Thursday, November 03, 2011
It is high time we had a little chat about our relationship. Don't get me wrong, I still love you. You've inspired me to make vital and life altering changes and I will always appreciate that. I love the friends you've introduced me to and their inspiring stories. I love sharing their ups and downs and seeing them succeed and keep trying even when things don't go exactly right.
However, there is this little quirk you have that is simply driving me bananas (and not in a good way a la Rachel Zoe). You see, your Fitness tracker, it kinda sucks. I know, I'm being harsh, it's not really your fault. That tracker has been around awhile, in it's day I'm sure it was one of the best around. But, we are in the computer age now and things have a tendency to change and improve at rapid speeds and you, well honestly, you just haven't kept up. It is a fine, basic tracker, but here is what bothers me.
First, you don't track seconds (as in portions of a minute). Now, I'm sure for lots of people that doesn't really matter that much. But, see, here's the thing, you've turned me into a runner. Yep, I'm blaming you for that. I never, ever dreamed of being a runner until you came into my life. You with your running teams and especially a few certain sparkers like PinkCoconut and Runningchunky and a few here and there where I saw some similarities in our stories and they started running, so why couldn't I? I became a runner and my spark friends are now heavily slanted in the runner direction with a few bicyclists and horse back riders thrown in because they are awesome people, just like all my runner friends and they don't care that I run instead of ride bikes or whatever :). Now I do things like "train" and to me TIME has become a very important thing. A matter of seconds determines if I'm getting better or just maintaining. Those seconds have become very important to me. But, they aren't important to you. You discard my seconds, to you they mean nothing. I hate that. And here's the part I feel a little guilty about. I've been cheating on you. I know, it breaks my heart too, but you simply cannot meet all my needs. I wish you did. I need those seconds to be realized and there is this really great site that tracks my seconds.
Second, you round up my times. Again, you turned me into a runner and then you round up my times. How insulting is that?!! Highly insulting. My 16:21 pace (I know that is so slow, but it's mine) becomes a 17 or (gasp) even an 18 minute mile. You don't recognize how hard I work for those times and then you just round them up. It hurts my heart. Pace is a vital training tool for my sport that you ignore.
Third, you don't let me call myself a runner because I am slow. I won't apologize for my speed. I'm working on getting faster, but until I do I fully deserve to be recognized as a runner. As a fitness site you really should know that physiologically speaking running and walking are not a matter of time alone. Just because it takes me more than 13 minutes to go a mile doesn't mean I'm walking. Again, it is plain insulting that you don't recognize my efforts. There are differences in effort, force, exertion and lots of other things that I'm not qualified to list that make the difference between walking and running. You wouldn't call a bicyclist a walker if they fell under a certain time, or a swimmer a floater. Just because I'm slow doesn't mean I'm walking and I am insulted everytime you tell me I'm a walker and not a runner. (Have you met some of the other sites out there now (they've sprung up inspired by you, you know) They know how to do a fitness tracker, maybe you could get to know them a little bit better and learn how to treat an athlete). Yes, an athlete, because even though I don't look like your typical athlete I am one. I'm not svelte or lanky and definitely not lean. But, I have a rack of finisher's medals from 5Ks and a half marathon...there has even been a 10K in there, but no finisher's medal. I've run quite a few races now and even though I've ACTUALLY come in last, I've started and finished them...in my mind that makes me an athlete. I should be able to list myself as a runner despite my time.
Lastly, there is no easy way to compare my progress and my improvement. I am a HIGHLY visual person and it motivates me to see my workouts side by side. I like to see in an instant that I ran more miles this week than last. Or, today I had my fastest run to date. I like to see that last Saturday I had my longest run to date (just an example, last Saturday was not my longest run ever, but you get the point). I became what I am today in large part thanks to you, dear Sparkpeople, but I want more out of our relationship and I am hoping that you want more too.
