My journey to a healthier me

Tales of my life

The ups and downs of training alone 

Since I started this new training plan, I’ve been thinking a lot about working out alone vs working out with a partner.  There are good and bad points to both.  I’m sure anyone you ask will give you different reasons for one over the other.

When I first started working out, I was always by myself.  Which, at the time, I think was good because I was just starting out and didn’t really know what I was doing and there wasn’t a lot I could do. I was shy, unsure of myself. 

When I joined my first gym, I was leery about working out around others, afraid of being judged and/or laughed at. The more I did it, though, the easier it got.  Not that I was working out with anyone, just working out around others.  My self-confidence was building.

I was really nervous when I first asked Tyler to take me on as a client.  But the more we worked out together, the easier it got.  I really enjoyed working with someone else, even if most of the time he was just showing me what to do and then watching me do it.  It was nice just having someone there.

Eventually, I got really comfortable around others in the gym, and even began working out with them when I wasn’t with Tyler.  It was nice having someone spot me or check my form to make sure I was doing it right.  I liked having someone to talk to, joke with, and learn from.

Then Tyler moved on, and the regulars at the gym did as well, so I was left to my own devices again.  So I know what it’s like to be with and without someone to train with.

In my opinion, these are some of the ups and downs of training alone …

The downs: 

1) Being alone.  Sometimes we all just need someone to be there.  Sometimes I just want some company, someone to talk to.  

2) Easy to skip a workout. Without someone expecting you to be there, it’s easy to say “just this once” when skipping a session.  And sometimes that can lead to skipping more than once.

3) No one to spot me or check my form. When working out alone, it’s sometimes hard to know if your form is correct. And if you need help with a heavier weight, there is no one there to help.

The ups: 

1) Not needing to rely on anyone.  Everyone gets busy from time to time, but if you’re working out alone, you don’t have to worry about that.

2) You can set your own schedule. You don’t have to work around anyone else’s schedule. You can workout when and where you want, and for how long.

3) You can do whatever workout you want. Self explanatory really.

There are times that I absolutely prefer to be alone when I’m working out.  It gives me time to think, to process.  I often work on blog posts in my head when I’m running.  I think about upcoming events.  Or I think about something new I want to try, whether it be a new activity or a new recipe.  I don’t have to worry about how fast or slow I’m going.  For the most part, I don’t have to worry about time.

But there are other times that I would really love to have someone else there.  Someone to cheer me on.  Someone to help me push a little harder.  Someone who is counting on me being there at a specific day and time.  Someone who I can bounce ideas off of or share concerns with.  Someone who can help make sure I’m doing things right, and maybe offer ways I can do them better.  Someone who is willing to share their ideas, experiences, concerns with me.  Someone who will listen.

I’ve chatted with numerous people on this subject.  Some are adamant that they only train alone; others will only workout with someone else; while others are somewhere in the middle.  Everyone has their own reasons for their answers.  Everyone’s workout style is different.

Personally, I’m somewhere in the middle.  I can see the benefits of both.  I’ve personally experienced the benefits of both.  And I’ve also experienced the downside of both.  

For quite a while now, the majority of my training has been alone.  While I feel like my running has progressed pretty good in that time, I feel like my strength training has suffered.  Maybe “suffered” isn’t quite the right word, but I’m not sure what word would be better.  I made great strides in that area when I had a coach or a partner.  I don’t feel like I’ve done as well alone.  I’ve received a lot of encouragement and advice from various people, but it’s not really the same as having someone there.  Given the choice, on many occasions, I would definitely prefer to have someone to workout with.

And there are days when I’d love someone to run with, especially as I push myself to run longer distances.  I’m both excited and scared about doing my first half marathon.  Excited because it’s a new challenge, something I never thought I’d ever be able to do.  But scared/worried that I won’t be able to do it.  I worry sometimes that I’ve bitten off more than I can chew with this challenge.  Sometimes I think having someone run with me once in a while will help push me, especially on long runs. And I know I can use help with my strength training. I want to be as prepared as possible for race day because I know how big of a challenge it is.  In the end, no matter what, with or without a training partner, I will cross that finish line.

What about you? Do you prefer to workout alone or do you want/need someone else there? Why? 

