Thursday, July 29, 2010

Resting Restlessly And Running

Talk about unexpected outcomes. You know how you always hear how exercising gives you more energy and helps you sleep better? Well, it's kind of true.

Kind of.

See, my energy and sleep deficiencies didn't come didn't show their ugly heads until I stopped exercising. As my eloquent coworker Rob pointed out, exercise is like heroin--you don't realize what it's doing to you until you try to stop. (A heroin addict will have to attest to this, as I have no experience on the matter.)

I hit a huge wall this week, my first without vigorous morning exercise in a month. It's been hard to get up in the morning, hard to stay awake (and FOCUSED) at work, and hard to keep my legs from being all twitchy and antsy all day and night. It's been even more difficult to go to sleep at night and stay there. The sleep thing--not cool. I have a slight obsession with getting enough sleep and nothing kills me more than to lose it in some way. Talk about crabby and dysfunctional.

I've been drinking coffee in the morning to fight the drowsiness, and I haven't "needed" coffee since I started boot camp. Seems a bit backwards, doesn't it? Getting up earlier and exercising before the sun comes up appears to be the perfect recipe for a caffeine dependency. Not so much.

The weirdest thing is that I wasn't a bad sleeper before boot camp and I didn't think I had low energy either. Did boot camp create these monsters or did I just not realize they existed until I took the drug away?

So, why the lack of exercise? Well, because I was told to rest. The ABC trainers encouraged campers to rest during this "week off" (it's a week off for people who are returning to the next session) and not do anything too strenuous. I guess muscles need time to recover. I did some scientific research on Facebook this week to survey my expert friends and uncovered some excellent information. Thank you Marathon Chris and ABC Brian for piping in and explaining that the most important thing to do is to listen to your body. Rest or not. Well, I'm listening to my body, and it turns out it's totally over this "resting" thing. It wants to move!

So, I made it move. And it may have helped ... a little.

  • I ran on Monday
  • Had trouble getting to sleep Monday night
  • Took Tuesday off entirely
  • Really had trouble sleeping Tuesday night
  • Intended to get up early Wednesday to try the workout videos on my on-demand exercise channel
  • Opted instead to sleep in to make up for the lost sleep the night before
  • Ran Wednesday
  • Slept much better Wednesday night
  • And then skipped my planned workout this morning
Half win, half fail.

So I need a plan. And I think I figured it out this morning. I need to workout in the morning on the same day I plan to run in the evening. Two workouts, one day. That way I get to sleep a little later on the day after exerting myself the most. Think that will work? I hope so. I'm trying it tomorrow for the first time, so please hound me if I offer excuses for not getting up early on Friday morning. NO EXCUSES!

Why, oh why is it so hard to get up and exercise when all I have to do is change clothes and move into the living room instead of driving 10 minutes down the road?

So, next topic: running! Wheee!

It's been great to get my legs moving again. I missed running. Unfortunately, I think my body got used to not doing it, and subsequently got used to not doing it while I was in boot camp. It seems as though I had built up some endurance for my thrice-weekly two-mile run and lost it during my 4-week "break" at boot camp (where I only ran about a half mile daily).

My legs just aren't very happy with what I've done to them by reintroducing running. More specifically, my calves aren't happy. Even my shins have joined the pity party a little bit. The leg strain is really reducing the length of my stride and my overall endurance. I'm currently running at about the same pace as the 90-year-old man that was walking at Veterans last night. No joke. I only passed him because he slowed down to turn around and see what the thundering noise behind him was (my locomotive breathing and pounding footsteps). He did offer a "Lookin' good! Drink lots of water!" as I sputtered past him. So sweet.

So, I've got some re-conditioning to do, looks like.

I have good news, though.

1. I ran 0.76 miles straight without stopping last night.

2. I know this because I downloaded a new app for my iPhone last week in preparation for my return to running. It's the app counterpart to the most amazing website. Thank you, coworker John, for introducing me to Have you people heard of this yet?! Please check it out. You can plot your runs and enter your run data on the website (either as a registered [free or paid] user or as a non-registered user). The site uses a Google-like map and you just click to add your path and it tells you how long the route is. It looks like a normal road map, but you don't have to follow the roads to plot your path, which is SUPER helpful for me, the park runner. Also, if you register, it'll keep track of your data for you over time. The iPhone app just uses GPS to automatically plot and measure your route for you. Then it stores all the info (including calories burned, distance and time, and pace) on the website. WOOHOO!

(This is how I now learned that the "1-mile" path at Juilfs, one of my favorite parks, is not a mile. It's a bit short, which explains why my mile times there were always so phenomenal. Booo! But, but, but ... the path at Veterans is exactly a mile. Yippee!)

So, as you can tell, I've been running without Mr. C25K this week. I have not abandoned him; I was just experimenting with my new toy. I will return to him tomorrow, now that I know how long my running routes are. I'm ready to start busting through these puppies!

Remember, keep on me about the morning workouts. Please and thank you!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Accomplished But Easily Discouraged

How could I possibly be discouraged at this point in the game? After all I've accomplished since March and all the changes in my body (whether or not they are visible to anyone but me is questionable) over the last 4 weeks, how could I think negatively of my success.

Well, I can.

