Saturday, September 24, 2011
Saturday features 9AM breakfast with my daughter at McDonald's. I've got that down to an Egg McMuffin and hot tea, which isn't too bad to work around for the rest of the day.
Since I started making myself get to bed by 10:30 every night, I've noticed there's a lot of Saturday before breakfast. This morning, the idea was to try the 5K My Way training on my 5.20 mile loop. That loop has only one noticeable hill, which I didn't reach the last time I trained on that route. (Cycle 7 of walk 1, run 4 ended just before the hill; I walked up the hill and the rest of the way home last time.) Today I got through 8 cycles of walk 1, run 4 and called it Week 2, Day 3. So how did I do?
I play a game with myself where I try to go without looking at my watch on the running segments until less than a minute before the run ends, preferably less than half a minute. In Cycle 1, I was at 4:08 running the first time I looked at the watch. I might have been able to run a mile nonstop, but that wasn't the protocol I was following. Grade B+, because my legs prevented me from fully testing my cardio capabilities and proving they deserve an A.
The calves were fine until most of the way through Cycle 3. Then I began to feel the right calf, in the same place that was injured 9 days ago. Bummer. I reacted by slowing down the run. At this point, I'm almost 2 miles from home. I made what might have been a dumb decision. I decided to continue the protocol, but to run deliberately slower whenever I could perceive an upward incline or feel my right calf. There were periods when I ran more normally. There were also a couple of times when I took 3 or 4 quicker paces and was reminded why I was running slower. Got to the end of Cycle 7, not as far as the last time I took this route. Made a gut check, and started the running portion of Cycle 8 right at the only hill on the route.
I ran up that hill slowly. I didn't worry about how many times I looked at my watch, I stopped running right at the 40 minute mark. That turned out to be 4.84 miles, and I treated the remaining 0.36 miles to home as a walking cooldown. Did my stretches, and everything seems fine. Next run is Monday.
The legs get a passing grade, but without a lot of room to spare. Good thing I didn't take the route with more hills.
On to breakfast. Daughter's roommate/landlady has more drama. The fiance was sent packing, but not till after daughter had put a security deposit (which I funded) on another apartment. There's apparently a new boyfriend in the picture. Daughter sees this as too many people for the size house that roommate has. So daughter's move to an apartment by herself is on. No attempt was made to get the nonrefundable security deposit back.
We talked a bit about logistics and housewares. Some stuff, I can just give her. Other stuff, we went to Walmart and bought. I'd picked up a new, smaller microwave this week so daughter can have my old one. Things are looking good in daughter's life right now. She's excited about being on her own (and reclaiming her cat from me). Work is going well. Her boss likes her.
This is just the kind of news a father likes to hear. Life is good.
Friday, September 23, 2011
Yesterday I did a short walk/run as a reentry test. This morning I could feel that my calves had worked yesterday, but it was a good training feeling rather than an injury hurt. Tomorrow I'll do a walk/run without being as concerned about re-injury.
This morning I also weighed in at a new 20+ year low weight, 178.0. That's three pounds from my goal weight, and within what I envision my maintenance range to be. When I set that goal, I didn't really believe I'd get there before the end of the year. Now, it looks like I will get there before Halloween.
That's a little scary. I'm told that maintenance is the hard phase. Certainly it will require a new type of attitude. In maintenance, the idea is to eat and exercise to be healthy and not gain weight, rather than to take weight off.
I'm trying to wrap my head around the concept. Eat stuff like I'm eating now, only eat more of it. Hmm. I'm satisfied now, most days consuming in the lower part of my calorie range. Many days I end up with a late snack to bring the calories up into range for the day now; and the range will be higher.
If I need to add 200, or 500 calories per day to the diet, I think that can be done. I'll figure out the details. But what about when my exercise levels change? In the weight loss phase, that just means I lose weight faster or slower. In the maintenance phase, that means the calories need to go up and down in response to how much I exercise.
I'll have to think about that. I don't particularly trust the exercise tracker's calories burned calculations, and I'm not sure that everything I put in there would belong there for a pure calorie burning calculation. I'm also not sure that everything I omit from tracking as exercise should be omitted.
