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Day 213: No More Free Passes

Friday, January 18, 2013

Well, guys, it's week three of my Half Marathon training program.

Confession time: I've been so less religious in my adherence to it than I expected.

Here's how it's gone so far:

Week one: 3 mile, 3 mile, 3 mile - ALL DONE- YAY!
Week two: 3 mile, 3 mile, 3 mile - One three mile run, One two mile run, One Five mile run... is that acceptable?
Week Three: 3 Mile, 4 mile, 5 mile - One two mile run :(

OMG, what the heck am I doing?

Seriously, I need to stop with the free passes.

"Oh, it's so cold!"

"Oh, I'm so busy at work!"

"Oh, I just could watch another episode of the West Wing!"


I mean, I have to be honest here, the distances so far haven't been very difficult; but, I know if I don't start increasing my distances like I'm supposed to those later 8 - 10 mile runs are GOING TO EAT ME ALIVE.

I knew it was going to be difficult when I signed up to adhere to a training program in the dead of winter; I just thought that I was more stubborn.

I now know that I MUST be more stubborn.

In terms of diet over the last week I've kind of stalled. I mean, I haven't been terribly 'out of range'; but, I haven't come close to 1200-1300 calories. I'm not beating myself up about it, but I have to be honest as to why I can't complain about the scale not moving. After all, when you don't run as much in a week and you don't cut back on the calories it's hard to make that differential happen!

Alright. So. The plan is to hit the 5 mile training run tomorrow and prep to start next week on track with the training mileage. The plan:

1. Lay out all three of the week's runs clothes ahead of time. I own enough apparel. I can do this.
2. Put the runs in my work callendar so that no surprise meetings can sneak up on me.
3. Talk with the boss-man about what's going on. Hopefully they will continue to be as supportive as they have in the past.

Alright guys, time to get some real work done for today! Happy weekend, everyone!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TOFUCUTIEPIE 1/23/2013 1:13PM

    My half marathon training is not going well either! You are doing better than me! In the last 2 weeks, I've logged 12 miles over 2 runs, that's it. The last run resulted in me walking the last 2 miles because of my knee/tendon pain that caused me to stop running from my previous run! Time to head to the Sports Medicine doc. I want to run but hate the pain afterward. I almost never had pain before and now that I am training for the half, pain starts before I even start.

If you don't mind me asking, what part of Pittsburgh are you located? I'm in Beechview and work on the North Shore. These 2 places are where I usually run. I am "involved" in a running group through the downtown Y but with this knee issue, I can't keep up and since the group is small (sometimes only 3 of us) its awkward. They also run a bit too fast for me.

If you are nearby and ever looking for a running partner, let me know! Let's be each others' encouragement. We will dominate the half in May!!!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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REFFIE1 1/18/2013 6:38PM

    I am impressed that you are training for a half Marathon. That takes courage my lady!

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SKEETOR 1/18/2013 11:37AM

    Sounds like a good plan! emoticon

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CATTUTT 1/18/2013 11:19AM

    Sounds like a solid plan! Good luck talking to your boss, hope it's a good conversation!

Have a great weekend.


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FRACKTHATNOISE 1/18/2013 11:03AM

    1200 - 1300 calories is what would achieve a 2lb weight loss per week. It was what I was assigned initially when I started my participation in a weight loss study, not a number I picked out of thin air :-P Truth is I aim for between 1300-1600 calories a day which is why I tend to lose less than 1 pound a week. (And you guys never get nifty notifications that I've lost any pounds :-P) I'm a slow loser at this point in my weight-loss career.

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REVIVED 1/18/2013 10:53AM

    Not judging here at all but are you sure that amount of calories is right for that amount of exercise? I still haven't figured out my just right calorie range but when I eat that low, I start losing self control after a few days. But it seems like I should eat that low especially because I'm so short. So I'm just wondering how you came up with that.

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KAREN_NY 1/18/2013 10:26AM

    Bartlett might tell you, "Break time is over."

Leo might say: "Just watch This."
or maybe, upon hearing your plans, "See that you do."

Here's to your upcoming day(s) of Jubilee -- Rock That!!!