I'm saying these things because I want you to grow and develop too, just like I have. I am more now, today, than I was two years ago, but you, dear friend, have, at your core, stayed the same. You've made some changes and you've grown, but this is one of the things that is holding you back from being awesome. There was a contest recently, you asked for my vote, but you didn't get it and this is why, and maybe it has something to do with why you didn't win against a start up that really does not have as much to offer as you do. Maybe sometime soon we can discuss why strength doesn't count towards fitness minutes, because we all know that strength is a vital part of a healthy body and muscle burns more fat than fat and...well, you know. And maybe we can discuss why the Spark generated strength workouts tend to be lopsided towards one group of muscles instead of balanced and the user can't make adjustments to reps/sets and weight used...again highly annoying (I know I can make adjustments if I set the workout, but I want to be able to track how much weight I use and the sets and reps EACH workout when I let you generate the workout, because sometimes I do 3 sets instead of 2 or 15 or 20 or more reps instead of 10 or 12 or whatever it says...depending on the day, my energy level and if I'm not quite ready to move up in weight, but still want fatigue)
Thanks spark, I am a changed person thanks to you I truly appreciate it, I just wish I didn't have to go to multiple sites to meet my needs.
Sincerely, Heather aka Itshowyoulive
P.S. Just to clarify...nothing against walkers...I got started getting more fit with walking and still track when I do walk. I just want to be the one who decides whether I was walking or running. I often track both in one day because I did walk and run in the same workout. Love walking and walkers :).
Tuesday, November 01, 2011
Thanks everyone who input advice on yesterday's "Predicament" blog. I hunkered down in the evening when I got some quiet time and hammered out a ST plan that was a collaboration between myself and Sparkpeople. I used the Sparkpeople workout generator for the starting workout and then added in a ton of exercises to round it out. Did you know that when you let Spark select your strength workout you can choose "full body", "upper body", "lower body" or "core", but you can't select a combo of those? Kind of ticked me off. My intention was to select upper or lower for each day and add core to those workouts, but I could only choose one. So I selected upper or lower for each day I'd planned ST and then went back and added core exercises on my own. I also ended up adding additional strength exercised because I'd noticed in the past that the spark workouts tend to be a little light in some areas and heavy in others and might even miss areas I think are important. For example...the workout spark generated included 3 different rowing type exercises, all of which work chest, shoulders and triceps....and not a single bicep exercise. The only concession to biceps was the seated row which works biceps along with the other muscles. I balanced things out a bit and added a few to make it a little more challenging.
So, I've got my workouts all planned for the month. Cardio on non-running days will be walking the dog at a nice fast walking pace and a video as a back-up if it is rainy or I need a back-up for whatever reason. I loved my sister's idea of doing Just Dance, but I don't have one of those for my wii yet, so on my list of things to do is check the local re-sale stores for an affordable copy and go from there.
Glad I got that done because today has been a day and a half. Started with my run this morning with mom and sis. Today we started our "official" training plan for the Tinkerbell half and started running for time on Tuesday and Thursday. The scheduled workout is 45 minutes of running for each day. Generally we were hitting around 30-35 on an average morning so today was interesting. I decided I really enjoy running for time. I like that it gives a more instant feedback on how training is going. For example if I ran 2.6 miles today and then 3 on Thursday I know right away that I am faster than I was. My GPS tracker can give me similar info by breaking my time and distance down to a pace, but it is hard for me to remember the difference between a 16:47 and a 16:31. I can't remember from one day to the next what my time to the seconds was-lol!!
The kids are on a post-Halloween manic phase and have all been grounded from computer use and further candy ingestion. I've done a fair job of staying out of the baskets though. I have to admit to indulging here and there, but nothing horrible and only the pieces I want, no mindless noshing here.
I also got some interesting news today...our church does this HUGE women's conference every year and it travels from city to city. My mother, SIL, aunt and I have made it a tradition to attend and really enjoy it each year we've gone. For the last two years it has NOT come anywhere near us and most of us can't afford the cost or time involved in traveling to a neighboring state or Northern California (which I consider to be a neighboring state-lol). They are FINALLY coming back in 2012. I knew this awhile ago when I commented last year on FB about them not coming back in 2011. I got a response to e-mail a girl who let me know that 2012 would be when they were returning and was I interested in helping as a volunteer. My answer was a resounding yes. There was no communication for awhile as 2011 progressed along and then the schedule was finally announced and they really were coming to Long Beach (about 2 hrs away) so I e-mailed them again letting them know I was still interested. Today an e-mail came asking for team captains and volunteers. I responded saying that I'd be happy to be a volunteer and if they still needed captains I would be one. I got an almost immediate response that they did still need one more captain and would I call and then be available for web training tonight. I called and I am from an area without any captains so I am in. I get to be very involved in this wonderful event and help other volunteers be involved. I am so excited!! The conference is in March so I've got a bit of time on my hands before the big event. So of course I started making goals-lol!!
