Thursday, September 24, 2009

Yesterday I tested out a new route. Instead of running down 16th and around up Chancellor, I ran up 16th and around the back of campus along Northwest Marine Drive. I've been looking for a route where I don't have to double back for the last 15 minutes to make a full hour of running, and I thought that running up 16th around the back of campus and then down Chancellor and back up either University or 16th depending on how long it took me might do the trick. It did.

I ended up coming back up University because 16th was too far (or I'm just still too slow). It is, however, good to know that when I get faster I can extend the route by going up 16th instead. It was a beautiful run. I headed out at about 6:00pm just as the sun was starting to set. For anyone who doesn't know UBC Northwest Marine Drive runs around the back of campus along cliffs that edge onto the water, through the trees I could see the sun sparkling off the ocean, and the mountains rising up around Howe Sound. It was a great run, and I once again felt unbelievably lucky to live in Vancouver.

I realized the other day that I've been running nearly a 10k everytime I go out, particularly when I run the full hour, at roughly a ten minute mile pace (still quite slow, I know, but give me time and another 25-30 pounds), I'm running about 6 miles, a 10k translates to 6.1 miles. Therefore I am thinking of trying to find a half marathon in February. Trouble is I don't think there is a half marathon in February, the earliest half marathon I could find is the one that runs along with the Vancouver marathon in May. I could conceivably pull of a half marathon in November, but it runs with the New Balance Fall Classic, which is the 10k I would like to do, and while a part of me is thinking maybe I should skip the 10k and move straight to the half, the rational, take it slow, don't push your body too hard, don't try and train for a half marathon in six weeks side of me is telling me not to. Maybe I can find a February half somewhere else, or maybe there's a group of crazy people out there somewhere who purposefully run a half marathon somewhere in southwest BC because they enjoy slogging through rain. If so, sign me up.

In other news I weighed myself this week and I think I've broken my plateau, on Monday night I weighed 166 lbs, four below that dreaded 170 I've been stuck at for a total weightloss of 48lbs. Twenty-six pounds to go! I must admit, I never thought I'd actually get this close. When I started I didn't think this was possible, I thought I would give up. But now, with everyday, with every added pound, I feel more and more certain that I will make it.

Today I drove my boyfriend to work, and am now planning to go back to sleep for half an hour, then go for a run before cleaning the house (which desperately needs it), heating up some soup for lunch, and then heading to work at three, I'm closing tonight which means I work till 11:30... Yuck. Oh well, at least I have the next three days off after that.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Today I was again reminded of how lucky I am to live in Vancouver. A few months ago my boyfriend used to come running with me, not always, as he doesn't enjoy it nearly as much as I do, but a few times a week we'd run down to the beach and then slog back up the hill for a challenge. Then he started having knee problems, went to physio, and was told that he had to slow down on the running and run flats only.

So today, we did something I have wanted to do since I started really running nearly about four months ago, we ran around the false creek inlet. We considered doing the entire seawall and then realized its about 20k from Granville Island to the Vancouver convention center and we decided to save that for my half marathon training in a few months. Our route around the False Creek however, was almost exactly five miles and almost perfectly flat and therefore a good way for us to see how his knee held up. We drove down to Kits, parked the car, and set off. Today was beautiful, sunny, slightly cool, with a bit of wind and clouds hanging around the mountains making them look both stunning and ominous, similar to those pictures you see of fog covered mountains in Asia. The mountains were beautiful, and we ran by the Olympic village appreciating the really nice landscaping that's been done around the area. we ran around science world, past GM place and BC place and then along the downtown seawall, surrounded by luxury condo-towers, we finished off just after the Burrard street bridge and grabbed one of the little mini-ferries across the Granville Island where Basic Stock sweet-potato soup finished off the afternoon perfectly.

About halfway through our run, the boy turned to me and asked me how I was doing, I smiled and responded awesome. I was awesome, I had a perfect pace, the view was beautiful, and the weather perfect. I felt happy, elated, and completely content. A year ago what I did today would have been impossible. Simply walking it would have exhausted me, and what's more, I would have had no interest in doing it. A year ago I was dissatisfied. I was dissatisfied with my relationship, with my life, with where I was going, and I did not know why. A year ago I decided I was done being overweight, that it was time to stop eating so much and start changing my life. Today I fully realized just how much my life has changed.

Today I chose to spend my Sunday afternoon outside, on a run with my boyfriend. I chose to because I knew it would be a fun thing to do together. A year ago my definition of fun would have been different, in fact I don't think I even knew, a year ago that I could feel this good, that I could sprint to the end of a five mile run a huge smile on my face. People tell me all the time how good I look now, and I smile and say thank you, but what I really want to say is: "if only you could see how I feel inside, because how good I look outside is nothing compared to how damn good I wake up feeling every day."

I have changed my life, and it is so much better in every single way today than it was a year ago.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I have had a week of fantastic runs. Wednesday I ran in the rain. At first it was just a light drizzle, then about half-way through the downpour began. I had no choice but to keep going as I run a loop and was half an hour from home. I felt like a child again, I splashed in puddles and ran with a huge smile on my face as water dripped from my hair, my eyes, and my chin. When I got home I thoroughly resembled a drowned rat but I didn't care, I was cold, soaked, and exhilarated.

