Sunday, March 13, 2022

No Excuses! How to Get Up and Get After It

I've been trying to vary my routine and not run every day, but throw in some days where I either just walk, or pedal on my recumbent bike in the garage.  A complete rest day now and then is a good idea too, but I'm still working on that one! 

Geared up and ready to go
Geared up and ready to go!
Since yesterday was bike day, I needed to run this morning, but it was 25° out there!  Since that was a far cry from the 72° but horrendously windy conditions at this time yesterday, I thought I'd hit the treadmill and watch some YouTube videos.  At the last minute I decided that if I gave in to it today, it would be easier to make more excuses in the days ahead, so I bundled up and off I went.

I didn't do a proper warmup, just a few drills in the house first, and I felt pretty sluggish out there, so wasn't expecting it to be a good run.  And honestly, it didn't FEEL like a good run.  I felt like I was on the struggle bus that first mile or so, but stayed with it, committing to get at least 3 miles in this morning.

Much to my surprise, my time was only slightly slower than my best non-race 5k time.  Huh?  There are a couple of reasons why that shouldn't have happened. 

  1. It was COLD out there! (But thankfully, I warm up quickly)
  2. I just didn't feel motivated to run, and had to push myself to lace up and go
  3. I went out with friends yesterday, and even had a couple of drinks 
So why did it turn out to be a better run than expected?  There are a couple of reasons that might explain that too.
  1. Not running EVERY day allowed my body to recover better (this was evident in an earlier run this week too)
  2. I paid attention to form, and tried to increase my cadence a bit (more on this in another post)
  3. I've been doing more strength training and working my core (more on that coming too)
  4. The first song that came up on my running playlist was 'Warrior', by Hannah Kerr, which set the tone
Slow by most standards,
but a great pace for me

Every time I've not felt motivated to do much yet dragged myself out the door anyway, I always felt much better after that first mile, and either went a longer distance that I thought I would, or it just turned out to be a better run overall.  Sometimes just putting on workout clothes and lacing up is all the push you need to get out there and make things happen.  Taking that first step makes the rest fall into place.  Not every run (or other workout) will feel great, but there is no such thing as a bad run.  Go take that first step.

~ Marie Anne

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Hearty Chili With a Twist

I'm not a very fancy cook and tend to stick to the basics since I'm just cooking for myself.   You won't find anything Pinterest-worthy coming out of my kitchen!  That said, lately I've found myself playing with things a little more, introducing different foods into the basic fare that I normally make.

Beans, beans, and more beans
Today's experiment happened to be chili.  My usual take on chili is a couple of cans of kidney beans, onion, garlic, tomato sauce, tomato paste, ground beef, chili powder, hot sauce, salt, pepper, etc. 

Looking in my pantry, I saw more cans of garbanzo beans that I really need, so decided to switch things up a bit and use some in my chili.  And what's this?  A can of pinto beans?  Since we're thinking outside of the box, why not throw that in too!  

I had no ground beef in my freezer, but I had cooked up a full package of mild Italian sausage the other day and there was plenty left, so they were chopped and added to the mix as well.

Yellow sweet peppers and mushrooms were spotted in the fridge, and since this chili is turning out to be on the unconventional side anyway, into the pot they went.

Finished product

It sure smells good, and I'm fixin' to sit down and enjoy this bowl.  I'll report back later with how it turned out.

Do you follow specific recipes, or tend to wing it like I do?  

~ Marie Anne

Here's what went into the pot:

  • 2 cans of garbanzo beans (chick peas)
  • 1 can of dark red kidney beans
  • 1 can of pinto beans
  • 2 small cans of tomato sauce
  • 1 can of tomato paste
  • 3-4 links of mild Italian sausage, chopped
  • 1-2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 small yellow sweet peppers, chopped
  • 2 medium button mushrooms, chopped
  • Chili powder, hot sauce, salt, pepper, etc
  • Topped with cheddar cheese, shredded

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Celebrating Scale and Non-scale Victories

I'm celebrating two victories today, but the NSV (non-scale victory)  is the one that excites me the most.  I've dropped from a sz 16 to a sz 12 in jeans in the last 12 months, and those quickly became looser in the waist, and now I have a little wiggle room in the thigh and butt area too, although they still fit ok. I tried a couple different sz 10 recently and they didn't work out, so figured this was it.  And I was ok with that.  As I mentioned in a previous post, if I never dropped another pound, I'd be perfectly content.

