Safety First

Most days, I think it’s great to be a woman. Today was not one of those days.

I went to the gym today and here’s what happened. The gym was empty except for me:

*I notice a guy walk in. He doesn’t immediately use equipment. He lingers behind me (treadmills face windows)*

Me, thinking: What is he doing?

*Guy walks out, then back in. Lingers.*

Me: Stay calm, keep walking.

*Guy goes back out again, male friend walks in with original guy*

Me: What the hell is going on? Are they working out or what?

*Guys linger behind me*

Me: Focus on walking. There are cameras in here. But is anyone actually monitoring them? Why aren’t these guys just working out?

*From reflection on a TV in front of me, I notice that those guys finally start working out. First guy stops and lingers by the door.*

Me: for fuck’s sake…what is he doing?

*I look over at him quickly in case I need to identify him later. I keep an eye out on the other gym door and begin to plan how to get out of there fast. Another woman walks in and I feel slight relief, but fight or flight has kicked in*

Me: I want to finish my cardio but I’m too heightened. The other machines are too close to those guys. Should I leave now, with just this other lady in here with those 2 guys? Those guys may be harmless. I’ll wait.

*Another woman walks in. I damn near jump off the treadmill and leave*

I hate this. I hate that I couldn’t finish my workout because I was too concerned about those guys. I just want to exercise without worrying about my safety or being hit on. Years ago I was sexually harassed at a gym and nothing was done so I quit going. I hadn’t thought much about that until today.

I checked my Garmin later and you can see when my heart rate spiked. I didn’t change speed.

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Fast and Furious

I’ve had my Garmin 225 for about a week and I love that thing. There have been some growing pains though. I did my first outdoor run over the weekend and before the run I had created an interval routine of 50 seconds sprinting/70 seconds brisk walk. When I set up the intervals, I thought it was 10 run/10 walk, for a total of 20.

Nope.

It was 20 run/20 walk. I made it to interval 16 before my legs were exhausted. It was a little frustrating but I was proud of myself for how far I made it.

A feature of Garmin’s app is a challenge group. DH’s friend invited me to the group last week and you are ranked within the group according to how many miles you run or walk weekly. Being competitive, after we finished the run I wanted to walk the same route to gain extra miles. I made it to third place, out of 8 people.

Another feature is a display of my cadence and pace. Pace is getting better but my cadence needs work. One thing I consistently keep doing is starting out too fast then slogging through the rest of the run. After doing a little research, I’m shortening the intervals to 30 seconds run/30 seconds walk to train myself to slow down a bit and maintain a steadier pace.

I’ve used my watch 3 times, 2 treadmill runs and 1 outdoor run. The treadmill has actually been easier because I just throw on my headphones and go. I don’t like wearing headphones when I run outside and on Saturday it felt like I had a million distractions in addition to being mindful of when my watch vibrated to signal the start of the next segment.

I took off today and yesterday to rest my legs and get some things done but I’m hoping to get back into it tomorrow.

New Plan

DH and I spent a few days in his hometown (much needed!) recently and while we were there, we met up with one of his friends from high school. His friend got into running earlier this year and we were comparing notes on times and distances. That conversation, plus DH gifting me with a subscription to Runner’s World has inspired me to up my running game. For now I’m going to continue with running about 8 miles weekly but I’m saying goodbye to my Fitbit. As handy as it has been, I don’t care much about my sleep as it’s improved after I stopped drinking coffee (more on that in a second). I also have a good sense of my calories so I’m not seeing it as beneficial anymore. Instead, I want to invest in a good fitness tracker so that I can more easily track my pace. So far I’ve been looking at Garmin models. We’re planning to run our next race in probably February so I’ll have plenty of time to improve my speed. I’m excited and feel more focused!

As far as the coffee thing goes, I had my first cup in 23 days while we were on our trip. It felt like I had swallowed lit candles. My acid reflux hasn’t been that bad in quite some time and I suspect it’s because I stopped drinking coffee. Makes me sad since I do enjoy coffee but going back to abstaining may continue helping my sleep and keeping my reflux in check.

Reset

So now that birthday shenanigans are totally over, it’s time to reset my health habits again. The fall is pretty difficult since there are so many birthdays and holidays, and we typically go on vacation in the fall. We have 2 trips coming up in the next 2 months, including one in about a month, so I really want to zero in on better habits and ideally lose about 10 pounds. A big part of that is working on my sleep schedule. According to my fitbit I average 6.5 hours of sleep during the week and 7-7.5 on weekends. I think stress from work coupled with recent bad eating habits have thrown things off. We have a bunch of tea, including chamomile, so I’ll see this week if that will help me to get to sleep sooner.