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New challenges

So we’re a couple of weeks plus into the new year now and I’m doing my best to push myself, but it’s not been very easy.  Running outside here in the winter is not easy.  I don’t mind the cold so much, but it’s hard to run with snow and ice on the ground.  I don’t have gear for that.

Right after the new year, I was able to do a few short runs before we got the first real snowfall of the year.  I have asthma, although it is well controlled.  Most of the time it doesn’t bother me at all.  But it does when it’s really cold.  The super cold air burns my lungs.  That’s why I was only able to do short runs.  Anyway, because of the cold and the snow and the ice, I haven’t been able to do much running outside.  I have been able to walk a bit, but even that hasn’t been much.  I can use the indoor track, but to be honest, I have been a bit bored with it.  And I still haven’t been able to get back into a gym, so I don’t have access to a treadmill.

So what’s a runner to do?

Well the logical answer is to get gear to run outside in.  I’m working on that.  And I’m still working on getting back into a gym too.

So what else do I do?

I do what I can at home.  I work to strengthen my legs to help make me a better runner.  I work on my core.  I do things every day to help me along in my journey.

So with that in mind, I’ve set up some new challenges for myself.  Some daily, some weekly.  Nothing too big.  Just little things to keep me moving and motivated.

I have a small group on Facebook with some friends.  We are all on our own journeys.  We use the group to share stories, offer support, and try to keep each other motivated.  With that in mind, we set up weekly challenges.  Something for us to do each day for a week.  And then the next week, we change it to something else.  Again, nothing big, nothing too hard.  The first week, it was 10 squats a day; the second week, it was 10 lunges a day.  No pressure either.  Do the challenge or don’t, no judgement.

Along those same lines, I joined a 3 week challenge put on by my friend Wendy on Facebook.  Part of what drew me to this challenge is that it’s all about glutes.  This one is more challenging, to say the least!  So far, we’ve done all squats, different variations, with rest days mixed in as well.  OMG! My legs burn by the end of each day’s workout.  I’m interested to see what else she has in store for us.  I hope she plans on doing more challenges after this one is over.

I also started doing meditation.  This is a bit out of my comfort zone.  I’ve never done it before, but I’ve always been intrigued by it.  I did a little research on it, and watched a few videos on you tube.  I got a new yoga mat for Christmas, so I figured this would be a good use for it.  I laid down on the floor on the mat, closed my eyes, and just listened to myself breath.  I turned the tv and my phone off so that the room was quiet.  The first time, it only lasted a couple of minutes.  But each day, it lasted a little bit longer.  I tried sitting up, as well as laying on my bed.  The floor seems to be the best position for me at this point.  My goal is to do meditation every day, even if it’s just a few minutes.

I also spend several minutes stretching.  When I first joined a gym, I took a stretch class.  I don’t remember everything we did in the class, but I remember quite a bit.  I stretch for at least 10 minutes, but preferably more like 20.  I’m always looking for new moves to add.  Again, I do this every day.

After stretching, I do at least 1 plank.  Sometimes it’s a regular plank (also called a solider plank); other times it’s a bridge plank.  I hold it for as long as I can.  Some days are better than others.  Sometimes I struggle to get to 30 seconds; others, I can hold a full minute.  Again, something I do on a daily basis, or at least try to.

My goal is to keep myself moving.  I’m hoping setting up these daily and weekly challenges will do that, and encourage me to do more and more.  Hopefully, the things I’m choosing to do will also help make me a better runner.  Time will tell there.  But I’m feeling good about all this.

As I go along, I’ll add things as I think they are needed.  I do have a few things at home I can use to work out — a set of resistance bands, a kettlebell, some dumbbells (2lb, 5lb, 10lb), an aerobics step, and 2 stability balls.  I also got a foam roller for Christmas, which I’m still figuring out how to use.  I am looking forward to nicer weather, where I can be outside again.  But until then, I’ll do what I can inside.  Tyler taught me quite a few exercises that don’t require special equipment.  And there is also you tube if I need more.

All in all, I’m feeling pretty good with how things are going so far.

And it’s a good start to the year.

 

 

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November recap (2014)

Wow, another month has gone.  Time is really flying this year!  I’m not sure where it’s going, but sometimes I wish it would slow down.

Overall, November was pretty good.

I did more strength training, even getting back into a real gym a couple of times.  I almost forgot how much I missed being in a gym.  I really need to join one again.  I miss the routine.  I miss the weights.  I miss the machines.  I miss having other people around when I’m working out.

