Monday, July 26, 2010

A Taste For Adventure

This past Saturday, I left my apartment building at 6:30am, pumped and ready for my 5.25 mile long run to the Welwyn Preserve Seashore and back. It was the first time running this particular route, so I was very excited. I had driven a slightly different variation of the route in the past, but I had mapped it out on So I thought I was all set.

I run into the Preserve and down the hill to the shoreline. It was an absolutely beautiful, hot, sunny July morning. I'd eaten my Powerbar earlier, and had a packet of Gu and some Powerade Zero for the trip. But then, I made a wrong turn on Landing Road, and wound up in an industrial area of town I never even knew existed. I got completely lost. I couldn't figure out which way was up for about 45 minutes. And I loved every second of it. Instead of getting flustered, I just kept jogging and taking in the views. The different neighborhoods, the landscaping, etc. Ultimately, I did find a bus driver who was parked on the street and I asked him for directions. But I had not felt so full of adventure for a very long time. And I didn't know I was able to go so far. I wound up jogging almost 7 miles, in 80+ degree heat, and I felt awesome afterward. It gives me hope that once I get my speed up, I'll actually be good at this endurance running thing. For the time being, I'm just having fun figuring it out. :-)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Jumping Off The Plateau!!!!

My month-long weight loss plateau has finally come to an end! I lost 4 pounds in the past week, and it feels great to start losing again. I also did my first 5 mile long run last Sunday. I wonder if there's a connection? Long periods of low intensity cardio activity tend to burn fat more efficiently.

I am training for the Westchester Half Marathon on 10/10/10, so that gives me plenty of opportunities to do long runs on Sundays. Ultimately, I would love to build my mileage up to 6 miles 3 times a week, and a half marathon run on Sundays. That would be a little over 31 miles a week. That would be awesome, because then I would be able to bust out a half marathon whenever, and I could build up from there to train for a full marathon. Eventually. I'm amazed that my mind has opened up to the possibility that I can even attain these goals. But believing you can do it is the very first step.

Have a great summer weekend! Go outside and enjoy the weather, because winter will be here before you know it.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What Is Hip?!?

For the past week or so, my right hip has been giving me trouble. Ironically, it feels better when I jog or walk than it does after I've been sitting at a desk or watching TV. Nevertheless, I have opted to give myself two days rest to see if the pain clears up. I've only had one rest day (today), and I already miss it. I saw a jogger on the road when I was driving back from court, and I practically started drooling. So that confirms that I really am addicted.

I ordered my Road ID bracelet, and it should be here any day now. It is an awesome safety item that allows emergency first responders to get access to your medical information if something happens to you on the road. It's a must for joggers and cyclists. When it comes in the mail, I'll post a picture of it. Be well, and never quit!!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Very Happy Birthday Girl!

Today is my 39th birthday. It is the happiest birthday I've had in recent memory. I stepped on the scale this morning, and I am down 93 pounds. I ran my first 5K race this past Saturday, and I was able to jog the whole way, which was my goal. It was really hot and humid at MacArthur Airport that day, which was quite a departure from the breezy 6am training runs I do along the Long Island Sound. I took it really slow, so I was less than thrilled with my time. I finished in 53:18, which is slower than my training times. But, it gives me something to beat in my next 5K, which is on June 27th. Each pound I lose makes jogging that much easier, so when I reach goal, I will hopefully be very fast! I see the excess poundage as speed training in disguise ;)

I also registered for the Great Cow Harbor 10K Race in Northport in late September. I am following my training program, so hopefully I will be ready.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Countdown to 5K #1....Woo Hoo!!!!

Well, I finished the C25K program, and I'm still jogging! This morning I did 3 miles, and did 3.5 on Saturday. On July 19th, I start my half marathon training program. My first 5k race is this Saturday, and I
so excited!!! I'm still a slow jogger, but I definitely can do a 5k on a flat course. It should be fun! This could be the start of a very interesting new hobby: racer. Even if I finish last, I'll be thrilled that I finished. :)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Getting Ready To Graduate

This Thursday, I will complete the C25K program. I'm so excited! I plan on moving on to other training programs, but this was my very first one, and I am feeling sentimental. I will make a point of savoring every moment of the final two runs. I feel like I have come so far, and I have far to go, as well. It's all part of the process, and it's all wonderful.