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POMATOJUICE 1/18/2013 9:58AM

    You know what you need to do, and you know how to do it! All that's left is to actually do it :P I know that's easier said than done, but you have a good plan set in place. I'll totally agree that's it's harder to get moving in the mornings when your fingers feel like icicles T..T

So you want to do this training program? Stop slacking! :P

(Yeah, that's way too hardcore for me, though... lol)

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ONTHEPATH2 1/18/2013 9:56AM

    Day 213????? Half Marathon Training????? You amaze and inspire me! Thank you! emoticon

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Day 211: Funny things happen at Finish Lines

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Good Morning, Sparklers!

It's been a quiet past week.

Last Sunday was the Frigid 5 Miler here - and if the weather where I am is anything like where you are you'll agree it was anything other than frigid. With temperatures starting at 57 and climbing well over 60 by the time the race finished - I am stunned to say that I completed a run in January in a pair of capris and short sleeves. This is not typical weather for Southwestern PA, I assure you.

Today, however, the weather is much more typical.

The 5 mile race was challenging. Not for the distance; but, for the terrain. The race began on a gradual downhill. There were a few little hills around the 2 mile and 3 mile mark - but, mostly up until the last 3/4 of a mile it was all just easy terrain or downhill. As you can guess, what goes up must come down. Or, in this case, what goes down must come up! The last 3/4 of a mile is rated as a "Category 5" on map my run. Which means LOTS of us were huffing, puffing, and walking parts of it.

Honestly, that darn hill took my 11:20 pace and knocked it down to 15. No joke.


There are actually some very, very funny (and less flattering) shots in the whole collection. However, that picture sums it up: I crush you, hill.

Last night was also the first meeting of Club in a month. It was good. We got our 6 month assessment results which are now two months old. Also, we got weighed in for the first time in a month and a half. In the six weeksI've been without close supervision I lost six pounds. Not too shabby! A pound a week? I'll take it. Why? Because I'm able to live comfortably, not obsess over my food intake, and not feel ridiculously pressured to squeeze in a million fitness minutes.

Downward progress is still progress.

What we also received were all of scans and statistics from our 6 month assessment. Basically one of the things they did was a body composition scan. They gave us our photos which were.. revealing. Lets just say I'm kind of surprised that I can see MORE of my fat rolls at my lower point than I could at my higher point. Maybe it's because the fat rolls are getting smaller and thus look larger in number? I don't know. The numbers, though, were great. I've lost 32 pounds while on the study which is 14% of my starting bodyweight. Now, what makes that even more amazing is that I've only lost 1 pound of 'lean' tissue.

When you lose weight through diet exclusively the body has a tendency to burn both your muscles and your fat. I forget what the ratio or percentage is; but, as you can guess, it's not a good idea to go and eat your muscles. So, when you have a 'proper' ratio of diet and exercise you are going to burn less of that 'lean' tissue. In other words, according to the scan, I'm doing 'it' right.

The other thing we talked about were some of the first results coming off of the armbands for tracking activity. You have to think about it, the whole idea of having a piece of tech that tracks fitness minutes is relatively new. Pedometers have been around forever; but, minutes counts? Level of activity? It's all been very subjective. It's me pointing at a chart and saying "Yeah, this is like a ten."

What they're finding is that there are definite thresholds for the 'checkmark' effect. On any weight loss program where you are at six months is generally the point where this effect happens. There are three possibilities. First, you can always maintain your weight at that point. Second, you can continue to lose weight. Finally, the dreaded outcome is gaining back weight. It's like a checkmark - you were going down over time, and now that line starts to rebound back up.

What they're finding is that the people who are most likely to rebound have around 175 minutes of physical activity a week in 15 minute increments. Those who maintain or continue to lose are doing greater than 200. It's amazing. I think I've talked about this before - how I believe that it's the level of -structure- required to do that target that causes the weight loss, not the literal number itself. It's the behavior change associated with meeting that number. At least, that's my opinion.

This morning, also, I finally cracked 187. I had been hoping to reach 185 for the end of this month. Hopefully half marathon training supports that.

Alright, time to get some more 'real' work done.

I hope you all are continuing on the downward path. If not, start thinking about how to get your minutes of activity up!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TOFUCUTIEPIE 1/18/2013 11:28AM

    Found your blog from the Pgh Marathon FB page. I'm training for the half this year too. It'll be my first. Great blog!