I’m also going to start tracking my food again to make sure I don’t lose focus. Usually when I have a solid deadline for losing weight tracking my food helps. Breakfast this week will be smoothies with half a bagel. The smoothie is only 166 calories and one of my problems before was eating too little, so I tossed in half a bagel. Morning snack is a serving of Triscuits. Lunch is a turkey burger with a side salad and my afternoon snack is carrots and hummus. Dinners this week include stuffed mushrooms and breakfast for dinner.

In terms of working out, I’m going to shoot for 3 times a week, with 2 days of cardio-focused workouts and one day of strength-focused workouts. Hopefully I can stick to all of this, but the biggest challenge will be sleeping more. Stay tuned.

Drop it Like it’s Hot

Phew.

We had our latest 5k over the weekend and it was brutal. I forgot to eat something before heading out and paid for it during the race. Everything started out okay but around mile 2 I began feeling dizzy, to the point I was having trouble seeing. I had some digestive issues earlier that morning and thought I may have been dehydrated (and it felt like we were running in a sauna), so I was sure to stop at the water stations. However, every time I started running again I felt dizzy. My time wasn’t great but I cut myself some slack considering I almost quit due to the dizziness. I did some research later and found out that it was possible that my blood pressure probably dropped due to low blood sugar from not eating. Important lesson learned.

Also important: I still beat my time from my first 5k! The official times were released yesterday and the split time for my first mile was way better than expected. The last 2 miles were obviously not that great but I’m still in disbelief that I beat my last race time. We’re already planning the next race, but it’ll be in a few months, when the weather isn’t so stifling.

Whirlwind

What a week. DH and I were directly affected by the hurricane. We wound up evacuating but we were definitely one of the lucky ones as we never lost power and our place had minimal damage. It was an incredibly stressful ordeal and I even lost 5 pounds last week because I typically don’t have an appetite when highly stressed. I gained some of that back though when trying to eat up perishables ahead of the storm. To compound the stress, my family was also directly affected so it felt like I was running on straight adrenaline for 4-5 days. I’m exhausted.

After eating out of primary boxes and cans the last few days, I was excited finally get some fresh stuff from the grocery store. However, the grocery stores are still devoid of perishables. It was stunning to see so many empty refrigerator and freezer cases. It could be up to a week before grocery stores are fully stocked again. I panicked a little because we have our next race very soon and we’re not really getting our nutritional needs met without having to keep eating out. We bought ready-to-eat meals from a local health food store, which was helpful, but it’s been a huge challenge to ensure we’re not eating straight carbs.

On a somewhat related side note, this week has also made me more introspective than usual. When going to each grocery store trying to find food, I thought about it’s a regular thing for some people to struggle to find healthy, affordable food. I was also very aware of how easy it was for me to go from store to store when others don’t have that kind of mobility or access. I don’t feel guilty for my privilege as I’ve worked hard to get to where I’m at, but with this storm my privilege has been a lot more apparent. Once I reset emotionally DH and I will start looking into how to best help the recovery efforts.

Final Countdown

The human mind is kinda amazing. I’ve been consistently running twice a week now directly after work. I’m usually wiped after work but telling myself that it’s just 30 minutes has been making a big different. I’m still doing intervals but starting last week I decreased my walk time and increased my run time. I still have all my run data from this year saved in an app and my pace is almost a minute faster than when I ran my first 5k in March. Our next 5k is about a month away and I’m excited. I’m considering trying to bump up my runs to 3 times a week but my legs are a bit sore from yesterday. I’m hoping to get my pace down by another minute, especially since we’re looking at another race in December. Not sure if I’m ambitious or a glutton for punishment at this point.

Here We Go Again

After our run last week, I had some minor shin pain. Due to the HSG and an extremely busy week at work, I took a week off from running. DH and I ran yesterday and I was a minute over my usual pace, in part due to an event we literally ran into, and due to wet pavement. I also tried to slow down when I began feeling shin pain but it was challenging since DH was the pacesetter. I asked him to slow down a few times but he’d eventually unconsciously speed up again. I gave up after a bit and tried to keep pace, but I’m paying for it today. It’s annoying since we’re less than 2 months from our next race, but I guess I’ll just be on the bike or elliptical this week and probably next. Such a pain in the ass. These last 2 runs probably messed up my shins too because I’ve been predominantly running on the treadmill due to the heat. After I recover from the shin pain I’ll give outdoor running another shot but hopefully all will go better. I’m super excited about this race though and we’re looking at race #3 in November!

