes it a great race for someone wanting to celebrate their first double digit race.

What’s the most unusual thing you’ve seen someone wear in a race?  I definitely stayed around to cheer for the sandal runner as she finished because I’m just in awe of her feet!

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Best Running Advice

Today on Tuesdays on the Run, we’re all talking about our favorite running advice. This is the perfect boost of motivation I need to find a way to run this week! Currently, getting workouts in this week seems daunting (travel yesterday, 7  am meetings Tues-Wed-Thurs) but after reading these posts, I’m pumped to get out and do it!

My favorite running advice is the advice I gave my friend this weekend as we discussed whether or not she could run a half marathon (she totally could!):

Take it one mile at a time.

Another favorite variation: Run the mile you’re in.

This is crucial during the inevitable tough runs, during races that seem overwhelming and even now, as I look a couple of months ahead into marathon training and wonder how on earth I’m going to run so many miles at once, much less that many miles in a week! You get there, one mile at a time.

New shoes to start 2016 off right!

One foot in front of the other!

The beautiful thing about this advice is that it almost always works. I can almost always keep putting one foot in front of the other in some form or fashion for another 10-20 minutes (depending on how slow my pace might get) and check off another mile. And then another. And then another. Focusing on where you are right now and what you’re doing keeps the enormity of the task from overwhelming us and helps make running the only kind of meditation I’ve been able to stick with.

I’m really looking forward to today’s advice. I’m already loving Erika‘s advice to run slow and walk fast with these long and back to back runs. I may print that out! Patty‘s advice to run your own your race is another favorite of mine and one I’ve told myself many times when I fall into that comparison trap. You do you.🙂

What’s your favorite running advice?
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Thanks as always to Patty, Erika and Marcia for hosting our link up!

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Weekly Wrap-Up: Road trip!

Today, we are driving back from a lovely weekend trip to visit friends in Indianapolis. Oliver has played so hard this weekend! I’ll bet (and hope!) that he’ll sleep a lot on the drive home. We had a great time playing and got in loads of activity on playgrounds and in the Children’s Museum.

Astronaut trainingOliver “training” to be an astronaut

All around, we had a good time and got introduced to a yummy new healthy-ish treat in this double chocolate banana cake. The grown ups ate entirely too much of this stuff after the kids went to bed.🙂

Workouts Not perfect this week, but not bad. I got in strength training, weekend back-to-back runs and cross training but I missed one weekday run. Oops!

Monday Rest day!

Tuesday Hilly walking for cross training, plus body weight strength exercises

Wednesday Running and walking to get in my miles for the day. After lots of squatting and standing to operate the parachute at Oliver’s walk-a-thon, my knees were really sore I ended up walking more of these miles than I’d like.

Thursday Walking for cross training

Friday I’d hoped to get in at least a bit of a run but it didn’t happen. Someone ran into me in the parking garage – Grrr!

Grrr
After dealing with all of that, I was behind for the rest of the day. Ah well. We had a really LONG night driving all the way to Indianapolis, but we survived and Oliver traveled well. It’s nice that he’s older now and rolls with things a bit.

Saturday I did a rainy 5K, with some extra before and after to get to 4 miles. I actually have no idea what my time was because I didn’t check my watch or my time online. I just had a great time running with my friend, even we did get rained on the whole way!
Rainy 5KAfter this, we got in another 10,000 steps at the Children’s Museum!

Sunday An easy 4 miles, followed by races with the kiddos and lots of playground time. I also roped the kids into strength training with me. On these second runs, I get serious shin splints and sore knees, but so long as I keep my expectations of pace low and take it slow and steady, I get the miles in.

I’m grateful for safe travels. My good deeds have been distributing lots of band-aids while wrangling 3 kids all weekend. Even 3 good kids seems like a bit of mad house to people who only hang out with one kid most days!

This week, I’ve got my last big back-to-back runs (two 11 milers!) before the I-35 challenge. We’ve also got an overnight campout at the zoo between those two runs. Wish me luck!

Thanks as always to Tricia and Holly for hosting our link up!

weekly wrap up

What’s your favorite local activity? Omaha’s zoo is definitely a highlight (deservedly so – it’s amazing) and Indianapolis’s Children’s Museum was educational and fun for even the adults. I highly recommend both!

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Struggling a bit . . .

You ever have those days when something is off that you can’t put your finger on? I’ve been having a lot of those. It’s like I’m anxious about something but I can’t figure out what it might be, so I can’t fix it. Not only does this mean I feel off in general, but I’m struggling with a lot binge-y feelings (and some resulting bad choices) and more lupus-y symptoms than normal.

