Goodbye Zumba

August 3, 2010

Dear Zumba,

I have loved you from the moment we met. Well, that’s not true. You made me feel uncoordinated because you are so awesome, sexy and coordinated, while I awkwardly trip over my feet. But we grew on each other. Our lunchtime rendezvous spice up my work day. But this isn’t fair to my husband (or our budget). I just cannot swing $55 a month for the convenience of a gym near work, while still paying $35/month for the gym near home. Especially considering that I have a FREE gym in my apartment building.

It’s true that I may from time to time be able to get off work in time to catch you at the cheaper gym near my house, but that seems unlikely now that grad school draws near. Saying goodbye to you is killing me. (Cue “The Hardest Thing” by 98 degrees)  Please know that I will always remember you! My dance skills will never be the same.

Love, Shannon

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Reality Check

July 26, 2010

I am not a dummy. I know that weight loss is calories in, calories out. I know what the formulas say my BMR is (1,719). My heart rate monitor and Garmin tell me how many calories I burn during exercise (around 2,000 per week). I know how to record my food and calories in SparkPeople.

However, 95% of the time I am very resistant to calorie counting. I hate it. It is burdensome and makes me sad. It seems to trigger binges for me. I haven’t counted calories in months, and I’m currently binge-free for 89 days – I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

But calories DO matter! Whether I count them or not, the calories I consume are what’s causing my body to hold onto this fat. (I think I have the exercise part of the equation down, and I have no trouble recording the calories spent exercising – I do it everyday!) I need to eat less calories. Does that mean I need to record my food everyday? It would be a HUGE help, but I don’t want to spark my crazy. So what can I do? I think I am going to try to count calories one day a week, just to get a general idea of what I’m consuming. I want to see how much ice cream I’m eating after dinner every night.

I started today, and so far, between the work candy bowl and my grabbing a handful of salted, oil roasted cashews, I have consumed 288 extra unplanned calories. I thought “no big deal.” I probably eat something like that everyday. But then I decided to calculate out the result of doing that everyday. Over a year, consuming an additional 288 calories per day would result in 105,120 unwanted calories. Yowzers! Then the scary part – divide that by 3,500 calories per pound, and it equals 30 pounds, almost on the nose. I just so happen to be approximately 30 pounds overweight.

Maybe this sounds silly to people who have thought about it before, but this shocked me! 288 calories doesn’t seem like a lot. Before I calculated it out, I thought “that’s not so bad, I could do that everyday.” But now I know. And I’m going to stay away from that candy bowl for the rest of the day.

On the brighter side, my workout schedule has me burning 2,000 calories/week, which is 104,000 per year, which is just under 30 pounds

My husband and I have been brainstorming about how to celebrate our upcoming first anniversary (8/22).

We were considering either a weekend in NYC to see a show (American Idiot?), or a weekend in Richmond to walk around the cuteness and visit our alma matter (U of R), where we met.  This morning he emailed me with a GENIUS idea!  The night before our anniversary, there’s a big bike race in Richmond!  I was a but hesitant about the idea because:

  • I was hoping to dress up and go to a schmancy dinner
  • I am a pretty awful bike rider, and
  • Richmond is  still pretty hot at 8pm in August

But the more I think about it, the more excited I am. Since we won’t be able to go out to a normal anniversary dinner, I was thinking we could do brunch on Sunday (our actual anniversary). Richmond has a beautiful, historic hotel (The Jefferson) which happens to be famous for its brunch. I was always sad that I didn’t get to go to my school’s “ring dance” and stay over for brunch, per my college’s tradition (I was studying abroad at the time). Now I can make it up to celebrate with my wonderful husband.

Also, I love the idea of celebrating our anniversary by doing something active. It would be a great tradition! Hopefully we can find a race, or just something really cool to do, every year 🙂

As I said, I am a pretty weak bike rider, so I already started prepping at lunch today by subbing my usual treadmill run with a spin class . It whopped my butt!  My average heart rate was 166, whereas it’s normally around 155 on a run. I’ll be shocked if I can sit or stand tomorrow.

My plan to train for this race is to go for a nice long ride with the husband this weekend to see if I’m up for the longer distance (17 miles vs. the 8 mile option), and then incorporate spin class into my “active rest days” and try to get a long ride in each weekend. I’ve edited my workout plan to reflect that – I hope I can keep with with my running and strength work! I will, however, be replacing my planned yoga sessions with bike rides. I’ll try to squeeze in some yoga when I can, but I’m not superwoman!

I can’t believe I’m really training for a bike race! I flirted with the idea of a tri, but I backed out because I really don’t enjoy swimming (I panic with my face in the water). But now I might be will be a biker! I feel like Caitlin, who’s a huge inspiration to me.

Have a great weekend!  I’ll let you know how Sunday’s long ride goes!

No S Diet

July 8, 2010

A sparkpeople friend shared this website the other day, and I really like the concept.  The “No S Diet” is a simple set of principles to keep your eating sane, without driving yourself crazy counting calories.  Here are the rules:

  • No Sweets,
  • No Snacks,
  • No Seconds,
  • EXCEPT on days that start with S (including Sat, Sun & Special Occasions)

I remember reading a similar idea in Michael Pollan’s Food Rules and really liking the concept. While I was reading yesterday,  though “Ooh, I’ll start trying this next week, when my husband is out of town and we’ll have already gone through all of the ice cream in our freezer.”  But then I remembered a powerful blog I read a few weeks ago (I wish I could remember who posted it). The post consisted of two photos of hand-written note cards. One said “If not now, when??” and the other said “That’s the really the only question, isn’t it?”  It’s so true – I know what I need to do.  I know I need to stop eating 2-3 servings of sweets after dinner every night. I want to be the kind of person who doesn’t need to. The questions isn’t “what” to do, it’s “when.” And I choose now!  So as of today, I am giving this an honest shot. No sweets until Saturday!

