Ugh! My Workout Got A Piece Of Me

So this morning I woke up a little later than usual. Fen and I were up late finishing a movie about Bonnie and Clyde (very interesting), so instead of waking around 7 I woke around 8 instead. I started to get ready for my walk, but as soon as I got out of bed I knew that I was going to have a tough workout. My body felt very lethargic and sluggish. I am not sure if it was due to falling asleep after midnight or if it was from the abundance of carbs I had for dinner (we made spaghetti with garlic bread. It was amazingly yummy). I also wondered if it was because I ate too much at dinner. I certainly didn’t binge, but I know I ate a little too much pasta and went a little crazy with the garlic bread. That’s OK – I have to recognize my mistake, forgive myself, vow to do better next time, and move on.

I dressed and washed up, did some dishes, fed, medicated, and walked the dog, then laced up my sneakers and hit the pavement. I planned to do the full 3.5-ish mile route that I had done Monday. I started off with a decent start, feeling still pretty tired but pumped and motivated. It was mostly my legs that felt super tired, now that I think about it, but I kept pushing myself forward and focused on the music in my ears.

There’s a portion of this route that is about 0.25 miles long, without any crosswalks or anything else to keep me from having to stop or look for traffic. This is the portion I ran on Monday and today I ran it again, except it was harder today than it was on Monday. After that section I kept walking, but my legs started to feel like jello! I was starting to get annoyed with myself at this point.. but still, I pushed onward.

On the way back I had to stop and admire a creek I walk by on this route. It’s always super pretty to look at, I enjoy hearing the sound of rushing water, and it’s neat to see how the water level will rise when storms blow in.

Looking up the creek. Isn’t it such a pretty view? I should try walking on the other side sometime.

(As you can see, it is pretty cloudy today. We are supposed to get rain into the weekend. Boo!)

About 3/4 of the way through the entire walk I realized I was getting a blister on my right heel.. or at least that’s what it felt like. I stopped and relaced my shoes, hoping to prevent my foot from slipping around so much, but I honestly think I need better, thicker socks.

Just before I got home, I had some extra hills to climb. I kept thinking about my dad (for inspiration) and all of the fitness/inspiration memes I have seen on twitter and instagram the last few days.. when suddenly my MapMyWalk app chimed in to let me know that my walking pace is roughly 16 min/mile and my running pace was roughly 17 min/mile…

Wait, what?

That’s actual improvement from Monday! On Monday and all week last week, my walking pace was 17 min/mile and running was 18 min/mile…

So how exactly could that be? I honestly have no idea. But apparently even though I felt like I was dragging my legs and feet behind me I was actually moving faster than I have before. Another sign of improvement! I’ll take it!!!

Since my walk this morning my left leg has been bugging the crap out of me, I think because the calf muscle is just tired, so I will need to rest it and maybe massage it a little later.

As for the rest of the day? Fen is off today and tomorrow from work so we’ll be watching some (horror?) movies and I’ll be checking things off the to-do list. I hope you all have a Happy Hump Day!

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Setting Goals Each Week

Hi all. I have normally been posting each day, but figured I would give myself a break over the weekend. I also gave myself a break from walking. Believe it or not, I actually didn’t want to take a break from walking, but it Fen kept telling me to rest so I finally did.. and I felt much better come Monday morning.

I’ve decided to set myself some goals and every few weeks I may add to it. I don’t want to overwhelm myself, so I am going to set very small goals. I will primarily focus on the fitness routine each week and setting goals for that, but will also add some goals here and there for other parts of my life, namely food.

I am going to try a new fitness routine and see how it works for me. Each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I will go for my 3-3.5 mile loop and will walk most of it. Each week I will try to run a portion of it, a very small portion to start with, and will gradually increase the distance so that I start walking less and running more. I have sustained back and knee issues in the past and don’t want to try and advance too quickly. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays I will be doing an hour of yoga instead. Each day of the week I walk the dog 2-3 times per day, so that still gets me up and moving, but on Sundays I will take a break from everything.

Fen and I talked briefly about eventually buying a gym membership. I want to get into cycling and maybe some weight lifting after time, but that can all happen down the road. I am not too concerned about it right now.

Yesterday morning I walked with Fen to work and back, covering 3.5 miles, and running about 0.25 miles. Now.. I recognize that running 0.25 miles is nothing for some, but it’s a huge accomplishment for me. Last week I was able to run about a neighborhood block before I felt exhausted. Today it was much further. So this week I will be sticking with that running distance and next week I will push it a little further.

