Thursday, September 06, 2012
Today was a work at home day. Got a slow start to the morning, and didn't get a walk in before sitting down to do sedentary work. Because I was light on steps in the morning, I decided to do walk-run intervals at noon. The thinking here is that I could cover more distance, and hence more steps, than pure walking for the same amount of time.
I did have a bit of a misgiving with the way my bad foot felt first thing in the morning, but after a morning of mostly sitting, and wearing stability shoes, the foot felt okay. So off I went, promising myself I could slow to a walk any time the foot really bothered me.
Yeah, right. I've got the iPod app working right now. The cues are right on time for the walk 2 minutes and run 1 minute intervals. Set out to do a 5K, and did 9 cycles of walk 2, run 1.
It was all I could do to keep myself from running the tenth time the app said, "Next interval. One minute. Steady." But I did it. Total time, 33:09 for a 5K distance, or an average pace of 10:40 per mile. It was warm and humid, so I let myself back into the house to chug some water before doing my stretches.
Right now, the foot isn't complaining any more than it did this morning. I'll see how it is tomorrow, which wouldn't be a running interval day in any case. Best case, more intervals on Saturday. More likely, I should wait till Sunday.
Got an email today advertising a 5K on October 28. This same race, last year, was my first 5K. Dang, that's tempting; but I don't know if I'll be up to running 5K continually by then. And I'm pretty sure that if I'm in a competitive field, I won't be able to make myself slow down for intervals. I'll let that sit for a couple of weeks and see how the rehab goes.
So far, the rehab is like weight maintenance. I can't tell on any given day how I'm doing; I need to see a trend. Unlike weight, I can't generate a single number that objective says I'm better or worse one day than another. I'm stuck with subjective evaluation of how the foot feels. Yeah, I can measure how fast or how far or how long I run; but that's rather not the point. I already know that I can run longer than is wise and aggravate an old injury.
So . . . I do what I think I can, and hope my thoughts are neither too cautious or too optimistic. Meanwhile, there's always the nutritional side of things to play with. And the sleep side, which has trumped writing blogs more days than not. But I'm still alive, still maintaining, and still rehabbing.
I once was a runner. I will be again.
Tuesday, September 04, 2012
This morning the bad foot felt better. Not 100%, but better than it has been in almost a week. I resolved to do some walk/run intervals.
Today was a work at home day. I figured that 9 intervals of one minute had been just a little too much last time; so I set out to see if I could handle 9 intervals of one minute this time. Working backwards from having about a half hour to do this between noon and one, I arrived at intervals of walk 2 minutes, run 1 minute.
Took a winding route around the neighborhood with several opportunities to add or subtract distance. Started out adding a loop to the standard 5K, before I realized that "more than 5K" was too long for the allotted time. So I chopped some distance off the back end. Turned out to go 2.74 miles in 28:06, for an average pace of 10:15 per mile. That's 9 cycles of walk 2, run 1, followed by a minute of walking.
1. Walk 2, run 1 is psychologically much easier than walk 4, run 1. Those 4 minute walking intervals get awfully long when I'm looking forward to running. 2 minutes is tolerable.
2. While doing the intervals, it felt like I could keep going for quite a while. Only planning ahead and paying attention to the predetermined plan brought me in under 30 minutes.
3. When I took my shoes off, my foot complained. Okay, I've been there with plantar fasciitis; it's going to be important to wear shoes, even around the house. I can handle that.
Now it's time to take a day or three off from the intervals and pay attention to how the foot feels again. This is training in slow motion, and that's a bit frustrating. But it's not as frustrating as not being able to run at all and not knowing when I can start.
Best case, I can do more intervals on Thursday. If the foot isn't feeling good enough by Thursday, I'm probably looking at Saturday. That would be two days a week instead of the three I wanted to get in, but hey. Two is better than zero.
Sunday, September 02, 2012
I've done two days of walk/run intervals at walk 4 minutes, run 1 minute. The first time was a test of the system. The second time, yesterday, I got the iPod app working right and had all the right cues. I did 9 cycles of walk 4, run 1.
There is good news and bad news here. The good news is that I learned I can now balance on one foot while doing quad stretches; before I needed to lightly touch a support to keep my balance. The bad news is that my bad foot is reminding me that I've been quite active. Apparently every other day is too often for this drill right now. If the foot isn't noticeably better tomorrow, the next walk/run interval will need to wait until at least Tuesday, maybe later. Sigh.
While I wasn't even trying to run, I had done pullups and pushups as supersets; I'd do a set of the pullup du jour, then immediately do a set of pushups. Go fiddle with breakfast for a bit, do a second set. Fiddle with the next part of breakfast, do the third set. That was okay when I was doing 4 or 6 pullups, but at 10 or 12 it fatigues my upper arms too much to get anything else done after the pullups and pushups. So I split them up and stretched out the time; now I do three sets of pullups with some rest between, then three sets of pushups. And I started thinking more about the pushups.
Over the past few weeks, I've come to realize that all pushups are not created equal. As with all traditional weight lifts, doing them slower is harder. For some time, I've been doing the first set of pushups at a pretty deliberate pace, then letting myself go faster on the other two sets.
A few days ago, I saw a blog where someone had posted a picture of a girl doing decline pushups (hands on sidewalk, feet on a park bench) as a motivational image. I can do sets of 60 regular pushups; I wonder how many decline pushups I can do? So I got out a folding chair, because it was the most stable thing of the right height I had, and had a go at it for my third set of pushups one morning.
