Thursday, August 21, 2014

2014 Vacation Series #5: Lose Yourself

I'm finally back home in NYC! I had an AMAZING vacation, and got to spend time with family members I haven't seen in a very long time. Sitting in Uncle Dickie's kitchen, I learned about my family history (literally one of my favorite things to research) and learned more about the man I've looked up to and loved my whole life. I bonded with aunts, cousins, and even kids (which are not my strong suit).  But more importantly, I got a chance to get away from the stress of hectic city living and just breathe for a week.

This is the first trip EVER where I've had a workout routine in place and actually stuck to it. I'm proud to say I'm on track with my 5k training, and feel good about where I'm headed.

That doesn't mean I didn't have rough days. Tuesday night, the night before we left to go back to New York, I was emotionally and physically drained. I felt weak, tired, frustrated, and defeated. The last thing I wanted to do was run endlessly on the treadmill at the hotel gym and exhaust myself further. I didn't think I could do it. I feared failure. I feared giving up midway through the workout and feeling even worse than I did in that moment. So I thought, why not just skip it altogether?

But I didn't. Something in my head screamed "NO!" and that scream was louder than the whispers begging me to go to bed and worry about exercise another day. After a pep talk from Eric over the phone, I decided I had to prove myself wrong -- I was going to workout, and I was going to finish strong.

I almost always listen to music when I run, and though I didn't hear this song on shuffle when I was actually running, the thought of it and its lyrics did push me through my workout:

You've probably heard this classic Eminem hit at least once in your life, but if you haven't, you NEED to look it up. I don't care if you don't like rap. Just listen to the lyrics. That and the beat will make you feel like a complete and utter badass and push you through just about anything. Thinking of that song in my head, thinking of how hard I'd been working, I KNEW I could make it through that 30 minutes. And when I got on that treadmill I kicked ass. 

Don't EVER tell yourself you can't do something. Assuming the goal is realistic, always assume that you can conquer it. Give it everything that you have and walk away knowing that you did all you could, whether you succeed or not. How else will you ever know what you're capable of? How else will you ever maximize your full potential? Follow Eminem's advice and lose yourself in the moment. It's the only way to find out how amazing you truly are. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

2014 Vacation Series #4: Garner, NC

Well, we're finally in Garner, the second half of our trip. We came to see my Uncle Dickie, his wife Aunt Julye, their three adult children Ricky, Dezmona, and Nathalie, their spouses, and Dezmona's 3 children.

The view from Uncle Dicke and Aunt Julye's house. Gorgeous, right?

Upon arriving, I was kidnapped by my cousin Dezmona's precocious 5 year old daughter, Julye-Simone, whom we all call Simone. We talked about Frozen (LOVE that movie), games she liked to play, and life with her two older brothers John Cameron and David. There were moments when she appeared wise beyond her years, and in her I saw the little sister I had always wished I could have had as a child.

Who couldn't fall for this face??? :)

"But Jackie, what about your fitness goals?" you're probably asking. Lucky for me, there's a gym here in the hotel. Good thing too, because it's quiet, and SUPER dark here in the evenings. Not the safest place to run outside. I'm not in love with the treadmill, but I use it when I need to, and it's how I started running, so it's not the end of the world. Hopefully I'll burn off some of the peach cobbler and red wine I drank over at the house, because I am a wee bit over my calorie limit. Don't worry, I'm still staying on track! Enjoying myself but in moderation. Very curious to see what the scale will say when I get back to New York. I certainly have more energy than I normally do on vacation, and I feel great so far.

Friday, August 15, 2014

2014 Vacation Series #3: Running In the Heat

activity photo

It's about 81 degrees here in Virginia Beach, but apparently in the south it feels like 95! The sun was beaming down on me as I reluctantly went on my run. I really didn't feel like being bothered -- I'm on vacation, I was relaxing with my family, I had had a little more of Aunt Chris' cake, and the last thing I wanted to do was sweat bullets running down the boardwalk. 

But I made a commitment, so out I went, tired but ready to go nonetheless. And some very interesting things happened...

First a random guy high-fived me encouragingly on the way to the beach. I guess my clothes gave away that I was a runner and that I was in the middle of a workout. Then I started running, and I decided that today I didn't want to listen to my music. I kept my earbuds in only to listen to the prompts from my app telling me when to run and when to walk. So I could hear people talking, children laughing, and the sound of the waves on the shore. One woman walking by as I ran said, "Get it, girl!" to encourage me along my way. I smiled and laughed. A skateboarder who saw I was looking worn out reached out his hand and high-fived me (yeah, two high-fives in one day!). I came back to the hotel feeling AMAZING.

