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I have been freaking out about my weight & eating habits of late. The scale has been swinging up a little more than usual which never fails to give me a minor panic attack. Fluctuations don’t usually bother me as much, but lately I’ve been eating more sugar than usual while at work. I recognize old patterns creeping back of knowing where certain foods are and being sneaky about eating. If I want to have a chocolate, that’s OK… I don’t need to hide it under a napkin until I get back to my office and eat it faster than I can enjoy it. I told a coworker about this recent problem last night, and she is going to help talk me down when the cravings hit. I’ve got to get back into the habit of NOT relying on simple sugars to bring my mood up fast because it’s nearly impossible to maintain that high without eating more crap. You’ve got to stop the vicious cycle before it starts. This has only been happening for the past week or so, but I want to stop before it snowballs.
Something to consider – my slight weight gain could be from muscle. While I don’t usually buy-in to the idea that it’s OK to gain weight under any circumstances, I’m willing to entertain the thought just this one time. My upper body has gained tremendous strength over the past month or so, and I can see & feel muscles that have never been visible before. I also think that I’ve done a good job of maintaining my leg strength while being injured. So, yes, it could be possible that my weight would be a little higher because of new muscle development. At least I will choose to believe that to make myself feel better.
One last thing that was brought to my attention in the past 48 hours – that I may have been overtraining before I hurt my knee. I’m going to have to disagree on that one. I built up my workload gradually over a long period of time, and my workouts are always carefully planned in accordance with a race. I know a lot of people think less is more, and I also think there is something to that. However, it is all relative to what the end goal is. There are other people who train much, much more than me for the same race. My current knee injury was from a specific movement that triggered an injury from the past – a deep squat. I should have known better, but you can bet your socks that I won’t repeat that mistake twice. It’s not that squats are bad, it is just that I have to be extra careful of those kinds of movements. As far as overtraining goes, even though I feel strongly that it wasn’t a factor I will still keep that thought in the back of my mind. I guess you can never be too careful. All I know is that I get lots of sleep, eat well, and have virtually none of the other symptoms that come along with overtraining.
On another note – they tore down the scary old house across the street yesterday!! It’s always been an eyesore, but in some strange way I really liked how spooky it was. We even shot our Ghost Ghirls photos there a few weeks ago not knowing that it was doomed to be torn down. While I missed the demolition yesterday, Mike said that a huge crowd gathered to watch as it was being torn down. Bittersweet I guess.
What a week. I’ve got to learn how to deal with stress better… between birthday festivities, a very busy week at work, knee therapy, and our first Ghost Ghirls shoot, there wasn’t a point where I didn’t feel overwhelmed by all that was happening around me. I got so overwhelmed in fact, that yesterday when I woke up it was hard to breathe.
All this boils down to vulnerability. Sometimes I don’t deal with exposure well, and I’m left craving some serious alone time. Putting yourself out there with the either the opportunity for success or failure is a thrilling high most of the time, but when you fail… it sometimes hurts twice as much.
Is my heart still hurting from my missed marathon last Sunday? Maybe. It has been so frustrating to not be able to run or do high intensity exercise. While I am learning how to get a good workout from deep water running, it doesn’t quite feel the same. I desperately want to go for a run in this amazing 70-degree weather we are having… it is literally calling my name. Maybe I just need some sunshine. After my pool workout today maybe I’ll go and lay in a park somewhere for a little bit. I need to remember that my knee will be better in the next week or two, and I’ll be back out there in no time!
When I find myself down like this, one of the only comforting thoughts is to envision myself crossing the New Orleans Half Ironman finish line in late April. I swear, racing is like crack. Food used to fill that void for me, but now I rely heavily on exercise to give me joy and fulfillment. I just want to get out there, sweat it out, and prove to myself that I CAN DO IT. It’s validation like no other. I need it.
Ghost Ghirls went pretty well last night, though we figured out pretty quickly that we need more ghost hunting equipment & devices. We also need scarier places to visit. While visiting happy ghosts sounds like fun in theory, in our first experience they weren’t very communicative. Luckily the history of our first location is pretty fascinating and we will be able to carry the webisode purely based on that. I guess I wasn’t expecting such a learning curve, but now that we’ve experienced our first outing it only makes sense with so many variables involved. Because of this, we will have to push back our “season premiere” to April 1st, but I promise it will be worth the wait!