Calm Before the Storm

DH and I had a much-needed staycation this weekend. We both had colds this week (I caught mine from him) and we had another tough work week. Plus I was feeling stressed about my HSG that’s scheduled for tomorrow. We stayed at my in-laws’ (they went out of town) and it was nice to slow down a bit and get a break from the city. We visited a friend in the area and thanks to my gregarious husband, made new friends.

Today was a little tough though. We took advantage of being near a paved trail but the humidity was stifling. We have less than 2 months until our next 5k and wanted to ramp up training. I don’t think I’ve run outside all summer and I could feel it. I ran intervals but it was challenging since it was tough to gauge my speed. Plus I was running with DH, who would periodically speed up. While running back to the house, my shins began hurting so I’ll probably take the next few days off from running to heal. I guess the one positive is that I haven’t had shin pain in months.

As far as the HSG goes, I’m nervous. And annoyed. Annoyed because someone I know announced her second pregnancy in the last 18 months (!) and I have to get this stupid thing done just to try and have 1 kid. I also have to take strong meds to hopefully prevent spasms in my tube like last time. Good thing DH and I both took tomorrow off. We’ll see how it goes but I’m really really really not looking forward to this.

Almost

Last weekend I came across Runner’s World and found an interesting running plan. DH and I have decided to do another 5k in September so I need to start training again. The plan consisted of walking briskly for 2 minutes, jogging lightly for 5 minutes, then alternating 10 minutes sprinting for 30 seconds then briskly walking for 90 seconds, with the idea of gradually increasing time sprinting and decrease time spent walking. What follows is a 2 minute casual walk to cool down. I got pretty excited and decided that I would try out the plan on Monday. That didn’t happen because I forgot I had to meet a friend after work. Tuesday was a no-go because I had to work late, but I finally got to do it on Wednesday. Running went very well, except my obnoxious neighbor came in and wanted to chat. In the middle of my work out. As I’m wearing headphones. I don’t know if he has poor situational awareness or just didn’t care that he was interrupting my workout (I think it’s more of the latter), but it was very distracting. However, after I brushed him off I was able to get back on track. What was kind of cool is that I had planned to take yesterday as a rest day. It was another stressful day at work and I had intended to come home and relax a bit with a glass of wine, but I instead walked for almost an hour while listening to a podcast. I kept my speed around 3 miles as to reduce injury risk. I’m hoping to start with running twice a week then increase it to 3 times. A friend invited me to go to spin class with her in a few weeks so I’m pretty excited for that.

So the exercise part of things are going well but nutrition suffered a bit this week. I started tracking my meals again and did well Monday and Tuesday, not so much Wednesday. Breakfast this week consisted of burritos (scrambled egg, black beans, turkey sausage, yogurt cheese, salsa) and lunch Monday-Wednesday was a salad. However, Wednesday some of the top brass at my job came to visit and pizza was provided. I had one piece in addition to my salad and later in the day, another coworker and I discussed the odds of there being more left. My coworker brought back a slice for me and initially I was going to save it for DH, but he’s on a FODMAP diet for the next week and a half. So I ate it but it helped that I ran later in the day. Lunch yesterday was a really delicious bowl that DH and I agreed will be added to our regular meal rotation. We were inspired by a Hawaiian restaurant that we went to last week. The bowl consisted of quinoa, grilled chicken, feta cheese, white bean beans, black beans, and a honey-coconut milk-sriracha sauce. I added a bit of Greek yogurt to help balance the heat. I planned to have another bowl for lunch today but we ended up ordering out at lunch. Dinner has been more of a mix since it was provided by my in-laws. We went to their house for dinner last weekend and they gave us a ton of food since they were leaving town for a while. We’ve had leftover chicken marsala, crab cakes, and planning to have cod this weekend. My weight has been off this week due to my period starting (yay) but I think I should be back on track next week.

Speaking of annoying things like my period, I scheduled my HSG for about a week from now. I took the day off because I anticipate being emotionally wiped like last time. We shall see. At least I was prescribed a stronger painkiller this time.