Monday, January 10, 2011
This weekend was pretty doggoned awesome by my standards. On Friday, I stopped off at REI and did a little damage to my wallet buying winter running stuff. I bought arm warmers, new insoles for my new-ish shoes, more SmartWool socks (plus a pair of Thorlos), and a pair of YakTracks. Based on the weather forecast for the weekend, I planned to run on Sunday, when it was supposed to be mostly sunny, rather than Saturday, with expected snow showers. On Saturday, I spent most of the day in my pajamas! I spent the morning working on my WDW/Half-Marathon vacation plans and working on that on the phone with my mother. Afterward, I finally showered and did a little more shopping (Homegooods, Old Navy, Target and Kohls). Then I proceeded to knit until almost 2:00 AM! Crazed crafter alert!
On Sunday, I woke up late, but earlier than I expected. I went to church, did some grocery shopping, and decided to defer making dinner until after my run. Sunday was a "bluebird day." I love the way bright sun glints off fresh snow. It was about 30 degrees, very little wind, sunny, and the roads in the neighborhood where I run were about 90% clear. I was able to run on or close to the shoulder for most of my run. There were a couple of notable exceptions, though. I think someone must have been parked on the road when they plowed out the subdivision. After encountering traffic when dealing with that patch on my first two laps, I decided to run on the sidewalk on the third lap. I really hate running on the sidewalk.
Yesterday was also my first run with my new Gym Boss. Oh, my goodness, that thing is awesome! So easy to use and there's no question about my intervals. I had decided to go kind of conservative with my intervals, so it was also my first time running with a :30/:30 interval. I thought it would feel short. There's no question that it did feel short sometimes, especially in the beginning. But when I'd been running for a while, there were times that I heard that chime at *exactly* the right time. Also exactly the right time? The end of my run. I was starting to really get tired toward the end. My knees and ankle felt fine... mostly, but my feet were getting very sore. I get an achy spot right under the ball of my left foot. And then I started to tighten up because of the pain in my foot. My back started to get tired. BUT!! I did the run/walk consistently for the whole six miles. The only time I felt the need to stretch my 30 second walk break into a minute was when I was trying out Gu, also for the first time. The chime went off mid-Gu consumption. And then I took a drink of water and proceeded to having a coughing fit. So I walked an extra 30 seconds. The nice thing about :30/:30 intervals is that they're flexible like that. If I tried that with a 1:00/1:00 interval, I'd be walking for two minutes, which is too much. If I did :40/:20, I know me- I would get them mixed up. I think I am going to do my weekday runs at :40/:20, though. I think it would be good for my conditioning.
I stopped off at the library to pick up a knitting book. The gauge on my project was completely off and I decided to undo everything I'd done to that point and start fresh with a more yarn-appropriate pattern. It sucks when you figure out that a baby sweater is sized more for a two year old than a newborn when you are just about halfway done with the body. I had to rewind about 120 yards of yarn. Gauge is of critical importance! After I got home, I prepared a slowcooker meal to cook today. I had planned beef and kluski noodles, but forgot that you don't put potatoes in it. So I had a pot of beef, veggies, broth and potatoes which was too thin for stew. In the end, I decided to put the noodles in, anyway, because they'll soak up the excess broth. It will be pretty carb-errific, but I'll just adjust the serving sizes accordingly. I may have enough for lunches *and* dinners this week. It's probably a good thing that I'm single and have a lot of patience with food that's a little lacking in variety! While that was cooking (I do a kind of pre-cook the night before an all-day cook so I can test the flavor), I cast on for the new baby sweater. Despite the lack of time, I made pretty decent inroads on the back of the sweater. I might have the back finished tonight. At this pace, I should have the sweater finished on Saturday. Which is really good, because the baby shower is on Sunday! And after that, do I get to stop knitting? Noooo! I have another baby shower next Saturday and I'm knitting yet another tiny, wee cardigan. This one in soft pink, rather than the pale blue of my current project. I have to say, baby clothes are my absolute favorite knitting projects. Not only are they completely adorable, but you can knock out a pair of booties in an hour or so. I have no babies, myself, but probably 2/3 of my knitting books are baby things! I think I mostly bought them for the pictures, though. I swear baby knitting books can cause ovulation!
