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A doggone good day

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Yesterday was a pretty doggone good day. I finished a lot of projects at work and fixed a couple of particularly perplexing problems. After work, I headed to the gym for a run/walk. My pace wasn't quite as good as it was on Saturday, but I ran/walked... you know what? I'm done with that whole run/walk thing. I'm running during my workouts. I run more than I walk. It's enough to just call it a run. Anyway, as I was saying, my pace wasn't quite as good, but I ran almost half a mile longer than I did on Saturday. I had planned to run for 2.25 miles, but I felt like I had a bit more to give. You know what I mean? I made my very first running mix with my custom intervals on Sunday and I listened to it for the first time last night. Evidently, I underestimated the length of my run a bit, so cued up my "power song" because that seemed to be the easiest way to get some tunes. My power song is currently set to Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," and it's such an awesome song that when I got to 2.25 miles I just wanted to keep running. Obviously, not THAT much further, but I did it! According to my self-prescribed preconditioning plan, I'm supposed to run 2.5 miles on Saturday for my longer run. Yeah, that's not going to be a problem! emoticon

I also discovered that my perfect pace is the exact same beat as Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark." According to the Nike+ graphical display of my run, that interval was the most consistent I was able to keep a pace (about 11 min./mile) during my run. So I just need to find songs with a similar beat to that song and I should be all set! Heh! Also, most inconsistent was Kool and the Gang "Jungle Boogie" (not a great running song) and fastest- but most varied- was Tiger Army's "F.T.W." So, evidently, funk makes me run slower, but punk makes me run faster! Good to know.

My left foot hurt less last night. I noticed it tends to hurt when I walk a lot more than when I run. I suspect it's all tied into the balance/leg discrepancy thing. I tried to be more aware of my stride when I walk and I think that helped a bit. I still think I need to see an orthopedic surgeon, though. However, if the doctor says that I shouldn't run with my knees, I'm going to say, "Yeah... no. That doesn't work for me. What else ya got?"

Oh, and then I made this crazy dinner of polenta, pasta sauce and spinach. I'm not sure it really works together, but it was what I had. I realized that it wasn't nearly enough protein, though, so I nuked a Morningstar Farms sausage patty, crumbled it in, and pretended the pieces were meatballs. It was fairly convincing, but I'm still going to grill up a couple of chicken breasts for the third and fourth night leftovers.

Tonight, post-work strength-training and cardio. Also, grocery shopping. I need vegetables and lunch meat!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KARVY09 7/20/2010 1:59PM

    I'm going grocery shopping tonight too! Sounds like you had a great run! I definitely have songs like that too. Isn't it funny how much music makes a difference?

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DRPOOH63 7/20/2010 12:54PM

    emoticon

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Grr! Cranky animal with a sore paw

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Yesterday, I stopped at Running Fit, the store where I bought my Sauconys back in January. I don't think I've run anywehere close to even 100 miles in them, so I'm not in the market for new shoes. Plus, they are generally really great. The arch feels good, the heel feels good, everything feels good- except for the forefoot. Right around the end of the first mile, I start getting pain in my foot that is just agonizing by the end of the second mile. Then it goes away when I stop. With my new pre-conditioning/training plan, I'm running farther than I was before and I 'm going to keep adding miles. I can't do that if I'm going to be in pain after two miles!

I took the factory insole out of my shoe and was surprised at how thin it was in the forefoot. "Oh, that's got to be the problem!" I thought. I decided new insoles were just the thing I needed. So I dropped nearly $50 on some Superfeet berry insoles , which, it must be said, felt incredible. I wore them for a few hours around the house to get used to them and then headed to the gym for a nice, air-conditioned run around the track. Started out great. Then the same doggone thing happened! Pain starts around one mile, is bearable for the second mile, hobbling in my cool-down walk. But what's this? I suddenly realized that I wasn't getting pain in both feet. It was just the left foot that hurt.

And that's when the little cartoon light bulb over my head turned on. This pain is most likely not caused by thin insoles or even an excess amount of weight. This pain is most likely caused by my left foot doing most of the work because my left leg is longer than my right!

