Friday, August 24, 2012

Well, Hello, Size 16!

I am back into a size 16 jean, and boy, has it been a while. It's fitting since today marks my 16th wedding anniversary, too. The last time I wore this size was in mid-1993. I had just graduated from college and met my husband. I can't believe it's taken my 19 years to get my rear in gear and lose my luggage! Why did I wait so long?

This morning, I worked out with a good friend of mine at a local playground. I'm going to give her the alias "Scully" since she's a medal winning member of the Minneapolis Rowing Club. I look forward to working out with Scully because she's so upbeat and supportive. By far my biggest backer Scully's been rooting for me since day one of my weight loss journey. We train together about once a week, and she is well aware of all my weak areas. Gulp.

Scully would be an awesome personal trainer if she ever decided to pursue a career in physical fitness. Committed to regular exercise and healthy eating the woman's clocked countless hours refining her form in the gym, on the water and on local bike paths and walking trails.

Deciding to concentrate more heavily on abs, Scully planned today's playground circuit ahead of time. If I am struggling at a station she always has an option prepared targeting the same area and never belittles me. Sit-ups with my feet uphill are still a definite no-go, but with my feet slightly downhill and a medicine ball involved my abs get the attention they deserve.

Scully taught me a fun little exercise called the "Joe Mauer." If you're a Major League Baseball fan, you know that catcher Joe is the "Baby Jesus" of the Minnesota Twins. Begin the exercise by standing erect, feet apart. Hold a medicine ball between both hands at chest level. Squat, then slowly lower ball between legs just past the knees. Finally, stand up while lifting ball over head. Repeat. I swear I can feel my thighs burn just thinking about a Joe Mauer. He-he-he!

We used a 10 pound medicine ball during our workout, and this was a first for me. I really liked it, and I am now in the market for one of my own. As we jogged to the park taking turns carrying the ball I couldn't help thinking that less than eight months ago I was carrying an equivalent of eight 10 pound medicine balls on my body 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Now that's heavy.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Wear and Tear on My Family

Well, it's been a pretty good week for exercise and calorie counting. I've managed to get in a couple great workouts. Monday night I worked an hour on the elliptical, followed by 30 minutes on the recumbent bike plus 20 minutes for dumbbell work on my arms. Last night, I took a 12 mile bike ride, and tonight I managed to run 3.1 miles and bike a little over 6 miles. Yay!

I've been pushing pretty hard lately because I'm just a few pounds away from leaving the 200s behind me FOREVER. I'm creating a significant calorie deficit, but it's still not showing on the scale. I know I've hit another plateau, and that's why I'm upping my game with harder workouts, weight training and an increase in water consumption.

When I think back to where I began on this journey, I can't believe how far I've traveled in such a short amount of time. That doesn't mean I'm 100% satisfied with my progress, and I am definitely impatient to reach my destination. "How much further is it? How many more hours?" I feel like a little kid nagging my parents from the backseat during a long road trip.

Physically and emotionally I'm healthier. In fact, I never expected the dramatic impact an 80 pound weight loss would have on my attitude and outlook on life. I am regaining my confidence, recognizing my personal strength and am enjoying a strong sense of well-being.

My weight loss journey is rather tiresome to my immediate family. No one wants to hear about it anymore, and to be fair I've been warned the topic is hopelessly boring. Apparently talking about exercise is equivalent to discussing daily toiletry habits. Needless to say, I have very little support at home. It makes me sad, but I'm not ready to throw in the towel, yet.

My husband teases me about the running. He finds it ridiculous. I've found that while I'm not the fastest runner it does really help shed the pounds, and my leg muscles are now rock solid. Running is cheap, it makes me feel good and I'm actually starting to like it. Did I just say that? My high school physical education teacher would fall to the floor in a fit of hysterical laughter if he ever read that I actually LIKE running.

I have tried unsuccessfully to get my son, daughter and/or husband to go for a walk, ride bike or hike with me. Frankly, no one in this house is interested. I want to keep moving and losing, but I am beginning to feel really guilty about the time I'm spending exercising. Before I started my focus was always on my family, and my wants and needs usually took a backseat to everyone else's. Now, I take the time to exercise, blog and read. I feel healthier, but my family seems to be drifting apart. The wear and tear is showing.

