Sunday, January 31, 2010

Workout #4ish

Usually I do pretty well to blog the evening after I work out, but that didn't happen after my last one. I cut myself some slack though, since as long as I get the blog in before the next workout, I'm still doing so much better with the blogging than I was a few weeks ago.

Friday's workout was surprising. I had been beating myself up about the speed, but as I started out, I remembered some sound advice from K-Fin: go your own speed and stay on the treadmill. After Wednesday's workout, I was unsure if I could maintain my new pace for the length of time scheduled. But once I started jogging, the first round felt easy, like I wasn't really working at working out. Always a great feeling. Also a sign that you're not getting a lot of cardio or muscular benefits. The next round, though, reassured me that I was torturing myself.

At one point, when I was getting tired, I thought "Maybe I should slow down" but then I felt I was going too slow. It's like, once you go fast, you don't go last..........week's workout speed. Kind of amazing. Of course, I also started wondering if maybe the treadmill was some unique, magical treadmill that had me going faster than the speed it says. Okay, "magical" may not be the appropriate word. I think I'm looking for the word "wrong" or "broken."

So I have worked out for over two weeks, and I've been eating less. And now I'm seeing results (11 1/2 pounds - yay!). Results mean rewards, too, so I downloaded some more songs from Amazon. So I'm looking forward to Monday's workout, and seeing how my body feels after a complete Week 2 workout at my faster speed.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Is it ironic...

...that I celebrate the anniversary of starting regular exercise on Wednesdays, since I apparently HATE finishing workouts and haven't quite done a "regularly-scheduled" workout since I started? My god, was that sentence too long?

So, first of all, I got all discouraged because I went online earlier to check speed of jogging, or average speed, anyway. You know what I found out? Most sources say it is around 7 to 8 miles an hour. Um........ARE YOU BLEEPING KIDDING ME???!?!?!? I am maxing out at 3.6 so anyone "jogging" at 8 mph can - pardon me - kiss my ass.

Once I digested that unfortunate piece of news, I suddenly doubted all that I had done in my previous workouts. In fact, I felt like I hadn't made any progress, and was essentially pre-workout 1. When I made it to the gym (nearly alone; I don't think I have seen one person with the same workout schedule as myself in the last two weeks), I set my "brisk walk" at a faster pace. I was just about ready to start the "jog" when I noticed I had been walking on a 2% incline. What?? Son of a biscuit! I reset that back to 0 right quick.

I commenced to jog for 90 seconds at a speed of four miles per hour. Then, the two minute walk at just under three miles per hour, then the jog, walk, jog, walk, jog, walk, jog....then I walked the rest of my workout. I'm not letting myself feel guilty for what I like to refer to as my "freestyle interpretation" of the schedule since, hey, I was on the treadmill for 25 minutes. There was sweat. There was pain. I say, "mission accomplished."

But it helped knowing the distance a fellow HH covered in her recent workout, and being similar to mine, I thought, you know what? Maybe a 7.5 mph jog is for marathoners only. Or those youth in high school that have not been introduced to the Freshman Fifteen. Or its lesser known yet still popular relative, Freshman Forty. Either way, it's not for me, at least not right now.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Week 2 has started....maybe

So technically, I did Workout #4 today. Part of me wants to regress back to Week 1, thinking that I am not ready for Week 2 yet. But the fact that I could complete it without injury or feeling like I was going to toss my cookies is a pretty good indicator that I can probably continue with the Week 2 workouts.

Now, I may not necessarily be "jogging" so much as hyperwalking (and no, I don't mean racewalking, because racewalking is much faster than what I'm doing, I think). But there is a difference between the walk that I alternate with my jog. Eventually once the endurance works out better, I can probably start to look at increasing difficulty through other factors, i.e. incline, speed, etc.

And my workout buddies seem to be changing every time I'm in there. But I'm lucky enough to always have access to a treadmill for a half hour or so. I'm beginning to think I should consider using the weights there, too, on my off days but it is nice to think, "it's Tuesday, I can go straight home and chill." And Wednesday's workout will be the two-week anniversary--woo hoo!