As for a dietary goal, this week I have challenged myself to drink about 6-7 glasses of water a day. I think for my height and body weight I should be consuming closer to 7 glasses, but I would be happy with 6 to start off with. I think on average I only drink about 4-5 which is clearly not enough. To help me accomplish this I will be using a tracker that is built into my FitBit app on my phone. I failed miserably at this yesterday, only clocking about the same 4-5 glasses, but plan to improve on it today.

I am not sure how long it will take me to start drinking 6-7 glasses of water each day without having to remind myself, and I do not plan to put any pressure on myself to complete this goal in the next week.

It’s all about baby steps. Little tiny steps in the right direction. And for the first time in a long time I think my health and fitness are definitely moving in the right direction 🙂

It’s Been Over A Week!

It dawned on me last night that this blog has now been up for over a week. It’s only been about a week, but so much has changed it seems. Here’s a recap:

I have had two (small) binges during the week, one yesterday and one on Thursday (or was it Wednesday..?). I have discovered that when I go for long walks in the morning I start to crave sugar in the afternoon and find myself snacking uncontrollably. I have had to force myself to stop each time, but it was still a challenge.. though not as difficult. As for overeating, I’ve only done it a few times (maybe 3-4?) this past week, which is remarkable, because it’s usually during every meal.

I’ve discovered that by a) exercising for a good hour in the morning, b) not overeating, and c) working hard to control the binges, I have started to recognize some of my hunger cues and am starting to remember again what true hunger feels like. I have also improved a bit on being able to differentiate between being hungry and actually being thirsty. As for drinking water…. I still need some major improvement in that department. I am trying. I think part of my problem is I am cold 24/7 here in the winter (think of it as a damp cold with all the humidity we get from being on the coast) and the last thing I want to do is drink a glass of cold anything. Perhaps I should start drinking lots of tea again. I was on a bit of a tea kick last year around the holidays and loved it! Especially having green tea in the afternoons.

I’ve started wearing my FitBit again (if you are on there add me as a friend and we can compete in challenges with each other 🙂 ) during the day to track my steps and I have also been wearing it at night to monitor my sleep. I’ve forgotten how much I enjoyed using that device. Maybe later this year I will buy myself the wristband. I have the FitBit One that clips onto your waistband and I swear it’s going to pop out one day and I will lose it forever. I like using the FitBit though because it also tracks the number of floors you climb each day (which is great, because I live on a hill, surrounded by hills) and also reports back the number of calories you’ve burned each day. I don’t focus too hard on that number, but use it to guide me when I select meals each day.

Though I have been going for some long walks in the morning (~3 miles, ~1 hour), I have also tried to switch them into intervals of walking and running. The first day I tried this was Thursday and I did pretty good. I actually just went for two small sprints and my legs felt a little tired, but nothing too bad. On Friday I tried switching between walking and running and ended up having to stop because my shins started to hurt again. I am not sure if it was the running that did it or the running down a hill that did it. I am going to let my legs rest for a couple days and then try the intervals one more time on a flat (maybe softer.. so less impact?) surface and see how I do. I have to remember to be patient with myself though. That’s often the hardest part for me.

Earlier in the week I forgot to mention that I won a book in a contest on GoodReads! It’s called New Life, No Instructions: A Memoir and is written by Gail Caldwell. I am excited to read this book, because I think it will give me some insight and hope into new beginnings in life, especially those that come unexpectedly, with little warning, and no instructions. For those who know me personally, you’ll probably know what I’m referring to.

If you like reading books (or could live in a library like me), you should check on The FirstReads Giveaway Contests on GoodReads 🙂 Each morning I scroll through the newly listed contests and enter contests for the books that interest me the most. I also stay active on the website and use it to update my progress as I read books and keep track of previously read books. Ever so often I (sometimes a couple times a month or twice a week.. depending) I will win books. I always say it’s how I “support my (reading) habit”, otherwise I would go broke in a bookstore in under thirty minutes flat. The only catch is if you do win a book, it is highly requested (and recommended) that when you are finished you provide an honest review on the site 🙂

Finally, this week I finished reading A Life Apart by L. Y. Marlow. It was one of the books my sister sent me for Christmas and I absolutely loved it! It was one of those books that grabs your attention from the beginning and keeps it through the entire book. I also started reading Black Canyon by Jeremy Bates and hope to have that finished by mid week next week. Although I didn’t win the contest for Black Canyon, I did win a separate contest held by the author in which he was kind enough to send me an electronic copy of his book 🙂

You Have To Learn To Walk Before You Can Run

So.. yesterday and today were pretty interesting as far as exercising went. Both days I covered about 3 miles roundtrip and felt pretty good afterward, but could still feel my body craving more.

