Saturday, October 08, 2011
Eight days ago I had a man in for a home energy audit. He wouldn't do the blower test for where the air leaks because of mold in the basement. The concern is putting a possibly harmful substance into my breathing air.
Today I got another fellow in to look at the mold. It can be dealt with. This will take three days and have a noticeable cost, though I don't have a precise quote yet. Part of the solution is fixing the moisture problem so the mold won't come back. I will also get a quote for the real solution to fixing my sump pump outflow to go to the creek instead of to the sewer.
That was a 10 AM appointment. Because of the time, I had to cancel 9 AM breakfast at McD with daughter. She's not hurting; I took her to Taco Bell when I helped her move on Thursday.
Having a 10 AM deadline at home instead of a 9 AM deadline a couple miles away let me be more leisurely than usual this morning. I didn't get out for my 5K training run until 7:42. This was Week 4, Day 3 of the 5K Your Way running program, calling for running 40 minutes. If I can keep up the pace I ran on Thursday, I will overshoot my standard 5.2 mile loop from home by a bit.
On this route, there aren't as many hills and I know where miles 1, 2, and 3 end. So I looked at my watch at those mile points. Mile 1, 7:43. Mile 2, 15:06. Mile 3, 22:34. Okay, looks like I started out slow then warmed up. That's fine.
Through the last third of the run, I'm concerned that I won't be able to keep running the whole time. This isn't entirely rational, but that's how I was thinking. There is a hill on the route that comes in that last third; I slowed down to rest before the hill, and managed to run up it. After that, it was pretty easy. As predicted by Thursday's pace, I overshot my driveway.
40 minutes, 5.33 miles. That's an average pace just a bit quicker than the 35 minute run on Thursday. It might just be that I had 5 more minutes to run after warming up on the first part.
I think this is the first time I've run over 5 miles continually in my life. That feels good. What feels better is, by now I have a cooldown and stretching routine that works so I can still walk afterwards.
Of course, I failed to look at my pedometer at the exact start of the run, or at the exact end. I did look a bit before and a bit after; the 40 minutes, 5.33 miles generated maybe 7500 steps.
Not all pedometer steps are created equal. Those 7500 steps felt like they were worth at least 10K walking steps. I've come to the belief that the value of the pedometer isn't so much on running days, as on the off days. It motivates me to get those 10K steps when I'm otherwise resting. That means I don't have any days of 2K steps just hanging around the house. The extra steps mostly don't count as exercise for the SP tracker; but it's worth getting them on days when I'm resting between runs.
Now, on to household maintenance chores. I have laundry to do, and downspout extenders to buy.
Friday, October 07, 2011
When I picked my goal weight, I did some internet searching for ideal weight. I picked a number in the range of estimates for my age, height, gender, and medium body frame. The number I picked turns out to be high in the range of estimates, but in the range.
Time and events change my perspective. When I weighed 219, it wasn't terribly important to know how much I should weigh. The direction the weight needed to move was pretty clear. When I weighed 196 and had bounced of 188 and 185 previously, the direction was still clear.
At 174, it's not so clear whether I've come far enough in that direction.
A few days ago, I revisited my internet search for ideal weight. I read more closely. The most extensive discussion of the topic I found was at a Halls MD site: www.halls.md/ideal-weight/body.htm
According to Halls, all the ideal weight estimates have problems. They gave their recommendation, without heavy enthusiasm. That system produces an ideal weight of 170 for me.
One of the more interesting methods was the "People's Choice" method. It estimates what people with my numbers think their ideal weight should be. What I find interesting is that the answer changes with how much I put in for the current weight. People with my numbers who weigh 175 want to weigh 172. If they weigh 172, they want to weigh 170. If they weigh 196, they want to weigh 182. If they weigh 168 or 169, they like their existing weight; below that, they want to weigh more.
Another question that didn't seem terribly important when I was 15 pounds heavier is, what is the standard for how these ideal weights are measured? The Met Life tables specify one inch heels and wearing clothes weighing 5 pounds. I can adjust those assumptions back to the way I actually weigh myself; but the other systems don't tell me what their weigh-in standards are. So I don't know if my current weight is truly comparable to the target weight from any other system.
Any canned system I find on the internet is going to deal in averages. The obvious thing to do for a custom answer to the question of what my ideal weight should be is to ask my doctor. As it happens, I did that when I weighed 191. She told me I'd be fine if I stayed at that weight and remained as active as I was. (I did neither of those things in the ensuing months.)
Of course, the real answer is that I shouldn't be targeting weight, per se. I should be targeting fitness and body fat percent. The problem with that is, I can't easily measure body fat percent. I can easily measure weight. I can kind of measure fitness, but not with one easy number. It looks like, how long can I run? How much weight can I lift? What size clothing fits right?
