Thursday, March 31, 2011

Day 18

Hi Friends,

I let yesterday get away before I had a chance to sit down and write my thoughts.  Did ya miss me? ;-) Well, I'm back, and here's today's little nugget of joy!

On your next "walk" day, try taking a walk with your kids.  It was fun to discover that their version of what to do on a leisurely walk is much different from mine, and I quite enjoyed that!

For example, my 6-year-old was very reluctant to go on the walk with me and showed it by huffing and sighing quite a bit early on, but, being the nature girl that she is, she started finding "treasures" along the way that she could add to her nature collection.  She also had a lot of fun looking at the clouds!  It made the 30 minutes go by quickly (for her and for me!) ;-)

And as for the 2-year-old, well, he just likes to be wherever I am.  Usually, he is very quiet on walks and just soaks up the scenery, but today, he wanted to sing (or, rather, have someone sing to him)!  So, my walk time went by even faster because I was busy trying to come up with all of his favorite songs.

It was very fun and very joyful, and you could tell it had a positive impact on the evening's activities.

Until next time,

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Day 16

Today, I would like to talk about two completely unrelated things, but both are worth mentioning.

The first of these is the fact that I cannot count! 

What I mean is, if you are taking note, you will notice that I have numbered my entries like this:  Day (followed by a number).  Now, that number, up until today, has been a bit incongruous with the actual number of days that I have been on this program.  You see; every day, starting with March 14th, I have had a post, but I have only put the "Day and number" combo on the posts that contain my personal musings, NOT on the "schedule" or "guest blog" posts!  Had I numbered those other posts, yesterday's post would have been Day 15, instead of Day 13.

I am happy to inform you that today is Day 16 of my quest to find a joyful and sustainable exercise program, and the title of my post reflects that!  Whew, glad we cleared that up! ;-)

The second thing I would like to mention is the fact the today was a walk day, which, normally, I would be totally jazzed about.  However, today, during my walk, I felt more like running than walking.  I found myself looking forward to tomorrow's run, and I have NEVER felt that way about exercise in my entire life.  There's hope!

Until next time,

Monday, March 28, 2011

Day 13

Let's talk underwear!!

Normally, when I run, I use that time for prayer or just time alone with God, but today was different, very different.  I just let my mind wander.  It was fun, a little bit silly and just the distraction I needed.  One of the random things that kept "creeping up" in my thoughts was "underwear!"

Now, the following comments are meant for the ladies, so I apologize to my male readers for this candid talk about my "unmentionables," so read on at your own risk. ;-)

Here goes:  On March 14th, when I started this exercise program, I weighed myself so that I could record my baseline; I did not want to gauge my success by the scale.  I wanted to be able to feel a difference in the comfort of my clothes.  Well, I am happy to report that I have just started the third week and can definitely feel a difference. . .primarily in my underwear.  Can I get an Amen! 

Ladies, you know what I am talking about.  When you're a little bit "fluffier" than you want to be, you might buy bigger pants and shirts, but you rarely alter your underwear/bra size; therefore, you wear that same old skinny underwear that bites into your hip flesh or rolls down the flabby spot that used to be your waistline!  It's uncomfortable, to say the least!  And don't even get me started on the "bra flab!"

Well, I am here to tell you that, as of today, my underwear fits, and I have not had to readjust my bra even once (except to secure my heart rate monitor!)  I have clearly lost some inches, and I believe that this is just the beginning!

Many blessings,

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Week 3 Schedule

Week 3

Monday        Tuesday      Wednesday      Thursday         Friday          Saturday        Sunday
Run 5 min.    Walk easy   Run 5 min.        Walk easy    Run 6 min.     Run 6 min.       REST
Walk 1 min.   30 min.       Walk 1 min.       30 min.         Walk 1 min.    Walk 1 min.
Repeat 5X                       Repeat 5X                             Repeat 4X      Repeat 4X
                                                                                      Run 2 min.      Run 2 min.

