Saturday, July 31, 2010

I did it!

Couch to 5K, Week 5, day 3.

20 minute running interval.

I ran every single second of those 20 minutes!

Friday, July 30, 2010

I am NOT pregnant.

"We need to make sure your bike is safe, especially since you are expecting a little one."

If ever there were words to remind me to keep going with this journey, it is these ones. Spoken by a bicycle technician last night, when I had my bike serviced.

I just looked at him a little blankly, trying to recall the conversation we had had. Had I somehow referred to my children in such a way that he'd think I was pregnant? No. One possible conclusion: I look like I'm pregnant.

Ironically, when I actually was pregnant, it took a long time to show. I weighed 35 (first) and 15 (second) pounds more then I currently do when got pregnant. All the extra weight hid the baby belly fairly well and I think the only thing that made it obvious early on was the fact that I wore maternity clothes.

No need for maternity clothes now. Apparently I look pregnant without them.

When I got home, I asked my husband if my outfit made me look pregnant. He looked thoughtful and with a scared expression nodded and said "kind of".

I went to the mirror, and sure enough, I can see how the mistake would happen. Particularly if I slouch a certain way. I actually look more like I am 5 months pregnant then when I was 5 months pregnant.


Okay, so just a tip to all of you out there. Never, ever, ever, refer to a woman as being pregnant unless you have either been told she is, or she is so pregnant she's ready to pop. Just don't do it. Ever.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A letter to the C25K creator

Dear creator of the C25K,

Thank you for creating this running program. It's a great program for a beginning runner. When I started, I found my first outdoor 1 minute running segment a challenge. This morning I completed two eight minute long running intervals. I feel great about it, and I want to thank you for giving me the tools to get to this point.

I do have a bone to pick though.

It seems that you thought you could sneak in a little 20 minute running segment in the next workout. A few weeks ago, I scanned the weeks ahead and noticed that the running times got really long as of week 7. Little did I know that you were tricking us all but changing things up during week 5.

Every other week, it's the same thing for 3 days, and then this week it changes each day. The 8 minutes today was a definite jump from the 5 minutes 2 days ago, but I can forgive that. You do realize that 20 minutes is 2.5 TIMES longer then 8 minutes, right? And last week, you only had me doing 5 minute segments, which makes your 20 minutes FOUR TIMES as long.

What are you trying to do to me? Make me fit? Make me into a runner? I think you're taking your couch to 5K program a little seriously. It's like you actually expect me to run 5K soon. Yeah, well I'll take your 20 and raise you 30. How do you like that? Hmm?

What's that? Your program actually is intended to have me running a 5K? Well, *ahem* I knew that, of course. I suppose I will give your 20 minutes a try. I just wanted to let you know that I protested. A little anyways.

Thank you,


Soon to be a 5K runner

PS: When I said I'd take your 20 and raise you 30, I didn't really mean it like that. I think I'll stick with the 20 for now.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sometimes, you just deserve a donut.

Today, I went grocery shopping. With both children. By myself. Did I mention that I have a 2 year old (Sweetpea) and a 3 year old (Spud)?

Normally, I leave the kids with my husband and go grocery shopping in the evening. This time though, I wanted to pick up a few things at the store in the city. I figured I was super mom and we could pop in and out with a load of groceries.

We headed over to the bedding area. The main reason I wanted to go to this store was to pick up a couple sets of sheets. Around the time we arrive there, Sweetpea decides she's had enough with sitting in the cart and wants out. Okay, fine. It was good while it lasted.

Then she tried to help by taking all the other sheets off the shelf. All of them. I quickly grabbed a few sets, put one in the cart and tried to give one to her to carry. No go. Okay fine.

We carry on and Sweetpea is trying to grab everything off the shelves. Everything. And not taking it well when I take things away from her and put them back.

Fine, over to the bakery. Get the kids each a cookie. That puts me by the produce section, so in the 32.4 seconds that delay buys me, I manage to get some bananas, melon and apples.

Time's up. Freak out.

I tried to get some more food. I went up a couple more aisles, throwing things in my cart. Sweetpea would calm down for a few seconds, so I thought I'd get a chance.

No go. She was rolling around on the floor. Flailing in my arms. Screaming like her leg had been cut off.

Show over. I decide to abandon the cart and leave.

