Friday, February 24, 2017

Push past it!!

You know...there is a total mental aspect of pushing yourself further, farther and harder.  Some days it's easy!  Some days it is just the most simplest thing in the world to push myself out of my comfort zone.   Some days though...it's difficult!

A few weeks ago I finally watched the documentary "From Fat to Finish Line".   It was a pretty good documentary.  (The link is to the trailer for the documentary.) it was inspiring and motivating and if you haven't seen it I would recommend it. I had heard about it a while back but it took me a while to actually get off my butt, find it and watch it!   There is a point when one of the runners is doing her second leg of the race and she starts to fall apart. There was apparently some medical issues too...but what caught my eye and what made me sit up straighter was how she was falling apart.   What I heard (and in fairness to her, it may have just been my impressions of what was happening) was her negative self talk.  I can't remember exactly what she said at this point but she was doubting all of the hard work that got her to where she was...simply because she was struggling.   For her it was not a 'push yourself kinda day.'   Maybe medically she couldn't go on...but I knew in my heart that when she started mumbling 'I cants' and the negativity that mentally she was through for a while!

I saw it happening to her and I knew....why?   Because I've been there so many times!   I have written so many times about my 'mini me'. The voice in my head that tells me I'm a loser, and that I'm not a runner, and that I should just quit!   I remember a run on the canal a few years ago that darn mini me was telling me all sorts of nastiness!   I was in tears!   And finally I just started screaming  out loud telling that darn mini me to shut up!!!  And I kept running.   It's happened over and over again....sometimes I win...sometimes I fail!

This past weekend I had a moment like that, it was the last day out on our bikes. I had already crashed my bike the day before and we were on a different trail that was even more  terrifying to me!   (Ironically I'm still more terrified of this trail even more than the trail that I did my face plant on!!). I was in front of Jason riding and that darn 'mini me' voice was just there screaming at me!!!!  I started to cry!  Not blubbering loud crying...just quiet tears of despair.   And then I thought about the documentary....and all the times I've let that darn mini me voice win.   And I said 'no'!!!

I was out of my comfort zone but I was going to come out the winner!!! And guess what....I did!!!  (Just a little bruised up at the end of the weekend!!!)

So I had my epiphany over the weekend that my health and fitness has to be fixed and I've worked hard this week!   I've run twice...and walked quite a few miles!  My food intake has been pretty good!   I'm out there working it!!!

Today while running I saw another sign that my fitness level had dropped drastically.   After exertion it is taking my heart rate longer to recover!   No worries...I'll regain that!!!

My run today I pushed myself out of my comfort zone.  I pushed myself to speed up.  Just random and frequent little bursts of speed.  'Light post to light post' and 'telephone pole to telephone pole' toe stuff.   But the real victory is that I would set my stopping point...but quite a few times I would talk myself into going further.  It's all self talk while I run.   'Oh come on Maryfran, you can make it to the tree, it's only 20 feet past the original goal'.  And I did it!!!!!   I'm sore now......but I did it!!!!

I've tried to walk more this week also!  It helped that the weather has been fantastic!!!!!!   It's fun to walk and feed the ducks!!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Who Knew??

We had a long weekend and the weather was fabulous!!!  Spectacular actually!!!!  We headed south and vowed to enjoy every second!!!  And I will get to epiphanies and deep thoughts a bit later...first I need to talk about the weekend that makes these thoughts!!


We did enjoy the weather!!!!


We took our bikes and on Sunday we rode on the road near our hotel.  The scenery was fabulous!!!!  The hills were a bit of a challenge for me and I was breathing like a freight train!   However it felt good to be on my bike after a month or two!!!   


On Monday we decided to head out to the West Augusta Trail.   It was listed as a good beginner trail for a newbie.  The newbie would be me!!!


A newbie?  Yes....I've ridden my bike quite a bit but I have always ridden on the road or a quasi road (the C&O canal towpath).  Going off road would be a new thing for me.   I was nervous because I've watched some amazing videos of mountain bikers and the trails they do and how crazy the trails can get!   But I told jason a while back that I would give an easy mountain bike trail a hung ho go.  And yes, emphasis on the word EASY!!!