So today's blog is mostly random ramblings. I don't think there is anything spectacular or noteworthy about today's workout. Except I did introduce some newly acquired tunes into the workout. I only note this because "We Didn't Start The Fire" came into the rotation during a mid-jog late in the workout. I know my feet and calves didn't care who started the fire, but they wanted it put out ASAP.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Happy Sunday

Well, just felt like blogging a little bit today. Overall, I've had a great couple weeks with the diet and exercise changes. I've managed to lose 6 pounds, and have been staying on par with most of my routine. I say most, because I have wanted to do upper body and core exercises on my alternate days, and that hasn't quite happened yet.

I'm just about ready to head out for a fun afternoon with the rest of my Brat Pack, but I've been thinking how lucky I am to have such awesome people in my life. My family is the greatest, and I love all of them so much. I certainly hope God gives my mom the strength to get through the next year as my grandfather is dealing with his illness, which is technically terminal. I know it's going to be a tough year for everyone, but my mom is transitioning into the role of primary caregiver.

And mom is probably another motivation in the exercise. I think she should be an Honorary Hellbilly Honey. She has already worked hard to lose over 30 pounds over the last couple years. Family history freaks her out - and in turn, causes concern for me. So I owe it to her, and maybe this is the best thing I can do for her this year since I won't always be able to actually be there for her during the tough times ahead. At least, by taking better care of myself, she'll know I'll be around for her for a long time to come.

And then there's the nephews. I don't want my youngest nephew to have vague memories, or rely on other people to remember his aunt. Plus, I want more energy so when I do visit, it's a lot more fun for everyone. The window of opportunity for being a fun, cool aunt to play with is closing faster than I want!

So I guess there are a lot of reasons to keep doing what I am doing. And this blog has been helping me more than I expected. Sometimes I feel narcissistic writing this, and don't like to push it on people. But this Couch to 5K plan made me feel that it was a way for me to give back to the group so we feel, hopefully, a bit more connected in the "ordeal" as I sometimes think of it.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Regrets and ruminations

After working out, there were a lot of thoughts spinning through my brain - is the endorphins thing that people are always talking about? Anyway, tonight during my walk to the car, the idea popped in my head that going from pain to elation over the course of minutes was one of those amazing gifts from God that is part of life. Living life means going through not only the big ups and downs, but daily ups and downs, too. My emotions have often made me question the person that I am, and if I was a good or bad person based on how much my moods have affected my sociability. I've had "regrets" about my behavior and decisions, but tonight, I just thought, what's the point of regretting anything? Missing out on some things in life because of fear, anxiety, or depression later helped me open doors to opportunities that I would have normally missed. It's helped me mature. That is why I hope to stop encapsulating parts of my life as "regrets."

Additionally, I'm shifting that mindset to my diet and exercise regimen. Depriving myself of certain foods or habits to experience new and better benefits has moments of misery. What is so wrong with going to the Pizza Hut buffet? The answer: absolutely nothing. I can continue to eat at the Pizza Hut buffet as much as I want. That does not mean I have to feel guilty, or hate myself, or consider myself weak. It simply means accepting the consequences of that decision. Period. Progressing in the weight loss plan for me just means realizing healthier decisions will yield more favorable results, even if they are less immediate.

Workout #3 is officially done

I experienced pure, unadulterated bliss today. I walked into the gym and heard the sound of......silence. Mr. Runners World was not on the treadmill, and it appeared that I had a completely empty gym. I was ecstatic, and told myself, "Get moving and change!! This may not last long!" I went from Workplace Barbie to Workout Barbie in 4.5 seconds flat, give or take several minutes.

After changing, I did a full minute of stretches - 45 seconds more than usual. Plus, I switched out the insoles, going back to the originals. I'm pretty sure these measures contributed to my legs feeling better today. Yes, by the end of it, I still felt that my left shin should just die already, and yes, I would have had no issue putting my right foot into a fire because the sole was burning as it was. Yet, I still completed the entire prescribed workout.

After the workout, I conducted a few more stretches and my shin hurt much less, making the drive home almost bearable this time. So the next question, of course, is will I be able to do Workout #4 on Monday? Part of me wants to stick with Workout #3, but part of me also thinks I should at least attempt Workout #4. We'll see how it goes, but it does feel great to know I have been sticking with the routine and can continue to do so. It's also amazing how much the lack of other people makes me so relaxed and so happy.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Hmm...Wednesday's Whatever Workout

It's official. I have a workout buddy. Mr. Runners World was on the treadmill again this evening, so I've come to accept the fact that I need to ignore him like I ignore the soccer game he watches during the workout. How much longer is that sport in season, anyway? At least he was nice enough to offer me the remote once his session was done...three minutes before mine.

