Calling all runners: I need advice/help

As many of you know, I started running awhile back. My goal this summer was to do a 5K each month. So far, so good. Actually, I am exceeding my goal by doing two 5K runs in July and two 5k runs in August. Plus, as most of you know, my husband and I are planning on doing our first 10K in October. 

But here’s the deal. Instead of getting better at running, I am getting worse. Really, truly, I am. My guess is that the humidity is really wreaking havoc with me, but I really don’t know what is going on. And it’s getting frustrating. Really, really frustrating. I’ve starting having to walk throughout my running because I just can’t breathe. I can’t catch my breath.

And besides not being able to breathe, I have had problems with this pain I keep getting in my left side, mid-back, side, rib area. It’s kind of hard to describe, but it almost feels like my rib either shifts or breaks and then stabs me in the side/back area. The first time it happened was when we did our 5K in Fargo and I had bronchitis. Since then, I have had it once or twice, but lately it seems to be happening on almost every single run.

In addition to not being able to breathe, dealing with a back/side/rib pain, I also have started feeling sickly when I run. It usually comes on around mile 2 and lasts until I am done. It’s almost like a heartburn/nausea feeling. This may be gross, but I can usually burp my way through it. Gross, I know, but it does help.

Because of my breathing issues, I have had to slow way down, and like I said, even having to walk sometimes, and that is the frustrating part. Because I am so new to running and I haven’t really ran through the summer months before, I am just wondering…is it the humidity that’s doing it? Do other runners experience this kind of stuff? Am I the only one? 

Seriously, can someone tell me what’s going on? I am getting so frustrated with it all. I have tried running in the morning, when it’s not so hot, but most of the time, it is still humid. I have tried running later at night, when it’s cooled off, but again, the air is so thick. 

I know I am going to juts push through this. I am not going to give up. I have really started enjoying this sport. I feel so good when I am done. Well, that is after I get done having my little hissy fit, ranting and raving about how slow I ran and how I couldn’t breathe and all. After that is all done, then I feel good.

So, really, anybody got any advice? I need some tips or some reassurance that this, too, shall pass and it will get better come fall. You can either post a comment at the end of the blog or feel free to send me an email to confessionsofaformerfatgirl@gmail.com. You can also check me out on Facebook; look up Confessions of a Fat Girl and hit the "like" button. You can send me a message on there or post a comment. 

I really look forward to hearing from all you seasoned, and maybe not-so-seasoned, runners out there. Help, please!

Maybe I figured it out

For the last few months, I have been kind of keeping track of my eating habits. Meaning, I have noticed when I get hungry for certain foods, as in sweets.

Maybe I should first put a warning on here for any men that read this blog: I am going to be talking about "girl stuff" – as in our monthly visitor. You know, "Aunt Flo," or whatever it is people say. Usually, I call it what it is…my period.

I have a pattern, as I am sure most women do. But it seems my pattern is a little different…maybe. I know a lot of women who crave sweets and junk food the week of their period. That’s where I think I am different. I actually eat more the week BEFORE my period.

And it’s weird, I’ve noticed. I’ve talked about it before, but never really put two and two together until recently. I have certain times where I am hungry and when I say hungry, I mean ravenous. To the point I shake. To the point I pretty much can’t get full and just keep eating. I can eat healthy foods like fruit and veggies and good-for-me stuff or I can eat crap. Either way, I really don’t get full. 

Well, it seems like those times have always happened the week before my period. It’s not necessarily a whole week like that, but at least two days if not three days where it seems no matter what I eat, my body just wants more. It craves something that I can’t satisfy. 

Like I said, I’ve tried the healthy stuff, the crap stuff. I’ve tried more protein during that time, more dairy, more carbs, but nothing really seems to work. It’s like my body is preparing itself for my cycle, for my period and it just needs fuel. 

Regardless of what is happening, I don’t like it. Frankly, it’s a pain in my arse. I try and keep it in check and now that I have it somewhat figured out, that I just have to deal with a few days each month like that, I can handle it better. I know it’s coming. I can somewhat prepare myself. Somewhat.

I do wish, however, that someone could explain it all to me and tell me if there is something that would help. Why? Because I don’t like feeling that I am a starved maniac. I don’t like the feeling of not being in control. I don’t like the shaky feeling I get. I don’t like that I most often eat five to 10 additional points per day when it happens. At least, I do exercise through it, but still, it’s not a good feeling. Truly, it’s not.

