Fumbling Towards Fitness

the trials, victories, and musings of a documented slow poke

Midnight Running April 4, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Lorna @ fumblingtowardsfitness.com @ 5:38 am
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Today is my 28th consecutive day of running.  Alright, it’s not much to be excited about.  Especially if you know that exactly half of that has been stinky little single miles.  But I set out to try this for a month, and I have no inclination to stop. So that, I’m excited about.  I’m also really tickled that this has fixed by problem of missing runs.  I’ve had to do a few desperate things to keep this going so now  I realize now that all those folks that I was falling all over myself admiring for doing this for so many decades, yeah, they have treadmills.  I’m convinced.  Last night, I went ahead and just ran in a thunderstorm.  One big lesson there: get that run when you can.  We had a gorgeous day all day.  I managed to busy myself with life (that didn’t involve being at work) and waited until the evening, when a storm was kicking.  Yeah, I didn’t check the weather like I learned I was supposed to.  But I was at home, which means I have about 10 pairs of old running shoes that can get soaked and lightening doesn’t worry me, so run in the thunderstorm I did.

My parents are moving from New Jersey back to Savannah which meant I was in New Jersey, helping pack the moving truck for most of last week (we’re big do-it-yourselfers).  So that was five days of getting by on the bare minimum of one mile a day and mostly at midnight, each day.  The last of those was Saturday night, after a 7 something hour drive from Atlanta (where we didn’t leave Atlanta until 5pm).  So, I set out to get a little mileage in on Sunday and barely hacked out five miles.  My body has decided that’s its new threshold.  Since the race, I haven’t managed to all-out run more than five miles without having to include a little walking, for whatever reason.  I only took about three days off between the race and the streak.  I have tendencies to get a little freaked out when I sense that I’m losing ground that I’ve fought hard to gain.  I experienced something similar in CrossFit when, after many months of improvement, I started to get slower.  Who knows what causes this crap.  Am I failing to push myself?  Anyway, I’m keeping my cool on this and working on building myself back up.  I am definitely someone who must fight constantly to keep any progress I make.   Does it work like that for you guys??


Since I’ve gotten home, I’ve been doing my runs during the day.  I prefer the evening/night, but I figure I’ve got to get myself used to the heat.  So, I ran at the beach for the last few days, mostly out of laziness because it’s two blocks from my house. It’s a fine place to run.  I just haven’t perfected the whole coming up behind people that are walking and slipping by them without scaring the peewine and green goose mess out of them (my Mama’s terminology).  Now I realize there is etiquette for this type of situation.  I’m just working on my execution.  At first, I felt like my desperate huffing as well as (what I imagine to be) slapping footfalls (that I know is improper form), coupled with a polite “excuse me” would announce my approach, however a test pass past a strolling middle-aged couple proved that this was not the case.  The poor woman just about back-flipped into the sand while her husband ran off the sidewalk like he was dodging a speeding bus.  (Speeding, no, but bus, perhaps.)  I apologized ALL over myself, and continued on in humiliation.   Okay, maybe I’m not as loud as I think I am.  Shortly after were two ladies with whom I was determined to do MUCH better.  So at about 10 feet away, I politely said “coming up on your left” yet somehow earned the same reaction.   I’m now taking out my earphones for the maneuver so as to more accurately hear what others are hearing.  Clearly I am better suited for the night/lonesome running that I’ve been doing.  My favorite location is the Bay St. Louis Bridge:


Ok, this was taken post-run, so you’ll have to forgive the squiggle-vision.  Guess I’ve gotta get my shots before I run, or it’s gonna be “Dr. Katz”.  Anyway, it’s two miles across with a wide, fenced off running lane, and hardly anyone on it later in the day.  Somehow I always have fantastic runs here.  It’s a magical bridge.

Today I registered for the Pensacola Marathon – November 11………..so, woo hoo!  I’m the kind of chick that has to get locked in and all obligated to make sure I do the work.  Since I apparently need some more mileage buildup, I’m doing this appropriately named “Mileage Buildup Schedule” for the next couple of months before I start training.  (From Art Liberman’s website, marathontaining.com.)