The fitness community isn't perfect -- no community is. But it's full of encouraging people who are willing to push you along and help you grow. I've met so many nice and informative people on Twitter (follow me @runjackierun92) and on other running blogs. So many people, including me, fear being judged when we run in public. What if I look silly? What if I'm too slow? And we blast music to tune out everything so we won't have to hear the harsh criticism. But while that definitely does happen to some people, there is a positive side, too. There are people out there who will see you, no matter how slow you think you're going or how bad you think you're running, and be inspired. They know you got off your butt and did something that not everyone is willing to do, and they want to encourage you on the way, even if it's only for a moment. So stop judging yourself and get out there! Be brave this week, not because you have to be, but because you were born to be. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

2014 Vacation Series #2: I SWAM!!!!

It was a lovely day 2 here at Virginia Beach. After a walk on the boardwalk with my parents where we saw the sights, sat by the water, and chit chatted, I convinced my mother to pop on her new bathing suit and go to the pool with me.

I've always simultaneously loved and feared the water. I can doggy paddle and play in the pool for hours, but swimming? Forget it. I stayed at the shallow end where I knew I wouldn't drown.

But today I decided that I wanted to float. So I enlisted my mother, a very graceful swimmer, to help. She (and the two other hotel guests who were in the pool with us) was very encouraging. Everyone kept saying, "Just relax. Let go. Trust yourself. The water will carry you." If that's not the perfect metaphor for life in general, I don't know what is.

I never did get around to floating on my back, but before we left the pool for the day, I was determined to swim across the shallow (3ft.) end of it without stopping. It's a small pool, so this was a realistic goal. My mom showed me what to do and explained the basics, but the hardest thing in the world was actually pushing off and letting that water take me. Logically I knew I couldn't drown in so little water and with that many people around. But fear is not logical. Fear is stupid and irrational. Usually fear wins for me. But today I was pissed at myself. I was pissed that I couldn't do it. So I decided that maybe I could.

I pushed off and swam not just across, but around to a slightly deeper part of the pool. I could hear my mother yelling, "Keep going!" as I kicked for dear life. When I resurfaced, I didn't know where I was -- my eyes had been closed the whole time. I looked back at where I had come from, and where I was at the moment, and asked, "Did I just swim?" "Yes, you did," came my mother's proud reply.

It was scary. It wasn't graceful. It wasn't pretty. But I did it. And I know I can do it again. After 22 years, I finally have a starting point, a baseline from which I can build little victories and eventually become decent at this. I'm not gonna be the next Michael Phelps or anything, but it was nice to try something new and succeed at it. It's all part of my larger goal: I changing "I can't" to "I can" in every aspect of my life.

We also had a visit from family today. My grandmother's sister, my great-aunt Chris, and her two adult children (my cousins) Jessica and Leon, all live in Chesapake, so they drove to Virginia Beach to visit us at our hotel. Grandma was very happy to see her sister. Notice how alike they look? (Grandma's on the left, Aunt Chris is on the right.)

They're hilarious together. The sisterly banter has only gotten better throughout their lifelong friendship. Grandma will be 88 years young October 1st, and Aunt Chris is just a little bit younger.Aunt Chris makes an amazing pineapple upside down cake that can derail any diet, and I will admit I did have a slice...or two. Planning to burn it off, though.  I hope to have them both in my life for a long, long time.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

2014 Vacation Series #1: Virginia Beach

Today was craaaaazy. We all had to wake up at about 3 in the morning to finish up packing for our week long trip down south. Before I knew it, we were packed up in my dad's Ford Explorer and headed to the New Jersey Turnpike. I was with both my mother, who acts as co-pilot on every trip, and my dad, who drove the car the whole 7 hours. Grandma sat in the back with me and was a great travel buddy. 

We arrived at our hotel around 3pm, so that's 12 total hours of trip preparation and travel. There wasn't exactly a lot of health food available on the ride there, so I ate crap.Surprisingly, it didn't put me over my calorie goal, so I'm technically still on track. I will work on getting more nutrient-dense food in my system now that we're settling in.

