346. Goals, Goals, Goals: February 5 Challenge

I didn’t set any specific January goals; I just chose my verb for the year. (It’s dare in case you don’t remember.)  However, this month it’s back to goals, goals, goals.   I’m going back to a numbers based challenge like my December to Remember, but on a slightly smaller scale.  I’m also focusing on my verb by picking goals that require me to push myself a little bit.  And of course I’ve got myself a clever challenge name.

February 5 Challenge

This month’s challenge revolves around the number 5 because my ultimate goal for February is to be down 5 pounds.  However, losing 5 pounds is not actually one of my goals.  It’s so of a bonus goal.  The hope is that reaching my 5 goals for the month will get my to the 5 pound mark.  I’ll be tracking this month’s goals on Laura’s group tracking sheet (BOTD February Challenge Tracker) so be sure to check that often.

The Goals

  1. Earn 150 activity points
  2. Track 25 complete days
  3. Complete 5 items on my Mission 101 list
  4. Attend 5 group fitness classes
  5. Do 5 strength training sessions

The Reward

If I reach all 5 goals, I’m going to buy a Fitbook.  I love the concept, and people who have them seem to love them.  I’ve been tossing around the idea of getting one, but I’ve yet to commit to buying one.  I’ve always got a zillion tracking options so I don’t really need the Fitbook, but I love the idea of them especially for tracking workouts.  Mostly, I probably just want to play around with it.

If I reach my goal of 5 pounds lost I’m going to buy How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman.  I’ve had this cookbook on my wish list or a while, but I always talk myself out of it because Do I really need another cookbook?   However, I’ve been doing a great job of making recipes from my cookbooks over the last two month so another cookbook is totally in order!

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343. Oh Hai!

Hey there friends!  Some of you may have noticed I’ve been a little absent these days.  I have my reasons.  A big of them is that about this time last week, I was actively trying to not die of some horrible strep/ cold/ flu/ sinus infection/ Ebola/ virus of doom.  (And yes, I am one of those people that is more than a bit dramatic when I am sick.)   The sickness pretty much sidelined all my effort to run or work out, and I felt so horrible last Tuesday night I didn’t even weigh in.

This week I’m feeling much better.  I actually didn’t have a Weight Watchers (yet) meeting this week.  My usual meeting is at the church my mom attends.  This week is the parish retreat so everything that’s usually held at the church during the week (Weight Watchers, scouts, etc.) was cancelled.  My usual leader does a meeting a couple blocks from my office at noon on Fridays so I am planning to attend her meeting tomorrow.

I also ran this evening for the first time in 10 days.  It was a short and easy paced run.  I was trying to determine if I could/ should go ahead and run the half marathon I never actually told you all I’m signed up for on Saturday.  I was already doing the bare minimum as far as training goes, and combined that with the fact that I’ve been sick at least half of this month, I wasn’t entirely confident in my abilities.  I was also concerned about over-doing it and undoing all of this week’s recovery.  There was also that pesky 3 hour time limit that had me worrying.

After much deliberation this afternoon, I decided that the 3 hours time limit and under training aren’t good enough excuses.  I finished my first half in 3 hours, and despite my barely adequate training for this race, I’m still in better shape than I was going into that first 13.1.  As far as the making myself sicker goes, I’m feeling almost 100% again.  I decided I would run tonight and as long as I was okay, I would race.  I didn’t want to die so it’s on.  I’m also pretty sure it’s going to be on via 5 minute/ 1 minute run/ walk intervals.  Since I am under trained, I think this may be my best approach for a reasonable time and not injury myself or overdoing it.

So there you have it.  Saturday morning I will be running the Fucking Freezing Frozen Lake Half Marathon.  (And if we’re being perfectly honest here, my decision was at least 57.4% influenced by the fact that I want that finishers medal.  Seriously, click the link and check it out.)

342. In The News: Is BMI Ever TMI?

http://schoolsofthought.blogs.cnn.com/2012/01/12/is-bmi-ever-tmi/

I came across this article (That one, above, click the link and read.  I’ll wait.) today which I found really interesting.  There’s a new law in Georgia intended to combat childhood obesity.  Students will be weighed in PE classes, and their BMI information will be sent home to their parents.  The information is also being reported to the state.  There’s definitely an element of privacy/ personal rights and responsibility here, but that’s not something I really see as a huge issue.  In the age of Facebook, Twitter, and the airing of your personal business all over the internet, I often struggle to buy into the invasion of privacy argument.  I’m not saying that isn’t a concern for some: just that it’s not a concern for me.  My concern is whether or not this is an effective method or a wasted effort.

I tend to agree with one of the individual, Randy Weiner, who was quoted in the article.  I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad law, particularly because the information is being provided to parents not the children themselves.  I think the intention is good, but ultimately I don’t think it will be highly effective.  If the parent’s don’t value good health and nutrition then giving them information about their child’s BMI probably isn’t going to change much.