Am I being selfish? They are content with trotting along the same path, and I'm straining at the bit. I want to run, swim, bike and play. Too busy with their iPads, computers, video games and tv shows I leave them behind. There's a definite disconnect, and it's time we all rewire.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Should I Tri?

It's a tiny idea that's beginning to form inside my head. I enjoy swimming, biking and running. What if I started training for a triathlon? It could be another great adventure on my journey to a more healthy weight and lifestyle.

I did a little experiment this week. On Monday night I hopped on my bike and rode hard for 12 miles. Then, I jumped off, rehydrated and ran 2.75 miles. The first half mile of the run felt incredibly odd since the muscles in my legs didn't want to work. Once I convinced them I wasn't letting up everything seemed to fall into place, and I completed my test run. I think I can...

How does one train for a triathlon? Do you change clothes after the swim? I have so many questions. Fortunately, I've found a woman who's been where I am and is actively blogging on the internet After reading some of her blog entries, I've decided to seriously consider entering a triathlon. I would start with a sprint or short course event. Should I tri?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Family Time

I had a ton of fun on Friday evening playing racquetball at the Maplewood Community Center with my daughter. Racquetball with an 11 year-old requires a little patience and a lot of energy spent chasing the ball as it rolls across the floor. There's definitely a lot less volley than serve. Nonetheless, she enjoys the game, and I love spending time with her.

I've been focusing myopically on my own health over the past few months. Even though I haven't reached my goal weight, I've become a more positive role model for my kids. Up until now, I've taken a back seat failing to drive my kids toward improving their physical fitness. While my entire family follows a pescatarian diet it's not always balanced, and the buck stops here. I fill the cupboards and refrigerator with food. I routinely plan the menu and prepare meals.

I know it's my job as a parent to help my kids lead healthy lives, but until recently encouraging my family to watch portion sizes and find time to workout seemed hypocritical. I plead guilty of plopping myself in a chair, watching too much television and snacking right from the bag. After punishing my body for the past 22 years, I'm slowly making amends. Now, I'm worried about my kids. I don't want them to struggle with obesity.

With computers, internet, cable/satellite television and video games making it so easy to sit all day, my family is guilty of a fairly sedentary lifestyle. It's definitely time to make a change. We need to find ways to get moving and make it fun. Committing to one family night a week at the Community Center might be a great option for all of us.

After racquetball my daughter and I headed to the facility's pool. I swam 30 laps missing a mile by only 3 laps when the pool closing whistle blew. I'm concerned about the loose skin under my arms due to weight loss, and I think swimming laps will tone my arms. Besides, I enjoy swimming and so does my daughter. She swam a couple laps alongside me then opted to play on the giant water slide. We both got some exercise and genuinely enjoyed it!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Rocked a 5K

I did it! I actually ran in my first official 5K Saturday, July 28th, 2012 in my hometown of Rockford, Iowa. I wasn't fast by any means, but I didn't stop to walk, either. I finished in 40:29. Hey, that leaves me plenty of room to improve! I ran with my 16 year old niece. It was her first 5K, too.

I felt pretty good going into the race. I'd managed to squeeze in a couple long workouts on the elliptical and recumbent bike the week leading up to the run/walk. Plus, I did a mock 5K two days prior just so I'd feel confident about the distance. I was actually faster during practice by two minutes.

About an hour before the race I ate a banana and Chobani yogurt. A good friend of mine swears by this pre-workout combo, and it definitely seems to work. I didn't feel overly full, and it gave me enough energy to get through the race.

Nice swag at this event.
Now I just have to figure out how to pickup some speed. I've been keeping my pace fairly consistent, but it's time to start pushing and increasing my fitness level. I am going to start out by doing some block long sprints during my regular jogs.

Since the Rockford 5K, I've completed longer distances. Last night I jogged six miles. Remarkably, once I hit mile four I felt exhilarated.  So, I  increased my pace and fell into a more comfortable breathing rhythm and longer stride.

It was such a beautiful night, and the temperature was perfect with a soft, cool breeze. If I could hold onto one moment during my journey to wellness,  it was last night as I bounded the boardwalk at Harriet Alexander Nature Center with the sun setting. By improving my physical strength I've bolstered my mental confidence to cross the finish line. With 79.2 pounds down and 59.8 more to go, I think I've caught my second wind.

First 5K 7/28/12 - Rockford, Iowa