I am learning to incorporate more flexibility into my diet. I realize that I am able to have small portions of certain foods when I am out socializing with friends, and it doesn't throw me off course. This new lifestyle with a Lap-Band is totally doable, and I don't need to make myself into a social outcast.

Ah well, off to bed for me. I am going for a long bike ride in the morning. :)

Friday, May 14, 2010

To 'Tri' or not to 'Tri'

I completed Week 7 of C25K yesterday. I would like to be faster, but I'm very happy with my endurance level. I figure I will get faster with each pound I lose. I jogged outside for the first time, and it felt so good. It's nice waving to other joggers and cyclists. It makes the treadmill feel like detention. LOL

So this summer looks to be more active than any in recent memory. 5K races, biking on trails, trips to the beach. It should be fun! I'm thinking about signing up for a sprint triathlon in September. I know I'm not ready for it now, and I would need to do some intense training over the summer to get ready. Even then, I'd probably come in last. But part of me really wants to do it. I'm going to mull it over for a few weeks...

I met my weight loss goal for the Mother's Day challenge. Now I'm on to the July 4th challenge. My goal is 25 lbs in eight weeks. I need to bump up the workouts and add more protein shakes to my diet to keep the weight loss momentum.

I feel really good about the progress I am making. I went "closet shopping" at my Mom's house and found jeans I havent been able to wear in at least 5 years. Now they fit me. Also, I found this Navy Blue suit I bought at Dress Barn many, many moons ago that I could never fit into. It still has the store tags on the sleeve. LOL. Well, I tried it on, and it is only slightly snug now. I couldn't believe it! Two more weeks, and I'm wearing that baby! At the very least, I'm wearing it to Mel's wedding on 6/26. Seeing progress makes me sooo happy. I read somewhere that weight loss is a byproduct of fitness. I really believe that. The Lap-Band helps me control my portions, but everything else is up to me, so I'm becoming a workout junkie! It's actually fun.

Well, that's it for now. Be well!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Newfound Passion

OK, so I've noticed that most of my blog entries pertain more to my C25K adventures than they do to my Lap-Band surgery. I think that is because the Band is working the way it is supposed to. Most of the time, I forget I even have it. My new eating patterns have become habitual, and are now second nature. At my doctor's appointment this week, my surgeon was very pleased with my progress; he basically said, "keep up the good work, see you in six weeks." No news is good news, and thus nothing to blog about.

So, what is there to write about? My newfound passion. I love a good sweaty jog in the morning. I never, ever thought I would say that. But it is so true. Once you build a little endurance, which surprisingly doesn't take long, jogging feels great. My breathing is easier, and it feels good to work my legs. Finishing jogging feels even better. Like I'm on top of the world. Very easy to get hooked.

I've planned out a very challenging summer for myself. First, I am doing four 5K races. One walking, three running. I want to do a sprint triathlon in August, the Westchester Half Marathon in October, and the Disney Marathon in January. That means I have a very tight training schedule. Fortunately, I love training schedules. They represent order and structure to me. It's oddly comforting knowing how much and when workouts are going to be for the next 5 months. Even though those five months are going to kick my ass. LOL. I decided to go with Hal Higdon's Novice Marathon Training schedule. Right now, it looks pretty intimidating. But the C25K schedule looked impossible at first, too. But, I'm doing it. So here's to getting it done, and to having an awesome summer!

Friday, April 30, 2010

26.2 Down The Road

"Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves. It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go. It helps us to find out what we are made of. This is what we do. This is what it's all about."
-PattiSue Plumer, U.S. Olympian

Yesterday, I jogged for 20 continuous minutes. I haven't been able to do that since I was 19 years old. It's interesting, because six weeks ago, I never would have dreamed I'd be able to do it. But I willed myself to keep on going, no matter what. What's crazy is I felt like I still had legs left after I was done. This journey is so fascinating at times. It pushes me beyond what I thought I could do, or where I could go. It makes me feel powerful.

