Friday, December 02, 2011
Today was a day off work with no major commitments. I relaxed much of the day, and had a nice chat with my daughter, who came over to do her laundry. I got a 52 minute walk in, but no panoramic photo from the top of the hill because of the wintry mix in the air. 34° F (1° C) with snow that wasn't sticking on the ground. As I walked, because today is a non-running day, I thought that this was really better weather for running than for walking. Oh, well. I can run tomorrow.
Late afternoon I geared up to get groceries. One of the bad things about eating healthy is I have to do this more often. It's just not possible to buy a two week supply of bananas! As I headed out, I realized that I had more time than I'm likely to have for a couple of weeks, so I may as well get a disagreeable task out of the way.
I went shopping for clothes. Specifically, I wanted jeans and flannel shirts.
I'm currently wearing the thinnest jeans I've worn in many years, Lee relaxed fit 34 x 32. I've worn as fat as 38 x 32, but right now the 34" waist is a bit loose. So I poke around the racks, and find Lee regular fit in 33 x 32 and 32 x 32. I wonder . . . before I was married the first time, I used to wear Wrangler 32 x 32. The slim, fit a cowboy jeans. I don't see Wranglers around here, but I don't see very many guys built like cowboys either.
So I take the regular fit jeans into the dressing room. The 33 x 32 fit comfortably. I can get into the 32 x 32, and I could probably wear them; but they're a tight fit. I'm not sure I might not have another inch to lose to make them comfortable; but if I do lose that inch, 32 x 32 jeans will be around forever. You don't always find a 33 inch waist. And moving from relaxed fit to regular fit is really a bigger change than moving from a 34 inch waist to 33 inch.
Put the jeans back on the shelf, and tried on flannel shirts. They're in the meaningless small, medium, large, XL sizes. Turns out I fit a medium. Go back, grab two pair of 33 x 32 regular fit jeans, and two medium flannel shirts, and get the heck out of the store. Grocery shopping after that was routine and uneventful, other than the expected Christmas shopping slow checkout lines.
As it happens, the flannel shirts I liked came with a gimmick, packages with a tee shirt. I'd just as soon pay a dollar less and not get the tee shirt, but there it is. I now have two dark blue, size medium tee shirts. I wear large. Just for giggles, I try on the tee shirts when I'm putting clothes away.
The medium tee shirts fit. My existing large tee shirts have become too large to fit properly, and I didn't notice it until I put on a shirt that fit right.
Sigh. I suppose I should go shopping again, and get medium white tee shirts to wear under my business casual and dress shirts. Not today. That trip will have to wait until I have the emotional energy to deal with Christmas season checkout lines again.
Meanwhile, I need to haul some old 36 x 32 relaxed fit jeans and large long sleeved shirts somewhere to donate them.
Thursday, December 01, 2011
. . . and the wind is the most brisk there, too.
The contractors got done a bit past 3 PM today. The basement looks much better. The mold is gone, there's white anti-mold paint on the cement blocks, and the place is much lighter. The most important part doesn't show, and that's fixing things so that water will flow properly to the sump pump instead of accumulating inside the block walls. Time will tell, but this is supposed to prevent the conditions that were favorable for mold growth in the first place.
The afternoon was sunny, with a temperature of 46° F (8° C). Not quite tee shirt weather for running, but definitely shorts weather. I wore a light compression shirt, and put a sleeveless tee shirt (should that be called an "i shirt?") over that for torso warmth. That worked out well as I went out to run in the sunlight.
Ran the big hill the easy running direction, because this was not the time of day to try to cross the major road while running. There was enough traffic to notice, but normal running safety measures of staying on the shoulder and running against traffic were sufficient to avoid close calls. There were some buses that didn't move over, but I had enough room for comfort.
The big hill was harder this direction than the first time I ran it, probably because I was running faster to get there. After the big hill, I took 2 out of my 3 minor hill stretches on the way back. By the time I got to the top of the 2nd, I decided not trying for all 3 was the better part of valor. Still, this is progress. After the hill work, I felt I was running more slowly; but later, after some flat distance, it was natural to pick the pace back up.
