A Real Runner Now and Three Month Results

I started this blog last night. I was writing it on wordpress in a browser, like an idiot. Around midnight I had it 90% complete… and then my browser crashed and I lost it all. I growled, said “fuck this shit!!!!” and went to bed. So now, a day older and a little wiser I start again; this time in Word, like a genius.

This week started out for me with a stair session with the Ginga Ninja and Mister James. We did our half hour and my brain was in the “yay! I’m done!” zone. Then James asked me if I was just going home to assassinate, which is code for play video games. I was indeed going home to assassinate. He informed me that instead I would be staying for a full hour of stairs. He had another group coming right after us, unluckily for me. I stayed and suffered for another half hour while he made me do progressively more flights of stairs two at a time until the last time I went bottom to top double stairing it. That was Wednesday… my legs still hurt.

The next day I woke up after a post night shift nap to a delightful message from James telling me that it was a solo run day for me and that he was sure I’d get it done. I had planned a solo nap day. I thought about it as a good chance to try out the new Yak Trax that I had just bought so I got up and headed out around the neighbourhood. There is a big hill in the middle that has repeatedly defeated me. The first time I “ran” this route I had to stop four times to catch my breath while walking up it. I still can’t run it but at least I can walk up it without stopping now. I will slaughter that hill one day… soon.

The run was cold and windy and painful in the leg area, but when I got home it was the first time I felt like a real runner. I think it was because I really didn’t want to go and I was tired and hurting but I went anyway. Even though I walked the hill in the middle of the run when I got back I thought “I think I’m a runner now”. There’s always a bit of a debate of when a person can call herself a real runner. Some say it’s when you get out for your first run, others when you finish your first race… I think it’s when you feel like a runner and it’s different for everyone. The feeling finally happened for me and now I think I can call myself a runner.

Here’s my new Yak Trax. They are amazing! Your feet feel a bit heavier but the traction is pretty epic. FYI, running on snow is hard… not as hard as sand, but still pretty hard.

Yak2

YakTrax

The next day James wanted to run and it was the first time I had to tell him “I can’t”, which hurt me in the soul a little bit. I’ve tried very hard never to say that to him and just to suck up my “I can’ts” and do what he tells me to. But I could not. My legs were two pillars of soreness that would barely move forward after the hour of stairs followed by my first snow run. He gave me a choice between doing upper body at the gym and a walk. I totally chickened out of the gym (with lots of people with lots of eyes to see me) and choose a walk, which was lovely. But now I kind of feel like the old Kirstin was around that day and she chose that. If I could go back in time I’d chose the gym, because that was what I didn’t want to do; it was the hard choice. I chose the easy way once again and I regret it. I have to keep making the hard choices and next time I will choose differently. My legs regretted it too, even walking was pretty ouchy.

Yesterday Alison and I went to the Wildlife Preserve for another 5k run. It was actually the first time we’ve run together. We’ve worked out together and climbed stairs together and kickboxed together (so much fun!) but it was our first run… and my legs still hurt like mo fo’s. We strapped on our Yak Trax and hit the road. I was struggling pretty hard and was once again defeated by the hill… those damn hills. Truthfully I was defeated before the hill and we walked for a bit. The lynx were out for once though so that was pretty cool. I was convinced that my legs were done for the day but once we got to the top of the hill I told Alison that I was going to run from there to the end and I did it. We were having a good chat which was very helpful. Talking always distracts me from my misery fairly effectively.

I haven’t had the pain in my leg that had been bothering me for a couple of weeks, but when I woke up today there it was again. The same sharp pain in the exact same place just like a bitch. So I will ice it and tape it up and rest it if I need to and keep on keeping on… but it’s super annoying.

This week I’m hitting the weights. James says it’s time. I’ve had some success with Les Mills Pump in the past so I’m starting that again. It’s a 90 day strength program that I’ve achieved some good progress with twice… and then never bothered to finish. I’m great at starting shit, but my finish needs some serious work. This time I’m gonna rock it all the way to the end. Today is day 1 and I will fit it in around my runs, which will always be priority number one.


