Thursday, May 28, 2015

Staring at my Runkeeper Map

The above is the map from my run/walk last night.  First off, yup, there's my pace.  Yes.  I'm slow, but that's ok.  I shouldn't feel like I have to state that so I'm going to try to make this the last time I do that.  Because...

No matter how slow I go, I'm still beating everyone on the couch.

I  know that, I really do.  Yet I stare at this map and I realize a couple of things.

1.  I attempted to run on the uphills.  This is not my favorite thing which is why I've always avoided hills in my past training.  This time I'm trying to go for it and actually train on them regularly.

2.  My running pace (between 12 and 14 min/mile) is better than I expected it would be at this point.  That makes me happy.

3.  Look at those hills!  And, given how things are going, I anticipate adding the larger loop that goes futher uphill (about twice the climb) at some point in the next few months. Probably once I get to the point where I can run this loop without walking. 

That map makes me pretty proud as I return to running.  It gives me hope for things like future half marathons.  Ones like San Francisco.  Or even this one again.

Although I'll probably do that one without the cinnamon buns next time.  For the record on this one, I was totally last place in my event (the 8 mile cinnamon bun run where you had to eat cinnamon buns at stops throughout the course to complete it).  I was slow.  I wanted to die on the hills.  It has some serious hills.  And I was dead last.

And then I went and walked around the farmers market with my medal and felt amazing.  Sure, I remember I was last.  I'll always remember being last.  But I finished.  And if I keep up my hill training, next time I won't be last.  Next time I might even take on the half marathon challenge.

And finally, I'm going to leave you with this picture.  It's part of why I run.

There's nothing like an early morning run with a great sunrise.  The peace.  The quiet.  The amazing place I live.  And the way I feel after I get that weekend morning run in.

I have not forgotten about my plan to post my food at the end of the week.  I will confess that as much as this was for accountability, I often forget to actually take the picture of my food.  I'll get better as I go along (just shot a picture of my latte at my desk), but it's been interesting so far. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

An experiment in accountability

Sure, I should be logging my food in a journal.  I used to use the one at Sparkpeople and I had some success with that.  For me, I find a willingness to keep that up when I'm near a computer, but then weekends happen and I fall off the logging wagon.

Fine, I could use the app on my phone.  It would be smart to use the app on my phone.  I do find that while I like my phone for games and things, it's often not as friendly for doing things like tracking the food I eat.  Maybe if I could barcode it, scan it and have it just pop up with "Apple, med - 1." Instead of searching to find things to add to my day.

So this week in an effort to find a way to document what I eat, I'm doing a bit of a photo journal.  My plan is to take pictures through the day as I eat things (like the apple and yogurt currently on my desk).  At the end of the week, I'll post the results of what I ate along with my fitbit numbers for the week.

And if I get around to it, maybe some actual gps data about my running efforts to the week.  Currently my Garmin refuses connect to satellites for me.  So I'm either going to have to break down and carry my phone or figure out why it's not connecting.  Maybe it just needs to be replaced.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Lake Mead 1/2 day Kayak adventure

It's been about a month since we went kayaking on Lake Mead, NV.  I'm always a little worried when booking these things at my size because I'm convinced they won't be able to accommodate my size.

That fear has kept me from enjoying a lot of activities over the years.  The fact is that when you look at the pictures provided by the tour guides, the people enjoying the activity are a) young and b) at a healthy weight.

It's safe to say that while we're fit, we're not at a healthy weight.  When booking the tour (with Desert Adventures), we had to give them weight and height information so they could pick the right kayaks for us.  My husband overestimated my height so the kayak was slightly too long for my short little legs.

But it worked.

As for the tour, I thought the half day on Lake Mead would be boring.  Their other tours involve the Colorado River and seem like they'd be fantastic experiences.  But on Lake Mead, we got to Kayak around the Boulder Islands.

We stopped on one of the islands for lunch in a cave and some pictures of us not on the water.

Once I had cancer, I realized I'd been letting my fear and my size get in the way of doing the things I wanted to do.  This trip to Vegas had us doing a lot of things we wouldn't normally have done and the kayaking trip is easily the most memorable experience we had.

Still recovering from chemotherapy, I had to take a break on the walk up to the cave, but I'm really glad that I went all the way up.

I almost look like I know what I'm doing with that paddle, don't I?

We even got to see the old paddleboat out on the lake.

