Weighty Wednesday

Happy Wednesday to you.  Though by the time I’m getting around to posting this, it’s really closer to Thursday and that means we’re one step closer to the long weekend!  {Insert hallelujah hands emoji here.}

So Weighty Wednesday.  I wrote about it first here and then promptly forgot about it.  Though I didn’t post anything last week (I was instead writing about my relationship with running), I did weigh myself and I’m here to tell you the cold facts: I’d gained 1.6 pounds after my previous loss of 5 pounds.  I’m not quite sure what happened between that first week and the second, but I do know that between last week and now I have gone way, way, way off the rails.  I’m up again this week.  And to the tune of 4.4 pounds!  Blargh.

In the last week I have:

Eaten pretty much everything in sight, including, though not limited to: goldfish, pork burritos, cupcakes (happy birthday, blue eyed boy!), several delicious Clawhammer beers by Highland Brewing Company (worth it – my new favorite autumnal beer), a Reuben, Blue Box mac n’ cheese, apple blondies, chocolate graham crackers smeared with peanut butter (I would recommend those, in particular), and a milkshake.  I could go on, but for the sake of any remaining shreds of my own personal vanity, I shall not.

AND

Utterly and completely ceased calorie counting.  Full stop.  (Pun intended.)  The work of calorie counting sometimes feels like so much work, especially when coupled with the actual work of making sure that one does not eat the entire contents of one’s pantry during nap time.  Ahem.  Last Thursday I was ready for the weekend, ready for a break and the idea of a milkshake somehow got lodged in my brain.  I mentioned the idea to my husband (who, for the record, is always game for a milkshake) and then next thing I knew, he was putting the man cubs to bed and I was zooming out for milkshakes.  I didn’t log those calories and little did I know, but that was the start of a full week without calorie counting.

The last week was a spectacular failure in the trying to lose weight department, but, for the first time in a long time, I actually had some good runs; for the first time in a long time I felt like my body was powerful and able.  And I’ll take that over a number on the scale any day.

But, there’s definitely room for improvement.  There’s the whole “junk in, junk out” theory and I hate to say it, but there’s been a lot of junk going in lately.  A lot of delicious junk, but junk nonetheless.  As I wrote previously, this is the first time I’ve committed to really counting calories in an effort to lose the weight.  To that end, I let a few low-calorie treats slid into my diet.  Until now I’ve been a whole milk, full fat butter, real deal Coca Cola kind of girl, but in an attempt to have my cake and eat it too, I suppose, I allowed myself a few treats to make the transition to fewer calories easier.

But let’s call a spade a spade.  Those low-cal treats are doing me no favors.  They are not rewiring my taste buds to yearn for healthier, better options.  Instead they are continuing the sugar and snacking addictions and leading me away from my ultimate goal: to be my healthiest self.

So this week, I’m recommitting to my friend (and also foe) My Fitness Pal.  But this time I’m going to focus on whole foods instead of easy, snack-y treats.  Simply put: whole foods require more resources.  Whole foods are more expensive (most of the time) and require an investment in prep time as well as logging time.  But I’m willing to make the effort this week.

Here’s to a healthier week!

September Goals

September is a favorite of mine.  It is the start of the fall season, especially here in the mountains, and there’s that “new school year” vibe going that makes me want to make new resolutions.  Am I the only one?

And then, a year ago, I got the most amazing little September gift that cemented my September love forever.  My baby boy arrived on September 1, arriving, I might add, nearly a week late.  And yet, he was completely worth the wait.  Entirely.  And I just love that we get to celebrate him at the start of my favorite time of year.  So happiest of birthdays to you, my sweet blue eyed boy.  Mama loves you to the moon and back.  And twice around Mars.  xo.

I knew that today would be packed with celebrations so I set my alarm for 5:00 to get in some early miles.  I knocked off another four strong miles this morning, the middle two at a quicker pace than the first and last.  I came home, smothered the birthday boy in kisses and then made sure to stretch and foam roll.  I feel like I’ve pulled something on the inside of my left thigh so I’m going to make sure that I give it the attention it needs.  Tomorrow is a rest day and I’m hoping that the rest and the stretching/rolling will nip this in the bud.

Since it’s the first of a new month, I thought I would set a few goals for September (see above regarding new resolutions).  This month I will:

  • Stick to my training schedule
  • Stretch and foam roll after every run
  • Keep track of runs (pace, feel, conditions, shoes, etc.)
  • Attend four yoga classes

What are your goals for the month?

Four! Glorious! Miles!