So he found this easy trail online!  I read the descriptions and thought it would be good for me.  The only problem?  We couldn't easily find a location for the trailhead!   Yeah, that's a bit of a problem!!!  We went to the visitor center in the nearest town to try to get clarification.  We got pointed in the right direction.  We knew the trail was in the George Washington National Forest so off we went (the weekend and holiday meant no answer when we called for directions!) 


We searched but we failed miserably to find the  trail. 


We found a cool lake though!!


And we saw some trails around the lake and decided to head out on them.  We could always turn around if we wanted!


The first mile or so was pretty easy!  I was hurting a bit because it had been a while since I rode a lot (exuding the day before which has already made my muscles sore) and it was an incline!  


And then it started to get rocky.  


I pushed forward across a bed or rocks.   It was definitely more technical than I was ready for on my first ride out.  Eventually it smoothed out a bit and we began to really climb!  (I climbed a bit and then walked up to the top!).  I climbed on my bike at the top and started the descent. The trail was gorgeous as we went down...a drop-off to one side and the hill going up the other side of the trail.


And then it was time for some lessons!!


****Who knew you shouldn't keep one leg straight down on your bike when your coasting?


****Who knew that my tendency to go fast would cause a problem?  (Ironically enough I got home and found a speed camera ticket waiting for me...so yes I go to fast in my car too!!)


****Who knew that the big tree root would snake across the trail???


****Who knew that hitting your front brake on a bike going downhill was a bad idea??? (Ok maybe I should have known that!)


Yup....I went down!!!!  Face plant into the trail!


I immediately looked back, fearing that jason would be barreling over me at any second!   The look on his face made me bust up laughing!!!  Horror is the best way to describe his expression!!!  He later told me that I somehow managed to fall off my bike gracefully...not exactly slowly but gracefully.  Go figure. (Like I believe that graceful thing...he's a man in love and he had just witnessed his girlfriend take a nasty tumble!!)


I hoped up and quickly checked myself over. Before I could second guess myself I hopped back on my bike and headed down the trail.  Focused on keeping is slow...coasting with my feet parallel and not one hanging low....and just being safe!  Oh and with jason behind me muttering 'We need to start wearing helmets! That could have been bad.  Bring your helmet next time we plan to ride!'


Eventually we made it back to the lake...the other side from where we were parked so we had to get off our bikes and explore!


A little exploration later and we headed up and around the lake.


Sooooo...my injuries?  No blood drawn!!!!  My left side took the brunt of everything.  My wrist is a bit swollen....my Fitbit had to be loosened about two notches.  It aches...nothing sharp just a weird dull tingling ache.  My elbow is a bit bruised and brush burned.  And I have a massive bruise on the inside of my left calf.  Ironically enough (or not hahaha) the bruise edges almost perfectly match the size of my bike peddle!  Go figure!     I got off easy!!!  Very easy!!!!  That could have been bad...very bad!!!


So the 'easy trail' we tried to find didn't materialize and we actually biked an  intermediate trail.  Oops. 


And yes...we do need to start wearing helmets!!! 


So on Tuesday  we headed for a different trail...this park was listed as 'easy'.    I hopped on my bike ready to ride! 


Easy my arse!!!!!   Ok in fairness, the red trail wasn't to bad!   The blue trail was terrifying!!!!  Downhills....hairpin switchbacks....drop offs....the trail was narrow so if you went to one side you were smacking trees....low hanging trees that you had to duck.  Uphill..downhill....obstacles galore!  Terrifying!  I  took is SLOW!!!  And I had to walk across some obstacles!  And I sure as heck didn't do the jumps!! (Or the rock garden on the yellow trail!).   I made it safely to the end of the blue trail and just hoped that the yellow trail (the way back to the car....since I didn't want to retrace my path on the blue trail) was easier!    It wasn't as terrifying and I did better on it!   But it was a heck of a lot of uphill!!!  And yes I did have to get off and walk some uphill and over some obstacles!!!  Turns out the yellow trail was called 'tough' in a review.


