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Running against the wind

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Last night, I had my first outdoor run. I'm not really sure how I feel about it. Up until now, I've done all my running around the indoor track at my community center. I used the unpredictable weather as an excuse, but the fact was, I was a bit concerned about the unpredictability of the conditions and how I would react to them. Sidewalks aren't as even as tracks, obviously, and I had read all kinds of warnings about what running on rebar-reinforced walks can do to your joints. And then there's weather. The indoor track is climate-controlled. The sidewalk is in Michigan, therefore, it's decidedly climate-uncontrolled!

However, they don't run half-marathons on indoor tracks, so the change was inevitable. Also, the track is only 1/16 of a mile, so on the longer runs I felt like I was constantly running around corners, which I'm not particularly good at. It rained yesterday, but the weather was nice in the afternoon and evening. Well, I had picked up my first copy of Guitar Hero on the way home from the dentist yesterday and against my better judgment, let myself play "one song" before my run. Yeah, four hours and one very sore elbow later, I finally stopped trying to play bass on Beck's "Gamma Ray." It's a darned good thing I like that song! Anyway, it was about 7:30 before I finally headed out for my run.

I decided to drive to one of our township parks to run there. Funny thing about Detroit suburbs- our sidewalks are best described as "sporadic." Towns here are mostly set up for driving, not pedestrians. To me, the surprising part about where I live is that it actually has a lot of sidewalks. Neither of the last two areas where I lived had much to speak of. And I grew up on a dirt road across the road from farms, so a sidewalk seems like a "city thing" to me. As a result, I never learned a lot of the pedestrian skills that seem so basic to most people. Besides, sometimes it feels like Robert Ullerey's podcasts are the only thing getting me through C25K and you couldn't pry my earbuds out of my head. Running street-side and earbuds=not safe. The park I went has a pedestrian path which circles a small, possibly man-made lake. According to a marker, that path is .43 miles and is asphalt, not reinforced concrete. It's actually pretty well maintained. It seemed pretty ideal for my situation.

I couldn't find something to hold my water bottle, so I carried it the whole time. Despite the fact that I seemed to get less blood pooling in my fingers because of carrying the bottle, I still think I need to find a water bottle holder. It was kind of windy around the park last night and it was really overcast. It was also unexpectedly a little crowded. The township had their annual fishing derby in the lake yesterday morning, and it was still stocked with fish, so there were a lot of fishermen and women, especially around the bridge/dock. I just stuck to the path and avoided the bridge. Things you don't have to worry about when running on an indoor track: bicyclists who don't quite get the definition of "pedestrian path" (I'm not begrudging him that because it's a nice path and at least he's being active), guys in Ed Hardy tees wandering back and forth across the path without looking behind them (I don't like Ed Hardy, so it was adding insult to injury), dads standing in the middle of the path to take a picture of sons holding a string of trout, wondering if a German shepherd will take running as an invitation to pursuit (I'm not generally scared of dogs, but there is a certain unpredictability that comes along with unknown dogs), wind blowing in your face and stealing your breath, the tiniest bit of rain spitting on me while running my last interval.

I didn't quite manage to do full intervals on this run. I'm on week 3, and though I did full intervals on Wednesday, it wasn't easy. I did 2:40 for the first long interval, and 2:20 for the second. I'm not going to beat myself up about it because this was so different than what I usually do. I think what I'm going to do from now on, is do two C25K sessions on the track and one outside each week, until I get more accustomed to running outside. Then I'll start adding more outdoor running. The thing I'm having a hard time with is that I didn't really enjoy my run yesterday. I'm not going to say that every indoor run brings me a major runner's high or that I spend all my time grinning like an idiot, but I do both of those to some degree and I always feel like I accomplished something big. Last night, I just felt tired at the end. Ah well, I'm sure it will get easier and more fun.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JENELOPE 5/3/2010 10:38AM

    Woofgang, check your local community center. I live in Canton and I'm a member of our community center, so I run on that track. I know the community centers in Livonia and Southfield also have indoor tracks. Some local colleges have indoor tracks, but you usually need some kind of affiliation with the school (student, alumni, faculty, etc.). Community colleges are more likely to have public hours than universities. Lifetime Fitness in Commerce Twp also has an indoor track, according to their website. Hmmm. So far, all I can seem to find are tracks in the western suburbs!

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ESBELL 5/2/2010 1:44PM

    You done good! Glad you got outside. Trying a first outside run in crowded conditions isn't the best wayt to begin, but you've dealt with the unfortunate side of running, so it's got to get better right? Keep working at it. It is harder than inside on a track or treadmill. Is there a HS or college where you could use their track nearby? Maybe there would be less cross traffic.

