Saturday, 19 July 2014

159 miles down, plus a day at the races

Another week down, another 5 training walks and 26 miles in the books, for a total of 159.2 miles walked in total so far.  To put that in perspective if I walked 159 miles from Toronto I would have walked all the way to Bothwell, Ontario, a 2 and a half hour drive along the way to London.  Never heard of Bothwell, have you?  Neither have I.  But I do know that it is 159 miles from Toronto. 

All this walking is having a good effect - - I am down 2.1 pounds from last week.  This brings me back into overweight territory from obese, a huge improvement from where I re-started at the beginning of June.  I am 10.7 pounds down from my re-start, and on the way to my previous low.  Ever so slowly, of course, but that's the way these things work. 

In an interesting testament to the depression and work stress that I had been going through at my old job, my weight now, 7 weeks after recommitting to working out and eating properly, is right back to around what I was a year ago at this time. 

I can look at this in a couple of ways.  I can get all depressed about all the time I have lost and wasted over the past year just to end up in the same place that I was a year ago.  Or I can take the fact that I am fighting my way back as a positive thing.  All of my good habits that I have developed over the past couple of years, and my increasing levels of fitness are allowing me to take back control of my weight even though I let it get out of control.  I refuse to give up all the progress that I have made over the past 2 and a half years, even though I have slipped back behind some of the goals I had achieved.  And it is happening slowly, to be sure, but I am winning back those goals one by one again. 

Since I recommitted myself to working out and eating well 7 weeks ago I have broken into the light-heavyweight class, and, this week, I made it back into the overweight category (from being obese).  Next on the list is to break the 200 pound mark again, and then it will be to break 190 pounds.  From that, it will be just a hop and a skip to my previous low weight.

I know that a huge percentage of people gain the weight back within a year after they lose a large amount of weight.  I certainly did the first time I lost weight - - within a couple of years I was well on my way to my new highest weight of all time. 

This time, I like to focus on the fact that when my weight started creeping back up once my job situation resolved itself I took back control over my eating.  7 weeks in, I am feeling almost back to my old healthy self, and I love it.  It is still one day at a time, but those days get easier and easier. 

On a completely unrelated point, a couple of weekends ago the Nerd and I went to the races, which was the genesis of the hat post a couple of posts back.  Due to popular demand, here are some pictures from the event:

We were in the last row of our section, so the Very Large Hat did not block anyone's view, thank goodness.  It was very windy at the race, so the hat did go airborne once, I have to admit.  That being said, it was the perfect hat for the event, and overall we both had a great time. 

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Walking training update - 133.2 miles down

This week was a relatively easy week (!) in that we only had 16.5 miles on the schedule with a 5 miler on Monday, 4 miles on Wednesday, and 7.5 miles this morning.  Monday's walk was hellishly uncomfortable due to groin and foot pain combined with crowded sidewalks.  But Wednesday's walk and this morning's walk were both very nice now that I have tried to slow down a bit and take it a bit easier on the groin.  Yes, the irony of having a sports injury is not lost on me.

All this walking is having a couple of result.  First is that I am actually in the top 100 out of 921 Redditors who also Fitbit, at #71.    So far in July I have taken more than 160,000 steps, which is pretty neat considering how few steps I ever took before I started working out (less than 2,000 a day). 

The other fortunate side effect is that I am back to losing weight.  Although I am still (far) above my lowest from last summer, I have lost 8.6 pounds since I recommitted myself last month to working out and eating healthy and reducing snacking.  The food side of things is really the bigger key to success, but I have been diligently working out and trying to keep my activity levels up as well, much more so than I had been doing previously. 

If I can keep focused on taking things one day at a time and avoid seriously injuring myself in the next few months, I may even get back to where I had been.  The big picture is still too far away to really look at since I still have 40 pounds to lose, but  pretty soon I will be able to re-start that countdown to my final goal.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Training update - 5 weeks down, 9 weeks to go

The walking training continues apace (see what I did there?) and I am finally starting to see some improvements.

It has been 5 weeks of walking training, and in that time the Nerd and I have walked 116.9 miles around Toronto.  I started out barely able to keep a 3 mph pace, and now we are regularly busting out a pace of 4 mph even at distance.  Where a 3 mile walk used to be a challenge that I had to work up to, that's now an "easy" walk that we can knock out before work without too much of an effort.  This morning we walked 8 miles with lots of hills, something that would once have knocked me out for the day.  This morning we got home from our walk, showered, and then headed out on the road to walk to a local diner for breakfast - - walking, naturally.  Then more walking to get the Nerd some clothes for the races tomorrow. 

For the longest time I felt like I was not making any progress, but as you can see in the above chart, progress has definitely been made.  My earliest paces were averaging about 3 mph or a little more, around a mile in 20-22 minutes.  Not bad, but not fast.

As you can see, over time the pace has steadily increased.  My most recent walks I was averaging around 4 mph, at a mile in 14-15 minutes.  That's 5 minutes shaved off my previous best mile time.

Last October I walked 5 km for charity with my office team.  It took me about 54 minutes to walk the 3.1 mile course, or thereabouts, which was a minute off my previous personal best time for that distance.  This morning the Nerd and I walked 8 miles at an average pace of 15:36/mile - - at this pace I would have finished that 5 km race in 47 minutes or so, or 7 full minutes lower than my fastest time last year.  Although I don't see the progress from day to day, when I look at the longer term trends or compare my progress year on year, I can really see a difference.

I am not a super fast walker yet, by any means.  Last weekend we were easily smoked by an 80-year old man who was trying to catch up with his friends, and earlier this week a tiny little woman easily kept ahead of us no matter how fast I tried to push the pace.  The reality is that I am a big girl moving a lot of mass, so I will never be a speed demon.  Plus, I have that bouncy walk thing going on that is hugely inefficient.  Ah well, I am getting stronger, more speedy, and have better endurance and faster recovery with every walk, so I embrace the progress that I see.

One of the women I work with keeps asking me if the weight is falling off me with all the walking.  I can honestly say "no".  I am not snacking, and I am trying to keep my calories in a good range, and I an exercising (either walking or elliptical or weights, or a combination of all three) 6 days a week, but despite how challenging I find the walks, it looks like walking is just an easier workout for me than pure elliptical training.  My weight is not plateauing yet, but those last 42 pounds are coming off verrrryyyyy slowly, grim death marches notwithstanding.

Very pleased with the progress so step at a time!

Help! Which hat to wear to the races?

Help!  The Nerd and I are going to the Queen's Plate tomorrow (the Canadian equivalent of the Kentucky Derby), and I need help deciding which hat to wear.  Hats are apparently the thing to do, you see, so I went out and picked up a black hat that looks very nice with my outfit:
As you can see, it is black to go with the black and white dress, and is jaunty without being overbearing.  But is it enough for the infield of the racetrack?

Today the Nerd and I were shopping for a bowtie for him when we spotted The Big Hat.  Black with a white brim accent, it is Very Large Indeed.  Just the kind of overwrought hat that you often see at British weddings and Churchill Downs. 
Forgive the strange face in the photo - I was talking and got caught mid-comment.  The Big Hat is a real showstopper, but I think that I have the height to carry it off.  Worse comes to worse, I can always take it off and use it as a giant frisbee or sunshade. 

So, dear readers, which hat should I wear to the fancy horse race tomorrow?