March 1, 2012

Workouts: February

"In the depths of winter, I discovered there was in me an invincible summer."
Albert Camus

One of my all-time favorite quotes, and my guiding mantra this month, for sure. According to the calendar, this is winter, but after spending the past three in cold and windy Chicago, I've definitely appreciated California and every moment I've been spending outdoors in dresses, capris, and shirt-sleeve shirts.

The quote is also perfect in a figurative sense, as I've spent this past month finding my way out of the difficult place I was in (health-wise) last semester. I struggled for a few months, but over the past 29 days, I've made some huge moves. I've been trying to live fully and entirely, focusing on everything that is wonderful now and everything that I hope to accomplish in both the short- and long-term.

There were struggles, for sure - huge gaps of no exercising after the loss of my bike - but I got my act together, and for the first time in several months, I'm not starting a month at 198 (or higher). It's not what it could have been if I hadn't slowed down/backpedaled (no pun intended) after the bike situation, but I'm pleased with where I am. More than the number on the scale, I am happy to feel in control again of my eating, and I'm feeling positive about continuing to make progress in the right direction.

When I first started getting healthy in July 2010, conditions were perfect. I didn't have to worry about if/where I would be working, I was comfortable in the place where I was living, and most important of all, I was ready. It was a "now or never" moment, and I immersed myself entirely in the opportunity. Conditions may never be that perfect again, but I'm learning how to make the most of the opportunities I've been given. I'm in control of my eating because I feel my best when my body is nourished. I'm staying active because my body was made to move, and I'm honoring it by working it out.

Every bite of food, every step of every mile - they are apology letters to my body.
I'm sorry I hurt you, but here - let me help you recover. Let me make you strong. Let's be powerful. And I promise, I'll never hurt you like that again.
For March, I'm going to continue to focus on being the dieter and not the athlete, because clearly what I am doing is working for me. I ran 31.68 miles in February, with no run longer than 10K. While I had a bike, I biked a good amount - 114.3 miles - but it was never an attempt to nullify a binge, so I'm very happy. My eating is in control, my body is in motion, and everything right now is quite good.

I definitely miss long runs, though. There's this terrific disconnect that comes with distance running. After the first few miles, I stop thinking about the act of running and my mind can wander a bit, unfiltered and without any distractions. Sometimes deep thoughts, sometimes to-do lists for home and work, sometimes remembering funny moments or good times with friends and family. It's a chance for some quality time between me and the pavement.

So, I have a plan: I'm going to keep focused on weight loss for now, until the end of the semester - a solid three more months to work towards my healthy weight range (135-155). Then, in May/June, I'm going to focus on maintenance for a few months. Eating well, keeping up with working out, but not actively trying to lose weight.

Because I made a big committment a few weeks ago that I've got to get ready for.

Ho. Ly. Cow. This is going to happen. And when it does, I want to be in the best shape I can be.

"Not actively trying to lose weight" doesn't mean a no-holds-barred free falling plunge off the edge. It means eating like an athlete and not a dieter. More calories as need be, and reintegrating certain foods that I typically abstain from. That means sandwiches on bread, not cupcakes for dinner. Eating like an athlete means taking care of the body just as much as eating like a dieter, just with a different focus. Binges are unhealthy for both situations, so I'm glad to be back on track with getting that under control.

So, there you have it. February was a learning experience for me, and voilĂ , the big reveal: I'm registered for the Chicago Marathon in October. Having specific and measureable goals helped me get back on track this past month, for sure. Certainly looking forward to what the next month brings!

What about you? How was your February? Any races, events, or challenges coming up?


Taryn said...

Awesome February...and great goals coming up!!! Way to go!

Kelliann said...

You are a rock star! Looks like an awesome race! Great Plan! As always, you are inspiring to read!

Chubby McGee said...

"Every bite of food, every step of every mile - they are apology letters to my body.
I'm sorry I hurt you, but here - let me help you recover. Let me make you strong. Let's be powerful. And I promise, I'll never hurt you like that again."

I friggin' LOVE this post of yours today. I do the same thing when I workout! It's nice to know that we both realize the damage we've done to our bodies and that we're striving to put right what we did. It's so wonderfully hopeful. :)

As for my February, it was fantastic. I can't wait to heal my body more in March, too.

Anonymous said...

I love that quote, I'm going to steal it! Thanks for sharing.

February was a lot of mini self-challenges for me. No sugar, no booze, I started a 10 day juice fast on the 25th.... I still have to do little things that last 10-30 days. I need to get a grip on the big picture and every day healthy lifestyle, or maybe I'm already there but just calling it mini challenges.... who knows? One foot in front of the other, that is all I can do sometimes.

Best wishes on the marathon, so happy for you!

Denise said...

Go you! It seems like you've found a good routine right now and that is awesome. Also awesome: the Chicago Marathon. You can do it!

This March I am going to go to the gym more often. I have an appointment with a personal trainer tomorrow to go over my ultimate goals and figure out a game plan.

Fit Mom said...

I will either be doing a 5k or a 10k in April. I havent decided what distance to do yet.

My biggest challenge I face right now is getting to my goal weight. I am so close! Just about 5 lbs and I am there!

Good luck with everything and good luck with your race!

Another fun one to check out in the Chicago area is the color run. I live in Michigan and Chicago is the closest one. It looks like SO much Fun!!

Meghan said...

With all your working out you'll have to eat like an athlete! You can do it, but make sure you get enough calories girl!

Anonymous said...

LOVE the apology letter! Great idea. Glad you're doing so well!

Taryn said...

Wow! Good for you! I'm certianly impressed that you're going to be running the Chicago Marathon...but I kinda had a feeling you would. You are awesome like that!

February for me was a month of getting back on track. After a few months of losing only 2lbs a month (yes you read that right), I'm back on track and am half way through the C25K program.

Ashley said...

A marathon? How exciting! I'm registering for the Disney World half, it's in January. I'm really looking forward to reading more about your weight loss and training! Good luck, I KNOW you can do this! :)

Shannon said...

I know I'm always saying this, but....great post! I just love your blog! Wow, a marathon - so awesome! I have no doubt that you will be more than ready come October!

CarolineCalcote said...

That is so exciting Mary! Can't wait to follow along with your training and read about the experience. Oh, and don't think I didn't see that little Pinterest comment about the huge peanut butter cup. What, are you going to whip it up in the van between your Ragnar legs? LOL. I won't hold you to it.

Carissa said...

Yay for the chicago marathon! I love your apology letter. Sounds like February was really great and March is set up to be even better! Good luck! I also had an awesome february! I conquered my goals above what I had set an plan to do the same in March! ;)

Karen said...

I love your optimism and how peaceful you sound. I'm not there right now and want to be. I used to watch Mr. Rogers. So for today... it will be a beautiful day in my neighborhood.

Ann said...

Yessssss, SO excited for you, Mary!!!

Tim said...

Oh my god, the Chicago marathon! Hell mofo yeah!!!! I am so excited for you!!!