Monday, March 16, 2009

War wounds and the (not so) best laid plans

When I was 20, I saw a movie called Terminal Velocity. It's really not a very good movie, but it impressed me enough that I felt the need to go experience skydiving. A lot of things impress you when you're 20.

I found a skydiving school and signed up to go do a class and jump that following Saturday. I spent four hours learning the basics like how to cutaway your chute and pull the secondary if needed. I learned how to steer the canopy so that I could be like a bird in flight while on my descent downward. I learned how to pull the cords to slow your descent just as you are landing so you don't hit at warp speed.

I got in the plane and we went to 5000 feet. I wasn't the least bit nervous. I climbed out on the wing as instructed and hung there from the wing waiting on their signal for me to let go. When I was in the class and they told me I'd have to do this, I pictured my legs waving behind me and me flying completely horizontally from the speed and wind caused by the plane. I figured I'd look like Superman and would struggle to hold on. I was surprised when I climbed out on the wing and my legs hung underneath me and gravity wanted to take over. But I held on. I wasn't nervous.

Then they yelled, "go, go, go!" and I let go and arched my back as instructed. At that moment of free fall I went right past nervous and on to sheer panic. I screamed as I fell and thought, "what did I just do?" Then, within just a few seconds the chute was fully deployed and I began a graceful decent downwards.

I had a radio and they gave me commands to go right or left so I could practice the skills I learned on the ground. I aced them all and was having the time of my life. In a matter of minutes, I was nearing the ground. My euphoria of the first jump was coming to an end much more quickly than I would have liked.

When I was about 10-15 feet from the ground they yelled, "brake, brake, brake." I pulled the cords just as I had practiced over and over on the ground. But I didn't slow like I had anticipated. It turns out I had to pull the cords down much harder than I had practiced. I kept going that last 10-15 feet at the same speed the rest of my descent had been. Instead of the soft little hop they told me I would come in at, I slammed into the earth and doubled over. I imagined there would be a whole in the ground where I came in, like I was Wyle E Coyote on another failed landing.

But the earth didn't give way. It held it's ground. It was me that gave way. I got the wind back into me and started to stand up. My thighs hurt like the bones had been snapped in half. I didn't want to show I had been hurt that badly, so I sucked it up and walked off with the help of a friend that had come to watch. Several hours later, my thighs were feeling better but I had this terrible pain running down the inside of my knee. It got to where I couldn't walk so I took myself to the ER and explained my skydiving debacle and got an x-ray or two.

I left the ER with a pair of crutches, a brace going to my thigh, and the phone number for an orthopedic surgeon that would repair what turned out to be a torn ligament. Only I was 20, and stupid, and didn't think about the consequences of going skydiving a week before you were leaving your job and moving across the country where you had no job waiting. So I spent a while hobbling around with the crutches and brace and eventually I could walk again. By the time I had moved, gotten a new job, and insurance kicked in, I felt I didn't need the stupid surgery. I felt almost as good as new.

Fast forward 15+ years. I am 100 lbs overweight and decided that in order to lose the weight I would begin running. Even though I am completely out of shape and haven't run in years and have most assuredly exceeded the maximum shock capacity of my poor legs, by George I'm going to run.

And run I did. For about five weeks. And then this all too familiar little pain on the inside of my knee started to nag at me. Slowly at first, but then building to a screaming pain that put a limp into my walk and caused me to curse stairs.

So I've taken some time off from the C25K. I've given it a week rest and I am getting quite a bit of relief. I'm thinking about just walking on it to see how it goes. If that doesn't go well, I'll be off to the doctor to see about this ligament. Even if it does go well with the walking, it is still disappointing to me. I'm not sure how long I'll need to walk before I can resume running again. I may have just lost any hope I had for running in the marathon in September.

It's frustrating because that one single goal was what kept me exercising, eating healthy, and working towards an end. This past week I've seen just how strong that goal has been for me. As it started to waiver and I wasn't able to run, I didn't want to eat healthy and I didn't want to look for other forms of exercise. I just wanted to throw a pity party and talk to my old standby counselors, "Ben and Jerry."

So, I'm not sure where this is going right now. Stay tuned while I get it figured out.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

10 inches

That's how many inches I've lost in a month. Mostly from my waist and thighs.

I'll take it.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Same song, second verse

In the five weeks I've been trying to get healthy, I've dealt with kidney stones, flu, and bronchitis. None of these things are very conducive to a rigorous exercise routine or strict dieting. It seems every Monday I start a post saying it's a new week and I'm going to try this again. And then something comes along and knocks the wind out of my sails and blocks the momentum I've been trying so hard to build.