I did them fast, and was surprised by the blood rushing to my head thing, but I got 60 pushups done. The effort by the time I got done was close to the effort from doing a set of standard pushups slowly. The decline pushups went into the morning routine for the time being, as the third of three sets of 60 pushups. Now they're not the noticeable effort to get 60 in that they were the first time; perhaps I can slow the decline pushups down just a bit.
I don't think I want to do 3 sets of 60 decline pushups. Substituting one set for a set of standard pushups is just fine for me right now.
Other than that, my main exercise right now is plain old walking. Because walking isn't very intense, I put in more time than I would if I were running. That makes the fitness minutes pile up, so the totals will look more impressive than if I were running. That's okay; I know what reality is, and I'll be happy to log fewer fitness minutes if it's because I'm running again.
But for that to happen, I have to figure out how to get from injured reserve back onto the running team. And making that move is a slow, feel my way sort of process.
Saturday, September 01, 2012
The other day a Chef Meg recipe for whole wheat flatbread crossed my screen. Like most Chef Meg recipe, it called for things that I'd have to go out and buy in order to make the recipe. Unlike most Chef Meg recipes, I had plausible substitutions in my cupboards and on my regular grocery list.
I set out to map the substitutions: White flour for whole wheat flour, because I have it on hand. Dried parsley flakes for chopped fresh parsley. Don't have baking powder, but Dr. Google is my friend; he tells me I can substitute two parts cream of tartar and one part baking soda for three parts baking powder. Amazingly enough, I have cream of tartar on hand; and baking soda is a given. And the recipe calls for 3/4 cup of plain Greek yogurt, which I buy in 6 oz. containers.
The first experiment was with reconstituting the parsley flakes. My container tells me to soak them in equal parts cold water for 15 minutes. I assume that means 2 Tbsp parsley flakes to 2 Tbsp cold water. Did that, and the water wasn't all absorbed. Meanwhile, I've used the nutrition tracker to determine that 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley is something less than 1 Tbsp of dried parsley. Oh, well. I estimated the use of 1 Tbsp dried parsley, and measured 2 Tbsp of the reconstituted stuff after draining the water. It was clumsy and a bit messy; if I do this again, I'll just use dried parsley and add water if the dough is too dry.
Mixing the dough was a little clumsy. The closest thing I've done to this is pie dough, and getting the Greek yogurt to mix with the flour looks to be a different skill than cutting shortning into flour. But I persevered and got it done. Let it sit. I can do that.
Turning it into dough balls, and then rolling the dough balls out into something approximating the shape and size of flatbread was an exercise in humility. I made a mess. The only reason it wasn't a HUGE mess is that this is a fairly small recipe. I ended up shaping the first two purely by hand before I got the hang of adding enough dry flour to make the rolling pin work correctly. Then there was cleanup of the mess. This reminds me of why I buy pre-made pie crusts if I want to bake a pie!
Got the two hand-shaped slices and the four thinner, rolled-out slices cooked with surprisingly few issues. That turned out to be the easy part of the process. Of course, I had to sample one of each; good thing I'm doing this on a day when I have the calories to spare. They turned out to have the flavor and texture I expect from flatbread; the issue is keeping myself from just eating all of them when they're fresh and warm. I ended up putting the other four on a plate under plastic wrap, and I'll use them as bread until they're gone.
Lessons learned (or re-emphasized):
1. There are some cooking skills that simply need a lot of practice to become easy. Rolling out dough is one of them, and I never got a lot of practice at that.
2. Cooking something I like, that is best when fresh, in a bigger batch than for one meal for one person, is dangerous. I shouldn't do that very often.
3. This version of flatbread isn't very cost-effective compared to store bought bread. The price of the Greek yogurt (the only ingredient I actually bought recently) is right up there with the price of a loaf of whole wheat bread when I can get the bread on special, or around half the price of a loaf of whole wheat bread when the bread isn't on special. But the flatbread only makes 6 slices.
I'll see how the other four slices go with being stored until they fit into the nutrition plan. It may turn out that, given sufficient self control at cooking time, flatbread could become a staple. But for that to happen, I need to get a lot better at the preparation than I was today.
It could happen; preparation of steel cut oats was pretty ugly the first time I tried that. But at least the steel cut oats could be prepared as a single serving.
Friday, August 31, 2012
Had my usual Friday dinner with daughter at Taco Bell. The conversation focused on her pending move to a smaller (and more affordable) apartment, and the 10K we registered for on Thanksgiving Day. She's trying to train, and currently maxes out at running for 30 seconds. She thinks she could walk a 10K, it would take her about 2 hours, and she might not be able to walk very well the next day.
I see no reason to doubt her self-assessment. For now, she's trying to build up to being able to run for a minute at a time, in preparation for starting the 5K Your Way beginner's program. I think she has correctly identified motivation as her biggest challenge; I'm doing what I can to encourage her.
For my part, I'm pretty sure I could walk 10K. The open question is whether I'll be able to run 10K by Thanksgiving, or whether my attempts to train up to that flame out and result in my not being able to walk that far. Time will tell.
As of this evening, my bad foot is still less than 100%. But it isn't keeping me from walking, and yesterday's walk-run intervals didn't make it obviously worse. So another set of walk-run intervals is on the agenda for tomorrow. I'll have to think about how long I want to go, and whether I want to shift from walk 4, run 1 to walk 3, run 1. For sure I don't want the running interval to be longer than one minute right now. Caution is the current watchword.
It will be hard to stay cautious. I'm really looking forward to running regularly again.
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