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Exercise Journals Can Provided Motivation and Inspiration

SLide_25I keep an exercise journal, especially when I am training for a new adventure. Eleven weeks ago, just after my thirty-ninth birthday I jumped back into a vigorous training schedule for one of the biggest physical challenges I have taken on.

On August 30th after a summer hiatus to allow my knee some time to heal I reentered the training program that Olympic runner Jeff Galloway designed for folks talking on the runDisney Dopey Challenge. The Dopey Challenge is a four-day running event that takes place at Walt Disney World where you run a 5k (3.1 Miles) on Thursday, a 10k (6.2 Miles) o Friday, a half marathon (13.1 Miles) on Saturday and a full marathon (26.2 Miles) on Sunday for a grand total of 48.6 Miles over the four-day event.

Some people would say that you had to be Dopey to take on a challenge like this. I’ll reserve my opinion on that for the blog I write after I complete it and let you know what I think then.

Since I’d kept my cardio endurance levels up through the summer by spending time on an elliptical and riding a bike jumping back into that training program on at the end of August with a 9 Mile run was surprisingly easy for me. I made a few rookie running mistakes, like forgetting sunblock and not eating before I left. Silly things that an experienced runner and fitness instructor like myself should know better than to do. But when you get out of practice and out of your routine it’s easy to forget some of the little things.

Back to the point…my exercise journal from that first day

“9 Miles, 15k, First long run of the season. Knee OK. Lots of newbie mistakes though!”

My mileage has just kept going up from there. There have been a few entries where you could tell that I was struggling.

“Having a hard time not doing cardio on OFF days but sticking to the plan. Glad I have my classes to keep me distracted on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays that I’m not doing runs.” 9/02

“Took the day of since my heels are still so hurting so bad. Figure today’s 45 min run isn’t worth jeopardizing this weekends 15 Mile run with soreness or additional blisters. Hopefully a good choice.” 10/01

“The stress of trying to figure out what I am going to do about the Dopey Challenge is really starting to get to me. I’m not sure that A) I can even afford to go to Disney World for as long as I need to do this event or B) That my body can handle it.” 10/05

About this time I saw a Podiatrist and started a routine that would help alleviate the pain I was experiencing in my ankles. I made the decision to stop trying to do all the exercises with my classes while training for this very challenging event. I decided that instead of trying to do everything and feeling like I wasn’t doing anything well, I’d start focusing on just trying to make sure that my training schedule became the most important part of my fitness routine.

JPBullCityI started making sure I designed classes for my students that didn’t require me to do all the exercises with them while still making sure that they got a challenging enough workout.

I also start taking my interval times down as my mileage started going up. I was so sore and had such a hard time recovering from the 9 Minutes / 1 Minutes that I started going back down to my old fall back of 4 Minutes / 1 Minute — then I started playing with 3 Minutes / 1 Minutes and finally 2 Minutes / 1 Minute.

I ran my 17 Mile run in Raleigh, NC at the Bull City Race Fest putting in 4 Miles before the start, running 3 Miles with my one of my best friends, Jeff Newell from Defying Obesity running 2 Minutes and walking 1 Minute and was amazed when I got to the finish line and didn’t feel like I was going to pass out! I even came home with some steam left in me!

I love being able to go back and look at my journal entries and see how much the changes affected by performance and my state of mind.

“My 45 minute runs on Tuesday and Thursday seem to be getting easier! Maybe because I’m not killing myself everyday and giving my body more time to rest and recover than I was.” 10/26

“Ran 10 Miles with Ronda instead of my 6 today. Happy Halloween to me! We were fast! Finished just before dark.” 10/31

Just a couple of weeks ago I completed my longest run to date of 20 Miles. My friend Ronda ran the first 13.1 Miles with me and once again I surprised myself. When I had finished the 20 Miles I found myself thinking “I could run another 6.2 Miles and do a Marathon, if there was a medal waiting for me.” Once again, I didn’t feel like I was going to die or that I had pushed my body farther than it could go.

Keeping an exercise journal helps me feel accomplished. It helps me stay on track, helps me keep up with my training schedule and helps me hold myself accountable for the training that I need to do in order to make sure that my body is capable of the task that I am challenging it to do.

But it also helps me look back and see what I am doing right and how the changes I make either positively or negatively impact my training.

My blog has worked the same way. There are a lot of days when I go back and read a blog post about what I was doing in the gym way back when and it makes me smile and feel so accomplished when I compare it to what I can do now.

No matter where you are in your weight loss journey I recommend keeping an exercise journal. Jot down what you’re doing and how it is making you feel and hold on to it. Sometimes just going back and reviewing it can help provide the incentive and motivation you need to get back on track or get that workout that you’re debating in for the day. DSSPostSig

 Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is a  Cooper Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies and Motivational Speaker studying to become a Certified Personal Trainer.

