On giving up laziness for lent – #40LentPain

I grew up catholic. Although I don’t practice anymore, I still consider myself a “cafeteria catholic”, picking up only what works best for me. During many years, I’ve given up something for lent (alcohol, sweets…). Not for penance, but I still think no matter the reasons you choose to give up something, it is a good thing to reflect about your habits, realize what you might be overdoing and focus on making positive behavioral changes.

This past weekend I was at a Mardi Gras party and we started discussing. We came up with this idea, to give up laziness for lent and exercise during the 40 days! Many of us exercise regularly, but committing to do it every single day, including weekends, it’s a whole new level! That’s why I turned out to Twitter and asked for help.

So here’s the deal, overall we agreed to count either 15 minutes of strength training or 30 minutes of cardio as “exercise”. But if you joined, or decide to join, it is your challenge, and what you consider as exercise could be different. Regardless, peer-support reading the hashtag on Twitter always works for me. Personally, it is going to be tough. After my half-marathon I’ve got shin splints and was diagnosed with meralgia paresthetica. Not a big deal, it is not painful, but it is very annoying! It is a condition that gives you tingling and numbness in your thigh cause by nerve compression. Although the doctor does not know exactly why it happened, he doesn’t want me to run until we do further testing (in a month). I have all the sadz……

But one of the main possible reasons for this condition to happen is weight gain. I know I have been putting on weight over the last two years, so even though the doctor does not really believe this is the cause, it’s never a bad idea to try to improve your eating and exercise habits and lose some weight.

Thanks to all tweeps that joined the challenge! I’ve put together a Twitter list, and will follow the hashtag, for personal motivation and to show support. It is hard to give up habits, and it is even harder to build new ones. Here’s for a healthier and better US!

 

 

Data and running junkie

Science and research requires a lot of discipline and careful management. One of the things that gave me more pleasure during my years in academia was getting a fresh raw list of results and plotting it along the different groups and graphing them. Running consistently also requires a lot of discipline and management. So when I saw this blogpost from the lovely Carly about plotting her runs, I decided to do the same for mine! I also used Excel and Powerpoint (a real copy cat…) and I was so happy to find a clear increase trend on my running mileage!

Running trend

I don’t remember exactly when I started to run, but I guess it was around the time of my ‘divorce’* on 2011. I used to be a heavy smoker, and started with intervals on the treadmill. I remember first time I was able to run a full mile! Slowly I was able to run a little bit longer, until being able to run 5k.

 

It was only on 2013 that I started tracking my running activity using MapMyRun, sporadic runs along the year. There were probably some treadmill runs that I didn’t know how to log at that time. On 2014 I trained hard to complete my first 15km race in November, what helped increase my mileage. 2015 was a year full of personal ups and downs, when I left academia and I was unemployed for 4 months. Even without any running plan or management I was able to almost double my mileage run of the previous year. I guess that’s when I became addicted to run and running became an escape valve for all my problems!

In 2016, the year started with our #200kChocoCardio twitter challenge (run 200k in 40 days, until Valentine’s Day), and this really motivated me to be more consistent with my runs. I set up a running plan on Excel, and it made me log carefully every run. As a result of that, January and February are the top two dots of my whole graph, when I was able to run about 2.5 miles/day (about 75 miles/month). Those months were followed by my vacation trip to Brazil, when I nearly run zero miles. Clearly motivation and goals are, albeit not essential, very beneficial for my running. I joined a challenge to run 1000km in 2016 (#YouVSTheYear) and this is keeping me going so far – 449 km until today – and I believe I can do it!

Even though I run consistently, I still don’t like to call myself a runner. Although I love to run, I’m such a night owl and super lazy person in the mornings. Almost all the races are set to start around 8am on the weekends and I HATE TO WAKE UP EARLY, even if it’s for running. So I haven’t really ran many official races, probably around 5 or so. I’d love to be a morning person, be able to sleep before 1am and wake up without the annoying alarm. After I quit smoking and started working from home, I gained a lot of pounds (about 15-20) and as I’m quickly approaching my 40s, those pounds are stubbornly not going away easily. I hate doing XT training. And I know I should work more on my core strength. And more interval training…

In the end, I don’t run because I want to run faster, or better. I run because I love it! I’m simply addicted to the way my mind gets away from all worries and my body feels a nice runner’s high every time I run. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep it up for a while 🙂

 

*’divorce’ is between quotes because although we were never legally married, it was difficult and painful as if we were…