Naturally after the long trip, everyone wanted to rest -- everyone that is, except me. I was, for the first time ever, anxious to exercise and more specifically, to run. So I went down to the boardwalk (which was positively gorgeous, by the way), opened up my 5k Runner app, and got moving. Sometimes it felt wonderful, almost like floating more so than running. Other times it hurt, hurt so bad that all I wanted was to give up. But I ran every interval and made it back to the hotel feeling accomplished for having gotten off my ass and done SOMETHING to counteract the junk that I've been eating. There were lots of other runners out there, so I didn't feel alone. I even managed to smile at a few as I jogged past. 

So far, all is well. I'm glad to be away from everything and glad that I'm still focused on my goals. I'm interested to see where the road takes me from here. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

My First Manicure in Forever and 5k Training Changes

Afternoon, all! It's been a rough few days. I felt myself slowing down and feeling sluggish, and I wasn't sure why. Part of it was my little junk food binge, but I found out this morning it was a little more than that. My parents were both catching a cold, and unfortunately they passed it on to me. I woke up feeling miserable and called out from work.

While falling in and out of sleep and feeling downright disgusting, I started ruminating on my fitness routine and how I had been skipping runs. I came to a decision that I should have made two weeks ago when I started. I'm going back to my 5k app, which is not the Couch to 5k program but is very, very similar, and I'm going to base my running routines on that. It doesn't tell you what days to run, and it doesn't give you distances or speeds to work toward. It just gets you used to running for longer and longer periods of time without stopping, which is exactly what I need right now. Worries about distance and speed can come in the weeks leading up to the race I'm doing in October.

Of course, I'll keep you all updated on how everything goes. The first week, which I'll be starting while going on vacation, is pretty simple -- run a minute, walk a minute and 30 seconds, repeat. I know I can do that and stick with it. The running increments will increase more gradually than they do in the other program I was using, which I think was more about fixing your 5k time than it was about learning to actually run a 5k. I'll be slow, and there'll be a lot of walking. But at least I'll be getting out there consistently and doing this.

In fact, I think I might start today, stuffy nose and all. Mom got me out of bed and insisted I eat, and since then I've felt much better. When she and my dad get back from seeing Get On Up, I just might head out to the park for my Week 1 Day 1 run. I'll still have time to shower and meet Eric for a quick trip to the mall -- he wanted to see me again before I go away on Wednesday. <3

Speaking of Mom, yesterday was her birthday. We asked her what she wanted to do, and she wanted a manicure and pedicure to get ready for our trip. We brought my grandma, who has NEVER had this done in her 88 years of life. We all had a great time, and I got a lovely french acrylic tip, simple but cute and an old favorite of mine.

The salon I like is now under new management, and they really do some good work. If you're ever in Astoria, Queens, check out Blooming Nail and Spa on 31st Street (formerly Ritz Nail and Spa). The people are super nice and the prices are pretty good!

What boosts your day and keeps you going? What are your workout plans for the day?

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Icky Splurges Are Icky

Yesterday was both a good day and a bad one. I spent it with my amazing boyfriend, Eric (you'll probably hear a lot about him in later posts), and it was special because it was my last day seeing him before going on vacation next week.

We saw Hercules (great movie!) and I avoided the temptations of concession food. I even massively downsized my McDonald's meal (no double quarter pounder with cheese and large Coke for me!), but by the end of the night, I completely and utterly lost my resolve. I had a ton of soda, which tastes kind of gross now, and an odd craving for a Rice Krispy bar. I didn't get a chance to track it all on My Fitness Pal, but I'm pretty sure I went over my 1800 allotted calories.

Do I feel guilty? I did, at first. But if this journey is going to work long term this time around, I can't freak out every time I make a mistake. There are going to be bad days. I have binge eating issues and that's something I clearly need to work on. But berating myself will only lower my self confidence and make me give in to all the stupid thoughts in my head screaming that I can't do it.

Which reminds is my first 45 minute run. You know, the one that will probably actually be 3.1 agonizing miles? Ugh. I'm not in the mood. But I'll do it because I know it always makes me feel better, and will lower my anxiety about work later. I'll run when I can, walk when I must. And I'll get through it and be stronger for it.

Friday, August 8, 2014

5k Training Day 3 and No More Trouble Zones

My goal for yesterday was to go for 1.5 miles, and run as much of it as I could. I still find that I have trouble running that distance without walking, so I took my time and did the best I could. I was frustrated at first, but felt empowered when I realized that the 1.5 mile lap around my local park went by much faster than it did on Day 2 or Day 1. Progress! I think my problem is I expect too much too soon. I remember what it was to be relatively fit and not struggle as much, and I keep expecting to get that version of myself back every time I work out. But I know it'll take a lot longer than one week to do that.

