Bad news first. I hurt my knee shortly after my halfway post on the trail run training. Boo. I had to scale back a bit, but I’m feeling better and running 6-10 miles with no pain. The minor injury was a great learning experience for me about my training plan. I’m a lifelong math-nerd, and I like neatness. Consistency in numbers. Structure. Naturally, when I wrote my training plan, it was very tidy and had me training most days, adding a mile or two per week in a nifty little pattern. I admit – there where days I pushed myself too hard because I wanted to meet my numbers and not “screw up” my training plan. I was SO worried about falling off the wagon and losing the endurance I was working so hard to build. Bad idea. Since I was hurt, I’ve been taking it easier and have noticed my endurance levels are exactly the same. My marker is 6 miles – I can still run 6 miles and not feel winded. My legs get tired way before my lungs, which is even further evidence that cross training to build strength is vitally important.
Good news next. Some of you may know that I have lost a considerable amount of weight over the last three years. I was formally overweight, and due to a chronic health condition completely shifted my mental and physically fitness routines. I think it’s safe to say that three years in, this is no longer a phase – I’ve made a lasting impact on my life. My health is so important to me now, it’s hard to imagine it any other way.
Last April, I had my first hydrostatic body fat test done. It was a pretty neat experience – you go underwater and you fat-to-lean body mass ratio is tested. This is a much better metric for determining healthy weight than BMI, which is based solely on weight and height. A bodybuilder could have a BMI indicating obese because she has so much muscle, which weighs more than fat. Anyways, I’m not a huge fan of measuring your body against numbers, because I believe the best indicator of health is how you feel in your body on a day to day basis. But since we don’t even own a scale, this once a year testing is a cool way for me to check my progress. The testing is offered for free through my job.
Last year I was at 16% body fat, 134 pounds, with 112 pounds lean vs 22 pounds fat. For a woman my age, that’s in the 85th percentile – pretty darn good. I was proud. As part of our wellness program incentives, we had to set a year long goal – I set mine to hit 13% body fat by this April. At the time I was running, lifting, and yogaing. I hurt my back at work in August 2015, and haven’t been able to life since. Without lifting, I had little hope to hit my target. I really got into my yoga practice though, and was able to add some strength training through that. I doubted it would be enough.
Yesterday, I went underwater again and was at 11% body fat, 130 pounds, with 116 pounds lean vs 14 pounds fat. I literally jumped for joy. As you can see, even though I only dropped 4 pounds, my composition drastically changed – I lost 8 pounds of fat while adding 4 pounds of muscle. I could not be more proud of myself. I attribute this change to my eating habits, not exercise. In the last year I have cut my dairy consumption into a third, expanded the different types of vegetables, grains, and legumes I eat tenfold, and have done my best to stay away from refined sugars and flours (I cheat every once and a while). We hit self-provisioning HARD this year, making our own breads with whole grains, brewing our own beers, and growing a nice chunk of our food. We started buying organic and local produce whenever possible, and began judiciously investing in quality food brands instead of whatever’s cheapest (always read your labels and do your research! Sometimes there’s no difference between store brand and perceived “high-quality” brands).
What’s frustrating to me is that even though I eat impeccably, am in the 95th percentile for body comp, and get at least 2 hours of physical activity per day, I still have headaches and feel blah-ish all the time. Gotta start working on my mental health game.
I’m going to get back to more homestead-y posts soon, but right now training is eating up all my time. With six weeks to race day, I’m spending a lot of time preparing. I’ve been working really hard on our yard though, and I can’t wait to get some pictures to share with y’all!