The Health Benefits of Massage Therapy – And Reached 20 lb Weight Loss!!

Usually I can get a post written at least by Tuesday night… but this week has gotten away from me!! As busy as it has been, I managed to get in for a massage today, and it was absolutely fantastic!!

I do not go for massages often, but now that my training has increased, my body is feeling it. There are so many benefits of massage therapy – its not just for relieving aches and pains, though it is great for that.

Anyways, last week I had so much tension in my neck and shoulders, I decided it was high time for a massage and booked an appointment with Anna at Lethbridge Thai Massage.

Anna does an awesome deep tissue massage that also includes some elements of traditional Thai massage. From what I understand, Thai massages are generally done on a mat on the floor, and includes kneading and positioning to work with the “energy flow”.

Well the deep tissue massage is on a regular massage table, but for some of it, she gets on the table to do different stretches and even gets her knees into my tight hamstrings…. it is seriously fantastic!!

And like this picture, she also does the hands, which feels surprisingly good! I never thought of tension in my hands, but I definitely felt tightness in there while she was massaging it.

I have only ever had Anna as my massage therapist at Lethbridge Thai Massage so I recommend her, but there are two other therapists there as well and they have a long list of services they provide. It is a little pricier than some other places, but worth the treat once in a while.

On their website and on the door when you walk in are the words “100% non-sexual”….

Now, before going to this place, I have never gone to a Thai massage place. But now I am pretty sure I will never go to a Thai massage place that does not have this explicitly written….

…. Because apparently it is necessary to make that clear!

 

Is It Worth It?

If you do not regularly go for massages, there are so many reasons to make it a regular occurrence in your life.

1. Massages can help improve your immune system. Having a massage stimulates the lymphatic system, which is the system that helps your body get rid of waste and toxins.

2. Massages can lower high blood pressure – at least for a little while.

3. When you have a massage, endorphins (those feel good things) are released. According to livestrong.com, this can “help to decrease anxiety, provide pain relief, improve mood and enhance a person’s state of well-being”.

4. Having a massage can help you sleep better!!

And if you are an athlete, a deep tissue or sports massage can help release muscles that are protesting the amount of training you might be doing, and can prevent injury or treat an injury you may already have.

Deep tissue massage can also relieve delayed onset muscle soreness…

So I have booked two more massages before I go to St. George, and one for the week after I get back from the race! Though the one after the race won’t be in the 24-72 hour window that I will be the most sore, it is still bound to help me!

 

 

Weight Loss

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, in the weight loss world, I am a turtle loser….S-L-O-W. But I am also proof that if you just keep plugging away at it, the weight does eventually come off!! When I stepped on the scale Monday morning, I was 155.5, which is 20.5 lbs lost since November.

Most of my adult life I have been around this weight. The only time I weighed less was before I had my gallbladder removed in my mid 20s….and that was because most things I ate besides dry crackers would make me violently throw up!!

So I am at a pretty exciting point where the scale is concerned! I continue to not enjoy weighing myself, but I am internalizing more and more that it is simply one tool I can use to measure my progress.

My next milestone will be getting to the 140’s. At the rate I am going, it will be another month or so before I get there….but that is OK!

Last Week

Last week was pretty uneventful. I had a swim and a couple of bikes and didn’t run once. I ran today and after 9 minutes on the treadmill, my irritating ankle/calf issue showed up. I couldn’t run anymore, so thought I would get on the stair climber.

It felt great and was a good workout, until 15 minutes into that, same issue started.

I need to book a physio appointment, because if this shows up during the race, there is the danger of not finishing because I have a hard time putting any weight on it!

Anna massage my lower legs really well, but I could still faintly feel it walking around after that, so it is obviously something I need to get looked at.

I did paint all day Saturday so I figured that was a good enough arm workout 😉

I haven’t made any early morning gym trips. I don’t know why it is so hard for me to go before work. I know if I got all lunches made the night before and had my stuff ready to go, I could easily go run for half hour, come home shower and be at work on time.

But I just don’t want to.

I like to drink my coffee, read, and enjoy the only half hour to an hour of quiet in my day. I hate to give that up, but I should be now, if only a couple times per week!

Oh Yea…

 

I had a glass of wine and 2-3 squares of 90% Lindt Chocolate every night last week… and still lost weight. So I will probably not give those things up any time soon!

 

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Moonlight Run Recap… and the Rest of My Week!

I followed through with my plan… and ran the Moonlight Run! To be completely honest, in the days leading up to the run, I hoped there was going to be bad weather so I would have a decent excuse not to run. I was just getting really nervous! It had been so long since I did an actual race on my own, and one that I knew I wanted to do my best to see what time I could get.

