DAY 031: Ya lose some, ya win some

It’s official!  The results of Kickstarter 1 of 3 are in, and I’m a winner!  It was a little closer than I would have preferred, but a win is a win and a loss is a loss, and I can’t complain about that.

I have two more Kickstarters ending soon, and round 1 of the million-dollar Transformer weighs out starting tomorrow.  The Transformer is in the bag, and I’m close on the other two.  It’s nice to not dread looking at the scale.  I forgot that was a possibility!

After these wins, though, it’s likely going to be time for a break from Kickstarters.

The ongoing saga that is my heel spur has reached a point where it’s interfering with my daily life and my ability to exercise.  I want to train for a 5K, but when I spend a lot of time on my feet, my heel swells and it feels like I’m walking on a water balloon.  Last weekend, I cooked for hours on end, and by the end of the day, I could only walk by erring to the outside of my foot because my heel was so swollen.  When it’s not flaring up, it’s a persistent nagging feeling in there that I’m always aware of.  I’m just done with it.

I saw my podiatrist today, and he talked through my options with me.  We’ve tried a number of things in the past 2+ years, and clearly, none of those has yielded any results.  Option 1:  cortisol shot right in the heel to alleviate some of the inflammation and pressure; may or may not have long-term results.  Option 2:  surgically stretch out the plantar ligament and saw away the bone spur; long-term solution with long recovery period that includes no working out for 2 months.

I have some travel coming up within the next month, so I couldn’t do the surgery now, anyway.  I got the injection in my heel before leaving the doctor’s office and I’ll have a follow-up with him when I get back from my trip.  At that time, if I’ve had some relief, we’ll do nothing and hope the problem is solved.  If there’s no discernible change, I’ll be going under the knife, foot-first.

It’ll make it kind of hard to lose weight without the ability to do any vigorous exercise, so I don’t want to set myself up for failure (and losing money) by signing up for more DietBets during recovery.  Of course, I may get lucky and have success with this shot, but I doubt it can eliminate the problem at all, let alone permanently.  I’m willing to try, though.  We’ll just have to wait and see.

In the meantime, I’ll keep moving.  Any weight I can get rid of will only help my foot.  I’ve got a lot of losing and winning to do!

DAY 731: Happy worth day, dear body

Two years ago today, I made The Change.

It was tentative at first, but it stuck… for a while.  For months and months, I gained steam and experienced a lot of successful changes physically, mentally, and emotionally.  After nearly a full year of hard work, I eagerly laced up my running shoes and went for my first-ever outdoor run in the refreshing spring air after work.

It was also my last outdoor run.

I spent the remainder of 2016 undoing most of the work I’d done from March 23rd, 2015, until that date.  I couldn’t even bring myself to post on my first worth day because I was too busy falling off the wagon, sabotaging myself, and feeling 360 degrees of shitty about it.  One little thing went wrong, and then I allowed every little thing to go wrong and nearly ruin my weight loss.  What a waste.

This year, I’m not at the size I thought I would be when I imagined myself two years out at my start date on this day in 2015.  I’m trying to claw my way back to the levels of health and happiness I had managed to reach previously, before I will really be able to believe I can attain my ultimate goals.  If I started out two years ago feeling tentative, that’s amped waaaaaaaaaay up this time around.

Shakiness aside, I am making sure to recognize my efforts today.  The path I’ve taken hasn’t been straight or without significant obstacles, but it’s started taking me back towards  where I’ve long wanted — and needed — to go.  As my mission enters its toddlerhood, I recommit to the girl who has always occupied, and will always occupy, this body:  I will be fearless.  I will work hard.  I will see to it that my last outdoor run was only my most recent outdoor run, not my final outdoor run.  I will one day stop being ashamed of this body and strive to not only accept it, but to see it as beautiful.

I am worth it.

Happy worth day, dear body.

DAY 715: Not drawn to scale

Getting back on the horse has been so exhausting and challenging, I can’t help but curse past-me for having gotten off in the first place.  That was dumb, past-me.  SHAME ON YOU/ME/US.

As I’ve most recently lamented, sleep has been a problem lately.  Just when the remedy to that arrived (my new mattress and box spring finally came at the end of last week!), I had a nasty allergic flare-up amid a sudden onset of spring that has woken me up persistently throughout the night so I can give in to full-body coughing fits.  It’s really just the loveliest.  I can only imagine how much worse it would be without my Rx antihistamines and allergy shots (though I really don’t have to imagine)!