Mileage Buildup Schedule (Schedule I)

Week# Sun. Mon. Tue. Wed. Thu. Fri. Sat. Total
1 4 Rest 3 Rest 4 Rest 3 14
2 4 Rest 4 Rest 4 Rest 3 15
3 5 Rest 4 Rest 4 Rest 3 16
4 3 Rest 3 Rest 3 Rest 3 12
5 5 Rest 3 3 3 Rest 3 17
6 6 Rest 3 3 3 Rest 3 18
7 6 Rest 3 4 3 Rest 4 20
8 3 Rest 4 Rest 3 Rest 3 13
9 7 Rest 3 5 4 Rest 3 22
10 7 Rest 4 5 4 Rest 4 24
11 8 Rest 4 6 4 Rest 4 26
12 4 Rest 3 Rest 4 Rest 4 15
13 8 Rest 5 6 5 Rest 4 28
14 9 Rest 5 6 6 Rest 4 30
15 9 Rest 5 7 6 Rest 5 32
16 5 Rest 4 Rest 4 Rest 4 17
17 10 Rest 6 8 6 Rest 4 34
18 10 Rest 6 8 7 Rest 4 35
19 6 Rest 4 Rest 5 Rest 4 19

I’m not doing the whole thing, just jumping in around week 10.  We’ll see how that goes.

I have lots to talk about, but I gotta rush and catch a few hours of sleep before work tomorrow.  I sat up to wash all my running clothes for the week.  Streaking equal lots of laundry.  More later!


My own personal gag reel March 26, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Lorna @ fumblingtowardsfitness.com @ 4:06 pm
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Turns out, posting on my work days is going to be HARD. Time is just so tight.  Also, I left my laptop at home, which was a huge part of it.  When I was leaving the house Thursday, with my bag and four days worth of groceries, honestly, I couldn’t fit through the front door.  I was running late, and in frustration ditched it.  Hence my silence (just in case anyone missed input from this bastion of useless information), and why I’m forced to play catch-up today.

That “little” rain that I mentioned in the last post ended up being an all-out thunder and lightening filled, three day soakfest.  So Thursday was another one-miler in the rain, making three in a row now glaring at me from my weekly log.  I had this super secret goal of 25 miles for the week, but by Thursday, that was wadded up in a tissue and flushed.  I reckon some weeks are like that.

The storms finally abated late Friday morning, but left us this (at our little crash pad near work):

And this:

And from our walk from remote parking up to our building (we have a fenced off little walkway through a construction site):


There is a shuttle that we can take, but we always like to walk.  Here’s where it got a little tricky (I promise we don’t work in a third world country):

Here’s Pilley, my dear friend/work day roommate.  She obligingly runs with me on work nights just for kicks (and never feels accomplished for it).  She was smart enough to bring flippies.

 Well the wonderful news is that by noon the sun was 1000% back on the clock so we were able to snag three miles at lunch, and probably a little skin cancer (wasn’t even thinking about sunscreen – burn!).

  It was hot, sweaty, gloriousness, and I was never so grateful for a run!

We’ve been having Jillian yoga night at least once a week, as I’m trying to be more well-rounded in my cross-training.  This one came to me highly recommended by Lacey (she is not really a therapist).  From what I’ve read, the yoga-types sneer at Jillian’s irreverent, less-than-yogaish style, but it works for me.  The great thing about DVD yoga is that it isn’t in a public or group setting, where I have exactly zero business practicing it.  I inevitably start getting off balance, which gets me tickled, which makes balance even more elusive, which then makes me even more giggly, and things just quickly deteriorate into a spectacle of desperate, barely effective restraint.  The rest of the room – calm, even, focused, meditative energy.  My little corner of the room – frizzed with choked off laughter, runny nose, and chaos.  I used to hit up a Les Mills Body Flow class at least once a week, back in the day, at which my fecklessly contained mirth regularly earned me looks from Anya, the thong-wearing (she was always in front of me and it stuck out of the top of her pants!), Russian yoga prodigy that said, “If I had a dog poo pie handy, I’d plant it right in your face.”  I tried very hard to be the very picture of composure, but of course she was abnormally attuned to energies and therefore unable to be deceived.  Then there was my difficulty with concepts such as “drawing the breath to <insert body part>.”  I’m pretty sure I don’t know how to do that.  (No disrespect intended to those of  you with a real heart and feel for this art.)

Anyway, yoga at home – yes!  (Especially one that includes the phrase “Who’s your daddy!”)  Even with barely discernible amounts of namaste within me, I’m definitely benefiting.  There’s a move called “camel pose”, for instance, which requires your body to bend backwards in a way that mine simply does not, except now it does a little bit.  Okay, that’s not impressing you.  Well I am really feeling good and much stronger as I do it, and feel like I’m looking a lot less like Matt Foley, Motivational Speaker

and maybe more like hmm…I Love Lucy.

