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A Better Day, Committed to a Half Marathon

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Today was a day off work, the day after a binge. Got up, and my weight was up 2.8 pounds from yesterday. That's the biggest one day weight fluctuation I've had since I've been tracking food on SP. It's also reasonable, given the quantity of food I dumped into my digestive system yesterday.

Started going through the morning routine, and saw that it was 41 F (5 C) outside. On December 21, in the Land of Lake Effect Snow. Forecast was for showers later, so this was too good to pass up. I had to run.

Hit the road at 7:28, and ran mostly residential streets to avoid rush hour traffic on the arterials. Did a bunch of streets I've run before, including all the stretches of little hills. The experiment this time was a stopwatch, specifically the stopwatch function on the cheap pedometer I'd bought while waiting for the good pedometers to arrive in the mail. It may be a cheap pedometer, but the stopwatch function did what I needed it to do. The route mapped out to 5.15 miles, in 37:17 for a 7:14 pace per mile. I was pleased with the run, and with the weather being nice enough that I could stretch outside.

This afternoon I had my doctor's visit for medical clearance to train for a half marathon and marathon. All was as expected. My heart can handle it, the major concern is wear and tear on the joints. Being able to run a 10K as soon as I did was a good sign. The doctor says anyone in reasonable health can run a 5K (though maybe not quickly), but the 10K distance is where you see people who are built to be runners. I got an order for blood work that didn't require fasting (i.e., no cholesterol test) and got the blood draw out of the way. The doctor was happy with my cholesterol levels last February, and says if anything they'll be better now.

After taking care of that, I went over to the local running store and signed up for the Flower City Challenge Half Marathon on April 29, 2012. Now I'm committed, and I'll have to train for it. I'll figure it out. I'll make a decision on the Rochester Marathon in September 2012 after I see how the Flower City half goes.

Oh, yeah, nutrition. Most of the day is behind me. I have planned what I will eat for dinner and evening snack. I project to finish the day in range for all the macronutrients and just above the bottom of the calorie range. Life is normal again.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GAL843 12/22/2011 8:46AM

    You're going to do great in your half. I did my first half last October and am planning my first full in May.

Funnily enough, yesterday was my day for a binge and today I'm hoping to get a good run in this afternoon.

Best of luck in your journey and enjoy the effort!

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RG_DFW 12/22/2011 8:21AM

    Best to you in your quest for the half!

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FROGGGY13 12/22/2011 6:27AM

    Great! It's very good that you had a checkup, many people ignore it. Best wishes for your training!

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KRISZTA11 12/22/2011 3:22AM

Even the 10K seemed easy for your fitness level, but a half marathon is something really big.
Of course I know there are a lot of people out there who do it, some do full marathons and ultras, but that seems kind of supernatural to me.
I'm so interested how it will go! Take care!

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WATERMELLEN 12/21/2011 8:33PM

    Nice recovery: bet your doctor is impressed with you! Pretracking is a very effective strategy for me to manage nutrition . . .

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RUNNER12COM 12/21/2011 6:49PM

    Congrats on the upcoming half!

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Bad Nutrition Day

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The department Christmas lunch was scheduled for today. After not running yesterday, I went to bed early and was up before the alarm this morning. I ran 4.00 miles in 28:48, for a 7:12 pace per mile in 33 F temperature with negligible wind. It was a good run, and I got a look at early morning work day traffic.

I never would have thought I'd ever get up early enough to exercise before work. I never was a morning person. My, how things change!

That was the good part of the day. Work was something of a disaster. I had forgotten that, in addition to the department lunch, this was snack day. The remains of yesterday's work blow-up, plus added secondary blow-ups on the same topic, and minor blow-ups from other subjects started to stress me out.

Stress + tight deadlines + free sweet treats is not a good combination. I rationalized that I was due for a cheat day, and ended up having a binge day instead of a mere cheat day. I ate far more of the snacks than I should, though I did a decent job of tracking it. Then at lunch I ate more pizza than I should, and more cookies than I should. I ended up feeling overstuffed, like a traditional Thanksgiving. It wasn't a good feeling.

The sad part is, even with losing most control, I probably ate less than I would have pre-Spark. No wonder I was 50 pounds overweight at one point!

After work, I went shopping. I didn't have my list with me, but I remembered the important stuff: salad and bananas. Those wouldn't have made it to the list, pre-Spark. So at least I haven't lost *all* the good habits I've been working on.

Having overdone things way too much at work, dinner was cottage cheese and a banana. My evening snack was the same as I normally eat, in an attempt to trick myself back into a sane routine.