And finally, though it's not something that happened this weekend, I got news this morning that's pretty much the cherry on the top of my great weekend. When the other members of my traveling party bailed on the WDW trip, I decided to cancel the two studio reservations* and try to get Friday and Saturday night in the two bedroom villa I had reserved for Sunday through Friday. On Friday afternoon, I had the incredibly frustrating experience of seeing that the reservation was available to the general public, but not available as a Disney Vacation Club reservation. Friday night was available, but not Saturday. So I had them put me on a waitlist for the nights. I had high hopes and knew that if it was going to come through, I would most likely find out within a couple of weeks. Anyone canceling a vacation would have to do it at least 4 weeks in advance to avoid their points going into a holding account. This morning I got an email from DVC notifying me that I have a reservation for Friday and Saturday nights! Yay! No sleeping on the sofa of an Embassy Suites 1 bedroom suite! No having my parents deal with picking me up at the airport! No worrying about how I'm going to get to the race expo! And above all- no packing bags, loading the car, checking out, and switching resorts on race day! Yipppeeeeee! One of the things my Mom and I decided on Saturday is that we're registering my parents for the ChEar Squad gold package. I'm paying for one and they'll pay for the other. (Never underestimate the value of hot coffee and private port-a-johns when it's 9:00 AM and you've already been up for six hours!) I might leg it over to Jambo and take the shuttle to the start even though my parents are going to the starting line. Why take chances on getting hung up in traffic?
Anyway, it was a great weekend all around!
* I had originally made the reservations for the trip with the expectation that my traveling party would be: me; my parents; my brother and his partner; my sister, her partner, and their two kids; and my cousin, her husband and her daughter. I had reserved a two bedroom villa for me, my parents, and my sister's family, and a studio each for my brother and my cousin. The reservations were for Sunday-Friday. It took my remaining points from last year, and all of my points from this year and next. My party is now down to me and my parents. We're staying in a villa that sleeps 9 and has as many bathrooms as there will be people sleeping in it. I love my family a lot. I'm just going to keep reminding myself of that! At least with the weekend ressie, I won't have to worry about losing any points this year. I have 68 points left that I just need to bank by the end of March or use by the end of July. I'm thinking fall trip! Perhaps the Wine and Dine Half-Marathon?
Thursday, January 06, 2011
So, yesterday was my first PT appointment of the new year. I haven't been to PT since Dec. 20 and was worried that I might have lost some of my conditioning. I drove home from work and changed into workout clothes before my appointment, because my intention was to go straight from PT to the gym. Also, I suspected that my therapist might want to work on my knee, which she did at the end of the appointment, so it was good that I was wearing loose capris. She kept commenting "This is one straight knee!" Meaning, she was able to press on the knee and completely flatten it out, which is a really good thing, I guess! I suspect we may be discussing "graduation" soon. That's both a happy and a scary thought. When she does discharge me, I'm going to have to keep up with my exercises at home. Some of them are easy to do at home, and some are not. (Hmm... heel slides from the edge of the dining area onto the vinyl floor of the kitchen might actually be do-able!) I will definitely continue with my stretching. I don't know if I could live without my doorway hamstring stretch at this point. I think it's why my knee is so flat!
After PT, I ate a granola bar in my car as I went straight to the gym and headed to the track. It was crowded enough that I could find an empty coat hook, but not as bad as Monday. My half hour run/walk felt really good. I can't wait to get my Gymboss, though. Right now, I run a lap, then walk a lap. I think it works out to be about :45/1:00 intervals. I want to even that out a bit to improve my pace. One really awesome thing about going for a run right after PT is that I'm already totally warmed up and stretched. Of course, I'm also usually kind of tired. Not too bad last night, though. I noticed that I have a lot easier time walking back downstairs after my run, too. It used to be that my knees could barely handle walking down the stairs post-run. Now, it's almost normal!
