Sunday, December 31, 2006

Wrapping up

The end of a season, like the end of a year, is an artificial milestone.

It's the end of the spreadsheet I created last February to track my workouts. But it isn't the end of those purposeful workouts - the goals shift over time as some are accomplished and some are just retired, but there are still goals to reach.

My cycling and outdoor swimming email aliases are on hiatus, but they'll be put to use once more in the spring.

And my cute little skirts for running and biking have been pushed to the back of the dresser drawer, making room for long pants and tights and thick gloves. But when I catch a glimpse of them, I know they'll be there for me when it's time.

I've got medals and race numbers and pictures and even one trophy to remind me of the past season. But I really don't need them, because I have all my friends with whom I shared all of the fun and hard work of the season. This week, as many of them are on vacation and I'm working out at the gym near my house instead of the Pro Club, I miss them so much and I can't wait for things to get "back to normal" - meaning, back to work, back to routine, and back to that spreadsheet - so I can get back to seeing my friends every day and sharing our fitness and lifestyle goals.

I could list a bunch of accomplishments I might have had this season, but instead, I'm going to list my friends. I got to encourage each of them and be a part of their successes - and ultimately, that's what 2006 was about for me. 2007 might be more focused on improving my own racing, which may cost me some time with friends when I need to complete workouts that don't necessarily work for them. But here are some highlights from 2006:

Regan lost 80 pounds and completed her first triathlon.

Aleks had an incredible year, with the completion of her first half-marathon, triathlon, and full marathon.

Nancy and Sarah, after years of running, completed their first half marathons. I'm so excited to say that both plan to run more.

Wendy completed a half-Ironman (after worrying she wouldn't be able to make the cutoff of 8 hours - which she did with plenty of time to spare) and PR'ed in a marathon by nearly half an hour.

Kathy completed a half-Ironman and is learning that she really is a runner - and she's well on her way to meeting her goals for her next event.

And Danielle gave and gave and gave: informally mentoring our group, supporting each of us with information and advice, and being there to cheer us on at most of our races.

So the year might be over, but who cares! We're that much closer to next season now!

2006 Events

DateNameEvent typeResult
Feb. 26Chilly Hilly33 mi rideFinished
Mar. 26Mercer Island Half Marathonrun race2:06:21
Apr. 23Daffodil Centurycentury rideFinished
May 14Kirkland Half Marathonrun racePR: 1:57:30
June 3Issaquah triathlonsprint tri1:31:14
June 17Flying Wheelscentury rideFinished
June 18Cascade's Edge Triathlonoly tri3:12:25 (flat tire)
July 9Seafair Marathonhalf marathon1:58:07
July 15Seattle to Portland (STP)double centuryAvg speed 17.1 mph
July 23Lake Stevens 70.3Half-iron tri6:33:57
Aug. 20Danskin trisprint triPR: 1:21:39
Aug. 26Lake Samm- amish triathlonsprint tri2nd place in AG; 1:21:07
Sept. 23Black Diamond triathlonhalf-iron*6:37:27
Sept. 30Endurance 50marathonFinished
Nov. 5NY marathonmarathon5:00:20
Nov. 11Winter Pineapple Classic5K with obstaclesFinished
Nov. 26Seattle marathonmarathon4:39:19
Nov. 5Diva Dash5K and 1KGoal: Run with my 3 year old!
* Bike course was 62 miles long

Friday, December 29, 2006

Uh oh. I might be a skier

My profile says I'm a snowboarder, and I really want to be a snowboarder.

I mean, the clothing is much cooler.

But, unfortunately, I haven't improved on snowboarding since my first season. I got to an intermediate level and stayed there - despite the weight loss and massive increase in cardiovascular capability.

And my skiing skills keep improving.

A couple of years ago, on one particular steep intermediate run, I had to traverse from one tree border to another and almost fell on every turn. This morning, I still had to make turns, but much tighter than before.

On an advanced run, though, I was doing the full-traverse thing. But that's okay - that run was way steeper than I should have been on (that will teach me to not pay attention to signs). I didn't fall, though, and I didn't completely freak out.

Also, I always get nervous getting off the lift on my snowboard. On skis, I'm so much more relaxed. And I rarely fall when I'm skiing. I just feel more comfortable - and safer at higher speeds.

Being completely honest, I think I was meant to be a skier, not a snowboarder. And I think if I want to improve my skiing skills even more, I should hang up the board for a while.

