Saturday, December 31, 2011

Windy Pre-Dash Jitters

Psyching myself up to run in the wind. So glad to see the National Weather Service issued a Wind Advisory for tomorrow. Nothing like making a mere 5 miles seem a whole lot longer! Here's hoping I get a nice tailwind for more than half of those 5 miles. I feel like this is Mother Nature's way of inducting me into Team Tough Chik. Way to go nature!!!

Friday, December 30, 2011

For Times Gone By (Auld Lang Syne) in 2011

Exhausted. This week has kicked me in the butt. For the first time since I've started running my legs are just tired. I'm fatigued, I'm aching, and I'm feeling defeated. Add this feeling to the cookie/muffin top that arrived on my body last week and I'm just feeling, well... like a bump on a log. So what better time than to stop - look back at my "log" and see just how much I accomplished this year?

At this time last year, I had lost 50 lbs and hadn't run a step in my entire life. Today, I've lost 100 lbs and I'm racing 5 miles this weekend. Ok, that's sort of big.... add to that:

According to - which I've used since May 2011 - when I started running, I have run 130 workouts going 550 miles. 10 runs into my new hobby, I got more serious than just mapping my run and got myself a Garmin. My Garmin stats for 2011 are:

 Count: 140 Activities
 Distance: 491.05 mi
 Time: 113:50:53 h:m:s
 Elevation Gain: 15,559 ft

Avg Speed:
4.4 mph
 Avg HR: 142 bpm
 Calories: 72,929 C

 Now, some caveats. I have worn the Garmin for at least a handful of non-running cardio workouts. But, I will hold these numbers up proudly. When I started running I was a jiggling size 16. I'm still jiggling but I credit the running to getting the last 25 lbs off this frame, several inches, and getting my tummy slimmed down enough to fit into a size 12. More still, running has helped my self confidence, my stress level and my health in both measurable and unmeasurable ways. I've graduated from dancing on the Wii, to running in  "Publik", to kick boxing with Tony Horton, to racing a 5K, to plyometrics, to half marathon training. As one of my favorite running songs goes, "there goes the fear" (the Doves).

So pretty much this year can be summed up: I've gone from being a bump on a log to feeling like a bump who is committed to log (miles that is). 2011 has turned out into the best year of my life. Other years of my life have had highlights - 2004 for my marriage - 2008 and 2009 for the birth of my girls - but never has a year brought me so much personal triumph on an almost weekly basis. I'm feeling a bit melancholy that 2011 is ending and trying with all my spirit to embrace 2012, to set goals, make plans and sign up to keep on triumphing in 2012.

So I feel that I need to give 2011 its due respect. In order to do that, I will dress up! Ala...

Should old acquaintances be forgotten
and never remembered
Should old acquaintance be forgotten
For times gone by

For times gone by, my dear
For times gone by
We will take a cup of kindness yet
For times gone by

And in the wise words of Ferris: "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." Bring it, 2012!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tough Chik

I just joined Team Tough Chik!!! I'm so excited! Come on! I know there are other Tough Chiks out there!

Jiggle Miles (Week 4 Training Recap)

"Jiggle miles... jiggle miles.. jiggle all the way! Oh what fun it is to run on a cold and wintry day. Hey! Jiggle miles! Jiggle miles!"...

The most amazing transformation occurred this Christmas week. Cookies took it upon themselves to transform into a muffin - top that is. Muffin top. Welcome back. Beware, your stay will be short.

As I was running my long 9 miles this morning, I pondered the anatomy of a run. 

The first 3 miles

It starts out like this:

This morning it took me a long time to even get my gear on. I was procrastinating and with my 5th trip to the bathroom, I realized, I need to get this body outside or I am just not going to do it. My husband encouraged me -- but honest, I felt like I look. Totally disgruntled.

The first 3 miles are pretty much like this - always. I have this running conversation with myself...

"Why am I doing this? This hurts. I can't breathe. I could walk home. I could stop. I will run another day.... "

Each step feels heavy. My body is slow. My mind is in overdrive giving me excuses. My legs hurt. My lungs hurt. My ego hurts. I try to visualize myself at a further point in my route - at the top of the hill, I look towards Target and think that I will be there - and another 3 miles into this run - fairly soon.