I'll get to it in a bit though. First, I'll bring a bit of good news to the table.

Ta da!

ABC Linda picked me as the most improved camper at this past session of Adventure Boot Camp. One, I felt terrible because another camper was talking to me while the awards were being handed out. I didn't even get to hear what ABC Linda was saying to me. I should have asked her to zip it for a minute, but, of course, I didn't. Oh well, I think I know what she probably said, which brings me to point two: There's only one way to go from the bottom. Yeah, I improved over the four weeks (less that I would have liked because of the summer yuck and two injuries), but I think it's more about the stark contrast between my first day of camp and the remaining days. Night and day.

Anyway, I'm extremely honored to get the award and I'll be eternally grateful for the whole experience and for the guidance I got from ABC Linda. Truthfully, I almost had a girly crying moment when I heard my name and jumped up to get the certificate. It was a touching moment for me--an ending, I guess, and endings always get me a little emotional. And, like any graduation ceremony, it's a beginning as well. Now I actually have to do this on my own. Yikes!

Now it's time for a promotional message.

Do it.

If you ever have the chance to participate in Adventure Boot Camp, another boot camp, or any other kind of intense workout situation like it, DO IT. It's great. It's hard and it's sweaty and it's miserable at times, but it's so gratifying. There is no better way to start your day and no better way to kick start--well, anything. Seriously, I learned some life lessons from ABC that could be applied anywhere. I did a lot of talking with and yelling at myself during ABC, and it's similar yet different to the kind of inner conversations I have with myself when I'm running.

So yes, ABC was very much a personal experience, but there are also others there who are going through similar and drastically different things at the same time. They're a support group without being in your face. They grunt and groan along with you when you just can't hold that friggin' plank any longer. They turn around after they've finished their mile so they can cheer you on as you trudge across the finish line. They show care and concern for a camper who's thrown her knee out while completing a jog. They tease about staging a coup against the trainer who's saying "One more time, ladies!" They yell out "I need some Depends to do jumping jacks--don't forget to do your Kegels ladies!" There are no (at least not in my experience) group hugs or cheesy motivational speeches--just women working hard at the same time. Here are my fellow boot campers (though I think some might be missing):

And a little closer ...

I'm the biggun' in the middle.

If you know me at all, you know I'm not an ooey-gooey girly girl who goes on and on about inspiration and the lovey-dovey-ness of having support and inspiration and--stuff. But, it did mean a lot to have this group of women with me every morning. I guess I just really appreciated the shared struggle and triumph of it all. It's like teamwork without ever really working as a team. Strange phenomenon, really.

Changing gears a bit ... let's talk about numbers.

First, the good ones. Friday was our second timed mile and timed push-up test. I shaved a whopping 10 seconds off my mile (12:54 ... though I'm convinced that could have been better without all my stupid health hurdles this month) and doubled the number of push ups (I did 10 instead of 5). The push ups number still isn't very impressive, I know, but I have some high hopes based on how I felt doing them. While I still let myself come all the way to the ground in between reps, I brought myself lower before letting loose. I also didn't arch my back when I pushed up. I kept my core tight, as ABC Linda encouraged us to do, and was able to stay fairly straight from my knees up. Not bad, not bad. I'm a little disappointed in the mile though ... Meh.

And on to more disappointment. Saturday morning I went to get my post-evaluation with the ABC folks. I did find my measurement card from my previous gym, though I wish I hadn't. I've said it from the moment I was measured by the trainers at that gym and I'll say it again--they have NO idea what they're doing there. Every trainer measured me in different places and every one of them got different numbers. Talk about a roller coaster of results. I have complete faith in the trainers of ABC though, and their ability to do it right. That being said, the measurements they took on Saturday did not boost my morale one bit.

My weight is down. From the old gym's scale to the ABC scale (who knows if the old gym's scale was high or low), I've lost 11.2 pounds. According to my home scale, it's about 20; doctor's office #1 to doctor's office #2, 17 pounds. Work scale to work scale, about 8 pounds. Take your pick.

So, that's the most reliable number I have. Oh, and the bust measurement, because how hard is it to mess that one up, right? (Down 1 inch.) And the arm might be close to correct, too, at negative 1.25 inches. According to the measurements, I've only lost an inch in my upper leg and a half inch in my hips, but I'm so super confident those numbers are bigger. I can tell by how my clothes fit, and I can just tell. There are some things you just know.

So, the trainer that measured me on Saturday heard the whole story of the idiot gym trainers and I told her the different ways they measured and she was sympathetic. She told me to not be discouraged by the numbers because it's hard to compare the two sets. But, I'm pretty sure "Don't be discouraged" is the most discouraging sentence in the English language.

I am discouraged.
And for that reason, I'm going to ignore these kinds of measurements for a good long while. I'm going to focus on the things that I can measure much more accurately.

  • For example, I can measure how much better I felt about myself in this dress on the day I wore it to my friend Alison's wedding, versus the day I bought it, versus how I would have felt wearing it a year ago.

Smokin' huh? Ha!
Three cheers for the sideways, busty pose and for Adrienne's photography skills.