But I haven’t done a lot of run training in the last month or two. It has been sporadic at best, and I had not run at all since the outdoor “run” that I ended up limping home from a few weeks ago.

So I didn’t know what to expect…

Race Day

Saturday morning I was busy doing all the regular Saturday morning stuff… laundry, dishes, more laundry, etc.

I suddenly remembered I would need to pick up my race package in Lethbridge. I didn’t know if I could pick it up right before the race, so thought I better pick it up earlier.

So I made plans to go into Lethbridge just after lunch to do that. But, as often happens in this house, plans quickly change.

John and Kiera have been looking for a vehicle for her that fit her budget for a while now. She turns 16 in a few months, and wanted a vehicle before that so she could practice driving in her own vehicle.

Well, they found a deal on something she wanted…. in Medicine Hat.

So with some quick time calculations, we figured we could pick up the race package, sign up Kiera and her friend last minute for the Moonlight Run, do a “quick” drive to Medicine Hat to buy the vehicle, and be home in time to change and drive back to Lethbridge for the race….

Well, we did manage to get all that done Saturday afternoon, and the good part was I was too busy to be nervous! We got back home at 6:30, and left for the race at 7:00. The race started at 8, so I got there in plenty of time 😉

On the way to Lethbridge, I watched a You Tube video on how to tape my ankle with KT Tape, just for a little extra support. I also wore compression calf sleeves, hoping all this would help me not have any issues!

The 10 KM

As always, right before the run started, my stomach was in a bundle of knots.

I started thinking about what I had eaten during the day. I actually don’t remember what I ate, besides a dry Greek Salad from McDonalds (didn’t check the bag before leaving McDonalds….no fork and no dressing), and 3 creams in my Tim Hortons coffee.

I know I ate something in the morning, I just don’t remember what.

Was it enough?

When the horn sounded to start, I just tried to relax and settle in to an easy pace. I seen John on the sidelines, trying to find me, but he didn’t see me…. there were a lot of people there!! He took this picture without actually seeing me 😉 It’s pretty fuzzy….

There is a flat, or slightly downhill, 3-4 blocks before going down the big hill into the river valley.

I love running downhill. Years ago, while running coulees with a friend, she taught me that downhill running is just controlled falling….

If you try to slow yourself down, you are constantly braking, and that puts a lot of pressure on your quads, which makes them tired for the rest of the race.

So downhill is fun for me and pretty quick. But when it flattens out at the bottom, that’s when the real test starts.

Due to our lovely weather lately with the snow and melt, there were a lot of puddles on the route. In the beginning, I tried avoiding them, but eventually gave in and just splashed through them.

I reminded myself that if this were a trail race, I wouldn’t think twice about running through puddles or streams….

I felt great at the first out and back, but started second guessing myself at the turn off where the 10km runners broke off from the 6 km runners.

Questions started going through my head…. should I back off? I felt great, but I was only a third through my race. I almost was waiting for things to start falling apart.

But I decided while I felt good, to keep running at a good pace for me. If I ended up not doing well later on, I would deal with that then, but was not going to borrow trouble.

I focused on trying to find people I knew. Most people running the race are way faster than I am, so since we were on another out and back, I was looking at the people running towards me. (Keep in mind it is dark out, so even with a headlamp, this is not an easy task!!)

I did see about 3 people I knew, but most of all it kept my mind off of what I was doing…. which was running…LOL!!

I continued feeling great, and remembered to keep my posture good, and to “drive” with my knees. This makes me land lighter and more on the balls of my feet rather than my feet slapping down or heel striking.

When I got to the hill, my strategy was to walk one light pole and run one light pole all the way up the hill. I think the hill is about 1.5 – 2km long…. but not 100% sure on that. It feels like a long way!! I stuck to my plan and it worked, though looking back I think I could have managed to run 2 light poles for every one I walked!

At the top of the hill there is probably about 4 city blocks to the finish line. I usually have a mental block near the finish line and just start walking. I am not sure why, but this is something I struggle with. Most people pick up their pace at this point, but not me!! I always have to be a little different…;)

But I happened to see “short Sherry” in front of me. I remember her from my trail running days. She is about 5 feet tall, over 60 years old, and my goal at the top of the hill was to try to keep up with her until the finish line…. just sayin’.

She pulled ahead of me, but I managed to stay within 15-20 feet of her and ran all the way to the line!!

The Finish

I finished the race with jello legs, but feeling absolutely fantastic. I have not felt this sense of satisfaction over a race since my first half-marathon, which was many years ago.

