Monday, February 27, 2012

"The Little Engine that Could"

This will just be a short post to endorse the latest addition to my blog list.  My friend Cinder (and fellow grandmother extraordinaire) has been running less than one year and yet has completed a full marathon, several halfs, and is preparing to undertake a feat so BEYOND incredible that few would even consider doing.  She plans to run across America.  Yes, you read it correctly ..... from New York to Oregon.  Added to her story are some serious physical maladies that she has had to overcome ... and some with which she still deals.  Sprinkled across those maladies are some miracles of mercy that were "FedExed" directly from heaven.  I encourage you to check out her blog, along with my advice to prepare to be inspired.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Half way

If you scroll down to this post, you'll remember to be curious about how we're doing.  I'm sure you are pleased to get this reminder that you've been on the edge of your seats, anxious for an update on our 10 Week Fitness Challenge.  Yes, you have.  And I'm happy to relieve the suspense.

We are a couple of days past the half way point.  Five weeks done, and five more to go.  If you are considering joining one of these groups, or starting one of your own, I strongly suggest you drag your spouse along, because the competition in this household has been fierce and lively.  And it's working.  I have a perfect score so far and YOU BET I'm bragging about it.  A certain man o' mine has missed a few points, but I'm cutting him some slack because he maintains a few more commitments than I do, namely a full-time job.  But with complete pride and affection I'm glad to say, he is doing DARN WELL.  Before we started, I must admit, I had doubts.

"Are you SURE you want to do this?"  I probed.  "Really, REALLY??"
"Yes."  He stated.  "I'm in."
"Okay," said Doubtful Me.  "But I'm not your personal calorie counter.  You'll have to keep track of it yourself."

So far I have lost six pounds, and Husband has lost about seven.  He is exercising with a consistency that we haven't seen in a long time.  And the results are showing.  He easily ran a 5K yesterday.  A couple of months ago, he barely could manage two miles.   In our challenge group, completing a 5K at five weeks is part of the program, and there'll be a 10K at the end.  I generally run a 10K about three times a week, and have been doing so for several years, so it's nothing new for me.  But it's gratifying to all involved to see things progressing in the Spousal Fitness Department.  As the weather warms up, he'll soon hit the streets on his bike and then, watch out.

At restaurants, Patient Waiter stands by as we huddle over Husband's Droid, studying the online nutrition menu.

"Let's see.  The chicken citrus salad looks pretty low.  Maybe I'll go with that.  Do you think there's bread with it?  How many calories in a slice of sour dough?"
"WOW!   Check out the "Mother Lode" chocolate cake!!  Two day's worth of calories in one slice!"

At one of our favorite Mexican eateries, Bajio on East 82nd, the owner/cook tried to be helpful.

"I could substitute the corn tortilla.  And our pork is really low fat.  We DO saute our shrimp in butter and honey, but only a teaspoon, or so."  I splurged on the shrimp, butter and all.  (It came with mango salsa, and I refuse all responsibility when shrimp is served with anything tropical.  O.H.  Y.U.M.)

We decreed early in The Diet that we'd allow ourselves one evening each week, when we could eat out and NOT count calories.  But we've found it's too hard not knowing.

"Yikes!  The pizza is 1094 calories ...... No, I DON'T have to worry about it tonight .... but still ....."

I've even adjusted to drinking all the water, thanks to Crystal Light and my water bottle with the built-in straw.  For some reason, straws make it easier.  Like with those monster Big Gulps from 7-11.  The invention of straws has definitely been a boon for all soda vendors as they have gradually weaned the American public from "large" to gargantuan drink sizes.

So STAY TUNED for the 10 Week Finale.  Don't touch that channel.  Let your rear-ends go numb as you stay perched on your seat-edges.  Because it'll be worth it.  We're going for the Gold.

And when it's all done, we may even split a piece of that cake.  After the 10K .....  and AFTER the final weigh-in.

(Warning:  Just LOOKING at this picture may add inches to your waistline.)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Up the hill, but not over it.

Pressure is building because it's been over two weeks since my last post.  I usually formulate ideas while running, which I shall call Method A.   But since nothing has come to mind lately, I'm deferring to Method B, which is sitting at the computer with fingers poised on the keyboard, and waiting .....

Hmmmmm.....  okay, here it comes.  As I said in the sidebar of this blog, advice written to the older, senior-type runners, is in short supply.  At races, older age divisions are called Masters which, I suppose, is a kindly-meant gesture intended to make us feel valued.   Runner's World magazine, in its latest issue, offers an article addressed to our geriatric group.  Finally.  Except it includes the 40-somethings.  Do you know how long it's been since I was forty???  Don't answer that.

So let's talk about that article.  What does it say WE need to do that's different from the rest of the running crowd?

~More rest days.  Done.  I'll take it.
~Lower expectations.  Don't try to compare your today's Best, with your Best of 10 years ago.  Since I don't HAVE a ten-year-old Best, that's a non-issue for me.  I'm just trying to keep up with last week!
~Train by time, not by miles.  This means if six or seven miles used to take you an hour, stay with that hour even though you cover less distance now.  I'm considering this approach.
~Cross train.  This means adding to your regimen, any type of exercise that is NOT running.  I tried that with weights and I lasted four months.  I keep hearing that yoga is almost better than chocolate.  Is that possible??  So I'm considering it too.  
~Slow down.  I've been slowing down since my first mile over three years ago.
~Keep pinning on bibs.  Ha!  Your mind immediately went to drool, didn't it.  No, we're talking about racing bib numbers.  Although, I suppose, you COULD use them to catch drool ....  The point is to keep entering races.  It says there's something valuable about competition and accountability. Here's the GOOD news:  The older you get, the less competition there is in your age group.  If you hang in there long enough, odds are you'll eventually win a medal.  And when you do, you have MY permission to proudly wear it everywhere for at least a month or two.

That's about it.  Well, there was more, but overly long posts tend to bore the reader.  But before I close, I'd like to add a few suggestions of my own:

~Cute running clothes.   I may not FEEL as perky on the inside as my striped leg warmers would imply, but I can look the part.
~Remember how many in your age group are NOT outside, running up hills.   Feel superior to all self-imposed couch potatoes, especially the YOUNG ones.
~Do NOT compare yourself to younger, stronger, faster runners.  Instead, keep in mind fond memories of your own dear grandmother, who ALWAYS wore sensible shoes and a flowered dress.   Fifty is the new forty.  Yes, it is.  And in a few years, SIXTY will become the new forty.  Just wait.  You'll see.