"NOOOOOO!" wails Spud. "MOMMY, our cart!"

I try to explain to him that we are going to come back later to get our groceries. That his sister was sad and we had to go. I tried to take his hand. Help him come out of the store with me.


I could not carry a 30 pound flailing 2 year old and a 40 pound flailing 3 year old at the same time.

I headed to the back of the store with them (and the frickin' cart). There's a little counter there where you can buy ready to eat food and drinks. I look for a little carton of milk. They've got pop you can buy by the can, but no milk. Crap. After asking someone, it's determined that I can pay for my big 4 litre of milk right away and swipe some of their coffee cups.

Great. That bought me about 2 minutes and 41 seconds.

When the meltdown begins again, I head straight for the cash register. Anything I've missed or forgotten I can get another time.

As we're standing in line, about to unload the cart, Spud informs me that he has to go potty.

My very recently (and not reliably) potty trained child has to pee. Now. So, we leave the cart behind and head to the bathroom. Fortunately, no freak outs this time about leaving the cart.

Sweetpea then slips on the bathroom floor. (Wet from just being mopped, no sign to indicate so). Spud gets upset because I don't go potty too.

We head back to our cart (with more screaming and flailing) and Spud starts getting upset about the lady that was in front of us. He's old enough to have a basic understanding of turns and fairness, but not to see the gray that's in between the black and white. I explain to him that since we left the line, somebody else went in front of us and it was their turn now.

Apparently, b*tch lady in front of me heard this exchange and decided to make a point by unloading her cart as... slowly... as... she... could.

Seriously, even the cashier started tapping her hand to indicate she was ready to scan the next item. This lady just continued to move at the speed of a very slow snail. Meanwhile, I'm dealing with one screaming child and one annoyed child.

Finally, I get through and have my items back in the cart. Slow lady is still there, and has been shooting me evil eyes the whole time. I very politely (and it was polite; I practiced in my head numerous times to make sure I kept the sarcasm out) told her to have a nice day. Then I left.

Somehow, I survived.

So, what's the point of this parenting-from-hell story on a weight loss blog? It's simple. When this was done, both children were strapped into their carseats, and I was sitting in the car, I had one very clear thought.

I deserve a donut.

Or a peanut buster parfait from the dairy queen there. Maybe a fancy coffee drink with topped off with whipped cream.

I must admit that it wasn't virtuousness that kept me from going through a tim hortons drive through. It was the fact that my children were likely to scream while I waited and tried to place the order. Once I had passed all potential drive thrus and started the highway drive home, I had some time to think.

Did I really deserve a donut?

Well yes. Yes I did. I had just been through the most hellish shopping trip I'd ever been on. In fact, I'm quite amazed that I didn't break down in tears, and I won't claim that it wasn't close. I did deserve a donut. I deserved something that would make me feel better.

Okay then. Would it actually make me feel better?

Hmmm, might make me feel better. For a moment. A short moment.

What else did I deserve?

I deserve to hit my goal weight. I deserve to feel better about the clothes I wear. I deserve to be able to run and bike and swim.

I don't deserve to feel sluggish from that donut. I don't deserve a cookie or a second donut that will likely follow the first one. I don't deserve to delay the day I'll reach goal any further.

The thing is, whether or not I deserved that donut was irrelevant. There are too many other things that I deserve more. Too many other things that I need more. And while I might deserve the donut, I don't deserve the consequences that come from eating the donut. Well, okay, maybe if I ate that donut, I would deserve said consequences. Man, this gets complicated!

I didn't buy a donut.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

100 pushups

So, since starting the triathlon training, I haven't been doing much in the way of strength training. Okay. That's not true. I haven't been doing anything in the way of strength training. Truth is, I'm just not so excited about working out inside right now. I figure that will come soon enough when winter arrives.

Not only that, but I really don't feel like I have the time. I bike, run, and swim 3 times a week each. That's 9 total workouts, 6 of which already have to happen around my childrens' sleep schedule. Fitting in another 2-3 for strength training just isn't happening right now. I know lack of time is one of those stereotypical excuses and if I prioritized it, I could make it happen. I'm just not that interested in prioritizing it right now.

Enter the 100 push up challenge. Every morning, I get out of bed and do 100 push ups before I start my day.