I've started reading SP articles on maintenance. It appears that the idea is to ease into maintenance, increasing calories by 200 per day for a week and seeing how things go before changing again. That makes sense. But I also foresee that there will be a lot of moving parts in my life when I get there. There will be holiday social eating. There will be variable exercise; while in 5K training, I don't know how much running versus strength training I'll do. When I get to the end of the 5K training, I don't know how much running I'll do regularly.
I probably have to get there and do stuff to figure it all out. But I'm by nature a forward looking kind of guy. I can't help trying to figure out in advance what the process of figuring it out will look like. I don't think that's all bad.
In my past weight loss efforts, the minimum weight tended to happen right about where I was comfortable that I'd made it permanent. Then the weight went back up. Making sure that doesn't happen this time deserves some serious thought before I get there.
If the serious thought is productive enough, maybe this time can be different.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
A week ago today, I strained my right soleus muscle. I might have had a lesser strain to the gastrocnemius, too; but I could really tell that the soleus hurt.
Today, for the first time since then, my calves felt symmetrical when I got up. After not having time to run Tuesday or Wednesday even if the calf had been healthy enough, this was a welcome change. I resolved to do some interval training this evening.
During the day, I could feel twinges in that right calf. But the twinges were in different places than where it had hurt before. I took that to be a good sign, that the injury had improved to where I could notice more minor stuff. Then after my lunch walk, some of those twinges were sharp. Very brief, but sharp.
So I thought about it. I've had a week off 5K training. The last training I completed was the Week 2, Day 2 program of walk 1, run 4 times 7. I crapped out in cycle for of Week 2, Day 3, which should have been walk 1, run 4 times 8. I *think* my calf feels good, but I don't know till I try. What is safe?
I resolved to limit the potential damage. I decided I'd stick with the walk 1, run 4 protocol, but put a distance limit on it, and not do any hills. Since the 5K that I'd mapped out for virtual races is pretty flat, that sounded good.
Got home after work. I should warm up, but I don't know what a good warmup for running feels like. What the heck, let's just walk around the "block." That's 0.86 or 0.89 miles, I forget which it measured out to be. Pleasant evening, internet says it's 75 degrees. Stop to admire some neighborhood cats, then pick up the pace on the last half. Linger a bit in my driveway so I can start on an even minute by my watch.
Cycle 1, I think I'm running a little slow. Turns out I get to the end of 4 minutes running right about where I did a week ago. After that, the route is different so I can't tell. Cycle 2, the calf feels no worse that when I walk. By cycle 4 I'm more concerned with my endurance than with the calf. Come to start the 4 minute run in cycle 5, and I'm close. I resolve to run all the way home even if it's over 4 minutes.
I ended up finishing the 5K (3.11 miles, as mapped out) in 24:57. I maybe could have gone another two cycles to replicate Week 2, Day 2; but let's stick to the protocol. I'd feel pretty stupid if I came up lame in cycle 6 or 7.
Do my walk to cool down, and I actually feel the uninjured left calf more than the right calf. Heh. Was mich nicht tötet, macht mich starker. Did my stretches. A week off has been good; my body doesn't feel as beat up as it did the last time I completed a training run.
Tomorrow I'll see how my calves are. Assuming everything feels normal, I'll try a full training protocol walk/run on Saturday.
Now I just need to figure out how to sqeeze in some time for strength training.
Monday, September 19, 2011
Today was a blood donation day. For the past couple of years, I've scheduled donations for Monday afternoons, and taken a half day off work. Today I took a full day. Slept in, and got up to find I weight 0.2 pounds more than yesterday. That still put's today's weight at the second lowest in over 20 years.
The original plan for my day off was to do my normal Monday 5K training in the morning, before the blood donation. After straining my right calf last Thursday, I hoped to get back to running by today.
That was not to be. The light testing paces told me I could run across an intersection if need be, but a sustained run would still not be a good idea. So I set off to walk the route that I had planned to run last Thursday. I got it most of it in, including the third little up/down hill I had added. I did chop off a short side trip around the local school's pick-up area. I realized before I got there that today is a school day, and school is in session. Let's leave well enough alone there.