So wow...I guess I got my first mountain biking experiences the hard way!!!


So how did this equate into my thoughts?


It had made me more then ever motivated to get myself moving and into shape!   Running might not help the muscles for biking...but if I'm in better shape cardio-wise, then maybe I won't be breathing like a freight train when I am biking!!!


I actually got out and ran this morning!   Surprisingly I did better today than I did a few weeks back when I ran.   Still slow but not as rough and winded!


In the meantime, Jason  is looking at my bike to find out why my back brakes are not catching as well as they should...which forces me to use my front brakes more heavily!!  We figured that technical problem out today!!    I am focusing on changing the way I sit on the bike while I'm coasting!!! (Legs parallel and not one stretched low!). And well...I guess I'm pulling my helmet out for our next ride!  (I can't fault him for thinking a helmet is a good idea for me....after all it was just a few weeks ago that I fell while hiking....and I did sprain my ankle while we were together in the first month of dating!!!!  Hahaha


So this morning I hoped on the scale and I was not happy!   I'm back up.  A lot from post  sickness weight! (I had some food poisoning a few weeks back) down a pound or two from my pre sickness weight!   


I ate less than I expended for most of the past week!!!


My calories were not at the 1200 mark that I aim for though. 


Grrrrr


Plans for his week?   Nutritious choices!  Food that actually nourishes my body!!!



Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Between fog and cloud

Today was my official weigh in day.  I was nervous to see what my weight would be this week.  Last week I was really low...like 6 pounds down.  I know a good part of that low weight was the fact that I was just coming off of being sick...and I wasn't eating much yet.   So this weeks weigh in would be the true test as to what my weight did.....I weighed in at 245.2...that is 3 pounds down from my pre sick weight (and 3 pounds up from my sick weight).   I'm ok with that.  Obviously I would prefer it to be the lower weight...and I hate to write in this weeks weight since it looks like a gain....but I knew last week when I reported the low sick weight this this was a very real possibility!!!


This past weekend Jason and I headed back to the mountains to work on our 'let's hike every trail in the Shenandoah National Park' mission.   I tried to find hikes that were rated as easier since I had spent most of the preceding week sick.    We decided to hit up some connector trails and side trails that we had missed previously.  The first trail was down into a hollow....then a mile straight back up.  Difference in elevation 2000 feet...(in a mile) well then, it could be worse...but not exactly easy!   The second hike we did was much easier!!!    


This weekends fun was the fog.  As we climbed the mountain we rise above the fog.....the valley is a sea of fog!!!  Absolutely gorgeous!!!


Oh and we saw some deer.  Not to outbid the ordinary but fun anyway!


Even coming off being sick I could see a huge difference in my legs.   A few weeks back we did a hike that had a gain of elevation of about 1300 feet over 3 miles.   This week we had 2000 feet gain in a span of 1 mile.  My legs were not jelly!   Progress!!!!


Thursday, February 09, 2017

Reboot

It seems like everytime I get all gung ho to really dive into this weight loss/healthy change something happens.  A few weeks ago it was my car, money issues and a work situation.   And this week.....  Well....

So I started this week totally gung ho to make the last few changes necessary to see the weight really drop off!  I was ready!   I woke up stiff and sore on Monday but I went out for a run anyway.  This was the week of no excuses!  I was doing ok with my food.  I still indulged in Chicken from pot pies but as my side I got green beans....that's good right?  Better than french fries!!!!

And that is where it went south.  I ate the food on Monday night...and Tuesday morning I was as sick as a dog!  Oh pain......  I'm pretty sure it was some sort of food poisoning......terrible cramps in my stomach...but I never ran a fever, never had any aches or pains...NOTHING else.  In fact...I think it was the green beans...there were some factors that made me think so...but I'm not going to get into it here.  Suffice it to say...I have NO desire for any Popeyes Chicken anytime soon and Jason has commenced teasing me telling me that he is going to get me a heart shaped candy box and fill it with green beans for Valentines Day!  (SOOO mean!)