This, and a slightly indulgent Saturday (two meals out that included mostly healthy choices, with the exception of one cocktail and one pastry, and zero gym time although I still made all my daily steps), converged to stall my weight loss.  My scale has been showing me wildly inconsistent numbers that seem like they’re just being randomly generated by some gremlin living inside the scale, and I’ve given in to weighing in often multiple times a day just to try to identify what my real weight might be.  Foolish and counter-productive, is what I’d call that venture.  I am now swearing off the scale until the end of this week.  I know for my own sake I can’t weigh in more than once a week.  Back to that.

Also, I’ve been generally slacking at the gym.  I still go for the most part, but I’ve been letting myself off the hook of really pushing myself.  I know the pounds aren’t gonna drop off for free; I have to pay for that shit with my sweat.  What I’ve been doing hasn’t been cutting it.  I know that, and yet I haven’t been pushing myself.  Come on, self.  Scale gremlin lives off this kind of laxness.

I’m also wearing orthotics now, as prescribed by my podiatrist.  As my body adjusts to their correctional effects, there’s some stiffness and soreness in random joints up and down my legs.  I know it’s temporary, but it is a bit of a hindrance.

Things are finally trending toward equilibrium, though, and I’ve slowly noticed I’m feeling more rested when I first get up in the morning.  I’ve even dared to let myself believe that the slimmer neck and shoulders on the body I’m seeing in the mirror might be real.

During my Sunday visit to the gym, I did some interval jogging on the treadmill for the first time in ages, maxing out on 3 minutes straight at 5.0 MPH.  Last night at the gym, I self-insisted on my arms circuit and event tried a new machine that had always been a little intimidating to me (the rower) before pushing myself on the elliptical (which only exists in models I don’t like at my gym).   Still not a profuse sweat, but a good start.  And honestly, the post-workout soreness from the two days combined is highly satisfying.

This morning, walking down the stairs to leave my building, I felt more energetic and lighter on my feet.

And then when I arrived at work today, I got the affirmation of a co-worker.

Her:  “You look like you’ve lost some weight.  Have you been losing weight?”
Me (out loud):  cheshire

Me (internally):  “Why, yes.  Yes, I have.”  (HEAR ME, SCALE GREMLIN!  HEAR ME!  **shakes fist**)

In your face, container of brownies that mocked me at the grocery store last Friday.  You can bite me.

DAY 358: Fat week

It snowed on March 4th and reached 80 degrees on March 8th.  Springtime appeared practically over night.  I was so giddy from the sudden delightful weather last week that I decided to lose my damn mind and run OUTSIDE.  It was just the square block around my apartment (about a half mile), but damn it, I was gonna do it.  I was gonna run, outdoors, in plain sight, among the people.

And I did it.  It felt spectacular.

Until it didn’t.

A thousand knives in my lungs.  Pins and needles in my throat and ears.  It was like I was allergic to running!

Oh, wait…

am allergic.  To spring.

Every year, the same thing happens:  the world comes back to life, and I spend a week in a hay-fever fog of insufferable misery.  That sounds dramatic, but if you don’t deal with seasonal allergies, you can’t possibly understand how bad it is.  I’d rather have the flu for a month.  I really would.  Seriously, sign me up.

Even though the same thing happens every year, I never seem to be prepared for it.  We’ve had a few fluke days of sudden temperature spikes since winter really set in, so my mind wasn’t geared towards real springtime yet.  So, like a fool, I took a run through the active pollen of everything my body hates, inhaled it deeply during my aerobic exercise, and then slept with a nose, lungs, hair, skin, eyes, ears, and god knows what else full of what may as well be poison.  I did all of that with zero antihistamines in my system.  Needless to say, I woke up the next day in ROUGH shape.

And so fat week began.

No gym — can’t breathe.

Almost no sleep — can’t breathe.

Daily steps goals unmet — can’t breathe and too tired.

Lots of ice cream — because no gym plus no sleep equals perpetual temper tantrum.

