A Walk In The Park

If you’re familiar with the online weight loss community at all, then you know about NSV’s, or Non Scale Victories. These are the things that remind us that we’re making progress, even when the numbers on the scale don’t show it. This is important because, even though some have a goal of losing weight, the overall goal is generally to be healthier, and NSV’s reflect the changes that have occurred in our lives as a result of our work.

I had a lovely little NSV this weekend. I had to take my car to the shop, about half a mile away. The trip there is all downhill, which means coming back is all uphill. A year ago, I would have needed to call a cab or get a friend to pick me up. Six months ago, I could have managed to walk home, but I’d have been struggling to get home in less than half an hour and would have needed to stop and rest a couple of times. Now? I made the walk back in less than ten minutes, sprinted up the steepest part of the route, and then, just so being up early wasn’t wasted, I did another half mile around the neighborhood. And the best part is that the reason I stopped was because I’d only had an hour of sleep and wanted to try to grab a bit more before work, otherwise I could easily have done another mile or two.

This is why I do this. It’s nice to lose weight, look better, fit into smaller sizes, and so on. It’s even better to be able to do the things I couldn’t do before. While a half mile in ten minutes might not be very fast, it’s a lot faster than nowhere at all for years.

Does Coffee Count As Hydration?

I’m not a morning person.

Well, that’s not strictly true. I do just fine with mornings, as long as I’m approaching them from the other side. Mornings are late nights. It’s more accurate to say I’m not a “functional-when-I-first-wake-up person.” As such, I’m in awe of runners (and other athletic types) who get up early and get their workout in at the beginning of the day. I have to cling to the wall just to stop everything spinning as I shuffle from room to room, cursing the daylight. But I figured I’d give it a try today. I set my alarm for an hour earlier than my usual time, and managed to get out of bed after hitting snooze only three times. Stumbled into the living room, sat down at the computer, and seriously contemplated just going back to bed. Then I saw this posted on Facebook:

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I thought about that for a moment, and contemplated the engraving on my ID bracelet:

I Choose To Be Stronger Than My Excuses

And I realized that if I just sat there when I was physically capable of getting up, getting my shoes on, and heading out the door, then I was weak. I accept a lot of my faults, but weakness isn’t one of them.

I got dressed, laced my shoes up, and stumbled out the door. I faltered and ached and wanted to just lie down in the park’s grass and sleep, but I kept going. My route is through a park, with the midway point at a small, man-made lake with a fountain and ducks.

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Yep. Totally worth it.

Begin At The Beginning

In trying to become a runner, I’m using The Starting Line as a guide. After a couple of months, I’m still somewhere between steps 1 and 2. And that’s okay.

Whether it’s this plan, one you get from a friend, or one from a personal trainer, it’s important to remember that these are guides. Our bodies are all unique, and it’s up to us to know our true limitations, and not what we either want them to be, or what we convince ourselves that they are.

At the beginning of the year, I’d have told you my limitation was pretty much a trip to the grocery store. By the time I walked all the way around the store and then carried the groceries up to the second floor, I was too exhausted to do anything else for the rest of the day. Or, you know, week. I know now that this was a false limitation. I felt tired, therefore that must be all that I can do. I know now that a little bit more each day beyond what I think I can do is what helps me improve. (For what it’s worth, I’ve improved to the point where I admit that I giggled a little when my husband complained about walking “all the way back” to the other side of the store for something, and offered to go get it for him. Before, I had him fetching things for me all the time.)

I’ve also learned that there are limits, and my body will tell me when I hit them. I know, for example, that if I try to do a mile when I have a severe sinus infection, I will pass out. But my mind says, “Skip the workout completely, you’re too sick.” My body knows that’s a false limitation. I can’t do a mile, but I can do a half mile, or lift, or cycle so that I’m already sitting down if I get dizzy. I can work out at home so that if I do feel faint, I can stop and rest without being in anyone’s way (except the cats, but I’m always in their way).

One of the cats, looking reproachfully at me because I'm in his way.

Cheese looking at me reproachfully because I’m in his way.

One of my favorite quotes is from Richard Bach’s Illusions:

Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they’re yours.

There are enough other people arguing for your limitations already, enough people telling you that you can’t or you’re not good enough or you won’t make it. There are enough other people telling you that you’re not doing enough, that you need to push yourself harder. You can ignore all of that. It’s harder to ignore it when you’re saying it to yourself. Just remind yourself that your limitations are exactly that: YOURS. Only you know what you’re truly capable of, and only you can decide what you’re going to be capable of  a month from now, or a year from now, or five years from now. And if your pace is a little slower than some, so what? It’s your pace, and at least you’re going somewhere.