Today I am going to visit my 92-year-old grandmother West who is very sick in the hospital. She is an amazing lady who had 7 sons and created LOTS of beautiful artwork in her lifetime. My mom and dad named me after her – Jennifer Louise West, her first name being Louise. I have over 20 cousins on that side of the family alone! Anyway, I am feeling a little down about that as well because looks like we might lose her pretty soon. She is ready to go though, she has been waiting over 20 years to be reunited with her husband Howard who died when I was in the 5th grade. She also lost two of her sons over the years and I know she can’t wait to see them again, too. She is a beautiful woman with the most amazing skin & smile. I can’t wait to hug her neck today and spend some time with her. It will be bittersweet.
After visiting with her today, I want to go camp out in a coffee shop and work on my book. I am feeling very open & transparent at the moment, which works really well for writing. I got some great advice from some of you the last time I posted about my book, so I can’t thank you enough for sharing your wisdom with me! I hope your Sunday is beautiful. Love to you all.
Weigh-In Wednesday #46: 145.2
Tomorrow is my birthday!!! I’ll be 32 awesome years old, and I don’t think I’ve ever felt or looked better. Life has gotten grander with age because I’ve gained perspective and wisdom as the years have gone by. I remember being in my teens thinking that my twenties would be the highlight, but that couldn’t have been farther from the truth. Those years were full of challenges & lessons that I hope to never repeat again. While life will never be a piece of cake, I’ve certainly gained the knowledge to understand the value of where I am today.
Which leads me to wonder what my future years will be like. Will I be afraid of turning 40, 50… even 60? I’m sure at some point I will want to stop the clock, but we all know that isn’t a part of the deal. Eventually I will pass along like every other spirit that wanders this planet on to a better place. I think we are all here for specific reasons, with specifics goals to accomplish. Our only obstacle is to just look at the bigger picture and push through the hard times.
On another note… last night I tried an aqua jogging class with my friends Stephen & Chez. Since there is no impact, Dr. Fagan said it would be OK in moderation on my knee. I can see how water jogging could potentially be boring & mind numbing, but with friends it is a lot of fun! Since it was our first time there was a lot of laughter & jokes about the strangeness of it all. But I can see how deep water running can be super beneficial for your body whether or not you are recovering from an injury. Our instructor, Sherry, is a pretty rad chick who also coaches swimmers & triathletes. Once my leg is better, she is going to film my stroke above & under water to give me some helpful advice. Isn’t it amazing how you just meet amazing people in life if you are just proactive? She is also a part of a group that does open water swims at Oak Mountain once a week when the weather gets warmer, and she’s invited me to join them!
As I said yesterday on Facebook, this injury could have been a blessing in disguise. I hate swimming, which I equally hate to admit. I know once I get better I will probably love it just as much as running. But since hurting my knee, one of my only options for cardio is to get in the pool… and by George, I’m gonna hit it every day. By the end of all this, I’m going to be a great swimmer! I am also dedicating my CrossFit sessions to my upper body & midline strength which will also boost my swimming abilities and fitness all together.
Happy Wednesday friends!! I’ll see you again when I’m 32.
HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!!!
The deeper I get into the sports world, the more complex it gets… and the more I LOVE it. While yesterday was a pretty big disappointment in my book, it was a huge lesson in patience. Honestly, I would have been more upset if I had gotten even farther to only have the same problem at mile 15 or 20. I’m lucky that it happened quick and it appears that I didn’t do any further injury to myself. Don’t get me wrong… I’m sure it wasn’t the best thing to run on my knee to begin with, but honestly I had no idea if it had healed or not at that point. Since I had a relatively pain-free two weeks since hurting it, I was hoping whatever it was had already fixed itself. But I was very wrong.
Today I have an appointment with Dr. Kim Fagan at Fagan Sports Medicine here in Birmingham. She came highly recommended by some running friends and she is even an accomplished runner herself. I hope she can help me identify my knee problem today so I can be on the road to recovery. I will keep you guys posted on what she says!