I’m too irritable to even give much of a fuck about any of that.  That’s how bad this shit is.  I hate it.  Hate it, hate it, hate it.  I’ve scarcely logged in to DietBet and haven’t weighed myself at all this week.  I haven’t met my steps goals since the night of my ill-advised outdoor run.  The best night of sleep I got was on Thursday night, on the heels of a night of 3 hours’ rest, when I had ice cream for dinner and chased it with a cocktail of two Rx allergy pills (drowsy kind), 2 NyQuil, and 2 melatonin.  It worked so well, I did that shit again last night after a shitty weekend of sleeplessness.  I had hell getting up this morning, but it was worth it to have slept.

The week of torment is almost over.  I can feel my internal armor of antihistamines reaching their optimum level, and even though my nasty cough would suggest otherwise, I’m finally starting to feel some relief.  My energy and strength are returning, too.  I may even be up for some light strength training at the gym tomorrow.  I’ll definitely be getting my steps in no matter what.

In case it was unclear, I’ve hated this week.  Not only was it physically painful, but it’s reminded me what life was like before my thintervention.  My sleep quality was lousy, I was always out of breath, and I was just generally ragged.  I felt constantly frustrated and irascible.  That person was so unhappy for so many reasons, and even more unhealthy.  This week, between reliving some of that experience and eating like a maniac, the idea that I could slide back into being that way was too real.  Ain’t gonna happen.  If tests of willpower, snow storms, and work stress didn’t break me, I’ll be damned if allergies do.  They came the closest, but they’re not gonna win.

My symptoms are worse every year, so my allergist is starting me on injections this month.  (HOLLA for good insurance!)  With any luck, 2017 me will be at her ideal size and experiencing no spring allergies.

Future me:  when you read this, remember how easily you could’ve blown this all up for yourself, but you chose not to.  Don’t ever be the reason you fail again.  Ever.

DAY 262: Once an addict…

Some people, like me, have addictive personalities.  I’ve been this way ever since I was a small child who obsessively watched the same movie over and over again on repeat until I got sick of it.  I’ve done this throughout childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, with everything from movies to TV shows to songs to books and even to people.  It’s an odd pattern of novelty becoming comfortable, then too familiar, then boring and/or annoying, which triggers a need for something new… until the pattern itself gets annoying and I return to something old and known until I again wear out my interest in that and need to go back to the new again.  I don’t know what it is that makes me this way, but I know it’s always been how I am, and I therefore have no expectation of changing it.

Obviously, the worst place where this special little cycle of mine pops up is with food.  Remember Oreo Cakesters?  You don’t?  Well, you must have been sleeping during that period where they existed, and I ate them all before you had a chance to try them.  (They have since mercifully been discontinued.)  I also had a Papa John’s phase, a fried chicken phase, even a freaking Hamburger Helper phase, just to name a few.  These were all bad food-addiction/compulsion-fueled habits I had before I had the thing that changed it all:  a routine.

Now that I have a framework within which to conduct my daily life, everything else is so much easier.  I’ve learned to adapt my addictive personality to a healthy way of life, which means preparation, preparation, preparation.  I’ve also learned that you can apply a potentially dangerous pattern to a positive endeavor by simply replacing the addiction.  (Simple in concept, of course.  It’s certainly a challenge in practice!)  I’m no longer obsessed with filling my belly; I’m obsessed with shrinking it.  I’m addicted to exercise.

Yesterday was the first time I’ve attempted my (formerly) usual elliptical run since before I got sick, which was well before Thanksgiving.  I’m still not entirely recovered, and my body is not keeping that a secret; I was coughing and my nose was running from just a couple of minutes in.  In the end, I was only able to do one mile of my usual 3+, but I’m happy to report that my speed is still intact (under 12 minutes!), and DAMN, it felt good to sweat from something besides a fever!

I’ve amped up the fitness addiction by signing up for more Diet Bets.  As of yesterday, I am now committed and paid into a total of FIVE (one of which I’m hosting — join me!) between now and mid-February.  I’m still trying to recover the lost ground in my Transformer, and it doesn’t look like I’ll quite get there in time for the round 4 weigh-in a week from now, but I WILL win the game.  I’ve also set a pretty ambitious goal to hit for the end of the year.  I won’t be crushed if I don’t hit it, but I WILL totally redeem myself — and be a total fucking champion — if I do.