Guest Blogger: Tracy Turner -- Heart Rate Zones and the Heart Rate Monitor

“I would have written a shorter letter if I had more time” - B. Pascal

Missi has been asking me to guest blog for quite some time.  So from time to time, I will be blogging here, primarily about equipment, physiological considerations, or both.  Although I am well read, I don’t purport to be an expert, so please consider these entries as just my two cents!

Today, I’d like to talk a bit about heart rate and what I consider to be the most important piece of equipment in any aerobic exercise program: the heart rate monitor.
Heart rate is the single best indicator of exercise intensity.  If your heart rate is too low during exercise, you will rarely see the results that you want to see.  If it is too high, you will likely become exhausted prematurely and ultimately probably give up on your exercise program because it is just too taxing.  The happy medium is called your Target Heart Rate. It is based on a percentage of your maximum heart rate.  To calculate your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220.

Maximum Heart Rate = 220 - Your Age

There are differing opinions about where to go from here.  Most people concur that the Target Heart Rate zone is 50 to 75% of your maximum heart rate (MHR).  I would submit, however, that there are multiple “target” zones based on your overall fitness goals.  Elsewhere, they may be called by different names, but let’s call them Active Zone, Aerobic Zone, Training Zone, and Above Zone.

Active Zone (50 – 60% MHR):  This isn’t much!  This is very light intensity activity/exercise.  Depending on your beginning fitness level, 50% MHR may be near your resting heart rate.  About the only thing that will drop your heart rate below 50% is sitting or lying down.  The encouraging thing is that most of the calories burned at this level of activity are fat calories.  Imagine spending an entire day above 50%.

Aerobic Zone (60 – 70% MHR):  Do the math…this is still pretty low, but at this level of exertion, your body has the ideal level of oxygen coming in to properly combust maximum calories and fat.

Training Zone (70 – 85% MHR):  This is where cardiovascular and endurance gains are made.  This level of intensity is frankly taxing, but not exhausting.

Above Zone (>85% MHR):  Believe it or not, we should avoid this category.  This is the “pain” in the “no pain-no gain” nonsense slogan, and I believe it is the single-most contributing factor in the failure of most exercise programs.  At this level of activity, we have exceeded our aerobic threshold and have moved into an anaerobic state.  This simply means that we are not getting enough oxygen to efficiently burn calories, and we will be left with the byproducts of inefficient combustion, namely, lactic acid.  Don’t get me wrong; anaerobic training is great in the weight room or if you’re training to beat Michael Johnson’s world record in the 400m, but I am not; Are you?

What does this all mean?  Once you figure your zones, what should you do with the information? 

Train by them! 

I whole-heartedly believe that the most valuable piece of equipment you can own is a heart rate monitor.  And I prefer one with a chest strap, as it gives you immediate and ongoing information.  They are not that expensive (around $80 depending on features), and they help you train smarter not necessarily harder.  While features like programmable intervals (which we use with the beginner run schedule (ie. 4 min run/ 1 min walk cycle)) and programmable HR zones are great, having a real-time heart rate readout will change the way you train.  It will allow you to adjust your workout during your workout.  The point is to push yourself into your preferred zone but not to overtax yourself.

Almost all of your workouts on this beginner running program should be in the Training Zone.  I am forty, so my Training Zone is 126-153 bpm.  During a run, if my heart rate gets up to 160, I slow down or stop early, but if it drops to 120, I need to increase my intensity.  Those are easy to understand, but I also use my heart rate as an indication of recovery. 

If my heart rate is not recovering adequately during one of the walk phases during the workout, I pause the clock and wait for it to drop below 130 before beginning the next run phase.  That may mean walking for three minutes instead of the scheduled one. Even though I may be veering from the scheduled exercise, I am ultimately listening to my body and making adjustments accordingly.

I can tell you from experience that constantly pushing yourself Above Zone will not make more rapid gains; it will only lead you to DREAD your workouts!  That is not Joyful.

Listen to your body, or better yet, let a heart rate monitor do the listening for you!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Day 12

"An excuse is something nobody believes but you!"

