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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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