Thursday, October 13, 2011
Today was Week 5, Day 2 of the 5K Your Way running program. After turning in a slower pace for W5, D1 than the previous 2 sessions, I tried to pick it up. I deliberately tried to run a little faster in the early part of the course, and I tried not to decelerate as hard on the downhills.
This worked. I covered 4.06 miles in 30 minutes, for a 7:23 pace per mile. I expect my 5K pace on Saturday might be a little slower, because we're supposed to have colder weather with wind and maybe rain. Today might have been the last day of really good running weather this year, and was almost certainly the last good evening for running this year. Even at 6:30, it was getting toward dusk; and we go back to Daylight Wasting Time in three and a half weeks.
No injuries, the run felt good, the time was good, I'm happy with my pace, I got in 15,637 steps when I sat down to record the run. Should have over 16K by bed.
After dinner, the pedometer still said 15,637 steps. Apparently the step counting mechanism has broken. I tried resetting to factory defaults, and I tried removing and reinstalling the battery. That gives me a constant 0 steps instead of the constant 15,637. The clock still works, but no steps are counted.
Tomorrow I will break a 3 month streak of 10K steps per day, because I won't be counting steps. I ordered a pair of new pedometers from Amazon, but they won't get here till the middle of next week.
I'm having pedometer withdrawal symptoms. It shouldn't be too bad on work days, if I just follow the normal routine. I'll beat 10K steps even if I don't know exactly how many I have. Saturday I'll need to get in a walk or more running than just a 5K to get 10K steps; not having the pedometer will be a nuisance.
Sunday I could be under 2K steps without a pedometer to remind me to get out and move a bit. I'll have to think about how to deal with that. Hmm. Maybe I need to look for a cheap pedometer locally tomorrow or Saturday. Should have thought of that before I ordered from Amazon.
Oh, well. In the grand scheme of things, missing a pedometer for a week will be a blip. I can still get some exercise in, and I can still track what I eat. I will get another working pedometer, and life will go on.
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.
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