Umm, okay, well no. I don't. But the idea is that I could do 100 push ups, eventually.

Push ups are one of those things I've never been particularly good at. But, there's no arguing that they are a superb exercise for working virtually all your arm muscles plus your shoulders and core.

You're supposed to start off by seeing how many push ups you can do. Full body push ups? Well, no. For me, that would be knee push ups. In my initial test I did 14 knee push ups. I figure I'll do a few weeks of the program with knee push ups and then I'll try the test again with full body ones and see if I can start the program off there.

It's only a 5 minute commitment, 3 days a week, so I figure I can fit it in.

How many push ups can you do?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Stop working out. Start playing.

Something strange has happened to me in recent months. I've started to enjoy exercise. I've started to look forward to it, to crave it. Going for a run, swim, or bike ride is a treat for me. Granted, it's a treat I indulge in regularly, but it's still a thrill that I get to.

At the same time, I've realized that my terminology has changed. I rarely tell my husband that I need to "work out". Instead, I am "going for a run, swim, bike, or hike". I'm doing something that is a hobby and an enjoyable activity for me. I often push myself, but it's still fun.

Today, I took my kids to the pool. I realized that my 2 year old and 3 year old have it figured out. We spent hours jumping, swimming, playing. My son doesn't think of it as work. It's simply "swimming" and it's simply fun.

Where did we lose that pure enjoyment in activity? At what age did we give up the pure enjoyment that comes from running, climbing, jumping or swimming?

Take a lesson from a toddler. Go play.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

The mental vs physical game

When it comes to fitness, it's largely physical. However, you can't underestimate the role that your mind plays in achieving new goals and reaching new heights. The moment you tell yourself that you can't do something, it becomes probable that you'll be right. On the other hand, if you decide that you can, it's amazing how many physical barriers you can break down.

I find swimming hard. Truly. I think it's really tough. I can power through a bike, run or hike, but swimming wipes me out. Particularly the front crawl, which is what I am really trying to master. You can't just stop swimming midway either. That would be called drowning, and last I heard, it isn't the best exercise.

The mental game in swimming is huge for me. I'm over my panic about the deep end of the pool, so that's good. Having said that, I still find breathing a challenge. I'm probably still one of the world's most inefficient swimmers, so I work very hard to go at what seems like a slow pace.

Then there's breathing, and this is where the mental game kicks in. When my heart rate gets up, I start feeling like I need to breath more, so when my face is in the water, I start feeling panic. For the last few swims, I've been struggling to do a full lap of the pool while doing front crawl. On my Sunday swim, I would get to one end of the pool then about halfway back. I'd feel like I needed more air, so brought my head up too soon, then I'd struggle with my stroke, and I just felt like I couldn't finish. I'd do backstroke for the rest of the way.

The thing is, I am working hard while doing front crawl, but not that hard. The initial feeling of exhaustion is not much different then the inclination I sometimes get after about a minute of running. That feeling of wanting to stop. I can push through that feeling and run for a full 5 minutes now. The problem is, I was letting this feeling take over and convincing myself that I needed to stop. After all, I'm in the water. It's not like being on land where the worst case scenario is that I have to sit down. Sit down in the pool and it isn't so good...

In reality, I was doing fine breathing every third stroke. Working hard, but not truly suffering. I could push through it. I just needed to believe that I could.

Last night I had another swim. The pool was wonderfully non-busy, so I had a lane to myself. So, I swam. I alternated between laps of backstroke and laps of front crawl. Every time, I started getting close to a full lap, I had to stop. Usually right under the basket ball net, which was about 3/4 of the way back. I started just stopping and standing up for a few seconds (an advantage of having the lap to myself) and then continuing on. But, I wasn't really out of breath when I took those tiny breaks.

Finally, as my pool time was coming to an end, I decided to do one more lap of front crawl. I concentrated on not going too fast. I have a tendency to speed my strokes up so I can breath more. I concentrated on the rhythm of my strokes. 1, 2, breath on 3... I touched the wall and pushed off in the other direction. I kept swimming. I started to feel like I needed to stop. I felt like I needed to come up for air. I looked up on one of my breaths and, sure enough, saw the basketball net there. I put my face back in the water. I kept swimming.