My Friday night prepping paid off.  Saturday morning I was ready to run. Armed with fresh perspective, Nuun for hydration, and a hilarious podcast to pass the miles, I hit the road.  Having already secured a breakfast invite from my mom, I decided to tackle one of my favorite routes: our house to my parents’ house.  Early morning miles + breakfast waiting for me?  Too good to be true.  My preferred route to their house is closer to seven miles, and though I was sorely tempted to reach for those kind of miles, I stuck to my scheduled four miles (I plan to post on my new training plan later in the week) and had my boys drop me off a couple miles closer to town.  My fellas were on their way to Lowes (one of my boys’ favorite places) so it was a win-win for all.  Running, Lowes, breakfast with the grandparents: winner, winner chicken dinner.  Or winner, winner oatmeal breakfast as the case may be.

The miles: oh they were glorious.  My four miles were not particularly quick, but they were so enjoyable.  The weather was just perfect.  It was cool, but not too cool; the air had that perfect hint to fall to it.  The route is a pretty hilly one (there’s not a lot of flat routes in our little mountain town) and while the hills were definitely a challenge (both uphill and down), for the most part, I felt like I was cruising.  This was my longest run (without stops) in some time.  Even though I was fatigued by the end, I felt as though I could’ve continued on, if need be.  What a good feeling!  It was, by far, the best run I’ve had since the beginning of the summer.  I’m so grateful that I was able to get out there on such a crisp morning in these dying days of summer.  It really did start the weekend off on such a high note.  Long live the “long” run!

This week I’m sticking to my new training plan.  And what a week.  Whew.  I’m tired already.  We have well child check-ups for both kiddos this week, a dentist appointment for our older son and a doctor’s appointment for me.  Our baby is turning ONE this week so in addition to the fourteen million doctors’ appointments, we will celebrate that little guy.  We are so, so grateful that we get to live life with him and can’t wait to party with him tomorrow!  And to top off the week, we’re hosting my in-laws for the long weekend.  Since it’s going to be such a jam packed week, I spent time yesterday scheduling my workouts to make sure they happen this week.  Gold star for me.

I’m so happy to be starting the week on such a positive note!  Hoping your week, running and otherwise, starts off equally as well!

Changing My Perspective

When last we spoke, I shared a little bit about my recent re-commitment to running.  We moved to a new city in January and after the dust settled I started running regularly.  My husband took note of my new commitment to running and he and our boys gifted me a new pair of running shoes for Mother’s Day.  I signed up and ran a few races (trail races; more on that another day).  I decided that this was going to be my year.  This was finally going to be my marathon year.  I started training harder and faster than I had ever trained and I loved every minute of it.

But then things started hurting: my shins, my feet, my everything.  I tried running through the pain and when I could no longer walk downstairs in our house or get out of our car without serious grimaces and groans, I surrendered to my first ever running related injury and took some time off.  And then a little more time.  And a little more.  And now here we are.

I’ve whined a lot about the fitness I’ve lost over the past few weeks.  I’ve complained to just about anyone who listen that I’ve lost more than just my speed (it’s all relative, baby).  I’ve lost my endurance, my motivation, my drive.  The three miles that were once a solid warm up, now seem to be an insurmountable challenge.  Getting out of bed when the alarm clock goes off was a struggle before, but now it’s downright impossible.

But then Tara left me a comment on Tuesday and I felt something start to shift within me.  She reminded me that this running is what we get to do.  It’s all a gift.  I also received a followup comment {as an aside, those comments are such an encouragement to my little blogging heart! keep ‘em coming!} from a dear friend reminding me of the joy that we find in running, the pure pleasure that is ours for the taking.  I felt the turmoil of anxiety and disappointment of the past couple of weeks start to quiet within me.  And then, to complete the trifecta of positivity, my husband reminded me that the journey is long.  In life, in mothering, but especially in running.

I’m a perfectionist and while it can be a helpful trait from time to time, more often than not, it is to my detriment.  I want to be perfect and I want to be perfect now so I usually end up quitting things before I give myself the chance to really get going.  I started this blog, in part, to keep myself from doing just that.  I wanted to challenge myself to really engage with the process.

I don’t like the process, but you know what?  Life is the process.  That’s all there is to it.  So I’d better change my perspective and start to enjoy the journey, as cheesy as that sounds.  Running is a gift; there are a lot of folks who are unable to get out there and log a few miles so I’d better change my attitude and start appreciating the miles I’m able to run, even if they’re not as fast as I’d like them to be.  Running is fun.  I need to remember that.  It’s also invigorating and motivating and sometimes I do get brief glimpses of what it was like to run as wild and free as I did when I was a kid.  It’s low stakes (as compared to being a wife and mother and friend).  I can set big goals and work towards them, learning what it takes to stick with things and applying those lessons to other areas of my life.  And the journey is long.  It’s okay to start where I am, to embrace the runner that I am today.  I can work on being faster, better, but I can’t do that work unless I realistically address the place I’m starting from.