After the run, I went downstairs for some strength training. I did dumbell curls, triceps extensions, lower back extensions, vertical chest presses, regular crunches and bicycle crunches. Which leads me to one of my big questions about how other people work out. While I was doing my crunches, a woman sit down beside me and started doing situps. Now, when I was working with my personal trainer way back in the day, he told me to barely lift my torso (essentially shoulders only), focus on tightening my abs, and do it pretty slowly with a pause to squeeze in the middle. I do two sets of 15 crunches, then two sets of 30 bicycle crunches. He also told me to never, ever anchor my feet because if I did, my hips and legs would be doing the bulk of the work. The woman next to me plopped down, hooked her feet into the toekick of the wall, and proceeded to knock out a very speedy set of 30 or so full height situps and then she split. I know there's a lot of different ways to work out, but I question whether she was actually getting anything out of it. I have to confess I also don't really get the high reps thing. I've heard "there's no such thing as toning" over and over again. And isn't "toning" supposed to be the point of high reps? If you need more of a challenge than 15 well-executed crunches provides, why not grab a weight plate and use that to intensify the workout? Speaking of which, on my dumbell curls, I used a 15 pound weight for 15 reps comfortably and I have not "bulked up." I'm about to switch to a heavier weight and lower my reps for all of my ST and see what happens. Ten bucks says I get more defined, but don't get bulky! I also suspect that too much time at stumptuous.com could turn me into an accidental ranting b***h goddess!
And now I need to go enter my nutrition for the day and the exercise minutes from last night!
Wednesday, January 05, 2011
It's going to take a while to get used to my new color scheme and background image, but who cares? I'm making "freakin' awesome" the phrase of the year! I'm sure FOXXYROXXYD will be delighted. If I ever need to remind myself of what I am, I'll just look at my Spark Page.
Although I'm taking a pretty laid-back attitude toward this year, I do have some goals/plans for 2011. Not all of them are weight-loss related. Some are for my health, some are for my home, some are for my leisure time, and some are for my relationships. I plan to take some time at the end of every month to reflect on what I've done to achieve those goals that month, and plan for the next month's activities. I'm actually going to make a recurring appointment for a "2011 Freakin' Awesome Status Report" and put it on my Outlook calendar (set to private- my coworkers may not understand). Since this is a new thing, I'll be reporting on January in this post.
Exercise: I need to exercise on a more regular schedule. Besides running three days per week, I need to get at least two more cardio workouts and at least three strength training sessions per week. Last year, I logged 7,348 fitness minutes in SP. I think doubling and rounding up to 15,000 for this year is a nice goal. I also logged 97.43 miles. That's not really very accurate, because I only started tracking it halfway through the year. I also had a lot of runs where I didn't track my mileage after I was tracking it. Also, my mileage has changed drastically since last year. With all that figured out, I think a goal of 500 miles for 2011 is pretty reasonable. It's only an average of ten miles per week.
Eating: I'm doing pretty well with what I'm doing, but I have to be more consistent with tracking. Accountability is key to my success. I noticed that when I wasn't actively tracking my nutrition on SP, I was a lot more likely to eat fast food or graze on junk. Besides tracking nutrition, I need to plan my meals out in advance more regularly.
Healthcare: I need to take better preventive care of myself so that I don't get tripped up by illness or injury. This starts with annual screenings and appointments.