  • I can measure how quickly I'm beginning to progress through the C25K program (I'm pretty sure I'm only going to do Week 3 one more time before bumping up to Week 4).
  • I can measure how much longer I can handle being out of breath.
  • I can measure how long I can run before stopping.
  • I can measure how I can start running after taking increasingly shorter breaks.
  • I can measure how my pants keep falling down and how my muffin tops are getting a wee bit smaller.
  • I can measure the diminishing rolls on my back (nice thought, no?).
  • I can measure the rarity of shin splints these days.
  • I can measure how many friggin' push ups I can do in a minute.
  • I can measure how much I hate to miss a run, not because I feel guilty, but because I just like doing it.
  • I can measure people's reactions when they see me after not seeing me for a while.
So yeah, I like those measurements better. Who needs a tape measure anyway?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

One More Day!

I'm almost going to miss 4:40 a.m. Almost.

Tomorrow is my last day at Adventure Boot Camp and I'm not sure how I feel about that. I'm glad that I made it through. I'm proud of my improvement. I'm in disbelief that I returned after the terrible experience I gave myself on the first day. I'm sad that I can't dish out the dough for more and more and more sessions. I'm worried that I won't keep up the workout routine (outside of running). I'm happy that I can sleep in a little later if I want to. I'm already nostalgic about not seeing the ducks in the morning anymore. I'm so very thankful to ABC Linda for being an awesome trainer and for putting up with my whining and for encouraging me to come back after the first day. I'm going to miss boot camp. There, I said it.

Here's what I'm not going to miss:

planks, skinned elbows and knees (from doing modified planks), the hilly running "track," being soaked through before getting into the shower (sweat), the extra laundry from the profuse amount of sweaty t-shirts I went through, my stinky weight lifting gloves, carrying my weights to base camp every morning, carrying my weights back to my car after boot camp every morning, watching my sweat drip from my face to the ground while doing anything bent over, goose/duck poop, planks (yeah, it needs to be said twice), partner exercises, mountain climbers, and trying to digest juice or food so soon after waking up.

But, despite the length of that list, I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Each of those crappy things also made me pretty happy in certain ways. Except planks. Okay maybe planks too, since they got a little easier when I figured out how to deal with my crappo knees and learned how to modify them.

So, let's have three cheers for my last day of getting up at 4:40 a.m. Hip hip!

But, getting up early hasn't been as hard as I anticipated. In fact, it was easier to get up for boot camp at an extra early hour than it is to get up for work at a regular hour.
  1. Workout clothes are more comfortable than work clothes
  2. Gym shoes are better than ANY shoes (even flip flops)
  3. Boot camp time delayed work time
  4. I had much more time to wake up before work
  5. 5 a.m. = no traffic whatsoever
I feel like I have so much more to say, but I do want to save some for my next post. Tomorrow I'll get my final timed mile, and Saturday I get a post-evaluation from the ABC folks. I should have lots to talk about on Saturday afternoon, especially if I can find my measurements card from my old gym. I'm pretty sure I've dropped major inches, but since I didn't get a pre-evaluation (registration/paperwork drama), I can't check my progress unless I find that card. I'll keep looking!

One more thing! Today I ran 4 laps around the running track without stopping. That's 4/5 (0.8) of a mile! I'm sooooo close to a mile I can taste it! I've never EVER ran that far without stopping. EVER. Not even when I was a wee one. YIPPEE!

I'll see you all on the flip side. Please send thoughts of happy leg muscles and oxygenated lungs my way tomorrow morning or tonight before bed!

Coming soon ... Beckey returns to running!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I'm M-m-melting!

Yes, the amount of sweat that pours off me during and after these boot camp workouts genuinely does make me feel like I'm an ice cube in a hot frying pan. But, it seems as though the weight is melting off me as well. Excluding today's measurements, I've lost about another 4 pounds since Tuesday. I'm averaging a loss of about 1.5 pounds every two days. Whoa.

Today, on the other hand, the scale showed me back at that 4+ weight again. Please tell me how I could gain 4 pounds overnight. Really. I want to know. This is where my distrust of scales comes from. Can I attribute the large weight fluctuations to my extreme mass? I know everyone's weight changes throughout the day, but 4 pounds? Really?

Okay, moving on ...

I'm going into my fourth and final week of Adventure Boot Camp (a.k.a. the reason for my weight loss success over the last month), and I'd like to look back at the last few days.

As I mentioned in my previous posts -- and I'm sure you're sick of hearing about it -- I've been battling a few "ailments" recently. I'm happy to say that the summer yuck/cold is almost entirely gone (just a little coughing here and there), the stiff neck is no more, and my back is at about 80% (I'm still feeling a little twisted). I feel free! Wheee!

I skipped boot camp on Thursday to "recover" a bit, and I'm sure glad I did. I woke up that morning in time to leave for camp, and standing up was no easy feat. Friday morning I was ready to roll, so I did. Unfortunately (for me), we did partner work for the entire workout. I'm not a fan. I think I've mentioned that before. I'm just not comfortable 1) having someone else rely on me to perform, and 2) relying on someone else to perform. It's not like a team sport; that I love. This is different. I wish I could explain it better.