My wise and wonderful Bible study mentor and friend, Janet, said this the other day, and I just can't stop thinking about it.  It's so true and so raw that it left me speechless, and believe me; that's hard to do!!!

We have a million reasons why we can't get something done or get something started, and although these reasons might be good, they're still excuses if we're no farther along today than we were yesterday!

That's why I am so, so excited about this new exercise program and new attitude!  Every day, I wake up with something to do that is good for my head and my heart!  It sure beats spinning my wheels and feeling guilty, powerless and behind!  That's not for me; I'm free!

Thank you, Janet and thank you, Jesus!

;-) Missi

Friday, March 25, 2011

Day 11

Today, I woke up and felt very light.  It's kind of hard to explain, but I felt a sort of peace and joy that I don't normally have, like today was going to be special, and it was!

I thought, at the time, that the "specialness" of the day was when I completed the 4-minute run/1-minute walk (x6) schedule, which, when you break it down, is running for 24 of the 30 minutes!  It was fun, exhilarating, challenging and JOYFUL!  I can't wait to do it again tomorrow!

That was special enough, I thought, until I witnessed my first baby, my 6-year-old daughter, ride a bike for the first time!  Now, the training wheels were still on, but they were up so high that she had to lean over quite a ways to use them as a crutch!  She rode like a champ, with her daddy along side her, up and down hills, learning how to coast, stop and start!  It was so precious that I am tearing up as I type this.

Thank you, God, for "the daily specials."  You are amazing!


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Day 10

I really love the spring, and I'm sure that I am not alone!  Who doesn't love marveling at the daffodils, tulips, Redbuds, Bradford Pears, forsythia, quince and hyacinth as they dot the landscape with color!  Spring also means garage sales, Easter, neighbors coming out of hybernation and daylight savings! 

Here's the kicker, though - I haven't always felt this way, especially about the early spring in Oklahoma.  Sure, I noticed the color, but I didn't really stop to enjoy it because I was too busy holding a grudge.  It was a small grudge, but a grudge just the same.  So here it is; my petty grudge against the spring was that it always seemed to pull the old "bait and switch" on me! 

Let me set the scene:  Every morning, when I was a teenager, a quick call to "time and temperature" (yes, back in the day, we had to call this special number from our "wall" phone to see what the weather was like) would reveal that the temperature was 65 degrees, so clad in my cute new short-sleeved shirt, I would hustle out the door, only to be met with a windchill that made it feel more like 35 degrees!!  Frustrated and cold, I would cry out, "Be one or the other, please, so I know what to wear - yeesh!" 

Well, I have carried this springtime angst with me for far too long, and I am happy to report that I have changed!  You'll be glad to know that I am no longer throwing a tantrum about spring. 

Instead, I have discovered that I am now grateful for the undercurrent of cold air that comes with spring, especially while I am running.  At the start of the run, it tickles my lungs with its brisk fingers, and later, when I am covered with perspiration, it cools me down.  Thank you, God, for changing my heart and helping me appreciate the duality of spring! 

Happy spring,

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Day 9

Earlier this week, when I put up the Week 2 schedule, I did so without really looking at it.  I indicated that this week would be the reverse of last week - running 2 minutes and walking 1.  Well, I was right, but only about the 1st day!

Imagine my surprise when my hubby asked me if I were ready to run 3 and walk 1 today!  Luckily, my surprise did not turn to panic (which is what the old me would have done).  Instead, I felt more like "bring it on!"  And you know what - I did it.  You can too!

Until next time,

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Day 8

Okay, so today was a little bit off kilter for me, so I was not able to go for the 30-minute walk, but what I did instead was go to the park.

Guess what!  Going to the park can burn a lot of calories when you actually play with your children, instead of spending time trying to find the park bench with the best vantage point from which to watch your children.

Turns out; it's a lot of fun to swing, go down slides, skin the cat, climb and do the monkey bars - that's right, the monkey bars.  They look easy, but have you tried to swing your whole body weight (over and over again), one-arm-at-a-time, since you were 12?  My guess is no ;-)   You should try it, though; it's very humbling!

