12/23/12

Confidence

“Even if you don’t feel confident, fake it. Time after time, I have seen a marginal runner act the role of confident competitor and eventually become one. “

Allan Lawrence, The Self-Coached Runner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This quote showed up in my e-mail box today from Runner’s World and it really spoke to me. I struggle with my confidence when racing sometimes. My training partner has said to me, “It’s what’s between your ears that matters more than anything on race day” and I think he’s got an excellent point.

If you show up at the starting line fully believing in yourself, you’re more likely to have a great race.  When you arrive with doubt in your mind, it cripples your ability to do your best. So, I encourage you to choose to think and behave like a winner!

Practice visualizing things going your way on race day, review your training log to see that you have done the work and deserve a good race since you’re earned it!

Believe in yourself and let the hard work you’ve done in training do the rest!

Happy Running!

Christie 🙂

12/21/12

What is Your Body Fat Percentage?

A friend shared these fascinating comparison MRI photos of two women at different weights – one at 250 lbs and obese and another of one at 120 lbs and a healthy weight for the height.  Since I went from around 200 lbs to a current weight of 122 lbs, this was hitting kind of close to home to me and was a strong reminder of how much I’ve changed my body by eating an appropriate amount of food (vs eating everything in sight) and adding exercise several days per week to my lifestyle!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week I went to BSU for a body composition test (skin fold caliper test using the Jackson/Pollock method) to see where my body fat % is at these days.  I wish I had done the same test earlier in my weight loss so I’d have some interesting data about what changes were happening in my body as I lost weigh and became fitter.  Unfortunately, the last time I had this test was when I was a student at BSU and was fairly fit at around age 22. I was doing a little bit of recreational running back then 2-3 times a week, never more than 2-3 miles at a time, taking a step aerobics class twice a week, riding my neon pink mountain bike to school each day and walking all over campus to get to my classes. I also had little time to eat as properly as I should have, so my calorie intake was probably not ideal. I weighed 107 lbs at 5″3′ and had a tested body composition of 18% body fat.  I was told I was in the “athletic” category at the time.

Unfortunately, that healthy phase of my life was short-lived. By the time I was 26, I had gotten married (to a wonderful man who loved me as I was and made me feel I didn’t have to starve myself to feel beautiful in his eyes) gained about 15 lbs and stopped exercising. Over the following 7 years, I went through 5 pregnancies gaining an average of 40 lbs per baby and by the final month of my pregnancy with my 5th child, I weighed about 200 lbs on my 5″3″ body and was a far-cry from the fit, college girl I’d once been! I didn’t have a fat composition test done, but I can tell you that I went from being a size 4 in college to a tight size 14!

It wasn’t until my youngest turned a year and a half old that I finally decided that enough was enough and I was ready to take back my life! Though I did lose the first 30 lbs pretty easily after my 5th baby’s birth just from childbirth and nursing, I was left at around 170 lbs which is considered obese for a woman at 5″3′! Those last 50 lbs were not easy to lose!

If I had a fat % test done at that point, I’m sure the results would have been very sobering. I also wonder what a photo x-ray would have looked like for me at that point. Seeing this photo and all of the white areas (the accumulated fat both around organs and just beneath the skin) really makes it clear that being overweight or obese affects us more than just by how we feel about ourselves in a bathing suit!

My results this week are that I’m about a 21.24% body fat, which is considered to be in the “fit” category for a 40 year old woman.  20% and below is the “athletic” category that I once was in – about half a lifetime ago! That’s not too bad! I think that if I work on cleaning up my diet more (I still struggle with eating too much processed, junk food and fast food – though in much smaller portions these days than I used to eat) and if I add some strength training to my weekly routine, I think I can get back into the athletic category again! That is my 2013 health goal!

I think looking at this photo is a strong reminder of where I once was and where I never want to be again! I hope to continue to life an active, healthy life and to continue to encourage others to do the same!

I know it isn’t easy to make the time to workout especially when you’re a parent or have a job. But, the health benefits of making the time to exercise and make conscious efforts to eat better (and less!) will improve your quality of life, your overall health and your longevity! It’s worth the extra effort!  I did it and so can you! 🙂

* I did a little research to find out more about this photo. This is what I learned:

This photo is from a National Geographic article from Aug. 2004 entitled ” The Heavy Cost of Fat.

Here is how it was taken:

“Two women, (one 250 pounds, 5’6″, 40.3 BMI, the other 120 pounds, 5’5″, 20 BMI), spent five hours under a state-of-the-art open scanner to get a high resolution magnetic resonance imaging scan (MRI).”

