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The view is spectacular from the top of the hill

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.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KRISZTA11 12/2/2011 2:42PM


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MOTIVATED@LAST 12/2/2011 5:21AM

    nice run!

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HEALTHIERKEN 12/1/2011 11:16PM

    Great that you're no longer moldy : )

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ONEKIDSMOM 12/1/2011 7:23PM

    The S word is in our forecast for Saturday! Brrrr! And tonight, dipping down into the teens. Yeah, after a long and lingering respite, old man Winter is going to visit us this year after all.

Glad you got your basement mold problem fixed, hope the solution turns out to be a long-term one! And I know what you mean about the "light" exercise days not seeming like you've been active at all.

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Home Repairs

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.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ONEKIDSMOM 11/30/2011 9:09PM

    Y'know what I think, bro? I think you've found a new hobby with toys associated! Have fun with the harness and lights... you'll be a jogging Christmas decoration!

I didn't get home 'til nearly 7 p.m. tonight because I stopped at the gym on the way home & played in the free weight room with all those sweaty beefy dudes with the real weights. Oh, there were two other brave women besides me... but mostly you see the marathon men and the football players (yeah, I'm sure a couple of those guys are linemen). I noticed something. They will ask each other if it's OK to move a bench, or take a turn on a piece of equipment... but approach a female working out to ask a similar question?

Hah! Hmmm. So, as a fellow weight room denizen, bro, ever ask a lady lifter about equipment use? Mostly you guys are using much heavier weights than I, but we all use the benches and the cable machines.

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BELSNICKEL 11/30/2011 9:04PM

    Sounds like it was a good day, And it was good ti get rid if the mold. Probably you will sing better with the rest. emoticon emoticon

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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.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MOBYCARP 11/29/2011 8:59PM

    Thanks for all the helpful suggestions. Today I tried taking a can of tuna and a 1960s era can opener that fit nicely in the lunch bag. That worked, and a 5 ounce can of tuna in an afternoon snack is not a problem when I'm trying to eat 3000 calories in a day. There was even room for the last slice of pumpkin pie this evening. Plus, the food was spread out enough to avoid the stuffed feeling.

I was amused when I looked at the tuna can. It loudly advertises itself as a source of healthy fats, but when I look at the nutrition there's just about one gram of total fat in the 5 ounce can, compared to 36 grams of protein by the SP measurement. Talk about lean protein!

I'll take a look at string cheese the next time I'm in the store. I can probably manage that, with tracking. Before tracking, that would have been a food that just disappeared quickly. If push comes to shove, perhaps chicken breast; I suppose I could build a BBQ chicken wrap at home, chill it, and nuke it at noon. Prep time is likely to limit how often I do something like that. Right now, it takes me maybe 2 minutes to load my lunch bag for the next day, including the time spent weighing stuff.

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KRISZTA11 11/29/2011 10:21AM

    I may sound careless, but I do pack chicken breast and yogurt for one working day without refrigeration, and cheese even for 2 days (in tin foil or plastic boxes), and it never caused any harm to me.
Salads will last half day without refrigeration too, if you bring the dressing in a separate box.
We have 2 fridges at the office, but conditions are similar to what you described, and no fridge at all during my business trips, this is why my approach is so permissive.

I usually eat 4 meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner and late dinner), 350-500 calories each, and a smaller snack. Sometimes lunch goes over 600 calories - and that feels stuffed, too.

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HEALTHIER_K 11/29/2011 10:07AM

    Good luck with figuring everything out and maintaining the way you want!

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FROGGGY13 11/29/2011 2:11AM

    I work in an actual lab, so while there is plenty of fridge and freezer space, I'd never put my food in there. The food fridge is ridiculously small, so I bring my food in a bag with a couple of "blue ice" packets.
Another thing you may consider is that, while the fridge may be unsanitary, if you seal your food in a ziploc or two, it can still be put in that fridge without the gross- out factor.

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HEALTHIERKEN 11/29/2011 1:20AM

    Candy! Liquor!
Just kidding about the liquor of course--except it's pretty broadly agreed that one or two alcoholic drinks, especially wine, per day can have salutory health effects. For non-refrigerable protein for work--have you tried bean salad? The vinegar in the dressing should keep bacteria under control for the few hours you'd need it to be at room temperature.

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ONEKIDSMOM 11/28/2011 9:23PM

    Tiny cans of tuna with pop top are now available... make a good supplement for workday mini-meals. Low fat, or rather "good" fat, and good protein.

I use "blue ice" to keep my salad chilled until noon. Does your workplace 'fridge have a reliable freezer compartment? Can you buy "Healthy Choice" entrees for lunch? Zap in microwave? Or is that not an option?

Mozzarella string cheese is also a low chilling required option. Blue ice in your lunch bag ought to keep it long enough for noon or early afternoon snack.

Good luck... and whine away!

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The Big Hill, the Other Direction

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.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHERYLEC 11/28/2011 6:40PM

    Thanks for your comments on my blog. Seems like your blog is something that I need to check out every so often. Very insightful. Good job. Cheers, C

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KRISZTA11 11/28/2011 2:50AM

    Lucky you, tee shirt and shorts running in November : )

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HEALTHIERKEN 11/28/2011 12:57AM

    I really like reading your blogs and I admire your dedication as well as how you are frank about your ever increasing running competence : )

So, did you make it to church after all that running?