Well I was able to check that box this afternoon when I put on a sz 10 and they fit perfectly! Bonus: Found them at the thrift store, so they only set me back $3.89. Also grabbed three tops and a denim blazer, for a grand total of $21.89 with tax. I couldn't have found just the jeans for that price, so you know I'm a happy girl all around.

In fact, I was so excited about the jeans fitting that I took pics in the dressing room, LOL. Hair is a mess and needs to be dyed, no makeup, and I'm barefoot. Don't judge!

And for those of you who might be thinking that all the walking/running/biking I've been doing is the reason for the weight loss, and you can't physically do what I'm doing, you'd be wrong. Before starting this particular journey, I was running anywhere from 3-8 miles almost every day (usually 5-6), and it made little to no difference either in the way I looked or on the scale ... I still stayed between 185-200 flipping pounds. I was killing myself for nothing, because you can't outrun a bad diet. I used to have big goals to reach a certain number of steps per day, usually over 25,000, and often reached 30,000 or more. I still get 20,000 or so sometimes but that's not a goal. More often lately I'm averaging 10-15,000 steps per day, and when I first started making changes, I was only walking a mile or so here and there, choosing to focus on other changes first. I still lost weight in those first weeks, and even with that pretty significant decrease in the amount of daily activity these last months, today's scale smiled back at me with 144.5, my lowest since before retiring from the Marine Corps more than 24 yrs ago.

It's all about nutrition. I'm not taking any pills or following any fancy program that will do little except take my money. I'm eating REAL food, not packaged junk, and have eliminated sugars (except natural sugars from fruit). I'm staying low carb (because of the past threat of diabetes), but even without that, just saying no to the processed crap found in boxed and convenience foods has made a tremendous difference. Decades of that junk will kill you! I don't feel deprived at all, and trust me, I eat plenty! I just make sure it's the right stuff ... meat, fish or other seafood, vegetables, cheese, fruit, either fresh or frozen. And I snack on nuts throughout the day. That's it! It's not rocket science.

I've lost a chunk of weight a couple of times in the past, but deprived myself of too much and wasn't able to sustain it for more than a few short months at best. It was a struggle, and for what? As soon as I deviated at all, the weight came back with a vengeance. Last year I decided instead to just eat healthy to stay healthy and not focus on my weight, yet the weight-loss has been a very welcome by-product. It's been almost a year and I still don't feel like I'm missing anything; when I dine out with friends, I do sometimes allow myself a little something from my 'no-no' list, but I don't go crazy with it. I'm pretty confident now that what I'm doing is sustainable for the long term.

I'm not pushing my lifestyle on anyone, but if you want advice or to hear more about how I got here, I'd be happy to answer questions, and can point you to some eye-opening reading material that made a big impact on my decision to stay processed-food free. Again, I'm not following any costly program or taking any supplements or buying foods touted by a specific company ... I'm just being careful about what I put in my grocery cart, bring into my home, and put into my mouth.

~ Marie Anne

Monday, April 19, 2021

Weight loss goals: Should I keep setting them?

I haven't posted much about my weight loss, mainly because I didn't want that to be the focus of my journey towards being the best me I can be.  I still weigh myself every morning (I know, I know, may people say that's not a good idea, but it's what I do. Don't judge!), but I don't stress when it goes up a lb or so from one day to the next, because it does that all the time and I know that it's normal.  I just watch to make sure it doesn't stay on an upward trend more than two days or so.   So far, so good, and I haven't had to make any adjustments in diet or exercise to see that number continue to go down, albeit slowly.

I'm tackling things the right way, very slow and easy. No goal to lose 20 lbs a month for me! Again, while of course I DO want to lose weight, that hasn't been my primary mission.  I'm concentrating on eating good, healthy, real foods and staying away from anything processed, and the bonus is the resulting weight loss.  Go figure.  