Finally, I set up another follow-up appointment with my fabulous doctor for January 19th, 6 months after my last visit with her.  I can’t wait to hear what she’ll have to say at that visit!  It gives me extra motivation to reach my goals.

Through replacing the addiction, I’ve become so singularly focused on achieving my fitness goals that I’ve gone back to not even caring about my old trigger foods.  Those plates of temptation are just masses of needless calories that will sabotage my plans and make me mad at myself.  Why go down a path of destruction?  I’ll pass.  Gym, please.

Sorry, Christmas cookies.  Maybe next year!

DAY 259: Personal weight-loss soundtrack

This is the music that got me through the last 9 months of killing it to bring myself back to life.  I would not have made it through a single workout without these beats!  Now that I’m finally well enough to resume my demanding cardio routines, I’ve busted out the ol’ play list on my iPod again, and it’s given me quite a trip down memory lane.  Here are my favorite memorable selections from my weight-loss mission so far, in song-of-the-month fashion.


April:  “Get Busy” by Sean Paul
No one brings it quite like Sean-a-Paul.  This was the first song I jogged for a solid minute to.  Shake.  Dat.  Thing.

Girl get busy, just shake that booty nonstop
When the beat drops, just keep swinging it


May:  “Survivor” by Destiny’s Child
This is kind of an obvious choice for work-out music, but I was feeling it in May while working on reclaiming endurance on the elliptical.  This song is what brought me through that final intense 4-minute interval on numerous occasions.

I’m a survivor!
I’m not gon’ give up!
I’m not gon’ stop!
I’m gon’ work harder!


June:  “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten
Another obvious choice, but it happened to be both the message I needed AND the BPM I was running at — well, as much as one “runs” on the elliptical — back in June.  BOOM!

And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
Cuz I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me!


July:  “Bailando” by Enrique Iglesias ft. a bunch of other dudes (English version)
Ahhh, July.  I was so tan, so warm, got so much lighter so fast, and started getting sooooo into dancing.  This was my jam of preference for all that dancin’ around my apartment I did after my first shopping spree in normal-people stores while checking myself out in all those new duds.  And while cooking.  And while doing the dishes.  And while brushing my teeth.  And while walking down the street.  And while sitting in my desk chair at work.  And everywhere else.  While doing everything.  All the time.

I wanna be contigo, and live contigo,
And dance contigo, para have contigo
Una noche loca…


August:  “Bang Bang” by Jessie J. ft. Nicki Minaj & Ariana Grande
Out of nowhere, this song from a full year earlier bang-banged into my headphones and made me run faster.  It would sneak up in my play list and give me a sudden burst of energy.  A month after making it part of my regular workouts, it played while I finished running my spontaneous first-ever full mile straight.

See, anybody could be good to you
You need a bad girl to blow your mind!


September:  “Love Myself” by Hailee Seinfeld
I know this song is about, er, something else, but whatever.  Some double entendres start dirty and work to a cleaner second level.  Good beat, right (scrubbed) lyrics, solid sweat.  This shit makes me wanna fist pump fo’eva.

I love me
Gonna love myself
And I don’t need anybody else!


October:  “Semi-Charmed Life” by Third Eye Blind
The radio edited version of this song is only good.  Without the killer ripple of an extended bridge, it’s just another fairly monotonous song about being high on meth.  In the full version, the music kind of gets a second wind in the middle of the song, and it’s contagious when you start adapting your cardio to the treadmill after months of straight elliptical.  As a work-out song, this version is surprisingly SPECTACULAR pavement-pounding music.

And when the plane came in,
She said she was crashin’
The velvet, it rips in the city
We tripped on the urge to feel alive


November:  “Exes and Ohs” by Elle King
I’m afraid this is another song where my terrible dancing doesn’t care about making public appearances.  Holy shit, if you can’t move your ass to this song, you might be half dead.  It’s also excellent for power walking insanely steep, never-ending hills.  It’s awesome to belt out, too.  (Thank God I live alone.)  ENERGIZE!

I get high, and I love to get low
So the hearts keep breaking, and the heads just roll
You know that’s how the story goes


December:  “Runaway Baby” by Bruno Mars
I am not ashamed to admit that I had never heard this song until a pair of dancers did a routine to it on Dancing with the Stars.  Which I watched this season.  No shame.  Anyway, the first verse hadn’t even ended before I was downloading it and putting it onto my “Move!” play list.  Tonight, I did something I have never done:  I jogged to it OUTSIDE.  In doing so, I discovered it’s my new BPM jogging speed.  Mama’s getting fast.  🙂

Run, run, run away,
Run away, baby!


