Friday, July 23, 2010
This week has been pretty interesting. On Monday, I ran for 2.42 miles. On Tuesday, I did strength training and cardio. On Wednesday, I dragged my friend to the gym with me for another 2.25 mile run. She claims it made her run longer. She's been working out and losing weight a lot longer than I have. She lost 60 some pounds on Weight Watchers and is working to lose the last ten, but facing a plateau. She normally runs for 20-25 minutes (without stopping), but since I do run/walk intervals and base my workout on distance, it takes me longer. So that was good. Finishing up at BD's Mongolian BBQ was also good- healthy restaurant food where you control the ingredients is always excellent. The Mongo-rita I had, not so good.
Yesterday was supposed to be my golf league day, but there was a tornado watch for our county. We did tee off, but only made two shots before the sirens went off indicating that lightning had occurred within five miles of the course. This is the third week in a row that golf has been canceled due to the weather. I'm getting kind of tired of the whole "all dressed up with no place to golf" thing. When I change into shorts, slip on my golf shoes and put on my golf glove, I expect to actually golf!
Anyway, I decided to take it as a rest day, which didn't exactly make me happy. I don't like the loss of momentum be even one day. My carefully thought-out plan is Mon- run, Tues- cross-train/weights, Wed- run, Thurs- golf, Fri- cross-train/weights, Sat- run, Sun- walk and weights. I need to stay busy, even if it tires me out. When Kristin came over on Wednesday, she left chips, salsa and about a glass of cherry lambic beer in my kitchen. I unexpectedly found myself home at 6:00 PM. That's apparently too many hours between getting home and going to sleep, and I couldn't seem to keep myself from snacking on the chips and beer.
Here's how I could have spent that time instead (without the need for gym clothes):
- home repair
- play golf or Guitar Hero on the Wii
I've come to the conclusion that I can't have things like chips or cookies in my house. There's too much risk there.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Had another good day yesterday. I left work earlier than usual and managed to make it to the gym before 7:00 PM. I felt sooo much better starting earlier, though the gym is a little more crowded at that time. Last night was cross-training and strength training. I do eight strength training exercises, based on the SparkPeople generated "full body" workout. To be honest, it seems a little slight to me. When I made up my own full body workout, I was doing twelve exercises. However, I also wasn't doing them regularly and I was at the gym for close to two hours at a time. This may be fewer exercises, but it may also be more sustainable. I was still actively working out for an hour and fifteen minutes. I also did half an hour of cardio. I broke the whole gym visit into 10 minutes elliptical, four strength exercises, 10 minutes cycling, four strength, 10 minutes elliptical. I didn't get bored at all and I felt like I was working hard the whole time!
Afterward, I got a call from one of my best friends, wherein she told me what an unreliable and silly boy the man she's dating is being, and I issued a last minute invitation to stay at my house tonight. He had told her he'd drive her to the airport tomorrow morning, then at the last minute he said he couldn't do it. I live much closer to the airport, hence the invitation. I don't want to miss out on my regular run, so I told her to bring her gym clothes and we'll go for a run together. Luckily, this particular friend is an avid gym-goer and runner and we've been talking about getting together to run, anyway. I'm thinking run, dinner at Mongolian BBQ and then dishing about what an idiot her guy is. There may need to be a gin and tonic in this plan. Thank goodness for diet tonic water!
My commitment to my reset period has been paying off already, but I have to be careful about the mental angle. See, I had put on a few pounds when I was slacking off and last Monday, I was back up to 211.5. That's something I did *not* enter in tracking. I think I was trying to acknowledge that it needed fixing while still pretending that it didn't happen. Anyway, after a week of watching calories and getting in three runs, on Monday, my weight had dropped back to 207.5. Yesterday, it was 206. (Today it's back to 207.5, but I think there are other factors.) Five pounds in eight days is too fast to be reasonable. Now, some of it could have been water weight, because healthy food usually has less sodium. But I do NOT want to get so obsessed with the number on the scale that I cut too many calories for my activity level to keep making the number smaller. On the other hand, I do want it smaller. I'm so close to "One-derland" that I can taste it. I just expected to lose less than I have and I'm worried that I'm too excited by quick results. I know they're always followed by that depressing little lull.
Just to end on an up note, I wanted to describe the amusing and happy moment I alluded to in my status update. I don't know if anyone else does this, but I frequently have thoughts popping into my head like "That woman has a great butt. I wonder what kind of exercise she does to get that?" or "She's got great legs. I bet she's a runner." This morning, I was walking into my building behind two very well-dressed and fit women who were both wearing great pencil skirts and heels. That's a style combination that always seems to highlight great calves. I'm also wearing a skirt today, but it's fuller and I'm wearing lower heels. Our building is one of those standard glass and steel office buildings with huge expanses of tinted windows. You can see a reflection, but not with a lot of detail and it's dark, almost like a shadow. Anyway, I saw the reflection of a pair of outstanding calves below a skirt. They were long and muscular- obviously the legs of an athlete- and I was instantly jealous of that person, because I know I have good legs, but these were gorgeous! I assumed it was one of the other two ladies. Then I saw the reflection of the rolling laptop bag the woman was trailing behind her. And it had my lunch bag stuck to it. Hey, the lady with the great legs is me!
I think it just goes to show that we don't always see our bodies as they truly are. Any time I start thinking that I'm not seeing results, I just need to remind myself that when I don't know it's me, I think I look great! Maybe my reflection needs to sneak up on me more often! Hmmm... I wonder if I could accidentally stumble on my waist?
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!
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!
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!
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.
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