I will make some modifications – if I am training for a race, I am going to consider pre and post-run food as a “meal,” not a “snack.” But I think the big, important pillar for me will be “no sweets.” Can I do it?  I think so 🙂

Quickie Update

July 6, 2010

Worst. Blogger. Ever. I can’t commit!  But life’s been pretty good to me. Since my last post (which wasn’t too informative anyway), I’ve had 2 amazing beach weekends with wonderful friends (plus a pretty fantastic husband), several good work trips, and plenty of red wine. Life is good 🙂  I’m running less and have gained back 3-4 lbs, but I feel like I’ve found a happy balance.

In other news, I loved MizFit’s post today about being “lucky.” I totally agree with her and consider myself super “lucky” 🙂

Happy July everyone! Feel free to start sending birthday gifts.

I won!  I won!  I won my first ever blog/website giveaway!

This nice people at Livewell360.com hosted a “What’s in Your Bag Giveway” to spotlight their adorable “Core” gym bag. Unfortunately I only won second prize, so I don’t get to try out the awesome bag for free, but check out what I do get!

  • $25 iHerb.com shopping spree
  • Fat Loss Troubleshoot Package by Leigh Peele
  • Body By Eats Package by Leigh Peele
  • Glo Bars from Glo Bakery
  • Jill Miller’s Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Ball Program
  • Lifefactory (22 oz) Glass Beverage Bottle with Silicone Sleeve
  • Limited Edition Red Carpet Ready Manual by Valerie Waters
  • Movie Star Fitness DVD (Men’s and Women’s) by Valerie Waters
  • Nerida Joy Skincare Cleansing Gel
  • Perfect Pushup Mobile Unit
  • The Men’s Health Big Book of Exercises
  • The Women’s Health Big Book of Exercises
  • Valslide by Valerie Waters
  • Yes To Carrots Shower Essentials Travel Kit

I’m thinking of getting some protein powder from iHerb.com. Any recommendations?  I’ve heard whey is the best, by the hubby is lactose intolerant, so it would be nice to try something that I can add to our shared smoothies.

Thank you to Angela for mentioning the giveaway on her blog Oh She Glows – that’s how I heard about it. I’m excited to try her Glo Bars!

In other news, after the half marathon, I’ve lost my food & fitness mojo. I need to get my act together before I lose too much progress. I’ve already gained 2 pounds, and I want to get back on track so I feel awesome this Summer!  How do you deal with a slump?

I am a full 9 days late writing this race report!  And at this point, I’ve pretty much lost the motivation to capture all the charming details, so here is my bare-bones recap. Warning: it will be boring – I’m really just throwing it here for my own memories 🙂

Race went well!  Actually, the first half went really well, and I had awful stomach cramps during the 2nd half. I forgot how many hills this race has!  Miles 10 – 12 are basically one steady incline. Here’s a race pic of me struggling:

My wonderful husband was there to cheer me on at mile 12! And then my best friend Jenny & her fiance Kurt were there at around mile 12.8!  It was SO cool of them to come – they live closer to Baltimore than DC, so to make the trek down to Fredericksburg, VA (90 miles) so early in the morning shows what great friends they are!  I wish I got a pic of them. This is just another marathonfoto.com shot of me:

I was kind of disappointed with myself because I couldn’t run to the finish line. I got so close, but the stomach cramps were awful!  The crowd was great though – so many ladies came over to cheer me on. They got right up in my face and were like “you’re there!  you’re there – it’s right there!”  I was literally 100 feet away from the finish line – I felt like such a drama queen, but I needed a break. I finally got it together and finished!  And as soon as I finished… *poof* – I felt so good, and I was so proud and happy to get my medal. I decided I want to run it again next year, even though I had decided earlier that it would be my last half (my body seems to love the 10k-10 mile distance). As miserable as I was for 1.5 hours, I love racing!

My time was 2:51:51 – 6 minutes faster than last year!  But last year I waited in a mid-race port-a-potty line, so I think it was about the same.

Afterword I got a photo with Mary Washington!  The race has a history theme, so all sorts of colonial folks were scattered throughout the race route. I love this photo because I think I look thin. I bet they edited it, haha 🙂

Mike, Jenny, Kurt and I hung out in the post-race area while I stretched.  I was so sore already!  Jenny had brought me some pepto bismol because she knows my stomach is usually a wreck after races – isn’t she the best? I chugged a bit and my stomach hasn’t bothered me since.  My legs were another story – I was much more sore than I’ve ever been for another race. Lesson learned – be diligent with your training plan, and don’t skimp on the long runs! I was sore for days and days. I didn’t feel up to working out again until Thursday!!

What’s next?!

Since I got my new Polar F4 Heart Rate Monitor, I know that I burn many more calories in short, intense workouts than I do on long runs. I lost 40 pounds a few years ago and have kept it off by running slowly, but my body is used to that now. Me weight is still 20 pounds above the “healthy” BMI range, and it has stabilized there. As such, I am going to use this summer to focus more on losing weight and gaining speed. I will build my mileage up again for October’s Army 10-Miler, but in the mean time I’m only running a 4-miler on June 19. I’m hoping to make it a fast one!

Well that was more verbose than I’d planned! I don’t think I’m cut out to be a real blogger 🙂