So now, I find myself wondering how far I can actually push myself. Where is my limit? I have a feeling it is much higher than I think it is. So, I am setting a daunting new goal for myself: to run a marathon before I turn 40. I am turning 39 next month, so that gives me time to prepare. The Disney Marathon is in January, and the Long Island Marathon is in May, so I have a couple of chances to do it.

I know that none of this would be possible had I not undergone the Lap-Band surgery. It's the best thing I've ever done for myself. It doesn't do the work for you like Gastric Bipass, but it helps you do the work yourself. My body used to refuse to cooperate, and now it does.

So even with it's ups and downs, triumphs and challenges, life is pretty darn good right now. It's magical. :)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Channeling My Inner Pep Rally

Lately, I have noticed that I tend to cheer myself on during my workouts. When I start a 5 minute jogging interval, I think to myself, "You can DO this! Five minutes is a fun run! Done deal!" Where did this come from?!? I have become my own workout cheerleader. LOL. And it really works. Having a positive, motivating stream of consciousness actually gives me the confidence to keep going.

So, I've decided to throw pep rallies for myself in other areas of my life, as well. The confetti is going to fly. Strike up the band! Get the bonfire going, because the party is on.

Because whether you think you can or you think you can't -- you are right! So cheer away.

God bless, and run like you stole something!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Breaking Through

I have been reading a book called "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall. It is a fascinating physiological, anthropological, and historical love story about running. It's primary focus is on an ancient tribe of Native Americans called the Tarahumara. The Tarahumara have been described as being the greatest distance runners in the world, routinely running 100 mile races, without becoming injured or burning out. I find this astonishing. They have no fancy running shoes, only homemade sandals. They live peaceful, simples lives, deep in the canyons of northern Mexico. Shy and retiring, they are uncomfortable around strangers. But when they run, look out! The book describes how they blew away the competition in the Leadville 100 ultra race, and they did it in style. They ran together as a pack, and the older runners outpaced the younger ones. How is that possible?? I had always heard that running breaks down the body, but the Tarahumara defy that assessment.

At this point, I would consider just running a 5K to be the ultimate personal achievement. Nevertheless, I am fascinated by what makes these ultra runners tick. How do you muscle through a run that's several hours long, and live to tell about it? Well, the answer is, you don't muscle through, you breakthrough.

In McDougall's book, he talks about it this way:

"[Y]ou have to relax into it, like easing your body into a hot bath, until it no longer resists the shock and begins to enjoy it. Relax enough, and your body becomes so familiar with the cradle-rocking rhythm that you almost forget you're moving. And once you break through to that soft, half-levitating flow, that's when the moonlight and champagne show up[.]"

Personally, I have not had that breakthrough. I've yet to build up the speed or endurance to experience moonlight or champagne, but based on that description, I can see why people get hooked on running. Definitely something to look forward to...

And the advice about relaxing into the run makes so much sense. I think it pertains to life in general, too: getting all tensed up about things is a waste of energy. Relax, let go, and go with the flow. Maybe there will be breakthroughs all over the place!

God Bless, and be well. And run like you stole something! ;)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Is this YOUR first adjustment?!?

Yesterday, I went to North Shore University Hospital to get my first adjustment. It's also called a "fill". It's when a physician injects sterile saline solution into the Lap-Band to provide more restriction via the access port, and it's done under a fluoroscope.

When I got under the machine, one of the techs walks up to me, looks down and says, "Now, I understand this is your first adjustment?" I replied, "Yes. Is this YOUR first adjustment?!? I hope not." Everyone in the room started cracking up. Now, granted, I am not exactly the world's best patient, but this particular procedure was pretty painless, and I didn't raise much of a fuss. Unlike in February, when I had my surgery (I had a couple of the residents quaking in their Crocs back then). Now, I'm on clear liquids and protein shakes for two days. Fun, fun, fun.