If I knew what was wrong, I feel like I could take proactive steps to help with this feeling. Work is no more stressful than usual and my training is going okay. Long run days are actually the days I feel this anxiety the least. Our busy home life is in balance as much as it ever is and the adjustment to kindergarten has gone relatively smoothly. I feel some distress about the fact that I’ve regained so much weight and haven’t made any headway in reversing that, but it isn’t like I’m dwelling on it. I’m not sure what this is – just an odd season in life I suppose.

Without a concrete thing that’s “wrong” I’m feeling a little at sea in “fixing” this. While I’m feeling the urge to binge and have definitely made some bad food choices as a result, I’ve had nothing that tipped into full scale binge territory like it would have in the past. I need to give myself credit for how far I’ve come because that is a huge victory.

I’ve been so busy that I haven’t been keeping the house stocked with fruit and other “safe” foods for when those evening munchies hit. I should remedy that. I’ve also be re-reading some of my old strategies for managing stress eating and night time, since that seems to be my biggest trouble time right now. Tea instead of snacks and going to bed early both sound like lovely ways to distract myself from the nighttime munchies and to hopefully soothe a little of this anxiety.

I’m also working on building up my bank of happy thoughts as a distraction. This afternoon, I volunteered at O’s school walk a thon and had a blast spraying kids with colored powder (and got messier than the kids!).

Messy but fun!My blue hair does not come through in this photo.🙂

I think the most important thing, for me at least, in keeping from heading into binge territory again, is being honest about struggling. Honest with myself, honest with Darrell and honest here. It’ll be okay. I’ve handled worse than this and I can (and will) get professional help if I need it.

How do you handle those periods when things just feel off?

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Post-run rituals

This week’s Tuesdays on the Run topic is post-run rituals and I have to say, I’m a little envious reading about some of these! This summer, I’ve been particularly jealous of all of you with pools who can just dive in and cool off after a hot run! Thanks as always to Patty, Erika and Marcia for hosting our link up!

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Truthfully, post-run, I’m almost always immediately back to momming. This guy is demanding in the best way.

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He always wants to tell me about what he’s done while I was gone or what Daddy’s done wrong while I was gone. He even asks how my run went. I love my husband for ALWAYS asking how my run went. These days, time is always tight so as soon as I finish my run I’m in the house, in the shower and out to go somewhere else or do something else. I’m proud of us for (almost) always finding a way to fit the runs even when things are busy.

What does that mean I skip in post-run time? Usually stretching and foam rolling – those happen at night after O is in bed.

I really need to get better about doing this regularly!

I really need to get better about doing this regularly!

Sadly, I also usually skip a nap. That should seriously be part of every post-run ritual don’t you think?

What do I always make time for, no matter what? With these back to back long runs on the weekend, refueling as soon as I can after the run is key so I always make time for a snack and giant glass of water (usually with Nuun). If we’re quickly heading out to our next thing on the “schedule” (my little guy is very into schedules these days), then Darrell or I make a quick smoothie for me to take with me as we head out the door. I’m not a big fan of smoothies as meal replacements, because they don’t feel like food to me, but they’re perfect for that post-run, “not hungry but know I need to fuel” window. I usually toss in some almond milk, protein powder, spinach, a banana and whatever other frozen fruit I have on hand so I can get some protein and carbs before I head back out. Since I only do smoothies after weekend long runs, I do look forward to them as my post-run treat.🙂

When I first started running, I would always treat myself to Starbucks after a long run. Maybe as I head into progressively longer weekends (two 11 milers coming up the weekend of 9/24 and then marathon long runs in October!) I need to come up with some new treats for myself post long run. Maybe we can just consider naps as my post-run treat?🙂

What’s your post-run ritual?

 

 

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Weekly Wrap Up: 19 miles in one weekend!

And I can still walk today without much pain – yep, I’m pretty impressed with myself.🙂 My NSV this week is definitely how much I’ve been appreciating the muscles that are getting more defined in my legs. I’m grateful for all my body can do, even if it is a little fluffier than I’d like these days.

Workouts

Monday Rest day other than loads of running around at work

Tuesday Walking & strength training

Wednesday I’d missed Tuesday morning’s run because I had to be at work early, so I was determined to get it done Wednesday. I changed into running clothes as soon as I got home Wednesday and headed out for 3 miles as soon as O went to bed.

Thursday Another early morning, so I had to get the run done in the evening. There was a meeting at Oliver’s elementary school that night, so I changed into my running skirt and walked up to the meeting. I started my run on the way back, stopped by the house to give O a kiss goodnight, and then headed right back out to finish. No excuses!
Ready to goThankfully my running skirts are super cute so I didn’t look out of place at the meeting.