So anyway, I skied this morning. Matthew and I had a fabulous plan: Get to the ski area before it opens. Get in the lift line before it opens. Ski hard for a couple of hours, and leave when the crowds get heavy.

Well, it worked perfectly. They opened the lifts early, so we got to ski from 8:45 until 11:15, when the lines started getting longer. We stood at the top of the mountain and saw the completely full parking lot, and knew it was time to go. Fortunately, we were exhausted - six runs per hour will do that to you.

And my diet has been good today! 1384 calories and it's 8:30 p.m.! If I don't eat again, I'm golden.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

A bit of wishful thinking

Today I had to get my driver license renewed.

My old license looks nothing like me. My hair is short, black, and in a bob; I'm wearing glasses; and my face is a lot wider.

My weight is a lie, too. I said at the time I weighed 150; really I'm quite sure I was more like 175.

So today I fudged the numbers just slightly: my scale this morning said 143.4 - better than yesterday's 146! - and I told the woman at the Department of Licensing I weighed 135.

My goal race weight for Ironman Canada is 130. So 135 really is a reasonable number for me; plus, when I weigh 135, I'm really happy with myself. I'm going to get there - and beyond!

Today I went to the gym near my house with Danielle. I did 30 minutes on the eliptical, 30 on a recumbent bike, and strength training. SO BORING.

But yesterday after I posted I didn't eat anything else - despite being up until past 11 p.m. - and today so far I've made good food choices.

(That reminds me: Danielle just loaned me the movie "Freaky Friday," with Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis. There's one point where Jamie Lee Curtis' character yells to Lindsay's, "Make good choices!" It makes me laugh so much every time I see it - which is a lot, because I have small children who like to watch the same movie over and over and over again - both because I say the same thing to my older kid and because it's what I tell myself every day.)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Back to fat

So...about all my plans for hard-core dieting after the NY Marathon. Yeah. That lasted a week, and a lovely week it was, with my weight dropping to a comfy 136.

Well, I don't know what caused such a huge backslide - running another marathon, perhaps, holidays, and general rebellion (in part brought on BECAUSE I could wear tight, sexy dresses comfortably - it put me into a place where I talked myself into believing I could eat and drink what I wanted today, because I look good!) - but today my weight was exactly 146.

Okay, so it is that time of the month (sorry for the TMI) and it is just after Christmas, but it's not cool. Not at all. And especially since the week after next I'm going on vacation in the Caribbean and I want to wear shorts and tank tops and bikinis. :-)

But fixing the damage is so much harder than causing it.

So here's the plan: I'm keeping it simple. Eat 1500 calories per day. Burn 500 calories per day in exercise. Lose one pound per week.

So far today (including dinner), I'm at 1350. Hopefully I can control myself and not eat anything else today.

Danielle said something interesting to me yesterday: The enemy of "great" is "good." I don't want to settle for looking "good" and being "good" (in terms of race performance) - I want to look "great" and be "great."

I tossed the cake, banana bread, and cookies that were in the house. There's still candy, but not good candy, so I'm not that tempted by it yet. But if I get there, I will get rid of that too. And today, we skied all day, but brought our own lunch so we didn't have burgers and fries in the lodge. And apres ski, I had an americano, not a mocha. Little victories - they'll add up on the road to great.

Monday, December 25, 2006

10-mile shape forever

For the rest of my life, I want to be able to wake up in the morning, eat a banana and a cup of coffee, and go out and run 10 miles.

The pace doesn't matter, and obviously if I'm sick or injured I can have a pass for the day. But in general, I want to always be in good enough shape to run 10 miles.

So I haven't run 10 miles since Nov. 26 - a month now! - and that makes sense, given my recovery from the marathoning season. But when my friend Kathy said she had 10 on the schedule for Christmas Eve (she's training for the Arizona Rock N Roll half marathon - her first half outside of a half-Ironman!), I was all about going with her.

Yeah, it's not really part of my base training; the distance is too long and Kathy's pace - about a 10-minute mile - is faster than my middle-of-zone-2 goal - but close enough. And like I said, I need to be able to always run 10 miles.

Danielle came too, and we had a fabulous negative-split run out and back on the East Lake Sammamish Trail. Before the inevitable rain, too (that started once I was safe and warm in my house).

