Three Friends

Three Friends
Three Friends

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Spinster Beth's First 5k

I, Spinster Beth, couch-potato extraordinare, am facing my first 5k. In about 36 hours. Realistically, I expect some of this 3.1 mile course will be walked. I only started jogging at the end of August, so I'm not quite up to running 5k straight ... yet. I have made a lot of improvement over my August self, but my October self still runs at a slow pace ... say, "Snail with Tail on Fire." But even when I stop to walk, I only walk a short while, until I recover enough to continue. No quitsies!

Since starting this jogging journey, I have noticed a lot of changes about myself, physically and mentally. Physically, I've lost 14 lbs and I have ankles again. Mentally, I'm more alert, happier, and more energetic. I stand up straighter. Physically, I don't creak as much as I used to. I was afraid jogging would make my old running injury, plantar fasciitis, worse -- but it did just the opposite. My sore feet are much better, and in the morning, I don't hobble down the stairs, I just walk down. I had no idea ... I thought exercise like jogging would make these old injuries worse! Losing weight is a big part of it. I have lost about 6.5% of my mass, and for knees and ankles, that's significant!

Me, in Wales, in cooking oven at some castle -- Sept 2010

I spent much of the last four or five years making excuses to not exercise. My weight had finally settled in one place, I was happy with that. I didn't want to join the gym at work, because I'd have to haul a big backpack around. After a long day at work, the last thing I want to do is stick around longer. Etc, etc. Well, I happily haul around a big backpack now. I look forward to that time on the treadmill. Yesterday I had afternoon meetings, so I went to the gym in the middle of the day and it really got me past the afternoon sleepies! (Although I suspect the icy cold shower I had to take afterwards had more to do with waking me up ... thanks, Facilities Maintenance, for insisting there was nothing wrong with the boiler).

One great benefit of the extra activity, at least for now ... guilt-free carbohydrate consumption! I had spaghetti for dinner (a childhood favorite). I need the carbs for the run!

Me in front of some old building ... May 2010

I know eventually I'll hit that plateau, and the pounds will be harder to lose, and I'll have to go back to scrutinizing my diet. But I was starting from a point where I was eating too much, drinking too much alcohol, and not moving much ... just getting up off the couch helped! But this is not about weight loss so much as it is about health and fitness. I want my 40s to be awesome. I want to go clothes shopping and enjoy it, not endure it.

I look around me at work, at older women (say, late 50s to 60s) and I see three different types; impeccably groomed, stick-thin career women who wear suits and 50s hairstyles every day; overweight, sad women who stare at the floor and wear short, unflattering haircuts and elastic-banded clothing; and fun, funky, happy women who go gray with defiance and laugh at life. Guess which one I want to be? 

Me in Anne Hathaway's garden, England (Sept 2010)
So, Slick and I will be at the starting line (or behind 300 people) at 0900 Friday morning. Wish us luck!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Friendship's Next Adventure

Hello, I’m Slick.  Okay, it is not my real name, but I am not yet comfortable with all the full disclosure on the internet. Anyway…I am a happily married 39-year-old mother of a six-year-old girl. I work full-time and am fortunate to have a job I mostly enjoy and a flexible work schedule.  About a year ago I had a chance to go to Rome for several days and in preparation I tried on all my capri pants and none of them fit.  I went out and bought a couple of pairs in a larger size and promised myself that I would lose weight as soon as I returned from Rome.  One year later, I pulled out my summer clothes again and realized I still couldn’t fit in my capri pants and my new ones were getting a little snug.  That week I joined Weight Watchers and haphazardly began going to the gym.  Within the first seven weeks on Weight Watchers I met my 5% goal.  However I realized if I worked out I could be doing so much better.  Towards that effort I have joined a gym, am training to reduce my 5k time and signed up to run the Rock n Roll half-marathon in March 2012.

I’m Tillie, a 35-year old stay-at-home/work-from-home mom with five children. My children are 11, 9, 6, 2 and 6 months and the top three are homeschooled. This leaves me with very little time to go out for the sole purpose of exercising. I try hard to find ways to incorporate exercise in with my day-to-day tasks.  With this method, I get plenty of “strength training.” I also try to eat a healthy pesci-vegetarian diet (though my sweet tooth is a definite liability!) The area I need to do the most work in is cardio. I can get in a two-hour walk and never get an elevated heart rate. It is hard to walk fast when you’re watching the world with a two-year-old. “They” say it takes 40 days to form new habits. My goal over the next 40 days is to get up and get moving for at least 45 minutes each day to kick-start my lungs and heart. For all the rest my children are my workout center!

I am Spinster Beth, a 42-year old single woman with no children. I have a desk job and sedentary hobbies such as knitting, spinning yarn, and reading. In August this year, after turning 42 (and gaining 10 pounds in the last year), I decided I needed to change my lifestyle. I started with Cool Running’s Couch-to-5K plan, and though I didn’t quite get up to 5K in 8 weeks, I have made great progress–I can run most of 3 miles, but still have to stop and walk a bit. I lost 11 pounds in about 9 weeks, and I would like to continue that trend. My goal is to run a 5K, without stopping to walk, by May 2012. I believe this is a fairly simple goal, so I’ll add more to it: I want to become healthy enough to stop taking blood pressure and cholesterol medicine. Like Tillie, I am a pesci-vegetarian. I nonetheless have very high cholesterol if left untreated. I want to conquer those high numbers through exercise. Overall, I want to be much healthier in my 40s than I was in my 30s. I am on the right track, and intend staying there.

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