A Little Bit More…

Tonight’s workout is brought to you by:

  • the number 2 (for how many laps I walked)
  • the number 3 (for how many laps I ran)
  • and the letter W (for the watermelon cookies I snarfed down, which inspired me to burn some extra calories and were totally worth every extra step).

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I Actually DO Like Running!

I stayed after work today to walk a few laps around the parking lot. I was maintaining a very (VERY) brisk pace, and realized that if I were moving any faster, I’d be running… so, with no bright lights and no one to see me even if there were, that’s what I did. I only lasted about thirty seconds, and my legs felt like they were burning, and I wanted to just STOP completely… instead, I dropped back down to a walk, and kept going.

When I got to the same spot on the next lap, I ran again. And it hurt again, and I only lasted about forty-five seconds. And then again on the next lap. And the next.

On my final lap, I got to the same spot, and tried again. And it didn’t hurt. In fact, it was kind of awesome. I had to slow back to a walk when I hit the part of the lot where there are no lights (because there might be potholes, or twigs, or raccoons to trip over, and that would suck).

The terror that stalks the night behind our building.

The terror that lurks in the shadows.

I have to admit, after thinking about it and talking about it and investing money in it, I was worried I would still hate running, and that I had certain expectations that weren’t going to be met. Nope. I love this. I didn’t love it the first or second or fifth time, but I love knowing that I can do this.

Next time, I’m trying for full laps.

The Importance of Proper Footwear, Part 2

“Why, Kitty!” I hear you say. “Are those the Asics Kayano 19 I see on your feet?”

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Yes. Yes, they are. They are like wrapping your feet in marshmallows and walking on tiny feather pillows.

I took them for a test run today. Well, test walk. I was able to walk at double my usual pace, and maintain it longer, with minimal pain. Unfortunately, still not one of my better workouts since I ate too soon before I went to the gym and ended up with some nasty pains in my side. But I was able to “walk” at a near jogging speed. I’m on my way to running.

Running Out of Excuses

The Asics are starting their final leg (ha ha) of their journey and should be here this week. I think that was my final excuse for skipping workouts, and now that’s eliminated.

Oh, sure. There are a lot of other excuses I could use. But there are responses to all of them that present a stronger argument.

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Speaking of excuses, this subject is a great excuse to post a cat picture!

 

I’m too tired!

Of course I’m too tired. My metabolism is tanking because I haven’t worked out in awhile. And the longer I go without working out, the worse it’s going to be.

 

I’m sick!

See “I’m too tired”… exercise helps my body fight off infections and viruses. Even if I’m feeling under the weather, I need to at least do a little bit, or I’m not going to feel better.

 

I don’t have time!

Yeah. Eliminated this one when a 24-hour gym opened half a block from where I live.

 

I can’t afford a gym!

I have weights at home. I have a huge, police-patrolled parking lot at work that’s empty when I leave.I live across the street from a park. And, really, if I can afford fast food 2-3 times per week, I can afford $10/month for a gym membership (or $20 in my case, because tanning and hydromassage).

 

I don’t know how to work out properly!

It’s 2013 now, and the internet is totally a thing. There are websites, videos, how-to guides, all from professional trainers who know their stuff. Not knowing how to do something is no longer a valid excuse.

 

I’m too fat!

Well, duh. I’m fat because I’ve sat around on my ever-growing backside, doing nothing for a couple of decades now. This excuse only works if I want to continue in my present state (I do not). Yes, I probably am too heavy to run. But I can walk. I can cycle. I can lift. And I can keep doing these things until I’m no longer too heavy for running. And then… I can run.

 

The importance of proper footwear

I haven’t been working out much since the 5K last month. I had noticed before that my feet would often cramp up, toes would go numb, knees and back would hurt… I know now that this is from improper shoes. I never thought it could make that huge of a difference, but apparently I did some real damage to my tendons and my toes by walking five miles in cheap shoes.I wore them to the gym once more, and couldn’t get through a fifteen minute walk. It had a drastic effect on the shoes that I eventually chose to buy, as even the high quality, designed-for-running shoes were hitting my injured spots and causing pain. I’m told this will go away with time and proper support. New shoes are on the way, and I’m looking forward to getting back to the gym

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In the meantime, I’ve been “spring cleaning”… scrubbing floors, flipping mattresses, scrubbing out the fridge and freezer. I looked into it, and it seems you burn about four calories per minute doing “vigorous” cleaning. That definitely qualifies. It’s not ideal, but it’s better than being sedentary.

I finished!

I hurt and I’m tired, and I might throw up, but I FINISHED! Not only that, we were parked a mile from the race. So I put in FIVE miles instead of 3. And I wasn’t even dead last! (Okay, pretty close, but given that I was probably the fattest person there, Not-Last is a great place to finish.)