I didn’t log as many kilometres as I’d hoped, but still did well.  Between running and walking, I racked up 156 kms in November.  Much of that was at the indoor track, but I got outside as often as I could.  It’s a little harder this time of year because it gets dark earlier and it’s colder.

This will be the first winter where I will attempt to run outside, so I did a practice run a few days ago.  I layered up and headed out for a relatively easy 5km.  It felt pretty good too.  I was still a little cold, but overall, I think it went well.  Better than I thought actually.  I definitely need to get more gear for winter running though.

I even did another race, a 5k one yesterday morning.  And it was another new one for me.  You can read all about it here.

I met some awesome new people this month too.  I love that about the running community – you can make friends just about anywhere!  And everyone is so welcoming and so supportive.

I’m still battling with the scale, but I think I’m winning … finally!  With the holiday season upon us, it might be a hard battle, but I’m determined to win!

I’m doing pretty well with my eating as well.  I’m trying to concentrate on eating more fruits and vegetables.  I’m not sure if I’m getting enough protein, so I’m looking for ways to add more protein without adding more meat.  In fact, I’m trying to find ways to eat less meat.  I actually don’t eat a lot of meat, but I would still like to find other ways to get more protein.

I did eat a very small bite of cake at a dinner for Dan’s work.  And to my surprise, I found it incredibly sweet.  Too sweet actually.  So I didn’t eat any more of it.  I’m pretty proud of that.  I used to have a huge sweet tooth.  But it seems as if it’s disappearing.  Or at least lessening.

And I’ve been feeling really good later.  Both mentally and physically.  And I’m proud of that too.  Sometimes I can let things get to me, bother me.  But I’m trying hard to stay positive, and do things that make me happy.  I still have bad days, or bad moments, but I’m doing my best to have more good days than bad.

Like I said, overall November was a good month.

And I’m looking forward to December.

 

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Egg Nog Jog 5k/10k (2014)

So this morning I did my sixth 5k race of the year.

And it was the 4th new race for me this year!

This one was in a neighbouring town, about 30 minutes away.  I still consider that a local race.

I was attracted to this race for a few reasons:

1) free entry, but they were asking for donations for local Coats for Kids program

2) local race

3) new race for me

As always, I was a little nervous before the race.  Today it was mainly because I had never run this one before.  And also because none of my friends who run were going to be there.

The race was put on by the local running store, and that’s where we met beforehand.  I got there with plenty of time to spare.  I got signed in, got my bib and pinned it on.  I was happy to see quite a few participants there.

Soon it was time to head over to start line.  The start was across the street from the store, at a local school.  We got a new last minute instructions and then we were off!

I had struck up a conversation with a lovely lady just before we started.  We continued chatting as we headed out.  She was walking, I was running.  Like I’ve said before, I’m a slow runner, so she and I were side-by-side.

The air was a little chilly this morning, and I’m not used to running in the cold yet, so I switched to powerwalking.  I ran a little bit here or there, but mostly I was walking.  I didn’t mind though because I had someone to talk to.

I remembered to turn on my running app, but decided not to use my music to see how it felt to run a race without it.  I did miss it a little, but because I’ve listened to it so often, I could pretty much hear the songs in my head LOL.

Much of the course was relatively flat, although a little bit before the turnaround, there was a rather large hill.  It was downhill on the way out, but had to go back up it on the way back.  It didn’t scare me though.  Okay, it didn’t scare me too much LOL.  On the way back, I tackled it head on, didn’t even slow down!  I was a little winded at the top, but I kept going.

I cheered on all the runners as they went by us.  And they cheered me on too. (I love that about the running community).

As we neared the end, I switched back to running.  I wanted to cross the finish line running.  And I did.

One of my favourite things about racing is crossing the finish line.

And I was pretty pleased with my time too.  My official time was 1:03:40.  I think that’s pretty good for me, especially since it was a new race and a route I’ve never done before.  I’m pretty proud of myself.

I walked around a bit, cooling myself down.  They were cleaning up the water station.  I was going to ask someone to take a picture of me, but my phone decided at that moment to die.  I hate that.  The race director had her phone and she graciously took a picture of me with the firemen who were there.

Then we headed back over to the store for refreshments.  I had some egg nog mixed with coffee.  It was delicious!  And a piece of apple bread.  I opted not to have a cookie.

