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Transformation: Is Comparison The Thief of Joy?

Transformation. The word makes most people think of change in form or appearance. But, transformations come in many fashions.

Four months ago, I announced in my “#ThisIsMyBariLife” post that thanks to the good folks over at BariLife, I was going to back to Paris to run in the annual Paris Run Disney Half Marathon Weekend.

I had stop running entirely for almost a whole year.

My last half marathon had been back in May of 2016 when I completed my 40th half marathon at the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend event in Anaheim, California.

If you’ve been reading my blog for the last several months you already know why I stopped running. I discussed it back in April in my “The Truth About Why I Stopped Running” blog. Finding the joy in running again is important to me.

Trying to change my mindset about running has been quite a transformation process for me over the last few months. I’ve learned quite a bit about myself in the process. It’s been enlightening.

I started running again back in early May. Typical of most training plans, my runs were short in the beginning. My long runs were 3 and 4 miles runs. They were hard, I was struggling with speed and realizing quickly that I didn’t have the long duration cardiovascular endurance that I had once had.

I didn’t care. I was ecstatic to be out there running again.

Early Prep For Paris RunI felt empowered, each time I went out for a run I felt like I was taking back a little piece of myself that had gotten lost in the last year.

4 weeks into my “Prepping for Paris” training plan, I broke my toe in an altercation with a suitcase that I had left in the middle of the living room to unpack later. The repercussions of procrastination at it’s best. The broken toe knocked me off the training plan for 6 weeks while it healed.

At the end of July, I jumped back on the run. I was scared that losing 6 weeks was going to be a huge setback for me. I was concerned and uncertain I would be able to build that cardiovascular endurance back up in time to run 13.1 miles in Paris.

Trying to jump back into training in the middle of the summer when the heat and humidity levels in North Carolina send the heat index into danger zones before noon was a struggle for me. I noticed very quickly that I had to pay close attention to where my heart rate was rather than just getting out there and nonchalantly doing my thing.

I was A LOT slower than I had been in my early May short runs.

There were days that instead of running any sort of set interval times I was basing my intervals on my heart rate. Running until my heart rate got to a level that I knew I needed to slow down, and then walking until it dropped to a level that I knew it was okay to run again.

I use typically use the HRR method to decide what my target heart rate zones are. It’s a little more accurate than the typical heart rate calculation formula of (220 – Age) x Intensity.

It’s more accurate, because it is taking into consideration the cardiovascular health of each individual person based on their resting heart rate. Your resting heart rate tells you how many times your heart beats per minute at rest. The lower that number the healthier your heart is. The average resting heart rate for adults is between 60 – 100 bmp (beats per minute).

These days, my resting heart rate is averaging about 55. I just turned 42. So, using the HRR method of (220 – 42) – 55 x Intensity + 55 my target heart rate range is 128 – 159 if I am calculating the low-end at a moderate intensity level of 60% of my heart rate reserve and the high-end at a vigorous intensity level of 85% of my heart rate reserve.

Formula for HRR Method of Target Heart Rate Calculations:

(220 – Age – Resting Heart Rate) x Intensity + Resting Heart Rate

I learned very quickly, especially in the summer heat and humidity when your heart rate shoots up faster than normal, that being on the high-end of my target heart rate zones was something that I couldn’t do for long periods of time. When it came to long duration, if my heart rate was over 150, I was struggling.

I found that my “happy pace” was with my heart rate somewhere 145 during my running intervals and around 135 on my walking intervals – that would be on average an intensity level of about 65% and 73% of my target heart rate reserve.

This bothered me a bit. The “Cardio Zone” is 70%-84% of your maximum heart rate. This is the target heart rate zone that you are typically trying to achieve during cardiovascular exercise. It bothered me that I couldn’t reach and stay in the high-end of those zones. I was barely hitting the low-end of this zone when I was out there. This is the zone where exercise is described as “You are pushing yourself, but not straining.” For me to achieve that, I’d have to be averaging heart rate zones of 141 – 158 on a regular basis. The high-end of that zone didn’t feel like I was pushing, it felt like I was going to keel over and die!

I decided to sit down with my numbers and do some research and comparisons.

Pandora On The RunIf I used the standard formula for heart rate calculations (220-42) x .70 and (220-42) x .84 that would put my target heart rate for the “Cardio Zone” at 124 – 149 – which meant my “happy pace” at 135 – 145 was smack dab in the middle of that target heart rate zone and on the higher end of that zone when I was doing the higher intensity segments of my intervals. This made me feel a lot better! Applying the HRR formula to the “Cardio Zone” standards of the typical formula had made me think I was training at sub-par levels.

