As I settle in to Week #4 after accepting an invitation from my baby sister to join her in the Space Coast Half Marathon in November, an inaugural Half Mary for her and only my second to date, I find myself with time to reflect on the past few weeks and to squeeze in a little extra road time in the beautiful Florida sunshine. Spring Break is definitely a perk in my profession!
It fascinates me how perspective plays such an important role in how we view our circumstances, yet we (I) often move so fast through our days that we forget to focus on what's happening around us. Or... we fleetingly acknowledge something, with good intentions to come back and give it more thought. Some days, we do. Other days, not-so-much, right??
In recent weeks, as I've reintroduced my feet to my running shoes, I've (re)gained insights that are so darn obvious that I'm embarrassed to mention, but want to put them in writing, if only as reminders to myself if I ever get off-course again. Whether you run, or taking on that daunting task of finding your way back to a healthier version of you, I think you'll find an a-ha in this list.
When I returned to the classroom full-time in late September, I made a conscious decision to significantly reduce my water intake. Why?? I no longer had the luxury of running to the restroom whenever the need arose. At 45, the need is frequent and persistent! I over-corrected and paid the price for it: no energy, dull skin, and frequent 'lady issues' that could all have been avoided.
When I returned to running, I made a conscious decision to significantly increase my water intake - by 3x what I had been allowing myself: going from a mere 20 oz during the day to more than 64 ounces. I immediately noticed a difference.
Even my students laughed as they noticed my increased energy. "What's in YOUR water?" one asked with a snicker in her voice. I explained to my kiddos it's like watering a plant and watching the stems and leaves plump up before your eyes. Same concept.
Are you getting enough water???
2. Calories in. Calories out. Simple math.
Well, maybe when you factor in your BMI, activity levels, age, and gender, the math gets a bit more complicated, but it does come down to food as fuel or food in excess, or as frequently said, Eat to live OR Live to eat. Seems there was some debating in 2011 (which I missed, but found while writing this post), in which a writer called the calories in, calories out concept a 'myth.' Interesting. Google 'calories in/calories out' and you'll find lots of links to the discussion. I admit - I still subscribe to the sage advice. Count your calories. Eat too many, you'll pay the price.
That said, I began to keep a food log again a few weeks ago. In a word: Wow! Ever find yourself saying, "I can't seem to lose any weight. I don't understand why." Well, track your calories for a few days and I'll bet you'll see the culprit. I sure did! Now to do this, you have to actually measure what you eat and earnestly log everything. In about three days' time, I figured out that I was eating around 2500 kcals a day, while needing far fewer to maintain my no-exercise lifestyle. Yes, I'm busy with the kids in the classroom but not enough to justify the amount (a LOT) and the quality (poor) of calories I was consuming.
|Old school food log. I like it better than digital versions. |
Noted: home this week, so AM coffee is larger than usual - a little extra cream!
As the day progresses, I can make adjustments if I'm over or under (which does happen!), and if I get off-course a day or two, I acknowledge it and get back on track. Perspective.
How are your calories looking these days??
3. The Running Community is Embracing.
For those reading this who've experienced a running community, either locally or digitally, or both, then you get this. If you're new to running, don't be shy. Reach out to other runners. When I transitioned from walking to running in 2009 and began the Turtles blog around the same time [first post here], I quickly learned that runners are warm, embracing, willing to share tips and struggles, and always there to celebrate your successes. I missed this aspect of running a lot over the past year+. I didn't realize just how much until I returned a few weeks ago. Immediately, fellow runners from around the country sent messages on FB and Twitter, left comments here on the blog, and even sent e-mails to say, "Woo Hoo! You go, girl! So glad to see you back!" and "Maybe we can take this journey together... again."
Can I tell you - this made me cry and smile at the same time. I get choked up thinking about it now.
A recent comment from my brother-in-law, a former high school track/field runner-turned distance runner in recent years: Hows the training been going Sis?
I'm so proud to be a member of such an amazing community of people - fast or slow, short or tall, competitive or recreational, skinny or not-so-skinny.... we all get it. We've had bad training runs. We've had disappointing race days. We've had 'equipment malfunctions' with our shoes, bras, water bottles, socks, music, etc.... We've barfed at the finish line. We've run through pain. We've been chased by dogs, nearly(?) hit by cars, side-swiped by bicyclists, heckled by kids, honked at by motorists, and questioned by our coworkers: You do what for pleasure?? Some of us have lost our way, but found our way back. Others may still be looking. We've run through 'lady' days, pregnancies, and loss. We get it.
What would you say to someone trying to find his/her way back?
What would you want someone to say to you??
4. Chart your progress.
Keep a log or journal. Mark up your calendar.... but keep track of your progress! Watching those miles increase weekly -- whether walking, running, or 'ellipticalling' (yep - it IS a word, so says this public journaler) sure feels good! As of today, I've already run more miles in the past four weeks (26.64) than I ran in all of 2011 (25). Wow! I share my mileage on the Turtles blog to share my progress. Maybe no one cares one way or another, but if one person is inspired, then I've done my part. :-)
Mirror, mirror on the wall....
Have you found your perspective??
WE can do it!
WE can do it!