Steps vs walking

Literally the high point of my week.

Wednesday  was a rough day. I could have ended up with fewer than 1,000 steps. But I didn’t. I pushed myself to walk before bed. It was a hard decision. Between work and family I didn’t have 5 min to myself until about 9 pm. 

I could have justified going to bed. It was late. It was dark. It was freaking cold out. I was tired. But I went out anyway and walked until I hit 8,000 steps.  

If  I had skipped the walk that night, I’m not sure I would have gotten up early yesterday morning to do my 20 min workout (more about that later). I thought about what had motivated me in the past and one thing that worked was to get 8,000 steps no matter what. I know most people have a 10,000 step goal but I think if I had to try for 10,000 when I’m at 800. For me an 8,000 step goal is so much more attainable. 

So I did it and even though it was cold and I’m glad I did it. Every positive choice leads to another positive choice. Each negative choice gives permission for other. Festive choices. 

Having said this, getting in my steps is a stop-gap at best. It isn’t fun and if I do that every day this whole thing will unravel again. It will become a chore. 

So yesterday I made a choice to take a walk.  Unlike getting steps, taking a walk is about taking time for me. It is enjoyable. It builds me up. I chose the middle of the day, in sunshine, and at the beach. There is nothing that I enjoy more. Because of work my time was limited, but I left feeling ebullient. 

Today I tried to get my walk in, but the whole day was a disaster from beginning to end. At 6:30 pm, with a mountain of work still to wade through, I decided to walk. I have to go back to the emails and spreadsheets before bed, but squeezing in a walk while there was a smidgen of daylight seemed better then squeezing it in as midnight approaches. 

And I’m really sure that if I had skip today, I would have been undone again. 

Goal 1: Accountability. 

Pursuant my previous post,  I can’t tackle everything at once or I risk yet another failures. So I’ve decided to pick one goal each week.  

I’m starting this week with accountability because it feels like everything stems from that. For me this means tracking: exercise, steps, food, caffeine, and sleep. I can’t see improvement if I don’t keep track. Notice I didn’t say weight, inches, or clothing size. If my goal is increased energy, those factors aren’t the right measures. 

I have a Fitbit to track steps and feel fairly comfortable using the Fitbit app to track food and exercise. (Steps and exercise are not the same IMHO). But I think I can’t ignore those other measures, so this week my goal is to figure out the best way to track. 

I’m also going to commit to weekly (or more) blog posts.  I find blogging the best way for me to (a) work out my thoughts, (b) stay accountable and, (c) boost my mood. 

Energy Reboot

I’ve tried to restart my running program about 10 times since getting the go ahead from my dr. Each time has failed, not because of injury but because of lack of energy. Here are my top reasons for lack of follow through:

  • I’m too tired 
  • I’m too busy (work, family, politics, etc.)
  • I’m too overwhelmed (see above)
  • It’s too cold, gym is too far, workout clothes don’t fit anymore, excuse of the day…
  • I don’t seem to be getting better. 

I’ve tried to get back on track with eating about 100 times in the last six months. I know which foods  give me energy and make me feel good and which foods give me food cravings and make me feel out of control. Here are my top reasons I fall apart:

  • I’m too tired to cook, shop, prep food
  • I didn’t plan for my day properly
  • I’m in a lousy mood, so I just don’t care anymore
  • I’ve already eaten the wrong thing, so what’s one more
  • If it’s not about weight loss, why can’t I eat what I like?

It’s like a viscous cycle. I eat foods that suck the energy out of me and the. I have no energy. I don’t exercise so I have no energy. 

In addition, I’ve gone back to drinking regular coffee. It started with just a cup or two a week, but progressed to the point where I get a splitting headache if I don’t have 2-3 cups a day. 

After thinking about this for a couple of weeks, I’ve decided that I need a complete reboot. I need the human equivalent of turning it off and turning it back on again. 

I went back to where I started, when the journey was just starting. I need to set small enough goals that I think I can achieve them. I need to take it much more slowly than I have been. Things didn’t break down in a couple of weeks; it was a gradual process of little slips. 

I’m going to stop focusing on trying to be a runner so much. I’m going to put my attention on things that get my energy back. 

So here it is ~ 30 days to reboot my energy:

I need to focus on things that will give me energy. Whole foods, not processed. Eating more proteins and veggies and less sugars.  Avoid wheat. Cut down on caffeine. Move my body every day.  Think about how to improve sleep. 

I don’t have the answers now. I’m going to play with a few things and see how it goes. 

Long Run Long Time Coming

I planned a long run today. I planned on getting up early to do it, but that didn’t happen. I spent several hours talking myself in and out of running at all. But finally I put on the gear, and that really is half the battle. 

I’m really glad I did the full 3.5 miles. This is farther than I’ve been running, but not by so much that I’m overdoing it. I have a plan on MapMyRun that will slowly increase my distance over the next few months. I don’t have an end game right now. It might be 6 miles. It might be 10. If all goes well it might be more. I’m taking it cautiously and am cautiously optimistic as well. 

The real test will be how I feel tomorrow. 

Wanted: Endorphins

My daughter used to say running was my drug of choice, and there was a certain truth to it. I loved getting that “runner’s high” and that kept me going. Signing up for longer runs, running faster, were just ways I chased better highs. 

I’ve been noticing lately that I don’t love running the way I used to and I’m starting to think it has to do with releases endorphins, or lack thereof. 

Today I had the closest thing to a runners high. It showed up in the last half mile of a 2.5 mile run. It wasn’t enough to get me to extend the run. More like a runner’s hiccup rather than a runner’s high. 

I’m not sure what exactly triggers runner’s high. It isn’t strictly a distance or pace thing. I know some runners who never get them (sorry mom). I just know that what flipped me from being someone who runs to a “runner” was largely based on those chemicals that literally make running worth the pain and effort. 

So if you want to know what I’m chasing when you see me running, now you know. I’m chasing my runner’s high.