Final nutrition tally for the day: 5749 calories, well over my upper limit of 3050. As with past cheat days, it's also well over the carb and fat limits, but protein looks like a normal day. Long term, those 2700 excess calories are about three quarters of a pound. This is not a problem *IF* it doesn't recur.

There will be leftover food from snack day tomorrow at work. The good news is, tomorrow is a day off. By the time I go back to work on Thursday, the tempting stuff should be gone.

Absent the workload driven stress, I think this would have still been a cheat day, but at a less insane level of cheating. Hopefully when I go back and the workload is still doing crazy stuff, there won't be as good an opportunity to binge.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WATERMELLEN 12/21/2011 8:32PM

    Excellent attitude . . . as you say, only about .75 pound, no biggy!

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FROGGGY13 12/21/2011 2:22PM

    Good luck for today! I'm battling some cravings, too. None of this is a big deal if it happens only occasionally.

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KANOE10 12/21/2011 8:06AM

    Hang in there. You noticed some good changes about yourself despite your cheat day. You still kept control, did your shopping and ate a healthy dinner. You also planned ahead for today, noting that you would not be at work and would be OK.
Hope your work stress goes down! You are posting and still focused on keeping your weight off. Good for you. Hope today goes well.

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KRISZTA11 12/21/2011 3:09AM

    Well, at least you had a good part of the day in the morning : ))
Well done with tracking!

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HEALTHIERKEN 12/20/2011 10:40PM

    so when is your next weigh-in day. I tend not to worry much about one or two days of bad nutrition so long as the weigh-ins are within the target range.

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ONEKIDSMOM 12/20/2011 9:12PM

    Like you said, if it doesn't recur, not a huge problem... a fluctuation.

Hang in there. Enjoy the day off work and refresh your resolve. I find I eat more when I don't exercise, or rather when I exercise less... silly but true.

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RG_DFW 12/20/2011 9:10PM

    I can't imagine eating that many calories in a day, but then again I'm not burning as much as you. Maybe in a year or two...

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Change of Plans

Monday, December 19, 2011

No running today. The legs were telling me they really wanted a day off. So I took a long walk on my lunch hour, which was quite pleasant. 41 F (6 C), with winds supposedly 20 mph from the west and south. The wind was certainly stronger than anything I'd run in, and not cold. 3.49 miles in 50 minutes, and getting my 10K steps in today isn't a problem.

Too bad it wasn't a running day. This would have been fun weather to figure out running in. But when I ran to make the walk light toward the end of my walk, my legs told me that yes, this really wasn't a day for a sustained run.

I'll go to bed early tonight, and if I wake up well before the alarm I'll consider running in the morning. If that doesn't happen, tomorrow will be another non-running day due to work scheduling my lunch hour full and my not wanting to run Tuesday evening plus Wednesday morning. In theory, I could run after work; in practice, I expect that other stuff will get in the way of that. I'll just have to see how that goes.

If I don't get a run in tomorrow, I'll run on Wednesday and Thursday, then take Friday off from running. Saturday will be the fourth running day this week, and that will just have to be enough.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RG_DFW 12/20/2011 12:04PM

    Amazing time

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KRISZTA11 12/20/2011 11:11AM

    Good for you!
Hearing the voice of your legs and going for a walk is emoticon

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REDSHOES2011 12/19/2011 9:32PM

    We can't run or neither should we strength train daily because it taxes the body so hard.. But our body is made to walk daily in up right state to avoid our bones deteriorating and our arteries clogging from cholestrol plague..
This is why I wear a pedometer each and every day, to get those 10,000 steps in.. Long distance walking taxes the body another way and keeps cardio aerobic.. If we try and run or strength training daily anaerobic exercise tires out the batteries and makes us feel like we do less- the body has it's it's own defence system against over training.. I also find walking a therapeautic way of ironing out doms.. When I did run 10kms it was only once a week in the weekend.. Over doing it marathoning each weekend retired me from running because my stress fractures returned.. Daily those step equal a 5 km run, I was only pick up the pace in the weekend..

Comment edited on: 12/19/2011 9:36:40 PM

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ONEKIDSMOM 12/19/2011 9:02PM

    My legs were giving a similar message to me. OK slightly different. They were saying, "Y'know, Barb, that glute machine isolating on each leg Sunday morning was a bit much after the 5K run on Saturday!" I walked SLOWER and gentler today... then swam after work. Perfect solution for a "go easy on the legs" day.