I won't say that the rest felt effortless. It was a struggle all the way to the wall. But the struggle wasn't with my arms or my legs. Not even with my lungs or my heart. The struggle was with my mind. I didn't have to convince my arms to keep going. I had to convince my mind to let me.

When I reached the wall, I had a moment of pure euphoria. Another barrier down. Another goal achieved.

The mind is a powerful tool. It can make or break you. What will you let your mind do?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A letter to myself

Dear Deb,

You're very good at giving advice to others and you even can be somewhat inspirational on this here blog. How about you get real and start looking at the whole picture. Sure, you're probably the fittest you've ever been before, but the weight is barely moving. I guarantee you could run faster, bike further and swim better if you lost more of that weight.

Let's get down to it. When it comes to the weight, it is about the food. The fitness achievements you've made are nothing to scoff at, but your dress size isn't going to go down unless you stop eating all the extra calories that you're burning off. You're doing great at maintaining your weight, but you've been doing it long enough. Let's put that ability away for now and bring it out again once you're at a weight worth maintaining.

Here's a few tips:

1. You have 2 choices: either eat 100% clean, or eat mostly clean and track everything. Those are the two things that work for you. You might even want to try both for a little while.

2. Those peanuts you buy are for trail mix when you are hiking for hours at a time, not for a regular snack. Yes, peanuts are a healthy, unprocessed food, but not when you have multiple handfuls of them.

3. A family gathering is not a valid excuse to have 4 or 5 pieces of garlic bread. If you choose to have desert, have a small piece.

4. Portion control. Need I say more?

The title of your blog is "Deb Shrinks". While it's become much more then that, you chose that title for a reason. Let's get on it.



PS: there are strawberries in the fridge.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Running and spitting

I've always viewed spitting as rude. Uncivilized. Unladylike (after all, those that know me know that I am always a lady). It's not something you should be doing in public. Now, I know some of you spitters will cringe at this, but I've always figured you should just swallow it.

Now, there are occasions where I could recognize the need to spit. After getting a bug in your mouth for instance. And... well, not much else.

Now, when I started running, I didn't initially carry water with me. I was only going for 30 minutes, at the most. I was walking as much as running. I was breathing hard, but it wasn't so long that I really needed any liquid.

Last week, when I started the third week of C25K, and doing 3 minute running intervals, I noticed that my mouth was starting to feel gummy. Bleck. I didn't have any water along. I told myself that was the reason why. Because I spit. I'll admit it. I hurled to gather up that phlegm and I spit it out.

So, on the weekend, I bought this:
photo source (in black)

It's cute and little. It carries more then enough water for a short morning run. The pockets are small, but I can stick my keys and some id in there. I figured that I should be able to take a drink rather then spit.

So, this morning, when I went out, I grabbed my new fuel bottle and headed out. Then turned around and came back home. Somehow, adding the fuel bottle to my morning routine made me forget my ipod, another essential piece of running equipment. Back out the door again.

Today, was the first day of week 4, and FIVE minute running intervals. There were also 3 minute running intervals, but those were the "easy" ones. As I ran along past the ponds I was getting that gummy feeling in my mouth. No problem, that's why I had water along. So, I took a sip. I finished the first 3 minutes, did a bit of a walk and then started my first 5 minute running interval. Back past the ponds, along the river. Man, that gummy feeling.

I took a bit of water in my mouth, swished it around a bit. Then SPIT.

What a lady.

On the plus side, I can run 5 minutes without stopping to walk now!

Tell the truth, do you spit?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Signed up for a 5K!

Having a goal to work towards is always a good thing. Best case scenario is to have short term goals, mid-term goals and long term goals. My short term goals would be the goals I've chosen for this month. I've made no secret that my long term goals include doing a triathlon. However, since I still have a long ways to go with swimming, I can't realistically look at that for close to a year.

So, for something in between I've decided to do a 5K run. Deciding to do it is one thing. Actually signing up and committing to it is another. So after a bit of research and looking into it, I've chosen the Canmore Rocky Mountain 5K. This morning I pulled out my credit card and did the registration.

Barring any further setbacks, I'll finish the C25K program 2 weeks prior to this race, and therefore my goal will be to run the whole thing. Regardless though, I plan to do it and finish it. 5K is a very attainable goal and if for some reason, I can't run it all, I have no doubt I will be able to run where I can and walk the rest.