So, it's a new Monday, and I'm trying this again. I only got one C25K workout in last week so I'll be on week three again. Here's hoping no illness or catastrophe gets in my way again this week. I'm ready to get my workout on!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The good:
The extra walking certainly seemed to have helped. I'm down 2.8 lbs from yesterday. It occurred to me that I may have been doing too much cardio at very high intensity anaerobic levels that weren't allowing me to loose fat and burn calories.

The bad:
I have the flu.

The ugly:
Did I mention I have the flu?

Monday, February 23, 2009

It's a New Week

Admittedly, my weight loss chart for the week would have looked a lot more impressive if I did it mid-week instead of waiting until Sunday. My net loss for the week ended up being a big fat zero (no pun intended).

I started down that slippery slope of losing motivation; and although I didn't go crazy off my diet, I didn't stick to my workout regimen either. So, I gained the weight back at the end of the week I had worked so hard to lose at the beginning of the week.

Well, this is a new week. I've decided I need to add more cardio to my regimen to try to burn a few more calories and jump start the weight loss. So today after I did my C25K, I walked an additional 20 minutes. I'll keep doing this for a while and see what kind of results I get.

I read a great post by my friend Laura today. Laura is preparing for a half marathon to usher in her 35th birthday this year. Over the weekend she went for a nine mile run. She blogged about her run and how the first eight went great, then the last mile she really mentally had to push herself to complete. I don't want to sumarize her story because she'll tell it in a much more inspiring way than I'll retell it. So go read about her run here. Then the next time you're running for 60 seconds or for 20 miles and you just don't think you can do it, think about Laura's post.

It seems like it will be an eternity before I'm running nine miles, but I'll get there. In four weeks I've gone from being out of breath after running for 15 seconds, to struggling to run for 60, to wishing I could run for 90, and to today successfully running for three minutes nonstop. Three minutes is nothing compared to the marathon I have before me in October, but it's nearly infinitely longer than than where I started.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Challenging Day

I've got to admit, I'm not doing a very good job of staying on the wagon today.

This morning when I got on the scale I was up one pound, despite the fact that I've been doing everything right. I know there are lots of plausible reasons for this, I've been telling myself these reasons for weeks when I have a weight fluctuation. I know I shouldn't get caught up in what the scale says and should focus on results. But yet I still can't help what I feel, which is just plain frustrated.

Instead of reaching for chicken and broccoli for lunch, I found myself reaching for M&Ms (why are those blasted things in the house anyway??). How easy it is to just throw my hands up and think, "What I'm doing isn't working anyway. I'm going to sit here and eat these M&Ms and I'm going to enjoy them." And enjoy them I did. For about the minute it took me to scarf them down. Then I had nothing but regret.

I'm not depriving myself of all sweets, fats, etc. because I would just set myself up for failure for the next year. So it's not the fact that I ate M&Ms that bothers me, it's how I came to eat the M&Ms. I severely limit junk to a rare treat and then I include it as part of my eating plan. I PLAN to allow myself to have these little indulgences. The difference about the M&Ms today is it wasn't planned, it was purely an emotional impulse. Had it have been planned, I would have porportioned out a specific number of M&Ms to meet exactly the fat and calories I've alloted. Instead I put my hand in the bag a few times and ate Heaven knows how many. That is exactly the behavior that got me here to begin with.

Of course the important thing is that I let the M&Ms go as a moment of weakness and continue on my path towards wellbeing. But what I want to do is go "Well, I've already blown the day with M&Ms, why don't I go see what else I can blow my diet with?"

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Great workout

Yesterday was day er, five of my week two workout on C25K. For the first time since I started exercising, I did the workout and I did it well. It still wasn't easy, but I kept my pace and completed all of the running intervals without too much trouble. I even sped up my pace on my last interval. Then, when I was done, instead of being exhausted and jelly legged, I was perfectly fine. I think I'm finally getting somewhere!

I also did my first Bowflex workout. It took me a bit to figure out some of the exercises, what weight is best, and what routine I'm going to do. But it will compliment the running nicely.

I did some research and yesterday I also started taking two supplements--HMB and L-Glutamine. HMB is supposed to promote fat loss, build of lean muscle mass, provide greater endurance during workouts, and help keep your immune system healthy. It helps reduce atrophy, or the eating away of your muscles. L-Glutamine helps restore glycogen levels which restores your energy. It also helps you heal faster so your recovery time is less. We'll see if these make any difference. Neither have any reported negative side effects so I figure it can't hurt to try them.

Finally, I picked my first race. It will be a 5K on May 2. Bill is training to run it with me. I'm really looking forward to it!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Beth Ditto is my hero

I explained in my first post a lot of the reasons why I wanted to lost weight--to be healthy, to look better, etc. But a lot of the reason why I want to lose the weight is because I just don't feel happy with myself at this weight. It tugs at my self esteem more than I'll ever admit.