At the end of the musing and analysis, I get to a touchy-feely fuzzy area where I need to feel around for what weight actually feels healthiest. I'll call that maintenance, though I'm not committed at this point to maintaining in a narrow range. 175 was a good initial weight goal. Now I need to add back some calories, and see whether I stabilize there or somewhere lower.
I've only been in maintenance mode for one day, and I already see one big reason why maintenance is harder than losing. When I'm trying to lose weight, I may not know precisely where I'm going but I know what direction I need to go. When I'm trying to maintain, I don't know for sure whether I'm aiming for no gain or for no loss.
Thursday, October 06, 2011
I took today off work. The plan was to help daughter move into her new apartment. I could have been a comedy of errors.
Tuesday evening I texted daughter to let her know I'd reserved a U-Haul van and I'd pick it up at 8 this morning. Got a phone call back. Daughter needed to babysit her apartment from 8 to 12 for the cable company to come install internet. I had visions of nothing happening till 1 PM.
So I picked up the van and brought it home. There were three pieces in my basement that daughter wanted. The microwave cart wasn't a big deal. I didn't know about the dresser, but it turned out I could get it out of the basement by myself. Then there was the sofa that has been in my basement for 19 years and 10 months.
That sofa is heavy. The stairs are narrow. I correctly determined the way to turn the sofa, and got it half way up. Needed to move the bottom end over, and I'm at the top. Got down past the sofa to do that; might not have 10 pounds ago. Point to the SP nutrition tracker.
Did 6 reps of pull sofa up one step. Found that I couldn't get the middle leg through the doorway. (Yes, I'd already taken the door to the basement stairs off the hinges and put it elsewhere.) At this point, I remember ex-wife telling me the movers had to remove that middle leg to get the sofa down. So I try to get there. The sofa slides back down the stairs. Sigh. Remove the leg.
Try to do more reps of pull sofa up. Run out of steam. Some time in there, daughter called and told me internet was about done; but she was going to do (several things that I don't remember now) before she came over. I give up on the sofa till she arrives.
With daughter's help, I get the sofa to the top of the stairs. Can't get it out the back door. At this point, I remember ex-wife telling me the movers had to take *both* doors of the hinges to get the sofa in. Ain't gonna happen. The sofa goes back into the basement. It will come out in pieces, when I get around to disposing of it.
Load up the van with the stuff we could move, plus some clutter that daughter had stored at my house. There's room left, so we drive to daughter's old apartment and get more clutter. By the time we get it all into her new apartment (up flights of 6, 10, and 7 risers), I'm pretty wiped out.
Back to her old apartment. Daughter offers me sweetened iced tea; I take water. There are cookies; I grab the nutritional info and decide I can eat two. There is no reasonably close place to eat lunch, so we load her bed and a couple other smaller things, then get back to her new apartment. Get it all up those stairs, and we're both pretty wiped out.
If I never have to muscle a full sized mattress up another flight of stairs, I won't be disappointed with missing out on the experience. I tell daughter I hope this apartment lasts her a while. She says next time she moves she might go the moving party route, where you buy pizza and beer and get cheap muscle to help.
By the time we return the U-Haul van, it's 2 PM and we haven't had lunch. Off to Taco Bell, which daughter likes and I can work around. I'm hungry. I have a chicken flatbread sandwich in addition to my usual order, figuring I can come in at the high end of calories today if necessary. I feel much better after getting some food into my stomach; I worked too hard for just having a bowl of oatmeal with raisins at breakfast.
Daughter collects her car and a bit more clutter from my house and goes to settle in. By 4 PM, I'm mowing the lawn. In October, when the grass shouldn't still be growing. But it's a sunny day, and we don't get that many of those this late in the year, and the grass has been growing like spring. Sigh.
After all that, I can look at the evening at about the same time I'd normally get home from work. So what do I do? I do my 5K Your Way training.
By the time I get to run, the pedometer has 9800 steps on it. 5 or 6 thousand of those were tough steps moving furniture, but I don't have anything to record on SP as cardio. Get out, and take it gently in light of having already worked pretty hard. I plan to run the same route I ran Monday.
At my first time check landmark, I'm about 10 seconds off the pace I set Monday. At the place I strained my calf in Week 2, I'm about 20 seconds off the pace I set Monday. I figure I'm just tired from moving and mowing, and quit looking at my watch.
At the check off corner for adding or chopping distance to the route, I'm a few seconds ahead of the pace I set Monday. When I turn onto my street at the end, I'm 45 seconds ahead of Monday. I end up running 4.62 miles, compared to 4.54 on Monday. I may have started slower, but I didn't have to slow down as much to be able to keep running.
I custom build dinner to get enough carbs and protein to meet my minimums. Add an evening snack, and come in toward the low end of my calorie range, even with that Taco Bell Chicken Flatbread sandwich. And I'm satisfied. Go figure.