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KAREN_NY 1/18/2013 10:49AM

    A hill smackdown! love it!

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    I like this pic. I agree it's not as flattering in a Vogue model type of way but, you look like a strond woman on a mission and an athlete. Personally, I think showcasing your athletic capabilities is always a good look!!!!

Congrats FRACK!!!!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon m emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PROUD-GRANDMA 1/17/2013 8:34AM

    You inspire me! emoticon

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SKEETOR 1/16/2013 2:12PM

    Kill the hill....kill the hill! Great job!

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CATTUTT 1/16/2013 2:06PM

    Congratulations on the 5 miler! The Buddy and I wussed out of part of the path that would have made us have to climb back up a hill. Kudos to you for tackling it and succeeding!

And thanks for sharing the stat about how many minutes people that maintain weight loss exercise per week. I'm gonna adjust my SP goals to reflect that, and aim for 200 from now on.

Hope you have a great day!


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REFFIE1 1/16/2013 1:04PM

    I admire your perseverance and I am glad you are getting results. Congratulations! emoticon

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LINDAKAY228 1/16/2013 11:40AM

    Great job o getting that hill in the race done! Your unseasonable high temps are the opposite of our unseasonable low temps with single digits overnight (1 degree on SUnday I think, 6 degres yesterday) and highs no higher than 32 degrees we could have had a frigid race here in southern New Mexico LOL. Supposed to be warming back up some starting today, getting up to 45 and up to the low 50's by the weekend. Although it probably feels good to you right now, yours will probably go back down unfortunately when this crazy weather stabilizes.
Great job on the weight loss!

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REVIVED 1/16/2013 11:35AM

    i dont think i realized you were in PA. did i? maybe weve talked about it. im such a space cadet. I'm originally from Bloomsburg. Have you heard of it? Anyway, a lb a week, im coming to realize, is great! I'm very happy for you. I know you were stuck in the 190s for awhile but you are kicking butt!!

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POMATOJUICE 1/16/2013 11:28AM

    YHALLOTHAR! I was wondering what you were up to. Club sounds fun, just for the information porn. I mean, that body scan sounds totally fascianting! It makes me wonder what my stats would look like over this past year.

It sounds like you have been doing awesome! I'm proud of you, and really happy to hear that you crushed a hill under your mighty running sneakers!

It makes a lot of sense to me that weight loss success and fitness minutes are all about structure. I know any movement is good movement, but doing say... the bike for 30, 45, or 60 min all at once seems like much more SRS BSNS than 15 min increments spread out. Though, I suppose if you did ENOUGH 15 min increments, it'd all add up in the end. But.. that would mean getting sweaty multiple times a day! I'll stick to my once-a-day showers, kkthx :P

But yeah.. I suppose there's probably a certain structure and mindset that is successful, and the fitness minutes are just a "symptom" of the success, so to speak. I've found for myself, at least, that if I keep a strong commitment to my exercise, I've been able to eventually pull out of my eventual funks. My exercise is my lifeline! I think if I was to drop my minutes and give up on that, I'd seriously be givng up on everything.

Which makes me think about Adventure Time and sweatpants...
•Jake calls sweatpants “give up on life pants”. “I do because peeps need to respect themselves when they leave the house, even if it’s just for ice cream or TP or whatev.”

Yup, giving up on exercise is like giving up on life for me, suggesting I would therefore give up on wearing real clothing out of the house :X

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WINDSURFNERD 1/16/2013 11:21AM

    emoticon on punching that hill in the face! I love your blog title; I have a theory that we actually find out what we are made of at the finish line (and that's why we keep racing!). It's not just the finish time--that's what we can share with non-running supporters--it's the victory dance that comes with the feeling of accomplishment for the training, or maybe just celebrating our own bodies. Enjoy your journey!

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Day 206 - Starting off with a bang

Friday, January 11, 2013

Well, Ladies and Gentlemen, I can't say that the year 2013 has started off quietly!

Work has been insane for the last two weeks. I can count on one hand the number of days that have been plain old eight-hour and not ten-eleven-twelve hour days. We have had a lot of reports due and new last minute task requests from clients. It's good for the business and my own personal utilization targets; but, it makes it hard for me to get all the exercise in that I want to.