Turned out that route, minus the school grounds, was 4.75 miles. I walked it in 68 minutes, for a 4.2 mph pace. The calf was noticeable, particularly on the hills, but not debilitating. I'm content with that much progress, for now.
I spent a little time thinking about weight loss, running, and blood donation. My sister tells me that she has been declined for blood donation at times due to a low runner's pulse. At times of extreme rest - sitting up in bed first thing in in the morning, sitting in a meeting for an hour - I've taken my pulse and got an answer below 50. While I don't trust myself to be accurate in taking my own pulse, I decided to walk to the blood donation appointment, about a half mile from home.
Read the material, and noted that "unexplained weight loss of 10 pounds or more in two months" was a reason not to donate. I'm down 13 pounds (rounded to the nearest pound) from my last donation 8 weeks ago.
It turned out that I got right in after reading the material. The nurse wasn't as talkative as some have been. She made no comment on the change in weight from last time. Pulse was 60. Blood pressure was 98 over 70, IIRC. I don't remember the last time I had a systolic pressure under 100. I take these results as an indication that the running program has done something for me, even if I'm currently on leave from it.
The donation was routine. The only noticeable difference from pre-Spark donations was that the nurse didn't mark my vein with a pen; she just eyeballed the needle in. I don't know if it's just this nurse, or if the weight loss has really made my veins that much easier to find. I was briefly light headed when I stood up, but I had considered that possibility after hearing my blood pressure. I dealt with it okay.
Walked home, and the pedometer read over 13K steps. My calf is feeling no worse than it did this morning, with a fairly normal number of non-running steps in the day.
Tomorrow it's back to the work routine, with evening commitments tomorrow and Wednesday. No sustained running till Thursday, no matter how well the calf is doing.
Next blood donation is in November. I hope to be able to run 30-40 minutes continually by then. We'll see how that affects the blood donation process.
Sunday, September 18, 2011
The bad news is, my right calf is still sore. A few tentative running steps were enough to convince me that I won't be running today. If the rate of improvement from yesterday to today continues to tomorrow, I won't be running tomorrow either. :(
So I'm looking for some good news. What is there?
This morning I weighed in at another 20+ year low weight. At 180.0, I'm 5 pounds from goal. Of course, that goal is slippery; it might go down after I get there.
Today is the first Sunday of wearing a suit after being in business casual for church all summer. Pulled out my thin suit, which I bought in 2005 when I was fluctuating between 188 and 190, the lowest I'd maintained since 1991. The pants were loose, but still wearable. I probably should shift down to a 34" belt.
That's kind of bad news. It means that if I lose another inch or two, I'll need to buy another suit. That would be annoying. Also scary; the last time I bought a suit at a low weight, I proceeded to put weight back on.
Oh, well. Leave the debacle of shopping for clothes till I have to. For now, I just moved my fat suits to the inaccessible side of the closet. If things go well, they can gather dust for a few years before I admit that I'm maintaining.
Today was warm and dry enough to mow the lawn. Mowing attire includes lineman's boots with high tops, steel toes, and steel shanks. I didn't feel the calf while mowing. I attribute this to a combination of support for the lower calf, restricted motion of the ankle, and short steps while mowing grass that grew more than it ought in a week this late in the season.
After mowing, I went for a walk to get my 10K steps in. Back in running shoes, I can feel the calf again; but it doesn't hobble me. Walked not quite 5K, and it timed out to a hair faster than a 4mph pace. Parts of the walk felt pretty good, but by the end I could tell it was time to wind down.
I may hit 12K steps puttering around the house this evening. Didn't even hit 11K yesterday, so I suppose that's a measure of the calf getting better. But dang, this is slow.
One day at a time. I took tomorrow off work, originally planning to do the 5K training in the morning before donating blood in the afternoon. That might turn into a morning walk before donating blood; if so, the next time I will have time to attempt running would be Thursday. That's a full week of rest for the bum calf. You'd think a week should be enough, wouldn't you?
Patience. I'm dealing with this a little better today than yesterday, but there is still room for improvement in the patience department.
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