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Ready, Fire, Aim!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I'm feeling a time crunch. Monday I had training for my volunteer job doing tax prep and related quality review. That was 5:30 to 9:30 PM, and it ran just a little over. I didn't get to bed until 11:30, an hour past my goal bedtime. Oh, yeah. The pizza with training turned Monday into a cheat day, but not a terrible one. About 500 calories over the top of my range, and my range might still be a little low for as much as I'm running.

I thought about that, and didn't want the late to bed thing to happen in Training Part 2 on Thursday. So yesterday (Tuesday) I went online and did the first part of the certification tests that are less work if I have real software on a local computer instead of the crappy web-based POS software. I figured I'd do the rest tonight, turn in my proof of completion Thursday, and be to bed on time 6 days just like my goal. Oh yeah. Doing that meant staying up till I was getting to bed just before my 10:30 limit, instead of comfortably making up the lost hour by going to bed at 9:30. But I can deal with it, right? I have a plan!

Man plans, and God laughs.

I've got a fire drill at work this week. Friday is a big deadline, and there's been a non-routine task added to the routine fire drill this quarter. Today I got the last piece of information to crank things that will make it possible to meet Friday's deadline. I needed this evening to work on part of cranking things, so I fired up the work computer. All I got done was handling some routine email; but that will save me an hour or so tomorrow morning.

This evening I had the energy audit tech in to finish the home energy audit. He was supposed to be here at 4:30, so I left work early to be here. The tech got delayed by an emergency no heat situation, and wasn't here till 6. So I got dinner and the routine email handled, then dealt with the tech. More routine email after he finished, and a miniscule part of cranking stuff . . . and an email from the boss indicating that there may be a changed decision making me rework some of the cranking. I'll find out tomorrow, but it seems that work is definitely in the mode of Ready, Fire, Aim!

So, just like other blogs I'm reading this evening, I'm experiencing Life Getting in the Way of Fitness Plans. Kind of. I'm still feeling that lost hour of sleep, but I've been back on plan with eating after Monday's indulgence. The good news is, I got a great run in on my lunch hour on yesterday (4.18 miles in 29:10, for a 6:59 pace per mile) and a good run in today (3.63 miles in 26 minutes, for a 7:10 pace per mile). Yesterday I set out to run fast, then kind of lost the idea part way through the run; but I'm happy with the effort. Today was just a run to use the time I had available. Great weather both days, 46 and 47 F and sunny.

I had plans of another run on tomorrow's lunch hour, but that looks like it will not happen given the work situation. I've already sent an email bailing out of volunteer training on Thursday evening. And now I need to get to bed before my nominal deadline, so I'll be well enough rested to have a chance of being in good spirits as I do what must be done to meet the deadlines.

It's the hard decisions that tell us where our true priorities are. It appears that this week, getting some exercise has been a priority. And right now, getting enough sleep has worked its way to the top of my priority list.

Good night, Sparkers!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KRISZTA11 12/15/2011 12:51AM

    You are doing great!
Exercising and eating mostly well when work is so demanding is hard.


I remember times not long ago, when I was under very high pressure at job and my natural reaction was less sleep, no exercise and overeating.

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RG_DFW 12/14/2011 9:04PM

    sounds like you deserve the rest!

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ONEKIDSMOM 12/14/2011 8:57PM

    Sleep good. Go sleep! emoticon

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Third Day Running in a Row

Sunday, December 11, 2011

It went pretty much as planned. I got started in the heat of the day, such as it was - 38 F (3 C) and sunny, with a wind out of the south and west. The only minor surprise with clothing was that I needed gloves, while the gloves had stayed in my pockets the last time I ran at 38.

I felt like I was running slow, especially at first. That was OK for a third day, not having done this before. Fumbled to put the gloves on right at the beginning, running into the wind. Ran the big hill the easy direction, then added distance without noticeable hills to make the run come out over a half hour. It mapped out to 4.37 miles in 32 minutes, for a 7:19 pace per mile. That's faster than I felt like I was running, and a decent pace. This being the third day in a row, I wasn't particularly tempted to stretch that to 35 minutes for the next Spark Point.

