Monday, May 21, 2012

Motivation To Run, Workout, Eat Well...

Motivation. It's so freaking hard. But it's hard for everybody, right? I can't speak for everyone else, but it's hard for me to eat right and workout most days. Sometimes friends, family, and coworkers comment on my dedication to diet and exercise. I usually brush off the comments, because I'm no superhero. I don't workout on days I work and often take days off for no other reason than "I just don't feel like working out today". I eat bad foods when I'm busy, stressed, had a good day, or had a bad day.

But I've had some success. I've become a runner over the past year and a half. I'm expanding my training to cycling and swimming. I don't call it exercise. EXERCISE just seems so infinite, like I'll never be done. I prefer TRAINING. I train for a goal, a race, a competition, something relatively short term. That helps me keep up the motivation. I've lost weight. I hate hearing "skinny", seriously HATE it. I don't watch what I eat to be skinny. I watch what I eat to be lean and healthy. I watch what I eat because I feel better in general, mostly less tired and with less aches and pains because getting old sucks.

Just this afternoon I was walking through Target, looking at junk food that admittedly tastes good, but makes me feel awful. I was thinking about making a small commitment, just one week, to eat clean. I know from experience, that a week is long enough to feel better, and I'd probably just keep going. I finished my shopping, got in the car, and pulled up Facebook. Everybody does that, right? I had a message from a friend who I haven't seen in years. She said I inspired her. She mentioned reading my first blog post (CLICK HERE, if you want to do the same) again. I went back and read it, too. I sometimes forget where I started, when I couldn't run more than a half mile. She asked some questions, so I'll answer them here. Let this be your lesson, friend, don't ask me about running unless you want to open Pandora's Box. I will go on and on until you beg me to shut up.

How do I stay motivated?  - So, I touched on that above. I love competition. At first it wasn't with anyone else, I certainly wasn't looking at Age Group placings in a 5k or some other race. Competing against, and pushing myself to do better was enough of a challenge. That's one thing I love about running. A PR is a *PERSONAL RECORD*, not a judge-yourself-against-some-super-hot-chick-with-God-given-running-talent. It's for you, and only you, to compare your effort for the day. Being a beginner runner is a lot of fun because you PR often. If you want to run, pick a race. A 5k is a good start. 3.1 miles is a challenge, but it's attainable in a fairly short amount of time without devoting hours upon hours to training. Register for the race. Not on race day, ahead of time, so you're monetarily committed. Dropping cash is always good motivation. Go watch a race if you're scared. I used to think that only badass athletes did half marathons and marathons. People of all kinds do both. People actually walk. It's allowed. I promise. There are training plans all over the place online and Couch to 5k is a popular one. Go to a real running store and get fitted for good shoes (be prepared do drop $100, and no you can't save money by buying the same brands but different styles at TJ Maxx. If you could, I'd be the first to point you in that direction). My friend isn't local, so I don't know where to direct her (we have Run On!, Luke's Locker, and CK Sports here). Running stores also have running programs if you don't want to do it on your own. My biggest recommendation for new runners is to run slowly. Running fast hurts. Hurting sucks, so you quit. Run slowly, so you can talk easily. I prefer to run outside, and I wear a Garmin watch to track my pace and distance, but I determine the pace because I run based on how I feel. Punching a number in on the treadmill gives me bad feelings. So, I say all that to say- I stay motivated because I pick a race, pay for it, train for it, and go do my best on race day. So can you. I'm proud of you for running a mile. I hope it was a good experience and you want to do it again. I'm here for you whenever you want to ask a question or share your achievements.

What do I mean when I say "eating clean"? - There's probably a huge variation in what this means when you ask different people. I'm probably super liberal on that spectrum. Eating clean to me is not eating processed or sugary foods. I keep it simple. I pretty much try to avoid anything out of a box. I eat lean meats, fruits, veggies, reduced fat dairy, stuff like that. I try really hard to avoid alcohol and even diet Dr. Pepper. That's as good as it gets for me. I told you I'm no saint when it comes to eating healthy.

Thank you, friend, for inspiring me. I needed that today.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Swimming Progress

I've made some huge improvements in swimming. I've been to 3 Masters classes and dropped from 63 strokes in 50 meters to 40 strokes in 50 meters. I was able to do that twice today, toward the end of the workout. I don't think I can hold that for 300 meters. Ha, I don't know that I can swim 300 meters! But I'm getting there. The funny thing about dropping my stroke count is that it feels like I'm not swimming well... I guess because I'm not working as hard. That's all I'm hoping for in this first triathlon- to get out of the water feeling like I didn't work too hard. I think I can make up some time on the bike and maybe even the run (despite my lack of running since the marathon).

Sunday, May 13, 2012

My Mother's Day Gift- My Specialized Dolce

I got my Mother's Day gift early, about a month ago. I picked it out myself, although my 3 year old son was with me. The guy who sold it to me was super awesome and played with coins with my son while I tried riding different bikes outside the store. I sent my husband a text and said, "Can I?" and he replied yes, just give him a few minutes to move some money around. I had chest pain. I didn't know if I'd love cycling, triathlons, the bike itself... and I pretty much doubled my original budget to buy this bike. When people say running is cheap, I think they lie. When people say cycling is expensive, I know it is true. The bike is just the beginning. I walked out of the store with the bike, a bag that fits under the seat to hold a spare tire tube, a CO2 cartridge for airing it up, and tools to pry the tire off the rim... basically the absolute minimum I needed to get started. I was borrowing my husband's helmet for a few rides. Since then, I've bought: a helmet, clipless pedals, shoes, covers for my shoes, bike shorts, 2 jerseys, gloves, lights for the front and rear, a mounting bracket to transport the bike in our truck, a bracket for my Garmin (which reminds me to research cycling computers because I'll probably go that direction over the Garmin watch at some point), chain oil, and I'm probably still leaving something out. My husband has asked me to wait until payday to buy more a couple of times, but he's never given me that look that says, "Seriously? You do not need this". But better than all of these things I've accumulated, my husband bought a bike and I have a riding buddy. We did 40-something miles together this week, some of which in the rain. This is what happens when you're 10 miles from home and the rain on the radar catches up to you. It was fun, like being kids, except we had to carefully dry our precious bikes when we got home.
I gave my son my phone so he could play Angry Birds and discovered that he took some pictures

My Specialized Dolce (2010)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Masters Swim

Last week I made friends with two other nurses at my new job when we started talking triathlons. It turns out they planned to do the same one I'm doing. One had already registered but I shared the Schwaggle deal for a huge discount on the tri registration with the other girl. Save a girl some money, instant friends! They excitedly asked me to swim and ride with them, even stay in their hotel the night before the race. I love other athletes... We can be total strangers or have nothing else really in common, but bond like BFFs over workouts. So, these girls gushed about their coach for their Masters swim class and convinced me to try it out. One mentioned in conversation a guy at the pool who used 62 strokes for 50 meters. Not having ever counted, I did count the next time I went to the pool. Ouch. 63. So, that's where I started, going into my first class. Now, I am probably not ready for any other Masters classes, but my friends are the only ones in this class right now. Tuesday was my first class and I dropped 9 strokes, down to 54. I was exhausted and starving by the end of class. Tonight was my second class. I dropped 7 strokes, down to 47! What was funny, though, is that I thought I was swimming terribly. It felt like I was standing still in the water and not moving at all with each stroke. I was shocked when Patrick called out 47 for my stroke count. Who, me??? I was getting tired and losing form by the end, but not as bad as Tuesday afternoon. I still have a long way to go but I'm super excited with my improvement over just the past few days.