Most of the runners stuck around to chat with each other.  Another thing I love about racing/running.  I met some really nice people, made a few new friends.

And because we were at the local running store, I admired lots of products.  And I mentally created a wish list for Christmas LOL.

Finally it was time to head out.  Dan was waiting for me at his office, which was a few blocks away.  I said my goodbyes, zipped up my hoodie and headed there.  And as I did, I could feel myself grinning from ear to ear, and my heart full of joy.  More than 80 people ran or walked in the race today, and well over $1300 was raised for Coats for Kids.  Today was a great day!

I really enjoyed this race.  And I hope to do it again next year.

 

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Why do I race …

As I was out running today, this question popped into my head.  And this post basically started writing itself.

It happens like that sometimes.  Someone says something, or I say something, and suddenly I have the makings of a post for my blog.  I like when it happens like that actually.  I think some of my better posts have come about that way, sort of by accident.

So there I was running along, and something in me asked “Why do I run?”  Well, that’s a pretty easy question to answer.

I run to improve my health.

I run to test my limits, and to break through them.

I run to clear my head.

I run because I can.

And as I continued my run, another question popped into my head – “Why do I race?”

Now that got me thinking.

And I knew it wouldn’t be a simple answer.

When I first started working with Tyler, he asked me what some of my goals were.  I told him I wanted to be able to do a 5K race.  At the time, I wasn’t actually thinking of running.  I was okay with walking.  I just wanted to do a race.  He helped me get there a year before I thought I would be able to.  I still remember that first race, and always will.

So I guess the first part of the answer is because it was on my bucket list.

After that first race, I found myself thinking about others races.  That first year, I only did the one race.  But the next year, I did three 5Ks and one 10K.  This year, I’ve already done five 5Ks, with the possibility of 2 more.

So I guess the next part of the answer is because it’s addictive.  I think ALL runners who race would agree with that one LOL.

All my races have been local ones.  Almost all have been in the town where I live, 2 have been in neighbouring towns.  All my races have supported local causes, raising money for local charities.  I love that.  That’s a big reason I picked those races to do.

So the next part of the answer is to raise money for local charities and causes.

There is nothing like the running community.  Everyone is accepted.  It doesn’t matter if you’re fast or slow.  It doesn’t matter if you’re new to running or have been running for years.  You pass another runner, they smile, nod, wave, give you a high five, or give you words of encouragement.  It doesn’t matter if they don’t know you personally.  You are a runner.  They are a runner.  You’re like family.  And they cheer for you as you cross that finish line, whether you win or not.

So the next part of the answer is for the comradery.

And as I continued to run, I thought of reasons why others probably race.

I do several chats on twitter, and most have to do with running and/or racing.  And I follow a lot of runners.  A lot of them give reasons like:

I race for the bling (medals)

All the races I’ve done so far have been small local ones.  Medals only go to the top runners.

I race for the food/beer after

None of the races I’ve done have given beer at the end.  They’ve all provided snacks (like milk/chocolate milk, juice, water, granola bars, fruit), but nothing extraordinary.

I race for the swag

None of the races I’ve done have given swag bags.  Some have given t-shirts, one gave a headscarf, but that’s it.  Most have done draw prizes.  I think I won something once.

I race to win.

I don’t think so.

But then that little voice inside me said “Come on, those are all good answers, but you know the number 1 reason”

And I smiled and chuckled to myself.  Yeah, I know the reason.

I don’t race to win.  I’m a slow runner.  I may never be fast enough to win a race.  But that’s okay.  That’s not why I race.

I race to finish.

Each and every time I cross that finish line, I accomplish something.  Something I didn’t think possible a few years ago.

Every time I see and hear the crowd cheering as I near and then cross the finish line, I feel an incredible sense of accomplishment.

Every race I’ve run, the goal has been to finish.  I’m not concerned about how long it will take me.  Yes, it’s nice when I have a good time, but that’s not paramount.  The goal is to cross the finish line.

And that will be true for every race I run in the future.

Why do I race?

To cross the finish line.

 

Why do you race?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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August recap (2014)

Well another month has passed.  Where has the time gone?  This year seems to just be flying by.

