Saturday, January 31, 2009

Selective Hearing

I had a frustrating week this week on many fronts. Large number of former-colleagues were laid off and left work, had some major road blocks thrown up for my application to nursing school and it seemed the scale was just not going to move. In the end the weight thing turned out to be a hormonal issue and yesterday's weigh-in came in at 156.8, over a pound lost since last Friday- good week after all on the weight front.
The weight issue has come up with a few people lately for different reasons and it surprised me how often we delude ourselves to think that we are the exception. People rail against BMI charts and call them crazy because people that consider themselves to be non-overweight are classified as such, sometimes even to the point of obese. When I had my initial assessment with the trainer, my BMI according to an on-line chart was just under 24.9 (it only does whole pounds, so it's not exact), then Chris did the measurements with calipers and my body fat percentage was 24.5, pretty close. Now, I think I'm a relatively strong woman and my muscle mass is maybe a little higher than average, at least in the circle of women that I know and speak with. Another woman mentioned to me that according to those BMI charts (said with a look of disdain), she's overweight, but those are clearly wrong because she has a lot of muscle mass so she's not really overweight. I think that some extreme athletes may have enough muscle mass that the BMI charts are inaccurate, but I think for most of us average people, they're a decent measure, even if we don't like the result.
Then this week I was talking with another woman about being a little frustrated that the scale hadn't moved even though my clothes were fitting a bit better. She says- well, you're building up muscles and muscles weigh more than fat. People always spout that gem as well. No, a pound of muscle and a pound of fat weigh the same amount. But yes, a pound of muscle will take up less space than a pound of fat. However, I think people really overestimate how easy it is to build up a pound of muscle. Just lifting weights a little more often isn't likely to build up my muscle mass that quickly, at least I don't think so. At this point I would doubt I've put on any actual muscle weight, although I'm glad to be reducing my body fat weight.
My mother talks about the days when she was a size 8, she's about 5'7" and she weighed 125 pounds. These days I'm sure that would be a size 2 at the most. I'm not delusional enough to believe that at almost 157 pounds I'm really a size 8, but that's what the clothing manufacturers want me to believe, and I'll readily admit I'm sucked in. But I don't have the health benefits of being a size 8 from 30 years ago when that was about 30 pounds less. I'll likely never get close to that and I think I can still be happy and healthy, a weight of 140 would get me to a BMI of 21.9, I think that's quite reasonable. I'll admit that sometimes I'm the one that hears just what I want to hear, but I think that as a society we want to think that we're good the way we are, eating what we want, living as we want, and justifying our weights and our lifestyles. I don't know whether that's bad or not, it's just the way we are.

On the training front it was a great week. Three strong runs and two tough strength sessions with some light cardio on weights days. Finished 11 miles total running, including 2 miles of treadmill hill work that had inclines up to 7%. Monday is my first 5-miler of this training season, I'm looking forward to it. I've got new songs on my iPod all ready to go, love my shuffle.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Nice start to the week

This cold is still hanging up but giving up a little of its grip, and I did hit the treadmill this morning and ran 4.2 miles. I was at 10:43 pace and the random incline level was set at 4, so it ranged from 0-3.4%. Felt pretty good, but I'm supposed to do 5 miles next Monday and by the time I hit 4.2 miles I was pretty well done, and soaked. I'll worry about that next Monday. My stomach also started protesting a bit, hoping that doesn't become an issue, but I might start taking a precautionary Immodium pre-run for Monday runs.

