It’s Not a Diet!

I have been posting pictures and comments on Facebook and Instagram about my journey into healthy eating and exercise.  And I just got proof that people are really paying attention to what I’m doing, even if they don’t interact with me very often.

I went to Mary Lou’s Coffee yesterday with my kids and got a delicious and decadent

My Spilled Coffee

My Spilled Coffee

Girl Scout Cookie iced coffee, complete with some whipped cream and about 350 calories.  But I wanted it and I enjoyed it.

The problem was the poor girl behind the counter spilled mine by accident and had to make me another one.  And when she commented that she should have taken a picture, I obliged her and put it on Instagram and Facebook.

Then I get the comment, “I thought you were all into healthy eating?”

I am, but this is a lifestyle change, not a drastic deprivation diet.  I enjoy an occasional treat and made up for the extra calories by hitting the treadmill for a walk/run and the arc machine for a nice calorie burn.

Don’t live like everything is forbidden except carrot sticks and salad.  Enjoy a treat every now and then.  All things in moderation is a nice credo to live by.

Enjoying the Vacation Week

Heading down into the Chasm

We have been taking it easy this week between the holidays and before my son returns to school at Blackstone Valley Prep.  He has been working on his rather large homework packet that needs to be completed before this upcoming Monday, but not all at once since this is supposed to be family time.  We snuck off yesterday to Purgurtory Chasm in nearby Sutton, Massachusetts for a little hiking and rock climbing.  The weather has been unseasonably warm here in Rhode Island for the past 6 weeks and taking advantage of that with some outdoor time is always a plus.

The top of the Chasm

When we arrived at the park we spotted a sign saying the Chasm was closed until Spring.  Normally by this time of the year the rocks are covered with ice and there are large ice pools created at the bottom of the paths.  But it was in the mid-40’s, so my friend Erin, her daughter, and my son and I decided to pretend we didn’t see that sign and headed out anyway.  The path was not icy at all and where there was any water, it was still moving or just muddy.  Some of the rocks were a bit slippery with the moss on the side so sliding down on my butt proved the best maneuver there.

Alex in the Crevice

There is a crevice between two humongous rocks that people squeeze through.  Even though I have been here several times in the past, I have never noticed this crevice.  Erin was familiar with it and my son Alex decided he was brave enough, and skinny enough to walk through and we met him at the other side.  Then Erin admitted she had always wanted to be able to go through so I told her to be careful and I would help her out at the end.  Her daughter, Alyssa, now was also brave enough to squeeze through it.  Not so much for me!  The kids had no problem but Erin is a full-figured gal like myself and even though she made it through the crack, getting her out was another story.  The kids came straight up and out with a helping hand from me, but Erin had to pass through sideways due to the width of the crevice.  (Notice I didn’t say the width of Erin! Her width can change but this rock was going nowhere!!!)  Getting her foot into the natural step hold on the rock proved quite difficult.  After giggling profusely and sending the kids away because they were laughing too hard, we managed to get her up and out into safety.  And she could proudly state she had managed to go through the crack!  We managed to end our climbing expedition safely and without being caught by any Park Rangers.  (Oh, we are such bad mommies setting a terrible example of flaunting the rules…but we were exercising!)

The crew coming through! Proud of you girl!

That was the first half of my daily exercise.  The evening hours found me at the gym where I happened upon a fascinating discovery.  At least to me.

I have been walking at a pace of 3.0 which is comfortable for me with my stumpy legs and then running for my 30 second intervals at 4.6 or 4.7.  But I was feeling a bit peppy and decided to push it a bit and cranked the treadmill up to 4.9 and then 5.0 and my running was so much easier and more natural.  I had been jealously watching some of the other treadmill runners lope along so comfortably and craned my neck around to check out their speeds without appearing to be a stalker.  And most of them were running at 5.0 or higher, so I tried the 5.0 and I liked it!  My feet aren’t as sore after the workout, I am completing what I have planned and I feel good!  (Cue the James Brown music…)

And my gym going dedication has finally rubbed off on my sister because she called me and asked to go to the gym Thursday morning with me.  Yeah!  Company for once.

Revamping the Plan

I successfully completed my first week of training with my run/walk program and began the second week with an increase in running.  I went from 30 second running intervals the first week up to 1 minute running intervals the second week starting this past Monday.  Monday’s workout was a killer and extremely difficult, but I expected that with the increased running time.  But I still am not sure how I managed to complete that workout.  I was gasping for air, my legs were aching, and I was a bit wobbly on the treadmill.  But I slowed my breathing, drank more water and hung on to the grips on the treadmill.  And I sure was proud of myself for lasting through that 40 minute workout.

40 minute workout and I only ran 7 minutes of that, but it was the most I had done in one workout to date.  So I drank more water and walked up and down the sidewalk outside of the gym to keep my legs from cramping.  I ordered chicken and some rice from Fortune House in the same plaza and kept walking while they prepared it for me.  Nice healthy meal to bring home with me after my vigorous exercise.

I iced my legs, mostly the bottom of my quads and knees.  Stretched my calves and ankles along with hamstrings and quads and then soaked in a warm bath.  The following day was a Walk Day which I completed and felt every step of it as I worked out the rest of the kinks.  I felt better Wednesday and headed to the gym for my next run and that is when the issues came up.