Inside: The decor and organization of my home needs work. Here are some key tasks for this year: clean out and organize the basement so that my sister and I can finally install the new basement window and construct the planned dividing wall between storage/workshop and finished hobby room; change furniture and arrangement of living room; seriously look into remodeling the bathroom. Also, the time is ripe for taking another crack at Apartment Therapy's Home Cure. I plan to start with the 20/20 Cure cure.apartmenttherapy.com/2010/fall to prep my home for my vacation and then my birthday party, and then do the full Eight Week Cure cure.apartmenttherapy.com/2010/sprin
g/ in the spring. This should actually be a bit easier this time, because some of the changes I made in 2009 are still working and this year should be a lot more even than that one.
Outside: The garden was great this past summer, but I need to start planting my tomatoes earlier. I also need to make some changes with my landscape plants. But the big goal this year is to rip out that nasty, broken down old deck and replace it with a lovely patio and 12" of extra privacy. This is something I am absolutely not putting off.
Knit: I fell off knitting quite a bit when I bought my house three years ago. I miss it. I also have hundreds of dollars worth of yarn stashed around my house. It's time to use it up! And then buy more yarn. I think a minimum of two hours of knitting per month is good.
Read: I read a lot, but it's often rereading well-loved books. That's more out of convenience than desire. I know I'm setting myself up for a very busy year, so I will set this goal at two new books per month, preferably by authors I'm not already reading. I'm devoted to Terry Pratchett, but I'm running out of Discworld books. Also, it's about time that I subscribed to certain magazines I buy regularly.
Watch: Less TV, more movies. I used to go out to the movies almost every week. Sometimes, I'd see three movies a weekend. Now I'm down to about three per year. I need to make a movie date with myself once a month. (And if someone wants to join me, that's good, too.) I always say I'm going to watch less TV, but I never do. But I think it might be a good idea to take a cue from my DVR backlog and cancel some series recordings.
Family: My family is my chief relationship. I need to re-institute the standing dinner plans I had with my sister's family, though biweekly is probably often enough. I also need to get better at staying in touch with my brother, so a weekly or biweekly phone call might be in order. At the very least, e-mail. My relationship with my parents is pretty great, as-is.
Friends: My oldest and dearest friend lives about 120 miles from me and I don't see or talk to her often enough. I need to make contact at least once a month. I also need to care for my more local friendships.
Other: It's probably not a bad idea to think about actually making an effort to meet potential dates instead of hoping I meet someone and then complaining that I never do.
JANUARY 2011 FREAKIN' AWESOME STATUS REPORT
Health/Exercise: Continue training for the half marathon, running three times per week. Strength train core and upper body on weekday run days (since I'm already at the gym). Start adding one additional cardio workout per month.
Health/Food: Plan meals and shopping list for each week. Include five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Perhaps a big batch slow cooker week is in order for next week?
Healthcare: Schedule health screening with PCP.
Home/Inside: Start 20/20 Home Cure on January 23. Start thinking about problem areas now.
Home/Outside: Take down Christmas lights.
Leisure/knitting: You have two baby showers this month! Knit a baby sweater and booties for each baby. Add a hat each if time allows.
Leisure/Read: Go to the library and pick out two books for this month.
Leisure/Watch: Go see a movie. I think Tron at the IMAX this weekend sounds good!
Relationships/Family: Call my sister to arrange a good night for dinner. Call my brother, just to talk.
Relationships/Friends: Call Jenny. Call up Kristin and Meg and see if they want to get together. You have Groupons for restaurants that expire in March!
Tuesday, January 04, 2011
I've been pretty concerned about the compressed time I have left to train for the half marathon. This week marks 7 weeks between now and the half and I'm up to 5 miles again. Which is great, but if I had been able to stick with my original program, I would have been at 11 miles at this point. And even using the official beginner Princess Half program, I would have been at 9.5 miles. The one thing I am sure of is that I am absolutely not interested in rushing things and undoing all the good I've done through the past three months of PT. That said, I think I've figured out a way to get to where I think I need to be. I intend to do my 6 mile run as planned this weekend. Then next weekend, I'll make the jump to 8 miles- as long as I feel okay after 6 miles. The following weekend, I'll do a 3-4 mile run, then commence alternating between adding two miles and doing the shorter run. If all goes well, I should be able to get to 12 miles two weeks before the half marathon. And that's just going to have to do!