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DEBNICU 5/2/2010 12:28PM

    I am not a runner, but I like my walks. Definately can't walk around neighborhood, no sidewalks and traffic is being rerouted past our house due to construction.
I find MI not a runner,walker, bicycling friendly state. I hate having to drive to the riverwalk to walk but I will do it.
Congrats on getting your run in. Hopefully it will be better next time.
We have a Sports Center in Saginaw and Freeland which are not too far from our house. Will have to keep them in mind when the MI weather doesn't cooperate.

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WOOFGANG 5/2/2010 12:02PM

    I love that you're pushing yourself to do something different and something that will help you get to a half marathon. I love running on an indoor track but you are right about the shortcomings of only doing that. Yay on you!

BTW, I'm in S.E. MI and I didn't even know we had anyplace with an indoor track - I would love to have that option sometime. Can you tell me where the indoor track is or how I could go about finding one? I have used search engines and not found anything....

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The (very odd) source of my weight loss goal

Friday, April 30, 2010

If you were to ask me what I think my ideal size would be, I would immediately say "Size 12, definitely." I have a very specific, silly and somewhat weird reason for thinking that. I think it makes a very "Friday afternoon" kind of story.

When I was in fourth or fifth grade, I was in a class holiday play. It was most likely one of those scripts that they used to print in the Scholastic magazines we used to get. Does anyone remember those magazines? Anyway, this one was about a family of four getting ready for Christmas and holiday shopping. I played a sarcastic teenager, something I was remarkably good at even then! In the play, the father was attempting to buy the mother a blouse for Christmas and couldn't remember what size she wore, so he guessed. Being a stereotypical man, he had the blouse gift-wrapped at the store, and his package was mixed up with the blouse another husband was buying. When the mother opened the present, she was appalled, because the blouse in the box was a size 18. The father was all flustered and asked what size she wore. She replied with no small amount of outrage, "What size? Why, I wear a size 12!"

The way it was said made it sound like it was the most obvious and natural thing in the world. And that has stuck with me for well over 20 years. I spent my whole late childhood, teenage years, college years, twenties and thirties with this thought: "Size 12 is what grown-up women should wear. If I could spend my whole life as a size 12, that would be just about perfect."

Now, coincidentally, size 12 probably is the right size for me to strive for. It's what I wore when I was 21 years old and smack-dab in the middle of the normal weight range for my height. But I think it's kind of funny that, instead of spending my formative teen years obsessed with the kind of airbrushed perfection and unattainable size that's so often pushed on young people, I spent those years unknowingly yearning for something that's most likely just right for me. It would have been better if I'd also developed better exercise and eating habits, so that I wouldn't have to work so hard to get back to my "ideal," but that's a story for another day.

Oh, and the play resolved by the father confessing that he'd actually purchased a size 10 blouse because he thought his wife was smaller than she was and returning to the mall with the mixed-up package. The other husband was making the same trip and everyone was happy in the end. A very sophisticated piece of theatre!

I plan to be a size 12 very soon. I just hope the opportunity to say "What size? Why, I wear a size 12," presents itself at some point. I suspect it would be rather satisfying.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CEILIE2 5/1/2010 7:49AM

    Thank you for sharing that.
Size 12 is good......... emoticon

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Change you can see!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Yesterday I wore a new cardigan and tank top to work and I was surprised and pleased to note that my waist looked more defined. It looked more hourglassy and less blobby. I thought it was just that the sweater had a remarkably flattering cut. It is pretty flattering. It's fitted, with 3/4 sleeves and an at-hip length. It makes my torso look longer. However, today I'm wearing a loose cropped jacket over a t-shirt, and that defined waist is still there!

I think it's due to the particular area I seem to have lost most of my weight. As of today, I have lost 18.5 pounds since January and I swear 90% of that has been from the waist up. My belly fat is still very present, but my upper abdominal area is much more toned.

Speaking of new clothes, I have a very strong suspicion that it's going to be a very colorful summer. I seem to be all over coral, hot pink and turquoise lately. I can't help but think that's due to an increased confidence in the way I look.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ESBELL 4/28/2010 9:43PM

    emoticon GREAT JOB!!

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POOHLA711 4/28/2010 3:32PM

    That's great! I can feel your confidence coming through the computer screen! Keep up the good work!

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HPLANDER 4/28/2010 2:11PM

    Way to go. You are doing great.

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YOJ2539 4/28/2010 12:40PM

    Good for you!!!!

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Progress and girly stuff

Monday, April 26, 2010

Woo! I must really be a blogger now- I attracted a spammer. I wonder how many calories you burn deleting comments?