No issues from the calves at this point, and I'll definitely take tomorrow off from running.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KRISZTA11 12/11/2011 5:15PM

    I'm happy it worked so well for you!

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CHANGING-TURTLE 12/11/2011 5:05PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon


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Sunday Morning

Sunday, December 11, 2011

It's been an odd morning, and it's still early.

I had strange dreams last night. I don't remember most of the details, but they featured eating snacks at a party and feeling guilty because i wasn't tracking them. This, after deliberately making myself eat to the high end of my range yesterday in honor of my long run.

I had decided that I would see how long I could sleep in past the alarm. The answer turned out to be six minutes. At that point, the text message alert sounded on my cell phone. I'd forgotten to turn it back to vibrate last night. The text turned out to be from my daughter, but no emergency. She's happy that she's healthy enough to return to work today. :)

Weigh-in was at 165.0, a new low and the very bottom of my maintenance range for the Merriest Maintainer challenge. I remember working to get back down to 165 after my first marriage; I think that's the last time I weighed this little. That would be 1983 or 1984, and I certainly wasn't able to run 6 miles then! I probably couldn't have lifted 100 pounds unassisted then, either.

So I got up and started my routine. I noted that the weather was nearly identical to yesterday morning. There's time for a run before church, but my calves are feeling a little heavy. Let's stick with the original plan and defer the run to the afternoon. Jogging up and down the hall while my egg cooks confirms that my right calf is tight with a minor twinge; I need to give it a half day and re-evaluate.

With no running this morning, I decide to vary my breakfast. Instead of my usual oatmeal, let's cook grits. I have them hanging around, and I rarely eat them any more because they don't fit into the nutrition plan smoothly. But the reason they aren't smooth isn't the grits, it's the cheese I normally cook with them. So let's experiment. Try cooking them with milk and unsweetened cocoa, then add raisins just like I do with oatmeal. It worked, and was vaguely reminiscent of chocolate Malt-O-Meal that I recall from childhood.

Oatmeal will remain the staple, but I can toss in grits for variety now. Since this worked, chances are that all the spice variations I've used with oatmeal will work as well.

I don't know what I'm going to do about the weight. I'm reluctant to add yet more calories to my range, as I'm not confidant I'll keep up my current exercise level through the winter. OTOH, I'm coming up on tax season. Training for taxes will feature pizza, which is really easy for me to binge on. Maybe I just let training days be cheat days, and stay on food discipline on other days. That should produce a weight gain over training, that shoudl come back off after training. If it doesn't, I certainly know how to cut calories from the diet to move it along.

OTOH, I can still see a small roll of belly fat and I don't yet see clearly defined abs. So perhaps I have a few pounds that I can still afford to lose. It's nice that they aren't coming off quickly any more; that gives me time to think about how comfortable I am with the revised weight.

Oh, well. Time to be off to church. Then I need to get a run in this afternoon, and think about what I'm doing in the way of food over the next week or so.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CEHALLA 12/11/2011 5:56PM

    Really enjoyed your thought process,thanks for sharing your challenges and solutions.

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BOBCATGIRL76 12/11/2011 10:57AM

    I'm having dreams about dieting too! In mine I went out to dinner at Applebee's and couldn't find anything on the menu I could track on my phone. Maybe it's just a good sign that tracking is starting to become ingrained in my life.

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KRISZTA11 12/11/2011 10:53AM

    emoticon to getting weight loss under control, and reaching your new minimum slowly.
I guess alternating perfect days and cheat days may be good for you, at this time of year, when you cannot avoid cheat days anyway.
Good luck with afternoon run!

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FROGGGY13 12/11/2011 10:36AM

    Why not add some of the cheese to your grits, kust not as much? Maybe a stronger cheese where a little goes a long way?
I miss grits, they're not easy to find around these parts.

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WATERMELLEN 12/11/2011 10:07AM

    If you (used to) like grits with cheese, another thought might be to experiment with a savoury version -- say a little low fat feta and some Greek seasoning? or maybe low fat cottage cheese and Italian seasoning? Nice whack 'o protein, too.

Nice work on monitoring the maintenance weight range and paying attention to the calf twinges!