Anyway, Friday's workout didn't leave me totally spent, and since I didn't have to go to work, I decided to go for a little jog at the my beloved Juilfs Park, which I haven't been to in a long time. I popped on my tunes and just started running without Mr. C25K to hold my hand. Ladies and gentlemen, I ran somewhere between 2/3 to 3/4 of the way around the mile track without stopping. WOOHOO! I also only did one lap instead of the normal two, but hey, I had just worked out for an hour. Geesh.

Here's a map of Juilfs, complete with my awesome Paint lines. Red = run. Blue = run/walk.

Borrowed from the Cardinal Soccer website.

This successful run leaves me really anxious to do the final timed mile at ABC on Friday. I can't wait to run this week, period. I'm going to tackle those before-camp laps like I wish I could have over the last week. Watch, it'll pour down rain or something. Faaahhh-bulous!

Rain shmain though. It was raining on Saturday morning when I headed to the "Off the Beaten Path" workout for ABC. I get soaking wet anyway, so what's the big deal?

Oh yeah, about Saturday's workout. Not bad, not bad. It was quite the experience to be there with so many other women. My boot camp is kind of small, I think, compared to the big camp in Oakley, so having that many people together to workout is a new experience for me. It was challenging, too. We did some running in between workouts and did a lot of work on our hips. That really seems to exhaust me quickly.

In fact, I have a picture to share of me in the midst of a strenuous hip workout.

Preface #1: Brian, I snagged this from your Facebook photos and cropped it to just show me in a huge field of people. I'd be happy to take it down if you like.

Preface #2: At this point, everyone else is on hands and knees doing a "fire hydrant" exercise. I guess I needed a break ... or needed to say "hola" to Allah. Maybe a little of both.

Woohoo, back sweat!

We also did a big set of exercises using a band around our ankles. Ooooh, I like those! Talk about working muscles that don't get worked so much. Surprisingly, I'm not sore from those.

I can't wait to tackle this last week of ABC. I'm ready to kick butt with the final timed mile on Friday and I'm almost ready to try this strength training thing on my own, and to get back to C25K (and maybe jump up a week!) I think I'll try following workouts on my Training On-Demand cable station three days a week. I just discovered that Jackie from Work Out has her own stuff on there. I liked that show, so maybe that'll keep me engaged (corporate word ... patooee!).

I'll keep you posted on this week and definitely let you know how the timed mile goes. Unfortunately, I still can't really do a push up, so that number won't be improving at all. Baby steps.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cryin' and Whinin'

My sixth grade teacher used to tell us that Country Western music (C&W) was actually Cryin' & Whinin' music. I couldn't agree more.

Using that logic, though, I'm practically a superstar country music singer. I feel like I've done nothing but gripe and complain about my ailments over the last two weeks. First the plague (summer cold), then the stiff neck, now a crippling attack of lower back pain. What gives? Why everything at once? And why everything at once while I'm physically challenging myself more than ever before? Plus, I feel like a whining child in--yes, you guessed it--gym class again. Every time I let ABC Linda know that I'm not feeling so hot or my neck hurts or my back hurts, I feel like I'm making excuses. In a way I am, I guess, because I don't want to come across as disrespectful or lazy when I opt out of an exercise, you know? I'd rather have it out there in the open. And I'm grateful for my trainer because she doesn't make a big deal of it. She just suggests lots of stretching and lets me do my thing.

So, these three ailments ... could they all be tied together?

Well, I'm confident that the back issue is from boot camp (I'm almost positive of precisely which exercise did it), but I'm not sure I can tie the other two to that. Nor do I want to. Adventure Boot Camp has been a wonderful experience and I've been pushing myself and achieving awesome results because of it. It's not ABC's fault my body is falling apart; it's my fault for putting it through years of disuse.

Anyway, the reason I'm posting tonight is to let you know that I've made a decision. This is a big deal for a notoriously indecisive (well kind of notorious ... sometimes) person.

Earlier this week, ABC Brian mentioned a Saturday boot camp activity at a local park. I immediately wanted to go, but wasn't thrilled about using another one of my "vacation" days to get up early and sweat. What can I say ... I'm naturally lazy. Anyway, I've been toying with the idea for a few days. Well, after going to boot camp this morning and straining my back even more (attending camp this morning was probably a mistake, in hindsight), I've decided to skip tomorrow and go to Saturday's session. That'll give my back some time to get a little better before pushing it even more.

Wheeee! I made a decision!

So, what's up with my back?

I kind of have an existing lower back injury. I use the word "injury" lightly, because in my mind an injury involves a moment when you hurt yourself. And while this back thing probably involved a moment like that, I have no idea when or how long ago.

I do know some things, though. I know that I first saw a chiropractor for it while working at a previous job, so probably somewhere in 2005 or 2006. I dabbled with that briefly, using all my chiropractor points for my insurance and really not seeing any long-term improvements. I kind of have a bad taste for chiropractors, as do many people I know, but I don't hold anything against them personally (sorry Lindsey!) I'd like to not return to one if I can help it. I might look into physical therapy someday, though. I've heard some great things about it.

I also know that my back has "gone out" really, really badly one time. I was in the basement of my last apartment and POW! Locked up while bent over at about 90 degrees. That was the worst pain I've ever experienced and probably the scariest thing I've ever been through. My eyes browned out a few times and I hurt so bad I wanted to puke. I couldn't straighten up or sit down or get on the floor ... nothing. With my mom's help I finally managed to sit on a really high stack of pillows on the couch. Awful, awful, awful. I get chills thinking about it.