And one that ALWAYS does the trick:  “More” by Usher
This is my classic go-to jam that I put on to pump up my cardio when I need it most.  The beat, the bad-ass lyrics, the self-assuredness I can’t help but feel as soon as it starts… this is my quintessential exercise song for all of time.  WOOOO!

Leave it on the floor, bring out the fire
And light it up, take it up higher
Gonna push it to the limit
Give it MORE!

It’s good to be back.


**Note:  I started at the end of March by dropping a crap ton of weight through only nutrition-based changes, so March work-out songs and pounds lost are not included here.

DAY 200: Milestones update

Welcome to the fourth installment of my milestones updates!

This is occurring at an opportune time in my progress, because I’ve hit the dreaded slowdown.  Ironically, the changes I’m seeing in my body have never been more pronounced, but the scale has never been less cooperative.  Good thing I have other ways of measuring the victories!  You can skip the first 3 sections if you’re not into the recaps from the first 150 days.  Otherwise, let the self-horn-tooting begin!

Achieved within first 71 days

  1. Find a sports bra that fits so I can even work out. When I first started losing weight, I couldn’t get into any of the ones I could find.
  2. Grab my foot from behind when my leg is bent at the knee in order to stretch out my thigh.
  3. Walk at a 3.0 MPH pace without struggling.  This feels SO SLOW now!
  4. Make it up one flight of stairs without getting winded.
  5. Stop snoring and start sleeping better.
  6. Lose 10 lbs.
  7. Lose 25 lbs.
  8. Be under the weight limit to stand on the step stool.

Achieved between days 72 and 100

  1. Sit on my own furniture.
  2. Paint my own toe nails without contorting myself.  
  3. Close my towel the whole way around me when I get out of the shower.  
  4. Wear the oh-honey pair of pants I bought on April 11th.
  5. Wear the oh-honey shirt I bought on May 2nd.   
  6. Walk a mile at 3.5 MPH.  This is now my normal walking speed.
  7. Get 3 miles on the fat burn setting on the elliptical.   
  8. Tie my shoes without having to sit down.
  9. Go down a notch on my Vivo Fit band.   
  10. Lose 50 lbs.
  11. Lose 10% of starting weight.   
  13. Put ankle on opposite knee without having to use hands.   …wow.
  14. Fit into a restaurant booth.  
  15. Wear shirt size XL.
  16. Do 200 miles in a month.

Achieved between days 100 and 150

  1. Fit into my plaid rain coat.  This sucker is baggy now!
  2. Go down a half shoe size.
  3. Wear a dress.  I am officially a dress lover.
  4. Fit comfortably into airplane seats.  No problem.  🙂
  6. Get away from pre-diabetic sugar levels.  You know something’s wrong with your head when you look forward to going back to see your doctor in four months with hopes of getting more blood work done.
  7. Fold down the tray table from the seat in front of me on a plane.
  8. Lose 25% from heaviest weight.
  9. Lose 75 pounds.
  10. Wear my ring on my middle finger.
  11. Wear a swimsuit in public.
  12. Hike up a mother-effing mountain, with mother-effing company.
  13. Reach halfway point of weight-loss mission!**
  14. Laugh-cried while trying on the “before” dress, which I put on by stepping through the neck hole.**
  15. Purchased and wore high heels!**

Achieved between days 150 and 200

  1. Fit into my red jacket.
  2. Jogged 5 minutes without stopping.**  On a total whim.
  3. Jogged a mile without stopping.  On a total whim.
  4. Jogged 1.5 mile without stopping.**
  5. Wore shirt size L.
  6. Wore skinny jeans.**
  7. Bent over and touch my toes without bending at the knee.** 
  8. Wore a skirt.**
  9. Got too small for an oh-honey item of clothing.**  BFD!  BFD!
  10. Crossed my legs.
  11. Fit into only my side of the bench on Metro.
  12. Did 225+ miles in a month.**
  13. Hosted my first Diet Bet!**
  14. This progress on my first Transformer (which I’ll be winning next week!):
    Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 10.21.09 PM

