Is there room for lifting when you are training for a half marathon?

Liss and Jenny

Liss and Jenny

 

This past weekend, I met up in Memphis with Coach Jenny to run the St. Jude Half Marathon. The run was really an excuse to go see her, meet her family, and vacation. And by vacation, I mean eat at all the great places in Memphis!

Jenny and Liss at the Arcade Restaurant

Happy, happy, happy! Jenny and Liss at the Arcade Restaurant

It turned out to be a little experiment to see what would happen if I did the bare minimum training for  the race while continuing my Venus workouts. I did not want to:

  • run more than I had to
  • experience the hunger that comes with all that cardio
  • give up any of my normal 5 days a week of lifting

 

The plan

So my plan was to:

  1. Lift Monday-Friday
  2. Do one long run on the weekend
  3. Take a rest day each week
  4. Maintain metrics

I try to run most weekends whether I have a race or not. It keeps up my lung capacity and  helps my asthma.  It has its purpose but I  don’t love running; I love lifting.  The change I experience from lifting is more tangible.  I can see it, feel it.

 

I wrote up my own running plan to taper up a mile every few weeks before the race, topping out at 12 miles. Unfortunately, I got sick and wasn’t able to run for the 3 weeks before the race. I saved what energy I did have for  lifting.  It took priority.

Liss running in Memphis

Liss running in Memphis

The results

I did a pretty good job of maintaining my metrics.  I stayed within a half inch. I tried to make sure to save extra calories for the day of the run and the day after to help with hunger.  I kept up with my weekday lifting schedule, although some days  there just was not much gas in the tank.

I didn’t have a personal best time for the race but it was not my slowest half either! I finished the half marathon in 2:05 which was a pleasant surprise. John has always said that a strong muscle is a fast muscle. Lifting does pay off for running!

The best part of the race was the course.  It was amazing! We ran by the Mississippi River, down Beale Street, and through the St. Jude campus where millions of children have been and will continue to be cared for.   I will never forget it.

In the corral before the race started

In the corral before the race started

The memories

Though Jenny and I have hung out many times together as we have become close friends, our families had never met. Our kids and husbands became fast friends.  We hit all the sites and spent our down time learning how to finger knit along with the kids. We even went to an NBA game.  Everyone had a blast!

Liss and her husband at the Grizzlies game

Liss and her husband at the Grizzlies game

It was an amazing trip!  I am so thankful for the friends I have found through Venus and I look forward to more trips in the future.

Liss and Jenny at the Wolf River

Liss and Jenny at the Wolf River

 

X- Liss

 

 

Ten Thousand Ways that Won’t Work

“Ten Thousand Ways that Won’t Work…”

As I finally started finding success with my weight loss I exclaimed to my husband Randy “I can’t believe how simple this is yet I failed at it for at least 15 years!

So Randy reminded me of the quote Thomas Edison made regarding his process for inventing the light bulb:

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”Thomas A. Edison

Randy and I both laughed at how I found probably the 10,000 ways how not to lose weight!   Although the victory is still sweet for me, you don’t have to take 15 years and wait until you are 50 years old like I did.

Lifelong Eating Habits Engrained

As a young child I grew up in a poor family with four siblings and a single mom who tried her hardest to care for us under extreme adversity.  This was in the 1960’s and although we lived in the land of abundance it did not always make it to our table.

This was back when bringing food stamps to the store felt shameful yet my mom held her head high and did what she could to provide for us.  I remember how she treated all the food in the refrigerator as a precious commodity.

Circa 1969, I am on the far left and that is my identical twin on the far right.

We didn’t go out to eat much and she prepared healthy meals for us and packed our school lunches.  She would get mad if we tried to skip breakfast and she was always there in the morning to cook something simple like one fried egg and a piece of toast with butter.

We didn’t have a lot of snacks.  On occasion we might get a treat and go to taco bell.  I laugh at the memory of it because there were 5 or 6 menu items to choose from, all pictured up on the overhead wall.  Looking back, I think she had it right back then.

But I also remember her making us popcorn and placing it in a big bowl in the middle of a round table. All of us kids sat around the table and scarfed it down as quickly as we could afraid that others would get more.

Overall I think this season of my life taught me to appreciate the food we had and to not mindlessly eat.

The next season of learning about food happened for me in the foster homes I lived in after that.  I was fortunate to live with a Filipino family and an Italian family who both taught me how to cook their ethnic foods.

I was always ambitious and loved to be the one who cooked dinner and receive the praise for the meal.  We prepared our food at home and going out to eat was a rare treat.   At this point I started eating more and eating seconds was encouraged in both families, but I was young enough and luckily wasn’t too chubby (yet).