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ARLENE_MOVES 12/11/2011 9:55AM

    Enjoy your day - hope your calf gets better so you can run this afternoon!

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ONEKIDSMOM 12/11/2011 9:10AM

    You are discovering grits the way your nutty sister now cooks them. A cup of skim milk, cook 1/4 cup of grits in it the way I would cream of wheat. Add spices and fruit: breakfast.

I seem to remember finding one spice combination I wasn't crazy about, but for the most part it works.

Hope your half day delay on the run is just what you need. Enjoy your Sunday!

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Longest and Coldest Run to Date

Saturday, December 10, 2011

After yesterday's deliberately easy run, the plan today was a relatively long run. As things turned out, my daughter texted out sick from breakfast this morning. So there was no time pressure.

I woke up before the alarm anyway, but was rather leisurely about the morning routine. The idea was to run in daylight since I had no time pressure anyway. Ended up hitting the road at 7:19 AM. The sky was clear, and it was 23 F (-5 C) with a wind reported from the west. Bearing in mind last week's run at 25 and less wind, I added a breathable tee between my compression top and midlayer, and I took my warmer gloves. That worked out well.

Hit the road, and my hands were cold. Okay, the warmer gloves have a mitten part to put over the fingers. Pull it over, just as designed, and the hands are warm enough. Head off and think about the route. Let's do the big hill, and all the little hill parts, plus the cross-hill road in the little hill section. Do the big hill the hard direction, which puts the little hills the reverse direction to what I usually run, just like last week.

Turn to go south toward the big hill, and there's wind in my face. A cold wind from the south, when you'd expect warm from that direction. It's been happening a lot this fall. Well, deal with it. By the time I was halfway up the hill, the wind wasn't in my thoughts any more. The hill is still long, but I can run it. At the crest, my late start was rewarded with the very beginning of sunrise. I saw more of the sunrise as I ran down the other side of the hill.

I really like seeing the sunrise while I run.

A little over two miles in, I turn to go west. My hands are warm at this point, so I strip off the mitten layer. The hands are instantly cold, going into the west wind. Deal with it, I'm not running west for very far. Sure enough, the hands are warm enough when I turn north, and aren't an issue on later westbound segments. Do the little hills. No surprises this time, I know where the challenging parts are this direction. Think about the route, and decide that I want to run for 50 minutes. That will be longer than I've run continually, and should turn out to be the longest distance I've run as well. And I'm done with the hills.

The piece I added to make my 50 minutes turned out to feature an incline. It's not a terrible incline if I do it early in the run, but I could tell it was there after doing the hills. Well, the half marathon that I'm thinking about for April 29 has real hills. If I want to run them, I need to train hills. Suck it up and drive on.

Ended up back in my driveway at 50:45, and the route mapped out to 6.83 miles. That's a 7:26 pace per mile, quite acceptable for the first time I've run that much time or that much distance in one piece.

It turned out that I could have made it to McDonald's at 9, by skipping recording the run till after breakfast with my daughter. That's something useful to know for future weeks when daughter is healthy again.

I'm thinking that starting January 1, I'll stop tracking walking distance on SP and use the mileage tracker only for running. The walking miles don't seem particularly important any more, other than as filler to get my 10K steps in on days with shorter runs. I'll have to think about a weekly goal; the 10 miles I have in there now is pretty easy to hit even if I only run 3 days.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WATERMELLEN 12/10/2011 9:49PM

    Brrrr! That sunrise thing sounds awesome!! You have become such a running maven . . . and over such a short period of time!

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HEALTHIERKEN 12/10/2011 2:34PM

    Inspiring blog! You're an amazingly dedicated fitness fiend : )

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FROGGGY13 12/10/2011 11:40AM

    Sounds like a very good run!
By the way, I think it's great you have weekly breakfast dates with your daughter. I wish I could do something like that with my dad (we live too far apart), and that I'll be able to do that with my daughter when she grows up.

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KRISZTA11 12/10/2011 11:22AM

    emoticon to running such a great time in the cold.