I feel like I am building endurance during my workouts, which is kind of exciting to observe. I still jog pretty slowly, but I figure that my speed will improve as I lose more weight and my fitness level improves. Gotta start somewhere, right?

Meanwhile, I certainly enjoyed the two day heatwave we had here in the Northeast. Eighty degree weather in April. Sheesh. Today it's back in the 60's, but cloudy and drizzling. More suitable for April, I would say.

Enjoy the weekend, and when you are savoring your solid food today, remember me...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Mother's Day Challenge

Mother's Day is one of my favorite holidays. I love it because you make it as grand or as simple as you would like it to be. My Mom likes to keep a low profile, so we usually keep it simple. In recent years, we celebrated by spending the weekend in Ocean City, MD. This year, Mom wants to go house hunting in Florida. Mama Mia!! This should be interesting...

I am also participating in a Mother's Day weight loss challenge. I have challenged myself to lose 20 lbs by May 9th. I'll put a weight loss ticker on the bottom of this page to keep track. Wish me luck!

I hope everyone had a blessed and fun-filled Easter. Be well.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Grief, Good Friday

Last night, I completed Week 2, day 1 of the C25K program. One of the nice things about running is that it gives you a chance to think. I will be happy when I graduate from the program and can run continually for 30 minutes, so I don't have to concentrate on intervals.

But while I was on the treadmill, I thought about the Holy Thursday church service I had just come from. It was incredibly moving. The sermon was about how when the priest prepares the bread and wine on the altar, it gives us an opportunity to place ourselves there, as well. The good stuff and the bad. We can offer up our gifts and talents, gratefully surrendering them to God to consecrate and use in a way that is pleasing to Him. We can also offer up all of our failings, shortcomings, shortsightedness and selfishness. In other words, our sins. Sins are precisely what altars were made for. People are not designed to carry those kinds of burdens. We are crushed under the weight of them if we try to carry them ourselves. Someone else needs to do it. Which, of course, is the very purpose of the holy sacrifice of the Mass. Through His sacrifice, Christ paid the debt for all of us; it is a debt that no one else could ever afford to pay.

Today, on this Good Friday, 2010, I will make a point of approaching Mass more mindfully in regards to offering myself up along with the gifts on the alter. As I labor to lighten my load physically through diet and exercise, I will also practice my faith and allow God to lighten my spiritual and mental loads as well.

Today, we grieve the crucifixion of our Lord and Savior. But, it is indeed a "good grief", because it saves the world. God Bless, and be well.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Couch to 5K...I'm liking the "Couch" Part...

Hello, and welcome to MY HAPPY PLACE. I decided to start a blog to chronicle my weight loss and fitness efforts, thanks to my trusty new Lap Band and organic diet.

Well, I finally decided to go for it and do the Couch to 5K running program. The plan can be found at I am sufficiently healed from my surgery, and I am ready to roll when it comes to cardio. My friend Sher and I are planning to do a 5K race at LI MacArthur Airport this June, so I'd better get cracking. I hopped on the treadmill and, with much trepidation, started walking and jogging at the prescribed intervals. Week 1 is a 5 minute walking warm up, and then 60 seconds jogging and 90 seconds walking alternatively, until you have completed 20 minutes. I actually completed the workout without quitting or passing out. I partially attribute this to the fact that "The Office" was playing on the TV screen in front of me. Love that show. I also had two particularly chatty workout buddies beside me: my Mom, and Robert, a neighbor in my building. When the 20 minutes was over, I hopped off that thing like it was en fuego, and went back to my apartment.

So here I am, 50lbs lighter than I was a few months ago (with a ways to go) and trying to be a runner. God help me. I've been pretty diligent about eating clean, but I keep venturing onto baking websites and ogling pretty buttercream confections. But for now, I just like to watch. Food porn, indeed.

Well, crock pot chicken and red cabbage with a side of quinoa for dinner tonight.