 

 

12/20/12

Run to Beat Yourself

It’s easy to get caught up in the competitive nature of racing and focus too much on reeling in runners along the course. Remember – the only person you are really competing with is YOU.  Train smart. Race smart. And if you do things right and focus on smashing  your old PR’s, chances are you’ll be reeling in quite a few runners along the way anyway! I’ll try and keep that in mind at my next race! 🙂

12/17/12

12 Miles on 12/12/12 with my 12 Year Old

My son, Wayne Jr has a budding passion for running! I’ve seen it in him for several years now and I’m always looking for ways to fan the flame of this new love in the hopes that he will grow up to be as crazy in love with the sport as I am!  When I woke up on 12/12/12 I didn’t have any concrete running plans, but felt I should do something to commemorate the day.  As I was making my morning cappuccino, I mentioned to Jr, who’s 12, that I was thinking of going for a run and I wanted to know if he’d like to join me. A huge smile spread across his face and he excitedly asked, “How far, Mom?”  That’s when it hit me: He’s 12!!! It’s 12/12/12 and I was planning on running 12 miles – a distance he’d never done in his life.   I said, “I’m going 12. Want to do the whole thing with me?!” He leaped up from the chair, did a fist pump in the air and yelled out, “WOO HOO!”  😀 Talk about enthusiastic running partner!

I loaded up the Nathan with lots of snacks: peanut butter sandwiches, salty chips, Shot Bloks, mint chocolate GUs and we each carried a hand bottle with Gatorade. The sun was shining, the sky was blue and full of fluffy clouds and we enjoyed one another’s company as we took off.  I let him set the pace, but encouraged him to walk as much as he needed since his longest run in the last 11 months was only 3 miles!

Jr learned one little lesson: If your running partner is also your homeschool Mom, she may spring spelling pop quizzes on you to distract you from the miles. She will also cheer enthusiastically when you get the words correct! 🙂  I’d brought along a little notepad and a pen and we made a game of writing down every single street name that we passed in our neighborhood. There were 27 that we passed, most of them named after uncommon plants, shrubs and flowers like Quamash, Nasturtium and Firethorn (Jr’s favorite!) I promised him that he could google them all when we got back home so he could know what each one meant.

As we were running downhill together, he said to me, “Mom, in Mine Sweeper you run faster if you LEAP run!” So, of course, we both started leap running down the hill, laughing and having a wonderful time.  When we’d pass street signs next to the sidewalk, he would grab them and twirl around them.  When we’d run under crab apple trees, he’d say, “Duck, Mom! Those are enemy bombs and they’re about to fall!”  It made me laugh. He made me smile – happy to enjoy those 12 miles with my son who one day soon may not think it’s cool to be seen in public with his Mom. 🙂  For now, he’s still a playful boy, full of life and energy and determination! I will enjoy every moment!

He finished up the 12.12 miles with his fists pumped in the air and a big grin on his face! It was the perfect way to celebrate such a unique date!

12/17/12

Seeking Inner Peace

I run for a variety of reasons: I want to be healthy.  I love the energy my runs bring to me. I am trying to be a good example to my five children. But, if I had to give you just one main reason why I continue to lace up my shoes at 4:30 am a few days a week, I would confess to you that I do it for the mental clarity – the calm, the untangling of my emotions and my mind that comes about as I climb mountains or pound the pavement. Running is the antidote to all of the stresses, the worries, the “to do” lists that taunt me with so many unchecked items, the noise and hustle and bustle of the holidays — just all of it!

When I start to propel myself forward, stride-by-stride, hear the steady breathing as my lungs fill and empty with air, feel the wind in my face, see the stars above me or the ground beneath my feet, I fall into sort of a trance.  Running is a very soothing sensation much like the feeling of rocking in a rocking chair or swaying back and forth in a hammock, I suppose. It’s rhythmic. It’s hypnotic.

I feel the stiffness in my shoulders and neck start to loosen up, I inhale fresh air, pause and the worries of the world leave as I exhale – releasing those things that hold me back. Sometimes, alone out on the trail or on the road the troubles in my head and heart find release and tears start to flow down my cheeks. I talk to myself, sometimes I say out loud the things I cannot and should not say – I just let it all out and it feels so good to have a way to release all of the pent-up emotion as a mighty tidal wave as I cover the miles.

Running really is cheaper than therapy. A personal confessional waiting for you to come and lay your burdens down – and then finish up the run feeling so much lighter and less weighed down.

Go for a run today. Don’t listen to any music. Listen to your soul. Let me know how it went.

Happy Running,

Christie