I was approaching 44 minutes as I came back to my driveway. Well, let's add a little distance to get that 9th Spark Point. Turned out traffic wouldn't let me cross my own street when I wanted to, so I ended up adding time to 46 minutes instead of 45. That's good, too; the result mapped out to 6.32 miles, or a bit further than 10K, for an average pace of 7:17 per mile.
I'm much happier with my activity level today than I was yesterday. I also got to see a nice view of the valley from the top of the hill. Since tomorrow needs to be a day off from running, maybe I'll walk back to the hill with a camera. Or maybe not. The weather forecast calls for a slushy accumulation of less than an inch. I'll have to see how accurate that is; if it's just a little colder than the forecast, there could be some pretty photo ops.
Today's weather was a gift. I can't count on this type of weather lasting through December, and there will be few days in December when I'm free to run in the warmest part of the day. I might even have wet snow or crunchy slush to run in as soon as Saturday morning.
But it's all good. I've got the clothing I need for the near term probable weather, and I'll figure out what to get for the nasty weather by the time it gets here.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
A while back, I signed up for a free home energy audit. The audit didn't get completed; the presence of black mold on my basement walls meant that the tech couldn't do a test that might spread the mold into the air. So I got some references, and found that the mold was a symptom of a larger water problem. The good news is that this can be fixed, and I can pay a professional to fix it right.
Today was the first day of the contractor working to fix the problem. My homework had been to move all the clutter away from the basement walls so the contractor can work; that got done some time ago. Today I took off from work so I could be home to let the workers in and hang around to answer any questions. That, and it seemed like a good idea to be here while the work was being done.
The result of this is that I spent most of the day in my house. I got one exercise walk in, comparable to one of my longer lunch walks on a work day; but I wasn't comfortable spending the time gearing up and gearing down from running.
So . . . it's past 6:30 pm, and the pedometer reads 9913 steps for the day. I'll get in my 10K steps, but it's going to be a light day. And it's a day with no running. Okay, the walk was at a 13:33 pace per mile; but it didn't feel like real cardio. The physics geek in me says that even though I'm not working my heart for cardio, walking at that pace still burns the calories from doing the work of moving my body 5K in 42 minutes. But it still *feels* like an inactive day. In a few minutes I'll go to choir practice, which is also pretty sedentary.
I've got another day of this to get through tomorrow. But at least now I know what to expect. I need to take a walk in the morning, just to feel like I'm not crippled. And I have no evening commitments tomorrow, so I'll run in the evening. Tomorrow will be the evening to try out my reflective harness, headlight, and tail light. I expect that it will be approaching dark by the time I start running, and full dark before I finish. If the weather forecast is reasonably close, temperature and wind will not be major issues.
It's a plan. Tomorrow is another day of being home with the contract workers, but it's not going to be another day of minimal steps and no running.
Monday, November 28, 2011
Yesterday I hit another new 25+ year low weight. This would be a good thing if I were still trying to lose weight, but I'm trying to maintain. So I added yet another 200 calories to the nutrition plan, and worked to eat near the top of the revised range. That was okay, on a Sunday.
Today it was back to work. Breakfast is bigger than it was in weight loss phase, and I had a snack packed for mid-morning or mid-afternoon, but the calories still piled up at the end of the day. Got them all in, and found enough protein, but I'm feeling stuffed. Not traditional ate everything in sight Thanksgiving Day stuffed, but uncomfortably full.
I think I know what's going on here, but I haven't figured out what to do about it yet. What I think is going on is, I'm burning an awful lot more calories since I started running regularly. And I think I'm actually experiencing the need to eat a midmorning snack and a midafternoon snack like I've read about. I haven't been packing enough food to pull this off, and as a result I'm pretty hungry by 5 PM. If I address the afternoon hunger at work, I shouldn't have to eat as much late, and I won't have that stuffed feeling.
The issue is packing what I'm going to eat during the day on work days. I don't trust the work refrigerator. I think Saddam Hussein might have used it in an attempt to develop weapons of biological warfare. So I need to pack stuff that doesn't have to be refrigerated. So far, I have baby carrots, hard boiled egg, almonds, and raisins. I can vary that to include walnuts (more fat and less protein than almonds) and craisins (nutritionally equivalent to raisins).