I ran a good race and was incredibly happy about it!! My clock time was 1:02, which is just under a 10 minute mile. While this is slower than most peoples warm up pace, this is a great time for me. I would like to get under an hour for 10 km, but for now, I am happy 😀

We didn’t stick around for the free pizza and donuts, because we don’t eat that anyways ;).

The Monday Morning Weigh In

I was up half a pound this morning, 157.5, which I was not surprised at. Last week I just wanted to eat all the time. I wasn’t hungry but just wanted food.

I kept it to keto food, but I am sure overdid it calorie wise.

But it also enlightened me a little. I have a thing for Coke Zero. I know it is garbage, but sometimes when it is on sale I buy myself a case for a treat.

Last week I think I had 2 Coke Zeros every day.

The experts say that while diet sodas are calorie free, the aspartame tricks your body into thinking it is getting sweets, and therefore makes you crave more, or want to eat more. I really believe this is true now!

The fact that aspartame is linked to alzheimer’s should be enough to keep me away from it.

This Week

Right now I am walking around as if I am on wooden legs… I am SO SORE!! Lol… I need a good bike ride to get rid of this DOMS! (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness).

Going downstairs this morning to do laundry was an interesting excursion. In involved one stair at a time, going sideways, holding onto the railing…

The plan today is to bike this morning and swim tonight. Though snow is our reality again today, I need to not be a sissy and start driving in it. Less than 7 weeks until race day and I need to be swimming often!!

I plan to bike again tomorrow and since I am working Wednesday and Thursday, I plan to run at the gym before work on both days. Its crunch time!

Hot yoga and/or bike Friday, and run Saturday….maybe even with the group!! I really miss running with people.

Have a great week everyone!!

 

 

 

 

 

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8 Weeks Until Ironman 70.3 St. George!!

This past Saturday was officially 8 weeks until Ironman 70.3 St. George. I am excited, and a little nervous… the swim training is still not where it should be. But I console myself that I survived last year with very little training period. And I still have time to step it up! Especially since the weather should be better from here on out, so no excuses of snowy roads my reason for not making it to the pool!

On Saturday is the Moonlight Run in Lethbridge. I have signed up for the 10km, but have not been running much at all, in fact not even once this past week. I have not felt any pain in my ankle so I should be running now again.

I have considered just not doing the Moonlight Run, even though I signed up for it, because I have not been running enough. That’s a bad attitude that has kind of gotten into my brain.

When we first started doing races about 10ish years ago, I would never consider not doing a race I had signed up for. After all, they cost a decent amount of money!!

And runners etiquette is that you cannot wear the swag of the race if you did not do it 😉

One time while doing a half-marathon in Calgary, I threw up a couple miles in to the race, and quit.

Then came other 50kms, half-marathons, shorter races and one 70.3 that I did not show up to for various reasons.

The problem is, even if it is a valid excuse not to do the race, it becomes easier and easier to just not show up if you are not feeling like doing it.

But then the comments start… like, “Are you actually going to race? Or just sign up for the race?”

These are well deserved comments, so I need to recommit myself to doing every race I sign up for. It is not a good feeling to know you signed up for something and then backed out…especially if it wasn’t for a very good reason!

So I will let you know next week how the race goes… I have to do the race now in order to tell you how great it was 😉

This Past Week

This past week was a great week!

Not that I did enough exercise but in my life it was a memorable week… lol.

It started great with a really good bike on Monday, and then a FTP test on the bike on Tuesday. It went up 3 watts, which is still not where I should be, but in a few weeks I am going to try a different FTP test than the one I usually do. I don’t think this one is reflecting the power I can put out, but that could just be me overestimating my abilities.

I worked Wednesday and Thursday, did a course at work Friday morning and then went out for supper and shopping with my hubby and oldest child…

WHO TURNED 18!!!!

It is really, really wierd because I feel too young to have an 18 year old. Maybe we are never prepared for our first baby to turn 18, but it is pretty nice to be able to send him to the liquor store if I want some wine!! HEHE

We went shopping and then to the Keg for supper since that was his choice for restaurant. We have never taken any of our kids to the Keg, since that would be way out of our budget, but it was fun just to take him.

We sat in the lounge… because we could. And ordered steak. As a side note, this was the first time I have ever ordered steak at the Keg. I always order chicken or fish. I have never been a big fan of steak, but since starting Keto, I have really learned to appreciate a good steak!

The steak was good… but I ordered a side of mushrooms since that has always been my favourite thing to order there. Now its been a few years since we have eaten there, but I was very disappointed.

The mushrooms used to come in a sizzling, hot, cast iron pan and were seasoned to perfection. THAT is what I would look forward to at our rare visits to the Keg.