So! It’s been three months… what have I achieved?

I finally lost ten pounds! I stepped on the scale Saturday morning and when I saw I was at the ten I did a happy dance and yelled at Cameron immediately “I finally fucking lost ten pounds!!!”  He rejoiced with me and it was a good start to the day.

I also did some measurements and here are the happy results, which are actually even more exciting than the ten pounds. I must be packing muscle onto my legs because these results don’t make sense with only ten pounds lost otherwise. All the following losses are in inches.

  • Waist  -3
  • Tummy   -4
  • Hips   -3
  • Thigh -2 (on each leg!)
  • Arm   -1
  • Neck  -0.5

Here is an example of my running progress. On the left is a solo run in August shortly after I got my Fitbit. On the right is my best 5k run so far which was a couple of weeks ago.

progress

I’m really happy with all of those results. While progress has been slow with weight I’ve managed to look beyond that and see the change in how I look and my improvement in running as my main markers. Someone that I haven’t seen in a couple months walked into my lair at work the other day and immediately said “holy shit Kirstin are you losing weight?  You’re fading away!” That felt pretty damn good.

In three months I’ve gone from deep rut to real runner. I’m starting to think of food as fuel and not just yummy yum yums. My brain is in the right place and my feet are firmly on the road.

This week Alison and I are going to haul ten pounds of sand up and down the stairs for a while and then dump it out at the top in celebration of my ten pound loss. It was her amazing idea and we plan to do it every ten pounds I lose until I reach my goal. Hopefully there will be a big old pile of sand up there soon… we just have to find some sand that isn’t currently frozen. I keep bringing my phone to runs and stairs and forgetting to take pictures. I will not forget at the 10 pound celebration though… I will not.

Stay awesome!

~PP

Return to the Stairs

stairs from top

The view from the top. Today I headed back to the Black Street Stairs for another torture session. Our crew today consisted of Princess Earhandles (regretting her name a bit now but it’s not too late to change it!), Prince Handlebar, Princess CindyLouWho (a new and awesome addition), and James: Satan’s Minion.

We started with chin-ups again and I swear it felt like I was able to let myself down slightly more slowly than last time, at least for the first two or three. While we were trudging up to the stairs James said he had read my blog. I blurted out “I’m sorry I called you Satan’s minion!” He laughed and said it was ok and I began to think this could be the beginning of a beautiful Trainer / Pudgy Princess relationship.

I boldly declared that I’d like to be able to walk after this week’s session. James said that we would be doing more of a sustained effort workout as opposed to last weeks hell sprints; hell being my added adjective and not his original quote. We were to walk up and down the stairs as many times as possible within thirty minutes, as slowly as necessary in order to keep going.

I started up the stairs and made it to the top on round one without venturing too close to death, though much more slowly than my compatriots. That was ok though. It won’t be ok forever, but it was ok today. I stopped at the top to breathe, but that was not the plan! James (on at least his second round but possibly his fifth, there’s no way to know) said “keep going! The way down is your rest.” I laughed and told him it was really cute that he thought that was a rest.

I slogged through three more rounds with much encouragement from my friends and much heckling of them from me. I swear I passed James while I was on the way up and he was on the way down every time and then about twelve seconds later he scared the shit out of me with encouragement from behind.

Various quotes from my friends:

  • “You’re doing so awesome, keep going!”
  • “You’re awesome”
  • “You can do it!”
  • “You rock!”
  • “Your legs aren’t shaking as much as last time” – true.

Quotes(ish) from James:

  • “the way down is your rest”
  • “It gets really bad, and then just stays the same amount of bad.”

I said I’d have to go ahead and disagree, it kept getting more bad.

Various quotes from me:

  • at the top with fist in the air – “I feel like Rocky!”
  • to Alison half way up on round four “I’m – gasp – just – gasp – having – gasp – a bit of a  – gasp – hard time – gasp – breathing!”
  • “No whinging!” – I had cornered the market on whinging.
  • “Pass me, save yourself!”