I know that I inadvertently caused a back pain episode (might have been the one above, actually), when I gave a toddler a "ride" once by putting her on my feet while sitting and lifting my feet up and down repeatedly. The next day was Hell. This is probably another reason I don't like children all that much. =)

I know that something as simple as trying to move a box (heavy, light, empty, whatever) with my feet will almost surely cause me to hurt the next day. DON'T KICK BOXES, PEOPLE!!!

So, that's my back story (heh heh ... get it?) in a nutshell. It hurts. A lot. It's a huge hassle when it gets flared up, but it goes away. It makes simple things, like walking, getting up, or bending over to wash my hands at the bathroom sink, really ridiculously difficult (I'm tall ... sinks are low). It makes focusing/functioning at work nearly impossible. It makes me want to just lie in bed for days.

But, I have my Biofreeze and plenty of Aleve, and my mom delivered a heating pad and some healthy (or not) Chik-Fil-A tonight. By Friday's boot camp, I should be a bit more ready to roll. Hopefully I can enjoy at least a little of my "vacation" by the pool--you know how comfy pool chairs can be. And hopefully I can go into my final week of boot camp at FULL THROTTLE without any stupid ailments to hold me back.

Three cheers for sleeping in tomorrow! Hip hip ...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Here's A Number For You

I'm still not disclosing my weight. BUT I will tell you I was just weighed at the doctors office today and I am 18 pounds lighter than my last weigh in at my former gym, which was in about February.


And my new weight as of today was the goal weight my idiot trainers at that gym set for me in March 2009. While i was there I lost zero weight (though I did change shape slightly).

So, the secret to weight loss: quit the gym.

Good luck with that. "I wanna quit the gym!"


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, July 12, 2010

Half A Mile On A Stiff Neck And Some Inspiration

Holy stiff neck, Batman!

They happen to me ... a lot. In fact, I don't even know when the started. I feel like I've gotten them since I was little though, which means I can't blame high school track or color guard. Maybe softball (played community softball for 10 years)? Or maybe gym teachers? Yeah, gym teachers! Stupid gym teachers, giving me a stiff neck! Boooo!

So anyway, yes, I have a stiff neck. I woke up with it this morning. I'm guessing this onset had something to do with the 4 pillows I slept on last night to try to stifle my cough. (News flash, it didn't help. And yes, I'm still coughing. I've decided it's the plague and it's never going to go away. Who needs doctors?) So far I've slathered myself with Biofreeze, popped some Aleve, and did some neck rolls on the drive home (read: sitting in traffic) which lead to an AMAZING neck pop ... glorious! The stiffness has gone away a litte.

Do any of you get stiff necks? What do you do about them? Do you have any remedies? Stretches?

I went to boot camp this morning with every intention of telling ABC Linda about it right away so she'd know why I might poop out on certain exercises, but I decided to run first.

And let me tell you, I ran.

I ran around that track 3 times--WITHOUT STOPPING! That's 3 times at 0.2 miles a pop. MORE THAN A HALF-MILE! Through high school and college (track practice), my goal was to get around the track once without stopping. I met that goal maybe once a year and therefore gave up on running altogether. But 6/10 of a mile! (Yes, I know how to reduce my fractions ... 3/5.) Yay!

Please clap for me. Thank you.

Meh, but I guess I should mention that the rest of ABC this morning wasn't stellar. My lungs weren't up for the challenge of the workout after the run, and I just didn't have any stamina. I guess the running success paired with the workout mediocre-ness comes out to a cool zero. I can deal with that ... for a Monday. No go tomorrow, folks.

For you visual folks out there, here's a photo for you. Ladies and gentlemen, the site of the Anderson Adventure Boot Camp for Women.

Though I'm sure this amazing graphic work will leave you baffled by my amazing photo editing skills, I'll have you know that 1) I used my home computer and friggin' Paint to do this, and 2) Yes, actually, I can use Photoshop and Illustrator quite well, thank you (but they're on my work computer). So, forgive the crappy squiggles and just imagine professional work here. (My co-workers are free to vouch for me here ... I know you're reading.)

Speaking of co-workers, two of them told me this morning that they went running this weekend. Two non-runners, who have been listening to me gripe about it for months, felt compelled to give it a go. I AM SO PROUD OF THEM BOTH! Kudos you two! You know who you are. Keep it up and tell me all about it ... sore legs and all.

I've really seen this running (and walking) thing start to take off and it's wonderful! I can see how talking about it really gets the idea out there. I like to think that this blog is serving as a platoform for publicizing the idea of running/walking/being active. Though so many of my posts are about the negative feelings and aches and pains I go through, it's getting the topic out there. Yes, I imagine that reading about someone like me being able to do this stuff can be encouraging--"Well, if SHE can do it ..."--but I think it's about us bringing the topic to the forefront. It's like the Twilight books; if people hadn't spent so much time talking about them, would they have been such a big hit? Well ... probably ... but you know what I'm saying.