Over the past few months I’ve become aware & familiar with the many facets of sports health. Here are just a few: sports medicine, sports nutrition, sports massage, conditioning & strength, physical therapy, training, and professional coaching. That’s a pretty intimidating list if you’re not accustomed to hearing about those types of things. But what’s cool is that each of these areas is attainable, either by yourself or through the help of a professional. Sure, you can run a marathon without most of these if you have a healthy body & mind. But to make it to the next level you will need access to the knowledge bank. My goal is to qualify for Boston in 2011 & finish my Ironman in August like a champ. So I’m going to need allll the help I can get.
Here is a breakdown for the help I’m receiving so far:
Sports Nutrition: Spectrum Nutrition (Alison & Stephanie)
Sports Medicine: Fagan Sports Medicine
Conditioning & Strength: Crossfit Scars (Justin Scarsella)
Sports Massage: I haven’t done this yet, but Hal Richardson comes highly recommended and he is on my list.
Physical Therapy: I have multiple sources for this since my sister & brother-in-law both practice. Also, I’m sure that Fagan Sports Medicine has their own team of specialists as well.
Professional Running Coach: I can’t disclose this source yet, but the plan is to start receiving help in March or April in preparation for my Ironman in August.
As for my day off of work, I am going to edit our pics from the Ghost Ghirls photo shoot on Saturday. I am also hoping that Justin can fit me in last-minute for a Crossfit session, but if he can’t then I’ll hit the gym for a swim session focusing on my upper body (or who knows… maybe I’ll do both!). I am staying far, far away from my knee until I get permission & instructions on how to use it again. On a different note, when I woke up this morning Mike gave me my Valentine’s gift (pictured below). I have the best husband ever!!! We will probably eat mexican tonight in celebration of the holiday.
I’m much, much too excited to write some deep and meaningful this morning… so instead I will just go through today’s schedule with you guys!
7: Wake-up (hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!)
7:15: Whole grain blueberry bagel w/ cream cheese (getting some healthy carbs in my system)
7:30: Write in blog (while watching Bridget Jones’s Diary!)
8:15: Finish some design work
9: Go for a quick 2 mile run on a local track to set-up my new Nike+ SportsBand
10: Get ready for Ghost Ghirls photo shoot
11: Ghost Ghirls photo shoot
12: Practice clothes & bikini swap in our front yard (posting short video of this around lunchtime on FB)
12:30: Download some new tunes & charge iPod
1: Mom & dad’s house for my niece’s birthday party… she will be 1 tomorrow!!
5: Nap? I think so.
6:30: Fellow runners for tomorrow’s race come over to eat spaghetti and play Apples to Apples!
8:30: In bed snug as a bug in a rug.
If you haven’t already and wish to donate, my fundraising page for the Greater Birmingham Humane Society will be up through Monday! Click here to give now. Online donations are currently at $1,195, and the total including offline donations is around $1,350. Since I exceeded my goal of raising $1,000, I will be running the last 6 miles of my first-ever marathon tomorrow morning in my bikini! Thanks again to everyone who showed their support. It’s gonna be interesting!! And in case you missed it, you can still read the special Dogingham story about this project here.
I’m going to be making a special effort to tweet throughout the day today & also tomorrow morning. You can follow me on Twitter here: @TheJenWestQuest. During the race itself, Mike has offered to tweet for me so you guys will have some sort of idea of how I’m doing and when the official bikini trade-off is made. Click here to see where I plan to be during the race & when tomorrow! My official race # is 670. Before I change clothes at mile 20 (in 5 Point South on the second loop), I will be wearing black running pants with a sky blue short-sleeved running shirt.
I plan to blog in the morning since I will be up by 4 a.m. to start fueling & hydrating, so I will see you then!
Random Friday note: I am so lucky to have such amazing friends (new & old), coworkers, and family. I am surrounded by love and support at any given moment. I hope I equally give back to you what I’ve received!
I’m at a loss for words this morning… probably b/c there is just so much going through my head! I’m having lunch today with two race buddies (Stephen & Chez) and we are going to pick-up our race packets while we are out. I might die of excitement. Seriously, my heart is about to explode from anticipation for my first ever marathon on Sunday!!!