Speaking of which, I'm going to the YMCA today and cancelling my membership. I don't need them. Well, I don't need to pay them $55 a month when I'm only in once or twice a week (If that.) I just prefer to run outside - and unless it's TRULY disgusting out I just won't go there.

In terms of my weight loss I'm half a pound under where I was before the holidays. Let me put this in perspective. My low weight before the holidays was 188.8 - which was AMAZING. Holidays happened, I saw my scale reach 192 and I had to battle my way back down. So, in two weeks I've lost four pounds. BAM. This morning the scale happily sat at 188 (in spite of it being a no-count week!) and I can't be happier.

Really, this is just a progress report as I don't have much to rant about at the moment.

I did, however, see a friend of mine on Facebook who announced her own weight-loss goals quite publicly. In short, she is turning 30 in April and wants to lose 55 pounds by then. I'm so on the fence on this one. I feel like I -know- what's going to happen. Due to her unrealistic time frame she's going to 1) be amazed when she feels like she's on target for the first week and loses 3-4 pounds. Then, week two it's down to 2-3. By March she's given up because 1) the weight isn't coming off as quickly anymore and/or 2) her goal looks impossible and/or 3) she's hurt/burned herself out on exercise.

The reason that her story hit me so hard is that 1) I weighed 230 pounds when I turned 30 and that's what got me moving and 2) I've done and said everything she is done and saying.

What do you guys do or say when this happens to you? I am unapologetically proud of the progress I've made. No joke. I am not ashamed to brag that to date I have lost 42 pounds. I've done it slowly (we're coming up on a year in March, and by then I hope to be down 50) and I intend to maintain it for life. I haven't done it through 'dieting.' In fact, when people ask what my 'diet' is I tell them that I'm not on one. I don't eat anything specific. I don't not-eat anything specific. I eat. In fact, my calorie range is so broad at this point that I'm even hesitant to say I have one. (1200-1600, maybe?) What have I done? I've increased the amount of general movement in my life. I walk more. I found an activity (running) that I find fulfilling. I've found a community of people who support me and been delighted with family and friends and coworkers who have been kind enough to do the same. Oh, and I stopped hiding from the scale.

What can I say, that's what's worked for me. I think, honestly, it's what would work for most people.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MSBEKANATOR 1/13/2013 6:43PM

    If you are willing to open up on FB, you might compliment her on making her smart decision to do something, and then basically say what you just said in your blog. You may be the only voice of reason she (and your other friends) hear about this. Most people think diet, not lifestyle change. Maybe if you are encouraging her desire, but presenting a realistic view on how to do it, she will think about it when it gets tough. Obviously your wonderful success speaks for itself! You are your own greatest testimony that what you are doing works, and works very well!

You could always PM her about SP and she might pick up some great ideas here...

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SKEETOR 1/13/2013 5:59PM

    I am slammed with stuff around the house and haven't been on that much lately....
You continue to amaze me! That's great that you are back down to where you were before the holidays. I haven't been so diligent myself. But I am still under the 200 so that's something (always look for the silver lining!).
I hope your friend doesn't get discouraged if she doesn't make her goal but instead keeps motivated by anything she's able to lose in that time frame.
Have a great evening!

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Day 202 - First Naked Day

Monday, January 07, 2013

Hello, Sparklers!

It's been busy over here!

Work keeps on exploding; though, I'm hoping that this week settles down some in comparison to last week. We want to have a lot of things completed in the next couple of days so I know today and tomorrow will be a little hectic; but, not completely unmanageable.

So, Friday was my first naked day.

I was on my way out the door - realizing that I'm running about 20 minutes late. drive down the block and I make it to the first turn when I realize that I didn't have my display on. More than that, I didn't have my BodyMedia armband on. It'd been about three weeks with it and already I left it at home.


Was I more active? Less active?

Frankly, I don't know.

I was just taken aback by 2 things: First, how off balance I felt without it on my arm. Second, how much I was disappointed when I didn't have any feedback at the end of the day. Sure, it still estimated my calories; but, it wasn't the -same-.