In fact, I don't know if I would have started this running mess if it weren't for my friends talking about it all the time. My friend Sarah has been running for a long time and Jeff started the C25K program before I did, and they both talked to me about it, whether it be Sarah talking about running the Half Pig (yay!) or Jeff getting to Week 87 of C25K. Then I read about Anne working out, and of course my circle of Facebook friends (from the casual runners to the habitual marathoners) posting about their running adventures. I certainly don't know how long I would have continued if it weren't for the support of my friends and the advice of my experience runner followers on here (Liz, Jan, Kristin, Zach, plus more). See, it's all about the talking.

So, are you trying to start a running/walking regimen? Talk about it! Tell your friends and family, start a blog, comment on here (or if you want to pipe in on your own post ... email me!) I imagine that's what this accountability concept is all about. Let others know what you're doing so they can help you, whether that be by yelling at you for skipping a run, or telling you that your 20-minute mile is a great first step on a long journey, because it totally is.

So get talking, people! Spread the word! Running hurts, but it's awesome!

Now, back to the Biofreeze ...

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Adventure Boot Camp: Week 2 Wrap Up

You know what? Being sick in the summer really blows.

Okay, being sick at all is really bad, but I don't get sick very often. In fact, this is the second time I've been sick in less than a year, and that's a LOT for me. I was on a streak of wellness for a long, long time.

So, as you know, I had to ruin perfect attendance at boot camp this week because of the yuck, but I still got 4 days of early morning workouts in.

Week 2 is complete. Halfway finished. I'm actually really sad about it, too. I might try to do morning workouts on my own after all is said and done, though I think motivation to get up and exercise is a lot harder to come by when you're not driving to meet 20 other women who are doing the same thing. You all might have to help motivate me to do that. Too bad we don't all live close by; we could totally or

Anyway, what happened this week?

Well, the biggest news is that my muscles aren't sore any more! Yay! The second biggest news is that it was soooo hot and humid out this week, which made breathing interesting. And third, we got to run this week. Yay again!

We did some of the most torturous things this week, and they both involved a little plot of parking lot and some orange cones.

We did suicide drills (click here to see a video of a bunch of basketball dudes doing suicide drills), and at each stopping point, another ABCer was stationed doing some kind of workout (one was planks, another jumping jacks, then running in place, and bicycle crunches). So, while I was heaving my self up and down and up and down the suicide course, women were working their butts off, waiting for me to finish. Fortunately I went first so my slowness didn't hurt anyone too much. This was definite gym class flashback material, though.

Yesterday we did a cardio circuit on that same coned-off parking lot. Jumping, skipping, butt-kicking, shuffling, sprinting, etc. down the course and back. The last little up-and-back exercise involved donning a giant rubberband and trying to run down the course while your partner held you back. And that's when I got a compliment: "Wow you're strong!" YAY! I told my partner to really hold me back and I proceeded to haul her down the way. I'm pretty sure my weight was a benefit for me there, though.

Plank exercises have continued, but I've found ways to work around them (from my knees or my forearms or an elevated surface). It's still a little frustrating for me, though, because I know I'm not getting the strengthening workout I could be getting if I could just hold myself up. But, it's really helping to use my lifting gloves. Traction and whatnot. And other women struggle too, so that's comforting.

Two more things.

Yesterday morning it was raining. Like a constant heavier-than-sprinkling drizzle for about 20 minutes of our workout. I, of course, need no help getting soaking wet during ABC because of my profuse sweating, and by the end of our time, I had no where left to wipe my sweaty/rained-on face. Mmm ... delicious!

Wednesday, the Anderson ABC'ers had visitors. Yes, we had visitors from bring a friend free day (and I had no friend to bring), but a the family of ducks that lives in the pond at the Anderson Center also decided to come out and play. Usually they just float around in the pond and "laugh" at us. I so wish I had a picture to share, and hopefully I'll remember to ask ABC Linda to forward me the ones she took. This little trio of ducklings (not the itty bitty kind, but the ones that have lost most/all of their down), came and sat right behind my mat and just watched us. Seriously, two or three feet away from me ... just chillin'. They stayed for pretty much the whole set of triplexes. Yes, I hate most birds and other winged creatures, but I love ducks, so this just made my day. So cute.

So, on that note, I want to take a moment to apologize for the extreme dullness of my posts lately. I'm not sure what's up. I'm going to blame it on getting up so early ... once I get the chance to sit down and write, I've got nothing. Plus, I'm not getting out and running on my own anymore, which usually gives me time to think about what to write. I'll try to find my funny/interesting bone again, I promise.

Speaking of running on my own, I may try to go tonight, depending on how I feel. I miss it, and if I'm even remotely okay, I'm going to go.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Summer Yuckiness

I blew my dreams of perfect attendance at boot camp this morning.


I got smacked with summer congestion and a cough on Tuesay and it just kept getting worse, including a few hours through the night. So, I skipped ABC this morning and I'm staying home from work.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Sweaty Mess ... And More Friggin' Planks

Hey, Cincinnati. Did you know it's hot outside?

Did you know it's hot outside at 5:30 in the morning?

Today when I got home from Adventure Boot Camp, I pulled my ponytail holder out of my hair and splashed sweat all over the bathroom. Literally. My hair went from bone-dry to just-out-of-the-swimming-pool soaked in an hour.