I assume you didn't have problems breathing in the 23 oF cold air, as you didn't mention any.
That's great news for myself : )

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ONEKIDSMOM 12/10/2011 10:56AM

    So you're seriously thinking April half? Will you do Sept as well? Reason I ask is that I have this niggling thought at the back of my mind that after my Tri in July, I might consider trying a "maintain fitness" plan and take some time off work to come do the Rochester half in September.

Still a "baby" thought... but you know how these things can take off... let me know when sign-ups are available and I can think some more in the meantime.

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Friday Morning Run

Friday, December 09, 2011

Yesterday I noticed I was walking in weather that was really better for running, because I'd run two days in a row and yesterday was a day off running. I got some comments, including a description of a 5 day a week running pattern of 3 days run, day off, 2 days run, day off. If I think about that, it would be natural for my three day stretch to be Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday, because I'm doing shorter runs on my lunch hour during the week.

Of course, I missed that opportunity this week by not running yesterday. So now I'm looking at the three day stretch being my long weekend, Friday-Saturday-Sunday. Well, let's just see how it goes.

I slept in this morning, till about 7:15. That's an hour and a quarter after the alarm, but I got to bed an hour later than I intended last night. My body soaked up nine hours of sleep, but today I don't feel any of the lingering effects of the cold I started to catch a week ago. That's really quick for me to get over a cold, and I'm happy with that. Being fit and getting excess sleep seems to be the way to go!

Being up an hour later than normal, I saw snow flakes in the air and a coating of snow on the grass out my window. In the past, this would have kept me indoors. Today, I went through my normal breakfast routine a bit more leisurely than normal, then set out for a run. Let's see . . . 32 F (0 C) and snowing. There's a bit of snow sticking to the driveway. Doesn't look like much wind.

I know how to dress for this, but had to make compromises. My running wardrobe is built on the assumption of running 4 days a week and doing laundry weekly. I'll need to buy more compression shorts before I run tomorrow, and I used ordinary white crew socks instead of the good wool running socks today. Other than that, variable weather bailed me out and I have enough of everything.

With one thing and another, I didn't actually start running till 9:15. By then, the snow had melted off the paved surfaces. There were still a few flakes in the air, but that quit before I'd run a mile. I saw the sun dimly through the southern clouds as I was eastbound, and after I crested the big hill the clouds thinned enough that I cast a shadow. It's turned out to be a much nicer day than forecast.

Bearing in mind that I want to run three days in a row, and I want a long run tomorrow, I omitted the little hills and tried to arrange my route to run 30 minutes. With a variable pace and inaccurate calculations, it turned out to be 31 minutes mapping out to 4.32 miles for a 7:11 pace per mile. Good enough. We'll see how that affects my pace tomorrow morning, when I'd normally expect to be in the 7:15 to 7:30 range on a route of 10K or a bit more.

The only minor disappointment is that if I'd got to bed at 9 instead of 10, I could have seen what running was like with snow falling. Oh, well. I'm sure I got lighter traffic to deal with out of the deal, and that I'll have plenty of future opportunities to run in the falling snow.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WATERMELLEN 12/9/2011 8:26PM

    Lovely blog . . . makes me look forward to cross country ski season, upcoming!! Till then: gym.

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ONEKIDSMOM 12/9/2011 4:52PM

    Your sister the weather wimp has done events in snow, but workouts beyond shoveling outdoors? Nah! Bah, humbug! In *this* I am the family exercise Scrooge. I love my treadmill. It tells me exactly how far I've gone, how fast I'm going, and it keeps me away from the dreaded allergens in those seasons and in the warmth and dry during "inclement" weather.

However, I did the State Farm 10 miler last March in snow, at a speed walk, mostly, with Hot4Fitness. It wasn't so bad. One of these days, I might get around to doing workouts in "bad" weather, but you'll have a hard time convincing me to give up Ariel, the siren treadmill.


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3016DEBRA 12/9/2011 3:57PM

  You're a real inspiration!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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HOT4FITNESS 12/9/2011 12:56PM

    Great job!! Some o the best blogs are about our expereinces on this journey. Thanks for sharing yours.

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KRISZTA11 12/9/2011 12:14PM

    Great workout!
What a beautiful morning you had...
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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