As I reflect over the day, I have to say that I learned two important things:  1.  My kids LOVE for me to play with them at the park and 2.  I'm going to be sore tomorrow!

Until next time,

Day 7

Everybody needs a cheerleader; I don’t care how old you are!!!

My husband has also taken the Run/Walk challenge, and has invited our 6½-year-old daughter to join him a couple of days a week.  She runs the first mile with him and seems to really enjoy it.  I am so proud of both of them and wanted to show up unannounced somewhere along their route to cheer them on! 

Well, my daughter was especially excited to see me and confided in her daddy that “it sure was fun having Mommy surprise us like that.  It made the rest of the run go a lot quicker!”

Boy was she right!  I have to admit that I hadn’t much thought about needing a cheerleader of my own (this side of Heaven) to get me through the rough parts of a run, until today!

Thank you, Honey, for being there at just the right time today, watching and waiting for me to round the corner so you could jump up with your hands in the air and say, “You got it, Babe!”  Guess what!   My little girl was right.  It did make the rest of the run go a lot quicker!

Until next time,

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Week 2 Schedule

Week 2

Monday        Tuesday      Wednesday      Thursday         Friday          Saturday        Sunday
Run 2 min.    Walk easy   Run 3 min.        Walk easy    Run 4 min.     Run 4 min.       REST
Walk 1 min.   30 min.       Walk 1 min.       30 min.         Walk 1 min.    Walk 1 min.
Repeat 10X                      Repeat 7X                             Repeat 6X      Repeat 6X
                                         Run 2 min.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Day 6

I did it!  I successfully completed my very first week of the Run/Walk schedule!  I must say that I was pleasantly challenged by the exercise.  It really was fun!

My heart rate stayed in the appropriate zone, which is to say that I was burning calories but not overtaxing myself!  I feel adequately conditioned for the challenge that next week’s schedule has to offer.  I will be running for 2 minutes and walking for 1 minute, 10 times, which is the opposite of this week.

One thing I have found though is that I desperately need to stretch really well after each run, while my muscles are still warm and supple; if I don’t, my hip-flexors cease up, and my lower back gets stiff.  Other than that, I feel great, both physically and psychologically.  Hope you do too!

Until next time,

Friday, March 18, 2011

Day 5


Here’s the deal.  Since I’ve started this new exercise program, I have also decided to re-evaluate my eating habits, which, on the whole, aren’t too bad, except for the GRAZING!

Yes, I am a grazer, and up until about a week ago, I either didn’t know it or didn’t care.  But now I have seen the light; I have many times caught myself in the act of “cleaning up” the leftover tasty bits on my children’s plates or taking one more bite of “yumminess” right before snapping down the freshness seal on the Tupperware! 

No telling how many calories I’ve added here and there just because I didn’t want anything to go to waste.  Oh who am I kidding?  I’ve rarely, if ever grazed for any purpose other than that I was still hungry or that it looked tasty! 

Well, I am reformed (at least for the time being).  I would like to think that I have a little more self-control than the dog that gets let in after dinner to cleanup under the baby’s highchair!

Until next time,

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Day 4

"Running from Satan, the neighbor's dog!!

All of you hardcore "Friends" watchers will readily recognize this line from one of the funniest episodes ever, when Rachel decides to take up jogging, and Phoebe joins her!  You will also remember that Phoebe's running style looked like a toddler running downhill - arms and legs flailing, chest thrust out and face beaming with a mixture of fear and joy!

When finally confronted about why she runs this way, Phoebe says that she ran this way as a kid when she was “running from Satan . . . the neighbor’s dog!”  By the end of the show, Rachel (at first wanting to look good and fashionable while running) gives Phoebe’s method a try, and ends up really enjoying herself!

That’s what I want to do:  run for joy and run from Satan – not the neighbor’s dog though – the Deceiver!!  I want to run as fast as I can away from his whispers that tempt me to doubt myself, that try to convince me that it’s not worth it, that encourage me to revert back to my old ways and tired excuses!