So what does that mean?  That means that I pretty much did NOTHING but lay around the house for Tuesday and Wednesday!  Yup.  By Wednesday I was feeling tons better but just still queasy and achy (probably mostly from the muscle aches of those incredible cramps).  But for those two days I ate...well, next to nothing.  Tuesday was nothing, the thought of food was enough to send me reeling. Wednesday was a piece of buttered bread and a half peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  So what was the grand total?  My official weekly weigh in...shows me down six pounds.  Now now now..I'm not going to get all excited, I know that post sick weight is not always true weight, but maybe I can hold onto some of it!

So today I have still really not been really all that hungry and honestly, eating has been difficult.  This morning I opened a packet of the Belvita Breakfast bar thingys. (Hey, they are easy to grab in the morning before work.)   It took all I could do to eat one of the four in that serving!  So I just ate one and left it be.  For lunch it took everything in me to eat 3/4 of a banana.  I threw the rest away and just rolled with it.

  And I thought about it for the rest of the day.....wouldn't it be nice if my body did a reboot....and food lost all control over me?   How spectacular it would be if I ate a half of banana and was satisfied physically, mentally and emotionally?  Wouldn't that be a great thing if food became something that I ate simply because I knew I needed it to fuel my body and for no other reason?

Unfortunately, I think that momentary lack of interest in food was only fleeting. (although honestly lots of food still doesn't sound overly appealing!)  For dinner I did eat a bit more. I had  a soft pretzel, some mashed potatoes and carrots.  I can't fault the soft pretzel....it was a better option then the pretzel cheese dog......OR my first choice which was a milkshake!

So how does one go about rebooting?  How does one go about figuring out how to change ones perception of food?  How does one be satisfied with less food?  That is the age old question.....and when I figure it out......all of my money woes will be gone!

Ohh and of course I would be sick and stuck in bed when the weather (in FEBRUARY) was GORGEOUS...and that fell on short work days for me so I could have otherwise been outside!!!!

Monday, February 06, 2017

Clarity

Another weekend is in the books.   A great weekend actually.  (Yeah....spending lots of time with the man I 'really like' is always a good time!)

A few weeks back we purchased a year pass to the Shenandoah National Park.  We have enjoyed our hikes and this past weekend was no different.  This weekend we hiked to Mary's Rock.   If you climb to the top of the rock you have a 360 view.....it's pretty awesome.... and pretty high up there.  You can see the road down below...that is where my car was parked!  Lots of switchbacks to get to the top!

The views on the climb up were pretty spectacular also....simply because you come to overlooks and climb along a trail that is on the edge the whole way up the mountain.

The hike to Mary's Rock (from the North going south on the AT....Appalachian Trail) was just shy of 4 miles round trip.  We have been hiking more, so after visiting Mary's Rock we traversed southward for a few miles before retracing our steps back to the car.

Jason and I hike companionably.  Of course we talk quite a bit while hiking.  But in all honesty, we also both appreciate sitting back and enjoying the peace and quiet of nature.    This past weekend I had some time to think.........what was the foremost question in my mind?   Well there were two questions.  The first question was ...Why is hiking SOOO much more difficult this year in comparison to last year?????  The second question was similar......and it was Why in the world are my knees giving me grief this year....I hiked equally if not worse trails and my knees handled it SO much better.

The silence and beauty of nature and company of a really awesome man gave me the time I needed to solve all the worlds woes....or maybe just to come to a valid conclusion as to what the issue is that is causing hiking to be so physically difficult for me this year.

There are a few factors at play here......