My goal for this month was to log more kilometres than I did in July.  Well that didn’t happen.  Early in the month, I tweaked my ankle when I was running.  I decided to rest it and let it heal instead of trying to run through the soreness and make it worse.  I did a little bit of walking, but didn’t run again for a couple of weeks.  Consequently, I only logged a little more than half of what I did in July, just over 44km.  And some of those kms are walking.  Oh well, it happens.  I’ll try to do better in September.

On the plus side, I logged longer run/walks.  Twice I was out for 8km.  Been over a year since I did that.  Pretty proud of myself.  I’m working my way up to 10km a day.  I would like to be able to run 10km by spring, but we’ll see.

After taking a break from it for a couple of months, I also began my food diary again.  I don’t know why I stopped in the first place.  I know how valuable it is.  It’s important to know what I’m eating, and how many calories.  At least I’m back at it.  And I feel good about it.

I didn’t do any races in August, but I have 2 on my schedule for September.

I’m happy to report that I’m working with my trainer again.  Feels good too.  I really need that extra push.  The first couple of workouts have been hard.  It almost feels like I’m starting back at the beginning.  And I guess in a way, I am.  That’s what happens when you take several months off from strength training, and put more than a few pounds back on.  But I’m confident that I will be able to get back to where I was and continue on the right path.

Not too much happened in August.  I’m looking forward to a new month and new challenges.

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5 years ago today …

5 years ago today I was sitting in a doctor’s office …

5 years ago today I was anxiously and fearfully waiting for test results …

5 years ago today I heard the words I never thought I’d hear …

5 years ago today I learned I had cancer.

5 years ago today my journey to change my life and be a healthier person began.

 

Growing up, I never feared cancer.  It doesn’t run in my family, so I never really gave it much thought.  What scared me was heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.  Those were/are the things that run in my family.

I’d known for many years that I was leading an unhealthy lifestyle.  I was very overweight; I was pretty sedentary; I ate a lot of junk food/overly-processed food.  I’d try different diets, but would ultimately go back to my old ways.  I’d try to be more active, but again, I’d eventually give up and go back to being a couch potato.  Deep down, I think I knew that some day something would have to change.  But it wasn’t enough to make me want to change.

Growing up, I shied away from cameras.  I didn’t like my pictures taken.  I didn’t like how I looked in them.  Even my wedding pictures. But it wasn’t enough to make me really want to do something about it.

I often had trouble finding clothes that fit properly.  It seemed like all the stylish stuff, all the pretty stuff, was for “normal” size women, not for someone like me.  But it wasn’t enough to make me really want to change.

My mom started getting sick when I was in my 20s, she was in her late 40s (not much older than I am now).  She had problems with her heart.  Over the years, she had a few heart attacks and strokes.  And she was a diabetic, and had issues with that too.  But it wasn’t enough to make me really want to take better care of myself.

When I was 38, I started getting sick.  I knew something was wrong, but I was scared to find out what it was.  I suffered for close to a year before finally talking to my doctor.  I have a great doctor.  He really listened to me.  He sent me for tests.  When those results came back, he explained that there was an anomaly so I needed to go for another test.  He said it could be a number of things, and not to panic.  Hopefully the second test will give us the answer.  The second test revealed the cancer.

And that was enough.

That was enough to make me realize that that day was the day.

And so it began.

That day was the day my journey to a healthier me began.

5 years ago today.

What a ride it has been.  Lots of ups and downs, twists and turns.  I’ve learned a lot, about life and about myself.  I’ve done a lot, more than I ever dreamed possible.  And I’m not done yet.  There is still so much I want/need to do.

The universe has repeatedly tested me to make sure I’m serious and I’m not giving up. Seriously, universe, you can stop that now, I’m not giving up!

Along the way, I’ve made new friends, and lost a few old ones.  I’ve taken a few detours, but have managed to find my way back.   I’ve laughed a lot and cried a lot.

And through it all, I’ve learned I’m much stronger than I ever realized.  I’ve become a much better version of myself.  I feel like I’ve found myself.

5 years ago today my world changed.

And I wouldn’t want it any other way.

 

 

 

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My quest for proper running shoes

Most of my adult life, it has been very difficult to find shoes that fit properly because I have very wide feet.

If I wanted dress shoes, I had to wear flats because heels were too difficult to walk in, even small ones.  And I usually had to buy a bigger size than I really needed because I needed the extra width.

I could never find boots that fit, not even in the winter.

