Monday, October 31, 2011
In 1990, I tried to run a 5K. I was 34 years old, I could walk forever, and it was the Cornhusker State Games. I figured, how hard could it be? Turns out, impossibly hard for the untrained. I ran as far as I could, walked the rest, and could barely walk for a week because my calves hurt so bad. It would be another 15 years before co-workers convinced me to enter the Chase Corporate Challenge, where I have a 7 year history of not being able to run the full 3.5 mile course.
This year, I set out to change that history. I turned myself into a runner who can run for longer than 3.5 miles. The ultimate goal is the 2012 Chase Corporate Challenge, where I have a chance to be the fastest runner from my employer; but along the way, I thought I'd sign up for an organized 5K to see how much fun it is when I'm prepared for it.
Three weeks ago I dropped my registration for a local 5K into the mailbox. After not hearing anything and not seeing my check clear, I sent off an email inquiry this weekend. Today I got email confirmation that my entry was received.
My first organized 5K since the fiasco of the 1990 Cornhusker State Games will be next Saturday, November 6, at 8 AM. It will feel like 9 AM, because that's Daylight Wasting Sunday. My to-do list is getting done. Figure out how to run in colder weather, check. Confirm that the entry was received, check. Figure out where and when to get my packet, check. Enter SP virtual race for that week, check. Left to do: Figure out how to pack to drive myself to and (more importantly) from the race. Plan an appropriate taper of running this week, probably with my last run on Friday instead of Saturday.
The training aspect, plus a heavy week of evening commitments, means today was probably my only gym session to lift weights this week. That's okay. I can maintain my strength on one session a week, though it's hard to make progress on that little. I had a good session today, which helps me to be content with waiting for a week to lift again. The morning TGU/Windmill combos will help my attitude as well.
It's good to have a race to look forward to. That's a bright spot on the Halloween night when I have no trick or treaters as of 9 PM, and I'm close to shutting off lights and going to bed.
Sunday, October 30, 2011
I joined SP on 7/10/2011, but didn't get around to doing "before" pictures till the end of July:
I weighed 196.6 on 7/10, but was down to 192.2 on July 31. There was probably also some improvement from better fitness over that period, but it likely wasn't dramatic. If I had a "before" picture from late 2008 when I peaked at 221, that would be dramatically different.
I reached my initial goal of 175 on 10/7/2011, weighing in at 174. By then I was thinking in terms of monthly pictures, so I didn't take any. Tomorrow is Halloween, and my schedule is unlikely to allow time to mess with pictures; so I took them today:
This morning's weigh-in was 170.4 lbs.
I didn't do a good job of matching scale between these two sets, so it may not be obvious that the kettlebell in the July pic is 35 lbs., while the kettebell in the October pic is 45 lbs. In July I couldn't snatch a 45 lb. kettebell; today I can snatch one reliably enough to pose for the picture on a 10 second delay.
I'm happy with the results. If anything, the pictures understate the difference I see in the mirror.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Okay, it isn't *really* cold just yet. This morning, the temperature was reported as 35° Fahrenheit at 6 AM. I went running about 7, and the temp was reported at 33° at 8 AM. Call it 34° F (1° C, for those of you on the other system). Wind was reported as calm. That made this a perfect morning to test my theory about clothing to run in down to about freezing.
I wore one of my brand new base layer shirts under a shell, compression shorts, and the warmup pants that I'm told are really a shell for the lower body. My usual running socks and shoes needed no modification, but I swapped out my ball cap for an acrylic stocking cap. Took along my light washable gloves, because I can always put them in my pockets if I don't need them.
This worked out mostly well. My torso was a bit chilly when running into the wind that wasn't supposed to be there. I remember a runner from work telling me that in the intermediate cold he sometimes puts a breathable sleeveless tee over the base layer for more body warmth. Too bad I only own one, and it's dirty. Oh, well. Once the run starts, I'm not going back. That was the only adjustment I'd make; the rest of the attire was well suited to the conditions.
I needed the gloves. In truly cold weather, I'll need warmer gloves or a layer over these gloves. If it gets cold before I have the clothing budget, I'll try putting work gloves over these. My cheap stocking cap functioned amazingly well, considering that it wasn't designed specifically for running. I might not have needed a sweat band under it.
It might have been my imagination, but I thought the streets were more deserted today than they were a week ago. Perhaps the first somewhat cold Saturday got people who didn't have to be out to sleep in? In any event, traffic was a non-issue on this run. I added a little twist to the end because my standard 5.2 mile loop was too short for 40 minutes.