Sorry, I hope you weren't eating or anything. You better finish, because I'm going to continue.

It baffles me that women actually left ABC this morning with dry heads and dry clothes. How is that possible? I was essentially born with sweat beads on my nose; my mother has told me numerous times that I've had them since I was really little. I can't keep a head of styled hair for more than 2 minutes if it's hot outside.

Sweat + freshly straightened but naturally wavy hair = HOT MESS

After a few conversations with my friend, a fellow sweater, I've been trying to convince myself that heavy sweating just means my body is uber-efficient at cooling itself down. I don't think I believe it. I just continue to see it as a curse and a reason I can't just exercise at the drop of a hat.

Speaking of exercising ... I don't know if there's anyone I envy more than the gentlemen who workout on their lunch breaks. Oh the luxury! If I could count on being able to get a workout in, take a shower, primp, and return to work with a dry head of hair and a normal colored face (instead of beet read) ... I don't know what. I certainly think I'd exercise at lunch. What better way to avoid spending money eating out?


So that was a wild tangent! Let's return to fitness, shall we?
  1. I don't think it's possible to go back to sleep after ABC. I tried it yesterday on my Fourth of July holiday. I forced myself to stay in bed until after 9 a.m., but I'm not sure how much rest I got. This doesn't bode well for my two vacation days next week. More morning hours to enjoy the sunshine, I guess. One positive note about going to bed after the workout -- BOY was I relaxed! After stretching, working out, and stretching again, there wasn't a moment that I had to shift because I was uncomfortable. Three cheers for that!
  2. Yesterday was a plank-tastic mess at ABC! Plank this and plank that. Blech! I switched from modified planks on the stairs to the bench to the low wall ... ugh! We did some today, too. All of them sucked. Okay wait, not all of them. I actually attempted a few of the exercises from the ground and they didn't go so badly. One was a "spiderman push up." You do a push up and, while you're lowering yourself, you bring one of your knees out to your side to meet your elbow. One of the modifications ABC Linda offered was to do the full push up, then bring your leg out. So, I did modified push ups (from the knees and SO not all the way down), holding onto dumbbells instead of hands on the ground, then did the leg left after I finished each push up. Not bad, not bad. My hips and core are strong, so that helped.
  3. I saw improvement in my push ups today. I also paid a lot more attention to where my arms were and to holding my whole body tight to help ease the strain.
  4. I don't like partner exercises. We were supposed to do one today, and it required putting one foot on your partner's back and doing a squat while she held plank. I chose to do the squat on my own using the stairs. Putting my weight on someone like that is not my idea of being nice to others. How awful! I'm not sure what the benefit of that particular exercise is, but maybe one of my ABC readers will pipe in. So anyway, I don't like partner stuff at all, I guess. Whether it's partner push up/handshake things, the wacky squats described above, or running with a buddy, they all make me really uncomfortable. It's a matter of me slowing someone down ... again, something I've dealt with my whole life.
  5. I'm pretty sure that gym class is the most traumatic, life-altering experience a person can go through. I'm seeing more every day how it has affected me. Sad.
  6. My legs ... are NOT sore! Wheeeeee! In fact, they feel stronger. I take bigger strides now and can feel the muscles all over my legs (and my glutes) doing the work. I like it. =)
  7. We now have the option of running for up to a half hour every day before ABC starts. For every lap we do, we get entered into a drawing for $50 off our next ABC. I'm not so much into the raffle part because, unfortunately, $50 off is just not enough of a discount. This girl cannot afford ABC, which is why I'm glad I won a gift certificate. Anyway, the running -- it makes me happy. I'm eager to do it. So far I've just done one lap (approx. 2/10 mile) each morning. But, I'm running the whole thing ... no walking. AND, I'm going to add another lap on, maybe tomorrow. Eventually I'm going to see how many times I can run around without walking. I'm only afraid I'll wear myself out before ABC even starts. Hmmm ... Thoughts?
Okay, I'll wrap up. I've been thinking about my Half Pig goal from my last post, and I'm starting to freak out a little bit.

13.1 miles is a really long way. Will I make it?

The course is hilly. Will I die?

The cut-off pace is 16 minutes/mile. Will I be cut off?


My friend, Liz, commented on the last post and suggested I take the course for a test drive before the big day. Yes, it's 10 months away, but I'm still anxious to try it. I'm afraid to go alone, though. Afraid to go alone and doesn't like running with other people ... what a pickle! Maybe if my volunteer co-runner just took it at my pace the whole time ... Hmmm again ...

So there. Anyone have comments on sweating, ABC, or the Half Pig, please pipe up.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Adventure Boot Camp: Week 1 Wrap Up

Well, that was a fast week. And easier than I expected, but not in a bad way.

As I've mentioned before, Day 1 of Adventure Boot Camp (ABC) was really difficult for me. Read all about it here. The rest of the week went really well, though. This could have been the result of a few things:
  • The weather improved. The temperature and humidity difference between Monday and the rest of the week was HUGE. It was like comparing the depths of Hell (hot and 150% humidity) to a nice Fall morning. Humidity = can't breathe.
  • I was early to ABC for the rest of the week instead of 10 minutes late like I was on my first day. This kept my panic level in check.
  • I realized I needed to slow the heck down. On Day 1 I went at it like a fabulously fit person would--faster, stronger, rawr! Yeah, don't do that. Not a good idea. On Tuesday morning I switched into "Start slow and increase if it's not challenging enough" mode. Classic "Good Idea, Bad Idea" moments, right there.
I'm going to continue with the listing theme here and just outline some summary points. (Ew, I sound so corporate ... patooey!)