But then there are women like Beth Ditto. Women who say, I am happy and comfortable with who I am and what I look like. So much so, this woman was willing to pose nude for a magazine cover.

Some may look at this cover and think she doesn't belong there. She's not a twig model. She's got rolls of fat. She doesn't fit in the latest runway trends. I say that's exactly why she belongs there.

When I see this picture of Beth Ditto, I see confidence, happiness, self esteem, and self love. What better picture of beauty than that?

I am happy to see Beth's cover today. What an awesome reminder that confidence and self esteem don't come from looks, they come from within.

Monday, February 16, 2009

C25K, Week 2 Day 4

Yes, I did week two four times last week. On the last attempt I actually completed the entire workout as prescribed. But it was so ugly and barely there that I plan to do week two again this week.

So let's see where we are here as we start week 4:
C25K- week 2, again

Weight loss:
Week 1: -6 lbs
Week 2: +3 lbs (kidney stone fun week)
Week 3: -2 lbs
So starting out week 4, I'm still not quite where I was at the end of week one. Net loss in three weeks -5 lbs.

I feel like I'm doing a lot of the two steps forward, one step back kind of thing. To add insult to injury, Bill started working out with me this week. Not only was he able to do the C25K, Week 1 program all three days without a problem, he lost more than five pounds during the week without even really trying. Hrmph!

But I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing and I'm keeping it up. I want to believe I'm adding muscle mass and that's why I'm not seeing a lot of weight drop off right away. Who knows what the truth is but sooner or later things have to catch up to me and I'm going to start seeing a smaller me. My end goals remain the same.

Over the weekend we went out and bought a Bowflex off of Craigslist. The lady got it for Mother's Day two years ago and used it five times. It is in absolutely pristine condition and we got it for 1/3 of the original price. We spent three hours setting it up last night and it's all ready for primetime. I'm really excited to start incorporating that into our workout routine along with the running. There is one downside though, it reeks of cigarette smoke. Bill says he can't smell it. It about gags me. I have a super sensitive nose and I can smell it in the seat and even in the metal. It didn't occur to me that I should ask about a nonsmoking home for something like a Bowflex. I really didn't expect it would have any residual smell. But it does. Any suggestions for getting it out?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

C25K, Week 2 Day 1

Finally moved on to week 2. It sucked. I only needed for run for 90 seconds at a time followed by two minute walk intervals. I couldn't run the full 90 seconds each time.

I tried another running store yesterday. I am now on shoes #3. They felt good in the store. After 30 minutes at home they were feeling not so good. I've decided that all shoes are going to hurt. They really should publish a maximum weight limit on those things. I'm pretty sure I've exceeded shock absorption capacity. But I'm ok with that.

Finally, someone told me they are having trouble commenting on this blog recently. Is that widespread? Feel free to leave a comment as a test. This could be just a ploy to get you to comment, I'm ok with that too.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Lorcaserin Study and other info

Remember Fen-Phen? This drug combo swept the nation many years ago and helped a lot of people lose weight. Unfortunately, it had a nasty side effect. In 2-5% of people, they developed incurable heart valve problems and the drug was recalled. Twelve years later, they are in the final stages of a new "Fen-Phen" but one that supposedly doesn't cause the heart problems. It's a drug called Lorcaserin.

I found a local Lorcaserin one-year weight loss study. You have to be a certain amount overweight, Type II diabetic, and on oral medication for blood sugar control. They sent me all of the paperwork and disclosures and I read through it. There was something about male lab rats developing brain tumors at 1000% times the recommended dose, blah, blah, blah. I figured since I wasn't a male lab rat, sign me up.

Today I went in for my testing. I am a perfect candidate in every way. Except one. My blood sugars are in too good of control. It seems they want people that have been neglecting their diabetes to show that in diabetic patients you can not only lose weight, but it can improve your blood sugars as well. I got a free ECG out of it. My ticker is in great shape (good to know since I've been testing it a bit lately). The good news is my diabetes is completely under control. The bad news is I'll have to loose the next 97 pounds the good old fashioned way. That's ok, with my luck I would have gotten the placebo sugar pill assigned to me anyway.

In other updates, I got a new pair of shoes over the weekend. I don't think they'll work out either. I've decided the arches are too far back in the shoe. But if a got a smaller shoe to fit the arches they'd be too small in the toe. I think this was the problem with the last shoe too. So, I'll be looking for another pair...AGAIN. I talked to my Dad today. He's run eight marathons and informs me I inherited my lovely hooves from him and the only shoes he can run in are Asics Gel Nimbus. So, I'll try those soon and see how they work.