On Thursday I got home from work at about 5, exhausted, my feet hurt, my back hurt, I wasn't sure if I could push through the hour long run I wanted to complete. At about 6:30 I headed out, new playlist in hand, and went for it. I started fast and huffed and puffed through the first ten minutes until my body got used to the pace. Somewhere along the way I got lost in the running. I didn't think about where I was going or what time it was or how much time I had left, I just ran, my feet moving beneath me, hitting the pavement caught in a perfect runner's high.

I took Friday off. I've pushed my run time from 45 minutes to an hour and my legs felt exhausted. I figured it was best to give my muscles a rest. I sat at home after work feeling the muscles in my legs, looking at how much straighter the line of my leg is, where it used to bulge weirdly near my knee, feeling the slight tiredness in my legs from the week of hard runs.

Later that day I pulled on my current/elliot skinny jeans, a black tank top gifted to me from my boyfriend's step mom, and pulled out an old pair of boots and a loose knit sweater I haven't worn in years that now finally fits the way it was supposed to (loose, casually draped), and went to dinner with the boy. Looking at myself in the mirror before leaving I critically considered whether or not I was pulling off the jeans tucked into mid-calf high boots look that I have coveted on so many others, and I did. I really, really did.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Yesterday's run was awesome. I reversed my usual route and went in the opposite direction, and for whatever reason it was the best run I've had in weeks. My legs felt springy, my stride easy and I kept a 6 mile an hour pace (which I realize is not very fast, but it is fast for me) pace while keeping an even breath. It was perfect, it was the kind of run that sticks with you, that convinces you to go out when you're tired and it is raining and you just want to stay in and sit on the couch.

Coincidentally today it is raining, and I am heading out for my run as soon as I finish this post. The question currently is do I take the rain jacket or not. It is just light rain, and the jacket is very bulky and despite being a shell, it is hot, well hotter than just running in a tank top is. On the other hand it does provide me with a safe place to store my iphone, which is 1. expensive 2. my favorite thing ever 3. not something I feel like having to replace. Furthermore if the light rain turns to heavy rain I will be glad I took the rain jacket. Regardless, I'll probably run a the same route today as I did yesterday.

I've realized I need to make a new workout mix as my old one bores me, and I find myself getting frustrated with the songs which makes me frustrated with my run which makes me start checking the time every two minutes which makes for a very long, and unhappy hour. Maybe I should do that before I go on my run.

On a food related note I am in love with Kashi go lean cereal, it is packed with fiber and protein, and a half-cup mixed with yogurt (I hate milk), provides me with a filling 215 calorie breakfast. I only wish they sold fage greek yogurt in Canada, because it is my absolute obsession. Unfortunately it can only be found in the states. I admit I am tempted to drive down to Bellingham and buy some from Trader Joes and then sneak it back into Canada, but it seems like a lot of effort.

In other news I successfully onsighted a 10.c on Monday night. It was amazing, it felt amazing. I was watching other people climb, and struggle with moves that I can now do. I feel so powerful, and so capable. I remember when I first started training almost a year ago, I was talking to my trainer about feeling frustrated at my inability to climb difficult routes, and he told me that in time I'd be able to. At the time, unable to lift myself a half inch when trying to do a pull-up, I doubted him, now a year later, I know he was right. I never dreamed I'd be able to lift my body-weight with my arms, that I'd be able to effortlessly (ok, not really effortless, but regardless) lift myself over a ledge, but I can, and it feels fantastic.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Yesterday morning I woke up early, drove my boyfriend's mom to the bus station because she was heading up to Whistler for the weekend, and then dropped my boyfriend off downtown at work before heading home myself. Yesterday was one of those jaw-droppingly beautiful, absolutely take your breath away, oh my god I can't believe I actually live here kind of days. It was sunny, warm, and perfectly, perfectly clear out. The mountains were perfect, the water, was perfect and I realized not for the first time how deeply in love with this city I am.

As I was driving home I saw so many people out running on Saturday morning, through the streets of downtown, across the Burrard street bridge (something I've decided I need to do even though it isn't close to home, because the view from there is beautiful), up Point Grey road and I realized that besides the view, the people, and the overall fantastic atmosphere, one of the things I really adore about Vancouver is just how active everyone is. It was 10 am on a Saturday morning and I saw more people than I could count sweating it out on their daily 3/5/however many miles runs, it was inspiring. When I got home, I didn't even hesitate, I changed, tied on my shoes and went out for my own hour long run. The smile never left my face, my stride felt springy, and at the end of it I felt like I could have just kept right on going.

There's an atmosphere in Vancouver, a love of activity, and the outdoors, and a general desire for health that I think works for me. It motivates me, it makes me want to be one of those people, out running mid morning on weekends, it makes me want to go backpacking, go climbing, and just stand there in awe of the natural beauty that surrounds me.