So all in all, a great workout.

Two days ago I started feeling normal after the last stair session. I had about six days of zombie walking, then three days of feeling like general crap with runny nose and runny…. other things, and then got back to running with my legs.

Yesterday Prince Fuzz joined me for a run at the Wildlife Preserve. He’s much much faster than me but we had a great time even so. He ran ahead when he wanted to and then came back for me. We stopped and took a picture of us at the top of Mount Doom but it didn’t turn out very well on my ancient iPhone. I did get a couple of good animal shots though.

eagles

Eagles being rehabilitated.

deer

Deer and nice fall colours.

After the deer we did some short sprints for the last km of the 5k run (run/walk for me) and talked about how sprinting makes me feel like a kid running around and having fun. We picked a tree on the trail and sprinted to it then walked for a bit. It was super fun but one time I picked a tree that was way too far for me to sprint to. I narrowly avoided collapse but still had a great time.

Now five hours after hell stairs I am feeling great. As in – I think I’ll be able to walk tomorrow! –  great.

After I publish this post I’m planning on updating my “About Me” page with some nerd-fessions about stuff I love and more info about me. Check that out later tonight or tomorrow when you have a minute.

I love that my friends and strangers from around the world are reading my ramblings. I’ve had so much advice from friends after reading this and I love it! It means that you are reading and caring and that means a lot to me!

Various advice and comments (loosely quoted from memory) I’ve received in the last couple weeks from my friends include:

  • I can help you with outdoor running plans and tips once it snows and is really cold – T (marathoner and very inspirational to me weight loser through running and clean eating)
  • I can help you with treadmill plans for the winter, I hate running in the cold. – G (ultra-marathoner and another inspirational gal)
  • I think you might be having too many hot tubs, it might be making your inflammation worse and you should try ice. – B (almost definitely true but I do love my hot tub and hate cold) Also, you said you’d come to work outs with us if you could wear purple tights… you know who you are… get out here!
  • So you decided not to swear too much in you blog, hey? – R. My friend who read the whole blog beginning to end while sitting at work with me the other day. I replied that I had started out trying not to swear much but my resolve was eroding as I went along… He also let out many chuckles while reading it which made me feel pretty good.
  • Reading you blog is just like hanging out with you except I’m either not at work with you or I don’t have a drink in my hand. – E (aka The Suit) Apparently I write how I speak – awesome!
  • Your blog is pretty funny, I like it. – D
  • You’ve inspired me to get out there /  back into shape / back to running / etc. – three awesome girl friends. This is the best one! 

I can’t believe that I’m inspiring people. It an amazing and humbling feeling that I’m an inspiration to anyone. I have so FAR to go and I didn’t believe that I’d be capable of inspiring anyone until maybe I hit or was pretty close to my goal. So thank you to all of you who’ve messaged, texted or told me that I’m inspiring you, this in turn inspires and pushes me to keep going.

James said today that who you surround yourself with is critical to your motivation and success (or something like that)… and the people surrounding me right now are amazing. Today I thought my fourth time up the stairs in thirty minutes would be my last. I was already feeling the relief of the finish 3/4 of the way to the bottom with four minutes left. When I was almost at the bottom of run four James pushed me to go one more time. I didn’t think I could do it. My legs were jello; wobbling violently by this time. Then Alison said she’d do it with me. She must have been on time eight, or ten, or thirty but she said she’d do the last one with me. I slogged up one step at a time and she ran past me and then turned around each flight and came back to me with words of encouragement and offers to let me throw things at her if necessary. I think without her doing that last run with me I may (would) have sat down and cried. I’m SO lucky to be able to surround myself with amazing people.

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I could not have better friends to help me with this. I thought I could do it alone at the beginning but I was SO wrong. I need my people, my amazing Disney Crew and everyone else who joins me for any part of this journey, thank you!

I’m so looking forward to crossing that finish line in February 2017 with you guys. Whether you’re there with me or cheering from the Yukon while I run along, you all mean something to me and are a part of my story.

I’m not alone and that is awesome!

~PP