I've met two goals so far, so need to set a new one.  At various points in recent years I weighed a little over 200 lbs, but when I started this particular journey towards a better me in June 2020, I weighed 190.5.  My first goal was to get under 160 and see 5 as that middle number, and when I made that, I decided to shoot for being within the Marine Corps current height/weight standards, which I believe for my height is 151 lbs (that's if I'm still 5'4").  Wanting to get below that, I set the second, smaller goal to get out of the 150s.  

Last week I reached that goal.  I'm now officially at the lowest weight I've been since probably 1998, a year or so after retiring from the Marine Corps (has it really been 24 years?).  

While of course I'm excited about the lower number on the scale, I'm more excited about the way I perceive myself.  I feel better physically, but just as important, my emotional health has skyrocketed.  I don't struggle with viewing myself as overweight anymore. I used to wonder who that person was, because even though I was looking at the mirror, it wasn't me I was seeing.  I don't know who that fat person was, but she disgusted me.  She doesn't anymore.

So having met those two goals, what's next?  At 148.5, a loss of 42 lbs so far this go'round, I wouldn't mind losing a few more, but I'm not unhappy where I am.  Should I set another goal or just see what happens?   

I haven't wanted the goal number to be something that I had to work hard for every day, something to stress about and get anxious over if the number went up a bit or plateaued, and that's worked out ok.  Concentrating on maintaining my nutritional goals and seeing the number go down as a result has been good for me, physically and emotionally, so I don't think that picking another lower number is a bad idea in my case.  I think sometimes setting too lofty a goal can set us up for failure, but I think my head is in the right place with it.  Again, if I stay close to where I'm at now, I'm good.  

Having said that, the new non-goal goal is to see that middle number a 3. If I get down to 139.5, that would be a loss of 51 lbs from when I started this particular journey, and over 60 from my highest in recent years.  Don't know if I'll ever get there, but I won't be disappointed if I don't.

Nine lbs to go ... or not.

~ Marie Anne  

Monday, March 8, 2021

Monday Ramblings: Every Runner's Nightmare

It was a frosty 26° this morning and since I had done plenty yesterday, I wasn't going to work out today, or at least not do much. I still need to pace myself so I'll be well rested when I attempt that 11-miler later this month. Of course by the time I went out for a haircut and a few groceries, it was bright and sunny and high 50°s, so maybe I would get out there after all.

I was hungry when I got back from town, so decided to fix a small salad. That would have been fine if I hadn't just made the decision to get a run in. I usually run fasted in the morning and have my healthy smoothie after I'm home and finished stretching, so running with something in my stomach is new to me. Still, this was just salad, nothing heavy, so I didn't think it would be a big deal, so rather than put it off, I laced up my shoes and off I went.

It was a big deal.

Within minutes of hitting the street, I felt like I had to use the bathroom.  I debated turning around, but I need to get a 3-mile run in three times this week for a challenge, and I really wanted today's run to count as one of them.  The distance needs to be run in one activity and there is a time limit, so taking a break to use the facilities and go back out might have taken up too much time.  I'd either have to nix the whole thing, or start a new activity and start the three miles over.

On any other day, the little extra would have been no problem; I normally run a 5K or 10K  (3.1 and 6.2 miles), and occasionally a mile or two more, but I just wasn't into it today.  I had it in my head when I stepped out the door that I was going to do my 3 miles and be done with it.

It was an absolutely gorgeous afternoon for a run, and other than worrying if I'd make it back to the bathroom in time, it might have been a good day for one of my longer runs.  Parts of me felt amazing, like I could go on forever, but other parts?  Let's just say that I was worried things might get a little messy (and because it was so nice out, I was wearing a short running skirt and short-sleeved shirt, and it's the one day I didn't have at least a handkerchief with me.  Hooooo boy).

I started talking to myself.  So ... speed up to get home quicker?  Or would that (gasp!) speed other things along too?  Maybe it would be better if I slowed down.  No, I just want to get home.  I opted to just maintain a steady pace, and pray.  It was touch and go for a bit, but I did manage to make it home without incident, and at a pretty good time for me while still keeping my heart rate on the low end.

To say I was relieved would be an understatement.  I'm normally prepared for just about anything that might come up, so I don't know why today was different.  I do know that I won't be going out for a run any time soon after eating a salad with kale in it.  I haven't eaten kale in a while, so I'm assuming that was what set things in motion, so to speak.