I'm looking forward to this. I make no secret of my love of the mountains. Since I also live close to the city, there's plenty of 5Ks available, but I'd much rather look at mountains and trees then concrete and sky scrapers.

What are you working towards right now?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Don't hit that snooze button!

Shortly after I started running, I decided the right time for me to do it was first thing in the morning. And I mean first thing. I have to be gone and back in time for my husband to go to work. That means getting up bright and early, around the same time the sun is getting up.

I've learned that one of the keys to is to get up when the alarm clock goes off. No laying in bed. No rolling over for a few more minutes. No hitting the snooze button.

I mean, really, if the 7 (or 4, 5 or 9) hours of sleep you've already gotten isn't enough, is 10 more minutes really going to make a difference? Not likely.

Hitting that snooze button does make a difference in your attitude and how you approach your day. It's like saying "not yet" or "I'm not ready".

Quite frankly, I've had 15 years of saying, "not yet". It has to become "now".

So, when that alarm clock goes off, I roll out of bed. My pre-run routine is pretty simple. Throw on the clothes I've (hopefully) laid out the night before, go to the kitchen and have a few bites of cereal and a couple swallows of water, put my shoes, ipod and maybe arm warmers on. Then I'm out the door. I don't really have to be awake for the above, so it works out. By the time I'm heading out that door, I'm good to go.

Last night wasn't the best. I only had to get up once for a child, but for whatever reason, I didn't sleep well. So, when the alarm clock went off this morning, I added a step to my routine.
I groaned.

Then I got on with it.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Letter to guy at the pool

Dear new swimmer,

I can see you are new to swimming. That's okay. Guess what? Me too! I started less then 2 months ago.

Having said that, there are some very basic rules of etiquette when you decide to swim laps at a time when there are 4 people per lane. I read the sign on the wall at the pool that gives basic guidelines. I also used a bit of common sense. You might want to think about doing the same.

A couple tips:

1. Stay to the right of the lane. It is not okay to swim down the middle when there are people coming both ways. Would you drive down the middle of the road? No. Didn't think so.

2. If you must stop mid-lap, at least try to move out of the way so people can get past you.

3. The sign mentions that you should let faster swimmers pass you at the wall. This doesn't mean take a rest at the wall and then push off when I am seconds away from it. I'm going twice the speed of you. I'm going to catch up to you in about 3 seconds.

4. Don't take my flutterboard. Yes, I realize that the flutterboards belong to the pool. However, I got that flutterboard and put it at the end of the lane because I use it every couple of laps. Get out of the pool and get your own from the pile if you want one.

5. If you do take my flutterboard, at least leave it at the end of the lane. Don't leave it on the side of the pool halfway down the lane.

It's great to try new things. Good for you. However, please use a bit of common sense and educate yourself a minimal amount before you go to the pool again. If you had your own pool at home, you'd be free to do whatever you wanted. Since the pool is a shared space, please try not to affect the rest of us so profoundly.

Thank you,


Other new swimmer

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

C25K, Week 3, day 1

So, as some of you know, I'm working my way through the C25K program, also known as the couch to 5K program. After my overuse injury, I started over a few weeks ago, so today was the day that I started the third week.

After my last run, I told my husband that I didn't know if I could do it. I had just finished week 2, when the running intervals are 1.5 minutes. I didn't find it too tough to go from week one to week two. After all, I just went from 1 minute running intervals to 1.5, an increase of only 50%, only 30 seconds more.

Week 3 calls for 3 minute running intervals though. Um, don't know if anyone told the creator of this program, but that's double! Like a 100% increase. I was quite capable of those 1.5 minute intervals, but by the time I was done them I was ready for a walk break. 3 minutes?

My husband is a pretty level headed man, and isn't given to the same level of drama I tend to insert into my life. When I told him that I was a bit frightened of week 3, he looked at me and said "nothing to be frightened of. If you can't do it, you just do stay at week 2."

Simple as that, right?

Well, yes. It actually is pretty simple. Nothing says I have to follow the program exactly how it's written. In fact, I've already played with it at times: spending an extra day at week one when I switched from track running to outdoor running, starting over again after I messed up my knee.

Now having said that, I took that statement as a bit of a challenge. What do you mean if I can't do it? I never said I couldn't. Just that I wasn't sure. I might be able to do it. In fact, I think I can. I certainly can try.