I was about eight years old when my mom first spotted my spinal curvature. I was really lucky that we caught it so early, but not so lucky that I didn't avoid wearing a brace. I was in a Boston brace from age 9-12 and a Milwaukee brace from 12-16. The Milwaukee brace is the one with the neck piece. So attractive and empowering for a 7th grader to wear, eh? Anyway, I probably quit wearing it a bit too early. My parents and doctor couldn't convince me to continue. I haven't had too many ill effects of it in the 13 years since I stopped wearing it. A little more back pain than is normal, perhaps, but I've been basically okay. The exception to this has been my knees and now my feet. My left leg is longer than my right. I wear a support on my right knee when I run because that knee is weaker and more prone to injury. The foot thing is new. I suspect a trip to an orthopedic surgeon and/or a podiatrist is in order!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LITERARY_CHICK 7/20/2010 12:43PM

    Ouch, can you wear the insoles in just one shoe to help even out the height a bit?

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JENC98 7/19/2010 8:50PM

    Its good you figured out what was causing the pain but not good that its going to require a trip to the orthopedic surgeon! I was just looking at your pictures. You've done really awesome!! I hope I can make good progress like that.

Thanks for commenting on my blog!!

Jen

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Delayed, derailed, determined, delivered!

Friday, July 16, 2010

At the beginning of the week, I blogged about having a renewed sense of purpose about my diet and training and that I was entering a four week reset period. Some of the features of this period would be pre-conditioning for half-marathon run/walk training, running three times a week consistently, and being much more careful about fitting into my dietary guidelines. No sooner did I set this plan in motion did I run into roadblocks.

On Wednesday, I had a pretty stressful day at work. I have/had an exceptionally tight deadline for work and one of the tasks was due by COB on Wednesday. Last summer, while working on a similarly tight deadline project, I developed a bad habit: when I need to work had and work fast, I practically inhale plain M&Ms. I refer to them as "over-the-counter amphetamines." So now when I need to work fast, I use M&Ms as a sugar-crutch. That was the diet roadblock.

After work, I planned to stop by my sister's house and take care of her cats, then go straight to the gym for the second run of the week. But I didn't finish the project until close to 4:00 and had to get caught up on other stuff; and then I walked out with my work friend and we stood around in the parking lot and talked. I didn't leave the office until almost 7:00 PM. I thought I could get in and out of my sister's house in under an hour, but her cats threw a monkeywrench into my plans by actually being nice to me and wanting to snuggle. A bit of background: my sister and her partner have ten cats inside, and many ferals out in the yard. (Yes, ten is a lot. No, it doesn't smell in their house.) They set up twelve different litter boxes and nine food/water areas in various locations, so it takes at least an hour to scoop, feed and get fresh water. That's without giving any personal attention to the cats. Well, on my second visit, I decided to try to buy the cats' affection with treats. Hey, it works on me! This was the fourth visit, so they were starting to associate me with treats. First, the cat that lives alone in the front room was lying in the open in a bed and was clearly looking for a snuggle. I'm not exaggerating even a little when I say this is the first time I have seen 100% of this cat in over two years. She always hides under a chair when there are guests in the house. So, of course I had to give her some love as a reward. Then the second cat who hides (in the basement this time) and darts away when you try to pet her was very into the idea of being petted and scritched, so I had to do that. She didn't come out of her hidey-hole, but it looked like she was thinking about it. Then the third hiding cat, who showed every sign of being outright terrified of me on the previous visit, not only allowed me to pet him, but when I did, he exited his hiding spot and spent the next several minutes prancing around me, following me around, and seeking out more love. In any case, I didn't get out of their house until after 8:30 and didn't get to my town until after 9:00. Since the gym and the park both close at 10:00, I would have just about enough time to put on my running clothes before it would be time to leave the gym. So, that was the running roadblock.

Since I am determined that I am NOT going to miss one of my three weekly runs any more, I left my gym bag in my car and decided that I would get all hot, sweaty and tired playing golf and then head to the gym to get in at least one mile run/walking- but two was what I really wanted. It sounded a little undesirable, but better than skipping my run. And even though I bought a bag of M&Ms yesterday, I didn't eat them. Go me! The weather looked pretty bad, so there was a strong likelihood that we'd be rained out and I could go to the gym early. Skies turned dark, wind picked up, and the storm sirens went off before I teed off on the third hole. We made the quick decision to cancel for the week instead of waiting the storm out, so I sped off to gym at 6:30.