While I think much of the responsibility for childhood obesity falls to the parent’s, I do think schools can impact change.  Personally, I think the more effective way for schools to combat childhood obesity is through education, better nutrition in school lunches, and increase activity for students.  Those are the kind of laws I would like to see passed because those are the kind of laws I think would have the biggest impact overall.

Honestly, I don’t think there’s any sort of “quick-fix” or immediate way to reduce childhood obesity.  Obesity in general is deeply ingrained in our current culture, and I think it order to really impact change, we need to be focusing on more long-term efforts like educating our children so they can, hopefully, grow into healthy(ier) adults and raise children who are healthier than they were.

What do you think?  Do you think this is a good law?  Do you think it’s an effective way to impact change in the current childhood obesity rates?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

 

337. 2011 in Review: Dedicated

Instead of setting goals or making New Year’s Resolutions last year, I followed Rachel’s lead and choose a verb.  My verb for 2011 was dedicate.  Honestly, my verb, much like many New Year’s Resolutions, fell from the front of my mind pretty quickly.  Despite the fact that it wasn’t at the forefront of my thoughts and actions, I do think it was lurking there somewhere in my subconscious driving at least some of my thoughts and goals.  I didn’t think I’d made much “progress” with it until I really stopped and looked back at the year.

In 2011…

…I wanted to dedicate myself to my health which I definitely did in the second half of the year when I joined Weight Watchers and started seriously working toward finally reaching my goal weight.  I finished the year feeling pretty damn good about my progress and myself.

…I wanted to dedicate myself to fitness and running.  Exercise and fitness is always my biggest struggle.  I set goals.  I flake out on goals.  I set high expectations, and fall short.  However, despite my many failed fitness challenges throughout 2011, I still feel like I did manage to truly dedicate myself.  In May, I finished the Wisconsin Half Marathon, crushing my PR by nearly 25 minutes.  In October, I finished Dallas 13.1 knocking another 10 minutes off my PR with a finishing time of 2:24:22.  Then there was my almost 5K PR in April, my definite 5K PR in October, and knocking out my goal of a sub-28 minute 5K a short time later.   I know all of these PRs are a direct result of my increasing dedication to training and fitness in general.  Even fitness challenge failures still have a positive impact.

…I wanted to dedicate time to myself.  I don’t think I did this in quite the way I intended when I set the goal a year ago.  When I set this goal I was thinking about taking time to sit around by myself doing nothing; however, I think I did even better than that.  Dedicating myself to my health and my running was dedicating time to myself.  I dedicated to my Weight Watcher’s meetings every week regardless of what was going on.  I dedicated myself to hours of running, usually alone, when I’d rather be sleeping or hanging out.  I dedicated myself to going to bed early getting adequate sleep most nights.  I used my commute “wisely” to read more than 45 books this year.

…I wanted to dedicate time to my blog.  This is one area I really do feel like I fell short.  I truly enjoy blogging, but I also find myself consistently struggling with it.  A lack of inspiration/ motivation to write, a failure to prioritize writing posts, and at time a complete disconnect with my purpose.  I feel like I’m constantly working and reworking my blog without ever really making progress.  I get frustrated because I feel like I should have figured it out by now, after 2 years.  There will be more to come on this though.

…I wanted to dedicate myself to growing up.  This is another thing that didn’t happen in quite the way I expected, but I feel like I left 2011 more mature and ready to really move forward into “adulthood.”  And honestly, I don’t think I could adequately explain myself much further on this one,  so I’m going to leave it at that.

Honestly, I haven’t made a ton of progress on my 2012 goals.  I wasn’t even sure how I planned on approaching them.  But after writing this post and really looking back at 2011, I think choosing a verb was a great plan which I intend to do again this year.  I’ll be back with my 2012 verb in the next week or so.

334. December to Remember Weekly Update 2

Alright, executive decision has been made: December to Remember Challenge updates are now being posted on Tuesdays.  I should know well enough by now that I’m really not a weekend blogger.  I just don’t have/ make time for it.  Oh well, an update is an update right?

I’m still struggling with the fitness side of the challenge.  Remember back in, like, September when I joined a gym that was supposed to be opening in mid- to late November?  Well, November came and went and the gym hadn’t opened.  However, I was then told the grand opening date would be December 15th.  So, truth be told, I planned this challenge around the expectation that my gym would be open for at least half the month of December.  This was where I was planning to get most of my strength training and cross training done.  Well, it’s not December 20th and this gym still is not open.  I called the location, and they told me it would be open this Thursday.  I emailed X-Sport corporate, and they told me the 26th.   In any case, the point is that I’d been counting the gym to be open and it isn’t which means I’ve had to get creative on my cross training and strength training.  I’ve been taking the dog on longer evening walks, and I’ve been running up and down the stairs in my condo at the suggestion of Laura.  (I’m also pretty sure my neighbors think I’m bat-shit crazy.)