Today was a rest day, but on my off days I try to do some resistance training to strengthen my legs and give my arms some definition. Today that came in the form of one of my favorite DVDs, Jillian Michaels' No More Trouble Zones.

This workout is killer. Jillan's more famous DVDs, like 30 Day Shred and Ripped in 30, are popular partly because they require quick bursts of energy, and the workout is done in 25-30 minutes. This is a little bit different. It's 40 minutes, which means she has 20 extra minutes to kick your ass. And boy does she ever! You wouldn't think using 3lb. dumbbells would hurt so good, but if you're out of shape like me,  you really feel the burn. 

I can't make it through the whole DVD just yet. Today I did one round of every circuit (I believe there are 6 or 7) But didn't repeat the circuits like they do in the video. That way I could get through all the exercises at least once. By the end, I was drenched in sweat and exhausted. But I felt accomplished knowing I had at least put in the effort and could do the majority of the moves. This workout is GREAT for cross training and my legs definitely feel a little bit stronger now than they did when I wasn't doing this. No more sore calves when I run! :)

Speaking of running, tomorrow I have to run for 45 minutes instead of the usual 25. This means two laps around the park. I'm VERY nervous, because this will probably be the day I actually cover a 5k distance and get to see what that's like. It's so small to other people, but it feels like a marathon to me. I have to keep reminding myself to slow down, breathe, and not try to sprint through the whole thing. I know I'll get better as time goes on if I take my time, even if the impatient side of me is screaming for me to do differently. Time to plug in and stay the course!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

I Want This Because...

I've given bits and pieces of my reasons for doing what I'm doing on various social networking platforms, but never before have I sat down and written out all the things I want for myself with regards to my weight loss journey. I figured now is as good a time as any to set that intention.

I want this because...I'm tired of looking and feeling overweight.

I'm tired of always being tired.

I'm tired of not feeling sexy.

I'm tired of looking for validation from others.

But it's more than that. Forget the philosophical BS we all spout when we're trying to lose weight. There are superficial things I want, too.

I want to wear running shorts without feeling uncomfortable.

Next summer, I want to put on my first ever bikini and rock it.

I want to be able to shop at any store and know they'll have my size.

I want to know what it's like to wear a nice dress without feeling like it's suffocating me.

I want to be able to climb the stairs at my job without feeling like I'm going to die.

These are the reasons why I'm here. These are things about myself that I KNOW I can improve, and not for anyone except myself. I already suffer from depression and anxiety. I don't need worries about my weight and my health to be yet another thing to stress about right now. It's time to make a change before it's too late.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Mind Games

So the plan today was to run in intervals, which I like a lot better than just being asked to run/walk 1.5 miles -- I'm still in the early stages, so I prefer to be told when to run and when to walk rather than being left to my own devices like I will be on Thursday. 

I had to run one minute and walk one minute and 30 seconds in intervals for 30 minutes. Surprisingly, it was fairly easy. I did much better with controlling my breathing today than I did Sunday, so the running intervals went by fast. It felt like just as I was getting into my stride and starting to enjoy the run, it was time to walk again. My calves were on fire, and my ankles were a bit sore, but I suppose that's to be expected when you're lugging around almost 200 pounds. I know it gets harder as I go along, but I'm hoping that I'll lose enough weight that the little things that are hindering me aren't as much of an issue.

The worst part is the mind games. The little voices in my head that say that I can't do it, that I'm too fat and too out of shape to run, that my asthma makes it so that I'll never be able to run any decent distance without wanting to die. Today those voices shut up just long enough for me to feel somewhat confident in what I'm doing. I hope that the more I practice, the more my anxiety will go down. 

Looking back, I really needed this workout. I've had a really rough week due to a death in the family and other drama, and I really needed to burn off some steam. I'm frustrated with my current life situation, and running is a fabulous escape from all the things I can't change. I know it can only get better from here, but at this point, it's just hard to see the finish line. I feel stuck, and I'm not sure how to move forward.