As for workout #, it was a bit of a hybrid between #3 and 4. I started to do a #4 level workout, but towards the end, it was more like #3, and I still walked through one jog session. It's not the cardio aspect that gets me, but the damn gams. Two minutes into the first round of jog/walking and I feel like I got peg leg from the knees down. The difference between today and Monday, though, was that I managed to push through some of the pain, and did a full 25 minutes on the treadmill.

I did enjoy a very brief moment of joy when I was jogging and felt things "click", like hey, this feels right! But then I felt like I just wanted to stop moving so the throbbing stumps that were my calves and ankles would...just...stop. Even though I knew this week would come - I knew this week would be brutal on my willpower - yet it's still rough. I have to remind myself to stop being negative and chastising myself about little things, and remember the most positive thing of all: I have completed 25 minutes of activity four times in the last eight days.

In addition to the exercise, I've focused on my diet. I know this is obvious, but diet and exercise suck. They are hard, no fun at all, and establishing willpower is a bitch. Yet I still feel the drive to stick with these lifestyle changes to reap the benefits. So I'll continue to try my best and we'll see where next week takes us.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Workout #2.......and 3/4?

Well, workout #3 did not go as well as I had planned. Oddly enough, I was excited about it and thought of it most of the day. After tonight, I can't say that working out is boring by any means, as each workout has presented something new for me to ponder. Tonight featured something I had hoped I would not encounter for several more weeks: another person working out at the same time.

Now, if I'd had my choice, I would have chosen some hot young muscle mimbo to bench press while I was doing my treadmill run. Instead, I had the luxury of doing my 60 second jog, 90 second walk routine next to some skinny dude training for a marathon who enjoys watching soccer. Bear in mind, there are two treadmills in the gym, and they are literally 14 inches apart.

This did not help with my "am I running right?" complex. In fact, I was so intimidated, I decided I had better step it up a notch and increased the speed of both my walking and jogging speeds. The stupidity of this action would be evident very soon. About twelve minutes into the workout, my legs felt like wood and I knew something was not quite right. I decided to walk through two minutes of the jogging because the pain in my feet was darn near unbearable. There is "just-push-through-it" pain, and then there's "just-push-me-off-a-cliff" pain. Mine was the latter.

Of course I was very frustrated with this workout, and I'm contemplating repeating workout #3 on Wednesday, utilizing some of the lessons learned from this experience: 1) S-T-R-E-T-C-H. I am pretty much jumping on the treadmill cold, and I no longer think that is a good idea. 2)Make sure the shoes are right. I tried using new inserts with my sneakers to see if I would notice a difference, but I'm thinking I probably need the originals back. 3) Get in a zone of my own. I can't let other people distract me...a hunny's gotta do what a hunny's gotta do.

Tonight was a night that I had some discouragement. At one point I thought "Running is stupid. I'm not chasing anything. I'm not being chased. Why am I doing this?" It is thoughts like those that make me blog. I knew when I started the program I would have days like this - and there will be more - but the important thing is to find a way past it and to share it so if my fellow gals are having the same experiences...we can all enjoy the misery together.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Workout #2 in the books...

Thursday evening was interesting as usual in Brattleboro. Although this time DShef was in town, and his 30th birthday happened to be this week so of course, there was need for celebration. Beyond the usual fare at the 99, we also went to the old hangout spot, the Beacon. Great times were had by all, but a few of us opted to continue the birthday bash at Gypsy's apartment (without the birthday boy--he insisted on calling it a night at 10:30). For a short time, we managed to record a three-part harmony, singe someone's chin hair, and bust a futon. As much as I wanted to stay and help with the attempted futon repairs, I had to pull myself away at 1:00 am.

So what does this have to do with my workout? I highly recommend getting a great night's sleep the evening before workouts. I was dragging a bit on Friday, but knew I that workout #2 was pretty essential since, you know, otherwise, I just randomly walked and jogged for a few minutes one Wednesday. And then I'd have to relinquish my title of Hellbilly Hunny - and that ain't happenin'!