Last year when I stepped into hikes that were much more strenuous I was coming off of zumba classes......I was at times going to 3-4 classes a week.  That's a lot of zumba.   At the end of 2015 we stopped classes for the holidays...just like normal...but in the interim the classes were cancelled.  I was heartbroken.  These classes had been my salvation for YEARS.   In the past year I have seen certain aspects of my fitness start to disintegrate.  No...maybe not that drastic, but I was eventually able to start to see the difference.   Why didn't I go to another class?  My work schedule is wonky and finding one that I could attend (I need a class that begins after 7PM...that's hard to find...and the only one/ones that I found were with an instructor that I did NOT like!)  I'm sure that the fitness level that Zumba helped me achieve definitely made hiking easier last year.....and I'm sure it helped my knees....I have been told many times that the only real non-invasive help for arthritic knees is to build up the muscles to help support the messed up cartilage...zumba certainly helped that!  But without zumba, well........

Another factor into this difficulty that I am experiencing?  Right about the time that I met Jason I had given up on the plan to run in a half marathon due to health reasons...pneumonia.  (Temporarily given up...it's still in the back of my mind.)   I was running QUITE a bit.....for me at least!  But yeah, I'd say 15-20 miles a week is a lot.   It was only a few months after I lowered my mileage that   I started hiking a lot with Jason.   In comparison I have run very little lately.   VERY little....as in I got new running shoes in October.....and I have less than 20 miles on the shoes.....9 runs.....that's it! (as a side note.....my pace dropped drastically from the point when I gained the weight too!!!!!)

My....I was in much better shape last year at this time!!!!!   

There is another HUGE factor that comes into play with this change in how I feel while hiking...... my weight. During the months of October, November and December I gained some weight....about 10-15 pounds.  That's big enough to cause the issues with hiking!

As for the knee....the earlier factors definitely play a part...but the weight is the biggest.  I am nearing the point where I start to have major problems with my knees.  I know that the more weight I have on my body the more issues and pain I deal with!!!!  I know what weight I have been that the knees really start to kick...and what weight the knee pain almost totally disappears....I'm REALLY close!

So the hike was beneficial to my mental state...I got some things squared away in my mind...grabbed some kisses here and there.....saw some beautiful things.....and got some exercise.  Even without that clarity, it was well worth the effort to get to the top.  Would I do it again today if given the chance?  Absolutely...the view was breathtaking...the effort was well spent....and well, it should get easier each time!

How do I fix this?????   Well for one I need to get the weight OFF of my body.  Plain and simple....the excess weight HAS to go!   

I wrote just the other day  that I made the vow to change in December and that January has been a slow change of getting back into healthier habits. I started tracking religiously and I got my food closer to where it needs to be!  My weight has leveled off..no more gaining and I actually lost weight last week!  

My calorie count last week was actually really good...

Now I just need to focus on making sure that the food is the best possible options...the most nutritious and healthy for me and I'll be right in line with what I need to do to get this weight off!

The second half of the equation to fix this problem is exercise.  We plan on hiking as much as possible this year....in fact we purchased a year pass for the Shenandoah National Park....and we have talked about trying to hike each of the trails....more than 500 miles.   We plan on spending some time on our bikes also.  But I also need to jump in on the weekdays with activity.    Running.....video tapes....the stair stepper....anything and everything I can think of!

So to that end, this morning I woke up.  I got out of bed and boy was I stiff.   I hung out a bit in bed but knew that if I wanted to turn the course of this ship that I had to make my move.  So I hobbled my say out of bed and into running clothes and out I went.   I didn't run fast.....I didn't set any records.... I was lucky to get in my 2 miles (ok ok ok...1.97 miles....somehow I turned at the mile point but ended up with 1.97).....I hurt...I did it.

I can do this!!!

Next up on the agenda for conversation?   The 2017 in 2017.   It is difficult for me to get the necessary 5.5 miles a day.  I work a desk job.....that means I SIT.   Last week I kind of just blew off the week and didn't give a hoot about my mileage....but still in spite of my attitude of disinterest managed to get 20.06 miles.....I need 38.85 a week!  I ended the month of January  with 124.12 miles......I was 47.93 short.  That's only 4 easy bike rides..  I can make that up when the weather is nice and I'm biking!!!!  