When I bought sneakers, I had to buy men’s because women’s were never wide enough.  At my heaviest, I wore a 6E width sneaker.  And only 1 company made them that wide (at least that I could find).  And they only came in black or white.  I was a little jealous of people who could buy cool looking sneakers in fancy colours and designs.  All I could get were black or white.

When I started losing weight, I was surprised to find that my feet were shrinking too.  It wasn’t too long before my 6E width shoes were too big.  Now I was down to a 4E width.  I was making progress.  I still couldn’t buy the cool looking sneakers, but I was getting there.

About this time last year, I was in desperate need of new shoes.  I went to the store, but was a little overwhelmed by the choices.  I had started running, and knew that I would need shoes for that.  The ones I had were NOT made for running.  I learned that the hard way.  I also needed shoes for my every day workouts.  I didn’t know if I needed 2 pairs or if 1 would do both.  And I didn’t even know what size I wore anymore.  The clerks at the stores I went to were not helpful.

Tyler had recently bought new shoes, so he said he would go with me to the store.  He helped me find some shoes that fit and would work for what I needed them for.  They were great!  They were so much lighter than my old shoes, they felt like slippers on my feet.  I called them my magic shoes.  They were the first pair of fancy sneakers I ever owned.  I was so happy.

After having these “magic shoes” for about 3 months, a hole developed in one of them.  I tried taking them back to the store, but was told they could not take them back.  After speaking with customer service, I was finally able to exchange them for another pair.

Around this same time, I strained the arch on my right foot.  It was stupid.  I tried pushing myself too fast too soon.  Lesson learned.  After a few weeks and getting custom orthotics, I was on the road to recovery.

Winter approached and I started shopping for boots, unsure if I would even find any to fit.  To my great surprise, I found some really nice ones.  They would be the first winter boots I owned since I was a little kid.  I was a little giddy about it.

As winter wore on, I noticed my sneakers were starting to hurt my feet a little.  Not all the time though.  When I started running on the track, I noticed that my toes started to cramp up at about 2 miles.  I figured it was time for new shoes again.

Ideally, the place to get running shoes is at a running store.  But my town doesn’t have one.  The closest one is about half hour away in the next town, which is not that far, except that I don’t drive.  So I went to the stores we do have.

Again, I felt overwhelmed by the choices.  I wanted to make sure I got proper running shoes.  I tried on probably 15 different shoes.  None felt right.  My foot is wide at the toes, but short in length.  Women’s sneakers didn’t seem quite wide enough; men’s shoes were too long.  I went to another store.  They didn’t have as many choices as the first one.  I resigned myself to buying the same shoes I was replacing, just this year’s version.  They seemed okay.

Walking in them seemed fine.  I ran around the track in them.  They were a little tight, but I figured that was normal since they were new.  After a few runs, I decided these shoes were not right for me.  While okay for walking, I really needed them for running.  When I ran in them, my toes felt cramped.  And part way through my run, it felt like my toes were falling asleep!  Not good.

As I had only purchased them the week before, and only wore them indoors, I took them back to the store.  They refused to take them back.  I was livid.  The lady I dealt with was rude.  When I got home, I called their customer service department and complained.  About the fact that they wouldn’t take the shoes back.  And about her.  Customer service wouldn’t do anything about it either.  That is the LAST time I shop in that store.  I contacted the manufacturer.  They wouldn’t do anything either.  I’m angry.  Partly at them and partly at myself.  I shouldn’t have bought them in the first place.

Anyway, about  a week later, I got a phone call from the store manager.  He left a message on my voice mail.  I haven’t had a chance to call him back yet.  That should be an interesting conversation when I do.

My husband was going out of town for a meeting.  Sometimes I go with him, sometimes I don’t.  I hadn’t gone the last few times he went.  But I decided to go with him this time because where he was going had a running store.  I was praying I would be able to find shoes there.

I arranged to meet with a friend who happen to live there.  And there happen to be a running store near her home.  She had never been in one before, so she was curious as to what they had there.  The lady at the store was very nice.  And she seemed to know what she was talking about.  After watching me walk, she recommended a neutral shoe.  I tried a couple different sizes on.  They fit nicely, my toes did not feel cramped at all.  The size I needed she didn’t have in stock, but she checked other stores in the city and found one that had them, and she asked them to hold them for me.  I was really excited!!