Have fun with your runs!

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A Run, a Binge, and a Plan

Sunday, December 18, 2011

This morning's weather was 17 F (-8 C) and fair. Wind was reported from the west at 4 mph. I'd decided last night that I wanted to run before church this morning, so I got to bed early and was up before the alarm, if a bit later than yesterday. Since I had no intention of making this a particularly long run, it was okay that I didn't hit the road till 7:11.

This is the coldest temperature I've run in, but the wind turned out to be a non-factor. I did an experiment for lower body clothing. I'm pretty sure my warmer compression tights would have been fine, but I only own one pair. So I wore my lighter tights plus warmup pants. The idea was that if this wasn't enough, I could bail out and still get a run in this afternoon. As it turned out, my legs felt cold at first (a rare thing) but were fine through the run. Other than that, clothing was just like the run at 23.

Yesterday's snow had blow away or sublimated. I saw frost on the grass and on parked cars' windshields, but the sidewalks and roads were dry. I did see some ice on creeks that I crossed and in a gutter at one point; but since I wasn't running in the gutter or wading in the creeks, that was no problem.

I was too early to see the sunrise on the big hill, which I ran in the more challenging direction. Then I added in my 3 smaller sections of hill work, and took the most direct route home. Added a small amount at the end to make 40 minutes, but miscalculated and only came out to 39 minutes. It mapped out to 5.19 miles, for a 7:31 pace per mile. That's a little slower than I would have guessed, but not bad for the temperature. Perhaps if I'd done more of a warmup instead of just starting slowly to warm up, the pace could have been better. But I wanted to be *running* in that temperature, not marking time doing figure 8's in my driveway!

After the virtuous morning, I was surprised by the Christmas Tea after church. Yes, I'd been told it was this week; but I bailed on choir practice Wednesday as part of a hectic week, and hadn't thought about it. I could have indulged a bit and fit things in, but . . . after church is hard. I take a bag of almonds because I'm going several hourse without eating, and I'm hungry then. Today my almonds remained uneaten and I sampled this, than, and the other very tasty, high caloric sweet thing. I lost count at 8.

I'm more bothered by not keeping track than by the excess. I came home and estimated the excess as being equivalent ot a slice of pecan pie (for the nuts, fat, and sugar) plus 6 ounces of chocolate chip cookies (for the chocolate, carbs, and more sugar). That came out to 1337 calories, which might be either high or low. I don't know. From past cheat days, I know the pattern should be that I'm getting plenty of carbs and fat but not enough protein.

So, on to diet repair strategies. When I get home, I'm hungry. Even after eating probalby two meals worth of calories. So, lunch is a salad (heavy on the chicken breast, light on the dressing) and cottage cheese. Mid afternoon snack was tuna and a banana. I don't know why the banana, but that's what I was craving. Maybe my body needed the potassium.

Dinner and evening look normal, and the planned food for the day comes out in the odd situation of over the calorie limit, but within ranges for the macronutrients. If my estimate is dead on, it's only about 200 calories. This won't kill me if I go back onto discipline tomorrow. No big deal there, tomorrow is a normal Monday.

Next dangerous day is Tuesday, which features the department Christmas lunch. I expect that to be salad, pizza, and lots of sweet temptations. But I'm thinking about that one two days in advance, so hopefully it will be easier to control myself. Then the rest of the year should be pretty easy to deal with on the nutrition side.

On the running side, the department lunch cancels the normal run Tuesday noon. I'm thinking of running Monday instead (normally a non-running day), then Wednesday and Thursday. Friday should be my last work day of the year, then doing a long run on Saturday (Christmas Eve morning) sounds attractive. It's a plan. We'll see how well I execute it.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FROGGGY13 12/19/2011 2:03PM

    When I had that unplanned party binge on Friday, I also entered the binge information in the tracker, for accountability, even if it was just an estimate.
Also, going over your calories by 200 is very little; I know it's probably just the fact that you ate in an unplanned manner that shook you, not the actual numbers.

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WATERMELLEN 12/19/2011 7:40AM

    That whack o' protein was an excellent strategy. It's amazing how we learn to sense what our bodies crave! No damage done . . . as you know, 3500 calories in 1 pound.

Maybe you might gift yourself with another pair of heavy weight running tights? You deserve them, for sure! And possible the combo (tights/pants) slowed you a tiny bit?