My average HR was 158, so slightly out of zone 2 for me, but I felt great the entire time. (I actually felt lower than that - I think my HRM is off. Needs new batteries.) And while running 10 miles didn't quite give me a free pass for eating what I wanted the rest of yesterday and today, it did remind me that even when I'm feeling kinda fat and yucky and have been eating things that I shouldn't, I'm still an athlete and a runner and a little discipline on the eating will get me to where I need to be.

And on that note, I'm doing the Fat Cyclist bodyfat challenge, so I have to lose some weight. For real this time. If I don't, I owe the Fat Cyclist a copy of season 6 of 24 (not out yet - when it comes out, I will have to ship it to him). And sure, it's honor system, but it might be a good little stimulus to remind me where I need to be in 2007.

Friday, December 22, 2006

I almost ditched the workout

But I didn't.

I find it quite amazing that I can bag my diet so easily, but miss a workout and I freak out! Or I have to consciously force myself not to freak out.

Who am I, again?

Today's workout SUCKED. I did 30 minutes on the Stairmaster (stepmill), then 30 on a recumbant bike. I read a magazine while listening to my favorite music, but the lack of friends to work out with made it so boring. But not boring enough to not do!

Oh, and I was totally right about the butt-kicking Danielle gave me yesterday. I woke up with incredibly sore hamstrings - probably from the zillion squats and lunges - but was that enough to deter me from working out?


Now if only I could discover why I'm so driven to exercise and apply that to eating properly!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Danielle kicked my behind!

I set my alarm for 5 a.m., thinking I would go to the gym at 6, do an hour of cardio, then take a circuit training class for more cardio and some strength training.

Yeah, right. Even though I went to bed early last night, I just couldn't get motivated to get up.

When it was late enough, I called Danielle to see if she was going to teach her 10 a.m. circuit training class. When she said yes, I decided I'd do that.

(What about work, you ask? Heh. Nobody is in the building, and I have very little I can do without other people. So, I'm doing what I can, but not working super-hard or long right now.)

So I hit the gym at 9:40 for a few minutes of cardio before the class. And oh my goodness, Danielle had a HARD class planned. Basically, three minutes of high-intensity cardio (though I kept it lower than I would have, because of base training) followed by three-four minutes of strength training. We did somewhere around a zillion squats and lunges, bicep curls, tricep pushups, overhead presses, and other exercises. It was pretty crazy.

I'm not sore yet, but boy is it coming. I guess I deserve it with all the bad eating I've been doing. (Weight this morning = 142).

In fact, I've been hesitating to write the last part about backsliding - about recovery from backsliding. I'm in a backsliding time right now and although I know what I need to do to fix this, I have been unwilling to actually do it. But maybe today. Maybe today.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

So. Cold.

I'm not sure what the deal was with today's weather. My car temperature gauge said 38 degrees, which is reasonable, right? But it was spitting rain - kind of heavy mist - so no matter what, you got soaked. Nancy and I agreed we'd rather run in a downpour. At least then the weather doesn't pretend to favor you.

We ran for just over an hour, and I was so cold at the end that I just stood in the hot shower for what felt like forever. I didn't lift today because, frankly, the gym still smells like my dirty workout clothes and more than half of it is still without power, so I just wasn't into it. Thank goodness it's base training time!

I think today will be my last run for at least two weeks. I need to rest that foot - it's sinus tarsi syndrome, for anyone that's curious - and hopefully a couple of weeks of no running followed by a cortisone shot will send it packing. We'll see.

Oh, and after yesterday's post about how to prevent backsliding, I went home and baked a ton of cookies for my co-workers. There goes that rebellion thing - again! (At least it proves I'm human, right?)

Monday, December 18, 2006

Backsliding 102: Prevention

Since I wrote the post Backsliding 101, I've been thinking about how to follow it up with some real-world advice (and reminders to myself) of what works to prevent backsliding and how to recover from it.

Here's what I've got.

About Diet
1. Learn the calorie counts of all of your favorite fast-food (and restaurant) meals. Along with that, figure out what you can order at every single restaurant that you might be tempted to go to. I challenge you to find a fast-food or other restaurant that doesn't have at least one reasonable choice. Don't kid yourself - there's always a good pick. You may not want to eat that item, but knowing that you can - and should - will help you make the right decision most of the time.

