Completed at the gym right before closing on Saturday night. Right after the run I was brave enough to go into the weight-lifting area (a few times I’ve started to go in there and been scared away by varsity athletes grunting and lifting huge weights and staring at my tush, or so I imagine). I did two sets of curls, then some shoulder exercises with 5lb free weights, then I did a few sit-ups on the fitness ball, then they turned the lights out and I went home. That’s about all. Countdown to RACE DAY: 6 days!!!


I was just about to cancel with the personal trainer, when she called me and apologized for being so slow to get back to me and offered to meet with me right away. I was apprehensive, but agreed. I’m so glad I did! She was warm and friendly and encouraging and inspiring. She did a comprehensive fitness assessment on me, which was quite humbling. I know that I’ve come a long way in my fitness already in the past 9 weeks or so since I’ve started running, but I still have a long ways to go. I’ll probably post a chart with my results soon, but the main things were:
Body fat 36%. When I started it was 40%. The top of the “healthy” range for women, and the number that the trainer thinks should be my goal is 21%. That’s still a LONG way to go.
Upper body strength: Poor. I was able to do 14 “girly” pushups before I had to stop. And it was hard.
Flexibility: Average
Cardio: GOOD!!!
This was a pleasant surprise because I’ve always thought that my cardio fitness was very, very low. Nine weeks ago it was. Today it is categorized as “good”!! For this test I had to step up onto a step for three minutes. By the third minute my heart rate had climbed to 173 and I was panting and starting to sweat. It was embarrassing, the trainer had to ask if I was okay. Then I got to sit in a chair and rest for one minute to see how my heart could recover. Guess what? In just one minute my heart rate was down to 69 bpm (resting was 60) so I was almost fully recovered in just a minute! The trainer said this was “awesome” and really impressive.

The trainer wants me to meet with her assistant instead of her for training since she knows I want to get started right away… I’m tempted to tell her that I would rather meet with her instead of her assistant, even if I have to wait a while. I’m really focused on my race in NINE DAYS so I wouldn’t mind starting a strength routine after that, anyway. I’ll think about it and call her tomorrow to discuss.

Anyway, after the fitness assessment I got on a treadmill and walked for five minutes, then ran for 28 minutes. It was very hard. It’s been a while and I’ve been sick and am still not 100% healthy. I paused the machine after 14 minutes of running to take a short break and get a drink. Then I cranked it back up and finished the rest. OOF it was hard. The race is coming up so soon I really want to do whatever I need to do to be ready. Also I am in an EXTREMELY STRESSFUL situation at work and I think running really helps me blow off some of that steam.

Anyway, if I can continue to run every other day up until my race I should be able to finish the Couch to 5K program by race day, or maybe count the race as the final run. I’ve been tempted to just sluff off these last few runs, workout however I want to and move on to some other training plan, but I do want the satisfaction of having really, truly completed this program for real. So I’m going to keep doing it. Four workouts left!

It’s only been a week since my last workout, but it felt like a year. I missed it. I felt guilty for not doing it. I worried that I was going to backslide in my race training. I was just so, so exhausted and sickly from this virus that the thought of going for a walk was so exhausting I would have to lie down for a while. Just from the thought.

Anyway, I’m not 100% better but I don’t feel like a garbage truck ran me over, put it in reverse and ran me over again like I did a few days ago.

I hit up the gym for my favorite toning class. I say “favorite” not because I like it all that much– the instructor is snotty and the movements are alternately super easy and super painful. I like it because it’s different every time, the instructor has us doing wacky stuff like supermans (lie on your tummy, then lift and extend your arms and legs off the ground, it’s a bird, it’s a plane, etc.) and then tells us to paddle our arms a few inches up and down, kick our legs a little bit up and down, all while keeping the pelvis and tummy on the floor and everything else reaches UP and OUT. It’s hilarious, and man does it burn. If the past four weeks are any indication, I can count on being sore until Friday.

After the class I got on the treadmill and walked for a while. I ran for a bit when I felt like it, five minutes or so, then walked for a while, then ran for a while. Very low key, low pressure, easing back into it. It felt pretty good, but my energy overall was low and I definitely felt depleted and tired. THEN, however, just as the customary 35 minutes was ending, the Biggest Loser came on TV. I LOVE the Biggest Loser. In fact, if I’m completely honest the Biggest Loser had a Big hand in getting me on this fitness kick in the first place. I sprinted over to the cardio sign up book and signed up for another 45 minutes on my treadmill, then dialed the machine down to a comfortable, brisk walking pace (3.0 or so) and walked my way through the show. It was great! I am so inspired by those guys and all the weight they’ve lost.

Okay, now I have a question for you guys. Kind of like a choose your own adventure. What should I do about the personal trainer situation? You may remember that I bought a session with a personal trainer as a reward for reaching my 10 lbs lost milestone. That was about three weeks ago. They actually made my buy TWO sessions– an assessment and a training session, at a total cost of $100 (which is a lot for me). Also keep in mind that I bought a three month gym membership that expires May 20th.

So, the personal trainer didn’t get in touch with me to set up a session until TODAY. It’s been almost three weeks since I PAID and she didn’t even call me, which is annoying and doesn’t bode well for her overall professionalism, in my opinion. And get this– she can’t meet for at least two weeks. AND she generally only works standard working hours, just like me! By the time she could squeeze me in to her busy schedule, I would probably have a month or less left on my gym membership. I was really excited to start a weight lifting regimen and wanted her to teach me how to use the machines properly and set me up with a plan.

Do you think I should:
A: Cancel the personal trainer, get a good book from the library (body for life or weight training for dummies or something like that) and just start on my own with no professional guidance?
B: Ask my friend who has a private trainer who she likes to give me her trainer’s number so I can set up a session with her?
C: Agree to meet the trainer in two weeks and just go from there, with a month left on my gym membership? Maybe ask her to help me make a plan of strength training I can do at home or outside?
D: Some other awesome solution I’m not seeing. Help!

