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Loss of Fitness After Time Off

Friday, May 30, 2014

Emotionally and physically, 2014 has been a rough year. So, I spent a lot of time using this as an excuse to eat without logging. (Which means, turning a blind eye to the amount and quality of the calories I was consuming from November through April).
To make matters worse, there was a period of more than 6 weeks during which I was told that I could not run *at all* due to the medication I was on. A smarter person would have used this as an opportunity to diversify her workout, and at the very least, incorporate more walking into her daily routine. I took it as an excuse to sleep in, work late, and sit on my giant butt.
I've recently been given the go ahead to run again (a small bright spot in an otherwise unpleasant situation). The first half of the first mile of the first run felt great. Oh, I'd missed those exercise endorphins, and the feel of letting loose on the treadmill.... and then, the remainder of my run was just pure torture. My next run, also on the treadmill was equally difficult. When I finally got a chance to run outside, I discovered something. I've lost about 90 seconds off of every mile that I run. 90-freakin'-seconds! It took me so long to work up to a consistent 10 minute mile for distances of 4 miles or more, and now its all gone. Poof! I suppose this is why I was so miserable on the treadmill - I hadn't adjusted the speed for my lost abilities, and I was forced to keep up with a pace I can no longer maintain.

I am hoping that if it took 6 weeks to lose it, then I can get it back in 6 weeks or less. I'm also trying to remind myself that when I started running, I couldn't run a single mile, let alone 5 miles at any speed. And finally, I'm trying to get myself to do something I've needed to do for a long time - diversify my workout with strength training and any kind of cardio other than running. (If only there was another type of cardio that I enjoyed as much as I do running).

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PAPAMIKIE 6/6/2014 2:01PM

    Gradual progress is still the order of the day. We have to make room for the events of life. Two deaths and responsibilities related to those events ate deeply into my time.

When Life happens we must do what we can, and make some small adjustment. (For a period I had to park my care far from the hospital and do a short run in and a short run out instead of my normal runs.

As the smoke clears you re-assess and then make a plan and slow work into it. Remember to make it is as much about the journey as the destination.

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ERIN1128 5/30/2014 7:45PM

    I totally agree about needing to diversity, but I totally understand. My primary exercise is walking, and when I started having achilles issues I was completely panicked because I had to lay off walking for a while! But then I realized you know, duh, I could get on my bike. I think diversifying is important not only to avoid or deal with injuries, but because your body can get into ruts and presumably cross training helps avoid that. GOOD LUCK going forward, and stick with the sparkers, it really helps!

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PENNYSAVER2 5/30/2014 7:06PM

    emoticon emoticon

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Sub-Freezing Half Marathon & Comfort Food

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I could focus on all of the weight that I've gained and kept since Thanksgiving, but I think I'll look at recent positives instead.

Manhattan Half - Recap:
This weekend I ran the Fred Lebow Manhattan Half Marathon in Central Park. My husband and I signed up for it weeks ago, and that turned out to be a good thing. If we hadn't pre-registered, we never would have left the house at 5:30 am on a Sunday in sub-freezing temps to do a race in the city. It was so cold out, I was half expecting it to be cancelled, but we checked the NYRR site when we woke up, and it said the paths were clear, and the race was on, so off we went.

We decided to drive instead of taking the bus, because the bus/subway combination early on a Sunday morning did not feel like an efficient use of our time. Besides, with free parking on Sundays, the tolls and gas for driving were not far off from 2 round trip bus and subway rides. And *bonus* driving and parking near the finish meant we didn't have to check a gear bag. Woo Hoo!

After we parked the car, we split a bagel, coffee and some juice while killing time at a bagel shop (we were 90 minutes early - which was nice). Bagel shop bonus, we got to pee at a real flushing toilet in a heated building pre-race. (This may seem like a little thing, but I was dreading the port-o-johns and exposing any additional skin to the cold air).

We timed our arrival to the start really well. We didn't need to rush to get there, but we also didn't need to stand around waiting for too, too long. I was a little bummed to see that I was placed in the very last corral, but I'd like to think that's because the really casual runners don't sign up for a half marathon in January. (I like to think of myself as "middle of the pack" and not "bringing up the rear" - although, I did finish *DEAD LAST* in my first 20 mile training run, so maybe there's something to this corral system after all).

It was so cold at the start that the air horn froze - so the race started with an awkward, "1, 2, 3 .... [pause] Go!" In the first mile, I looked up to see the temperature on the CNN building - a balmy 17 degrees Fahrenheit. (Yeah, I specified the unit of measure, because it *that* cold .... so it'd by like.... -8 Celsius, right? Brrrrr.....) I was so cold, that my toes were numb for the first two miles, and my fingers were painfully frozen for the first four. The cups at all of the water stations were filled with ice. In the beginning of the race, a little squeeze would break the ice, but by the end, the squeeze resulted in a thick disc of ice popping out of the top of the cup, to reveal the water below. Unexpected bonus - the gatorade turned into delicious slushies.