Speaking of finish lines, I will be signing up for the Roosevelt Island Haunted 5k coming up in late October. It's close to home, and knowing I have a race scheduled will give me an extra push to actually finish my 5k training program for the first time EVER. I really feel like I can make it this time. I guess because part of me knows that I have to for my health. Running is easy and cheap, and it gives me a simultaneous calm and rush of energy I haven't felt in a very long time. I don't know where it'll take me, but I need this right now. I need it like I need to write in my journal and like I need to go to therapy. It's a part of me now and I don't want that to change. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Back in Stride Again

Hi, guys! I was gone for forever (which doesn't matter much because I have no audience at this point), and I really have no excuse. I got depressed, got lazy...I got to the biggest size I have ever been -- almost 200 pounds. Far too large for my small 5'4 frame.

I'm tired of this. I'm tired of clothes not fitting, spaces getting tighter, stairs feeling steeper, and just not feeling like myself. I know I can do this. I know I can look better, feel sexier, live longer. I know it doesn't have to be this way.

I've started using a free 5k program on my Runkeeper app to get me moving again. Yesterday I ran (mostly walked) 1.5 miles. Today I'll do some cross training with a Jillian Michaels DVD and then tomorrow I'm scheduled to run intervals. I hope you'll join me on this new and exciting journey!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

I Love My Body NOW.

I love my body as it is today. Yes I am trying to lose weight. Yes I am hoping to improve my health, stamina, and fitness level. But I can want all of those things, including the new body that comes with those changes, without hating the body I have now.

I notice that a lot of people who are trying to lose weight hate their bodies. They struggle with self-loathing, with voices in their heads that say, "I hate myself for letting it go this far," or "I look so ugly now, if I lose weight maybe I'll be beautiful." I know this because I struggled with this the last couple of times I tried to lose weight. It doesn't help that society idealizes being thin, or that the fitness industry makes its money by convincing you that you are not good enough, but will be someday if you just do one more pushup or run that extra mile.

If there is no one else in your life who has told you this, I am telling you now -- you are beautiful. You are more than good enough. Every curve and imperfection is perfect because it's YOURS and God made it. You are a fucking superstar, and you will be whether you weigh 320 lbs. or 120 lbs. I truly believe that in order to be successful long term in this endeavor, you MUST love yourself as you are NOW, not wait until you've lost the weight. You're chasing something you already have the God-given right to have, and you'll find that weight loss won't give it to you -- it's a gift that you must give to yourself.

Friday, January 24, 2014

The Workout Boredom Blues

I'm starting to hate Week 1 of Ripped in 30.

Not because Jillian's a bad trainer. And not because it's a bad workout. It's mainly because I'm frustrated with myself.

I've been doing this workout for a couple of days (I know, I know, not that long), and I'm floored by how quickly I get tired and how much this workout wipes me out. The last time I did it, I got so winded and nauseous midway through that I had to stop. I used to be able to do the Week 1 workout easily -- it was even, dare I say it, fun. I HATE that I let myself get this out of shape.

On the bright side, working out helps immensely with my depression. It also helps me add structure to my day, something my therapist said I was lacking. I hope that the rest of the things I want, like more endurance and strength, will come with time.

Oh, one more thing. I took some "before" pics to see what my progress will be. I'm very embarrassed by them, and therefore have NO intention of posting them unless and until there's a huge enough difference in my body for it to be worth it. That may be after I finish Ripped in 30, and it may be later this year when I've reached my goal weight, which will be anywhere between 135 and 140 pounds. I'd love to get there by my birthday, but I'm willing to take things slow and not rush through this process.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Guess Who's Back? Ripped in 30 Week 1, Day 1

Hey, everyone. I know I dropped off the face of the earth for a bit, a lot was going on. But now my weight is getting a wee bit out of hand (last I checked I was 184.8 lbs). For me that's waaaaay too close to 200, which would be far too high for my height and body type.

Since it's cold and I HATE running in cold weather, I'm taking a breather from the Couch to 5k program until it gets warmer or I have access to a treadmill. In the meantime, I will be doing Jillian Michaels' Ripped in 30 video. I think the farthest I've ever gone on it was Week 2 or 3, but this time I'm determined to finish all 4 weeks and see what results I get! Here are some starting stats:

Weight: 184.8 lbs
Waist: 38 inches
Thigh: 28 inches
Bust: 43 inches
Arm: 15 inches

So a few comments on my first day -- OUCH! The first day is always the hardest, and I really struggled through the cardio intervals especially. I know my endurance will build back up over time, but it's disheartening to have such a hard time with this workout when I used to be able to do it relatively easily. I'm glad to be back on a workout regimen, though, my stress level has lowered and I have lots more energy. Once I get used to working out every day, I will slowly start adjusting my diet -- I've gotten very carried away with the sugar portions lately and it needs to stop ASAP!