Monday, July 27, 2015

Tennis Me Part Deux + Body Love

So, tonight for the first time ever, I wore... a TENNIS SKIRT! It's the Core 15" Flare Skirt by Fila, who makes them up to size XXL, which is what I am wearing. Hooray Fila! My boyfriend asked me how it felt to wear, and honestly, it was almost like wearing pajamas. Super comfortable. I'm also wearing, in case you haven't noticed, a bright pink No Boundaries technical shirt, with the motto "Running Changes Everything". Because it does. It really does. I mean, I don't know when I have ever worn bright pink, red, and orange all at once. My pal Lara would be proud.

Tennis skirt! The most obnoxious outfit I've ever worn... and that is saying a lot.
Pink? Red? Orange? Yes, please.

This was the first time in years and years, literally, that I walked around outside the house (well, even inside, to tell the truth), with bare legs. Even when I went to the beach with my dad and stepmom last summer, I wore a long skirt.

It felt amazing. I didn't even care how I looked. Initially we had been planning to stop at a corner store for some milk on the way home, and I debated bringing along pants to put on for that. Then, I came back in defense of myself: "F that, it's summer! Why shouldn't I wear a tennis skirt out in public?" I mean, not that I would just wear a tennis skirt to go grocery shopping, but if I am out playing tennis and have to stop somewhere else, well, why not? 

These photos are still a little hard for me to look at and share, but it's something I need to do so that I can be most comfortable in my skin as I move along in my journey to wherever. I want to embrace the fullness of my midsection and wobble of my thighs and arms, and I want to pick out all the good that my body already is (and was, and will be). I am grateful that my body has been strong enough to get me through the challenges of the past year without injury – I know that this is nothing to take for granted, especially for someone of my size. 

Listen to what my good old body did this past Saturday!

I ran FOUR MILES, completely and totally, without stopping, without walking, and even up the Twirly Bridge both ways and that vicious little incline preceding it on the way back. (It's OK that you likely don't know what I am talking about – just know that the TB is murder in two directions, and it has been getting easier with time.)

But seriously, four miles. Whatever, right?. And it's on the schedule again for this Saturday, and then the week after? Try FIVE miles. 

Seriously, my body is pretty incredible. I'm assuming that if I can run four miles, I can also run five miles. 

I love you, body. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Tennis Me

At the courts last night! I tucked in my tank top because it kept riding up when
I raced across the court for a good return (or a miss, for that matter). I do a lot of ball chasing.

Pictures like these are hard to post, I admit it. But since being in the running group where there is often photo documentation posted on Facebook (gasp!), I'm getting used to seeing my body in all its glory – and even in the form-fitting superhero outfit! 

There's all kind of things I could be upset by. I've already lost almost 100 pounds, but I am still fat. That can be discouraging. But der! I was really super fat when I started, so that is kind of to be expected, I guess. But still. This is not the body I envision in my head. My mid-section is always something to grumble about, not only for how it looks (so round! Kind of cute, actually, maybe I should stop grumbling?), but also for how it bloops when I sprint. Yes, it actually makes a bloop! sound when I run fast. Annoying. 

But then, I am noticing narrower shoulders and arms than I used to have. And my always-strong legs. And my beaming smile. And my cool Volkl racquet and TWO balls! LOL. Not to mention those super-bright but awesome adidas tennies. 

We played just into dark last night, when the mosquitos started snacking on us relentlessly. It was awesome.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Links I love #9

Glutes exercises to help with running! And some that won't put strain on your knees, which is always nice.

Lots of good ideas here for good eating. I love this super-quick breakfast hack, and can't wait to try it!

"Make breakfast in 90 seconds. Breakfast doesn’t need to be a large production; keep it simple for mornings when you have to be out of the house fast. Homemade breakfast burritos are a fast, simple way to grab a meal in the morning using only a microwave. Place one 6-inch tortilla in a cereal bowl and crack an egg onto the tortilla. Add toppings like green chilies, a sprinkle of cheese, onions and leftover roasted veggies from the night before. Microwave for 90 seconds or until the egg is cooked. Top with salsa and voila: breakfast in 90 seconds."

This is why I have grown to love exercise as much as I do.

More book stuff: The most banned and challenged books of 2014.

Suggestions for your home gym.

I love Mirna.

Thoughts on not letting imperfection get you down when it comes to health and fitness.

OMG. One day, I'd like to do this. More incentive to build my fitness and work on my financials.


Last week was really challenging mentally because of a six-pound gain that came out of what felt like nowhere and slapped me in the face. I did my best to get myself together and not let it get me down since, but I won't lie and say that it's been easy. It's easy to say the words, "Oh, it's not a big deal; it's just bloat, hormones, muscles building, etc." but not easy to swallow the reality of the number on the scale.

Of course, we all know that the scale is not always the best measure of progress.

