Friday, September 12, 2008

Is It Okay If I Just Cry Real Soft?

So, I was getting ready to do my push ups on Wednesday evening all resolved to do the lower intensity level as I start week 2 of the push up challenge. And wouldn't you know it? The plan specifically DOES NOT LET YOU! I was so flabbergasted! It says specifically to "not cut corners" which I felt left me no choice.

So I started week 2 of torture. And you know what? Mentally, it's like I made it over the hurdle. Forcing myself to keep going and using the mental discipline to stick to the plan suddenly made it easier. No, the exercise itself didn't get any easier, but it became easier to force my body to keep going, having the mental stamina to keep going on.

I think it had to do with a class that Stacie and I are taking right now to learn about home finances. In the class recently there has been a lot of talk about the idea of personal integrity as a financial skill - integrity to stick to your budget, integrity to talk to your spouse of money and be truthful with you feelings, integrity to keep savings goals, integrity to not splurge.

So, I ask you faithful readers - appears to be only two at this point ;) - do you feel you have the personal integrity to keep your fitness promises to yourself?

Or are you just a liar?

Harsh. Yep. Every time you wimp out, you are a liar. Did that wake you up? Are you angry now? Good. Hold on to that for just a second.

That is the thought that went through my head when I found myself trying to decide if I kept moving forward on the push up plan. You see, I made a promise to myself about getting fit. I made it to Stacie. I made it to the world when I posted it on this blog. I committed myself to reaching certain goals in a certain amount of time using certain plans. And there I was, re-reading the rules and realizing that if I backed down, I was nothing more than a liar. I didn't even have enough integrity to keep a promise to myself.

Now, that's not to say we should try to keep goals that are impossible or that potentially could hurt us. But see, each of the plans I was following - one for running and one for push ups - have ways of adjusting the plan to meet my needs. The running plan says to "jog" - it doesn't specify how fast a jog should be, but leaves it up to me to scale to my abilities. The push up plan says do a certain number of push ups per set, but it lets me vary how much rest time comes between the sets. These variances allow me to adapt these plans to make them possible/achievable for me at this time. However, at the same time they force me to be honest about the weaknesses that I have.

And that is the mental hurdle I cleared, the obstacle that was in my path. So what if I can't do the push ups perfectly or don't run the 5K I'm planning in under 22 minutes? The goal was to run the 5K and finish and do 100 consecutive push ups. So long as I do my best to accomplish those, I have won. I have kept my honor. I have learned to workout with integrity.

So, again, without beating up on yourselves, I ask you - do you have the personal integrity to keep those fitness promises? And if not, what do you need to do to change that?

I realize now that I have not had the personal integrity I need to keep getting fit, especially not in the food department as Stacie will mightily testify to my midnight snacking weakness. Where then does that leave me?

Remember that email about Alma the Younger and repenting and not getting converted all in one go? Take some time to repent and fix things, then move on. Because that's all I or you can do.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

New Poll! I'm On A Roll

And so should you be. On a roll. With me. Together both of us will be on a roll. Which is better than a biscuit (unless you're British and a biscuit is a cookie).

And another new feature which some of you may have seen already, we've added a "Followers" gadget, cause I'm curious to see who all is watching this blog. So, if you're a regular reader, hit up the "Follow this blog" link in the side column.

Loving Running - HATING Push ups!

Okay, I finally know now why push ups are punishment in the armed forces. These things are horrible! I jest, but only a little. And what makes it worse is that it's not even the parts of my body that I thought would be getting the workout - instead, it's my abs. I guess I should have expected it. Push ups are a measure of fitness and I know I'm not fit. Push ups are also a core exercise and boy has my core been getting it. Honestly, I don't know why I'm surprised.

So, for this next weeks worth, I'm going to be bumping down a level from the high intensity column of the work out, to the medium because I know my form is not perfect and to give myself just a bit more motivation. Again, I shouldn't be surprised because I think if were to go back and do the initial test again, I would be a lot more deliberate about how deep I go on them. I'm really hoping that dropping the intensity a bit will help motivate me to keep going. I want a workout but not to be so beat up that I feel horrible and want to give up.