The next 3 miles 

My little voice just keeps on..

"Ah! I feel strong! I feel empowered! I see my shadow, or my reflection in a window - and wow! Hey! Look at me! I'm doing what lots of people wish they could do. I lift my head up high. My pace is good. I feel like a million bucks. I've got energy to spare. I'm totally cute - check out my legs! I could totally run a half marathon. I could totally run a marathon. I get it! I could tackle anything.  I mean, honestly, if you have told me this time last year that I would be running - running over 5 miles in one go - I would have laughed you to another planet. Yipeee!!! "

My legs feel amazing. I am on springs. I feel powerful and in charge. Don't get in my way. Ugh, is that a tweek in my knee? Nah...

The last 3 miles

The doubt is creeping in at this point. I'm not sure I can go much further. My legs are starting to feel a bit like jelly and my running is a bit more haphazard. I'm sort of scared I'm going to hurt myself at this point. I tend to go faster as I am getting a bit desperate at seeing the distance at the Garmin. Now, I see the end and I am dying to get there. This is where I start to think about "emptying my tank" -- leaving it all out there. The pain sort of slips into a numb place, the voices quiet - and I am singularly focused on the end. Down this street - up that hill - across that park - almost there. I'm racing to be done. Forget thinking straight, I can hardly see straight.

During my cool down - a walk up and down the block - I relish in the post run confidence. The disbelief that I've just finished 9 miles, but the confidence that I could do it again if I had to. I feel exhausted but invigorated. Ready to tackle whatever comes my way.

I made it thru all of my runs Christmas week. I even made it to the gym. I gave in on the diet and consumed more sugar this past week than I have all year. I forgive myself for it. But I will add the caveat that despite feeling like I could "tackle whatever comes my way", I have failed at tackling the scale this week. Again, I haven't even gotten on the darn thing. I am totally scared to see the number. I'm in denial.

Week 4 was a taper week. I backed off the mileage:

Miles: 18 miles (15 miles outside - 4 on the treadmill)
Garmin stats were lost in the great Garmin death from the cold. Thanks to a reboot I am back up and running, literally.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Merry Christmas (Week 3 Training Recap)

This holiday greeting is brought to you by Kathleen Turner, ahem, no, rather, Mara - sounding like Kathleen Turner. As luck would have it, the fates heard the my college bestie was on her way to Mad-town for a visit. Murphy's law dictates that whenever you have lots of super cool plans that snot must immediately arrive in your sinuses, and thusly, it did. It is a good thing that this particular bestie is very familiar with the Mara ala Kathleen Turner, and did not blink an eyelash when she sailed down the escalator at Dane Regional Airport and encountered a slightly less than human moi. Let the good times roll!

Despite all the diversions this week, water slides, wine bars, bedazzlement and squirrels.. I was still able to fit in all my runs. Add the flu to that week, and I am SUPER DUPER proud that I got all my miles logged. When I got back from my long 9 miles on Friday, hubs looked at me, and said: "Are you for real?" I looked and felt like death warmed over apparently.

Put this week in the DONE column. I'm looking forward to week 4, which includes all easy runs. We started our 3 month Groupon at the local fitness center this week. Today I had my free personal training session with, as luck would have it, their triathlon coach. The trainer was awesome and I feel so invigorated at all the things that I want to try - not only at the gym - but in addition to running. Rather than be intimidated, I felt encouraged that I can get on any machine at the gym and just - well Nike got it right - do it.

My Garmin stats for the week:

Distance: 23 miles
Time: 4:51:43
Calories: 3,315

Honest? I didn't even get on the scale this morning. I knew it was going to be bad. Food continues to be a challenge for me these past few weeks. I'm giving myself too much leeway given the training. I believe I will be joining the ranks of those making New Years Resolutions this year.