It's also apparently time for me to start accumulating running gear again! Last month, my local running store had a year-end/pre-holiday sale and I bought another pair of my Sauconys. They're exactly the same model as before. If it ain't broke... Before Thanksgiving, Skirt Sports had a "Black Friday" sale and I scored a Gym Girl Ultra Spinnin' in Pink Crush for under $40. Pink floral print skirt- just what the running princesses ordered! When I ordered it, I hesitated between ordering a medium and a large. The medium says it fits size 10-12, which is considerably smaller than my size 14. At the time, I thought, "What if I get to goal weight by then?" But then I decided to order for the size I am, not the size I want to be. (A rare visit from Sensible Jen.) So here's the problem- I think it's a little loose! I don't get it. My measurements are at or above the size measurements. I wore it at the gym last night and found myself self-consciously tugging it up pretty frequently. I think there are two possible reasons for this: 1) The other two times I've worn it, I've worn it over tights and I may have stretched it out (less likely); or 2) it's lower cut than I'm necessarily comfortable with (more likely- it says "low rider, but not too low"). I suspect I may need to get comfortable with the waistband, because I love everything else about the skirt. Tucking in my top might help. Speaking of tops- I got a new black tank to go with it, so I am almost completely set on my race day attire.
Other equipment that I have acquired or will be acquiring- SmartWool socks and a Gymboss. I bought the SmartWool socks last month because the mesh tops of my Sauconys were leaving me a bit chilly on outdoor runs. The guy at Running Fit recommended them to me when I was buying my new shoes and complained of chilly toes, wondering if I should buy different shoes for winter running. I bought a pair of PhD mini running socks to try them out and I have to say, I am sold. I wore them the first time on a cool dry day and they felt good. I wore them again on my 5 miler last week, on a cold, damp and slushy day and they felt great! The snow was a little melty (not so much that there wasn't some ice on the road- grr), and I could tell that my shoes were a little wet, but my feet were warm and dry. I'm planning to buy another three pair from REI to get the multi-pair discount. As for the Gymboss, it just seemed like a wise investment. Most Galloway runners I know use one and consider it a necessary item. I used to make running mix tracks for my iPod with a chime for intervals, but that took a lot of time, effort and frustration, and it wasn't exactly easily customizable. I'm already impressed with their service. I ordered it this afternoon and got a shipping notification about an hour later. Since their warehouse is just about an hour from my house, I'm hoping to have it in hand for my run this weekend. I'm looking forward to getting back to regular intervals. I think I really need them. No more guessing or going by my gut!
Last night's run was a little frustrating. First, the charge on my iPod lasted *just* long enough to trick me into thinking I didn't need to charge it before heading out and then it died somewhere between home and the gym. I actually like running without music when I'm running outside alone (not as much as running with music, though), but I hate it while I'm running around the track. Track running indoors is boring enough without having nothing to listen to except the kids' tae kwon do and basketball classes down on the gym floor and ladies gossiping as they walk. On top of that, it was the typical January "New Year's resolution" crowd at the gym last night. Before Christmas, there were only a few people using the track at a time. Last night, there were about 10-20 people on the track at any time. About halfway through my run, a whole family descended on the track, walking two by two and taking up both the walking and passing lanes, and occasionally letting their youngest member wander into the running lane. When people need to pass in the running lane because you're walking in the passing lane, you need to compress a little! I was far from the only one frustrated at the track last night. I wish I could run outside, but I just can't bring myself to do it after dark. I did it once last fall and made myself stick to the sidewalk for safety's sake. It wasn't worth it, and frankly, I still had the "jumping at shadows" heebie-jeebies. I guess I just have to hope that my patience outlasts other people's resolutions!
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