On the other hand, the exercise that I thought I would hate I have really enjoyed, and it all has to do with those dang shoes! Three nights of running and one volleyball night and I am absolutely, totally and complete hooked on these Vibram FiveFingers. They are so comfortable and they make running something I look forward to doing. It was so enjoyable that I started pushing myself harder last night. Instead of jogging I started running and on the last one, sprinted to really stretch myself. It felt SO GOOD! I'm still slapping a little hard and I'm going to start researching and applying some good "barefoot" technique because I'm not sure my brain is getting it.

WARNING!: If you try these Vibrams out, be prepared to start hating all your other shoes. This is the only drawback I have found to these. Yesterday, I wore my very comfy [till NOW! :>(] Saloman trail-style cross trainers pretty much all day and I noticed as we were getting geared up to head to the church that my toes and arches hurt. Not a lot, but a definite ache. And the longer the evening went, the worse it got. It was particularly noticable when I was sitting, not moving my feet. Everything suddenly felt tight and I could feel my toes encroaching on each other.

At first, I wondered if it was just a tightness from not having run since Friday and there may have been some of that. But as soon as I pulled the shoes off, the aching went away. I think my feet are not happy being cooped up in shoes. Popped on the Vibrams for my Tuesday night run and voila - totally and completely happy feet.

And it's not just the Salomans. My other favorite pair of shoes are a pair Sperry Topsiders loafers. My feet have been bugging me all morning and now I sit at my desk during lunch with my shoes off because it just hurts enough to be a major distraction. I told Stacie last night that if I could I would wear the Vibram's for everything I would, even church on Sundays!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Therapy or Torture?

Today I finally started getting the looks and the questions. Of course today was also the first day I really took the FiveFingers into public. Yes, I know, running around the neighborhood is public, but it's not like grocery store public or ward activity public (both of which I did today). And I was amazed at how self-conscious I was in the store, till I realized that nobody just looks at your feet. I'm sure there were a few double-takes but nobody really said anything.

The ward activity was a different matter. We were having YMCA night (no, not that kind of YMCA night).
Just sports night down at the local YMCA. I got involved with the volleyball game and kept getting comments about being a distraction on the court. However, afterwards, there was some more serious conversation as two of the ladies are avid tri-athletes and I was able to tell them about my experiences with them. Some of the conversation got me thinking though - I had been wearing these things all day and I'll admit that after an hour and a half's pounding on a hardwood floor did leave my feet a little sore. Surprisingly not as sore as they use to get when I worked retail in my Florshiem wing-tips, but still sore from all the running and standing. I started wondering if I really wanted to keeping putting my feet through that kind of work out all the time. And this time, because they had been on for so long, I could feel my pinky toes on both feet getting pulled out away from my foot, getting a little bit stretched. Not uncomfortable, just different. A quick jont to Wal-Mart after and we were home.

I pulled off my FiveFingers and noticed something strangely normal about my right foot. Yes, read that again - strangely normal. See, I have this one weird toe on that foot - I guess it'd be like the ring toe, the next to last one. It's always had this curl in it - it curls under and my pinky toe slides over almost on top of it. Been that way for as long as I could remember. And because it knuckles under like that, it looks like it's shorter than my pinky toe, till I force it straight with a finger. Well, when I took of my shoe, I saw that, low and behold, it was straighter. Not perfect, but it didn't look weird. I guess the toe box for that toe helped to force it straight and having my pinky toe pulled out of the helped it stay that way. So, sorry if I gross anyone out, but this is what I saw.

First, how my foot normally looks. I actually had to force my toe back into this position.

How it looks now.

So, in the end, I'm going to go with therapy. I really think this shoes help.

Running Day 2 and Push Ups Day 3 - Still Good?

Yep, still good. I actually figured out that I swapped some things the first day of the running (it was supposed to be jog for 60sec walk for 90sec then repeat and I did it backwards) so switching it back for the second day worked great. I figured out that I still have some work to do on my posture - still not up on my toes as much as I need to be.

Did day 3 of the push ups this morning. More ouch, mostly in the abs as those are what are giving out rather than my arms or chest. So a rest day tomorrow will be very nice for my poor abs which are dying. But, moving forward. We'll see how long I can keep this up.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Title: OneHundredPushUps - Day 1; Subtitle: OUCH!

Well, I will not be so confident in my push up abilities any longer. Stacie will certainly confirm that I got pretty beat up last night trying to do the first night's work out for the OneHundredPushUps challenge. And I am definitely feeling it today. Over all a good first work out - humbling maybe, but good.