You'll notice that the only proteins I can pack are bonded with fats. No low fat cottage cheese, no chicken breast. And of course, the options for buying lunch are terrible near work.
So, what to do? Do I try to pack more protein into breakfast, and not worry about packing carbs for the work day? Or do I look for some way to haul lean protein into work that has so far eluded me? Or do I back off my attempt to have at least 19% of my minimum calorie range be protein, and live with more of the calories being carbs and fat?
I know, there isn't a single right answer. I just have to keep trying stuff till I find what works for me. But I'll indulge in this whine while I'm still looking for a workable solution.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
I slept late today, for a weekend; I didn't roll out of bed until about 10 minutes before the alarm would have gone off at 6. That's what passes for late on weekends these days. I had two thoughts on a morning run. One was that if I cut back on the my computer time with the Spark, I could get it in; the other was that it would be nice to prepare for church in a leisurely fashion. Did the part of the morning routine that could go either way, and checked the weather.
53° F and partial clouds, little wind. Near perfect running weather. That made the decision. This is shorts and tee shirt running weather, and I have a white running tee shirt for what little dark is left.
I had mapped out a 3.5 mile block to take the big hill the other direction today. That should fit in the time I have, and I can add distance late if I have the time and energy. Hit the road later than yesterday, but soon enough.
A bit more than a mile was part of a very familiar route. I have a landmark for one mile, and it was light enough to see my watch. The one mile split was 7:12. Okay, this is going to be a normal training pace, at least until I get to the hill. Traffic was light, and I was able to cross the major road in stride. So far, so good.
The first part of the hill wasn't that steep. Done this kind of stuff many times, just don't run out of energy. The second, steep section was no steeper than the parts on the other side of the same hill that I've trained; just longer. The entire hill didn't look as intimidating.
By the time I got to the third part, near the top where it wasn't quite as steep, I was feeling the challenge. The length of the steep part had made itself known, and there was no rest break in the middle of this side like on the other. But I kept running, and as I got to the top I saw the sunrise. Guess there was an advantage to having a bit of a later start. Crossed the road near the crest, and ran a bit less than two tenths of a mile on the wrong side until the sidewalk started; but I wanted to cross when there was no traffic, and there are bike lanes on both sides of the road there.
The planned route from this point was the same as I ran yesterday, only in the opposite direction. I was reminded of Mark Twain writing about how, once he learned the Mississippi River one direction, he had to learn it all over again in the other direction. The brief rest in the uphill on yesterday's run that was a hardly noticeable decline was a noticeable incline this direction. Not a killer, but I could tell it was there. Then there was some gentle downhill, and some inclines that I hadn't noticed as declines at all yesterday.
As I was running, I reflected that I'm not only training for hills; I'm training psychologically for long straight distances. Earlier in training, twisty paths were good. They had lots of landmarks to show progress. But organized races tend to have long straight stretches. I need to run some of those, so I get used to them and don't need the frequent landmarks. Today was great weather to just enjoy the run and not worry about how far it was to the next corner.
Near home, it becomes apparent that the full 3.5 mile route will be under a half hour. So I take the opportunity to add some distance, running some of my other familiar streets in the opposite direction that I usually run. The long stretches that drove me nuts during interval training are now no big deal. They're much shorter than the straight stretches I ran to get to, over, and back from the big hill.
Third goal for today's run, scope out running on some roads that are likely to be plowed in the winter. Check. I now have a route that the snowplows will hit, and I've been over the ground. Come snowfall, I can pay attention to what the road conditions are, because I will already be familiar with the underlying terrain.
The added distance made it 4.75 miles in 35 minutes, for an average pace of 7:22 per mile. Back out the faster first mile, and it's 7:25 for the last 3.75 miles. I can live with that as a training pace in good weather. We'll just have to see how much it slows down when the weather gets nasty.
There will be nasty weather this winter; the question is whether I'll be prepared to keep up the running anyway. So far, the running is a lot of fun. I hope it continues to be fun regardless of the weather.
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