One month to go

It has been a long two weeks without alcohol, but I made it. I even got to a friend’s house once with a bottle of wine in the car, but left it in the car, unopened, thanks to you, gentle reader. Meanwhile, I’ve been paying attention to what situations make me want a drink – seafood calls for white wine, some Italian foods need red, and I love a beer on the patio in the summertime. So usually, my brain is doing something aesthetic or associative. But stressful conversations definitely make me want to self-medicate (which was why I set out for my friend’s house well provisioned on this particular occasion). And what made me really whiny was feeling like I was depriving myself.  

The payoff from abstaining was that I lost about a pound and a half and ended a month-long stall. So maybe it’s time to look at that glass of wine as a treat instead of a beverage. Meanwhile, I have kept up the focus on whole grains and beans instead of refined white-flour foods. It’s a little harder to swallow, but I’m also trying to look at a tortilla as a treat instead of a go-to meal solution. (Why does calling it a wrap make anything you throw inside seem more appealing?)
One of the most noteworthy moments this week happened when I got my kid an ice cream at the end of a hot day. I love the fact that he stops eating when he’s full – he always tells me when he’s had enough, even if it’s a sweet treat. This time he wanted to put it in the garbage himself, so it took a minute for us to walk over to the can without spilling. And halfway there, I realized that not only did I not order one for myself, but I had no urge to eat my kid’s leftover ice cream. Wow.
What I’m most excited about, though, is running. I am really starting to see myself as a runner. I ventured into MEC and a Running Room store in person, and no one kicked me out. I bought myself a hydration belt (and learned that’s what they’re called) – since I’m running longer and not always starting from home, my need for water outweighs my loathing for any belt-like device that will accentuate my gut. I have attended my new weekly trail running class twice now, and have run 47 minutes and 61 minutes. For someone who previously ran half an hour max, that’s huge. And I’ve never been the slowest person in the class.
Since I have my first race coming up one month from today (eeek!), I am trying to focus my runs on training for that. I’m calling my weekly running clinic a long slow distance run, and I’m adding to that one hill run each week, plus one “regular” run. And for both of those I am upping the time by one minute each run, so for example my next run will be 35 minutes long. I also take the stairs to the 18th floor (without stopping!) whenever I go in to the office, about once a week. But I don’t seem to be able to manage four runs per week. Any further training advice, especially about how to structure hill runs, would be much appreciated.
I’m afraid I may have bitten off more than I can chew for this particular race. I’m more nervous now about the terrain and elevation gain than the length. I’m in the process of finding out whether I can pre-run the course, but unfortunately the folks at Camp Fortune were not as helpful as I hoped they would be. I agreed to do this because you are allowed to walk the entire course, but if the walk is actually quite a hike, I am not sure how much running I will actually be able to do! My only goal is to finish. Without getting hurt.
Looking ahead, this weekend brings a visit from my oldest friend, and the next weekend we’ll be leaving to visit my family in North Carolina (who are already driving me crazy). Both visits will bring lots of temptation to overindulge. The one smart thing I planned was a few days at my parents’ cabin in the mountains alone with my husband and son. Running at my parents’ house is going to be a challenge due to the heat, but running at the cabin should be a great opportunity for beautiful scenery and big hills.
When I see you back here in four weeks, it will be almost time for my first race! Yikes! So my #1 goal til then is to keep up with my runs . . . and maybe even do four while on holiday.
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13 Responses to One month to go

  1. John says:

    You sound like you’re making great progress. When I stopped drinking (about 2 years ago) the hardest thing was other peoples reactions. I know only drink the odd glass of wine every few months. And congratulations on going in a running shop!

    • wordywort says:

      Thanks! I was seriously nervous about going into a running shop in person! Oh, and I figured out what to say next time someone comments about me not drinking – and I do want to have an answer ready so they don’t assume I’m pregnant. I’m going to tell them I’m taking part in a study. They don’t need to know that I’m the researcher.

  2. Katie Squires says:

    So much good going on! and 61 minutes!!! WOW…your doing FANTASTIC with the running. huge congrats on all fronts…very inspiring stuff :)

  3. Julie says:

    That transition from mindless eating, to working so hard being mindful, to mindlessly *not* eating is a monumental one, isn’t it? It definitely was for me.

    • wordywort says:

      That’s exactly the word I was looking for – it was mindlessly not eating. Which was weird when I realized it, but hopefully is the new norm.

  4. Tracey says:

    This is a great post-really encompasses “life” moments. For your post without internet- you can also write it ahead and “schedule” it to post on your date-just a thought! Im not alcohol free completely, but i drink “rarely” now. Special occasions/events and then only 1 or 2 drinks as opposed to free rein. That sometimes get comments because i used to be quite a drinker/party girl. I usually just laugh and say ive outgrown it. Lol The runs sound both fun/exhilirating and kinda scary! :). enjoy your time away!

    • wordywort says:

      Thanks for the compliment and the good idea about posting. I’ll admit I’ve had some behaviors to outgrow too, and for better or for worse, the effect on my weight has been the big motivator.

  5. Barbara says:

    It’s good that you saw results with the no-drinking experiment – both short-term and in how you think about it. I find the same happens when I focus on eliminating something for a time – I reset my tolerance to a lower level.

    As for running, I’d recommend keeping one run fairly short (3-5 km) and do it at you race pace, to be comfortable running at that pace. For hill training, choose a hill that’s about 400 m long and has a 15% elevation. Run up quickly (but at a pace you can sustain for all repeats) and then walk or jog slowly down. Repeat 3 times, next week you do 4 repeats, etc. Putting all your efforts into getting up and going down slowly will teach your body to perform at a high level and recover quickly. If you’re not sure which hill to choose, ask at the closest Running Room where they go.

    Enjoy your vacation.

  6. wordywort says:

    Thanks for the tips, Barbara. This is the kind of advice I need, though I’m not sure how to work it all in! There is a running group in town that uses the hills in my neighborhood for training, but I didn’t think they were that hard, i.e. I think I was doing it wrong. I’m going to try again with sprints/repeats in mind. I’m using the treadmill too, but that feature is kinda crappy – I can’t pick an incline so I’m not sure what I’m doing. So I am honestly excited about being in the mountains because the driveway to the cabin and the roadway to the cabin both have a big steep hill I can use.

  7. Fiona says:

    I too have realized that alcohol was stalling my weight loss. When I first gave it up 3 months ago, I used to ‘treat’ myself now and then. Then I realized that treating myself with something that sabotaged my weight loss wasn’t doing me any favours. I also found that my muscle endurance went way up once I gave up alcohol. The few times I did have a drink, it was noticeably harder to run the next day.

    Thanks for a great post.

    • wordywort says:

      I started running to lose weight, but I’ve just started to think about losing weight in order to run better – like it would be nice to run my first race with as little extra baggage as possible. That might be an added incentive to lay off the wine.

  8. Sasha says:

    Where to begin?

    Booze – good for you!!! Have you found any replacements that you like? Something in a fancy glass maybe? I find that makes a difference sometimes.

    Breaking the plateau – WOOT!

    Wraps: have you tried vietnamese style rice wraps? They’re easier than they look – the trick is to soak them for only 5 seconds (they’ll still be hard) and then let them sit for 30 seconds while they soften up. They’re 35 calories each, and while granted they’re probably more calories per gram than a tortilla, I find I can stuff almost as much into them as a small tortilla, for way less added calories.

    Good luck in NC – you’ll do great!!!!

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