I decided to test them out at the track the next morning.  They felt good!  My toes never felt cramped.  I was even more excited!!  I tested them a few more times and decided they were perfect.

Finally I had proper running shoes!

For those wondering, they are by New Balance.  They are not crazy colours, but I’m okay with that.  The important thing is they are comfortable and my toes are no longer cramped.  I’m considering getting some crazy shoe laces for them.

And now I’m considering getting a couple more pairs as regular workout shoes and backups. Because you never know when you’ll need another pair.

My old shoes have been downgraded to everyday sneakers.  They still have some wear left in them.  They are just not good for running.  At least not for me.

That’s the thing.  Everyone’s feet are different.  What works for one person, won’t necessarily work for someone else.

And that’s one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned.

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So now I’m a runner

For some reason, last year I made the decision to start running.

I don’t know why.

I don’t know where the idea came from.

But somewhere in the back of my brain I decided it was a good idea.

The weird thing is I’ve never liked running.  Ever.  Not even as a child.  I hated when we had to run in gym class.

So the idea of me becoming a runner is a little crazy.

I can hear the old me … the extremely overweight, couch potato, junk food loving, old me … saying things like “you are insane!” and “what the hell are you thinking?” and “you’ll never be a runner!”

But I’m not listening to her.

The new me … the healthier, active, good food loving, new me … thinks this is a great idea.  It can only help me along my journey.  Already I’m feeling more motivated, more empowered, better in general.

What I didn’t realize when I decided to do this was just how much there is to learn about running.  Proper shoes, proper technique, proper breathing, the right gear.  So much to know.  So much to learn.

I used to have super wide feet, and I could only find 1 shoe that fit.  And they were not proper running shoes.  I discovered that the hard way.  My feet have shrunk as I’ve lost weight, which is a good thing.  And it has taken a while, but I finally found shoes that work well for running.  (Look for a post detailing that story soon)

When I started running last year, Tyler helped me with technique and breathing.  I think both have gotten better.  At least I hope so.

When I started running, I was doing it on the treadmill.  The first time, I lasted 30 seconds.  Then I got to a minute.  The first time I ran 5 minutes, I was so excited! And so exhausted!  And this was before I got the right shoes.  I ran outside a couple of times, doing one minute on/one minute off.  It was hard! Most of the running I did, though, was on the treadmill.

Near the end of summer, I injured myself.  I was pushing myself hard, trying to make myself go faster than I was ready for.  I strained the arch on my right foot.  After getting custom orthotics, and taking a few weeks off from running, it started to get better.  It’s the kind of injury that can take a long time to heal.  I was lucky.  It was too severe.  The orthotics did the trick.  I always have them in my shoes when I’m running.  And if I’m going to be walking long distances.

I eventually got my treadmill time up to 20 minutes.  I was so proud of myself for that.

But I was just itching to try running outside again.  The problem, of course, was the snow and ice Mother Nature bombarded us with this winter.  It seemed like it was never going to go away.  The last time I had done any running outside was in November at my last race of the season.

Lucky for me, our local wellness centre has an indoor track for walking and running.

So I started going to the track.  At first, I just walked around the track, doing 5k.  My time was getting better and better.  So I decided to try running.

That first time around the track was hard.  But I figured it probably would be.  I even wrote a post about it.  You can read about it here:  http://wp.me/p1Bqw3-rX

The first time I ran the entire 5k without stopping, I felt like I was on top of the world!  I was tired and a little achy, but it felt so good.  I was so proud of myself.

I kept running around the track.  Not every day, but pretty close.  And my times were getting faster.  I was really amazed.

As much as I was enjoying my time around the track, I still badly wanted to go outside to run.  But Mother Nature kept pounding us with winter.  No fun.

Finally, a little over a week ago, I tried my first outdoor run.  We’re lucky that the city put in a path along the water where we live.  It’s a great spot for walking, running, biking, even just sitting on one of the many benches.  I used the walk to the path as my warm up.  I started my running app, which has my running playlist linked to it, and off I went! It was slow, but I expected that.  It’s one thing to run around a track, it’s another thing to run on uneven ground on a winding path.  I was so proud of myself when I was done.

This is what I posted as my Facebook status that day:

I went a little out of my comfort zone today.