Anyway, I've been really happy with my progress lately. I had set a goal of getting to 210 by the end of April. Well, on Saturday, I weighed myself and darned if the scale didn't say 210.5. I had to chuckle about that, though, because I knew it wouldn't last. First of all, I had some pretty big eating/drinking plans for Saturday night. Second, I knew I was less than 48 hours from TTOTM and the sugar cravings and bloat that always accompany it. Still, I have high hopes that I will be unbloated and happy once again by the end of the week/month. The sugar cravings have already ended.It's amazing what a McFlurry can do to alleviate the lady pain. Naturally, though, my scale is saying I regained six pounds. Thank you for that, water weight!

Of course, this also puts a momentary crimp in my C25K progress. On Friday, I was super-excited because I made it through the entire week 3 program without stalling or shortening. Last Monday, I ran my first experience measuring my intervals in minutes instead of seconds as :90/2:40/:90/1:30, :30, 1:00. On Wednesday, I felt a side stitch forming before I even started running, which didn't bode well for the experience. Still, I ran it as :90/3:00/:90/2:40. I ran three minutes without stopping! And amazingly, it was pretty close to the 12-minute mile pace I've been trotting around with since I started week 2. And then on Friday, I ran the whole thing as :90/3:00, lather, rinse repeat. I ran 3/4 of a mile that day. Why, yes, I am awesome. Thanks for noticing!

I wasn't necessarily entirely happy with my performance, so I decided that this week, I'd repeat week 3 before moving on. That was actually part of my plan, though. Since I'm starting from scratch and I haven't been anything even close to a runner in about 25 years (I was on the track team in 7th grade. It wasn't pretty.), I planned to follow C25K as not so much a nine week plan as a nine step plan that allowed me to adjust fully to each "week" before progressing. It seems to be working out fairly well. I am a bit concerned about running this week, though. Last time I ran during TTOTM, my knee did this weird sliding thing and it's been troubling me since. Not a lot, but more than before. Could be a coincidence. Might not be. In any case, I'm going to be careful this week.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KARVY09 4/26/2010 11:09AM

    Yeah, it takes most people more than 9 weeks to complete C25K. Take it slow and easy and have a great week!

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Assignment: Trouble Goal

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

So, this week's SparkDiet "action step" is to blog about a "trouble goal" and try to come up with a solution. I have a lot of trouble goals. This is due, in large part, to my habit of making plans and then not following through. So I develop goals and just leave them hanging over my own head.

The one that seems to be most pressing right now is my goal to get more sleep. At the beginning of the month, I made a list of things I would do to aid my weight loss and overall well-being. The goal I set is fairly modest: I just want to get at least 6 hours of sleep every night. Despite it being ostensibly attainable, I have not been able to stick to it. On a typical work day, I wake up at 5:00 and hit the snooze for the next half hour, not really getting out of bed until 5:30-5:45. I'm out the door at about 7:00 AM, with two travel mugs of coffee and a healthy but portable breakfast to eat on the road. My hours are supposed to be 8:00-5:00, but I often stay late at the office. I have a co-worker who I usually walk out with and she *says* she wants me to help her leave on time because we both have that as a goal. However, if I have my computer shut down and ready to leave, she often hasn't even started powering down. And then we talk in the parking lot a bit. I'm usually lucky if I'm headed home by 6:30. It takes me around an hour to get home and lately, I have been heading straight to the gym for C25K sessions/weight training. I'm typically at the gym for about an hour and a half (hour and fifteen actively working out). I usually end up leaving the gym at a little after 9:00. I go home, feed my cat, finally have dinner, watch TV, read for a little while, and go to bed at around midnight.

Except... those hours tend to creep. I'm often not in bed until 1:00. I don't watch as much TV as I did before, but I still watch a lot. My sleep isn't often restful. And that typical day doesn't address atypical days. For instance, last night I went out to dinner and drinks with a friend and didn't even get home until after midnight. This cannot go on. It's not healthy. It's not even safe! I get eye strain, fatigue, bloat, all the dreadful stuff people say will happen if you're sleep deprived.

I think the bottom line is that I need to be more firm about getting out of the office on time. I do that and my entire day will shift forward by about an hour and a half. Unfortunately, I did need to make a compromise about starting and finishing times two days a week in order to fit in my Thursday night golf league. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, I will come in at 7:00. On Wednesdays, I'll stay until 6:00 and on Thursdays I get to leave at 3:30. The earlier start means that I will lose an hour of sleep on those mornings. I'm going to have to make some different compromises with myself in order to get more sleep.


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