So, this morning, after rolling out of bed at a crazy early time, I headed out to the path. I did my first interval, which was only 1.5 minutes, then, after it was time for the 3 minute running interval.

And, I discovered something about how to run.

Previously, when I did the running intervals, I had it in my head that I just had to run a short distance. Once I did that, I could walk. In some ways, this attitude is good. As a beginning runner, looking at it in such a small segment makes it much easier to get started. To get past those beginning distances though, I realized I had to look at it a different way.

Rather then looking forward and telling myself "probably just to that tree", I simply let myself fall into the running. I concentrated on my pace and looked out at the river. I wasn't just running to that tree or that rock; I was simply running. When the chime came to switch back to walking, I was actually a little surprised. Already?

And with that, I tore down another barrier. Sometimes it's easy to think our roadblocks are physical, but they're not always. A lot of those barriers are a mental thing and we just have to recognize that they aren't really there at all.

What are the barriers that you've come past? Which ones still remain?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Vacation's over, back to the real world...

The last week and a half have been spent as vacation time. My husband's been off work, so we filled the time with fun family activities: a trip to the amusement park, swimming, hiking, camping. For me, staying on plan is pretty easy during vacation. The pressures and stresses of parenting are shared between two parents while the joys seem amplified.

Coming back to reality is different. While I love being a stay at home mom, there are a lot of days and hours that can be very frustrating. My daughter's favourite words are currently "no" and "mine". My son is proving to be resistant to potty training, and we have a deadline since we want him to attend preschool in the fall.

So, today, first day back on my own with the kids, I'm instituting potty training boot camp. What does this mean for staying on plan? It means it gets that much more difficult. I'm committed to staying at home for most of the week. Probably at most backyard play. If things go really well, maybe some trips to the park. This means I'm likely bored. I'm likely frustrated. And, I have the contents of my pantry and fridge at my disposal...

So, how do you deal with it when you know you're going to be faced with a challenging time period?

First step is recognizing it - the point of this post.

Next step is to identify the specific challenges: Being bored and being likely to grab poor food choices in moments of frustration.

Now, I need to think of other ways to deal with it. Boredom? Well, I can play games with my kids. I can start cleaning my house. I might be able to relax a bit and read a book. Bake some cooki- um, okay maybe that one isn't the best choice.

Frustration? Quite frankly, I just need to keep things in perspective. There are constant sharing issues and testing of boundaries. That's just life with toddlers. Potty training isn't going to go perfectly either.

The other thing is making the easy to grab foods good choices. Once I finish my morning blogging session, I'm going to go cut up some celery and carrots. I have some hummus in the fridge.

And I get breaks this week. I'm back to my running, so I get to do that 3 mornings this week. When my husband gets home in the evening, I'm entitled to take the break I need, whether to go to the pool for my swim or go for a little shopping excursion.

And I should consider the positives. This house has hard, wipeable floors and my couch has a slip cover which can be taken off and cleaned...

What are your challenges this week?

Monday, July 5, 2010

On Vacation - staying on plan

So, since late last week, we've officially been on vacation. My husband has been off work and we've been taking a relaxed, play it by ear type of vacation. We're going camping, but the weather was rainy, so for the start of it, we did stuff around home: swimming, biking, play.

This week things are getting sunny, so we're packing up the tent and heading to the mountains. I plan for this to be a very active camping trip. No just sitting around the campsite, drinking and eating for me. We'll be doing a lot of hiking and exploring. Maybe heading to the hotsprings. We might swing in a different direction and spend a day at the lake.

The thing about food while camping is that you only have what you bring. So, our options will be mainly healthy. There will be a couple of treat foods in there, but nothing that tends to trigger me and only in controlled portions. Lots of fruit, cut up veggies, and whole grains.

So, you may not see me on my blog a lot over the next week.

What are your vacation plans this summer?

Saturday, July 3, 2010

A review of June, and setting goals for July

Last month, setting specific goals helped me. Even though I had to re-evaluate and change them mid-month, it gave me something to work towards. It also helped to have the goals be weekly things. That way it seemed like smaller steps.

