Monday, September 25, 2006

Glimmer of Hope

Hi there. This is just a quick note to those of you who may have thought I was throwing in the towel yesterday. I wasn't, and I'm not. I'm just frustrated.

I'm writing this having just came back in from a short run (30 min total, including warm-up and cool-down). I actually wasn't planning on running, but I woke up at 3:20 and after trying to go back to sleep for half an hour, I decided, "Why not," gave my dog a bone to keep her busy, and went out for a quick run. Felt good, but I have a headache now, and I'm not sure why. Poor nutrition, perhaps. Too long since my last exercise, most likely.

OK, time to hit the showers.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

I'm absolutely p*ssed.

Beware: this is not a happy post. Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.

OK, I've tried everything.

I've pushed myself to maintian my previous levels of activity and healthfulness despite going back to work. I've negotiated reasonable levels.

I've held myself to high standards. I've made concessions.

I've demanded only the best. I've realized that I'll never be perfect.

I have done everything I can think of, and it's not good enough.

Oh, no. Don't get me wrong. This is not a "poor me" post. I am absolutely furious at myself. But it's not making a difference.

I've told others in the past that there may be something deeper and that they should possibly seek professional help when they struggle to make or maintain positive changes. I, however, thought that I had exorcised my personal demons and that I had gotten to the point where there was nothing stopping me from improving my health other than laziness and love of junk food.

So, what's stopping me right now? Why, despite not enjoying the food at all, am I eating junk food? Why, despite knowing that exercise GIVES me energy, am I avoiding it?

I. Just. Don't. Know.

Part of me thinks I should shut down this blog. The few that are still reading are certainly not finding what they're looking for in entertainment/inspiration for the last few weeks. Also, these days, I'm certainly not embodying that "spirit" of athleticism that I wrote about in my first post.

Another part of me says that I should keep the blog up. That whatever state I'm in will pass, and I'll want to look back later on these dark days with fond sympathy for the troubled me.

The second part wins, if only for the glimmer of hope it represents.

So, though the blog will remain, and I plan to post at least weekly, I bid you all a sort of adieu. But, in saying "goodbye", I hope that you will check back occasionally, and that you will return when I do. So, rather than goodbye, I'll use the German phrase that - literally - means until we see each other again:

Auf Wiedersehen.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Special Athleticism

OK, first, since it's Sunday, I should say something about my current status. I've plunged from 205.8 pounds (5-day average) to a shocking... wait for it... 205.5 pounds. Um, yeah. So, I don't think there's any need to post my measurements or any other details. Oh the bright side, I haven't gained any weight.

I'm still struggling in dealing with the "real world" for my activities. Despite my silence, everything did not go smoothly over the past few days. (I'm confessing now. That counts for something, doesn't it?) I'm really having a difficult time in eating properly and keeping active with my work hours.

It recently hit me: if I teach special education, and know to celebrate small steps in my students, why don't I do the same for myself? I mean, really! When we have students who never turn in ANY homework, we may set a goal to have the student turn in 50% of homework. Why can't I do the same thing for myself?

So, in that vein, I'm writing an IAP (individualized athleticism program) for myself. (Students in special education receive individualized educational programs). So, let's run through it.

Present Levels of Performance: I start strong on Sunday or Monday, and fizzle by Wednesday or Thursday, in both activity and healthy eating. For the past two weeks, I've completed 7 out of 24 training activities. That's 29%.

For healthy eating, let's set two "points" per day. I make it within my caloric bounds: 1 point. I eat healthily with reasonable macros and nutrition: 1 point. I do both: 2 points. So, for the past two weeks, I've earned 9 points out of a possible 28. That's 32%.

Strengths and Concerns: Strengths... strengths... yeah, ok. Well, I'm quite the pleasant person and I get along well with others. I rarely run with scissors. Concerns: I'm afraid of continuing slippage and undoing everything I've worked so hard to achieve.

Goals and Objectives: Ok, based on my present levels of performance, I'll shoot for nutritional and activity compliance of at least 40% for the next two weeks. That means completing 10 of my scheduled 24 activities and earning 12 out of 28 possible nutrition points.