What mostly saved me from myself was my regular schedule of exercise – mostly running and tennis. Experiencing super-tangible progress was so helpful. Maybe it took the form of running up too many hills successfully, or hitting more tennis balls in than out, or feeling less taxed when sprinting around, or running at a good pace, whatever. Those accomplishments feel really good and in many ways are so much better and more important than numbers on the scale, but still. Those numbers.

Maybe you'll remember that one of my goals for July was to lose 8-10 pounds, and wanting to at least get to the 5% lost point in this sessions (stupidly named) Ton of Fun program at Fleet Feet. I have another two weeks to get back down to 274, which gets me there. So right now, the numbers on the scale are kind of important – for that and just because psychologically, I really, really want to get to the 100 pound mark (272) and into the 260s once and for all.

I feel like I'm just all, "Look! I promise not to be scale obsessed anymore once I get there, really!" And I mostly mean that. But then 250 would be not too far down on the horizon...

So anyway. This week I have managed to lose a few of the pounds I gained, so that is good. But now my exercise – well, really just my running – has gone to shit. I mean, not really, but it feels that way. Saturday's group workout kicked ass with its crazy humidity and hills hills hills, PLUS I drove for six hours, PLUS we played an hour's worth of tennis, so you can bet that Sunday was a rest day. Monday I technically should have gotten up early for my homework run, but I put it off and slept in instead. (We played tennis that evening, at least.) Yesterday I actually skipped the evening group run! Man, I just didn't feel like it – I was tired, cranky, and I just wanted to go home after work instead of kill myself for an hour.

We played tennis for about 45 minutes later in the evening, which is good, but I will never make the mistake of skipping running group again if I can help it. I have been regretting it. Doing it always feels better than not doing it.

Yet when this morning rolled around I fought a fierce battle in my head about whether to get up early and get a homework run in or not. The homework calls for 3 miles, but I was bargaining with myself – 2 miles would be good, just get out there. I came thisclose to rolling over and going back to sleep when I finally wrangled myself up and out, only to have time for a one miler, which I ran at a zippy (for me) 14:35 pace. Part of me is disappointed in myself, and part of me is proud.

Whichever. One mile is better than no mile.

I also plan to take a walk on my lunch break, something I haven't done in a long time. And of course tonight? More tennis. Yes, we're a bit tennis crazy lately. One thing I will tell you is that I always try to incorporate as much movement, and yes, even running, into my tennis playing. Since we're still not super great, or good enough to keep a rally going for much more than five strokes, I'm not constantly moving around like you'd think. So, I try to sprint for errant tennis balls, or I'll do a light jog while waiting for my partner to collect his errant tennis balls, etc. I'm trying to be more mindful of this every time we go out. One thing I still need to get really good about is going for every single return to my side of the court, even if it seems impossible to hit – because it'll get me moving.

The way I see it now is that I still have half the week ahead of me. I can go for a run tomorrow, and maybe even Friday, and I will definitely be attending Saturday's group workout. I can still make this a really good week all around if I get myself back into the mindset I need to be.

This stuff is important. I always inherently know that, but I still have to remind myself.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Just because... Progress!

Posting yet another side by side face comparison, because I almost never wear these glasses (they are progressives and I have been resistant to that change), and I was a bit startled by how my face is looking in this latest photo. Of course, this is a very flattering angle, but it's also apples and apples as far as the photos go. (I still have a double chin, but now you can't tell in these Photobooth photos anymore.)


At keft from early September 2014; at right July 21, 2015. Progress!

Monday, July 20, 2015

In six months...

Relating to my last post, I'd like to play the future prediction game. It's fun to think about where I could be in another six months, and these thoughts help keep me motivated. So, here goes, short, but sweet!

By January 20th, I want to:

• Lose another ~50 pounds, which would put me at around 225 – wow!

• Be able to run a 10K (6.2 miles) distance easily

• Shop in regular sized clothing stores more often than not

In order to achieve these three simple goals, I am going to have to work hard. Maybe even harder than I have been. But, I'd really like to get things moving again more than they have the past few months. Part of that is being relatively lax a lot of the time. Sure, I exercise I lot, and I log my food every day, but I need to batten the hatches more if I want to get the results I really want. This means being sure to not eat more than half my exercise cals back (I try to do this now, but not always), really watching the sweets (gelato, I am looking at YOU!), avoiding buying and having snacks in the house that I end up binging on (Smartfood and Doritos, I am looking at YOU!), stuff like that. Easy fixes that I am generally doing well with, but hey, let's tighten things up, man!

Even if I do fall short of these goals, I know that I will be somewhere even better than I am now, and that is exciting in itself. Let's see what I can do... January 20th, I am coming for you!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

180 Days+

I've been reading through the archives this afternoon because I have been so discouraged this week. I've been finding lots of little gems that have heartened me, but this one was fun. Speculation about where I would be six months from now, which was about two months ago, so I am a little late. Here's what I wrote:

Well, today's the day: 180 days, six months, whatever you want to call it. That's how long I've been logging my meals and MyFitnessPal and it was then that I really started this thing for real.