2. Along the same lines, figure out how many calories are in your favorite things to cook - especially bake! My favorite cookies are - seriously! - 170 calories EACH. Imagine if I bake them, eat some dough, taste a couple of cookies, then bring them to work to share and have another. It would be way too easy to add a full 1000 calories to my diet that day - and am I really going to work out an extra two hours to pay for that?

3. Cultivate the ability to make special requests when it comes to food. This applies at restaurants and at your friends' or family's houses. You've got to be able to ask for what you need (things like, can that dish be made without butter, or, can we have chicken breast instead of steak at dinner Friday night?).

4. Learn how to say no. No, you don't need a drink. No, you're not hungry right now. I'm sure your mashed potatoes are the best in the world, Grandma, but I wouldn't like some right now.

5. Learn how to moderate. Yes, Grandma - I'll have a little taste. Let me get it myself, I don't want to be a bother! (Then take only a mouthful!)

6. My friend Sarah gave me this piece of advice: The first bite tastes the best. Subsequent bites just aren't as good. So don't eat them. Don't clean your plate just because you can.

7. Eat slowly. Be the last one to finish eating, and leave food on your plate.

8. Remember that saying "no" right now doesn't mean saying "no" forever. You don't have to eat every brownie or bowl of ice cream that becomes available to you; you can say no and still have that treat later on, when it's appropriate. When I was on the 20/20 program, I said no to a ton of yummy treats - and two and a half years later, I don't regret not having that slice of cake at my kids' first and fourth birthday parties. I'm still here, and doing just fine, thanks.

About Exercise
1. Don't do any form of exercise you don't enjoy. Experiment until you find something enjoyable, or some way to enjoy something not enjoyable (like, audio books or reading or watching TV or DVDs).

2. Have an adequate supply of workout clothes so you never have the excuse, "But my shorts are in the washer!"

3. Find friends who will do your exercising with you. And do not trade your exercise play dates for going out and drinking play dates! Where will you find these friends? Meet them at the gym (Nancy just started talking to me in the locker room one day, and Aleks got the courage to approach her in a class they both took to ask if she could come along on our runs. Be bold!).

4. Block your exercise time out on your calendar, and do not be flexible with it. One thing stuck in my head more than anything else from the 20/20 Lifestyles weight-loss program, and it's this: If I don't exercise or cut my exercise time short, I only cheat myself. My husband criticizes my lack of flexibility here, and probably because I'm so exercise-obsessed, I could afford more flexibility. But until it becomes habit, keep that time sacred, do your full workouts every time, and don't cheat yourself.

5. Build variety into your workouts. Yeah, you've got to like everything you do, but you don't have to like it all equally. You can love running and like cycling and do both - cross-training is important for your body. Likewise, lift weights. It will help you with everything else, and make your arms and legs look really hot. :-)

About General Lifestyle
1. Toss all of your fat clothes - and I mean ALL of them! And do not, under any circumstances, buy clothing that is either too big for you (because those jeans are so cute, and the store only has a size 8, and it's close enough, right?) or shop when you're feeling fat. If you gain too much weight, you need to go naked until you lose it again. (Okay, kidding here - but don't keep fat clothes around, because you will use them!)

2. Meal track forever. Whether you write it all down or keep a running tally in your head (and I recommend writing it down), don't ever stop consciously thinking about what you eat. After all, your body doesn't stop responding to calories in, calories out!

3. I know this one is in all the silly magazine articles, but it's true. Do what you can to be a tiny bit more active. Every time I go to the grocery store or the mall, I park far away. My six-year-old son used to complain, but now he's gotten so used to it that when my three-year-old daughter was whining about having to walk, my son actually said, "You should feel lucky that you have those strong legs to walk on! Some people don't!" Yeah, that's pretty much an exact quote of what I said to brainwash him. So we walk a few extra steps, I rarely use a stroller for the three-year-old (carrying her around a mall is great exercise!) and we generally try to get some physical activity every day.

4. Prove to everyone you're tough. This is especially cool if you're a woman. Yesterday I helped carry a six-foot-long, probably 100 pounds box with my son's Christmas present -an air hockey table - from the car to the room where we're trying to hide it. I'm not letting a man - my husband - tell me I can't do it because "I'm a girl." I'm so strong that I don't need to run for help when it comes to lifting or carrying or whatever things people think only burly men can do.