Goals to be achieved

  1. Jog in and complete a 5K.
  2. Fit into one leg of my fat-girl gray pants.
  3. Wear a single-digit dress size.
  4. Wear a single-digit pants size.
  5. No longer be in “overweight” category (BMI <25).
  6. Wear shirt size M.
  8. Reach final weight goal.
  12. Get out of plus sizes.
  13. Switch to the small Vivo Fit band.
  14. Wear a belt.
  15. See my feet over my belly when I look down (standing still).
  16. Fit into roller coasters. I couldn’t do it at a theme park 2 years ago, and had to wait around for my friend to go through the line and ride it by herself — sucked for both of us.I’m absolutely sure I could cross this off now, but I haven’t had the chance to test it yet, so it stays on the to-do list.
  17. Do 250 miles in a month.

Watch this space.

*Some goals are too personal/embarrassing to publish, so I’m curating selectively.
**These were not on my list of goals, but they were notable milestones that I hit during this period.

DAY 193: Eraced

On account of expected crazy rain this weekend, my 4.01K has been “postponed.”

I would be a liar if I said I wasn’t relieved.  I never made it past the “run 2 miles” training session in the C25K program, and I’m feeling generally exhausted.  I’ve been working too much at work and working too much at home, and mama needs some sleep.  Plus, it’s nice to have a day of my weekend back to try and recoup before having to launch right into the next week.  Even though it was the shortest distance race that I’ve ever heard of, I wasn’t ready for it, and I’m glad I don’t have to be mad at myself for either flaking out or not being able to run as much of it as I wanted to.  Hopefully, if/by the time it’s rescheduled, I’ll be in better physical condition to meet my own expectations in it.  (Equally hopefully, my schedule will permit me to participate on the new date!)

I’m also not disappointed that my race is off this weekend because… I think my heel spur is on the way out.  It may have even already healed.  With that terribly annoying injury potentially eliminated, I want to be careful not to resurrect it.  It would probably be a good idea to give my feet a bit of a rest for a few more days.

By way of another quick update, the first Diet Bet I ever hosted recently closed, and I just barely eked out a win.  Hosting well is no joke, and it wound up being more time consuming than I’d imagined, but that was because of my own meticulousness and the type of game it was.  I think most people had a good time playing, though, and I know that several got close to their goals and/or busted through plateaus while playing, so that makes it all worth it!  I had a lot of fun hosting (in spite of what may have just sounded like complaints0, and I look forward to being able to do it again before too long.  For the near future, though, I’m taking a hiatus from DB.

I’m still in a kickstarter (that ends next week) and 2 transformers (of which one is ending in 2 weeks), which I feel I can handle because the monthly loss percentages are lower than the kickstarters, so I’m by no means leaving the community.  For practical reasons, I have to take a break because I won’t be able to weigh in while traveling internationally late this month into early November.  I also want to be able to enjoy that trip instead of worrying about being absent from a website, so it’s a good time for a sabbatical.  Beyond that, judging by nothing but the way my body has changed over the last couple of weeks, I believe I’m in the midst of a change in fat-to-muscle ratio that accounts for the slowdown I’ve hit recently.  That means I’m still losing fat, but it’s not reflecting as a loss on the scale because of the increased muscle mass.  It’s fantastic, but not the right scenario in which to be betting money on averaging a 1% drop in weight every week.

NOTHING IS CHANGING, THOUGH!  I’m still 100% in this.  I will still be interacting on DB and I will still be blogging like a crazy old cat lady with stories to tell.  More importantly, I will still be eating the right things and taking care of myself.  I will fit into more oh-honey clothes.  I will wear my new skinny jeans in public.  I will shake my shit at Zumba.  I will work my muscles.  I will elevate my heart rate.  I will get enough sleep.  I will drink enough water.  I will be BFF with Jiminy.  I will have a happy birthday.  I will lose inches.  I will lose weight.

When my race is rescheduled, with any luck, I will jog it!