Modifications and Accommodations: Hmmm... This is a hard one. Students may received shortened assignments or "time out" passes, but I don't see anything I can steal for my IAP. They might also get preferential seating or a behavior plan. Yeah, can't see anything here. I reserve the right to add these later, though.

Justification of Placement: We, the IAP team, feel that Karen's performance has declined sharply after re-entering the working world this fall. Rather than allowing her to continue this decline, possibly ultimately resuming to couch potato-ness and suffering the shame of needing to pull all of her "fat clothing to give away" back out of the guest room closet, we feel that it would benefit her most to temporarily reduce her own requirements and expectations so that she can develop a base of success from which to build.

There we go. My very own IAP. Special At, here I am.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Two steps forward...

OK, first I'll 'fess up: I did not run on Friday. In fact, I almost overslept! Well, that's the way it goes. My calories were perfectly in line for no activity, though, so that's OK, just not ideal.

Yesterday, I rode an extremely slow ride with the Procrastinating Pedalers. It was a lovely ride, and I'll surely go back. Just not at 10-11 miles per hour.

(Pettiness follows.) I was a little irritated when the leader of the ride turned to the two thinner girls (about my age) and commented that they could probably have gone much faster. Hey! What about me?!? I could have done that extremely flat route at at least 14-15 mph! What's with the assumptions? (Ok, I feel better now.)

Moving on to today: no ride, no run. I will do yoga before the day is over, though. I know I said that I'd be doing some bodyweight training, but self-consciousness is getting to me. This training means that I'll have to go to a playground or other place that has bars I can hang off of. I'm building up to this. It's taking more courage than I expected. For today, I think yoga is a fair substitute.

Overall, I'm beginning to wonder about my workout goals. I'm trying to continue a pretty aggressive schedule despite school starting back up. Maybe I need to cut it down a little bit so I can stop feeling like a flake every other day. Then, if I work out more than planned, it's a bonus. Score!

Finally, here are my current stats. Sadly, it's been exactly four weeks since I posted these, but the good news is that this lag makes them look better than they might have otherwise.

Current 5-day average weight: 205.8 lb.
Total loss since a month ago: 3.8 lb

Current 8-point total size: 210.25 in.
Total loss since a month ago: 1.75 in.

Average daily calories in/out: 2204/2562
Average macronutrients (P%/F%/C%) : 19/32/47

OK, far from ideal, but I'll live with it.

Sneak preview: I went to see the specialist again. I've got a few things to say about that visit. That'll be mentioned either tonight or tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Cheating... at Blogging

First, I want to point out that I've updated my schedule over to the right. This schedule begins Friday (we have "Parent Night" tomorrow).

It should be worth noting that I'm trying an experiment with my weight training. Rather than pumping iron at the gym, I'm going to try "body weight" training for a while. I'm starting waaaaayyy at the bottom of the skill levels and, due to an overabundance of the requesite body weight, will probably creep very slowly up the levels. But, really, it somehow makes more sense and is certainly a bit more holistic than resistance training with weights. My only concern is that not very many women seem to do it. Still, at the very least, it should make for one or two interesting blog entries.

Now, on to the cheating: I actually posted the following over at cool-running, and - rather than retell the story - have copied and pasted it here. Feel free to skip if you've already read it, as if you need my permission.

I've heard many times that we data-geeks don't need our fancy GPS watches with HRM, workouts, et al. Perhaps, in the long run, they're right. But, if I didn't have my beloved Garmin this morning, I might have been late to work!

I ran a new route not far from my neighborhood this morning (leaving from my front door). I've biked that particular path, but only one-way - I always come back a different way.

So, there I am in the dark having "run" (ha!) up a hill (for the first time during training), enjoying my run back downhill, when I eventually notice that the darkened houses don't quite look familiar. I look at my handy GPS tracks on my watch and find out that I took the wrong leg of a fork that I didn't even realize was there when coming from the other direction!