First the goals for November...
1. 1000 fitness minutes
2. Follow my schedule EVERY day!! (this is a big one for me)
3. Evaluate my schedule on Suday (a rest day) each week and change things that aren't working or shake things up if I'm getting bored
4. Find time to meditate at least once a week (quiet time in my house is at a premium so this is a big goal-lol)
5. Set daily goals for personal items (housework, school work, etc. and meet those goals)
6. Last, but not least, I hate setting weight goals because I never meet them, but this month I'd like to see a drop of at least 7 pounds which would drop me out of the 260's and into the 250's.
So now a few goals for the long term...
15 pounds gone by Christmas
25 pounds gone by January 29th (the day of the Tinkerbell Half Marathon)
A sub-45 minute 5K by Christmas...a long standing goal that has ripened and needs to be realized
30 pounds or more by the Conference in March....should give me an excellent excuse for a brand new outfit for the conference...if I lose 30 pounds I won't have anything that will still fit :).
Okay, so there we go...fingers crossed and a new mantra ("I AM worth it") and off we go jumping into November and beyond with both feet. :)
Monday, October 31, 2011
I am feeling much better today after a nice relaxing Sunday and all those naps on Saturday, which is good, because my house was tornadoed by the kids over the weekend-lol! Today is clean, clean, clean day.
Got a bit ticked at my husband...he does great things like fetch my wallet from the store where I forgot it, then doesn't tell me that he needs a ride to work, an hour away, until late last night. This trip means getting the kids (and myself) up at 4:30 am, getting everyone dressed and in the car to drive 50 min. one way, drop off husband and come 40 min back the other way. We save 10 minutes coming back because all the commuters head the other direction and the freeways are nearly empty on the return trip. I was NOT a happy camper. He totally destroyed my plans to get up, take the dog out for a 1 mile walk/almost run (fastest possible walk without actually breaking into a run-lol) and then do my strength training. By the time we got home it was nearly time to take the kids to school. My kids have to be at school by 7:10-totally insane, but I don't make the schedule. So, the good part is, I adjusted my plan...tonight being Halloween and all the kids do have to go trick-or-treating and while it will not count as cardio by any means I will be getting out and moving...I'll do jumping jacks or something while I wait as they go to each door :). Strength will happen when we get home during our regular "down time" after the kids are in bed. So, I'll still get it in, just not like I planned.
Which leads nicely into my predicament...November starts tomorrow....I haven't set any goals except to try and lose 10 pounds in November. I am at such a loss for how to plan out my routines....I have struggled with this all along...bouncing around from one routine to another never really satisfied that I'm "doing it right".
Run every other day or every day? Strength broken into pieces or all at once? Video or on my own or computer generated? Running plan or just run? It all makes my head spin sometimes and I consider myself to be a fairly competent planner.
I know that the answer is that as long as I'm doing something and doing it safely it really doesn't matter what I do. But, there are times that I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY wish that I had the resources to hire a trainer to tell me what to do and when...
I'm leaning towards this schedule...
Mon...Min of 30 minutes of cardio (walk or video) and ST upper body and core and at least 10 minutes of yoga
Tues...45 minutes of running, ST lower body and planks and at least 10 min yoga
Wed...same as Mon
Thurs...same as Tues
Fri...rest day (yoga only)
Saturday...long run (minimum of 7 miles), ST upper body and core and light lower body ST and yoga
Whatcha think? I haven't determined yet what my Cardio will be other than running or whether I'll do a video or create my own ST plan or use on that someone else creates, that alone might trip me up.
The one thing I know is that I'm tired of letting my indecision decide for me that I'm not going to work out. Time to get on the ball and set some real goals and follow through.
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Today was the Skins Fearless 5K in San Diego. It was a great race. My mother, my sister and I did this one together and my niece came along to take some pictures down at the beach. We got up nice and early and headed out in the dark to get to San Diego in plenty of time.
It is not a terribly far drive, but traffic can make it take up to two hours so that was the time frame we were working off of. Lucky us though the traffic was very light and we made EXCELLENT time (just barely over an hour) and got there in plenty of time to check-in and get set for the race.
This race was done in waves and we had all entered the open wave much later in the morning. Since we were there so early we decided to see if we could switch waves and go in the much earlier Females 30+ wave. They were so nice and it was no problem at all. It wasn't long before we were lining up at the start. My mother and I both wore wings and tutus and that was a new experience, but it was fun!