So, if anyone out there has some helpful hints, PLEASE send them my way. Except, and I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, only if the tips don’t have anything to do with taking vitamins or herbs or other pills of any kind. Sorry, but I am just not into that. Now, if it’s an herbal tea…not Herbal Life…I might consider it. 

Also, if there are any women who would like to share their PMS stories, I would be happy to listen. Maybe then I wouldn’t feel so abnormal. Either post it here or feel free to send me an email to confessionsofaformerfatgirl@gmail.com. I’ll be waiting to hear from you.

Also, for any newbie blog readers out there, you can also find Confessions of a Fat Girl on Facebook. Look me up and hit the like button. I would be happy to have you on board!

Solo race

I ran my first solo race yesterday. This does not mean I was the only participant, it means that I did it by myself, as in my husband didn’t come with me. I was on my own.

I didn’t really plan on participating in this particular race (it was the 5K race in Glenwood for the Waterama fest). I decided the day before that I would run it. I knew my husband wasn’t able to make it and so maybe that is why I kind of blew it off. But then I decided, "What the heck! I can do it by myself!"

I have to admit, though, it felt weird. Yes, I know, I just wrote about how I wasn’t going to run with him and I am still sticking to that, but it just felt weird and I have to say, I kind of missed him.

I didn’t necessarily miss him when I was running because for the first time, I really just concentrated on me, myself and I. Weird and different, but nice. Not having him for that part was actually okay (sorry, honey!).

It was the not having him there at the beginning and the end that I missed. It was not being there together at the start and at the finish (even though we would have finished at different times), the talking together, the stretching together, the team effort, you know what I mean? We are a team and I like that part. I like having him there at the start because, really, I guess, he does energize me. It was strange. Really it was.

I am glad I did it, even though I did it alone. And actually, I wasn’t alone. I knew a few people there, which was pretty cool.

The race itself was grueling. There were two hills, which I am not used to. Not at all. Not even one little bit. I have done inclines, which I consider hills, but really, at yesterday’s race, I actually did two hills. One of them was a half-mile long. But I did it. I actually ran during the both hills. I did eventually walk a couple of times, but not on the hills. I ran those suckers.

Despite the two hills, the heat and humidity, walking at least twice, but maybe three times and the problem I have been having lately with my breathing and the feeling of wanting to throw up, I didn’t do too bad. My official time was 31:40. I’ll take that time. I’m not ashamed of it. I was actually pretty happy with it. 

And I was very happy to get back home. But not necessarily to see my hubby. I had a date with my massage lady at 11 a.m.!!!!! And boy, did it feel great.

Next up, my 20th year class reunion, which is next Saturday in Willmar. And then the Saturday after that is the 5K race in Elbow Lake for the Flekkefest. Thanks to my reader, Heather, for suggesting it. 

Oh, as far as my eating goes, I have to say I have been doing much better. I still have treats, which I am enjoying more and more and not feeling as guilty when I eat them as I used to. I am exercising at least four days a week if not five or six, so I figure, a treat every now and then is okay. I am maintaining my weight – it hovers between 140 to 142 pounds – so eating little treats like McDonald’s ice cream cones or a couple of glazed doughnut balls or several pieces of chocolate or a half of a white chocolate Kit Kat bar is not hurting me. 

For right now, I am happy with how things are going. I am happy with my exercise. I am happy with my eating habits. I am happy with my life. 

For right now, anyway!

A decision has been made

Yesterday, I decided that my husband and I probably won’t be running together anymore…until our 10K race in Fargo this fall.

I have started running more for distance than speed and he hasn’t yet. Now that he’s been running more and more, he’s getting good when it comes to speed…at least for 5K races. Our last 5K race, which was July 17 in Henning, I finally got him to run without me about a third of the way into the race and I think he surprised himself. He did it 29:35; I did it in 31:29. 

Not that I am making excuses, although I know it really sounds like I am being a big whiny baby, but I am not sure what is going on with me. I have been having a very hard time with my breathing lately when I am running. After a couple of minutes of running, I feel like I am just sucking air big time. And honestly, it has been psyching me out. I kind of start panicking and then I have to slow down. Not sure what that’s all about, but I think part of it has to do with running with my husband.