Looking back on the day with a lap full of purring cat, I can't believe I got all that done. Other people have days like this; I don't. If this isn't a delusion, it's a gift.
In a few minutes, I'll be off to bed. Tomorrow it's back to work. Conference calls and analyzing possible new rules and generally being sedentary except when I take a break to walk a bit. But today has been a very good day.
Monday, October 03, 2011
A while back, I blogged that I was not a runner: www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
My thinking at that time was, I am not a runner until I can run 30 minutes continually. I figured if I could actually keep running for a half hour, that would be good enough to complete the 3.5 mile Chase Corporate Challenge while actually running the entire course. If I can run all the way through that race, a bit longer than a 5K, I can call myself a runner.
Today was the big transition. After 2 weeks of remedial training, and 3 weeks of the 5K Your Way running program doing intervals (with a 9 day interruption to recover from a strained calf), today was Week 4, Day 1. It called for running 35 minutes. Since I hadn't been attempting to run further than the intervals, there was some doubt as to whether I could do this.
Weather: Cloudy, showers off and on all day. Temperature at 57 degrees. Recalling that SP says 55 is the ideal temperature for running, I leave the jacket at home. Good call. I probably could have got by in runners shorts, though I actually wore long pants.
Start out deliberately holding back, both because I didn't have much of a warmup and because I haven't run longer than 7 minutes at once since I started training. The 5 minute mark found me further than the walk 1/run 4 interval, but not by much.
I have 3 up/down hill stretches on this route. On the interval training, part of the biggest uphill stretch falls on a walk. Not today; no more walking. Got up all the hills, and noticed that running down them was a lot easier, almost like resting.
Got to the segments where I was always looking at my watch early. The psychology is different when I'm not going to slow for a walk at all. The longer stretches don't feel as long when I'm not looking forward to a walking interval.
Several times I had to bear in mind the sage advice of my sister, "Run slower." I managed to do this without slowing to a walk, and was able to pick up the pace later. This is encouraging, as I really didn't know how to pace myself before I started training.
Chopped a bit off the twisty route for the 40 minute walk/run intervals, and guessed that I'd end up somewhere close to home. Quite close, in fact. When I looked at my watch on the last stretch, it looked very close indeed. I picked up the speed, trying to get to my driveway by 35 minutes. Didn't do it, but got to the next door neighbor's driveway. Good enough, that's a point I can measure to on the map.
Walking cooldown from the walk/run intervals was walking about a tenth of a mile. Today, it was more like walking a third of a mile. That's okay, I already know that walking after the run is good for how my calves will feel tomorrow.
Stretched, took another short cooldown walk, and came in to map what I did. Turned out to be 4.54 miles, or an average pace of 7:43 per mile. At that pace, I could run the Chase Corporate Challenge in 27 minutes.
Today I am a runner. Doing this once doesn't make it permanent, so I'll be sure to finish out the 5K Your Way training routine. Then it will be a virtual 5K, and hopefully a routine of regular running till tax season, when I'll need to figure out how to deal with less free time.
And in the interval between April 15 and the Chase Corporate Challenge at the end of May, I'll train to run again. The second time through, it should be easier. I'll go into it knowing that I can do it.
Sunday, October 02, 2011
This morning as I got up and went to church, I thought to myself that I wanted to get a few things done this afternoon:
- Get an exercise walk (off day for running) to ensure 10K steps
- Vacuum. This has been squeezed out for too many weekends.
- Watch some football.
- Make burritos to take to work for lunch this week.
Hmm, I thought. The chances of getting all this done are slender. Football probably wins; I treasure my unstructured time.
Came home from church, and went for the walk. 5.2 miles in 72 minutes, for an average pace of 4.3 mph. I felt like I was hustling, but not really pushing to the limit even for a walk. I really felt like running, and it was hard not to.
Watched the entertaining second half of the Bills at Cincinatti. Since I'm not a Bills fan (I only live in upstate NY, I didn't grow up here), I found the game entertaining. The natives will be in mourning.
Along about that time, the cat started militating to be fed. That's annoying. He talked me into running the vacuum, which makes him shut up and go into hiding.
Got a case of the I don't wannas with the burritos. By main willpower, forced myself to edit my Spark recipe to use beef base instead of beef bouillon (less sodium) to boil the lentils and rice. That got late, so I boiled some eggs as backup for failure to finish.
Then I read my sister's blog about rebellion. Dang, I recognize that attitude. Went and assembled the burritos. I was less precise than I hoped, and the last one came out light on the stuffing. What the heck, I ate that one. It took me from low in the calorie range to high in the range (262 calories, less whatever being light on stuffing is worth), but I stayed in range.
The amazing thing is, in spite of getting everything done it still felt like a relaxing, unstructured Sunday.
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