I looked up target heart rate ranges specific to the HRR method. I had completely forgotten that when using the HRR calculation methods, also known as the “Karvonen Formula”, the definition of target heart rate zones is slightly different. When using this formula the “Aerobic Zone” is 70% – 80% of heart rate reserve and the recovery zone is 60% – 70% of heart rate reserve.  That means my heart rate should be at about 141 – 153 during my run segments and about 128 – 141 during my walk (recovery) segments. This made me feel a lot better.

Looking at the numbers transformed my outlook on my progression.

Because I was so much slower than I used to be, I was feeling a little defeated. But once I looked at these numbers and started considering that back when I was running a 12-minute mile my resting heart rate was in the lower 40s and I had a much higher cardiovascular threshold, I started to feel a lot better about myself and where I am with my training.

I often tell my clients that fitness fits us all, it just fits us all differently and it fits us differently at different times in our fitness journey. I’m exactly where I need to be right now in my running journey. My heart rate is in all the places I need it to be, at all the times I need it to be there. I’ve gone from not running for almost 12 months, to being able to run 11 miles at once. My pace time is averaging about a 14 to 15-minute mile, which has me well under the 16-minute pile pace requirement for this event. I’ve gone from ZERO – to being ready to run a half marathon in 17 weeks while spending 6 of them on the bench due to a broken toe.

They say that comparison is the thief of joy. That can be true if you are comparing yourself to someone else; Even if that someone else is an older version of yourself. But comparison can also help you put things into perspective and transform your outlook, especially when that comparison is based on data that shows you how well you are progressing in your fitness journey.

This sort of data comparison is how fitness professionals just like me help keep our clients motivated and show them what they have accomplished. How ironic that applying it to myself did the same thing for me eh?

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Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer and Cooper Institute Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies. Her training and coaching services are offered exclusively through GoGirl Fitness Studio.

Make #YourBariLife the best it can be.

Visit the BariLife Website for all your Protein and Vitamin Needs!

BariLife

This is #MyBariLife

There are moments that you look back on in life and think, “If I had that to do all over again, I’d sure do that differently.” Everyone has them. The emotion that drives these feelings can be different; sometimes it’s regret, sometimes it’s lack of education, while other times it’s a lack of knowledge.

When I wrote “The Truth About Why I Stopped Running” blog last week, if you asked me what emotion was fueling my “I wish I could go back and do that again” moment, I would say that it was disappointment.

You see, I was disappointed in myself for not having the inner strength, the self-awareness and self-worth to have stood more firmly in my resolutions.

I told you that I made sacrifices. I gave up running to try to fix the relationship I was in. I felt like had allowed him to steal the joy of running from me. I used a very important word – “allowed”.  I knew it was happening and I made a conscious decision to let it happen. I allowed it. That’s on me.

I did something I tell my clients not to do all the time. I turned my can into a can’t. I wasn’t physically incapable of running anymore. But, instead of finding a way to continue to prioritize it and stand firm in my resolve that it was important to me and for me, I made a different choice.

I chose to let a year and half long relationship hold more importance than the emotional value of a five-year long relationship with running.

I was disappointed in myself for that decision.

That disappointment was the prevalent emotion behind my ” I wish I had a magic time machine or a magic wand and could go back and do it again” moment.

As I said, we all have those moments.

I firmly believe when you have something true and pure in your heart and you put it out into the world, if it is supposed to happen, the powers that be make it happen.

A few weeks ago, when I wrote the “If You Are Reading This I Owe You an Apology” blog, I was contacted by Guinn Boyce from BariLife. She told me that they were happy to hear that I was going to be blogging again. She reminded me that while I may not have been blogging in the last couple years, I had been doing other great things for the bariatric community. She reminded me that I hadn’t just disappeared; I had just focused on other things.

BariLife Lemonade Multivitamin PowderGuinn also suggested that they would love to team up with me in some way. She asked me if I wanted to try BariLife’s new Watermelon Multivitamin Powder. As if I would say no to that! I am a huge fan of BariLife products! I haven’t gotten my hands on the watermelon powder yet, but I’ve been using the Lemonade version of the product since it came out last year. I mix it with iced tea and make an Arnold Palmer out of it that makes me forget I’m taking my vitamins.