So today, I’m setting aside the disappointment and the discouragement and the bad attitude.  I’m thankful for the runner that I once was.  I’m thankful for the example of other runners in the community who set incredible examples for to which I aspire.  I’m thankful for big goals and big dreams that spur on my training.  But I’m also thankful for the runner I am right now.  I will no longer be embarrassed by my slow times, by my starting point.  Instead, I’m going to embrace this place.  I’m going to start with the basics, I’m going to build a firm foundation on which to build what I hope will be a lifetime love affair with running.  I’m going to race with grace.

My Relationship with Running

I’ve had an on again, off again relationship for running since high school.  I ran the required warm up laps prior to field hockey games and dabbled in a little running mainly as a way to stay fit for swim season.  In college, my amazing roommate encouraged me to run.  She was a cross country runner herself, the daughter of Ironman competing parents.  We logged some serious miles together, even training for and competing in a couple of sprint triathlons.

After college, I moved to a new city to be with my boyfriend of many years only to promptly break up.  I didn’t know anyone in town, save the newly former boyfriend and I felt lost in a way I’d never experienced before.  On a whim, I treated myself to new pair of running shoes.  Because money was tight in those lean post-college days, I signed up for a race (my first and only half marathon) as a way to motivate myself and to ensure that the shoe investment was worth it.  I printed out the first training plan I found online and in so doing, I suddenly gained a schedule, goals, and something with which to fill my time.  Evenings that once stretched endlessly before me now had purpose: run 6 miles.  Those miles not only helped me to pass the loneliest time, that time after work and before it’s acceptable to be in bed, but they introduced me to my new city, my newly adopted home.  With each training week, I gained back a little of my lost confidence, learned new neighborhoods and pockets of the city, and slowly began to find myself again.  That time was definitely my sweetest and most committed season of running.

Since that time, I’ve been less committed to my relationship with running.  Between getting married, going to grad school, having babies, there just never seemed to be the time for running.  Sacrilege, I know.

The past six months have been tough ones for me and for my family.  With great joy we welcomed our second son, but man, that newborn season is rough.  In the midst of those hazy first few newborn months, we moved our family to the mountains of North Carolina.  While this was a move we had long dreamed of making, the actuality of making the move was so much harder than we anticipated.  The new city, the loneliness and lack of community felt altogether too familiar to that post college time.  But this time, I knew exactly what I needed to do: I laced up those running shoes and got to work.

Slogging Along

Yesterday I was all hyped to get back on plan and get serious about training.  That was yesterday.  Today?  Today I’m just not feeling it.  I had another disappointing workout this afternoon.  I had such high hopes that I would feel strong and that the running would feel effortless.  I’m not sure about you, but man, I slog through all the hard days for those rare, but worth it, effortless days.  To run perchance to fly.  Today was not about flying; today was all about the slog.

I’m trying to stay positive, trying to embrace the process, throw myself a little grace, but it’s getting tougher with each disappointing run.  I’ve drowned my sorrows in homemade barbecue pizza and I’m going to formulate a plan this evening.  I feel very strongly that there is precious little in life that isn’t helped by a list or a plan.  So I plan to put together my plan of attack.  I’m going to figure out how to get through the tough runs and onto the fun part.  Because it has to be more fun that this, right?

Never Miss A Monday

I’ve been following Jen on Instagram for some time now and she has this thing: never miss a Monday.  And man.  I get it.  There’s nothing like starting the week off with a strong workout.  Especially if you punted your long run on Saturday.  Ahem.

Last week saw lots of good Monday mojo: I wrote my first blog post and kicked off a 13 week half marathon training cycle.  Said mojo was short lived when a cold brought to my knees, halting all training for the week.  Despite attempting a midweek-rally (and failing), the week ended in a whimper as I dealt with a pesky foot issue.  The entire first week of training, lost.

And now, Monday.  And we never miss a Monday, right?  This Monday’s workout was an especially crucial one as my three year old started preschool today.  I knew I would need those endorphins to carry me through the morning without my little sidekick.  I laid out my clothes last night, finally pulling out my new shirt and capris that I purchased as a little happy to start this training cycle.  I knew I wanted to start the week off strong and nothing says strong like a new outfit, am I right?  I laid out my Nuun and my Another Mother Runner water bottle and put my shoes by the door.

The alarm went off at 5:00 and as much as I wanted to shut it off and go back to sleep, I didn’t.  I didn’t miss Monday.  I made it to the gym, logged my 3 miles for the day, and back home again before the sun rose.  (Not before my little guys woke up this morning, but that’s another story.)  It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t fast, but I got through it.  I’m claiming victory.  Jen is right on the money:  never miss a Monday.  Even though my workout wasn’t what I wanted it to be, it gave me the motivation I needed to get back on this training wagon…but more about that tomorrow.