DAY 185: Oy vey-cation

I got back yesterday from a week-long trip to the highest, driest places in America:  northern Colorado and Salt Lake City, Utah.  It was a lot of fun seeing friends, dancing at a wedding and not caring that I am an abysmal dancer, and exploring new places.  Along the way, I managed to not only hit the gym 3 times (which is hard to do when traveling with a friend!), but also to complete two different hikes.  One hike was 3.4 miles, and the other was 1.3.  At that altitude, I was really not sure of my comfort level with the activity, both in terms of huffing and puffing in front of other people and actual ability to complete the trails.  I surprised myself on hike #1 (the longer one, which was 2 days before the other):  not only was I NOT the slowest of the group, but I found I am in a lot better shape than I thought.  The few times we stopped as a group to collect ourselves, I caught my breath pretty quickly compared to the others, and I wasn’t ready to stop as soon as they were.  I couldn’t believe it; I was easily the largest person hiking, but still among the fittest.  Riddle me that.

The second hike was just a friend and me, and she’s an avid and frequent hiker and rock climber, so she kindly adapted to my slower, less conditioned pace.  Regardless, I was still happy with my showing on that endeavor.  I should also add that I was doing both hikes essentially one-handed because I was carrying water and my camera.  Totally worth it.  Plus, I felt like a boss the rest of the day on both days.  It’s so empowering to realize that 6 months ago, I would have barely been able to do this, and it would have been entirely out of the question at this time last year.

Between the Colorado and Utah adventures, I snuck up to Wyoming for a few hours to meet up with my brother, who happened to be there in the midst of his cross-country move to California with his girlfriend and dog.  It took a lot of juggling, coordinating, and rearranging of itineraries to pull off that get-together — who meets up in Wyoming?! — but it was really important for me to see him.  I don’t know how long they’ll be living on the West coast, but I know I have no money after all these trips (and one coming up next month), so it will be a long time before I’ll have the chance to see that part of my family again.  I’m also strangely obsessed with my dog-niece and she’s super into me, too; I think my brother may have left questioning my motives for making him drive off course to see me, cuz the pup and I exchanged more hugs and kisses than any of the humans did.  Anyway, the purpose of this aside is to share that when his girlfriend was away from the table at brunch, my brother just looked at me and abruptly asked, “So, you’ve lost a lot of weight, right?” I was a little taken aback by his directness, since, as I’ve said before, most guys beat around the bush and awkwardly tap dance around the subject.  Also, my brother and I aren’t particularly close (though we have been getting better in the past year or so), so I didn’t expect him to bring it up.  I managed to return his directness with a smile, a nod, and a “yeah.”  He immediately followed up with, “How much?”  Yeah, I abandoned the directness at that point and told him frankly that I didn’t feel comfortable announcing my number, but maybe I’d tell him in a few months, when it’s all (hopefully) over.  He appreciated that and then asked a question no one else has ever asked me throughout this entire mission:  “How do you feel?”

Only someone who really cares about me would ask that question, and I had no answer prepared for this question as I do for the standard battery of them that I usually get in this type of exchange.  Of all the questions that the gamut of close friends to inconsequential co-workers have asked me over the past 6 months (!), not a single one has ever asked me that question.  I myself never even realized it should be part of the package!  How do I feel?  I feel happy to have been asked that by someone who has always been healthy, and therefore knows this is less about the question I didn’t answer and more about the one no one ever asks.  Guys, I think my brother loves me.  That 60 seconds of conversation alone was worth the trip.  😉

Now, for the stumper.  In spite of keeping my eating in check and logging some respectable physical activity that included hitting my miles EVERY DAY but one while I was away, the scale in Colorado showed that I had mysteriously gained six pounds since my last weigh-in, and the one in Utah showed a gain of four!  What dark magic is this?!  I thought that if anything, the high altitude would fudge the number in the other direction.  I’m not sure whether it’s related somehow to the altitude (which I did research briefly, and showed that my original theory was actually the more likely scenario, so that’s not it) or water retention in an arid climate when my body is acclimated to the polar opposite of that, or something entirely different that I’m not thinking of.  Of course, I also spent almost 4 days constipated (sorry, I don’t believe in TMI, so deal with it like a grown-up), so that is a likely factor.  I was also running a massive sleep deficit from the go-go-go nature of my travels, and sleep is an inviolable tenet of my phil-LOSS-ophy.