5. Oh yeah, and about that air hockey table? It cost about the same thing as a Nintendo Wii system, another thing the kid asked for. Air hockey may not be the most physical game around, but hey - it's better than video games and DVDs. Those things have their place, too, but if I can give my kids toys that involve physical activity - like a snowboard (what we got the boy for his fifth birthday) or a bicycle (the girl's third Christmas), I sneak exercise into both their and my life and we're all better off.

This is a pretty good list. There's one more part to the Backsliding series - and it's about recovery. That's for next time. :-)

Weird day at the gym

The Pro Club doesn't have all of its power back, so really more than half of it is closed. This put a wrench in my workout plans, obviously.

I had planned to do a spin class at 9:15 a.m.; yeah, I'm working this week, but I was going to go in a bit late.

The spinning room doesn't have power, though, so I had to go in the main fitness center and do cardio. I did 30 minutes on an elliptical trainer and 30 more on a recumbent bike while I caught up on my Britney Spears gossip. Super-fun.

The gym smelled horrible. Maybe partial power doesn't allow for the fans to be on or something, but there was a stench in the air that usually isn't there.

But, I did my thing, and it was fine. And I've eaten fairly well today, too!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

A little lack of motivation

Yes, I'm talking about me! Really!

I realized something today, after not working out Friday or Saturday.

If I don't have friends to work out with, I don't really feel like working out.

It wasn't always this way. I used to go running - even up to 14 miles - alone. And I'd be happy to ride my bike alone or go to the gym.

But now, after so much time with so many fabulous friends to exercise with, I'm not really interested in doing it by myself.

Fortunately, Danielle asked me to run with her this morning, so the weekend wasn't a total waste. And this is definitely the time of year for me to miss planned workouts if I don't feel like doing them.

I really was surprised to see, though, that without my buddies I'm not so interested. So you see, friends! My obsession is all your fault! :-)

Saturday, December 16, 2006

If you need to reach me...

I have no Internet access from home. However, since I do have (and have had) power throughout this storm and the aftermath, I'm safe and at home. I can get my email through my cell phone, but only at the address in my blogger profile (my other address, for those of you who have it, isn't accessible right now).

But we're all safe and fine and we're even warm. If you need a place to stay or a shower, call or email me!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

A rock 'n roll day!

So today is awesome.

First off, 5:40 a.m. I've got not one, not two, not even three - but FIVE running partners! That makes six of us total this morning, for those who are math-impaired. Isn't that awesome?

So then I go to spinning class because Danielle was teaching, and I listened to good music while spinning in a low-key sort of way (base training, yeah).

I was really nervous about work. It's been pretty awful lately, and today there was a big meeting that determined the fate of two of my features for the next release - features I really want to keep in the product!

So I had to argue - in a room of all men, of course - in favor of my features. And it wasn't easy. But an hour and a half later, I walked out of the room successful! Both of my features (that had been cut - this was the appeals meeting) - were approved.

THEN - I resolved a problem I had with a co-worker who had been very, very mean to me. I spoke to him directly and we worked it out. I know I feel a ton better.

So basically, I'm super-happy today. I hope you all are too!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Can't run, can snowboard

So I hurt my foot three months ago. And as any regular reader of this blog knows, I did a half-Ironman and three marathons in the last three months.

Obviously it doesn't hurt that much. But it does hurt every day. So yesterday I finally got it together and saw the podiatrist.

He told me not to run for two to four weeks. Uh, yeah. Maybe. So I got up this morning, ran six miles with the girls, then did a two-mile run on the treadmill to check my max aerobic pace.

I'll start that two to four weeks later. Maybe at Christmas, because it's a hectic time. We'll see.

Anyway, the max aerobic pace run? I did my two miles in 22:35. YUCK. It was painful to run that slow. But hopefully this will give me a baseline, and when I repeat the test four weeks from now, I should be faster.

On to snowboarding. The doctor did say I could board, so I went up this morning with some guys from work. It was incredible! Alpental is closed Mondays, and there was a storm Monday night, so there was two nights of accumulation. The snow was thick but light - deep powder. Of course, I'm a terrible powder boarder, but it was so amazing when I did get into a rhythm and could just float down the mountain. Those moments only happened when my co-workers weren't watching, though.

The doctor said skiing is better for my foot than boarding, because the foot is locked in place, so I'm likely going to ski the next time conditions aren't so ideal. But today rocked!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Just one beep

I'm back on the exercise wagon! Interestingly, I didn't feel really compelled to exercise this weekend - but I guess that's good.