We had our first Ghost Ghirls production meeting last night at our house! Clarissa Weaver, Chez Knox and myself officially make up the core Ghost Ghirls team. The concept for the web series will be female ghost hunters seeking out and trying to communicate with female spirits. We shoot at our first location next Saturday night (details will be kept secret until after filming for safety reasons) and the first webisode will go live on March 1st. We are doing our first Ghost Ghirls photo shoot in the morning, and the blog should be live within the next week. We plan to do 4-5 webisodes in 2011 unless there is a demand for more. The main thing we talked about last night was how to be different from the rest of the ghost hunting teams out there. We hope to not take ourselves too seriously while still respecting the deceased and accomplishing our mission to communicate. Plus it should be really, really funny.
Weigh-In Wednesday #45 – 145.8
If I could eloquently put into words HOW FREAKIN’ EXCITED I am about Sunday, I would do it. I am so ready to be out on that course giving it everything I have. I live for the moments when you are surrounded by people who all have the same goal as yourself… the energy created by that many souls is indescribable. The only thing I can compare it to for non-runners is attending a concert you’ve been waiting to see all year. The kind where you can’t stop screaming and every song is your favorite. Your body moves with the music and you are elevated to another place. That is how I would describe a race experience.
I get so excited in fact, that sometimes I get bouts of exercise induced asthma if I don’t contain some of my joy. This will be especially true as I change into my bikini at mile 20 and run the last 6 miles half-naked. I am still in disbelief, but they are expecting a high of 60 degrees for Sunday!!! That’s perfect streaking weather my friends. That’s especially wild when we are expecting 1-2 inches of snow tonight. That’s what you call LUCK. The running gods have blessed us!
Running in my bikini is going to be symbolic of several important things. First, it represents the fact that YOU supported my fundraising efforts for the Greater Birmingham Humane Society. I passed my goal this time last week, all because I have friends like you. For those of you who would still like to donate, the giving page will be open through race day by clicking here. Secondly, and probably the most emotional for me, is the fact that I EARNED THIS BODY. There is no way in hell that I would even stand in a bikini in public 50 pounds ago, let alone run 6 miles in one for the world to see. It’s going to be one of the most liberating experiences of my life. But once again… *I can’t get too excited* or I will stop breathing. I will save the celebrating for the finish line!!!
I’ve also thought a lot about what spectators & other racers will think who have no clue who I am. I’m sure they will think I’m a crazy person, and who knows… maybe I am. This will be a valuable lesson in self-confidence and owning the experience. It doesn’t matter what others think, this is my life journey and no one else’s! Go bikinis!!!
Tomorrow I am going to write-up a schedule of where I think I’ll be and when on the race course Sunday, for any of you who are interested in coming out to watch the pale blue wonder. Over the next day or two I’ll practice with Mike on how we plan to do the clothing trade-off so I can do it in the shortest amount of time possible.
Sometimes it seems surreal that I am at a perfect weight. Every now and then in my own mind I’m still the size I used to be. I will feel like I’m having a “fat” day, only to have the scale tell me that there is no reason to worry. There are days during the week when I have meals with more calories than I’d like, but it all balances out in the end despite my concern. I still firmly believe that it’s because I’m not eating certain types of food, like fast food and empty calorie junk. If I splurge, it’s usually on chocolate in moderation. However, sweets remain dangerous territory for me as I usually want more after eating my alloted portion. I seem to have my chocolate cravings mid-afternoon while at work. Having a healthier snack option helps to take my mind off of eating things less nutritious for me.