This was probably where learning about food portions started becoming distorted for me.

Me at California International Marathon a while back.

Learning to Love Exercise

My first high school job was as a summer camp counselor and I decided then that I loved the outdoors and being physically active.

I started my first full time job at a high tech company during my senior year of high school. The company I worked for encouraged physical activity and the work environment was like a college campus.  There was a par course and running trail, gyms, locker rooms, showers, basketball and volley ball courts, and even a softball park.

I took an aerobics class in the campus gym when I was 19 years old and that is when I met a 50 year old instructor who had the body of a teenager.

The image of her always stuck in my mind and I decided I wanted to be like her when I was 50.

I didn’t stick with the aerobics class because it didn’t fit my schedule but I learned that music made exercise more fun.

I started running outside and lifting weights at the gym and bought my first Walkman.  Walkman’s were expensive and it was a big clunky thing that used cassette tapes and ran on double A batteries but it was well worth the investment.  It helped me look forward to exercise (If you are not feeling like working out, music will always give you that needed pump).

If you are like me then you may also hate running and even weight lifting. However, if you stick to it for some time, you will start seeing some amazing results and the positive effect exercise can have on your mood and life in general, and you WILL LOVE IT.

The Slow Weight Gain Creeping up, Sounds Familiar?

The fact that I spent my lunch hour exercising meant I had to pack my food rather than go to lunch with other employees.

For years I packed my food and ate when I could during breaks.  These were habits that serve me well today.  What I didn’t realize was that my portions were still too big and I ate too much.

I exercised hard and at one point realized I had run six miles a day, six days a week for 10 years, along with weight lifting and other physical activities.

This was in the 1980’s when eating fat free and high carb was the in thing and so I did this for many years.  The memory makes me cringe now.  All the running made me hungry and I ate too much.

I ate this way for years while running marathons and couldn’t figure out why I was not the athlete that I wanted to be.

As time went on my weight kept doing the slow creep up so I tried several popular diets which only worked temporarily and some didn’t work at all.

These were the diets I tried (if you been in involved in this industry for a while chances are you’ve tried them too):

  • Low fat high carb
  • Slim-Fast
  • Weight Watchers
  • Atkins
  • Organic
  • Weston Price Diet
  • The Schwarzbein Principle
  • Eat Fat Lose Fat
  •  The Ultimate PH Solution
  • The Makers Diet
  • A  friends diet from a personal trainer/dietician

I finally just got sick of it all and made up my own diet with healthy foods I enjoy and smaller portions.

I ate my meals from small desert plates and bowls.  I stopped eating in the evenings.  I started calling what I did mini-meals and mini-fasts and I lost 40 lbs.  Then I found Eat Stop Eat, The Venus Index Workout, and the Venus Index Community.

I recently read the Anything Goes Diet.  I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in losing weight or maintaining fitness.  I found this book to be amazingly insightful and John Barban covers all bases.  Honestly the book is so good that I can’t see how you wouldn’t succeed if you actually read the book and followed the principles.  It gave me some new ideas for my own maintenance plan.

Even though we still have so much diet confusion and conflicting advice in the media it seems like the simple truth is buried there, eat less, move more.

Here are some examples where the truth does exist in sometimes humorous ways.  I do not necessarily agree with everything in these articles but you can see some points of truth:

After attempting various diets and eating restrictions over the years I have learned to cherry pick from them and found what works for me.  Some days I temporarily change things up and eat low carb or try something different.

Still, my all-time favorite books about thinking of successful ways to eat are John Barban’s Anything Goes Diet, Brad Pilon’s Eat Stop Eat, and Bethenny Frankel’s “Naturally Thin”.

 

Before and After.  The slowly the weight crept up year after year, but the Venus Factor gives you hope.

Before and After.  Slowly the weight crept up year after year, but the Venus Factor gives you hope.

Don’t get Discouraged by Failures

Don’t get discouraged by failures.

Every successful person has failures and part of why they are successful is that they learn from their mistakes.

It is just like Thomas Edison inventing the light bulb.  You don’t have to reinvent the light bulb or the wheel.

The tools are right here right now.  Using the available tools may not stop you from all your mistakes, but you can keep your chin up and learn from them.  Most likely these tools will prevent some wasted effort and you won’t have to wait until you are 50 years old to achieve your dream.

If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.

Thomas A. Edison, Encyclopedia Britannica

US inventor (1847 – 1931)

Since you don’t have to learn the 10,000 ways how not to lose weight like I did, what are you waiting for?

It is never too late to follow your dreams!

-Ro

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