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.