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Fitness Challenge Update - 1 week till race day!

Okay, we will start with confession as I always do. I missed my workouts on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and I never workout on Sunday, so my 20 minutes in the pool after my short run on Wednesday was the last to workout I got last week. Thursday morning I met a friend for breakfast and ordered an omelet with 3 eggs, bacon, avocado and cheese with a side of hashbrowns and a hot chocolate. It was deliriously delicious and I ate down to a clean plate. I didn’t dare add up how many calories were in it, but I’m sure I should not have eaten again until Saturday. The problem was I also went out for pizza that night as part of a business meeting.

As I’ve said too many times this month, I am having a hard time caring enough to write down my food intake. Maybe it’s just the season, the season of eating that has cracked my willpower for now. I am doing better at some things, however, like chocolate. I have been avoiding the bag of dark chocolate chocolate chips in my baking closet that have been calling my name, I haven’t bought ice cream for the family in three weeks, and I have not stopped at Golden spoon for yogurt for two weeks except for one planned trip with the kids. I should admit there is a bag of half salted almonds from Trader Joe’s in my drawer that will not last nearly as long as it should.

I have been having a very good month in other ways. I am singing in four choir performances next weekend for church and helping out with a Christmas play. I’m also catering the food in between performances on Sunday night. Calling it “catering” is stretching it. I am arranging for choir snacks so we have some blood sugar for the second performance. It will be finger food at best with lots of water and snacks we can eat without a fork. There are 200 people including the orchestra and I’m not going to have any dishes to be washed. Maybe a few bowls when the grapes are gone, but that’s about it. I like to cook and arrange big meals for parties, and I guess it’s partly because I want to be like my older brother who is a caterer full-time. He is very creative and talented at his job and I wish I had half of his talent but double his income.

On the good side, let’s think,.I went swimming on Wednesday, running on Tuesday, and, I think, for sure run on Monday morning as well. I never go back and read last week’s post before I write the next one so I am going to use this morning’s run as part of my positive report. It is getting colder here, that is cold for California. It was 42°F when I left my house this morning in shorts, two layers of T-shirt (one long-sleeved, one short sleeve) a hat and gloves. The gloves are a challenge because my phone and iPod are touchscreen and to make changes I have to take my clothes off. I did discover that I can unlock my phone, which invokes a screen lock after two minutes, by clicking the button with my gloved finger and using my nose to unlock the screen. It might look goofy when I run but it allows me to keep my gloves on.

I ran what I call the “long school loop” which starts with a mile and a half of gradual uphill and then 2 ½ miles of gentle downhill. It’s a great loop for working on speed because it is downhill for such a long stretch. I never go too fast on my first mile so going up-hill doesn’t make a big difference. It finishes with a long flat stretch and then a mile and a half back up hill for a total of 7 miles. This morning I ran 6.2, or 10K, to see how my time was doing. This whole fitness challenge had a goal of December 15 as race day, but I have a choir practice in the morning and some family activities in the afternoon so I’m not sure about running that day. This morning I did my 10K in 50:22, 22 seconds slower than I wanted to do but several minutes faster than I used to do, so I smiled brightly as I finished and then jogged my way home to cool down.

I know that purely using weight is a bad way to measure fitness, and on some days I believe that. Earlier this summer I broke 50 minutes in the 10K for the very first time, and since then I have done it twice and come close to three other times (like this morning). I know that my times are better and even my slow miles are faster than I used to go. It’s a good feeling when I stick with it; it’s a good feeling when I see progress even if it’s not on the scale.

Since I got laid off last January I did lose over 20 pounds but more importantly I am down from a size 38 to a loose 36 and I even bought a pair of 35 waist jeans. I’m dreaming, I know, but at least I can put them on while breathing now. I can’t sit down yet, but give me time.

As the days get colder, and this morning I left at 42° and came back at 41°, it will be a challenge to stay outside and on the road. I wear more and more clothes, but I have nothing to complain about. I won’t fight the snow, or the freezing rain, or any of the struggles that my friends do outside of California. I am proud of all of you who are trying to be healthier during this fitness challenge. I am proud of those who wake up with aching knees, bad backs, a lack of family support, and still get out doing something. I am proud of all of you who have tried to break a bad habit, start a good one, or just make better choices at the dinner table. I have said many times that anyone who shows up at the gym, straps on their walking shoes, or makes a conscious choice to push away from the dinner table when they know they should, earns my respect no matter where they are on their fitness journey.

As we come into the last week before Christmas, and happy Hanukkah to all my Jewish friends, we have a chance to make new choices at the beginning of the year. I think I’m going to keep Monday as my fitness update post even passed next week and race day. I hope you’ll come along with me and we can all make good choices together.
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