Today I had no trouble staying in the right HR zone during indoor cycling. But then I lifted weights with Aleks, and my heart rate got up to 152 (the alarm goes off at 150) while I was doing overhead press. Maybe I need to do less weight.

So...nothing very interesting to say today.

But hey, check this out!

From left, me, Danielle, Regan, and Wendy - yes, we do have clothing that's not gym-appropriate! :-)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Does dancing count as exercise in base training?

Before you ask: No, I didn't wear my heart rate monitor. :-)

But oh my goodness, if I hadn't had 8 Cosmopolitans and one HUGE Long Island Iced Tea, I'm sure I would have burned enough calories to have replaced a full base-training workout. But instead, since I drank myself silly (which is silly in and of itself, since I'm silly regardless of how much alcohol I've had to drink), I probably just barely broke even.

Was it worth it? Actually, I think so. It's so rare that I get to dress up, put on makeup, do my hair nice, and go out and party. And this party was actually pretty good! (It was my company party, and since I'm part of the same group that just released that Zune thing, they pretty much pulled out all the stops and put on a really great division party.)

However, I know there's photographic evidence of my lack of reserve ... so it might not be worth it when I see how incriminating the photos are! Then again - I'm fairly certain when the stories start tomorrow at work about who did what at the company party, I won't be the most interesting to talk about. By far. :-)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Slightly better, still frustrating

Running in the right heart rate zone takes away some of the joy of running. I don't feel free to just go and play - it's not like dancing or snowboarding, it's like work.

But I pretty much did it - I think I exceeded my HR cap three times - once because we had to sprint to get across the street before a light changed - but my average ended up being 142, so I was good there.

I'm really looking forward to the end of base training. Already. That's pretty sad, huh?

Oh, and yesterday Danielle played "Canned Heat" in indoor cycling - which of course spiked my HR immediately out of zone because, well, when that song plays, I've got to dance!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Backsliding 101

So yesterday Regan and I were talking. And she asked a question: Why is it so easy to backslide on the 20/20 lifestyle, if the lifestyle is so wonderful and we enjoy it so much? (20/20 Lifestyles is the name of the weight-loss program we both did.)

She's got a point: Our bodies feel great when we eat properly and exercise, and our self-confidence increases when we know we look good and when we can do things we never thought we could.

However, it's easier to backslide than to stay on track. Here's why, in my opinion.

1) Food is everywhere. When don't we include food in our events - from an afternoon of shopping to a full day of meetings to cookies and hot chocolate after playing in the snow. Eating is ingrained in our culture and part of the enjoyment of everyday life.

2) There's always an excuse not to exercise. I'm tired, I'm sick, the kid is sick, work is busy, I need to do X, Y, Z. I can do it later.

3) We believe other people get to eat what they want. I watch one of my co-workers eat a burger, fries, cookies, and non-diet soda every day for lunch. He doesn't gain weight. When I sit next to him and just look at his food (with lust in my heart - for his food, of course), I gain a few ounces.

4) We get sick of the discipline required to maintain the lifestyle. The 20/20 lifestyle imposes a rigidity against which we sometimes want to rebel. I talked to a friend who did 20/20 then gained back...oh, I don't know, maybe 100 pounds! A lot, anyway, and he said pretty much he just didn't care. He didn't want to make the effort anymore. On 20/20, you're constantly thinking about your calories and your exercise and your heart rate and a zillion other numbers. All that structure is just ripe for rebellion...and see point #1, there's always food around for when you are in those moments.

5) We get annoyed with the knowledge we have. It's incredibly frustrating sometimes to know that a tablespoon of olive oil is 140 calories, and adding that to my two slices of bread before dinner in a nice restaurant nets me a total of maybe 340 calories - before I even eat the entree or dessert! Oh, and to burn 340 calories I need to exercise hard for 45 minutes. Seriously, this is so selfish, but I hate that McDonald's prints the number of calories on their french fry containers. I know fries are gross - but for those five minutes after the fries are cooked, if they're perfectly salted and taken out of the fryer at the right moment, there's some incredible magic that makes them the most delicious things on earth, and the last thing I want to know is how many empty, stupid, soon-to-be-regretted calories I'm consuming. (But honestly, it wouldn't matter if McDonald's didn't print the calories on the boxes, because I learned the numbers during 20/20 and I unfortunately can't forget them.)