Despite all of the challenges of the cold weather, I had a pretty good race. My overall time was just under 10 minute miles - which was better than I expected. I think the cold added an extra level of camaraderie for the runners - that "we're all in this together" feeling kept smiles on a lot of faces. The real heroes of the day were the volunteers. I cannot imagine how cold it was to be standing still for the entire race - or pouring water out of pitchers that were icing over - or holding open trash bags, while people tried not to splash you, but you know someone had to get a little splashed at some point. Best - volunteers - EVER! There's no feeling sorry for yourself when you're passing a volunteer in your last mile, and you know you'll be somewhere warm in 15 minutes, but they will still be standing out there, cheering other runners on.

To finish the race recap, the volunteers were handing out bags of pretzels, apples, and Mylar blankets. (Hooray to all 3!) When I was finished, I had a relatively short walk to go meet up with my sister (who lives in the city) and my husband (who finished WAY ahead of me).... I mean, it would have been a short walk, but it was cold, so I was all, "what the heck? Why not jog it?" So I did.

And.... Comfort Food:
Here's another recent positive - I've been pretty good at trying out new Cooking Light recipes this month. On Sunday night, after we got home from the race, I made the Cremini Mushroom Meat Loaf with Cauliflower Mash and Browned Butter Peas & Carrots from the Jan/Feb 2014 issue. It was delicious, if I do say so myself - texture, taste, ... A+
And on Monday, I worked from home, so I made a recipe from my CL Slow Cooker book. I made Chunky Minestrone - which was really easy to throw together, and surprisingly hearty.
Both recipes were keepers - easy and hearty - and now, we have leftovers to take us through the end of the week.

.... and, now that I've finished the blog that's been open on my computer all day, I need to head home, and get my treadmill run in.

And then I can resume breathing into a paper bag, wondering how to get all of my work done before the February Board meetings.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AMSHARK 1/30/2014 3:00PM

    Thanks for all of the positive feedback. In winter, the treadmill is my friend, but I like to do short weekend runs outside.
The half marathon was COLD - but at least is was sunny and dry. I ran a 5 miler in freezing rain in December, and it felt like it lasted twice as long as the NYC half.

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NWILKER 1/29/2014 12:30PM

    Way to go! Awesome!!!

And yeah for the new CL finds!

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LEWILL1982 1/29/2014 10:40AM

    Congrats! I haven't run in 17 degrees, though my Thanksgiving 1/2 was 35 at the start. (I'm in Florida, that's cold!)

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MARGARITTM 1/29/2014 8:17AM

    Been there froze that....... don't you love the novacaine face effect????? So cold that you cannot speak well?

This winter has been no friend to runners....congrats on your race!

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ERIN1128 1/28/2014 7:51PM

    "It was so cold at the start that the air horn froze" - OMG! And frozen cups of water! I cannot imagine even venturing outside in those conditions, California baby that I am. Good for you for doing that!

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So, I ran yesterday...

Monday, November 18, 2013

... I ran 5 miles at the park yesterday. It's amazing how freeing and easy a nice 5 mile run can be, when its not part of a larger training program. I felt like I could do two more laps, but it was really, really nice knowing that I didn't need to.

For the first time ever in my adult life, I woke up in the middle of the night last night, and i could not fall back to sleep. I was up from some time before 2:30 (the first time I think I checked the time) until 5:00 am. I couldn't stop thinking about everything I have to do for work. ... and then the holidays... it's going to be a pretty long, solid stretch of pure stress, which might actually last until February.
so.... I have that to look forward to.

Ok, enough of this time wasting. Back to the grind.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ERIN1128 11/18/2013 4:21PM

    Yay on the run! Boo on the not sleeping though. Betcha you'll sleep hard tonight!

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Logging for Realz

Sunday, November 17, 2013

As of tonight, we are back to hard core logging - not just logging estimates of what we ate, but carefully planning a day in advance, and weighing everything down to the lettuce on our sandwiches. (Though, we might ditch this *one* tiny item, because, really, weighing your cucumbers is annoying enough).

I'm also seriously considering changing to the new tracking style that links your fitness/exercise tracking to nutrition tracking. Part of me thinks it would work better for me, and part of me is scared that I'll go over if I can't log my food the day before I eat it.
Still, it might be more motivation to exercise, and I really seem to need that right now.


short am workout

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I didn't get a big workout in today, but I did work out a little - so, I'm declaring a victory in weight training, and a draw for cardio today.

I did legs - leg press, calf raises, leg extension and leg curl, and I did some core - knee raises on the captain's chair and crunches on an exercise ball.
Like I said - no a lot, but considering that it's been almost a year since I last did legs, its an improvement.

I didn't really do cardio today, except that I walked on the treadmill for 10 minutes as sort of a warm up, and the I walked on it again for 5 minutes at the end to loosen up my muscles again.

Progress is progress.
I've had 2 good days of eating, so it'd be nice to keep the streak going. I have a challenge today & tomorrow since we're going to a basketball game tonight, and tomorrow I have a morning meeting with breakfast and free lunch in the cafeteria. The meeting begins early and I'm giving a presentation - and with my recent luck with traffic, I'll need to leave for work extra early - which means no morning work out tomorrow. :(

Still hoping I can hang on to this shred of motivation that I managed to find.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SQUIRRELLYONE 11/13/2013 11:46AM

    Keep it up! One foot in front of the other! If you look back you won't see where you're going: if you look forward, you'll be startled by how much closer you are to the destination!

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