And I learned that 40 minutes is about the limit of my current capability. I could have kept running a little longer if I'd had a longer route; but I was glad to slow to a walk when I got to my driveway at the 40 minute mark. That mapped out to 5.35 miles; I guess I'm not running a 10K in the near future. Maybe next summer, if training to run for a full hour turns out to be fun. For now, the plan is to maintain the running capability I have rather than to seek to expand it.
Friday, October 28, 2011
The first time I tried to lose weight, I kept getting derailed by Snack Day at work. As long as it was only once a month, I could make slow progress; but when co-workers found excuses to turn it into twice a month, or even once a week, I'd gain more on the snack day eating than I'd lose on the other days.
I now know that my eating pattern on those Snack Days was very unhealthy, almost compulsive. I don't think it was quite in the territory of needing Overeaters Anonymous, but it was close enough that I think I have some appreciation for what the OA folks write about.
In 2009, I lost 20+ pounds on the "rodent diet." There were reports of mice in the building, and Snack Day was forbidden. Food in the cubes and hallways was also forbidden, and there were rules about carrying food in and out. I learned a lot about what I had been mindlessly eating when the mindless trip up the aisle to the bowl of chocolate could no longer be done. Once the rodent problem was solved, I tried to keep the habits up. Some lasted, some didn't.
Today marks the return of Snack Day to my workplace. What's different this time is, I've been on SparkPeople for three and a half months. I've learned to track my food in detail. I've achieved my initial goal weight, and dropped a few pounds lower. I've become a runner. I've learned that my appetite control is broken, and I will need to be aware of (and possibly need to track in detail) what I eat for the rest of my life.
This morning I dutifully brought in my contribution, a purchased container of mini pumpkin muffins. The idea behind this choice is that if they don't all get eaten by co-workers, they are something that I can work into my eating plan over time until they are gone. They aren't as dangerous as the Nancy's Party Spirals that I used to bring. (That, and Sam's Club didn't carry Nancy's Party Spirals when I looked. Sometimes you get bailed out by pure dumb luck.)
When I arrived, there were two plates of something covered by aluminum foil. In the past, I would have peeked to see what was there. In the past, I would have cracked open the treats before 9 AM, and had more when everyone had a break. In the past, I would have munched more or less mindlessly all day long.
Today I let the mystery plates remain a mystery until someone else opened them. They turned out to be rice krispie treats and brownies. Later, some incredibly rich frosted brownies from a local bakery came in the door. In the late morning, I broke down and had half of a decadent brownie and a rice krispie treat. That was it before lunch. I added some more goodies as dessert for lunch, and a bit more in the afternoon, but didn't lose all control. While the day's nutrition is long on fat and sugar, it is within ranges for calories and all the macronutrients.
Of course, staying in range is a heck of a lot easier on a maintenance range than it was on a weight loss range 400 calories per day lower than my current range!
Thursday, October 27, 2011
One of the disadvantages of having lost a lot of weight is that I have to shop for clothes. For daily life, I've got that done. It pretty much blew away my clothing budget, and it was a pain in the butt, but I got it done.
Then there's exercise. Specifically, running. I've got clothes I can run in, in good weather. I've got clothing I can walk in, in any weather. But it turns out that running in bad weather needs different clothing than walking in bad weather.
A few days ago I stopped in at a local running shop and got a discussion of running clothes for cold weather. I also got sticker shock when I looked at their stuff. No doubt I'll be buying some stuff there, because they have stuff that is specialized for running. But before I load up, I need to shop around.
Today I reworked my budget. Found a few dollars in a category that didn't need them, and moved them to the clothing category. Then I promptly spent most of them. Walmart sells a perfectly good base layer top for running, if you know what you're looking for. It's half the price of the ones in the running shop, or maybe a bit less. I bought 4 of them, on the theory that I may run as many as 4 days in a week. Had enough left in the clothing budget to pick up one pair of compression shorts. I don't know if they'll be as wonderful as the longer term runners say they are, but I'll give them a try. If they turn out to be great, I can go buy more when I have more money in the clothing budget.
In any event, I now have the base layer and the shell for winter running; I may have to go back to the running shop to get a midlayer. But the base and shell might get me through November.
Anyway, that's the aspiration. Saturday is supposed to be cold enough that I'll be able to test the base + shell theory in real weather. If it works out, I made a good purchase today.
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