The running store also lets you try running socks with the shoes so I tried out several and decided on some think cushion Thurlos socks. Those I'm happy with. If only shoes were so easy.

Well, I'm off to go do Week 2, Day 1. Wish me luck!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I need some sage advice

Alright, I've got a few kinks that need to be worked out before I'm doing this thing long term. I could use some advice:

1) Headphones: I am having a terrible time finding headphones. I have now gone through three pairs. The problem is my ears are quite small. The tiniest of ear buds won't stay in my ears. I tried a Nike over the head design that kind of sat in your ears and those kept falling back and hurt my ears. So, I want to know...what kind of headset can I use that won't fall off/out and won't hurt my tiny ears while I plod to my podcast?

2) Feet trouble: I mentioned I thought the shoes wouldn't work because they kind of rubbed my arches. After my workout today I had a small blister forming. When I went to inspect it I noticed that entire part of my foot had noticeable swelling that looked like a large hump. Anyone ever dealt with this before? Is this because of my shoes? Is this because I'm a gazillion pounds overweight and exceeded the maximum weight limit on my poor shock absorbing feet? Is this because I've sat on my butt for the last year and all the sudden decided to workout? Or is there something more sinister at work here? When can I run again?

3) Ok, I had one more issue and I forgot what it was. I'm getting senile. Post your own advice to whatever problem you wish for number three.

Here's to Progress

Dear Diary,

Today I finished my Couch to 5K workout week 1, day 2 (second go around). I didn't even hurl after my workout this time.

Couch to 5K, Week 1 Day 1--Take Two

Today's weight: 242
Gain of 3 lbs since last weigh in

I suffered from kidney stones when I was pregnant with Bailey. I think I passed 13 in all. I hadn't had one in a year but earlier this week they were back in full force with me having two wreaking havoc on my insides. I'm suspecting I let myself get dehydrated. I won't make that mistake again. Four days later, I've made a full recovery and back to the routine.

My weight is up three pounds, but I'm not stressing it. I laid in bed for days and ate junk and put needed water back in my system. I'll have those pounds back off plus some in no time.

I started my Couch to 5K program again. I made it through the full workout. It wasn't as ugly as the first day I tried to run, but I could see I had already lost a little strength in the four days I didn't workout. All the more reason to make sure I stick to my program.

I think I'm going to have to return the new shoes though for another pair. The arches started to rub a bit. The good news is I had no shin splints. The shoe store said I could return the shoes as long as I didn't run outside and have any signs of wear. I told them no problem there. What they don't know is I'm afraid for my neighbors to see me stampeding through the neighborhood just yet. I'm afraid if they see me running they'll call 911 for fear I'm surely running from a fire and not just for exercise.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Small setback

Today's weight: 239.0
Weight lost: 6.0 (total weight loss for week one: 6 lbs)

I did go to the running store over the weekend to get new shoes. I picked Phidippedes in Sandy Springs, GA. I was expecting to feel quite out of place and to get a little snobbery, given my current state. I figured I'd get something like, "the all you can eat buffet is next door, sweetie."I got everything but that. The sales people were incredibly helpful and not the least bit condescending. Even the other customers were pretty cool too. And their prices are good. I'm a new loyal customer.

First they put me in a "neutral" shoe and watched me jog. They said I had a tendency to turn in so they found me some shoes that would correct that. I tried on ten different pairs and none of them completely fixed the slipping heel problem, but I think I have a pretty good pair nonetheless. They have a great return policy so they told me go go home and try them on the treadmill and if they weren't working out bring them back and we'd try another pair. Bill even got a new pair too!

So I've got new shoes burning a whole in their box, just waiting to be tried out. Unfortunately, here's the setback part of my title-- yesterday I started having lower right back pain. I tried brushing it off and then it got stronger and stronger. It's the exact pain I've had 13(?) times before...kidney stones. I had, I think, 13 kidney stones when I was pregnant with Bailey and just after. It's incredibly excruciating pain. The first one I passed I spent in the hospital for pain management. The rest of them I just toughed it out at home. That's what I'm doing this time too.

I can tell there's two and one is getting fairly close to passing. The other one seems pretty high still. Until both those puppy's pass I wont be anywhere near the treadmill. I'm hoping that within the next 24 hours though, it will be over with and I'm back to running again.

I don't think it was a coincidence these started again after a week of some pretty strenuous workouts. I think this is a wake up call for me to make sure I've been drinking enough water (I have not). Right now I'm laying in bed with four bottles of water sitting on my nightstand. I'll be chugging those shortly.

My normal running days while I still have fairly short runs will be Mon, Wed, Fri. I hope to be back on that schedule next week. This week I'll run and walk when I can and I'll just stick to the Couch to 5K week 1 program. Next Monday I hope to be starting with week 2.