This is a TMI Alert… so don’t say I didn’t warn you! One of the most amazing things that has happened to me since losing weight is regaining the desire to wear underwear again. Gosh, I must have gone commando for years and years… all b/c I hated the way I looked and felt in panties. I especially hated the kind with elastic bands that cut into your skin, only to make you look & feel even fatter. Of course, this could have had something to do with the fact that I refused to buy my real size… so I always looked like a sausage bursting out of its casing. So at some point I decided it was better to just go without them all together. I did a similar thing with baggy clothes/pajamas. When I was bigger, I would always come home from work and immediately put on over-sized pajamas because it helped me visually hide the fact that I didn’t like my body. While I am still trying to mentally undo some of these bad habits I learned while being overweight, I am happy to report that I am now an underwear-wearer again. I even buy my real size – a large – and feel great in them. I’m never going to be the girl who wears a size small in anything, and I don’t want to be. I’m 5’10″, 32 (almost), and finally able to accept every ounce and part of my body. Hooray for self-acceptance!!! And YAY for underwear!!!
There are two clubs that I want to join ASAP – the “Do a Push-Up Like a Boy Club” (from my feet and not my knees), and the “Pull-Up Club”. Last night during the Super Bowl, I though I would show-off by attempting a push-up boy style and failed miserably. It might have been because I did about 50 “girl” push-ups earlier in the day, but it didn’t work nonetheless. My mom shook her head and said to my dad, “She has my shoulders.” And don’t even get me started on pull-ups… I’ve NEVER been able to do one. I remember in high school I met all of the requirements to be a Presidential Athlete, except I couldn’t do a pull-up… so I didn’t get the award. I tried for months and months with no avail to teach myself how. But I have a feeling that 2011 is my year… especially now that I have someone helping me with my strength training. It’s gonna happen!!!
In honor of the Mercedes Marathon this weekend (YAY!), I wanted to share a story on Magic City Post about a female Alabama triathlete who has won the marathon for the past two years! You can read about Jessica Jacobs by clicking here. The most amazing thing of all is that she won Ironman Florida in 2010. That’s a pretty amazing accomplishment for an athlete living and training in Alabama! Most accomplished runners, cyclists, and triathletes live in other states more suitable for training like Arizona, California, Colorado, and Texas. I’m officially adding Jessica Jacobs to my list of female heroes! I hope I get to meet her someday.
And just in case you missed it, here is another inspiring story to get you going on a Monday: Click here to read about Stefann Engels, the man who ran 365 marathons in 365 days last year for a new world record! I wish I knew more about the logistics… that had to be an expensive endeavor. I know he had a major sponsor funding the goal, but I wonder if he also had a team of people working behind-the-scenes? Either way, it is an amazing accomplishment!
This week’s priorities are to do some light running & cycling along with some early week strength training sessions. My test run went great yesterday, seems like my IT Band is healing nicely. I’m going to try to get a lot of rest in preparation for Sunday. Looks like the weather is going to be fabulous!!!
I had a lot of fun last night playing Louise De La Lune, tarot card reader extraordinaire! While it may have been more of a psychic experience if I had dressed the part (instead of wearing my work clothes), I think I managed to entertain anyone willing to have a go at it. I was originally supposed to do readings from 6-8, but ended up going well past 9. Thanks to everyone who waited patiently, I am probably the slowest reader ever! Vero also had two jars out, one for cats and one for dogs to accept cash tips for the Birmingham Humane Society. Dogs won, but only by a small margin! A total of $76 was raised in cash donations last night. Thanks to everyone who gave! We are currently right at $1,300 including offline donations for Jen Jogs for Cats and Dogs. AMAZING!
I think I’ve decided to ride my bike one more day instead of running. Tomorrow will be the perfect day to get outside and run, and maybe I can talk my sister into doing some kinesio taping on my knee before heading out. I am very proud to report that I’ve been patient enough to let it heal, despite the constant urge to just go out and run. Justin at CrossFit Scars worked with me this week on some effective IT Band stretches that really helped a lot too. Since we weren’t able to work on my legs for the most part, my upper body and midline strength took a well-deserved beating during our sessions. It may be my imagination, but I swear I can already see a difference in my body after only 4 sessions with him!
Today is going to be a busy day – first we are heading off to Montgomery for a funeral (a friend’s dad passed away), then we are going to visit with Mike’s parents for a bit before heading back to Birmingham. Tonight Mike is performing in the 9 p.m. ETC Vulcan Underpants show at Birmingham Festival Theater, so that will be a lot of fun.
Tomorrow I will post some photos from last night… until then, have a great Saturday!