My trusty GPS guided me right back to the path I needed without having to backtrack. (Even if I had backtracked without the Garmin, I might still have had trouble discerning exactly where I was supposed to be and go.) Whew!

Yeah, yeah, sure... I know that the purists out there will just tell me to dump the GPS and just pay more attention to where I'm going. Go ahead and say it if you must, but my Garmin now sits on an even higher pedestal then before. Gold pedestal. Security system. Barbed wire all around it. With a framed "Ode to my Garmin" close by.

Now, pardon me as I create a new spreadsheet.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

For the cynics out there

OK, I know what a few of you thought: Sure, she got off her butt and ran and biked at the end of a three-day weekend. But what will she do when she has to work out around school again? Will she really drive right by the two McD's, Jack in the Box, and Wendy's from work to home without grabbing an easy dinner? How do I know that that's what you were thinking? Because I thought it myself, of course.

Well, so far so good. I got up this early and did a little yoga with my good friend Steve Ross, and then hiked this evening with the Sierra Club. My food also continued to be what I call reasonably clean. (Forgive me, I'm still recovering over the unintentional battle of the value [or crappiness] of a particular cereal.)

Here's the bad news: I may not have the time or energy to blog very much. So, I may miss a day here and there of blogging, but I'll continue to be honest. If I'm doing well, I'll share it. If I falter, I'll come out and say it. After things settle down a little at work, I'll try to return to daily entries. But really, I'm sure you'll all agree: If something's gotta give, let the blog suffer. :)

Monday, September 04, 2006

No, please don't make me have that piece of chocolate!

Howdy all. You were starting to give up on me, weren't you? Truth be told, I think I started to give up a little on myself as well. Saturday, no doubt, I couldn't blame myself for remaining fairly comatose. Sunday, though, I meant to go cycling with the local bike club and didn't. So today, when I didn't get up early enough to go work out before the warmth of day, I began to worry. Was I going to return to my inactive lifestyle?

I admit, I had given in to Jack in the Box and Snickers over the past few days, but that was supposed to be temporary. But, as the morning wore on and I remained in my pajamas, I had to wonder: Was my plan for temporary refuge in convenience food and inactivity (except for during work) going to backfire and lead to a permanent return to the unhealthful lifestyle I was escaping?

At 6:09 pm today I had my answer: absolutely not.

In fact, I had the same thought that I've had in the past when eating fresh fruit for the first time in a long time: Why had I deprived myself of this joy? That's what the title is referring to. Today, I realized again that training is a pleasure, and I shouldn't deny myself that pleasure.

Stepping out to run again, I felt alive. The stress of planning for tomorrow ebbing, my body and mind being once again pushed to complete a purely athletic task, I encountered the zen-like joy of play. Really, that's what all of this is, I realized. Play. Why deny myself this?

Sure, it's hard, difficult, and painful sometimes, but overall, it's wonderfully rewarding. I'm so glad to be back.

Surprising myself, I successfully met my own challenge and ran 2.5 miles without stopping today, despite the break. My average running pace was 12:48 min/mile. Not too shabby, I think, all things considered. I returned to a particular part of the river that I hadn't run along for a while. I was surprised at how much farther I was going to meet my current distance! (Bonus!)

I was well and truly drained when I returned to my car, however. I sat for a while, drank, enjoyed some Sport Beans, and gazed out at the park for a while, relishing the feeling before changing to go out for a ride.

My ride wasn't quite as successful. That run really sapped my energy (good!), so my ride was much slower than it normally might have been. Still enjoyable, and - since it was dusk - I think I got to sample some new bugs today for a protein boost. It did feel good to get back on the bike. (It's been way too long from cycling). I'm really going to have to work that back into my schedule.

Unfortunately, today showed me that I'm not ready for a 33 mile hilly ride on Saturday. Instead, I'll do the flat beginner's ride. There's a possibility that I'll get some well-needed tips on group riding during that ride, so perhaps it's for the best.

Since I'd neglected my "Sunday Stats" for a while anyway, I'll post those again this coming Sunday. I'm relieved to see that I've gained back surprisingly little weight over this past week.

Ah, once again: it's good to be back.