I ran a Half Marathon Daddy Happy Fathers Day

Today is Father’s Day and I’m struggling with missing my Dad terribly. I miss my Dad everyday but I think there are some days when it is worse than others. Father’s Day, the anniversary of the day he passed away, and his Birthday.

IMG_5302Yesterday, I ran a 5K in honor of my Father at the Dadfest 5K in Frisco Texas. I finished in just under 37 minutes and then doubled back to where my friends were ( they were walking it instead of running or jogging it ) and finished again with them at just a little under an hour. ( 00:59:24.748 )My total distance yesterday was 4.75mi with a 13.07 min/mi pace.

This morning when I woke up and saw all the “Happy Father’s Day” messages on Facebook I realized it was going to be a really hard day for me. I sat on the end of the bed sobbing my eyes out and feeling the pain of missing my Dad in my life as I composed a poem for him.

My Dad was so special to me. I looked up to him so much. He was really one of the most amazing men I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. They don’t build men like my Father anymore and I can honestly say that I feel blessed to have known him, and even more so, to have been raised by him. My Father helped mold me into the woman I am today and I am eternally grateful for the thing that he taught me.

I wish that I could tell you how much I miss you so.

Or explain how hard I struggle with how I had to watch you go.

My life has changed so much since the day had to leave.

And it hurts sometime that you’re not here to see what I’ve achieved.

You taught me to be kind and you told me I was smart.

And said that anything worth doing, was worth doing with all my heart.

You taught me to love others even if they couldn’t love me.

You taught me to be strong and face my fears with dignity.

You taught me to give back and to be someone that cares.

You taught me to be loving and be someone that shares.

You taught me life’s a river and destiny a dance.

And told me to approach each moment as a chance.

And though it hurts that you’re not here to share the journey I’ve begun.

I know that I can find your guidance when I exercise and run.

I miss your hugs, I miss your smile but most I miss you voice.

And I know you wouldn’t have left me if life offered another choice.

I know that you would smile and tell me it’s okay.

And to go and do something else because it’s just another day.

But I had to say I love you, even though you can’t be near.

And let you know I feel your presence even though you can’t be here.

And since I know you’re listening, there’s just one more thing to say…

Thank you for being my Dad, and Happy Father’s Day.

IMG_5310After I wrote the poem I knew that the only way I was going to make it through the day was to spend some time running and feeling connected to my Father.

I set out to do my usual 5K, but today I was running out emotions and as I finished the first 3.1 miles a little voice inside me started to ask, I wonder if I could run a Half-Marathon today. I dismissed it at first, thinking shut up Pandora, that’s crazy, you haven’t trained for a half marathon. Then I thought, I did a 5K for Dad yesterday, maybe I could do a 10K today. I did a 10K, and then, I kept going. I pushed for a 15K next, thinking “Hey maybe I can run 9.3, I’ve never gone that far before.” I did a 15K, I got that 9.3 and then I kept going, and I got that 13.1 – Actually I got 13.2 as I ended up at my special little ending place in the middle of my friends community where I decided to make a video and share this very special non scale victory moment with you.

Screen Shot 2013-06-17 at 2.29.34 AM

Click the photo clip below to watch the video.

IMG_5313I struggled on Mile 11 to Mile 12 and I ended up walking that whole mile as I refueled with a Starbucks iced coffee and a banana. And the closer I got to the end of that half-marathon the more emotional it became for me. I reached out to a few dear friends at that point to try to distract myself from how hard those last two miles were and when Joy called me back I was hauling my eyes out in an emotional whirlwind of being proud of what I was about to accomplish and yet so sad at how much I was missing my Father. I was at 12.26 miles when Joy called me, and she stayed on the phone with me, listening to me and supporting me and cheering me on and reminding me how proud my Father would be of me until she had to go to meet with a client. When Joy hung up I was at just about 12.8 miles – I pushed hard at that point and I made it. Then I sat down, cried it out, and took a moment to catch my breath and gathered my thoughts for a moment before I made the above mentioned video.

After the video, I walked home, ( another .74 miles ) – I was sore and stiff and that three-quarters of a mile took me nearly twelve minutes.

Then I sat there down for a moment and looked at what I had accomplished.

13.20 Miles – 2:52:45 Average Pace 13:05

00.74 Miles – 0:11:39 Average Pace 15:46

Total – 13.94 Miles 3:04:24 

IMG_5315My Father is a huge part of my weight loss journey. Him coming to me and letting me know that he was concerned for my health was a hug part of my decision to have weight loss surgery. “Honey I love you fat or skinny, black or white, but I’m not going to be around too much longer and I need to know you are going to have a happy and healthy life.” Those words will stick with me forever and forever motivate me to maintain my 260 lb, weight loss.

This was an amazing day for me. It really was. I will be proud of this day for a very long time to come. But for right now, it’s time for me to get some sleep because morning will come early and I have something else I have to do to make my Dad proud tomorrow… classes at the Cooper Institute. Coaching Healthy Behaviors here I come.

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Author: Pandora Williams

Author of Desperately Seeking Slender

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