I am participating in 90 Mile November!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Keep moving!

(I am crossposting a variation of this today on both of my blogs, A Fat Girl & A Fat Horse and Love it, then lose it., because I think it needs to be said on both a healthy lifestyle vein and also the horsey vein!)

I love these little tidbits that I get everyday from SparkPeople.com in my email - they are almost always applicable to the personal emotional journey that I am on in addition to my weight loss journey. This showed up in my email this morning:

Be not afraid of going slowly; be afraid only of standing still.
- Chinese Proverb

I am choosing to take this one both literally and figuratively - in many respects.

On the weight loss front, I have not moved down on the scale in quite a long time - when I do see progress in a downward direction, it is very small and usually short lived, despite trying my best to keeping working out and keep eating well - sometimes, I slip up and eat something that I know full stop is bad for me, but I figure "since I'm not going down anyways, I can allow myself this." - this is a mindset that I need to get rid of completely. I used to be very good at discerning if I actually wanted to eat something that was bad for me because I wanted it or because it was convenient. 9/10 times, I could turn away from the Snickers bar or the piece of pizza because I knew the only reason I wanted it was because it was there, and so was I, and I wouldn't have that chance again later.

I know that eating right is good for me - it feels good - most of the time it tastes good - and it gives my body the correct fuel for the physical activity that I have been engaging in. I still am conscious of how to eat clean - I am going to continue to go - getting moving again. I feel like the above quote needs to go hand in hand with "fall down seven times, get up eight" - some wise words of wisdom for this whole journey.

On a personal level, sometimes the things I want in life take some time to come to fruition - ie right now, my living situation is kind of at a standstill as we wait for G to get the call for training - that can be frustrating - but every day that passes is a day closer to it - I need to remember that even if things are not going at the speed I want them to go - they are still moving, and I am the only one responsible for allowing them to stop.

I am a great one for getting some good steam going - a quick pace, and then burning out. I'm talking about various aspects of my life, really - weight loss, emotional issues, riding, career... Because going slow is scary. Being behind everyone is terrifying for me. I am used to excelling at life, being competitive and good at most things that I put my mind to.

When I graduated from high school, I decided to take a year off to work and then go back to university to complete my BSW specializing in Child Welfare. By the time I got back to university, I was already a year behind all of the friends I had graduated with - my mother graciously suggested, since I did not have enough of a student loan to both keep my apartment and pay my tuition and so would have to work through the school year, that I take part time courses. I didn't want to be any farther behind my friends, so I insisted on taking a full course load and working full time - to get to my goal faster.

The disadvantage to this is that I was so caught up in getting to my destination that I missed a lot of the journey. (For those wondering, student loan pulled all of my finding because I had worked too much and I ended up burning out and dropping out of university and haven't been back since - now I am way more than just 1 year behind my friends!)


Monday, September 26, 2011

Fredericton Fall Classic - September 25, 2011 - 5k

Wow... I have so many thoughts after this event. Amazing experience...

I went on a mini road trip with my sister the day before and we didn't get home until much later than planned due to an accidental 1.5 hour detour, so I woke up feeling pretty low energy. I couldn't tell for sure if my upset stomach on the drive to the race (45 minutes) was nerves or the stomach flu that my dad was plagued with on Saturday.

I was about 30 minutes early and got things all looked after at registration, picked up my kit which included my number (which started with a 16, my favourite number, which was a lucky sign), my awesome technical race tshirt and my timing chip for my sneaker. I met up with my really cool non-biological little sister, A, who has run a few 5ks over the last couple of years and was a great source of support (and nerve calming) and, of course, I had my great sister-slash-photojournalist, Shay, with me.

I had looked over the course map but I am terrible at navigation at best, so I had no idea exactly where the path would take us, but it turned out that the majority of it was trail that I had run before with G and his brother. I was also concerned that I would get lost on the trail but was relieved to find lots of arrows taped to the trail and support staff all along the route.

So! What everyone is waiting for! Results:

For those wondering about the numbers, I will break it down for you. :)

86 - my finishing place of 90 in the 5k
1655 - my bib number
Amanda Neal - my name, obviously, haha!
F - female
Central Hainesv - hometown
NB - province
F - female again, just in case you didn't catch it the first time
13/13 - there were 13 in my age/gender division in the 5k and I was bottom of that
F2029 - my division - females aged 20-29
40:55 - my finishing time for 5k
8:11 - my pace per k

As an interesting note, my time for my first K was 7:12 - but when I rounded the corner for the third kilometre (which was also the turnaround point), I was quite sure I was going to hurl. I walked a lot of the way back for this reason, just so as not to shake things up.