Now, I admit that I am one of those people for whom reaching individual goals is much easier than maintaining something I already do. If I set a goal to do 100 hundred push ups, then I'll do it. But after I've reached that goal, if I don't have something set up and ready to go for the next round I'll just revert back to my old, wicked, flabby ways. I'm just really horrible at maintaining. Remember how I said I thought I could continue using diet to keep loosing weight? Fat chance of that (no pun intended). For some reason, the pain of last night's efforts really focused my mind an helped me admit that I'm just human sometimes.

So, new goal - I will weight at or less than 200lbs by the time this six month period is over. There. Hah. Now I've gone and done it. I've committed myself.

Oh boy...what have I done.? This is probably going to hurt. More.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Starting to Run and Feeling Fine!

So, right on schedule, my new shoes arrived (more on that in a moment) and I was able to start my new running program from Cool Running. So far, no soreness, just a little stiffness in my back, but that probably comes as much from the cooler weather as with anything else. I'll have to stretch that out a little bit more today before moving on with my push ups. I think yesterday was more about getting started rather than really pushing. We had a class to go to in the evening and for some reason I thought it went later than it did. So I really rushed to get myself out the door because I didn't think I would have time later on (turned out I was wrong, but I guess that's okay).

The other bit was that it was raining outside. Just a light rain...with 40mph winds...and suddenly a lot colder than the day before. Well, I guess maybe a picture says it better:

Yes, those are the remnants of hurricane Gustav, about an hour and a half before I started my run. I was at the red spot. So, you can imagine how it might have changed after that time (i.e. it just got closer). So, yesterday's jog-then-walk-then-repeat exercise that constitutes the first day's work out of the program was much more about discipline, about getting it in despite what's going on outside or inside. Because all-in-all, I feel really pretty good. No shin splints, aching legs, or ragged throat from panting to death. However, there's one other thing that may have contributed to at least some of that - my new shoes.

The way I introduced these to my mother yesterday (she was watching Sam for us while we were at the class) was by saying, "I don't know how you feel about toes, but these may freak you out a little." I'll give you the same introduction in case you haven't seen these before.

These are Vibram's FiveFinger shoes,made originally for watersports gurus. But there's a whole contingent of runners who've been spouting off for years about the benefits of learning to run barefoot and these shoes finally gave them the best of both worlds - the same ergonomics as running barefoot (better posture, springier step, stronger ankles, etc), but a hard sole to protect from glass, sharp sticks, doggie doo, and the like. And as I was at a point where I was going to start running again, there were two things I was hoping to avoid - bad shin splints and expensive shoes. The shin splints could have been taken care of with some really cushy shoes, because I didn't used to get them when I had my very nice, new running shoes. But I just wasn't willing to spend $130 on a pair that I'd wear out by spring of next year.

So, after a lot of reading up, I went ahead and got the FiveFinger KSO's (or Keep Stuff Out - look at the other versions and you'll see why they're called that). No padding, no cusion, no arch support, no orthotics - on other hand - no laces, no sweaty heat, no socks, no weight. Just a sole and something to help keep it straped to your foot. Figured I could help break in my feet and my body at the same time since these first few runs are very low intensity. Everything I had read about these shoes written by runners was that they force you to run with better posture which helps prevent shin splints. And that you feel like a kid running around barefoot. Wait...what? Yeah, like a kid, right. Sure pal.

It's SO TRUE! Here I am, running around in the rain and wind, stepping in puddles and mud, grass literally getting stuck between my toes, and I didn't even care! Brand new shoes! When's the last time you wore a brand new pair of shoes and didn't care about getting 'em all mucked up the first day out? Probably when you were a kid. I mean, I had cleats I had to kinda scuff up before I really took them to practice so I didn't feel so bad about getting 'em dirty. And let's not even talk about the break-in period just to get the darns things to stop blistering your feet to death. Again. Just like the last pair.

These shoes, on the other hand, required no break-in, at all. The don't fit perfectly, but the fit is so close around the foot and they are so flexible that your feet don't shift in them at all. And that first run totally took me back to the summer rain storms from my kidhood with my sisters and cousins - playing in the ditch, squelching in the mud, and generally getting so drenched that my whole body was pruny afterwards. I've always loved those memories and now here I am, a responsible adult for all intents and purposes, and I'm actually having fun running. I hate running! I mean, if I'm only running for running's sake, I hate it. I only like it when I'm in a race. It was both weird and cool.