After my overuse injury, my goals were:

1. Finishing my swimming lesson.

Did that. I felt like I accomplished a lot in that lesson. Learning the skills for swimming are what I needed to get over my fear of it. I still have a ways to go, but I'm at the point where I can use a lot of practice, and I'll take another lesson in a couple months.

2. Conquer my fear of the deep end of the pool and swim laps 1-2 times a week.

I swam laps twice a week, in addition to my swimming lesson. I'm going to admit that the deep end still makes me occasionally nervous, but

3. Get to the mountains at least 2 more times this month.

We had a family picnic in the mountains with my my mother, brother and his family, where we went on a fast passed walk/hike led by excited 3 year olds. Then there was the trip to yamnuska.

4. Do what I can in regards to biking, running, and hiking.

I had to wait a couple weeks to get back into this, and that was hard. Having said that, I'm glad I had the patience because when I started again, I was able to do it without pain or re-injuring my knee. In the final week of June I was able to start running and got 2 runs in. I also started biking again and hiking. I consider this goal achieved.

I'm really glad I changed my goals midway. It's one thing to set high goals and work to achieve them, but one of the keys with goal setting is to make them attainable. When they no longer are, it's time to reevaluate.

Now, my goals for July.

1. Swim twice a week, run three times a week, bike three times a week.

I'd like to swim more, but the pool hours are more restrictive in the summer.

2. Hike at least 4 times in the month.

I'd like to get at least 3 hikes in that are "real" hikes, meaning we're carrying the kids and going a decent pace and distance. 1 or more hikes may be the type where the kids walk and we go at toddler pace.

3. Take 1 day a week as either a rest day or an active rest day.

So yeah, if you count up the number of workouts I plan to do, between all my activities, it's a lot. Having said that, the runs and swims are usually only 30-45 minutes, so I feel good about doubling up some activities. Regardless, it's easy to go, go, go, and never take a break. Setting this goal is a reminder that sometimes I need to take it easy.

4. Track my food intake at least 5 days a week.

I've said before that it's not about the food. I still believe that and think there's a danger in obsessing over food too much. Having said that, my weight loss has not been what I've wanted and I think keeping a closer eye on my food intake will kick start the losses again.

I am going to allow a bit of flexibility in. We're going camping next week, so I may not hit my goals for that week. Having said that, our camping trips are very active, so even if I'm not swimming or running, I'm likely doing extra hiking to make up for it.

I'm also very focused on paying attention to my body this month. Last month, the reason I had to reevaluate my goals was because I ignored the warning signs my body was sending me and pushed too hard. That set me back weeks in running and biking. This month that won't happen.

I still believe in setting my goals as things I want to do rather then things I want to have happen. I do still want to become a super fit triathlete that looks smoking hot in a black dress, but I can only hope that will be the result of my work in achieving my goals.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

What to carry while running

First off, the good news: I'm running again! Two days ago, I got up at sunrise (about 5:15 am) to run. Today is a holiday, so I slept in until almost 7:00 before heading out.

Now, I'll admit that today ended up being a mediocre run. The main reason was that I did not have my inhaler with me. As a quick disclaimer, I only have mild asthma. Not having my inhaler was cause for a little discomfort, but never a health or safety risk. Having said that, I was wheezy, not just short on breath, so it was a bit unpleasant.

The thing is, I don't have anywhere to carry things. It's warm enough that I'm not wearing a jacket, and I have no pockets in my clothes. Now, what I really want is one of these (in surf blue):

photo source

I'm not getting it yet though since I don't fit the size I want to use long term.

Having said that, there are definitely some essentials to carry while running. For me, the top three are:

1. Identification
2. Keys
3. Inhaler (or any other medical necessities)

Identification is a really big one. Sadly, there have been accidents involving runners and emergency workers can't identify them. You should always have some form of identification on you.

Other things that some runners may need include:

1. Water (the only reason this isn't on my essential list right now is that my runs are only 25 minutes long.)
2. Fuel (food of some type, or energy gels, whatever works for you. It, of course, will depend on how long your run is.
3. Ipod (I'll admit, I considered putting this on the essential list.)
4. Cell phone (I'm not in love with carrying it, but I know some people like to.)
5. Dog spray (something I've considered and decided against, but probably depends where you run.)

I haven't decided how to carry my essentials yet, but I'll figure it out.

What do you carry while running, and what do you use to carry it?