I’ve been wretchedly sick for the past six days. Haven’t exercised (barely have enough energy to stand, much less walk or run!), haven’t eaten much either. I lost almost four pounds in a week! I’m not exactly celebrating (or believing) this weight loss because I’m probably just dehydrated or my muscles are wasting away or something… but it’s still kind of fun and exciting to see numbers on the scale that I haven’t seen since, I don’t know, 10th grade! Total weight loss as of this morning: 14.5 lbs. However, I still look exactly the same to myself and my clothes fit the same as far as I can tell. When will I start seeing a difference? I don’t need to see a difference right away, because I can feel a difference in my fitness level and in the distances I can run, but it might be nice to see SOMETHING with my own eyes, you know?

My race is in two weeks, one day! I haven’t been training. Here are my (good) excuses:

-Tuesday’s toning class left me extremely sore. All over. I actually like that this class seems to always mix it up and work me out in a different and challenging way. I keep thinking that if I keep going I will get used to it and stop being so sore, but each time I’ve gone (4 weeks now) the moves have been different, and every time I’ve been crazy sore afterwards.

-My right calf really hurt the day after the class. It hurt to touch it. It hurt to stand. There was no way I was going to run on muscles that sore– I don’t want to risk injuring myself this close to my race.

-Wednesday night the muscle soreness got much worse, I started feeling chills and feverish. I took my temperature– 101.0. I called in sick to work and spent all day Thursday in bed coughing my lungs out, shivering, feeling generally wretched. Note to self: Never do a super intense ab workout right before coming down with a cough. Every cough felt like it was ripping me in half. I literally had to hold on to my abs when I was coughing because they hurt so much. It hurts to laugh, and it REALLY hurts to cough. Ow!

-Today, Friday, I feel a lot better. My fever is gone, my muscles are mostly better (right calf still feels tight, I need to do some more gentle stretches). I may be up for a gentle workout today, but I still have a sore throat and don’t want to overdo it.

In other news, the personal trainer at the gym hasn’t called me to set up an appointment yet (I signed up and paid over two weeks ago!) although considering how I feel right now it’s probably for the better. Blah.

So, after being extremely disciplined about running every other day for about two weeks, I took the weekend off. Then I took Monday off because I was tired from being back at work. Today I ALMOST talked myself out of going to the gym… I’m on Week 8 of the couch to 5 k program and now I’m feeling the urge to quit? Maybe even write here that I’m done and not actually do it? I don’t know why, but I’m SCARED to finish the program. I’m scared that the 30 minute runs of week 9 will be too hard, I’m scared to be finished with it… it makes no sense, but I’m going to push through this fear and do it anyway. I am.

I went to the gym today, went to the toning class (good for abs and arms, some legs… no cardio involved though), then I thought that I signed up for a treadmill but I accidentally signed up for an elliptical. Oh well. Al of the treadmills were booked so I got on the elliptical machine and spent 45 minutes cruising along at a mellow speed. I kept my heart rate around 150 the whole time. I didn’t want to push it too hard since I want to run tomorrow and I want my legs to be fresh and not sore. American Idol was on and the time went by fast.

In great news, the scale continues to creep down bit by bit, I’m losing about a pound each week. I ate very well all during break, and on the days I didn’t exercise my appetite was significantly reduced, which made it very easy to eat healthy food and not over-do it. It was also a luxury to be able to prepare all of my meals at home. I find myself making less than stellar choices when I’m at school, haven’t packed a lunch, and have to choose something from the school cafeteria for lunch. I like eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch– I need to buy some more bread and keep that up. Along with an apple, it makes for a healthy, balanced lunch, and it helps me save a little money as well as a few calories.

I’m excited that the weather is supposed to be warm (50!) and sunny all week– I can run outside, enjoy the sunshine, and get my body ready for my first ever 5K race: 18 days away! Holy crap!

I set out from my house around 2 pm, excited to run outside in the balmy, 50 degree weather. I didn’t really have a route in mind, so I just moseyed towards the lakefront, thinking I would just turn around halfway or try to make some kind of loop. Rather than heading straight East to the lake, I turned South for a block or two, and right when my five minute warm-up walk was ending and I was about to start running, I came over the top of a small hill, and there in front of me–like an oasis in the desert– was a running track! A deserted, rubbery, oval-shaped running track, just waiting for me to run on it! I ran around the track in one direction. I turned around and ran on it in the other direction. I ran the outside loop and the inside loop. I tried to avoid stepping on a goose or any of their leavings. I thought “race, race, race!” in my head.

I got bored of the track right around the time a man with a stopwatch and some track and field supplies showed up and started setting up near me, so I jogged across the grass and back to the sidewalk, onward! I jogged in place while waiting for the light to change. When the light finally changed, I sprinted across the road, kicking up my heels in glee, hoping that the people in the cars weren’t checking out my butt, or if they were that it looked good. I got some new grey running pants from Target, and when I checked myself out in the full-length mirror, I thought “daaaaamn girl, looking fine!” but I know that what looks good standing still doesn’t always looks as good bouncing and shaking and jiggling across the road in front of traffic. Either way, I didn’t get any comments or whistles, and continued to scamper on my way.

I started feeling really tired about 20 minutes into it, my heart and lungs were really burning and working hard. I pushed through and made it to the end. I even stretched a little while holding on to a park bench, and did THREE push-ups on the park bench (the high, back-rest part of it) and three dips (also on the high part). Oof-dah. I need to start on some weight training to increase my strength, BIG TIME.

I power-walked home, chanting “fit-ness, fit-ness” in my head and grinning ear to ear.