The race course was described as a "double loop lolipop course" and ran right along a bay. It was a beautiful setting and it wasn't long before the wisdom of the waves became clear. The route was a very popular running and biking trail for locals, by running in waves we were able to successfully share the area with locals out for their morning exercise. I started out trying to go slow, but didn't have to worry too much as a shin splint slowed me way down for the first TWO MILES!! I was bummed. I was hoping for something close to a PR, but the shin splint kept me mostly walking for a long time. By mile two I was good though and was able to run most of the rest of the route (took strategic walking breaks to give me a boost in certain areas (the fueling station, a down-hill section and the finish). I finished in a decent time for me (52:15) which I was very happy with considering that in the first mile I was wondering if I'd even finish at all.
I loved running in the tutu and wings, except my wings were rather large and kept hitting me in the back of my head-lol! We figured out a few ways to fix that problem before the Tinkerbell half, it didn't hurt at all, but was getting very annoying-lol!
Another problem during today's race was a total lack of energy. I had no pep, no energy and couldn't really pinpoint the problem until my sister pointed out that I've had a cold all week. Duh...yep, the fact that I'm still somewhat congested and under the weather would have an effect. I've got a few more 5Ks coming up and maybe one of them will be the PR I'm looking for.
We got our medals and a beverage and headed home. I got home and thought I'd jump right into the house work that needed to be done, but got busy on what should have been a quick project but fell asleep!! I though when I got up from my nap I'd be good to go, but turns out that I've only been able to manage small, short bursts of productivity before lapsing back into nap mode. I've slept away most of the day and sweet hubs even got dinner together tonight.
I totally crashed and burned today. It's been a hectic several of months and I've quit the PTA to give myself more time for my fitness and myself and my family (my house has suffered terribly from my business), but this past week wasn't much of a break as I finished up several projects that needed my attention for school and the PTA and I was kept busy preparing Halloween costumes and Red Ribbon Week activities. A quick clarification on Red Ribbon Week-a yearly, week long, program at school focusing on kids staying drug free (all "drugs" including tobacco and alcohol). Each day at our school the kids do something to highlight the day. I was in charge of coming up with the different themes and slogans for each day. Monday, pajama day (wake up to the facts, it's up to me to be drug free), Tuesday, Red Head Day-do something to make your head red (2 kids did red hair paint (their blond hair is still vaguely pink) and 1 did red ribbons all over her head), Wednesday-wear red (police, fire and EMTs were on campus with their vehicles), Thursday-crazy sock day and Friday, hero day (dress as your favorite hero). It kept me jumping.
The combo of still be really busy and having a cold just totally zapped my strength this week and I think it all caught up with me today. I'm still wiped out and will be going to sleep early tonight.
This week it is time to hunker down and get back to my plans so that I can kill that Tinkerbell half in a couple of months. Hopefully I'll wake up in the morning feeling better and ready to make some goals and plans for November.
It's been an exhausting day...hope you all had a great week and are enjoying a wonderful weekend. Hope my friends who are experiencing sever weather this weekend are staying warm and enjoying a restful weekend. Good luck to those who are running races and see you all on Monday (I'm gradually catching up on my reading and getting back to tracking food-yay!).
Monday, October 24, 2011
Okay folks, so I've been MIA for almost a month now, that shocked even me. I've checked in a few times but haven't been blogging or such and I've missed it. Starting this week I am coming back. A huge part of that is because I quit the PTA. Long story short those ladies are not ladies and were adding stress to my life that I simply did not need. PTA was something I could cut and I did, because no way am I cutting the fitness. I got a "you've lost a lot of weight" from a friend that I've only had time to pass in the halls at church lately, not much conversation going on, but she sought me out yesterday and told me what a great job I'm doing and it really meant a lot coming from her...she is a very fit nutritionist :).
So, anyways, I still have TONS of catching up to do with house work and such and don't have time to be here today, but was scanning through my e-mail and had one from Prevention (you know the magazine people). The subject was something to the effect of "choose white bread over wheat for weight loss". My brain immediately responded with "huh?". So yes, I got sucked in, clicked and sure enough Prevention is pushing a new book-The Glycemic Load Diet. The page is chock full of such tidbits as "Why almost all the "unhealthy" foods your parents ate can help you lose weight today", "How certain foods start making you fatter in a matter of minutes", and this awesome one "Enjoy your favorite "forbidden" foods and lose weight without calorie counting, starvation, or sweaty exercise!"