I wrote back and told her that of course I’d love to try the new Watermelon Multivitamin Powder! The fact is, I use their products all of the time, so this was a no-brainer for me.  I also mentioned that although it may sound crazy, if BariLife was interested in teaming up with me as I worked on resurfacing as a prominent fitness and weight loss motivation blogger in the bariatric community, there was something that I REALLY wanted to do. I really wanted to go back to Paris and see if I could find my love of running where I felt I had lost it.

I wanted to run that Disneyland Paris half marathon again.

A week and a half later, Disneyland Paris announced the theme for the upcoming September Disneyland Paris Half Marathon. Villains. Yes, Villains. If you know anything about me and my infinite love of Disney you know that 1. I love me some TinkerBell and 2. I love me some Villains.

I haven’t participated in a half marathon event in almost a year now. My last event, the TinkerBell half marathon last May came during a really hard time for me.

My current relationship was ending, I was traveling back to Portland to collect the rest of the things I had left behind when I walked away from my marriage. That included my father’s ashes. Sifting through the remnants of my marriage and my father’s things while going through a break-up had me in a down whirl spiral with an emotional struggle with grief.

Running wasn’t working as an emotional outlet for me. Instead, I was in the middle of doing something I am notorious for – emotionally running.

I had run away from the town I was living in to put distance between me and my recent ex. I was staying with a previous ex-boyfriend 3-hours away. I was about to uproot my entire life by moving away and I wasn’t sure where the heck I was going. I was considering Dallas, Atlanta, or another area of North Carolina altogether.

I was in epic Pandora panic mode, and all the stress and conflict had me barely holding together the ends of a frayed mental capacity.

May rolled into June, June became July. I started to put it all back together but in July I decided to try giving things with my recent ex another shot again. That lasted about three months. We ended up breaking up again.

It wasn’t as hard the second time around. I was in therapy getting help and I held things together much better in round two of that relationship saga.  I was in the middle of my brand new, dream come true job, and while I didn’t have running as an emotional outlet, I was on an emotional high as the things I had been dreaming of for the last 7 years started coming to fruition.

I was busy. Which gave me lots and lots of great excuses to avoid facing my fears of running again. With no TinkerBell half marathon event on the RunDisney schedule for this year, there wasn’t an event that I wanted to do bad enough that I’d muster up the courage to pull those running shoes out of the closet and put my feet to pavement again.

But now, Disneyland Paris is coming, there is a Villains theme; it was just the inspiration and motivation I needed to want to try again. I like to think this was the powers that be saying to me, “Alright Pandora, it’s time.” Because guess what….

I’m going to go back to Paris to run that half marathon again!

I’ve always told you, fitness fits everyone, it just fits us all differently. It fits us differently at different times and different stages of life. Running hasn’t fit my emotional and mental state of mind for the last 11 months.

I want to run again. But, I’m scared it won’t be the same, I’m scared I won’t have that amazingly positive emotional connection to it that I once had. Even as I write that sentence in text and see the words, anxiety floats in my heart.

I might be right. It might not be the same. But as one of my readers reminded me, it just might be better.

I’ve always told you that fitness is a lot like fashion, you must find the style of fitness you like and wear that. Something tells me that as I put running back on, it’s going to feel like my favorite pair of yoga pants or that warm soft sweatshirt that I like to wear on lazy days.

Thanks to the amazing people at BariLife, we’re going to find out. I say we, because if you are reading this, you are part of this journey with me. Hopefully you’ll be following the next five months of this adventure with me as I train for this event, get my vitamin routine back into check, and lace up those sneakers to get back to the right kind of emotional running.

I might have lost my way there for a moment or two. But, I’m back and I’m back with a mission. I’m an Obesity Rebel and this rebel has a good cause.

I want all of you to know that no matter where you are in your relationship with fitness right now, if it’s not where you want it to be, it can change. The lives we choose to live after bariatric surgery and after weight loss are ours to make whatever we want them to be. We are the authors of our own destiny. This is our story to tell.

This is #MyBariLife, and I’m done letting my fears get in the way living it. What is #YourBariLife? Are you wanting to write a different ending to your story?  If so, why not start now? We can do it together.

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Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer and Cooper Institute Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies. Her training and coaching services are offered exclusively through GoGirl Fitness Studio.

Make #YourBariLife the best it can be.

Visit the BariLife Website for all your Protein and Vitamin Needs!

 

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Author: Pandora Williams

Author of Desperately Seeking Slender

This is #MyBariLife

BariLife has decided to send me back to Paris to represent the WLS Community as I attempt to find my love of running again.
Please take the time to visit their website and check them out!

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