I started out just fine and made the first several one minute runs but then I started cramping in the quads and feeling pain and a burning sensation in the front of my foot where it attaches to my leg and along the sides of my feet.  So instead of possibly causing more injury, I decided to run just 30 second intervals and when that didn’t ease anything, then just finished the workout by walking the remainder.  Sort of felt like a failure but then I shook myself and changed my mind.

The old me would have quit, put my legs up and complained about my injuries and how they have hindered my exercising.  The new me decided to slow down and concentrate on still moving to burn calories while trying to prevent further damage.  I am trying and that is the best I can do at this point.

New running shoes may be the simple answer to my pain, or it may be that I am so out of shape that I just have to just slow down.  The new shoes are coming, just like Christmas, so if I have to walk the rest of this week I will do so.

But I am heading to the gym in a few minutes and have decided to go back to running 30 second intervals to keep the heart rate up.  If it proves too hard, then it is back to walking.

I Went Anyway…

Yesterday, Sunday, was a day that was quite busy for me.  I washed the laundry, cleaned the kitchen, and completed other general household duties.  A lovely visit with GYM was planned but I did not want to go.  Not at all, and any excuse that came up would do for me.  My legs were achy from Saturday’s workout and it was Sunday, the day of rest, right?

My Week 1 notes in my running journal.

Wrong.  Even though the old me would have come up with plenty of reasons to not work out, the new me headed to the gym.  I may have been dragging my butt a bit, but I made it.  I completed the last workout of Week 1 and felt good once I was done.  Real good actually.

I was watching an older man on the treadmill in front of me (remember, I run on the ones in the back row) and thought I want to run like him.  He had to have at least 20 years on me, but looked healthy and fit.  He was running timed sprints and then walking in between sprints.  Sort of like I am doing, only his workout was on steroids compared to mine.  But I will get there, step by step.

My running journal is completed for the week with notes, times, distance and thoughts.  I wrote “missed workout due to poor planning” on Friday because I planned on going later, but later kept getting later and I ran out of Friday and never got to the gym.  So from here on in I have planned when I am hitting the gym.  Making a concrete schedule is something I plan on working on next week, but at least for now I decide if it will be morning, early or late afternoon, or evening.  So far it’s getting done.

The Running Journal and Complete Book of Beginning Running.

The journal also has a section to record information about my running shoes (or in my instance “walking” running shoes) like when purchased, where purchased, how many miles logged on them and how they feel in general.  I have yet to purchase my first official pair of running shoes, but that is a gift to myself by Christmas.  There is also a part I can’t wait to write in.  You can log your races to keep track with all the details surrounding each and every race.  My goal is at least 5 races next year, but will begin mapping them out in the new year.

I keep the journal and my Beginning Running book out in plain sight to remind me of my promise to myself to get fitter, healthier, and feel better about myself.  It is usually sitting on the coffee table, on the couch, or on some other seating surface.  But when I move it I get a little subliminal message.

And a little boost when I feel like skipping a workout again…

Which I won’t do unless injured or deathly ill, I promise me!

And I Did Start on Monday!

And I actually liked it.  I felt good and wanted to do more, but decided taking it easy was the wisest choice this early on in the game.

I prepared my new running journal by checking out all the informational pages at the beginning and end of the book.  So I checked my “running” shoes to write down the brand and model, to track when I purchased them, and to keep track of when I log 400-500 miles so I can purchase a new replacement pair.  Well, it seems my “running” shoes are actually Ryka “walking shoes”.  Who knew???

Well, I figured since I am walking more right now than running, this pair will do me just fine.  They’re light and feel comfortable on my feet, and I already own them, so the Ryka’s are the shoe for me.  For now.  I can’t remember when I bought them, but have only used them in the gym and for a bit of walking on the Bike Path.  Not too many miles logged on those soles yet, but that will change as these weeks fly by.

I had to schedule my trip to the gym for this evening and arrived around 8:30pm.  I like that time because it is not too crowded and I can score a machine in the back where I like it.  I know I am not the most graceful runner, yet, and like my backside to the wall, thank you very much.  I chose to listen to my iPod tonight (Guns ‘N Roses Greatest Hits) and watched some Fear Factor on the big screen in front of me.

I spent 40 minutes on the treadmill and traveled a distance of 2.15 miles.  5 minutes of that was running intervals of 30 seconds at a time at 4.4, which is pretty fast for my stumpy legs! I have a long torso but the legs definitely suffered in the length department. (Only 5’3″ and that’s stretching it…)  I clocked my starting mile at 18:35 which is the time from the easy warm-up walking start, and then the run/walk intervals started at 5 minutes with a 30 second run every 2 1/2 minutes. It felt easy, but the only regret I have is not letting enough time pass after eating my dinner.  I will probably continue with this for a few more sessions and then increase the running time to 45 seconds at a time next week.

My plan is to run again on Wednesday and cross train on non-running days with walking and weight training to continue burning calories and gaining strength.  Off to a great start!  And even on a MONDAY.