One of the trainers, Chris, stopped me on my way out of the gym to tell me that my running form looked really good. He mentioned that he was watching myself and two other runners and of the three I looked the most natural. It makes me chuckle that my running could ever look natural. As I walked out to my car to drive the 0.3 miles to my building, because I was too lazy to walk over in the cold this morning, I was thinking of the other people running. Depending on when he was watching three of us, it could have been when the only other people running were two regular marathon runners, or it could have been towards the end of my run when there were a few beginners on the treadmills. Either way I'll take the compliment, but if I want to delude myself I could think that I look more natural than marathon runners.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Enough is enough already

I woke up this morning congested and coughing for probably the 16th day in a row. I never had a really awful sick day with this cold, you know the one that completely knocks you out and then you start recovering? So I think my body just forgot to start recovering. I ended up cutting short the second run of the week this week because I was afraid of drowning in snot. (Okay, and I accidentally hit the emergency stop button and ran into the display of the treadmill, and then I lost my motivation) Yesterday I used the elliptical rather than strength training and my plan was to use the Wii fit today. Unfortunately, some domestic chores got in the way of that plan, and tomorrow's not looking much better, so I threw in a few sets of push-ups and called it good. Monday is supposed to be my 4-mile run and I'm NOT getting off track this early in training. I weighed in yesterday morning at 158.0 (of course the trainer checked my weight after my workout and I'd gained 0.4 pounds because I drank water) so it looks like I lost nothing this week, but I know I did. Oh well, focusing on the long term goals here, a little blip here and there isn't important. And, my size 8 jeans are more comfortable and less obscene to wear. I still sometimes cringe at these jeans styles with a more fitted hips/thighs area- I'm a mom and I don't see what's wrong with "mom jeans".
We're finally really cleaning up the family eating habits and our plan is to have not a single meal on the credit card this month. For us that means no eating out since we pretty much never carry cash. My mom did buy McDonalds for the kids and I today at lunch (I love the southwest salad), but grandma's house is sort of the no-rules zone. Although they're supposed to be starting the South Beach Diet next week so I'm hoping they'll be giving up junk food as well. I'm even planning to start helping with the cooking more. I made one dinner last week and my husband said it wasn't bad. That's high praise for my cooking which usually borders on the barely edible. I'm not much help around the house. At all. I don't cook, I don't do laundry, I don't mow the lawn, just about all I do is clean the bathrooms and shovel snow. But, my husband puts up with me anyway. And I am going to start cooking, healthy meals that we can hopefully all enjoy. And then we'll play Rock Band.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Two trees and a shrub

The boys both love doing yoga. We call it home made yoga because in addition to very few actual yoga poses we spend most of the time making up our own. Sometimes the boys just try to tie themselves up in knots. Well, Cutie has decided that she can clearly do anything that her big brothers do so she joins in the yoga party fun. Here they are practicing tree pose. She doesn't quite get the feet part and the boys were holding it so long waiting for her to join in that they lost their balance by the time I snapped the picture. We decided that since she can't quite do the whole tree pose, hers is shrub. This is just one of my favorite things about having kids. Here are a few other recent family fun adventures.Rock Band has become one of our favorite family past times. Here's Superman rocking out. He's prefers to sing, especially to The Who, Who Are You. He's also informed me that now that he's four his "code name" should be changed to Spiderman, so I will indulge him.
Both Cutie and Spiderman would live outside if given the chance. With a fresh snowfall the other afternoon we spent time outside sledding and swinging. Since our backyard has no real hill to speak of, sledding is really dad running behind the sled to push the kids across the yard. But they enjoyed it. Things like yoga, playing in the yard, going to for hikes together, those are truly the best times of my entire life and I am always amazed that somehow I did something to deserve all of this.
Training started out a little rough this week as I had a cold that's really just hung on for quite some time. Monday was only a 2.0 mile run before I switched to walking for another mile and a half. Wednesday and Friday, though, were really good runs. I have found that the random incline program on the gym treadmills is the key for me. Running at a constant speed and incline I get much more bored. I did 3.25 miles on Wednesday and 3.65 miles on Friday and felt really good at the end. Strength sessions are going well, I'm doing three sets of regular pushups rather than modified. I'm only doing 3 sets of 6, but it's an improvement over where I was. And my weight after Friday's run was 158.4. Creeping down slowly, but at least it's the right direction.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A first