In other exciting news I climbed a 10.c on Thursday night. I not only climbed it, I climbed it without falling off. What was even better, I knew I could do it, every move felt solid, every time I went for a hold and my hand wrapped around it I knew without absolute certainty that I would be able to continue pulling myself up. My muscles felt strong and capable, and when I looked down from the top and called for tension so I could get lowered it was with a sense of happiness and pride at having made it. As my boyfriend said, it's amazing what not having to drag an extra nearly 50 pounds up a wall will do for you. Hey, it's about 25 lbs per hand!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

I have hit a plateau. I guess I should be thankful that it didn't happen sooner, as most people hit one after about 20 pounds, but this one is frustrating. I have been stuck at about 170 pounds for the last almost two months. I've seen improvements in the way I look, and in my speed and endurance when running, which makes me think I'm losing weight, but every time I step onto the scale it still reads at just about 170.

If I am honest with myself, I think its a food problem. I think I really need to buckle down for a couple weeks and refocus food-wise. I've been giving into the things I want lately, I've been drinking that Snapple, or eating that cookie, and having that extra snack while at work. I had stopped doing that all of last year, and it needs to stop again. I want to lose these last 30 pounds, and it isn't going to happen by eating the way I used to.

I find myself apprehensive about these last 30 pounds lately. I mean, it's still a lot of weight, and taking off the last 30 is likely going to be harder than the first 45, my body was more willing to give up weight when I was tipping the scales at over 200 then it is now. What if I can't do it, and what if I give up completely and just let the weight come back on, slowly, pound by pound, until I'm 214 pounds again? This fear isn't allayed by the fact that my runs the last two days have been slow, painful, and boring. I think I need to get off the treadmill and go outside again... I find I have an easier time running outside to music, than to television on a treadmill. But that makes me nervous, because winter's coming and I will run in the rain, but I'm not hardcore enough to run on snow. That's not a problem if the weather this year acts as it normally does in Vancouver: one week of snow, and six months of rain as I can gym-it for a week... but if it's anything like last year I'm going to be slogging along on a treadmill for a solid six weeks.

On the flip-side, I am excited about losing these last thirty pounds. About running this 10k in November, a half marathon in the spring and a full one come summer. I am excited about fitting into the clothes I've dreamed of fitting into and feeling even more awesome about myself than I do now. I can't wait to cross the finish line next summer, having just run 26.2 miles (because I will finish) and have my boyfriend waiting for me, because he always knew I could accomplish this. On Thursday I ran my usual run (outside), and then headed over to the UBC track for the last 10 minutes of my run, and did a mile, as fast as I could considering it was the very end of my run. I completed it in 9 minutes and 32 seconds. So not really that fast compared to most other runners, but for me, who never ran a mile in under 11 minutes in middle school. For me, who was that person walking at the very back of the pack, it was a huge accomplishment, and knowing how far I've come motivates me to go even further.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

So last week we were down in San Francisco. We went for a concert and to offer some help to my dad who is currently cleaning out my old house so that we can finally rent it. We drove down, in two days, and back up in two days. In the three days we were in San Francisco, we visited two different climbing gyms, and I went for two runs at the unbelievably well equipped San Francisco JCC with Kathy.

I realize I haven't mentioned climbing at all on here, and it's also a good segway into what I wanted to write about. I started climbing almost two years ago now after my boyfriend gave me an intro-course for Christmas (he's been climbing since he was 15). I put off the course for quite a while, terrified that the gym wouldn't have harnesses big enough for my thighs and that I would be too heavy for my belayer. I finally sucked it up and registered for the course. I had to use a fully adjustable harness and my belayer occasionally had to tie into the ground, but I was immediately addicted. Since then we've been regulars at the Vancouver climbing gym. It's a great workout, and one visit to the gym reveals the masses of beautifully sculpted long, toned muscles on those regular climbers.

I admit, I struggled with climbing. Despite climbing at least once a week, and more frequently twice, my weight limited my ability to haul myself up any route greater than a 5.9 (in non-climber speak, not very hard). A few weeks ago, the boy and I went climbing with his two best friends and I got to talking with one of them about whether or not my weight loss had affected my climbing. It has. It definitely has. Things that used to be impossible, are doable, I climbed half a 5.10c before falling off of it the other day... I could never have done that at 214 pounds. What's more, my ability to climb harder routes makes me feel strong, capable and like I want to reach my goals so I can finally climb that 5.11. So that I too can have those long lean muscles, so I can be one of those girls with the great arms.

On a completely different note being home was awesome. I saw all these people I haven't seen in ages and they all told me I looked fantastic. See, its weird because up here I just stared at a new store, and none of the people there ever knew me when I was fat, I can tell them, but I'm not sure they really know what it means, and everyone who has known me for a year has seen the weight come off slowly, and while most of them will tell me that I look fantastic, the reactions I got from people I haven't seen since November was awesome. Their reactions gave me so much validation and so much motivation to get to where I want to be.

Anyway, I'm out for today, its work, then the gym, then climbing tonight. I love days like today, my muscles feel completely exhausted at the end, yet unbelievably strong and capable.