So I walked into the gym armed with much more confidence and my MP3 player. Making sure my shoelaces were tight, I started my warm-up with some Springsteen. Now, the five minute walk warm-up went fine, but then came the really tricky part: clock math. The funny thing is that I have a harder time remembering when I start jogging, but no trouble remembering when to switch back to walking.

In this second workout, my legs were burning a bit earlier than they had in the first workout, but I dealt with it and and the jog minutes went by fairly quickly. I also tried pushing myself to jog a little bit faster...but not too fast. I know I broke a sweat for at least a couple minutes, so that was good. At least this time I didn't risk injury by getting too involved in checking out my form. I just dealt with the awkward moments.

Speaking of awkward moments, the motion-detector lights malfunctioned about halfway through my workout. Seriously? I know I do a light jog/brisk walk, but you'd think that would be enough motion to keep the lights on. I did not have this problem during the first workout, but then again, I had to keep getting off to hydrate and/or retrieve flying objects (water bottle, CD player, stop watch) so that may explain the difference. I've since learned that you really can't keep anything on the treadmill, as it flies off when you least expect it, making quite a racket in the process.

Well, that's about all I have to say about workout #2. Workout #3 is scheduled for Monday afternoon. Then I move on to Week 2 of the program, unless I decide to prolong week 1 by a workout or two. Once I do progress on to Week 2, I'm looking to start doing some strength and core training on my days off. I just might actually get in shape this spring!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Workout #1 is DONE!

So I officially started the "Couch to 5K" program with my first workout tonight. Surprisingly the first workout is not "Stand up from couch" even though I would expect that to be the first logical step. Despite utter lack of previous movement the last, oh, ten years or so, 30 minutes of activity did not send me into cardiac arrest or even asthmatic attack. My lower legs were the unsuspecting victims of the workout. Yep, I felt the burn. In fact, halfway through the workout, I thought someone could have chopped off my legs at the knee and I wouldn't have cared. Much.

Not only was this my first workout of an exercise program, it was also my first workout in the gym that I have free access to through my employer. It is very conveniently located in an adjoining building. I do wonder why I never took advantage of it before. It's a great little place with a couple treadmills, some exercise balls and various weight training equipment. Best machine in there: the television with premium satellite service. That will come in handy.

The gym is also nearly lined with full-length mirrors. I took advantage of this to check my form while jogging because I have discovered one minor detail: my body has no idea how to handle itself when pushed beyond a "brisk" walking pace. A couple times I almost did a face plant trying to see if things looked right because they sure weren't feeling right. With a little bit of time, I'm willing to bet things will fall into place and the awkwardness will dissipate. I hope it is not the same for my enthusiasm, but thank goodness for my fellow Hellbilly Hunnies. If I start to think, maybe I put the workout off, I think of my girls and I realize I can't do that to Backstretch Betty or Lightning Lizzie or Zippy Zelda. Okay, so those aren't official nicknames, unless people say otherwise. In all seriousness, I believe I am going to finish this program but I never would have started if it weren't for them so here's to the hunnies!

Speedy Spice Strout

Sunday, January 10, 2010

And so it begins...

So as for no blog posts last month: I was primarily focused on finishing Christmas present projects that I waited far too long to begin. But the good news is that all presents were completed and received well.

Now, with the advent of the New Year, and a renewed focus, I'm tackling my health. The first week of the new year may not have gone as well as I wanted (a half pound lost instead of two pounds) but on the other hand, nothing to be ashamed of either. As I've started focusing more on healthy eating, there is a gang of us launching into the "Couch to 5K" program. Will we run 5k this spring? I think we will. I feel great right now, and very optimistic. As they say, though, anyone can start well. It's the finishing that is the hard part.

As we go forward, I certainly hope that life won't get in the way too much because I think accomplishing this exercise program from start to finish - completing a goal that I set out to complete - is important not only for my health but also for my character.

I'm also pretty sure I'll be cussing out Funnycane (internally, of course) during those difficult times when I have to push through. But at least I have something to focus on, and I'm sure she'll be a great drill sergeant as she's taken initiative with this. I, on the other hand, can't even really recall the conversation we had in October that got the ball rolling with the running.