How about that ladies? Do you really believe that you can eat "forbidden" foods without counting calories and still lose weight? How about losing weight without "sweaty exercise"? Are there really foods that make you fat in a "matter of minutes"?
You know, I always thought that Prevention had good advice. Now I am unsubscribing from their e-mails and letting them know why.
Sure white bread might be better for weight loss....slice to slice the white bread is lower in calories. But, it is also lower in nutrients and taste. Do I want to try a diet that promises I can lose weight without exercise? Heck no!! Why you might ask? I hope you aren't really wondering the answer to that, but my reason is simple...There are a hundred "diets" that all will help you lose weight if you follow them closely enough. But, weight loss isn't the only goal here. Fitness IS the goal. Can I lose weight without exercise? Maybe. Can I get fit without "sweaty exercise"? NEVER!!
I enjoy my sweat!! It shows that I worked hard and accomplished something. It shows that I did not sit on the sofa all day reading the Glycemic Load Diet book and trying to figure out how to lose weight without eating healthy nutritious foods. I love that I can get sweaty and am even moderately proud of my scraped up and bruised knee that I got tripping over a curb on Saturday's run-lol!! Hey, I got it running not because I'm a natural klutz or anything-lol (those that have been reading for awhile might remember that I AM a natural klutz, but I'll use the exercise excuse when valid :) ). And, I'm only proud of it because it didn't cause any lasting damage...otherwise I'd be devastated that I hurt myself so close to several races coming up. Anyhoo....back on topic.
To be fair, the foods that they list are all things I would eat anyways in moderation...meat, cheese, fruits and vegis. It doesn't list ANY of the "starch" laden foods you can't eat, but I can guess that there are a lot of vegetables on the list like potatoes and corn. Things I try to moderate anyways because they are on the bottom of the nutrient scale as far as freggies go. It looks like they are also against wheat and possibly other grains since they want you to eat white bread and desserts with copious amounts of whipped cream on them. But, this "diet" is not the magic bullet and the fact that it contains so many red flag words scares me. I bet this thing sells like hotcakes and I'm sure some people will lose weight. I'm also sure that those of us who are eating healthy, balanced diets (or trying to anyways-we all have our moments) and are enjoying our "sweaty exercise" will be able to out run those people on the Glycemic Load Diet when the zombies come after us (Happy one week to Halloween). Haha-just thought of something...the Glycemic Load Diet-yeah it's a load alright a load of __________ (fill in the blank).
In case anyone was wonder what I meant by "red flag words"...I believe that there are certain words that are included in lots of advertising that alert you to the fact that their product is a sham and you should stay far away from it. Phrases like "lose weight without counting calories"-yeah that sends up a HUGE red flag warning. "Eat "forbidden" foods" is another one. We all know that no food is "forbidden", right? Personal needs and desires might have us creating our own list of foods we want to stay away from (like Reese's Peanut Butter cups), but really, in a nutritious, balanced diet, there is always room for all foods in moderation. I love the phrase "makes you fatter in minutes". I'm sorry, but nothing makes you fatter in minutes. Some foods might cause bloat, a temporary condition. And some foods cause a greater stress on your body to be digested and processed and those should be minimized. But, there is not a substance on this planet that makes you "fatter in minutes". It took me 20 years to get to this weight not 20 minutes. This has to be my favorite red flag "You will NEVER lose those extra pounds until you learn which foods really make you fat!". Well geez louise how on earth do all these sparkers make it work for them? "NEVER" in all caps...designed to play on my psyche...I'll never be thin until I try this diet. WRONG.
Now, maybe this "diet" does have something going for it and maybe it contains some good advice...but with all the red flags on this thing I'm not buying the book and I'm not touching this thing with a ten-foot pole. When it has been published by MULTIPLE reputable sources as the honest truth I'll go back to white bread, until then I'm going to enjoy my nutty and filling whole grain bread.
So, my ire is spent and my plea to each and everyone of you is to watch for those red-flags and run away. Food that actually contains nutrients is good for you and your body. Foods that have been stripped of all nutrients and provide only caloric value are bad. Now, go and enjoy a nice balanced meal of your choosing and if you haven't already done so, get nice and sweaty at some point today :).
I'm loath to post the link to the ad...I'm sure if you go to the Prevention web site you'll find it if you are that set on seeing it for yourself.
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