These mushrooms came luke warm in a low, cold dish, and were bland. When I tried to poke them with the fork, they were so rubbery I almost shot it into the martini glass sitting on the bar!!

Oh well. We had a good evening overall. Saturday night was birthday party night. I had more glasses of wine then I normally do, and while I didn’t eat non-keto foods, I definitely did not skimp on calories!!

I thoroughly enjoyed the artichoke dip, sausage, cheese, pickles, french onion dip, and Brie with a little red pepper jelly. I guess I did cheat a little there as red pepper jelly is a sugar first ingredient….

And the Number on the Scale Was a Reflection….

…. of my calorie high weekend.

Earlier in the week I had lost another half a pound to put me at 156.5….. just a half a pound away from the 20lbs lost mark!

But after the weekend that half a pound came back and I am still at 157.

And that is OK!

I am not just saying that through gritted teeth…. I am actually really OK with that, because we need to enjoy ourselves once in a while without being obsessed with the numbers on the scale after that.

Right back at it and hoping to lose a full pound this week. I want to hit the 20lb mark!!

My Goals this Week

I am working 3 days this week and doing school with the kids the other 2 days…. but I need to get exercise in there somewhere.

I am having a hard time getting to the gym in the morning, can’t go during my lunch or supper break, and am too tired when I get done work to go!

The way I see it, especially on days I don’t work out, I need to watch those calories. I love eating cheese, and dips and all kinds of yum, but need to scale back a bit since I am not burning too many calories.

Wednesday I need to bike and swim, Thursday is a run and Moonlight Run is Saturday…

That’s all I can say for sure right now!

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It Was a Great Week – With a Few Bumps!

Sometimes its hard to see progress from day to day, so I like looking at the whole week to measure whether I consider it a successful week or not. And last week….it was a great week!

Not perfect since there is rarely such a thing, but I am very happy with how things went.

Monday I got a good swim and bike in, Wednesday I biked and Thursday I had some serious spring fever, and had to get outside for a run!

It was so beautiful….around -3 degrees and not a whole lot of wind. But I did forget to look at the flag at the school….

Being that 98% of the time (by my estimation 😉 the wind comes from the west here, we have a habit of running towards the west at the beginning of our runs, so that the wind is at our back on the way home.

I am pretty sure I had a huge grin on my face for the first 1.5 miles along the river. It was so beautiful and not even a little bit of a breeze! I was actually feeling over dressed, but feeling pretty good on my run.

When I turned around to head home, I realized there was actually a north/east breeze blowing, so it was a little chilly, but not terrible. But shortly after I turned around to run home, I was hobbling because of my ankle.

In the past few years, even when I am not exercising at all, I have had instances where I will be going down the stairs, or even just step wrong, and it feels like I twisted my ankle.

I have even had it happen when I was running down a hill.

It seems so random though. One step I will be doubled over, and the next step doesn’t hurt at all.

The source seems to be in my calf. The muscles in my left calf are more tight and knotted than in my right calf. It feels like this is pulling muscles or tendons over my ankle area and that is causing the pain.

This is my unprofessional opinion.

Anyways, in the days leading up to my wonderful outdoor run, I had been having a few instances of feeling this pain. But since it usually goes away, I ignored it, and was determined to enjoy this run.

On the way back, I stopped several times to try to stretch my calf muscles and then keep running. I ended up hobbling over a mile home.

It was bad enough that if there was someone at home that could have picked me up, I would have phoned….and I HATE asking for help.

I made it home, but from compensating for my ankle and walking weird, my hip hurt for the next few days.

But it was still a gorgeous day and I am glad I got outside before the cold and snow hit yet again on Friday!

Thankfully after some massage sessions from John (where I literally had tears rolling down my face and my kids disappeared because I was yelling in pain) and some quality time on the roller, I don’t feel the pain anymore while walking. I won’t run for a few more days, but the bike doesn’t hurt at all, so I can keep on rolling on there!

And the Scale

Another nice surprise on the scale this week as I was down another 2 lbs!! I was 157 lbs on the scale this morning. That was pretty exciting!!

Last week when I weighed in at 159 lbs I thought it was just a fluke… that the scale was being generous or it was because it was the week after the funnest time of the month.

I am still not doing anything different than I have been since November. Still eating the same things.

Maybe my body just needed some time to adjust. Maybe because I have tried to lose weight so many times, it was in survival mode.

Either way, I hope that the numbers keep going down. I have 9 weeks left until Race Day and I am crazy excited!!

I dislike pictures of myself, and looking at pictures of last years race, I really dislike all the bulges and the XL rear end…

I am hoping this year the pictures are a little more friendly…cause there is no lying about your size when you are wearing spandex bike shorts!!

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