Once I got changed, the first order of business was calibrating my new Nike+ attachment for my iPod. Since I run on a track, that was easy to do. It was also surprisingly accurate right off the bat. A quarter mile was exactly four laps in the middle lane, and I set the calibration for running, and then for walking. I had warmed up and stretched before calibrating, so I dove right into run/walking the remaining 1.5 miles. I think I'm going to do a full review of the Nike+ later so I won't get into details, but I will say two things. First, I already love this thing. Second, I'm slower than even I imagined. Apparently, I run at an average of around 11-12 min./mile (my fastest was 10:30 min./mile and my slowest run was 13:01 min./mile), and my walking intervals average about 18 min./mile. My average speed overall is 14:08 min./mile.

Despite the slowness, I'm pretty happy about figuring out my pace. Running the half marathon has always been a question of endurance, not speed. Even if I don't improve my pace, I'm honestly okay with this speed as long as I can maintain it for 13.1 miles. The minimum pace for the half-marathon is 16:00 min./mile. Obviously, I'd love to improve my pace, but I'm more interested in slowly building up to the 13.1 miles and finishing strong- and then high-fiving Mickey Mouse! I'm doing two miles tomorrow, too, so that will be my third run of the week. Woo! Yay, consistency! And my sister is back in town today, so no more cat-distractions from my goal.

Two additional things about last night. First, I almost always change from work pants to capris, shorts or a skort for golf. Well, I forgot that it's been thirty pounds since I wore the capris I picked out for last night. I had to McGuyver myself a belt out of an old shoulder strap I found in my car so I wouldn't be picking up my pants every time I hit the ball. Nice problem to have, eh? Second, I need to make a trip to the Running Fit store before my run on Saturday because my feet are starting to get really sore after about a mile. I don't think my shoes have enough padding in the forefoot to accommodate my improved stride. When I stopped heel striking, I stopped getting shin splints, but the ball of my foot hurts like the dickens. Hopefully, it will be a relatively easy fix.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DRPOOH63 7/16/2010 7:09PM

    emoticon Sounds like you have some great thought processes on the whole process.

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POOHLA711 7/16/2010 3:59PM

    I wouldn't be able to resist the kitties either. :-) You're doing great! Those roadblocks won't hold you back.

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MACKANDME 7/16/2010 1:45PM

    I love the cat story. And I completely understand about road blocks too. We can do it!

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Where's my Wite-out?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Ahoy mateys, there be sarcasm ahead...

Boy, I sure am glad I wrote my new half-marathon training plan into my calendar in red ink! Because it's so clearly do-able for me at this point.

Except it's not. Not right at this moment, anyway. I can see now why so many half-marathon run/walk training plans are preceded with a statement like, "This plan was designed for people who have some running experience and run 5-10 miles per week." That's often followed by "if you're running less, that's okay. It may take longer to complete the plan."

Before entering the plan in my calendar, I figured out my weekly mileage with C25K (stuck in week 3). At the most, I was getting in about 2.25 miles of actual running per week (with another three miles walking). I average about .75 mile running on week 3 per session. So I started week 1 of this new run/walk plan. Day one is 2 miles alternating 2 mins running to 1 min walking. Day 2 is 2.5 miles, day 3 is a long run of 3 miles. Each week on day 3 you add a mile to your long run until you get to 13. Makes sense.

Makes sense unless you bite off more than you can chew, that is! I managed to run/walk at the 2:1 interval for a total of 1.75 miles, which is pretty spectacular, to me. But I had to split into two separate miles with a break for stretching in between. My legs were too freakin' sore not to! And on the second mile, I got to lap 12 around the 1/16 mile track and knew I couldn't run any more. I finished out the second mile in a cool down walk. (Oh, and I just realized that I walked another 1/4 mile before I started as a warm up.)