So my dilemma right now.....I know if I go to the gym I can knock out some of those miles on the exercise bike.  (Oh heavens...biking has been more difficult too...but that difficult can be attributed to the same factors that I have listed earlier in this post!).  But I never seem to make it to the gym. My dilemma....I'm thinking about cancelling my gym membership....money constraints!   What to do...what to do.....

Friday, February 03, 2017

Give a hoot

So this week has been sorta a bust!    Ok, not a total bust...I did show a loss of 2 pounds.  Finally a downward movement on the scales.


I haven't really cared about running....I never started my strength training that I vowed to start, I didn't pull out the exercise videos and I didn't give a hoot about my mileage!


Last weeks stress just totally got to me.   I focused on holding my head high and proud, knowing that I am doing my job at work ethically, correctly and according to rules and procedures!  It has been added stress and quite frankly not exactly fun.  But I'm hanging on!!!   And the finances...well I'm working on it!!!


So pretty much no exercise other than a few short cold walks outside and or hike in Sunday.  The good news?  I have tracked my food and my calorie count is slowly coming back into line. This has been a slow start but dare I say that it might be for the best as I've just learned to adjust and I don't feel at all deprived?


Maybe next week I can get back to running and daily exercise!


Sunday, January 29, 2017

Old Friend...New Friend

Last week I wrote about visiting an old friend....my hiking boots.  At the end of the weekend I was taking off my boots and noticed that the tread/sole was coming loose on the one shoe.  We made plans to fix it ourselves....until I realized that I was still within the year exchange policy that REI has for any purchase.  So we headed down toward the city...and an REI mid week.  I exchanged my boots for a new pair.   Of course I got my original ones at a reduced price....when I originally bought them they had just come out with the 2016 model and gave me the 2015 model at a nice discount.  SO I had to pay the difference for the new pair....since they were not discounted.  And well...they didn't even have the 2016 model...which would have been 50 bucks or so more......I had to get the 2017 model......$100 more.    Money I didn't have......and just added to my stress.  But I now have a new pair of boots that are not compromised!  In the long run it was a wise move.
So we went out hiking this weekend in my new shoes.  (They are the same brand and style as the old ones!) Time to break in a new pair!  Knowing that I had new shoes AND that my knee was messed up we tried to find an 'easy' hike.   (During last weekends hike I fell and bungled up my knee.....a week later and it is still black and blue and swollen...joy joy).    We didn't quite succeed with the 'easy' part.  Well...unless you call a path that goes UP on a narrow trail on the side of the mountain 'easy'.   It will be easier each week as we hike more and more....for sure!

The first hike we did was down a fire road (it was down....as we went down I made the comment that "we are going to hate life on the way back up"....I was right!)

We didn't climb down the falls...but it was pretty what we did see!  I loved the ice on the edges of the water!



Next we hiked part of the Dickey Ridge Trail.....and saw the Fort WindhamRocks 
 And we hiked down to the Indian Run Spring (my phone went crazy at the rocks and shut down....it wouldn't restart and I kept getting the picture to plug my phone in that it was totally dead.......I left it alone until I got to the car and looked at it and it started right up and I had 69%...so who knows...but I didn't get a picture of the spring!)

We drove down the Skyline drive for a ways....I thought it would be interesting to get a picture of the same tree as I did last week.....
I was actually closer to the tree last week...but had so much less visibility!!!!
 We did get some flurries while we hiked...and had some flurries (and it started to lay while we were driving).  Love the ice on the tunnel and along the whole edge of the roads on the rocks!
 So I feel a bit better after my weekend with Jason....more peaceful and settled about everything happening in my life with work and my finances.  Hopefully it holds!!!!

Meanwhile...I am more determined to lose weight.  I want cool clothes and neat hiking gear. (I'm so motivated by weird things!)  And I plan on starting working on my upper body strength.  Yeah, I need upper body strength because Jason LOVES to tickle my arches....and it usually sparks a wrestling match.  I put up a good fight...but I need more strength!!!!  (I hate to lose!)  

 Meanwhile...this picture highlights Ethel and her nighttime practices!!!!  Grrrrrr