I laced up my sneakers, put on my sunglasses and magic hat, and did a 5k run along the waterfront. All running, no walking. It was a little slow, but I’m okay with that.

Then I walked to the coffee shop for a post-run coffee, which is, of course, the best coffee of the day.

After sitting and chatting a while in the cafe, I started the walk home. As I was coming up the hill on Bridge Street, I couldn’t help but reflect back on the first couple of times I walked up that hill and how difficult I thought it was. And today, I walked up it like it wasn’t even a hill.

As I leisurely walked the few blocks to my house, I noticed a little swagger in my step. And again, couldn’t help but reflect on how difficult of a walk I once thought that was. And I smiled.

Amazing how times have changed.

What a great day. — feeling awesome.

It really was a great day.  One of the best days ever.

Here’s another update I posted this week:

A few things happened on my run today:

For some unknown reason, my phone died a little past the halfway point. I had a full charge when I left my house, so it shouldn’t have died.

When my phone died, I didn’t stop. I kept on running. Even though I no longer had music, nor a way to tell how far I was running, nor how long I was running. I kept right on running, only stopping once to wait for a light to change, until I got to the coffee shop.

After my post-run coffee, as I was heading home, I RAN up the hill on Bridge St. Yes, the hill I once had trouble walking up. The hill I once thought I’d never to used to. Today, I ran up it.

Today’s run was a good one.

Since then, all my runs have been outside.  I’m still slow, but that’s okay.  I know I’m adjusting to a new running environment.  

Anyway, now I’ve got the running bug.  I’m slow, but I’m still running.  And that’s what matters.  A mile is still a mile, no matter how fast or slow it is.

Look for more running related posts soon!

 

 

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It’s been 2 years

2012 was a big year for me.  As it would turn out, a pivotal one in my journey.

I started going to the gym in January.  It was the first time in more than 20 years.  And the only thing I could really do was walk on the treadmill.

It was the first year of Quinte’s Biggest Loser.

I made some new friends that year.  Liz, Matt, Amy, Aidan, Andreas, Karen, and others.  All of whom have become important to me.

I started taking classes at the gym in March.  The first time ever.

2012 introduced me to a new genre of books, and I feel in love.  I don’t know why I never read fantasy books before, but at least I’m reading them now.  I’ve read books by Guy Gavriel Kay, Patrick Rothfuss, Daniel Abraham, and others.  Guy Gavriel Kay is now one of my favourite authors of all time, and some of his books are on my list of favourites of all time.

2012 brought me to the world of races in July.  I may have only walked my very first one, and I may have only done 1 that year, but I’m kind of hooked on them now.  And I hope I will just keep getting better at them.

2012 found me having the greatest success in my journey up to that point.  I had lost more weight than I ever had before.  I found strength I never knew I had.  I was feeling better than I ever had in my entire life.

2012 found me facing new challenges.

The gym I had joined at the beginning of the year was forced to close.  I had only been there 6 months.  I was devastated.  I wasn’t sure I would be comfortable anywhere else.  But I quickly found a new gym that I liked and was comfortable at.

For many years, I used food for comfort and for dealing with stress.  I had to find a new way to deal with that.  I did, although some days it’s still a struggle.

2012 is also the year I met Tyler, who would become an intricate part of my journey.

He was teaching the stretch class I started taking at the gym.  A couple weeks later, I added a second class he was teaching.  He was funny and a little goofy.  I was very nervous when I started the classes.  I couldn’t do a lot of the exercises, but I always tried.  Tyler made me feel very at ease, very comfortable.  I liked that.

I found out he was a personal trainer.  A few weeks after taking his classes, I asked him if he was taking new clients.  I was scared to ask.  Lucky for me, he said yes. We arranged a time to get together.

2 years ago today, we had our first workout together.

I remember thinking that I wasn’t sure how much he would be able to help me, but I knew I needed some help.

He changed my life in more ways that I ever thought possible.

He showed me I was capable of much more than I realized.

He helped me build confidence I didn’t know I had.

He helped open my eyes to a world I didn’t think I could be a part of.

And beyond being my trainer, he has become a very dear friend.

For all that and so much more, I thank him every day.

Thank you, Tyler, for everything … for all that I thanked you for last year, for all that you’ve done since, and for all you continue to do.  I’m lucky to have you in my life, both as my trainer and as my friend.

Happy Anniversary.

 

 

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