I have to admit, I'm pretty doggone proud that I ran/walked for as long as I did. Those intervals were much more quick than I'm used to and the distance was further than I'd ever done before. But I am so very far from being confident in my ability to run/walk 2.5 or 3 miles this week, and certainly not at the 2:1 pace. So my new "Jenna-specific" plan calls for a bit of pre-conditioning. Before starting back with the official, earnest "I'm training for a half-marathon" plan, I plan to take a few weeks to build up to a three mile run first. In fact, I'm going to take five and aim at starting the big plan when I return from my conference in Chicago. It's going to be a key part of my four-week "reset period."

I have now worked out a plan that will allow me to gradually increase pace and mileage so I will be prepared for the regular training plan. As for what that plan will be, I'm kind of torn between Jeff Galloway, John Bingham, and a plan I found on about.com. Who knows, I might end up with some completely customized hybrid plan. Whatever gets me to that finish line!

In any case, I need to cover up some red ink. Hmm. I think I've got some CorrecTape around here somewhere...

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JENELOPE 7/13/2010 5:56PM

    I'm doing the Disney Princess Half Marathon to celebrate my 40th birthday, which just happens to be two weeks afterward. With any luck... scratch that. With any *carefully sticking to the plan and seeing it through* I will also be celebrating the culmination of my weight loss journey. Not really the end, though, because maintenance is part of the journey.

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DRPOOH63 7/13/2010 3:58PM

    So do you have a 1/2 marathon scheduled? Just working on training. Sounds like you have a good plan in place.

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BLUEANGELLK 7/13/2010 11:16AM

    Sounds like your hybrid plan might be for the best. You have really been hustling out there. Good for you!

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Yesterday was the last day of the worst of my life

Monday, July 12, 2010

I have decreed it and it will be so.

I've had enough of all that nonsense. I'm done allowing myself to slack off on diet and exercise. There will be no more of this "I don't really have time to strength train, so I'll just go home after my run." The way to ensure I have enough time for a balanced workout is to get there earlier. So I will do that. There will be an end to the two-run or one-run weeks. There are only 33 weeks left to train for the half marathon. I need consistency.

I'm giving myself a four week reset period. I have one social event planned during that time period (family picnic- calorie landmines, ahoy!), but aside from that, the next four weeks look blissfully clear. Week five is a bit of a test. I'm going to Chicago for a work conference. There will be many opportunities to slip up. Lots of buffets, afternoon coffee (*ahem cookie*) breaks, "team building" dinners out, receptions with drink tickets. That sort of thing. So the test will be, do I have the strength to be sensible, avoid food triggers and hit the running track in the hotel fitness center? I think I do have that kind of strength.

More than that, I have the determination. I keep thinking about how far I've come and how far I still have to go. I tend to get really happy thinking about how I've lost 20 pounds since January (30 since last summer). And that's good. I should be happy about it. But I have about 45 pounds left to lose. And my intended goal date is in 35 weeks. That's a little daunting. I won't let those 45 pounds beat me. Even if I don't do it in 35 weeks, I will lose every single one of those pounds. I want to do it in the time I set for myself, though. It's less than 1.5 pounds a week. If I stick to the plan from now on, I can do it. I just need to do what I say I'm going to do.

I can and will do this.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GAELENEC 7/12/2010 9:03PM

    We are all in your corner, good luck!

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L3DESIGNS 7/12/2010 5:05PM

    You can do this! Sounds great! Plan ahead will be the key - even for the family picnic. Pack some veggies and try and choose those first! But don't beat yourself up -- you are changing your lifestyle...

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LOLLIPAM 7/12/2010 3:32PM

    You can do it!! I love your determination!

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KARVY09 7/12/2010 3:16PM

    Let's do this!!!!!

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POOHLA711 7/12/2010 3:10PM

    Girl, you and I are in the same boat. I have jumped off the wagon BIG time since my wedding, but it stops today. I am here to support you. Let's get it done together!

As for the trip to Chicago, I KNOW you have that kind of strength. Just plan, plan, plan. If you want to indulge in a few drinks (or cookies!), make sure you cut back in other places. I think that after 4 weeks of being back on track, you'll find it much easier to say no to the treats and keep up with your workouts. You can do it!!

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JENC98 7/12/2010 3:06PM

    Yeah!!! You sound really determined. I need to start sounding more like you.

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