Friday Walking for cross training, as well as some stretching to get ready for a big weekend.

Saturday 10 miles! I ran the Peak 2 Peak 10 miler (full report coming later!) and had my fastest long run of this training cycle. It’s amazing what a difference a change in weather makes. It was in the 60s and a gorgeous day to run. After the run, I was sure to refuel, drink plenty of water and stretch/foam roll a ton so I was ready for Sunday’s 9 miles.

Sunday 9 miles! It felt like such a huge accomplishment to get this back to back long run done. 19 miles in one weekend is definitely a new achievement for me. My legs were sore and I was slower Sunday, but I definitely could have kept going for another 4 miles. I’ll definitely be able to handle this back-to-back half marathon challenge. My legs were sore, but they could keep moving. Amazing🙂
New skirt out for a runI tried out my new Wonder Woman inspired skirt for this second long run. I think it boosted me a bit – every little thing helps!

I also got in my second strength training of the week Sunday afternoon and more foam rolling. Today, I feel pretty good. My quads have a little ache but nothing too terrible. I’m really amazed at how good I feel after doing 19 miles in one weekend.

I have one more back to back long run in this part of my training for the I-35 challenge. In mid-October, I’ll do my two half marathons in one weekend and then transition to a more traditional marathon training plan. Being able to cover this ground relatively comfortably has done a lot for my confidence for both the I-35 challenge and for the marathon in January. Slow and steady!

My good deed last week was signing up to volunteer at O’s school. I really would like to help out at school, but as a working mom, I need advance notice to block my schedule. Last minute requests don’t work unfortunately and so far, there seems to be more than a little of that. Frustrating, to say the least, but I’ll keep trying. Happily, they released the classroom reading volunteer schedule for the whole semester at once so I could sign up for several slots well in advance. It should be interesting to help out in kindergarten. I’ll be sure to tell you guys all about it!

I’m proud of Darrell this week. He’s getting back into the gym himself and has put his workouts on the family calendar, so we can work everything in. It’s hard to get back in the habit of working out, so I’ll do whatever I can to support him as well as he’s supported me in my running.

Thanks as always to Holly and Tricia for hosting our Weekly Wrap Up link up!

weekly wrap up

I can’t believe I ran 19 miles this weekend! I feel like a rock star. Imagine how I’ll feel in marathon training, when I do that all in one run!!!

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An average Jane’s advice for your first 5K

Next weekend, I’ll be running with a friend for her first 5K. She’s a little anxious because she hasn’t run as much as she’d like lately. Another runner friend told her to “just run 5 times between now and the race and you’ll be fine. By the way, if you’re running a 5K next weekend you should totally run the Indy Mini Marathon in November.” Understandably for busy mortals like us, this advice intimidated her a bit (although I’m sure it was well intentioned – clearly a runner trying to share her love of the sport!).

My advice is a little more practical.

  • Success in your first 5K is crossing the finish line. Don’t get caught up in time goals for your first time, especially if you haven’t been training for a specific time.
  • Don’t line up at the front of the pack. I screwed that up in my first race. Pick somewhere around the middle of the pack unless you know you’re going to walk (then get in the back) or you know you’re super speedy.  Check last year’s finish times to get an idea as to where you’ll fall in the pack.
Finished my first 5K!

I learned a lot in this first 5K!

  • Get there in plenty of time to get your bib (if you haven’t already) and go the bathroom – odds are good that will take longer than you expect!  Don’t let nerves about needing to go the bathroom or being late throw you off before your first race.🙂
  • Have your patience handy. If you haven’t run a race before, the amount of jostling that occurs when you run near other people can be distracting. It’ll clear out.
  • Have someone there to cheer you on! I always get a little sad when I hear people say that something is “just a 5K” or that they aren’t very fast. You’re getting out there and doing something awesome. That should be celebrated! While there were good reasons I didn’t have my guys at the finish line of my first 5K, I do wish they’d been there because crossing that finish line was a huge moment for me. We will definitely be cheering our hearts out for our friend! Darrell and Oliver have a gift for being just a little late to finish lines, but I will be sure to keep them all posted so they’re in position for this finish.

As a bonus, if you can bring along a friend who won’t annoy you AND will promise to finish after you, you totally should.🙂

This should be a good first 5K for her level of training (more on choosing a first race here). It’s a run / walk event, so there will be lots of people of all ages and abilities out there. That decreases the odds that you’ll be left alone out on the course. I always find that races with families also have better cheering at the finish too!

What advice would you give to a first timer at a 5K if they’re a little worried about being undertrained?

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