I want to run for fun and fill my lungs with the breath of the Holy Spirit, for it is only then that I will outrun Satan.

;-) Missi

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Day 3

How long has it been since you’ve skipped?

If it’s been a while, I suggest that you try it; it’s AWESOME!  Yesterday, I skipped (and played hopscotch) because my 4½-year-old made it look so fun that I just had to say, “I’ll have what she’s having!” 

Skipping gets you where you want to go in a hurry; it doesn’t leave you winded, and you sort of giggle while you do it.  What a way to go through life!

So today, as I go on my Run/Walk, I’ll imagine myself skipping.  I’ll tell you how it goes. ;-)

Happy skipping,

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Day 2

“Good from far but far from good!” I love this quote; it’s clever; it’s funny, and it’s a little bit true regarding how a fair bit of women feel about the way they look!  We have become masters at layering, skirting, blousing and tucking our “flabby bits” into the waistline of our jeans!  We are very skilled at presenting ourselves, and we should be proud of that, proud of who we are and what we’ve accomplished.  We’re not perfect, and neither are our bodies.  Heck, I had my last baby at 40, and my body didn’t spring back the way I expected, and it’s taken me a year (nine months of which I fully devoted myself to an intense fitness campaign and diet regimen that left me extremely fit but exhausted) to figure out that yes, fitness is important, but you have to be okay with yourself before you start, or you won’t feel or see the results once you’ve achieved them!

So, armed with this new perspective, I have given myself permission to be confident at every stage of this exercise program, not running to look good, but running to feel good, and the rest will follow!

We’re beautiful daughters of God!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Day 1

Okay, so I did my first 31 minutes of the Run/Walk schedule, and I feel GREAT!  I’m not even exaggerating!  Even though it was overcast and cold today, I still put on my new shoes, my fancy heart rate monitor (complete with interval countdown that beeps when it’s time to change from running to walking) and my joyful attitude!  Thank you, Honey, for programming the watch and being so supportive!!!

Oh yeah, here’s the prayer I prayed before the run:  “Heavenly Father, thank you for this opportunity to stretch my legs and feel your glory.  I love you, Amen!”  It really helped, because half way through the run, when I starting to feel a little winded, a little ray of sunshine peeked through the clouds and landed on a Bradford Pear tree in front of me; it was awesome and very reassuring!

Until next time,

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Week 1 Schedule

Week 1

Monday        Tuesday      Wednesday      Thursday         Friday          Saturday        Sunday
Run 1 min.    Walk easy   Run 1 min.        Walk easy    Run 1 min.     Run 1 min.       REST
Walk 2 min.   30 min.       Walk 2 min.       30 min.         Walk 2 min.    Walk 2 min.
Repeat 10X                      Repeat 10X                           Repeat 10X    Repeat 10X

An Introduction

Jogging and blogging!  Who knew? I guess God since it’s the Holy Spirit that has been needling me for some time to do both of these things!

As I compose this first entry of my very first blog, I am filled with excitement, joy and a little bit of apprehension regarding my very first foray into a running regimen of ANY kind.  I start tomorrow, and unlike many of the other fitness programs I have tried (and both enjoyed and benefited from) in the past, I am particularly excited about this training schedule, which is designed to get me to the point where I can run 30 minutes.  It’s a simple, progressive program that begins with more walking than running and gradually evolves into more running than walking.  Now that sounds doable on many levels!  I can carve out 30 minutes a day to run!  In the days that follow, I will post the schedule so that you too can run along with me and enjoy the journey of the “joyful jogger!”

Why the “joyful jogger,” you ask!  Well, I have to admit that at first blush, I wanted the title to be alliterative and a little catchy, but mostly, I wanted to focus on the aspect of combining joy with exercise since I have never considered them compatible (at least since the age of 14).  I figure if I can find joy in this, then it is a form of exercise that I can do that is sustainable, feeds my spirit, encourages an overall state of health and wellness, inspires my children, makes me feel sexy and confident and, most importantly, pleases the Lord!  So come on; let’s run for our lives in the best way possible – Let’s run for JOY!!!