I just couldn't wait for this day to come! And now it has and all I can do is really think about the next six months and where I might find myself then. It's exciting! While I don't see this as a race or anything, I want to speculate a little bit on what I might be doing on May 12, 2105 or thereabouts.

• I will be a month away from turning 45.
Yep. I definitely turned 45.

• I would love to see another 50 pounds off my body, which would bring me down to 268. The last time I weighed that was over ten years ago!
Not quite there, even now into July. But it's OK. I will get there. 

• I expect to be able to totally run a 5K distance, maybe under an 18:00 pace? (Wow, to think it!)
Yup! Totally under an 18:00 pace, too.

• I can't even speculate what else. Wow. Another 50 pounds.

I can do it. Whether I do it in six months or not, I can do it.


(and then on to the next 50 after that.)

Pretty soon I should do another set of predictions for the next six months, yes? This is a good reminder of how far I have come in such a short time.

Thanks, May 2015 self!


So Frustrated

It's amazing how much things can change in less than a week. The past two weeks I was flying high on some good losses and a ton of exercise, along with an overall great feeling about things in general.

This week is a totally different story. I'm not sure what to make of it except to chalk it up to the ebb and flow of our bodies, and of life in general.

Not only has my weight dramatically gone UP (from 274 on Saturday to 279 all this week so far!), but exercising has been more challenging and feels sluggish, less energized in general, AND my mood has been kind of up and down, while I am desperately trying to keep it light and positive. (I wasn't very successful last evening in particular. Ugh.)

Today I woke up wanting to eat everything. I left home for work early thinking about all the things I could stop and pick up to eat, but... I didn't. Thankfully. (I had been thinking mostly donuts, quite frankly.) Instead, when I got to work, I had a bagel and cream cheese, some oolong tea, and my first three glasses of water for the day. Not bad, not the best. Under the circumstances, pretty stellar.

I've been feeling big and bloated.

I know, it sounds like good old TOM or something, right? Wrong, though. I'm mid cycle right now and since I'm on the Pill, I don't ovulate. It shouldn't matter.

Well, whatever is going on, I'm going to keep trying to keep myself together and make the best choices I can make during this rough time. I'm trying not to be too hard on myself, to appreciate the progress I've made so far, and to assure myself that I will achieve my goals someday as long as I don't QUIT.


On a more positive note...

Let me tell you about the activities of the past week, of which I am very proud especially since everything is like slogging through molasses. (It's not even that hot, though all my running friends have been complaining about humidity.)

On Saturday, my running group met at Chestnut Ridge, a local park that is famous for its hills. When I was a teen and on the cross country team in high school (I only lasted one season, by the way), torture sometimes came in the form of running up one of the more notorious hills there. Fortunately, my town was not super close to CR, so it didn't happen often, but it sure was memorable!

A fall scene in Chestnut Ridge. Those little rolling hills – this is what our route looked like, except green!
Photo by John Tornow.

So that's where we met, and faced a three-mile route rife with light, rolling hills. Rolling hill after rolling hill after rolling hill. It went through some lovely landscape that reminded me of my dad's neighborhood in New Hampshire, and like there, it makes for a challenging run. I was able to run without stopping for the first 2.7 miles, and I am happy to say at a pretty good clip, too. The last few points of mile were brutal, though – all uphill and continually leveling up – and there was nothing left for me to give except walking. More like trudging. I did run for a few yards at the very end where it finally leveled out, ending with about 3.3 miles total on the books.

Me (on the right) with my Chestnut Ridge running buddy, Jewel We did it!

On Tuesday, group met at the Fleet Feet store and we had our first speedwork session. This was made up of one mile warm-up run, six 200 meter sprints with shorts rests in between each, and a one mile cool down run. All together it ended up also being around 3.3 miles and it was also very challenging, but in a much different way. The sprinting was fun and it was cool to push my body to do something it doesn't ordinarily do – run as fast as it can. This entailed a lot of belly fat flopping around, which wasn't the most comfortable thing, but also was not as bad as I thought it was first going to be.

I totally didn't think I'd be able to finish the run back to store, but surprise! I made it, and with energy to spare, kind of.

Last night my partner and I went out to play tennis for the first time since last Friday – his back had been bothering him so he wanted to give it time to rest. We ended up putting in an hour and fifteen minutes worth and had a great time. We're both making progress – he in regards to his fitness, and me in regards to fitness and playing skill.

But boy oh boy, I am feeling it today. Ouchies.

Here's to the promise of next week – there is always something to look forward to.

Coming my way: adidas Performance Barricade Team 3! Love them.

(I got some real tennis shoes for super cheap, arriving on Saturday!)