You see, like I said, he’s been doing really well and when we run together, his pace is a little bit faster than mine and when I can’t keep up, I kind of psych myself out and then my breathing gets thrown off and then it just goes down hill from there. It’s totally not his fault and I don’t blame him. It is completely me and my stupidness. 

I KNOW, I KNOW…just relax and just run. Right? Well, it’s not that easy for me and because of that, yesterday, I declared that we can no longer run together. For right now, I just need to run by myself and concentrate on me and my breathing and my pace and my distance. I have been trying to get in at least five miles each time I go out for a run…so far, so good. Yesterday, my husband made it four miles and yes, his pace was slower than his three-mile runs, but it’s still faster than me. 

And there’s one more thing. We do our training/running differently. He likes to start out fast and end slow. I like to start a little slower, keep a somewhat consistent pace and then toward the end, pick it up and run like the wind. We’re just different that way and that’s okay. There is nothing wrong with it.

So, our next race together is on August 21 in Vining. I am going to suggest we just run it on our own and see what happens. I am also signed up for a 5K in Elbow Lake (thanks to a reader’s suggestion!) on August 7. My husband couldn’t make it, so I am running it with a friend. It should be fun!

Life…is much better!

I am happy to announce that my healthy living journey is back on track…for the most part.

I have been tracking my food again and logging every morsel, at least for the past couple of days anyway. I did go through a short period where I didn’t log anything. That’s kind of when things started to spiral out of control. I really don’t know what it is about tracking, maybe it’s the accountability, but I tell you what, it sure makes a person think about his/her choices. And speaking of making choices, I have to share a post with you from my Confessions of a Fat Girl Facebook site: 

Be present in the moment – anything you ate yesterday doesn’t affect what you choose to eat today, and eating too much or the "wrong" thing doesn’t make you a bad or faulty person in any way. I find that saying "I can’t have that" is very different than "I’m choosing not to have that" – the latter is much more empowering to me. "Change" is something that happens in the moment, in the choice(s) that you make right now – though the comparisons to guage change are rooted in the past…

I absolutely loved this post. The guy who posted it was so completely right. Change happens in the moment. Absolutely. Also, one thing that I have lived by since I started this journey is the same as one of the things he said, "I can’t have that." I despise when people say that, especially if they add the words, "because I am on a diet." AARRGH, that just gets under my skin.

People, listen up, you CAN eat whatever you want. Truly, YOU CAN!

HOWEVER, and you knew this was coming, it’s all about portion control AND, it’s about exercising. Yes, if you eat fast food every single day and don’t exercise a lick, you will get fat (sorry, I know it’s harsh, but it’s the truth) and you will be unhealthy. Period. Same is true for junk food and sweets or other not-so-good-for-you foods.

BUT, and here it is again, YOU CAN eat that stuff, but not every single day and not in huge, stupidly ginormous portions. AND, you should exercise. I’m not saying you have to run marathons or participate in an Ironman, but do something. Get up and move. If you are a TV junkie, get up and move on the commercials. Jog in place, do some jumping jacks, squats, push ups, whatever, JUST MOVE! 

When it comes right down to it, we ARE in control of our own lives and what happens. And it really is simple. Eat unhealthy foods, move less, gain weight, get fat. Eat healthier foods, move more, lose weight or maintain, be not so fat.

So, there ya go. It’s that simple. Really. Or, is it?

I know it’s not, that’s why I struggle sometimes. It’s all a mind game. Really, it is. Or at least I believe that the majority of problems with eating and not being healthy is all in our minds. We just have to change the way we think.  We have to think more positively about ourselves and give ourselves more credit and believe that we can make the change. We are in control of our bodies and our minds. We just have to realize that. Right?

I challenge all of you to start believing in yourselves more and really pay attention to what you really want. If you want a healthier life, than go after it. Be positive about it. Don’t say you can’t eat that or you can’t eat this or you can’t do that or you can’t do this. If you want to eat that ice cream, then do it. But cut the portion if half. AND, add some exercise in there. If you want to try a different sport or a new exercise class, then do it. Take control of your life. Take control of your mind. Take control of your health.

It’s amazing what can happen when you do.

I will leave you with picture from last night. I finally did something I have been wanting to do for a very long time and it was incredibly fun!

Yes, I finally tried kayaking and now I know I can do it. And will definitely be doing it again.