Oh, and there's no way I paid $80 for mine either. Found 'em on sale with free shipping for $63. And there's no breakdown that could really happen except the sole pulling free. So unlike running shoes where the padding wears out and you've got perfectly good soles and upper but no way to use them as running shoes anymore, these just keep on going.

Day 1 down. Day 2 on Friday. Yeehaw! I wonder if it'll be raining again. *GRINS*

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Well in the last week I have had 4 different ladies approach me about walking. I guess that is a sign I better get off my keaster. So I will probably walk at least 4 days a week switching off partners...Heck maybe I will start a neighborhood walking group. But I am taking that as a sign I need to add a set workout regimen and be accountable to meet others so I do it. So starting tomorrow or maybe later tonight I am going to start a walking routine.

Hope you have been being way better than I have. I am pretty much starting back at point one. However, I am still going to do a turbo jam in there every once and I while. I love them just feel I need to get Sam outdoors while it is cooling down and before it gets to stinking cold.

One Hundred Pushup - Initial Test


I started the challenge for the OneHundredPushups program. The first step is doing the initial test which helps to determine which intensity level of the program you need to use to get your body ready for the challenge. Basically, you do as many good-form pushups as you can then from there you move into the actual weekly program.

I was able to do 15, though I'm really only counting 13 as good form - I started to arch my back too much at the end. That puts me at the high end of a Rank 2 or the low end of a Rank 3, but that doesn't matter much for the actual program as either way I'll be using column three. So now a day of rest and then I start the first week, going from Thursday to Thursday.

Anyone else crazy enough to take this challenge? Post in the comments if so.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Talk about a Break!

Well, it was summer and I guess I got so busy doing work that I forgot to have some fun to. (Wait, does that seem backwards to anyone else? Oh well...)

So, I'm getting back into the swing of things with two new challenges for myself. Anyone is welcome to come along. Back in February, my goal was about loosing weight and I reached my goal, though barely. My goal was to lose enough weight to fit back into some pants we had bought for me to go to work in. I fit into them, but snuggly. So I still have little bit more to lose. However, I also told Stacie that the first 6 months for me were only about loosing weight, to learn how to control what I ate.

I freely admit that in the last 4 weeks, I've been horrible. Yet, even with that horrible eating, I only gained back 5 pounds and I put the kabosh on that this week. So, I've changed enough of my lifestyle the things are working and apparently made it enough of a habit that binging still only results in a few pounds upswing.

Now, the next six months are about getting fit and I've chosen two standard measures of fitness that many of you will recognize from your gym years in middle school:
  1. Running - I want to run in races again. Not to win, just to run. That's the only part I like about running - races with other people. And the Tulsa area was always a good place for races. The training regime has been provided courtesy of Cool Running's Couch-to-5K Running plan (Found here - My goal is to complete a 5K race in the next 6-8 weeks and I'll be starting as soon as my new shoes arrive which should hopefully be tomorrow. That means I have two potential runs I could try for - the annual Tulsa Run on Oct. 25 and the Run for Life~Walk For Adoption on Nov. 9. I am really shooting for the Tulsa Run just because it's the Tulsa Run which is awesome!
  2. Pushups - Yep, that old nasty pushup is back and I've chosen a doozy of a challenge: 100 consecutive pushups! The challenge and training routine come from OneHundredPushups ( who claim they can have you doing 100 pushups in 6 weeks. I'll be starting that today to make sure I don't overlap on running days.
Now, I know that looks a little overboard, but I'm really giving myself 6 months not 6 weeks to get these both done. Yeah, I'd really like to run the Tulsa Run, but if it doesn't work out, I'll be ready for next year's 15K instead. And for the 100 pushups, once I reach that goal I'll be moving on to other stuff. But who am I to complain if I do get them done that soon? If so I'll have to post some new goals. I like that both of these will be working different areas of the body and give me a good foundation from which to build other goals. In all honesty, I will be doing rows and back exercises to help balance the workout I will be getting from the pushups so I don't get too lopsided so that may pull a bit of stamina away while trying to do the pushups.

So, thosre are my new goals. Come along for the madness if you dare.