wake up calls

Timelines and Landmark Dates

Tina wrote a very personal, heartfelt post recently called Timelines. I was impressed with her openness and honesty about personal things in her life and the challenges she’s faced. I could relate to her personal stories about bingeing and using food to make herself feel better. And it got me thinking…where was I way back when? How far have I come? Sure, I write about the challenges I faced, how I lost the weight and how I’m keeping it off. But what about specific landmark dates? Here goes…

Where Was I 10 Years Ago?

I was 21 years old, living in Portland with my boyfriend of two years. We broke up and I moved back home to Seattle for the summer. It was a harsh, painful summer filled with eating, grieving and depression. I worked two full time jobs for four months to save money to move out on my own again. I didn’t have a single day off from working that summer. It was a good distraction. Working all the time meant I had no downtime to brood. It also meant I had no time to exercise or eat right. I ate a lot of fast food on my way to and from jobs. There was a Taco Bell and a Subway right by my evening job and that’s where I ate my dinners.

After a few months I’d saved up enough money for move-in costs and I transferred my job back to Portland. I found an apartment by myself in the quaint Multnomah Village area and I lived my life. I worked full time, I started eating my feelings. It took a few years to gain the weight. I was living my life alone, making new friends in Portland and got a new job. Life was pretty good, despite the depression and eating.

The weight crept up steadily, almost unnoticed.

Where Was I 5 years Ago?

I was 26 and weighed over 250 pounds. Earlier that year I’d had a revelation about my life and where I was headed. I’d just gotten home from a vacation in Chicago, surprised at the photos I saw of myself.

2006 - 250 Pounds

I had another wake up call and realized it was time. It was time to make a change and that’s when I started to lose weight. I started swimming and then I tackled the hardest part: the food. Counting my calories was natural and easy for me. It became a habit in my life immediately. Sure I had some challenges but it worked. I was on my way. It is hard to believe it was only 5 years ago…

Where I was I 1 year Ago?

I was running the Hood To Coast Relay race and celebrating my 2nd anniversary with  Michael.

I was happy and in a healthy relationship with an evolved, understanding man. I was also celebrating the 2nd anniversary of maintaining my 100 pound weight loss! I had been maintaining my weight loss for so long it was second nature. I still counted my calories and I grew to love fitness. I loved biking and hiking and still swam.

Not much different from where I am now, I think.

Where Am I Today? 

I’m finally in a place where I am at peace with my body, my weight (for the most part) and don’t feel that urge to “try and lose those last few pounds.” If I do, I do. If not, who cares? I’m enjoying my life as it is: working out, getting my fitness in through recreational activities, and eating good food.

On August 21, 2011 I biked 72 miles in the Portland Century. It was a challenge I set for myself, unsure if I could do it. But I did.

Where Will I Be Tomorrow?

I want to continue maintaining my weight loss. I’m thinking about going back to school. I’m writing a book–maybe it will be published someday. Since I was a pre-teen I’ve been writing stories and dreaming about being a published author. I hope that dream comes true.

I have dreams of other challenges:

  1. Biking a full Century–the full 100 miles, baby!
  2. My hope is that in 2012 I swim across the Columbia River!
  3. I want to run again.
  4. I want to do a triathlon.

Having goals to work towards keeps me alive and happy.

QUESTION: What are your timelines and landmark dates?

Training Plans

When I first decided to start running, it was because I’d reached my goal of losing 100 pounds and I was feeling “lost.” I needed a “goal” and something to work towards to keep me motivated. I decided, “I’ll train for a 5k.”

I really had no idea what running was, or how to train. I just started running. I foolishly thought running meant Run As Fast As You Can. Um, no. That’s not running! Michael gave me a Polar Heart Rate Monitor for my birthday a few years ago and that really opened my eyes! I’d been doing it ALL wrong. I started to really figure it out. I realized that my goal should be to stay within the  range for age, sex, weight, etc. I started to run differently and it made all the difference in the world.

I’ve mentioned previously that Heart Rate Monitors are wonderful things. I think everyone that works out should get one–even if you’re not a runner. It works well for swimmers, bikers, everything. I wear mine hiking! And don’t be intimidated by the insane cost of a Garmin. While they are fancy and fun, you don’t need something like that if you’re just starting out. My Polar was about $100 and works great for what I need: my heart beat range and calories. Now that I’m more into running and training for events, I’d love to have a Garmin to give me more detailed information.

That being said, learning how to run the right way made all the difference in the world. And if you’re new to running, I have more tips.

I finally finished reading “Fast Track” by Suzy Favor Hamilton. I posted about it previously in regards to Over-training. I’ve accumulated some excellent info, some of it is copied right out of the book, but I tried to summarize the best I could. 🙂

Here are a few tips she had for training:

The Importance of each Training Phase [pg 217]

1. BASE PHASE: prepares you body for what comes next. You need to have a strong base of mileage runs to sustain you through a long, intense year of training. Increase mileage 5-10% each week.

2. CONDITIONING PHASE: you are conditioning your body to perform at a higher level. Start adding speed or track workouts to your routine 1-2 times a week. You are conditioning your body to maintain a faster pace.

3. COMPETITION PHASE: your mileage will decrease as you get closer to the race. Taper training, give your body and mind time to rest, and recuperate. But not so much that you lose your fitness.

4. RECOVERY PHASE: give your body the TLC it needs to recover. Without proper recovery, you risk burnout, injury and over-training. Rest 1-2 weeks, or switch to cross-training or easy runs.

She gives more tips on how to “fast track” your workouts:

1. Downhill running: will improve your leg turnover, but unless you have a good base to begin with, don’t attempt this. Warning: it can take quite a toll on your quads. [pg 219]

2. Fartlek: also known as “speed play.” 3-6 total miles of surges of various lengths and speeds. Do over varied terrain.

3. Hill Repeats: do during your “conditioning” phase. This improves leg strength. Use uphill for intense part of workout and downhill as recovery.

Hill Repeats

4. Intervals: repeated surges of  200 meters or longer followed by recovery intervals. Improves speed and lactate threshold. Do this during conditioning and competition phases.

5. Speed endurance: for the condition/competition phases. Run at a RACE pace or faster for 200-1600 meters, taking a full recovery after each repeat. Example: do three 600-meter runs with 8-10 minute recovery.

6. Speedwork: do short, intense sprints of 5-150 meters, taking a full recovery after the repeats. Example: three 50-meter sprints with 3 minute recovery.

7. Tempo Running: run at a pace 10-30 second per mile slower than your current 10k race pace for a distance of 2-4 miles.

8. Tempo Intervals: run 400 meter to 2-mile repeats with short recovery of 30-120 seconds. Total distance run should equal 2-4 miles.

9. Cross-Training: aqua running, biking, elliptical, cross-country skiing. Helps minimize injuries and adds variety to workouts.

10. Form Drills: improves leg turnover. The more efficient your stride, the faster you run. Basic drills = high knees, buttkicks, skipping, grapevines, backward running.

I started reading “How to be an Adult in Relationships” by David Richo. I came across a quote in there that I wanted to share. I feel like it can be applied to any situation–including losing weight! Yesterday I wrote about in your face wake up calls and how we have to want to make a change. I think this quote speaks to that too:

“As a war hero Tom Daly said, ‘Often, the events we regard as our deepest wounds are in fact initiations that break us out of the unhealthy enchantment of innocence, grandiosity, passivity, violence or addiction.’ We need such initiations, for without them we may resist growth and change or even deny our responsibility toward others and our destiny to transcend personal ego.” [pg 67]

QUESTION: Are you a runner? What are your training goals?