After a chilly start, it ended up being a pretty good day after all.  I took care of some errands, checked off one of the runs I need for the week, and grabbed some extra Vitamin D when romping in the yard with the pups.  Now I think I'll take their cue and jockey for a spot on the couch and find something to binge-watch.

~ Marie Anne

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Team RWB March Madness Round 2 - March 7, 2021

Sunday, 7 March brings us to Round 2 of Team RWB's March Madness Challenge.  The brackets are set up by state (with a team for overseas participants too), and my team (NC) had a poor showing last week so is already out of the running for the bracket challenge.  There's still an open category, so I'm going to continue get my max points every week in hopes that we can finish with some level of respect.

There are three different events on challenge Sundays, worth 1, 2, and 3 points, and if you complete and check in on all three events, you can grab six points for your team.  I ran over 6 miles last Sunday so got them all, but I  mixed things up a little this morning.  

I started off with 26 pushups for the free-throw (had to do the one extra for Chesty Puller, ya know), then a 3+ mi run on the treadmill before breakfast for the 3-pointer.  Around noontime I grabbed my pack and went out for a 2-mi ruck in my neighborhood, capturing that 2-point layup before fixing lunch and settling in for a relaxing afternoon.

I think that'll be it for me today in the workout department, but since it's nice out I'll probably spend some time in the yard with the dogs, in between binge-watching sessions while parked on the couch. I don't want to overdo it as I still hope to walk that 11+ mile route on base sometime this week, in preparation for running the Marine Corps 17.75K.

What're you up to today? Whatever else you're doing, make time to get up and move!

~ Marie Anne

Friday, March 5, 2021

Putting Taji 100 to bed, planning for Marine Corps 17.75K

February was intense for sure. I was doing the Taji 100 again (run/walk 100 miles in the month of February), and most of my team wasn't logging their miles, so I no idea where we stood from day to day, so even though I pushed and got my miles in a full week early, I kept going to get the extra miles to get the team over, and didn't take any rest days. I overdid it, several times doing two- and three-a-days, but I was determined if we didn't make it, it wasn't going to be because I didn't give it everything I had! I ended up with 150.18 mi for the month, a crazy amount for me.

Of course we DID make it as several members had been running but didn't log their miles until the last day, so we were well over the finish line, making the extra miles I did be for naught. I wasn't a happy camper as I really did put myself at risk for injury for the team, and I should have known better. Definitely will be attacking things a bit differently next year.

Coming off that, I'm taking it a little easier this month. I do have a 11.03mi (Marine Corps 17.75K) virtual race to do between tomorrow and the 20th, but not looking to set any records there, just want to finish without injury. I'm not sure yet what day I'll do it, but will definitely be allowing some rest and easy run/walk days leading up to it. I only walked a couple miles Mon and Tues, ran about 6.4 on Wed, and did a 2+ mi power walk yesterday, so I'm already on track with that loose plan. I still can't decide where to do the 11-miler; last year I just ran around my own and a surrounding neighborhood, but there's a place on base where I can do it as an out-and-back and not have to worry about so many turns.

The downside to that is that I'll be alone, and even though it's along the main road, a good stretch of it is fenced off and not accessible except by foot at either end of the trail, so if I had an issue and had to call in help, it wouldn't be as easy to get to me (not really hard, just take a few minutes longer). Being an old lady, I have to take lots of things into consideration that spring chickens might not even think about. That trail also has a few hills. Not a game-changer, but a flat course would be nice,.

Since I have a couple of weeks to get this run done, I was thinking about walking that trail the entire distance first. About a week ago I started at one end and ran just over 3 mi and turned around to get at least 10K in, then the next day I power-walked starting at the other end, logging just over 5K ... not enough to meet up to the place that I turned around the day before. I'd like to experience the whole thing so there won't be any surprises the day I run it. It will also help me figure out fuel/water requirements, since that will be a longer distance for me than normal. Will have to check upcoming weather to see what day might be best to do that.

So that's an update of at least the last month or so, and my short-term plans/goals. I'm going to try to update this blog more regularly to journal my activities.

What's up with you?

~ Marie Anne

Weight loss ---> -38 lbs