Sunday, October 16, 2011

And the Secret is...Focus

What an incredible week.

I wondered how I would feel reporting to the world today about everything.  My most recent weigh in, the crazy hilly race yesterday, how I was doing with my eating.

Well, I am very happy to say that I have good news.  On ALL fronts.

As you know I spent much of September losing and gaining the same 3 pounds.  Well, I have finally released them forever.  Well, Mandisa says released - she says you shouldn't say lost as you really don't want to find them.  But maybe since released sounds kinda gross I will say exterminated.  Wait.  Not much better.

Back to the point, I am excited that I've lost another 2 pounds past my 100 pound mark.  I'm solidly 183 now.  I honestly don't remember the last time I was there and actually stayed there.  Probably around that weight when we got married, but again, I gained it back quickly.  Stopping your program will do that to you.

Duh, right?

This weigh in was great as last Sunday I weighed 185.8 and it sucked.  I was so miserable about it, but I faithfully reported it to my Body Bugg program and waited while it told me I must be sneaking oreos.  Really, it just adjusts your intake amount for the last week and accuses you of eating way more than you tracked.  Not very fair I felt, though this week it ended up jacking my intake down saying I had eaten less than I reported since I lost 2.6 pounds.  It is making me realize that while losing weight is scientific (less calories in, more calories burned), it isn't a one-size-fits-all perfect, fault-proof science.  Although when I really think about it, here is what I've come to realize.

If I compare my calories this week to those of weeks prior, the amount I ate wasn't necessarily that different.


Not Quantity.

Sick of hearing that quality is more important than quantity?  Yeah, me too.  But bear with me here.

Want to know the difference between this week and other weeks?

I ate BETTER food.  Healthier.  Got in my fruit and veggie servings.  AND my daily dark chocolate.

And I didn't crave weird junk food.  Dessert still taunted me at that buffet I was telling you about the other day (the one with the white devil pasta).  But I conquered it.

And again, I'm that much stronger.

So what's the "secret?"  There really isn't just one thing.  It's a combination of good choices that moves you in the direction of success.  And if something isn't working, its time to re-evaluate, get dead honest with yourself and change something.  Anything.  Shock your body for once.  Get it out of its routine.

My break did that for me - not only giving my knee time to heal, but giving me a chance to rest and reset.  I needed a brain break too I think.

One choice I made this week was going daily with my chocolate again.  Dark chocolate every day is going to have to be my thing.  In fact, the dark chocolate of choice has been those mini-york peppermint patties.  Oh my heaven.  Just one tiny one is enough to satiate me. 50 calories of happiness.  And during the day I've been fine since I started doing that regularly again.  Worth it.

Another choice was making sure I got my water in - and planning my meals and sticking to my plan.

More choices - my activity.  I ran Monday morning, did Tae Bo on Tuesday night, ran Wednesday morning and did Zumba Wednesday night, then ran again Thursday and took Friday off as a rest day before my 5k race Saturday.  Yeah, pretty active week.  And I'm planning another one right behind it.  Because my body is responding well to it.

My focus has been a little off lately.  I've been focusing on the scale not moving, my cravings being out of whack, and wondering if I'd ever get under 185 for serious.

What got me back into my groove was putting my eyes back on the small steps that it will take for me to meet my goal.  Each time I exercised.  That much closer.  Every healthier food choice.  That much closer.  Every blog post where I'm pouring my heart out to potentially no one but its still cathartic...That much closer.

Let's talk about the race yesterday.  I will likely get misty eyed.

I ran my best race time EVER.  32:16.  This same race last year, I ran in 40:04.  What a difference a year makes. Check out the difference in the two photos:

June 2010 - October 2011  1st 5k race vs 7th 5k race

Champions of Hope race 2010 vs 2011 40 pounds lighter

At the start line I was nervous as usual.  Unsure of myself and my ability. But all week I had felt this freakish determination like I was going to kill this race.  I had no idea how, as I knew it was the hardest race I'd ever run.  They even changed the course but talking it over with someone before hand it didn't change for the "easier."  Just multiple, different hills.  Fortunately no time to be nervous.

I looked around and instantly felt overwhelmed with emotion.

Everyone wore these - and several had more than one name on it like mine did.
It was amazing to see all of these names flying around me.  Everyone was running with a purpose. With a focus.  I vowed not to lose mine.  Some teenage boys were goofing around during the first mile and distracting me so I put in both earphones and zoned out.  As soon as we were down one hill, we were going up another.

I had the same experiences as before, but kept telling myself - this is MY race, not the person who just passed me.  That helps me pace so much.  I know many people burn out toward the end.  Sure enough in the last mile I began passing people like crazy.  People who had stopped to walk.  People way skinnier and fit-looking than me.  I hoped they couldn't hear me wheezing.

The last hill was murder.  Then I pictured my friend Irene and could hear her saying "Go Clara" in her Staten Island accent.  Literally a minute later "I Run for Life" by Melissa Etheridge came on the playlist.  PERFECT timing.  I zoomed past people going uphill.  I knew we were nearing the end.

When you round the last turn the finish line is still .2 miles away, but you can see it clearly.  I poured out all I had and then realized the clock said 31 something.  Now, I wear a Garmin, so I could have done the math myself, but I was so focused, I hadn't looked down in awhile.  I burned it across the finish line, amazed as I realized it was my fastest 5k EVER.

Faster than I'd even run one in my non hilly neighborhood.

I can only credit sheer and utter focus and determination.  Oh, and the people praying for me (thanks!).  Seriously, I've never been more elated with a finish.  And my hubby got a great picture too.

Wish I had seen my hubby and daughter - I might have smiled and waved!  the time says 32:24 but my official chip time was 32:16 due to how long it was after they said "go" and I had not yet crossed the starting line.
I placed 20th in my age group.  Yeah, not the most impressive ever, but I wouldn't have even placed last year.  130th out of 309 people.  Still, closer to the top half than the bottom half!

So all in all, what a great week and weekend.  I am so excited about how I'm feeling, not just physically strong (a tad bit of knee pain this morning during my easy 2 miles but no pain at all yesterday) but also mentally strong.  Spiritually strong.

A force to be reckoned with.  When I'm focused, that is.

Stay focused friends.  Sorry for the long post - if you're still here, thanks for riding along.


1 comment:

Clare@peak313 said...

Excellent, excellent, excellent! So proud of you!!

I think rest does just that---Gives you new focus and fuel to move forward!

Keep on!