Working on it

August 30, 2012

Staying in shape is no joke.  Getting back in shape is no joke either.

I pride myself on being fairly healthy.  Sure I have a few swings in the opposite direction every now and then, but for the most part, I’m a healthy gal.  But that doesn’t mean I can take 1.5 months off and stay “in shape”. 

After what felt like a serious roller coaster of a ride with work, I landed myself in a temporary (for now) fix that has been one of the better decisions I’ve ever made.  Which means all those other annoying little parts of my life could promptly settle themselves back into place, right?


I am not a patient person guys.   So naturally, I wanted everything to go back to how it was.  Waking up first thing in the morning for a 5:45-6 am gym class or run, have a day of healthy nutritious snacks, a dinner I was proud of, rinse and repeat.  I loved how I felt, how my routine was, how those little things could give me a burst of endorphins. 

Having the rest of my life fall back into routine hasn’t been easy.  Jumping right back into it isn’t reasonable.  My body fights back, demands sleep, food and comfort.  It threatens to get sick and walk in waddle format for the rest of the week after a first day back to lifting.  So I’ve resorted to slowly working myself back into it.   

I started with my food.  Focusing on healthy again.  And slowly, but surely its been working.  I’m starting to crave bowls of whole grains, tofu and veggies again, (especially after a weekend at home).  Salads are once again an [almost] daily part of my routine and for breakfast this past Monday, I had a green smoothie that reminded me how horribly out of practice I am at making them. 

Next I worked on getting back to the gym and balancing that with some sleep.  This one took some effort, and I’m still not back to my 3 a week classes, but I’ve made it back to Monday Body Pump for the past 2 weeks.  The first week was ROUGH.  Moving hurt for a good week afterwards.  But this week, I was just a little tight – nothing I couldn’t handle.  Thankfully no movement was impaired after this session.   So I felt good about adding in Yoga last night and tomorrow night round 2 of Body Pump. 

The hardest part about all of this, has been losing a lot of my cardio endurance.  It really has reminded me how this stuff is not to be taken for granted.  Its also reminded me how much we’re programmed to enjoy not doing anything and can easily justify taking just one more day to prepare yourself.  Tuesday night I had finally had enough of the excuses and the guilt afterwards.  And pushed myself to get back to the gym, despite a long day at work.  35 minutes of elliptical later, I was satisfied – but also sad.   I used to think “35 minutes, ok a short little workout” and now I was trying to figure out how to occupy myself for that long. 

Out of all of this though, there have been some good things.  For instance, I’ve realized mentally that I don’t like how it feels to be lazy, especially after knowing how it feels to be in pretty darn good shape.  I know what I prefer and I know the kind of hard work and dedication it takes to achieve that.  For awhile, my goals were driven by successfully running races, a 5k, a 10k, a half marathon.  I even started out for running a full marathon early this summer, but just couldn’t find the motivation to do it.  Needless to say, I won’t be running it this year.  But what I did do, is find a different reason for that drive, which I think is a bit more important.  I still think I’d like to run a marathon, its still on my bucket list. But when I do it, the race won’t be my sole motivation for getting out to the gym or hitting the pavement.   I think I figured I’d get to this point eventually, I’m just glad I have.

So yeah.  Cheers to all those folks who have decided to change their life for the healthier and have found a way to keep it up.  You’re pretty darn awesome, because its pretty darn hard.


ps – College Football tonight!!!!! Who else is doing a little happy dance?


Thoughts for Thursday

April 12, 2012

I had every intention of getting up this morning and getting my run in.  But with a snuggly warm cat glued to my side, using my arm as a pillow, I chose to take it as a sign from the Gods.

Sort’ve joking, but the cat was there and we were comfortable and I was still pretty darn tired.  I let myself have one more morning of rest.  And as it turns out, I have felt great all day.  Awake and no sign of a mental fog.  Yes, that does mean I’m “behind” 2 runs now, but allow me to be perfectly honest with you.  Yesterday’s run and today’s run, are a grand total of 5 miles combined.  My training schedule is still a “novice” runner schedule.  I’ve been running since October, but frankly, that’s about 6 months total of dedicated running.  I don’t mind considering myself a novice still.  Despite my “novice” status though, I can definitely say that I’ve greatly improved my running.  I’ve run a half-marathon, without stopping, with a sub 10 minute mile.  While yes, this may sound slow (do I sound like a broken record yet?), to someone who thought a 10 minute mile was unattainable, this is pretty awesome.  And I have nothing but indications that I will continue to get faster and smarter at running.

I’ve also started to incorporate more effective cross training workouts into my training schedule, focusing on lifting and cardio exercises that will compliment my running and make me stronger and better at endurance.  Yoga and Body pump are helping me build more strength and things like hill intervals and Body Combat are helping me with my endurance, and complimentary muscles.  When I first started running, it was all I did.  Run.  I used to lift a lot in highschool for Softball and I loved it.  College and grad school really put a damper on my lifting routine and I am ridiculously happy to be getting back into it.  I love my Body Pump classes and already consider my instructors a welcome addition to the start and end of my weeks.   I’m also looking to add in another day of heavy lifting, where I decrease my reps and increase my weight to really focus on building more muscle.   If I can get my butt to stop hanging out with gravity, I have a sneaking suspicion that I’ll be that much better of a runner 😉

Finally, since starting Running back in October, I’ve shifted from being an occasional meat eater, to a vegetarian, to flirting with a Vegan friendly diet.  I would never give out dietary advice without certification, but I can say that for myself personally, I’ve felt MUCH better about my body and health when I focus on eating more whole foods and veggies.  It isn’t always easy, just ask Brandon.  There’s a lot of research that goes into going out to eat now and I definitely spend more time perusing the menu.  I’ve learned that I have to be more comfortable asking for things prepared a certain way, but for the most part, if you’re sweet about it and ask with a smile, restaurants are always more than willing to accommodate.  Not to mention, I said I’m flirting with a Vegan diet, not following it strictly.  That means its not the end of the world if something isn’t 100% dairy/egg free.   Its also takes a bit more work in the beginning, to make sure I was getting all of the nutrients I needed.  I kept track of what I ate and the nutritional values of my meals (note, I was NOT counting calories, although I do think its important to have a general idea of what you consume).  Frankly, as a Vegetarian, I had already taken most of this into consideration and it wasn’t as hard for me to do, but with a Vegan friendly diet, I was a lot more careful to get in more grains than before.  I took on the Vegan diet challenge for Lent and by the end of it, I didn’t really have any desire to go buy a block of cheese and eat it on the spot.  So for now, I’ll just go with the flow, rather than labeling myself as one particular eater.  I hate labels, but I guess, if I were one, I’d be a

“Novice weight lifting, getting faster, flirty body combater Vegan yogi”.

Has a ring to it, no?

And with that – its time to finish up work and battle my way through traffic to get to the gym.

Anyone else start something for Lent and decide to keep with it?