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KRISZTA11 12/19/2011 6:43AM

    I' m glad you enjoyed running in 17 oF, without an discomfort!
Your pecan pie/chocolate chip-equivalent method of estimation is very creative and reasonable : )

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BELSNICKEL 12/19/2011 2:08AM

    quite a plan indeed!!! GREAT JOB. Thanks for reporting both on running and church participation,

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ONEKIDSMOM 12/18/2011 6:48PM

    You know, you are doing terrific as an empty nester taking care of his health! You'll get it all worked around and in... good job on even attempting to estimate. I find when I do this, even if I'm off, it motivates me to be *conscious* of my choices. And that makes a world of difference.

Spark on!

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Snowy Saturday Run

Saturday, December 17, 2011

29 F (-2 C), wind NNW at 15 mph, snow showers. A nice morning for a run.

I was up before the alarm, having got to bed early last night with this in mind. After a leisurely morning routine, I hit the road at 6:40 AM. I dithered a bit on clothing, settled on the warmer compression tights on the bottom, the warmer compression shirt plus a midlayer for the top. Wore my lighter running hat, the one without a brim. It's dark, so I actually wore my reflective harness, blinking tail light, and headlamp.

No snow in my driveway. Turned north, into the wind. Right away I notice that I need to pull the windproof mitten shells over my gloves.

The longer term runner at the office had pointed out to me that the course for the half marathon next April has a long uphill stretch that doesn't start until you've already run 6 miles. So I had mapped out a route where I run 4.5 miles before I get to the big hill. This involved a mile and a half running north near the start. If I can handle that, I'm dressed warm enough. At first, I think maybe I should have added a tee between the compression shirt and midlayer, and should have worn my warmer running cap. By the time I finish running north, it's apparent that I dressed appropriately.

I guess it's true; to run in the winter, you should not feel warm when you start.

Early on I found some slick spots. Pedestrian skills for slippery sidewalks learned in the 7th grade come back to me quickly, but the footing means I need to run a bit slower. Okay, I can deal with that. Get to the strip mall I run through, and find a patch of black ice in the parking lot. I slip, but don't go down. Then there's the long stretch of covered, sheltered sidewalk to run while thinking about the implications.

It turns out that the dusting of snow isn't slick at all; it's where the earlier snow had melted on contact and refrozen that's an issue. Okay, I know where that's likely. Driveways and curb cuts are likely to be slick. I recall my grandfather, a great hiker and outdoorsman, hated curb cuts in his older years because they were *sloped* and slick in the winter. He regarded them as a hazard to older people. They're something of a hazard to runners as well, but I can deal with them when warned.

The big hill was no harder than the last time I ran it, perhaps because I was forced to have a moderate pace earlier in the run. After the big hill, the footing in the residential area turns out to be pretty good. I can pick up the pace a little. I added one last twist to my planned route to get in 55 minutes, the intended 10% increase from last week.

There is a coating of snow on my driveway when I get home. This forces me inside to stretch, but that's okay. I just take a longer outside cool down walk.

55 minutes mapped out to 7.46 miles, for a 7:22 pace per mile. That's a bit faster than I would have guessed. Perhaps the enforced slower pace on the front end helped the pace later on; or perhaps I didn't slow down as much as I thought for the slick surface.

I'm happy with the run. I learned I can run with light snow on the ground. I still need to address the cleats issue for when we get more snow, but I am figuring out the details of winter running. It's fun.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FROGGGY13 12/18/2011 4:28AM

    Congrats on being done with your trying week! Do be careful around the slick parts, a sporty coworker hurt his knee pretty badly on an ice patch last winter.

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CEHALLA 12/17/2011 11:22AM

    Great job! I can hardly wait for the detailed report running in a blizzard! Glad we don't get much snow here in NorCal.

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KRISZTA11 12/17/2011 9:41AM

I'm glad it went so well!

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ONEKIDSMOM 12/17/2011 9:29AM

    Yeah, the uphill, flat, more uphill in the Lincoln half comes at about mile 9. Mile ten marker is up at the top.

Slick is one of the reasons I don't run in cold dark seasons. I'm a weather wimp. I'm not a real runner. So sue me.

It has begun to dawn on me, dear brother, that when you talk about our grandfather's attitudes in his later years, I'm not that far from the days when we admired him for going on those 50 mile hikes at Philmont. In fact, my next birthday, I'll be in that decade!

Spark on! emoticon

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RG_DFW 12/17/2011 8:51AM

    Yikes, way to keep going!

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SUPER3800 12/17/2011 8:49AM

  Great job! It is so hard to start those runs cold, but you are correct, if you are not cold at the start, you will be way too warm later.

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