On Thursday I accompanied Fen on his walk to work. On the way to his work I sprinted a couple times to see how my legs, knees, and back would respond. I was expecting one of the three to start hurting due to previous injuries I’ve had, but I felt fine afterward, except for a little burn in my calves. I walked the rest of the way home, deciding not to push myself too hard and just enjoy being outside and active.

Today I dropped Fen off, came home, grabbed my earbuds, and headed back out. I took the same path and for about a mile of it I walked and ran in intervals. I would essentially walk for one street block, then run the next street block, then walk, etc. I found that after the third or fourth interval of running I was in a lot of pain. My shins started to feel like they were tearing (yet again) and my calves started to ache. So I walked the rest of the way there and back home again.

By the time I got home I was pretty disappointed. I recognize that I won’t go from couch to 5K in a week, but I am bummed that I am having so much trouble running! I don’t understand why my legs are having such a difficult time either. My legs have always been strong and I have been a hiker for years. I am starting to suspect that I may need to shed some weight before I can start running again. The other problem is there are hills everywhere in this town and it’s pretty difficult to find some flat terrain to start out on. I am thinking about looking for a track, maybe at the local high school, that I can use after hours to practice those intervals on. We’ll see.

Part of my frustration too comes from the fact that even though I can walk 3 miles up and down hill, it’s not enough for me. I come home and feel like I haven’t even burned through half of the stress from the previous day. I need more cardio and a more intense workout. I have considered a gym membership and maybe trying something like Zumba for the time being to help me get the cardio I am craving and also help me tone up and shed some of the weight.

On the way home today, I was thinking about my body and I had to remind myself that I need to be more patient. I really am not a patient person. I don’t think I ever have been. I always want to go from A-Z faster than is practical and then I get frustrated when I can’t.. but I really do need to be patient with myself, celebrate the small victories (I did after all cover 6 miles in the last two days, not to mention all of the other walking I’ve done), and set reasonable goals along the way.

While I was thinking about being patient, I was also thinking about my sister, who has always been a (natural) runner.. and I remembered something she told me a long time ago: You have to learn to walk before you can run. Now.. when she told me this, she was talking about something unrelated to exercising (I think it was my schoolwork), but it’s something I’ve held onto all these years and remind myself of often. So yes. Perhaps my body is telling me to become an even stronger walker before I can become a runner.

Only A Minor Setback..

Yesterday wasn’t the greatest day for me for a number of reasons. One of those reasons was me accidentally locking myself out of the apartment. I was doing laundry and had put a load in down in the laundry room and came back upstairs to grab a second load. I walked inside, set my keys down, grabbed the laundry, and stepped back out and shut the door. And then it dawned on me.. I was officially locked out. I called Fen at work and luckily he had his keys with him, so I left the laundry by our door and walked to his work to get them. It’s about a 1.5 mile walk one way. I was so mad at myself I walked there in under 30 minutes.. and then had to walk all the way back home. I was still mad at myself on the way back home, but decided to try and let the walk relieve some of that stress and frustration. And you know what? It did.

By the time I got back home I was a) tired from the walk, but b) felt REALLY good. It reminded me of how I used to go for 2+ mile walks almost everyday with the dog when he was younger and sometimes by myself too.. and I miss that! Especially in the summer, when I could feel the sunshine on my skin (for those who don’t know, it is perpetually cloudy in this state for most of the year).

I have been chatting with Jillian (a blogger I met on here) about how she got into running, among other things, and my conversation with her, coupled with all the runners I have found on twitter and wordpress, coupled with my 3 mile walk yesterday inspired me to do the same thing today.

Except….. I decided to go another route in the opposite direction, up an incredibly steep hill. Big mistake. My legs were burning at first which I am used to from the hiking I’ve done before. But once I turned around both of my calves were starting to ache and I felt like I was getting shin splints. By the time I got back there was a dull stabbing pain in my right calf. According to MapMyWalk I only walked 0.71 miles.

I was pretty disappointed in myself. I knew I needed to stop and turn around before I did any damage to my legs, but honestly.. what happened to my body? I had no idea how out of shape I am until today.

I don’t want to give up though, because I am still feeling empowered and craving physical activity, but I need to start off small and work my way up.

I also wonder if I need to focus on losing some weight first before I start pushing myself even harder. What are your thoughts on that?

I will have to plan a different route for myself. It’s a bit challenging out here, there are hills everywhere and not a lot of sidewalks! So I will need to wander around and find something that works for me.