Another kayak trip is on the list for our next trip to Las Vegas (or anywhere with water, really).  And we're looking at taking some lessons now that we're back home.  If you've been wanting to try, you should absolutely give it a try.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Paleo, Low-Carb, Low-Fat, Vegan, Vegetarian, Meatatarian - Let's Talk Diet For a Moment

No matter what your current eating plan is, you probably don't follow your country's Food Guide.  You know, that colourful, pyramid-shaped teaching tool that you were probably handed in a health class at some point during your education.  Do they still do that?  Am I showing my age?

Wait, what? It isn't a pyramid anymore?  WHEN DID THAT HAPPEN?

Seriously, most people do not follow that - in both a healthy way aaaaaand in unhealthy ways.

First, I'd like to share a post (an old post) by an Ontario Obesity doctor about the Canada Food Guide revisions way back in 2006.  He just recently re-linked it as Canada is in the process of once again updating their food guide (newsflash: they are reconsidering juice's value as a fruit/vegetable serving.) and he has been involved in the process before.  A process he's highly critical of.

Canada's Food Guide to Unhealthy Eating

Read that.  It'll take awhile.  Don't worry, I'll be here when you get back.

As much as it pains me to give up my old delusions that juice is a fruit and froot loops are a grain, I have to agree with the man.

Don't get me wrong.  I grew up on a farm.

My history, my people, are involved heavily in the agriculture industry in both grain and livestock.  I grew up eating meat and potatoes and wheat by the handful as it ran from the truck into the bin.  I also grew up eating a LOT of white flour products which was what we did back then.  In the old days.

I like a good steak as much as the next person and love a hamburger fresh off the grill in the summer.  It's an adjustment to evaluate what I eat and really think about the health value of that cookie, muffin or toaster waffle (hint: none).

Yet, the more I go down the path of weight loss, running and healthy eating, the more I have to accept that the old way just wasn't working and I need to change.

Finally, if you looked at the above post and thought it was WAAAAAYYYYY too much reading and you just want to know what information YOU need to know to get through your day while focusing on health and/or weight loss, read this post from Dr. Freedhoff

What Can You Do?

Ahhh, there's my pyramid all nice and shiny.  And pointy.

Step away from the juice.  Step far away from the processed foods (white flour, junk food, etc) and enjoy the occasional steak, but not every day.  This makes total sense, doesn't it?

Pay attention to your calories.  Get some exercise, but don't overestimate how many calories you're burning.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Running and starting over.

It's been almost a year since I found out I had cancer.  During that year I crashed on the couch and pretty much did nothing.  I tried to keep up with walking after chemo quickly sapped any energy I had for running.  Things just went further sideways about 2 months in when I developed a pretty standard side effect - mouth sores - and couldn't eat for about 10 days.

With radiation, I did my best to avoid aggravating already sensitive areas and avoided most exercise as well, knowing it would further affect my ability to get started again.

Now, I'm resurrecting this blog in an effort to get back at it.  I'm verbally committed to a couple of races for 2016 and it's time to get my plus-sized ass back off the couch.

First up, I'm back on fitbit.  I actually had to replace that sucker after I learned a 2 year old fitbit does not like hot tubs.  Odd considering prior to this, it went everywhere with me - shower, swimming pool, probably even a lake or two and I think it may have even had a dip in the ocean.  Maybe it was just time for it to go.

So, a bit about me - I'm overweight, probably considered officially obese by BMI charts.  I wear plus sized clothes and my first goal is too get the heck out of those plus sized clothes.  So this blog will be a mixture of posts about running, cross training, issues for the plus sized (woman) runner, and probably the odd picture of my garden, pets, or travel.   Like this picture of me kayaking on Lake Mead near Vegas.

Actually, stay tuned, I'll comment on that in my next post because as someone who is overweight, I worried about doing something like that and I'm so glad I finally did it.

Back to starting over.  I've tried to pick up running again, but I think I did it too close to the treatments and my body hadn't recovered yet.  To be clear, at the end of chemo, I was neutropenic (low white blood cells), anemic (low red cells), had low platelets and ended up stopping chemo early as a reaction to the chemo caused the skin on my hands to start peeling off - a bit like a sun burn that just got worse and spread week after week.  So in the days and weeks post chemo, my body was in no shape to start running again and even a learn to run program was too much.

About learn to run programs - I started with the plan at coolrunnings.  This time I'm doing more of a casual approach - run until I'm tired, walk to recover, run until I'm tired.

Prior to cancer, my last training run was a 9 mile run at pretty much the best pace I'd ever completed.  It was a month before a 1/2 marathon I'd signed up for and had to miss out on due to the surgery.  I started treatments the day after my friends ran that half.

Anyway, that's me in a nutshell.  I'm back and getting started again.  Running and weight loss will be key in avoiding a recurrance.