No matter the cause(s), that freak “gain” was super frustrating, and it made me not want to weigh myself at all at home.  I did in spite of myself, though, and in a fashion that breaks my rule of only checking once a week:  I have weighed myself 4 times in the past 24 hours since being back, and the weight has steadily been dropping from the Western numbers.  As of last weigh-in, I was only 1.6 pounds over the weight I recorded just before leaving, so I’m relieved that the inflated numbers weren’t reflecting an actual gain.  With any luck, I’ll even manage to post a loss by my regular Sunday weigh-in.  I’d still like to understand what that was all about, though.  Have any of you ever experienced this, or do you have any insight into that strange, unsettling phenomenon?  Please enlighten me!

My C25K training has hit a bit of a snag.  In Colorado, I did complete one of the week 5 workouts, but the next one was something ridiculous like “do a 5-minute warm-up, then go ahead and jog 2 miles.”  I managed 1.3 before throwing in the towel.  If I’m honest, yes, I could have kept going, but I don’t know for how much longer.  I’m thinking/hoping the tougher haul had more to do with the toll of the altitude and my exhaustion than with my ability, but I’ll find out during tomorrow’s workout, I guess.  I may have to invent my own workout as a stepping stone to that part of the C25K curriculum.  If I could just jog 2 miles straight, I wouldn’t need a training program.  (This is why this program is so frustrating!  I like realistic goals, not ones like Day 1: jog for 60 seconds and then walk for 20 minutes; Day 2: run a marathon.)

On that note, I’m gonna hit the sheets.  I have a series of 10-mile days ahead of me, so I need my delicious, delicious sleep.  Whew!

DAY 174: A-O-(C25)K!

No, that title is not a math problem.  Well, hopefully not.

My first-ever race, the 4.01K, is coming up in just under 3 weeks!  Mind you, I have only JUST started running.  When I signed up for this thing, I figured I would power-walk it rather than actually dare to jog it.  The problem with that now is that I have revealed to myself that I actually am capable of jogging the whole thing — 4.01 kilometers is only 2.49 miles — and my superego is not letting me off the hook for that.  So, I somehow find myself training for this silly little “race.”

I had always planned to switch from the elliptical to the treadmill at a certain point in my mission.  I am NOT at that point, but my body doesn’t seem to give a shit.  It’s all, “check me out, I’m healthy and limber and I can RUN now!”  Show-off.

Well, it may think it’s ready for this jelly, but it actually hasn’t ever sustained a run outdoors of more than, oh, two minutes.  Once.  Five years ago.

Enter Couch to 5K.

I hatched this scheme at some point over the past 2 days that I could modify the popular C25K plan to my level and my very attainable goal, even in this compressed timeline.  I can enter to the program at a more advanced step because I’ve trained up to a level of cardio that’s far above “couch,” so much to the pleasure of my over-achieving self, I fast-forwarded to week 4 (of 9), workout 3 (of 3).  I successfully completed that workout tonight in my new gym (!):

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Between now and October 4th, I have to knock out this series of workouts:

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That’ll be SUPER easy, considering I’m about to enter into a week of travel, almost all of which will be gymless.  I’ll be lucky if I even get all my steps in.  Honestly, self, why do you?

The good news is that week 7 of the training program IS to run a 4.01K, so really, it’s getting through weeks 5 and 6 before I’m all of a sudden ready (in theory).

What.  The.  Hell.

In a past life, I actually attempted this program, but I never even made it to week 4.  In fact, I think I quit just before getting there.  How does this program expect a bona fide couch potato to just get up and be running a quarter mile in one go within 4 weeks?  It doesn’t work that way.  It’s a totally intimidating regimen if you haven’t actually been moving in some way for a while.  Elliptical to 5K, sure.  Couch to 5K, my ass.

That said, I think I might actually try to see this one through.  After my “race,” I might as well continue the whole way through week 9 and complete a 5K run, right?  Maybe I’ll even… do a 5K race.

WHO AM I?!  (I’m Jean Valjean!)

By way of another mild update, I have somewhat returned to tracking.  I’m not going to actually log my food every day, but I am using My Fitness Pal again to calculate the calories in my recipes for the week to help me plan my meals.  There’s no sense in spending the time with entering in my food every day when it’s going to be the same thing every day until the next week, so as long as I know I’m in range heading into the week, I’m good.  I am going to a wedding at the end of this week, hence the travel, so I’ll sort of be in vacation mode for a week, but I still feel like I’ve got this on the food front.

It’s the whole training for a weird public “race” I’m not as sure about.

Better get sure, huh??

Wish me luck!