Add Pilley, and she’ll have to be Ethel only because she’s so much less afflicted than me, and often gives the appearance of “having it together”.  By the way, I now have rug burn on the bottoms of my feet, having involuntarily slid into some deeper split-type situations than I was comfortable with.  Next week, I’ll try (to remember to try) my durn little, grippy yoga socks.

I should mention Jillian’s ab DVD which we also did after one of the little sad one-milers.  Jillian is my away-from-home workout because she’s portable.  The ab one is actually a bunch of cardio.  And it’s good!  So I wasn’t a total slacker while it rained.  We got three more miles Saturday, which finished off my running week around 15.  Still okay, and the little streak lives.

In keeping with the theme of utterly valueless information here, I was remembering having a crazy March in years past, and being warned by a friend, “Beware the Ides of March”.  Technically, it was one bad day for Julius Caesar, but I don’t know, I think it could be the entire month for me.  Whatever “Ides” are, they’ve really been giving me the business.  I’ve been extra ridiculously defective.  Enough that you could do a whole movie montage, set to the tune of “Tiny Toon Adventures” of all my trip-ups, head-slaps, scratch-outs, expletives, forgetfulness, bumps, falls, slams, bruises, bitten lip, etc.  Today, I got stabbed with a spear.  A spear!  Alright, it was a very (very) dull spear, and the part of my body that ran into it was particularly cushioned, specifically my gut.  But it did give me pause.  Anyway, I can smilingly say that it’s been an Alexander kind of week, if not month.

If you don’t own this book, I insist that you immediately get yourself a copy.  It is perfection as hilarity goes and it makes EVERYTHING better.  (And so what if it’s a children’s book.  You need it!)  My mom gave me this back when all the kids displaying great potential were given Oh, The Places You’ll Go!  Anyway, one day in particular, this week, went to industrial grade crap – one of those that makes you want to disappear and enter a mutually forgetful relationship with the world.  This is important only in that it serendipitously brought to mind some words that I really needed:  indomitable spirit.  When I practiced Tae kwon do years ago, we had to recite the tenets of Tae kwon do at the beginning of each class:  courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, and this one, indomitable spirit.  I’d easily join the fan club of every one of those, but this one in particular, I always had a monster crush on.  Even the definition of indomitable is poetry:  “impossible to subdue or defeat” (Google); “incapable of being dominated” (Dictionary.com).  Now that’s just pretty.  I’d like to have about a hunderd 55 gallon drums full of that.  I could easily come up with 20 relevant applications for indomitable spirit in my daily life, right now, and especially where my fitness is concerned.  It’s something I hope to cultivate more of, this crazy month and forever after.

What are you working on?



Failure is AWESOME! March 20, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Lorna @ fumblingtowardsfitness.com @ 6:25 pm
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So I’m at the beginning of a major reset.  It all begins on the other side of failure.  Spectacular failure.  Well, I guess that’s completely relative.  Absolutely.  For me, yes, failure.  What I didn’t realize was how something so painfully, deeply disappointing could be so hugely useful – such powerful motivation.

The story, in short, is I, not much of an athlete to begin with, trained for a few months for a race (inadequately and half-heartedly I realized,  upon reflection), and surpisingly turned out a pitiful performance.  I ran this same race last year.  It was my first longer-than-5k race ever (20k).  I managed to injure myself pretty significantly less than half-way through, but still finished.  Healing from the injury took a while and I had to build my running back up in order to run again this year.  So no matter how pitiful and inadequate my training, I HAD to be better than my injured self last year, I’m thinking, right?  (Well…sure.)  But no, this year I didn’t just finish slower.  I was WAY slower.  Beyond imagination slower.  I was in-range of last place.  It was so bad it was impressive.

Anyhow, I was feeling pretty securely poised for a  deep dive into wallowing, self-pity (and I HATE whiners!).  It was happening.  But then I didn’t wallow, dive, or anything.  Strangely, I hooked a louie at perspective and found rabid motivation.  What?  Yeah, I never saw that coming.  It’s what those impossibly healthy, joyologist types do – lemons to lemonade horse pucky.

But here I am, planning like a fiend, feeling like the world is my big, fat, slimy oyster and it’s about to make me a twenty-ton pearl.  What I’ve got is a redemptive opportunity.  And I’m not about to waste it.  All I can think about is what all I’m gonna do to improve.  To fix this.  To make sure I never, ever again repeat that performance.  Funny, how obsessive and bitter that sounds, but actually I’m excited!  Extremely!  I feel fantastic about it!