In contrast to "resolutions" of years past that have ended in disappointment after the first week, my year is starting off on quite a positive note. While on vacation last week I tried to get in a few treadmill workouts in the basement. My husband routinely heads down there for workouts of 30-90 minutes and life goes on for the rest of us upstairs. Not exactly the case when I headed down myself. After the first workout, during which I practiced selective hearing to ignore Cutie yelling at the door for me, I was met with her wailing and crying and clinging as I tried to get upstairs to shower. Then on day number two, Superman got stuck in the cat door trying to get downstairs to see me on the treadmill. After some hysterics on his part, pushing and pulling on the part of myself and my husband, he was free and I was done. Day number three I got dressed to head downstairs and just bagged it when Hot Wheels was going through a bout of constipation, Cutie was miserable for some unknown reason and Superman was acting like a nut. I decided that I had made a decent effort and there really was a reason I don't usually workout at home other than my own general laziness. It just doesn't work. Not until the kids are older and I can get away and get my mind and body focused. Until then my home "workouts" consist of Wii games, some family yoga and stretching, our hikes and neighborhood walks. And you know what? That's good enough for me.

Returning to work Monday morning was difficult, just because the 4:30am alarm seemed to darn early. But in a way it was good because we all needed to get back to a normal routine. Twelve days of vacation is too long for a kindergartener, preschooler and toddler, and add to that the excitement of Christmas, Superman's fourth birthday, and a mom that wants to fit in "fun stuff" like aquarium trips, children's museum trips and gatherings with friends most days- and it's just a recipe for some fried kids. By Sunday afternoon they had just gone insane.

I hit the gym at 5:40am Monday, only 10 minutes after it opened and the New Years Resolution spectacle was in full force. I ended up on the last treadmill open, the one off in a corner with no TV or radio speaker. I had also forgotten my iPod, so the 3.25 mile run was painfully boring. Tuesday/Thursday were decent strength workouts and additional runs on Wednesday and Friday totaled the "first" of the post title. While some people run 10 miles in a single workout, I think this week was my first ever 10+ mile week. Wednesday my 3.5 miles was on the random setting that changes the treadmill elevation. The level selected only went up to 4.3% incline, so it wasn't too difficult, especially since I had lowered the speed a little bit anticipating that I wouldn't be able to maintain my blazing speed of 6.0mph on elevation. I was pleasantly surprised that the workout was not as hard as I had expected and next week I'll either be increasing the speed or the level. When Cutie naps in a little while I'm going to hit the Wii Fit for a while as the boys watch a movie. It won't be a very taxing workout, but some hula hoops for cardio and some pushups for strength can't hurt. I do enjoy the 6-minute hula hoop challenge.

The half marathon is 16 weeks from tomorrow. I'm pretty confident that I'll be able to do it. I've had a few people try to convince me that distance training with my Nike Free shoes will lead to injury, but I know another woman at work that has run 3+ marathons including an iron distance triathlon event and always used her Frees. I've never had shoes that I felt that good running in. While an overuse injury is possible, or I've been known to break my foot walking off a step so anything can happen, I think this is going to work. Ben is a great trainer and he's going to help me stay on track. I've got weigh-ins on Monday with him and on Friday with another trainer. So the diet portion is really going to get more focus from here on out. I was at 160.8 last month, 159.4 last week, so I'm not dropping pounds like flies, but as long as the general trend is in the right direction, we're good.

I've started studying for my anatomy and physiology prerequisite for the nursing school program. I've forgotten how happy I was to get out of school almost 10 years ago, getting back into studying is kicking my butt. At least I enjoy the subject material, it's just that focusing, by myself, is more difficult than I remembered. But it will pick up as I move through the book and get to some next stuff, I'm sure. As I'm sitting here with Superman hugging me, I'm reminded that I am just so blessed. While all these goals for 2009 are good, I've got far more than I could ever need right here. But I'll still keep working on them, maybe it could be even better.