Merry Christmas to all my friends and family. I hope the season brings you peace, joy and laughter. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Batcave, the adult version (Week 2 Training Recap)

I'm so excited and I just can't hide it! This week my bestie from college is coming into town. Oh man.. How awesome is this going to be? We've bonded in Berlin, we've cheered in South Beach, we've froze in Hungary, we've tanned in Palm Beach, we've walked the beach in New England in February.... and now, we are getting our tacky on in the Wis Dells. Ok, well, not entirely, but it was a nice study in contrasts, yes?

See, back in the day, we thought we were cool in red eyeshadow from Chanel (or was it Lancome?  I can't remember... it was 1998). Now we know better, or do we? This week we find out.

I'm front loading my training this week, in order to have some free time for the fun stuff later this week. I've got an idea for some shenanigans but also playing it free and easy... you know, we are older now. This isn't the batcave anymore... well, it sort of is.. without the overflowing ash trays. Will there be prosecco? You can bet your Prada on it.

Training this week was good. My long run was the coldest day of the week, and it was a challenge. I'm getting where I am really enjoying my cold weather running, and the fact is, that Wisconsin weather is being kind to me since it hasn't snowed yet. I'm just going to keep going outside as long as I feel safe.

My Garmin stats:

Activities: 4
Distance: 23.04 miles
Time: 04:01:05
Average speed: 5.7 mph
Calories: 2,929

Oh, and the weight. Do we need to talk about it? Up a .5 lbs from last week. The diet continues to be my achilles heel. And let me tell ya, it is not going to be any better this week!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Points ( Week 1 Training Recap)

Points! I've earned points! Lots and lots of points!

Have you ever noticed how excited we get about points? I had a random Mara ranting in the car the other day after noticing a sign in the local department store about how today you earned "double points". Frequent flier points! Reward points! Get your points here!

Give 'em to me, I gotta have more points! As if the world is out there keeping tally. Like some big cash register in the sky is up there keeping tally, "Mara is doing well! So many points today!"

I think I even have a Petco card, where I get points - like every three years - when I buy my hairy cats (who seem never interested in dying) a new litter box because I can't handle the old one any more. Petco points - what are THEY ever going to do for me? But somewhere deep down in the bowels of my purse there are cards for these places - like Petco, Babies R Us, Red Robin. You name it, I've got a card and I've got points coming out the Wazoo... .

Now., here are some points I could go for:

1. Points for every cookie, cake, cupcake, pizza, hamburger, french fries or yummy adult beverage that I passed up.
2. Points that were immediately converted into a cash. On the spot. Plunk! Right into the wallet.

So, for each cupcake I skipped, I'd earn $5. I think that's fair considering a cupcake these days costs about $5.  Each cocktail would qualify as $10 cash back. Baked brie at the holiday soiree? $8. Just think of the mullah that you'd be making this time of year. Christmas day? You can make a killing. No cookies, no pancakes, no hot chocolate, no mashed potatoes, no stuffing. Everyone else is spending money and you are making it. A nice daydream, eh?

Ok, back on topic. How about those training points I put in the bank this week?

Half Marathon Training Week 1

Running Miles: 21
Cross Training: 1 strength training. 1 cardio boxing workout.

Here are the Garmin stats (all workouts):

Count:6 Activities
Distance:21.98 mi
Time:5:37:56 h:m:s
Elevation Gain:668 ft
Avg Speed:3.9 mph (totally off due to XT however, it is hard to run slow. I'm working on it.)
Avg HR:--
Avg Run Cadence:--
Avg Bike Cadence:--
Calories:3,446 C

And as to the weight? Well, if I am generous with myself (and I am), I will calculate from last Monday's weigh in. However, that starting weight is 5 lbs off my low from August. Folkals, I've been eating bad! But I'm counting my calories once again.

Weight loss this week: 1.5 lbs

Total Weight loss to date: 96.5 lbs

Weight to lose til goal: 17.5 lbs (total goal 115 lbs)

I've changed my goal a bit from the original as stated last week. I want to lose 15 lbs on top of the 100 lbs, so first up, get these pesky holiday lbs off and be back down where I was in August. For that, I will give myself double reward points! Yipee!