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ONEKIDSMOM 11/27/2011 7:44PM

    As a devoted reader I'll be watching to see how you balance your other activities that I know are important to you with the running. Managing that oh-so-finite resource: time.

Happy back to work, tomorrow!

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Hill Training

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The plan this morning was to add the big hill to the Saturday run. I had mapped out a 5.05 mile route, with opportunities to add distance after getting past the big hill. That part of the plan came off as intended, but the run was not without its surprises.

The streak tracker tells me I have a six week streak of running 20 minutes continually at least 3 days a week. Before that, I had 5K training. You'd think in that amount of time, I'd have figured out most of the administrative details.

Perhaps I have figured out most of them, but some still surprise me.

This morning it was 48 F (9 C) at run time. My mind was in the mode of expecting some wind, so I went to get my compression tights. They weren't in the closet.

Oh, yeah. I only own two pair of light compression tights, and I used both earlier this week. They're in the laundry.

So I go with the colder weather tights. Because this isn't colder weather, let's just wear the tights and not put running shorts over them. Hmm. It's really warm for a compression top plus a midlayer. Bright idea: I have a colder weather compression top that's white. It's dark out, but it will be light by the time I finish. If I wear the white shirt, I won't need to wear the reflective harness and the blinking tail light.

Gear up to go, and find that I have no pocket to put my key in. No problem, the key is on an elastic band that can go around my wrist. Hang my cell phone on the side of my tights, and set out.

Less than 200 meters from my driveway, I realize my tights are slipping. The cell phone is too heavy to hang directly off the tights. It would be fine hanging off the running shorts, which have a drawstring. So I take grab the cell phone, pull up the tights, and run the rest of the way carrying the cell phone in my hand.

I could have hung the cell phone from the reflective harness I'm not wearing. Come to think of it, I could have threaded the harness through the metal keyring and eliminated the minor concern of having the elastic wrist strap break.

It's not long before I realize that I'm pretty warm for running. I could have got by in the lighter weight compression top and running shorts, and had both a pocket and a place to hang the cell phone. Oh, well. You can't expect it to be this warm before sunup in late November. And if I can deal with running in August, I can deal with being just a shade overdressed in November.

Get to the big hill, and it doesn't seem to be as intimidating as it looked on yesterday's walk. Perhaps that's because I get to the top faster running than I do walking. Get to the top, and I see a pretty glow in the eastern clouds. I'm a little early to see a good sunrise, and I'll be back in the shade of the hill when that happens.

Down the other side is every bit as impressive as it seemed yesterday. I have to pay attention to form running downhill, but it feels like resting. Looks like taking the hill the other direction would be more challenging. Of course, I should be running on the other side of the road for that, which requires crossing a major road twice; but it would have been possible to do that in stride this morning. Just have to get there early, I guess.

First opportunity to add distance was where I had done some little hill training before. I have three up and down segments I can add, and I feel good enough to add the first one. Halfway up, I know I'm not going to add the other two; but it went well. Downhill is not as impressive as on the big hill, and I deal with it. Then comes a lot of flat territory, which just flows by.

Get to thinking, there's a little hill close to home that I hardly ever run. There are two ways to adjust my route to cover it. I choose the longer way, Get there, and it's hardly a hill. More like a little hump. I used to be intimidated by that?

All this time, I'm not trying to run fast and I'm not trying to run slow. I get to my driveway at about 46:30, and figure I've covered 10K. It maps out a little short at 6.18 miles. I averaged a slow 7:31 pace per mile. That's okay. The point today was to add the big hill and check out possible roads for when there's snow, not to be fast. It's fine to push for speed in organized races, but if I pushed every routine run I'd burn out and quit.

Come to think of it, maybe those "hills" on the 10K Thursday were daunting because I was running fast. If I'd maintained a 7:15 pace for the first half of the race instead of a 6:38 pace, the second half might have seemed a whole lot easier. Not that maintaining a training pace was going to happen in a crowd of runners.

Cool down, stretch, clean up. Check the budget; I have some money left for clothing. After meeting daughter at McDonald's for the standing Saturday breakfast, I go shopping. Get two more pair of light compression tights, and another midlayer because I only had three. Now I'm set to run four days a week in weather that requires a midlayer and tights every day. Hopefully the weather won't require the warmer tights and the warmer tops every day until I have more of a clothing budget.

Tomorrow I shouldn't run as far. Let's see . . . if I take the big hill the other direction, which is harder, but go the most direct route, that comes out to around 3.5 miles. Maybe if I'm up early enough to run before church. I'll think of something else if my run is deferred to the afternoon.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KRISZTA11 11/26/2011 6:21PM

    Congrats to conquering the big hill!
Running a bit slower also helps to breathe slower too, and I find that's good for the airways in cold.

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ONEKIDSMOM 11/26/2011 2:52PM

    Amusing. Almost makes me want to go look for my initial jogging entry when I discovered that my fanny pack had got too loose, and had become a boob pack. Almost. *wipes laugh-tear from eye*... you'll figure it out. Better and faster than I, for you are a deliberate planner! emoticon

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