I do, honestly, feel like the armband has given me a greater degree of accountability and motivation. I like it. Although, I have to admit, the scale hasn't moved much.

Saturday is the Frigid 5 miler - which many people on the running club's website were complaining about. They kept calling the hill 'too hard' and stuff. Well, as I told them, I have every intention of punching that hill in the face and eating pancakes on top of it's corpse in celebration. That's right, will run for PANCAKES!

Alright, time to get some work done... KEEP SPARKING!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SKEETOR 1/8/2013 10:49AM

    A naked 5 miler in the cold, perhaps?! It might help you improve your time...
emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 1/8/2013 10:50:25 AM

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REFFIE1 1/7/2013 11:17AM

    And here I thought you were going to go streaking. Well, maybe the run will be part of another Spark streak! If you are going to run that hard, hope you will have some maple syrup on those pancakes! emoticon

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6BALLMAN 1/7/2013 11:03AM

    yeah....I went out the door this AM w/o the fitbit and I don't feel totally comfortable...huh

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REVIVED 1/7/2013 10:55AM

    I was perplexed by what a "naked day" could mean but oh... that makes sense. I know how lost i feel when i leave my smart phone at home. Whats the display thing you mentioned? I've thought about the bodymedia thing a lot. I guess im not sure i fully understand it. its better than a heart rate monitor because it snycs to the computer and diagrams everything for you, right? But you still track calories the same way? why oh why hasnt anyone invented something that will track my calories for me?? i hate it so much.

looking forward to reading how much it helps you. i dont think id be able to talk my husband into it. i cant even get him to let me buy a hula hoop right now. so ill just envy you instead.

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POMATOJUICE 1/7/2013 10:51AM

    Aww.. you got me all excited for nothing :P kidding!

I'm addicted to information, too, but I had a really hard time keeping my cheapo HRM on my wrist. Since I'm not used to wearing a watch, I was always keenly aware of it sliding around or pinching or getting sweaty or whatever, so I gave it up pretty quick :X That's why I'm still on the fence about the fitbit& the bodymedia band. :/

Go punch a hill this weekend!~ emoticon (I was unable to find a suitable hill-punching emoticon, so I just chose the creepiest thing I saw)

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Day 196: I've missed you guys!

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Hi everyone!

As I can imagine, all of you can sympathize with being completely consumed by the holidays!

So, I got totally consumed by the glutton-monster and wound up putting on a few holiday pounds. I hit my lowest point in December at 188.8 pounds and have since climbed as high as 195 and currently sit at 190.6 this morning.

Well, I ran my stats this morning. After some holiday carnage I wound up officially 40lbs down from where I was in March. I now have 30lbs to go until I reach my goal weight. On Monday I ran my last 5K of the year and pushed my total (tracked) mileage to 446 for the year. I ran six races in three months and improved my PR on the 5K from 37:11 to 36:55 on a challenging, hilly race. Yep, I've got lots to brag about and I intend to continue bragging!

Today, the day after New Year's day, is the test for all of us. Everyone who set a goal, today is the first 'real' accountability day.

So, I'll be at the gym after work, pounding out some calories on the Eliptical (Or, if I'm feeling crazy, I may actually try one of those scary ass tread mills..)

I wanted to write more; but, I do have some work to do. I hope you guys are primed and ready to accomplish everything you've set your big, wonderful hearts on.

Let's go get this!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GINGERLY4 1/6/2013 5:26PM

    WooHoo! Good job on all that you accomplished!

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WONDERFUL2BME 1/3/2013 4:54AM

    I have my engines revving!

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    You my friend are an amazing testament to what one can accomplish with a little blood, sweat, and tears! and not necessarily in that order!!!

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GRACEOMALLEY 1/2/2013 4:23PM

    Missed you, too. I've managed not to gain, which I guess is good, but I've also slacked off a bit and it is definitely time to get back to paying attention. Thanks for the reminder and keep bragging! You earned the right!!!

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CINDYAST 1/2/2013 2:34PM

    I've been a coward and haven't weighed, know I need to soon. You just kicked me in the rear to get in gear again, thanks! Have a great New Year!

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COOP9002 1/2/2013 9:46AM

    Hope you have an amazing 2013.

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