6) But finally, and I think this is the big one, we think we're more powerful than the temptation of food. We have lost weight and we have the tools to do it again; knowing we can gives us a false confidence that we can eat what we want today and fix it tomorrow.

WE CAN'T. Now I know, somehow I've kept most of my weight off for two and a half years. I think I've been successful at that only because I'm still fascinated that I can swim and bike and run - all in the same day sometimes, too! I'm still entertained by seeing my muscles in the mirror when I lift weights. And I'm still amazed that I can go to a regular clothing store and buy anything I want because I know something will fit me (as opposed to when I wore a size 14/16/18/20 and either had to hope the extra-large fit me or shop at stores with "women's" sizes).

The 20/20 office considers me a success. In fact, I just was asked to appear in their brochures touting the program, and I'm happy to do it. I've definitely changed my lifestyle, and I've definitely kept the weight off. But it's work every single day, and so far it hasn't gotten easier.

So I think we backslide because temptation, laziness, excuses, and cockiness trump our best intentions and the good feelings eating right and exercising produce (because eating sugar and drinking alcohol and eating McDonald's fries produce good feelings too ... at least for a while).

I'd love to close this post with a list of things we can do to counter our backsliding. Alas, it's not that easy ... but I'll think about that too and see what I come up with. Or you can tell me what works for you, and whether this rings true for you, too.

Running slow is not tolerable

And I love a hyperbole.

Seriously, today I ran with Kathy, and thank goodness she likes me a lot, because running with me was AWFUL. A run that usually takes us just about 60 minutes - it's 5.5 miles - took 75 minutes. Given some time out for the street lights, that's about a 12.5 minute mile.

However, I realized I was making a mistake. I was thinking that I needed to cap my heart rate at 138, but actually, 138 is the middle of the range I need to stay in - it's 68% of my max. I can safely go as high as 75% during this part of training - so that gives me up to 152. And that makes perfect sense - Maffetone's formula puts me at either 149 or 154, depending on whether I give myself 5 extra beats per minute because I have been exercising for two years and making progress (the reason I waver here on whether I deserve those extra beats is that I kind of think I would have made progress no matter what I did, since I came from absolutely nothing).

So 152 is the new cap, but the target HR I will work to maintain is still 138. It seems reasonable, and doing that will allow me to run slowly, but reasonably on flat ground. I'm sure I'll still have to walk hills, but I can deal with that.

Today, with the cap at 138, I had to walk teensy hills I couldn't even feel, but obviously something in my body did.

I tried to go back to dieting yesterday, and yesterday was good. This morning I went to the grocery store and stocked up on healthy foods for the fridge in my office. Then I ran an errand for my husband, picked up lunch for him (and a reasonable lunch for me, too), but also a piece of apple cake for him...and then I proceeded to eat it. BLAH. Why did I do that? (Although it was way yummy.)

One step forward, two steps back.

Nah, two steps forward, one step back. I'm still on the right path and moving ahead. I hope.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Playing games to keep in base training zone

It's day three of formal base training and I found myself in Josh's spinning class this morning. Fortunately his music was boring (because it didn't inspire me to work super hard), but the plan - one strength song alternated with one speed song - was entertaining enough to make me want to play along.

However, with a max HR of 138, pretty much every time I got into it, I had to stop. I turned the alarm on so I could hear the beeps when I went over 138. The HRM beeped six times. Next time, I'm going to shoot for five. (Well, I'm going to shoot for zero, but realistically, it's work to slow down, so I'm going to do what I did when I learned to snowboard: each run down the hill, I wanted to fall one fewer time. Now, each time in class, I want to hear one fewer beep until I get down to no beeps.)

So anyway, I tried something different to keep my HR down: Whenever it got to 136, dangerously close to the high limit, I deliberately relaxed my upper body and focused on deeper, slower breathing, but kept my legs moving at the same cadence that they had been going.

It actually worked to drop the HR by a couple of beats and put me back into a safer zone. So that was good!

Then I lifted weights, and unfortunately, overhead press took me out of my HR range. Guess I need to drop the amount of weight I do there until it get easier and it doesn't raise my HR so much.

I'm meal-tracking today. I had a difficult day at work on Friday and it threw me completely off track, and then the weekend came and it's hard enough to be on plan when it's not the weekend, so here's to a fresh start today. I think my weight is probably 141 or 142; back to where it likes to stay, but not where I wish it were.