The one area I’m lacking in most is miles run which is a bit ironic as I figured that would be a piece of cake goal.  I’m trying to be positive about it, but I think it’s almost unrealistic to hit that goal at this point…at least without injuring myself.  Oh well, I’m going to try.  The month ain’t over yet.

The Goals

  1. Run 75 miles – 15/75 (20%)
  2. Cross Train 250 minutes – 115/250 (46%)
  3. Strength Train 150 minutes – 40 /150 (27%)
  4. Hold a 2 minute plank – 45 seconds
  5. 2 “real” push-ups – I can get halfway down and back up twice
  6. Hold a 90 second wall squat – 45 seconds
  7. Track food/ points 25 complete days – 19/25 (76%)
  8. Make 15 new healthy recipes from my cookbook stash – 7/15 (47%)
  9. 160 servings of fruits and veggies. – 100/160 (63%)

 

332. December to Remember Weekly Update 1.5

I know I’ve owed you a December to Remember updated since Saturday.  Sorry friends.  It was a crazy gingerbread filled weekend that ended with my car being trapped in my garage.  Sounds like fun right?  Well, it was a blast until that last part.  Anyway, I do have an update for you all.  I have to admit; I’m off to a bit of a slow start especially on the fitness side of things.  I really need to pick it up because I desparately need more winter gear!

The Goals

  1. Run 75 miles – 7/75
  2. Cross Train 250 minutes – 70/250
  3. Strength Train 150 minutes – 20 /150
  4. Hold a 2 minute plank – 45 seconds
  5. 2 “real” push-ups – I can get halfway down and back up twice
  6. Hold a 90 second wall squat – 45 seconds
  7. Track food/ points 25 complete days – 11/25
  8. Make 15 new healthy recipes from my cookbook stash – 5/15
  9. 160 servings of fruits and veggies. – 54/160

I promise an actual Saturday morning update this week!

323. 13.1 Dallas Recap or Seriously? Another PR

Writing this recap was surprisingly difficult.  I sat down at the computer and the words to explain my feelings just wouldn’t come.  So instead I took to my journal and ended up with two pages of stream of consciousness writing that probably wouldn’t make sense to anyone but me.  It was a start though.

The Dallas 13.1 half was a far different experience than my previous half marathons.  For the first time, I went into the race feeling totally confident and prepared to run the full 13.1 miles.  My training had been complete and consistent.  I felt myself getting stronger, and I saw myself getting faster (hello multiple 5K PRs!)  As you may remember, I was grossly under-trained for my first half marathon, and I trained for my second one using 5 to 1 run-walk intervals.  I felt prepared for the Wisconsin half marathon, but I could not have run the entire thing. (Although running the entire race was not my goal anyway.)  This time around I knew I was ready to run. 

And run I did, I managed to achieve my goal (Mission 101 Item #88: done and done.) of running an entire half marathon.  I actually did end up talking a few walk breaks in the last mile.  I’m beginning to get the feeling that race organizers find it amusing to make the last leg of any race a literal uphill battle. The last mile of Dallas 13.1 took us up a pretty intense hill, and training in Chicago just does not prepare you for a hill of that caliber.  (I don’t care where you live; I would bet it’s not as flat as Chicago.  Therefore pretty much every hill is intense for me.) 

I also had my very own spectator in Dallas.  I’ve never had someone come cheer me on at a race before.  This time I had Laura there cheering me on the whole way.  I swear the girl was a ninja with a bike.  I’d look up and bam! there she was again.  It is an amazing motivator to hear someone calling your name from the sidelines, cheering you on, and making sure you’re doing okay.  You can check out Laura’s recap of the race from the spectator’s POV here.

At the end of it all, I finished the race with such a feeling of happiness and pride.  I was proud of myself for completing my first two half marathons, but this time the feeling of happiness and pride was just a little different.  I felt like I worked hard and really earned it.  My goal for the race was to come in under 2:30, and I managed to crush that goal finishing the race with an official time of 2:24:22, and my time even included a mandatory bathroom spot at mile 11.  (Mandatory as in, if I didn’t stop immediately I was going to have a serious issue.)  I knocked a full 10 minutes off my previously half marathon time.  I think this can be contributed to my efforts, both physical and mental, from the start of training to crossing the finish line.

I’ve always known running is more mental than physical, but this proved especially true during this race.  I ran with Laura’s cousin Jennifer for the first 5 miles or so before I pulled slightly ahead of her.  I picked pretty much the worst part of the race to pull ahead because shortly after, I encountered (the first) two substantial hills on the course.  Running these hills took a great deal out of me, and from that point forward, I was struggling against myself.  Physically I was kind of tired since, as I mentioned, hills are the devil I’m not used to hills, but my real issue was mental.  I was starting to defeat myself.  Running with others is a great distraction from mentally defeating yourself (as is seeing your personal spectator.)  Thankfully, I hooked back up with Jennifer shortly after mile 11 and was able to tackle that final mile and murder hill with her and her friend.

Overall, I could not be happier with my Dallas 13.1 experience. 🙂

P.S. Thanks to Laura for all the photos!