Saturday, August 27, 2011

Running 9 miles today

Today's the second half of two landmark trainings for me. I will be running 9 miles, the longest distance I've ever run in my life. The last time I ran 9 miles was 5 years ago, in early August 2006, and it was on that 9-mile hill run that I injured my IT band and soon after had to drop out of the training and the race because of how slowly my IT band was healing.

The first of the two landmark trainings occurred two weeks ago, when we ran at Redwood Regional Park in Oakland. I ran 8 miles that day, and the course was essentially one big hill. Four miles up, four miles down. I knew I would need to take it easy on the hills, especially the downhills which are particularly hard on knees. With the help of my friend and running buddy Christina, we took the course on with patience and completed the 8 miles in 2 hours and 20 minutes. We ran as much as we could, walking the steepest uphills and downhills and gently jogging the less steep hills, and when we rolled back to the start line I felt tired but good. And most importantly, I felt no hint of injury.

So I managed to keep myself healthy on the long hill run - good! Whew! What a relief! I've learned a lot about how to run hills since 2006, and you can't discount the dramatic change in my weight and base level of fitness as major contributors to my success this time.

Now it's time to conquer the distance half.

My goal is to get out there today and just relax into the run. I'm not going to push my speed - no pace targets for me today. I want to stay focused and in tune with my body, keeping conscious of my footfalls, posture, and form. And most importantly, I want to make sure attend to any area of my body that hurts in any way, and to have the guts to cut my run short if I need to in order to keep myself healthy.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Goal weight!

It's been a while since I posted. I apologize for that! I've been scrambling to keep up with everything that's been going on lately, with work, school, eating again (!), and training for my half marathon. Unfortunately, the blog slipped by the wayside. The good news is there's a lot of great both on the weight loss/eating and fitness front! Rather than doing one huge post, I'll break the news into smaller, more digestible bites. So first, an update on...

Weight Loss
The big news - I hit my goal weight!!! My original goal was 150 lbs. As I lost weight, I decided to revise it down to 140 because I wanted to be within the BMI range for my height - mostly because I never wanted a doctor to nag me about my weight again. But as I got lower and lower, I realized that 140 might be too low for where I am right now, in part because I have to factor in the extra skin that may or may not ever shrink back. So I decided to split the difference and call my goal 145. I reached that goal on June 20th. An even bigger accomplishment is that I've been able to successfully maintain my weight loss since that time. No creeping back up, just the normal 3-5 pound fluctuations!

Reaching my goal weight has led me to be in a body I never even dreamed of. I have never *ever* been at a healthy weight as an adult, so I had no idea what to expect when I finally got to my destination. While losing weight, I have also been increasing my fitness to epic proportions (for me anyhow! LOL), which has also changed my body in ways I couldn't imagine. I can feel bones in places that I never knew I even had them, my face looks remarkably different (and consequently the family resemblance to my sister and Aunt Joanne has never been stronger), and I can fit into the Mythical Size 6.

I remember once, when I was a teenager, I had a person offer to help me lose weight through hypnotherapy. He was certain he could help me, and I vividly remember him saying, "I think we could even get you into a size 8." I think he was trying to be encouraging, and at the time I was about a size 16 so I probably should have been excited to hear him say that. But all I remember thinking was, "But I wanna be a size 6!" Maybe that was society's influence talking in my head - there certainly is a lot of pressure for women to be small and wear smaller sizes - but for whatever reason, the size 6 got implanted in my brain. At the same time, though, I never believed I would actually get there. I didn't think my frame was physically small enough.

Goes to show what I know. The day I tried on a pair of size 6 jeans and zipped them up (only *slightly* feeling like a stuffed sausage), I literally cried in the dressing room of Ross Dress for Less.

So I've dropped from a size 24/26 down to a size 6. After training for my half marathon (and if my loose skin shrinks back up) I might even fit a size 4. Time will tell about that one. I don't feel the need to fit into a 4 the way I coveted fitting into a 6. I've learned in a very visceral way that my frame is much tinier than I ever thought, having been fooled by years of wearing extra cushioning. My brain is still working to catch up with my actual size - I still have a self-concept of being bigger than I actually am - but that's normal with rapid weight loss, and will pass with time.

The most important thing to me, even beyond staying in the Mythical Size 6, is maintaining my fitness and my ability to be active. The pounds fluctuate, there are good days and bad days with food, and sizes shift depending on water fluctuations and time of the month. But to keep running, and to continue to feel like the person I am on the outside matches the person I feel like I am on the inside, that's what goal weight is all about for me.