  • Getting up early for ABC is NOT the hardest part for me. That part is surprisingly easy, actually. I mean, "early" is relative; if you're used to getting up at noon, then 10 a.m. is early (cough Jeff cough cough), and if you're used to 5:30 a.m. ... no, 4:40 a.m. is early to everyone.
  • For me, the hardest part of ABC is the muscle soreness. I definitely understand that it's a good thing and is completely normal, but that doesn't make scaling the stairs at work or my apartment any easier. (PS, this is probably the only occasion in my life where going up the stairs is easier than going down the stairs.) The good thing is that I know I'm working my muscles and the soreness eases up when you walk around a bit. And, muscles soreness is way way better than injury soreness.
  • I can do this stuff! In fact, every exercise we do, apart from one category, which I'll talk about next, is completely doable for me. You can work at your own pace and you chose how much or how little to challenge yourself. I think that probably the only requirement for participating in ABC is to not be the kind of person who always takes the easy way out, just because it's easy. You have to want to improve and want to battle yourself. Notice I said battle yourself, not others; it's not a competitive environment at all. It's not for dudes. =)
  • I struggle HUGELY with any exercise that involves supporting or lifting my own body weight with my arms--planks, push ups, those dip thingys from the front of a bench. I just can't do it. Yes, I said can't. My friend, Anne the engineer, was nice enough to figure out the math behind women and push ups. Females are lifting roughly 2/3 of their body weight when they do a push up. Without giving you a hard number, because then you could figure out my weight and I'm just not ready for that yet, let's say that I'd have to be able to bench press a whole overweight person in order to do a proper push up. Folks, I may have thrown metal balls around for fun in high school and college (shot put), but I'm not that strong. This is quite a conundrum, because there are quite a few exercises at ABC that are built on this idea of lifting your own weight. And the alternatives aren't that much better. To do a push up from an elevated hand position requires using a slippery metal bench or a sharp cement bench/low wall. Ouch! I'm at an impasse with these exercises. And that's frustrating.
  • Moving on to a positive note, I have excellent posture! I really understand how to stand and position myself for lifting exercises. I don't know if that's because I'm observant and pay attention to the little details (oh, my chin should be up a little bit instead of down in my chest), or if I just understand the phisiology behind it. Whatever, I'm good at it. I see my reflection in a nearby window and I'm proud to say that my butt-out, straight back squats look similar to ABC Linda's (just grossly enlarged).
  • Another positive: My core is strong. Windshield wipers, leg throws, scissor kicks, flutter kicks ... I stomped them all this week. This probably influences the posture thing too. I would imagine that my core muscles have to do as much work as my legs do on a daily basis to support my girth. My arms? Not so much.
  • Issue #1: Post-workout digestive disagreements. I'm going to leave it at that. If anyone has tips, go for it.
  • Issue #2: No, actually, I can't pull my elbows in any more. All of the tricep exercises require that you pull your elbows together, whether it be over your head, in front of you, or behind you, and I've been called out on it. Well, I can't pull them in any more! I'm guessing it's a combination of my mannish, wide shoulders, my arm fat, my side boobs, and my spare tires (I carry at least 2 at all times, just in case) but these arms won't squish in any further.
  • Issue #3: Dude, the waistband on my workout shorts hurts to lie down on. I have a few pair, but they all have the same problem. Fail.
Wrapping up, I promise.

Yesterday we did a push up challenge (how many in a minute) and ran a timed mile. I did "girly" push ups and definitely did them with bad form (flopped to the ground on the way down and arched my back to push up). But, I did 5 of them in a minute. Shame, shame, shame. Blech.

I was probably the only person there excited to do a timed mile. I haven't timed my mile yet, except use a 2-mile run that included a warm up walk and cool down walk. Anyway, yes, I was excited. It was familiar ground. I know my running pace and I know how I can do it. Yay familiar grounds!

What was my time? 13:07

Not amazing, but good. At that pace my 5K might have been at 40 minutes instead of 44 minutes; that number speaks to me. When ABC Linda called my time out as I crossed the finish line, I actually told her to shut up. I don't think she got it. =)

Here were my goal numbers going in: 12 minutes = no way. 14 minutes = meh. 15 minutes = too slow. So, I was between "meh" and "no way." Good place to be, I'd say.

OH, I forgot to mention that I did go for a run on Thursday evening. I stepped back to Week 2 of C25K and did okay. It wasn't a huge challenge, but my tired legs and sore muscles made it harder than it usually would have been. I kept a moderate pace (for me) the whole time, too, instead of just doing small strides for the sake of longevity. But I did get shin splints for the first time in a long time. What's that all about?

I might do one or two runs next week, but definitely none this weekend. What? ABC Brian (hi Brian!) told us not to in his newsletter. I'm just following directions, folks ...

Have a great holiday weekend!