Monday, October 10, 2011
This evening was Week 5, Day 1. The protocol says to run 30 minutes, in which I covered 3.92 miles. This is a bit off the pace I ran 40 minutes on Saturday. That might just mean that the easy training gains are in, and now I see some variability in how well rested I am and what course I run.
Two more sessions left in the training protocol. Thursday I will run 30 minutes again. I might use Thursday to test out trying to push for speed, knowing that I can run for the stated time. And Saturday I'll time a known 5K route. It won't be like a real race with other runners, but it will be a fixed 5K distance.
That brings me to the end of the structured running training. I've signed up for a local 5K on Daylight Wasting Sunday, November 6. Obviously, I need to keep running between now and then if I want to put in a respectable showing. But I get to build my own running maintenance program.
I don't know what kind of routine I'll end up settling with. I'm thinking I want to keep a longer run on Saturdays, but I'll experiment during the week. If the weather is nice, I can get a shorter run in on my lunch hour. That would free up an evening for strength training, which has been slighted recently.
I will also soon need to figure out how to dress to run in colder weather. Hopefully I can make my mistakes small and I'll know what I'm doing in fall weather by November 6!
Sunday, October 09, 2011
I'm in Stage 3 of the Spark Diet. The current email says I'm supposed to give myself a big reward for 12 weeks of hard work. Instead of doing that, I punished myself.
I went shopping for a new suit.
I dislike shopping for clothes. Shopping for formal wear is worse than shopping for casual wear. Suits are the top of the avoidance list, being formal wear and custom tailored and expensive. I hate the whole process.
But, the suit I bought to celebrate my low weight in 2005 is definitely too loose now. (Less than a year ago, it was too tight and I wore a fatter suit instead.) And I heard an ad on the radio yesterday saying Men's Wearhouse had a buy one, get one free sale that ends Monday. Monday is a running day, so that leaves today. Went shopping after church.
Found out that I've shrunk from a 42 coat to a 40. Waist is 34, which wasn't a surprise. Ended up getting two suits that should work okay. One of the slacks is snugger than the other, which will tell me if I'm losing fat. And I got a sportcoat, which I can wear with Dockers if I have to.
Got that unpleasant task out of the way, and rewarded myself with a 2.71 mile walk to mail my registration for a local 5K on Daylight Wasting Sunday, and to get my 10K steps in today. The weather was beautiful, and the walk was a lot more fun than shopping for clothes.
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.
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