If we’re honest, we can look at how we prepared for something to judge our performance.  When I honestly looked at my training, I realized I earned exactly the results I got out of that race.  I should note, here,  that I totally do just go to races for the fun of it, and the only competition I feel is with myself.  Well, my slow, injured, last-year self kicked my my slow, uninjured, this-year self’s butt!

My BIGGEST struggle in training is getting my stinking runs in.  I am a master at justifying to myself missing a run and making up for it later.  Especially, when I get home from work in the evenings.  I seriously want to do nothing.  Nothing!  Well, we met this lady at the race that made a side mention of something called a “running streak” where she ran everyday, at least one mile, for an entire year.  I started thinking about this  after we got home from the race.  I had been struggling sometimes to run even two days a week.  The thought of everyday, to me, was NUTS.  But then it’s just one mile.  That’s what, ten minutes of my time?  Shoot, that’s nothing.  Just would require a little discipline (NOT my best event).  The desire to not break the streak is all the motivation in the world!  Plus, just getting in the running clothes and out there is the biggest hurdle, in my estimation.  Once your’e out there, might as well hit 2…3…4….whatever!  This idea started sounding not so nuts and more like exactly what I needed.  I traipsed around the internet to see what else I could learn about streaking and found that there are people out there that have been doing this for years!  Decades!  Durn.  Also there were folks saying they gave it a shot and found themselves shaving minutes off 5k times, etc.  I am slow.  Slow and undisciplined.  Sounds like my medicine.

Three days after the race, I decided to try doing it for 30 days.

Today is day 14.  Already, I realize streaking is going to a huge part of my life for a WHILE.  It hasn’t been hard, but rather a pleasure!  My weekly mileage has more than doubled.  I have run every distance up to and including 5 miles significantly faster than ever before.  By minutes!  I’m thoroughly surprised with all this.  I figured it would take longer.  What I had hoped to get from this was the discipline to run more.  What I’ve gotten is kind of addicted.  I’m not satisfied with doing the bare minimum of 1 mile and have only, by necessity, done it 4 times so far.  I wish I knew a way to articulate all that a little less infomercially and a lot more organically.  Streaking is stupid effective!  At least for hopelessly flawed jokers like me.  We’ll see how far this goes!

I’m doing housekeeping on the cross-training and eating side, too.  I figure if I’m intent on running better, I should drop some more weight as a kindness to my body.  If I tried to run with a 15 lb. backpack on right now, I’d be way slower.  If I take off a 15 lb. backpack, I figure I should be faster, right?  It worked for my running buddy, sister, therapist, and all-around dear and close friend Lacey (who I will mention a gillion times, I’m sure).  I want to anyway.  So I’m eating cleaner and documenting my intake on the myfitnesspal app.  It’s keeping me painfully honest.

My cross-training for the last few years was CrossFit (more on this later).  It can’t be a part of my life right now (at least not in a doing-it-at-the-gym kind of way) since I’m working out of town and it’s not as fun by oneself, at home.  So, researching some cross-training ideas the other day, I discovered….PUMP!!  Ok, I’m stupid excited about this, so forgive me.  This is the at-home version of Les Mills Body Pump.  If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a group fitness class offered at gyms around the world, that focuses on extremely high rep, low weight lifting.  To awesome music.  It’s brutal and addictive.  And gave me the best arms I’ve ever had.  It was taken from me when my gym switched franchises and there has been a void in my life ever since.  Now there’s an at-home version!  Brilliant!  It’s sold through Beach Body, which are the folks that market Insanity and P90X, among others.  I think it’s pretty reasonably priced (but then I was an addict), although purchasing from them is a little tedious.  They like love to upsell.  Ugh.  It comes with the weights and is perfect for folks that want to tone and strengthen.  It keeps the heartrate super elevated too, so it’s a BIG calorie burner.  Anyway, I am doing that three days a week, running for cardio, AND doing some Jillian yoga.  THAT is interesting.  And good.  I’ll report on it all.

Are you short on motivation?  What you gonna do about it?  I’ve always got some to hand out, and I love to get it too.  Holler if you’re with me!


P.S….My dear friend from way back in college, Johanna (pronounced Yo-hahna) is a Body Pump addict too.  She’s always been a fitness as well as life inspiration to me.  She’s got PUMP coming in the mail and is just getting interested in dabbling in running.  I think I’ve got her talked into guest blogging any time she gets a chance.  Okay, I’m STUPID excited about it.  So she’ll be able to lend a little different perspective once in a while too.  Woo!