But I did learn a lot and will approach my next 5K quite a bit differently, I think:

- I will only take 1 or 2 days off from running pre-race, not 3. Things just did not work out for me to run again after Wednesday night.
- I will definitely get more than 6 or 7 hours of sleep the night prior - and probably the whole week prior.
- More hydration in the days leading up to - I was dryyyyyy!
- Eat cleaner in the days prior, definitely.
- I will carry a water bottle with me on the race. I didn't bring one that was a decent size for me to carry with me (ie I had the big 1.5L one with me which I left with Shay at the finish line) because I thought it would make me obvious as a newb... a LOT of people carried water and as it turned out to be much hotter than originally forecast, I was desperately sorry that I hadn't brought one too!
- I will show up earlier than 30 minutes before my race, to soak up the atmosphere, because it was just way too cool!
- I won't drink the Gatorade - I deliberately avoided dairy products to avoid slime-mouth but then completely sabotaged that by taking the Gatorade at the drink station.
- I won't look back on the trail!

I couldn't get over the awesome atmosphere. I had a brief thought of "what if I am the fattest runner there?" (I wasn't), and "what if I finish last?" (I also didn't, really, and nobody would have known anyways since there were half-marathon and 10k runners coming in through the same finish line with everyone else!). There were so many encouraging people there! Many of the 10k runners or other 5k runners who had already made the turnaround and were passing on the way back shouted words of encouragement as they headed toward the finish line and the atmosphere when I rounded the corner and could see the finish line and hear my group of family and friends cheering for me was a little unlike anything else. I was hoping to get that "tunnel vision" moment that I had at the track last week, but I didn't get any - even so, I had a lot of personal time to reflect on myself and my attitude toward things. Aside from feeling really sick, I had a lot of internal dialogue going on, telling me to keep going, keep pushing. Overall, I loved it, and I can't wait to do it again!

And, the other thing everyone is waiting for - the pictures!

Putting my timing chip on my shoelace.

A and I posing for an obligatory "Pre" shot.

Heading out to line up for the start... I was sooo nervous!

I seem to be freakishly taller than anybody else doing this race.

A coming in for a finish! She was running with a cold, she is a beast is all I can say!

Here I come, they spotted my pink pants a mile away!

This is a picture that I zoomed in and cropped - I love the expression on my face - this was the face I got when I realized I was almost done, I had lived, and I had a group of my family and friends that I love very much waiting at the end for me!

And here I am dragging my big pink butt across the finish line.

If I had thought 60 pounds ago, or even 6 months ago that I would actually be doing this, I would have laughed my face off... but now I want to do it again, as soon as possible! Next run is November 26th... here I come!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Brief Glimpses

Last night, I hit the track for my 5k run while G and his brother worked on the shuttle runs that he'll need for BMQ. I didn't feel like running - but Sunday had been my last run and I was feeling like I needed some distance before the race on the 25th. Monday, I rode my horse and was still feeling sore from that, didn't do a thing as a I decadently celebrated my 26th birthday on Tuesday and then hit the gym hard yesterday morning with many of Jillian Michael's Frontside moves for my arms and thighs. Needless to say, I was kind of sore and grumpy when I landed at the track.

The whole 'shit kicking' as they call it, that I put myself through at the track was worth a couple of minutes that I had while on about my fifth lap. It was this brilliant clarity of mind - I was just running - sure, my legs were hurting a little, and my breathing was a bit laboured, but I somehow managed to tune everything out. It was a perfect moment of focus. It lasted about 3/4 of a lap around the track and then I lost it, but it was there, and if it is any indication of "what's to come", I want it!

I have found that distraction is my biggest problem. I enjoy the challenge and comaraderie of running with somebody else but I find I get my best work done when I am only competing with myself. Otherwise, I am trying to chat, paying attention to what the other person is doing, etc. Last night, I had some distractions - there was another runner on the track with us and I met two men walking dogs that cut across it to get to their regular dog walking route - that was enough to put me off rhythm a couple of times. I just need to learn how to give myself tunnel vision a little more firm than it is now, to keep myself heading in the right direction.

Today is the first time, however, that I feel sore, and not a good sore, necessarily. I have taken some Advil - I am not usually a med popper when I am sore, I revel in abs that hurt a little when I stretch or arms that burn when I use them for normal things but this is kind of a "full of lead" type of sore. As the day has worn on, it's gotten a little better - it could be actual fatigue combined with sore muscles - and to add insult to injury, the scales at G's place this morning said I weighed 3lbs more than last week! I have been told you weigh more when you're sore because healing muscles retain water, so I guess we will see in a couple of days how that looks.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Little bits of housekeeping that don't warrant a whole entry by themselves:

- On Thursday night, I completed 5.02k in training in 00:40:20 - which is really good, considering that when people ask me about the race on the 25th, I always tell them that my goal is to complete in less than an hour and to not be dead at the end. I was chatting with a friend of mine last night who is also entered in this race and it got me quite excited. Her goal to finish in is 31 minutes - I think I am doing pretty good then!

- The scale has only budged .06lbs (downward) in the last three weeks. I am okay with this. As long as it isn't going up, staying the same is okay, too because I can feel my physical body getting stronger, developing more stamina and I can feel my mental game upping the ante quite a bit, too.

- I ate way too many carbs last night, but that's okay. I started my first day using the LoseIt! app for Android and I love how easy it is, and it's right in the palm of my hand no matter where I am - I can see myself using this tool to it's full benefit.

- I started a round with the Jillian Michaels "Frontside" and "Backside" DVDs - so far I have done the Frontside once with the DVD and once at the gym (minus the cardio intervals because I did cardio prior). The soreness from all of that is almost gone.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


So it's official. Entering a 5k is now no longer something that I talk about a lot but never do. The entry part, I have down pat. I'm kind of afraid. But when I get too far on the afraid-o-meter, I swing back, think about how accomplished I am going to feel when I cross that finish line and people that I care about are waiting for me and cheering me on, I feel better. It doesn't matter that I may finish the last of everyone out there. I don't care that it's a race - my placing doesn't matter to me - the fact that I complete what I set out to do matters more. I will finish what I set out to do, and that's final.

As far as weight goes... hmmm. Well, that's an interesting plight, now that you mention it. We have begun the third round of 3-month-long weight loss challenges on the forum for plus sized horseback riders that I operate -- the last two, I have either lost nothing or gained. I started this one at 264 right on the nose. I lost 0.6lbs this week (we weigh on Fridays). I know that 0.6lbs can be almost not on purpose... but I am determined to do more this week. And I am determined not just to do more for my physical health but also more for my mental health - sometimes the two overlap. I don't think I'll mind!

With that said, I am working on a couple of lists. Goal lists, if you will. Weekly fitness goals, a bucket list, and an ongoing list (ie. Read one book a month, it doesn't matter what book it is - just read one.) I will share these once I am finished up - I am actually looking forward to the process as much as anything else!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Battle Scars & Epiphanies

(As a side note, I weighed myself this morning at G's and my body seems downright ADAMANT about staying in the 262-264lb range. Despite pretty consistent exercise over the last several weeks, it is clear that I am going to have to buckle down on my eating habits quite a bit more strictly than I have been. With the addition of my new Android phone, I think this is a good opportunity for me to start toodling with some apps to review!)

Though I have put about 10km on them on my own, my new shoes (and my feet) were really not ready to amp up to 5k at a time. Or it might have been that I don't have appropriate socks for running (or maybe just pushing myself as hard as I pushed last night). Either way, at the halfway point, I was having some serious pain on the heels. By the time we made it back, I had this loveliness:

BUT I finished, and I had a brilliant epiphany during the last running stretch of the evening. The only way that I can explain it is to paraphrase my internal dialogue:

Me: "This sucks and I really want to stop."
Me: "Your breathing is in check, do you need to stop?"
Me: "No, I don't need to stop for my breathing, but I really want to stop."
Me: "Well, why would you want to stop?"
Me: "My legs hurt."
Me: "On a scale of one to ten, ten being the worst pain you can ever remember and one being just a minor irritation's worth of pain, how badly to they hurt?"
Me: "2."
Me: "Then why do you want to stop? You have worked through much more pain than this. Your breathing is in check, there are only 30 seconds to this run left, and you're almost home. There is no reason to stop."

And so, well, I didn't. And once I had that little chat with myself, the rest of it felt alright, and I finished in fine form. My legs didn't fall off, and I didn't die, though I did nearly become victim of both a sprained ankle and a concussion at the same time, from falling off the sidewalk. Fortunately, even that was avoided!

So now, it's just the heels that hurt. I think my next stop today will be Running Room for a pair of real socks for running!