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More intervals, need to back off a bit

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Today I did more walk-run intervals, making that three days this week. I got ambitious, and decided to up the ante to walk 1, run 1. I set out to do this for a 5K route. Not too far along the route, it became apparent to me that keeping this up for the full 5K wasn't a very good idea. So I bailed on the length, but still kept up the intervals. Ended up traveling 2.40 miles in 22 minutes even, for 11 cycles of walk 1, run 1.

The smart thing to do would have been to bail on the intervals after the second one, and just walk the 5K. The other smart thing to do would have been to quit the running intervals after 9 cycles, and just walk the rest of the way home. But I wasn't that smart. I was out in a light rain, and it's a lot more comfortable to run in the rain than to walk in the rain. So I came as close to running as I do, these days.

Now I'm pretty sure I need to let the foot rest for two days, and not do intervals again until Tuesday. There's no disaster of aggravating the foot right now . . . but if I keep it up I'm all too likely to push to hard. So it's time to force myself to back off.

My sister says she writes blogs as pep talks to herself. I've just realized that I'm writing this one as an anti-pep talk, to get myself to do less rather than more. That's kind of weird on a day when it feels like I didn't do all that much physical activity, and I had to go take an evening walk around the block to get my 10K steps in.

Oh, well. Gotta find the motivation/will power/wisdom to do what I need to do somewhere. If writing a blog helps me sort out reality from testosterone-produced visions, writing that blog is what I need to do.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RG_DFW 9/9/2012 6:46AM


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ANDI571 9/8/2012 11:05PM

    I think it is as important to talk ourself down, as it is to talk ourself up. Listening to ones body is so important. Good job!

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WATERMELLEN 9/8/2012 9:49PM

    Motivation to do what you need to do: that's they key for all of us. Sometimes less is more.

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    Yes, it's great to strive for your goals as long as you don't push too hard. The good news is that you're well aware of what's realistic for you, so you can avoid injury.

I'm with you on the motivation thing. Getting and staying motivated at all times is an elusive goal. I am learning that sometimes I just gotta push through and just do what I can.

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ONEKIDSMOM 9/8/2012 9:09PM

    Hey, a pep talk gets you to do what YOU need to do today. It that's SLOW DOWN, it's still a motivational tool.

emoticon Tomorrow I shall think of you, but listen to my own body. Funny, I don't have that testosterone issue. However, as you well know, I hate to lose... I am a competitor!

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Thursday Intervals

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.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HEALTHIERKEN 9/8/2012 11:39PM

    Of course you're still a runner. You're a runner in rehab--one of the smartest kind : )

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MSLZZY 9/7/2012 7:39AM

    emoticon when the time is right!

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RG_DFW 9/7/2012 5:42AM

    yes, and you'll get back there

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ONEKIDSMOM 9/6/2012 9:17PM

    Like you said before... like keeping a boat at anchor... must steer.

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BLUENOSE63 9/6/2012 9:13PM

  You are a runner! All runners, including myself, have had the injuries that may slow us down but don't defeat us! Keep pushing that wall

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Slowly feeling my way

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.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MSLZZY 9/5/2012 11:37AM

    Good attitude! Hope it continues to go well but
rest that foot so it will give you less pain in the

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RG_DFW 9/5/2012 10:13AM

    Absolutely... good luck with the rehad

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BBECKER1955 9/5/2012 4:55AM

    Hang in it there! You're darn right 2 is better than 0. emoticon

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HEALTHIERKEN 9/4/2012 10:40PM

    Two *is* better than zero, and full recuperation is better than recurring effects from the injury if you don't stick to your 'heal slowly' plan

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Miscellaneous Exercise Musings

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.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MSLZZY 9/4/2012 5:21PM

    You have gotten the hang of changing things up
and making it work for you. Good job!

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HEALTHIERKEN 9/3/2012 10:40PM

    I'm in awe at your push-up and pull-up stamina! No wonder your upper body shows so much definition.

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WATERMELLEN 9/2/2012 8:53PM

    I wish in hindsight I'd exercised your patience with rehab when I was running a lot myself . . . but I didn't. And now can do cardio primarily on the elliptical, or walking on the golf course briskly. One of my friends who ran marathons has just required hip replacement surgery (after a fairly long wait . . . ): no fun. Your way is better!

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RG_DFW 9/2/2012 8:50PM

    Still going... that's good

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ONEKIDSMOM 9/2/2012 8:40PM

    What all of this is showing me is the essential nature of cross-training during injury rehabilitation.

Patience, a lot of patience, that's what it seems to take.

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Adventures in Cooking

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.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BBECKER1955 9/2/2012 9:12AM

    You're a braver man than I! I try to stick to the "slow cooker" or "grill" recipes, I can handle those.

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RG_DFW 9/2/2012 7:56AM

    Good deal, I still have problems boiling water...

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NWFL59 9/1/2012 11:04PM

    Glad you tried it out, fresh bread is way to tempting for me to make or have on hand. emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 9/1/2012 8:26PM

    I know that if it is there . . . I'm highly likely to eat it!!

One of the many reasons why I've pretty much stopped baking . . .

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MERRYMARY42 9/1/2012 7:20PM

    I try a completely new recipe once in awhile, and quite often, I am happy with it, and do it again, but then sometimes, I find, that it is cheaper, better and more cost effective to go to the store and buy it ready-made, but it is fun to try it,

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ONEKIDSMOM 9/1/2012 5:18PM

    You're a braver cook than your sister. My experiment with doing my own bread (yeast type, even) was back before your nephew was born when I had to find a no salt bread recipe. It, too, was an ugly process, and one I did not keep up beyond the pregnancy.

Sometimes hassle is just hassle. Good luck finding the balance that works for YOU with the flatbread. And congrats on having the courage to try. emoticon emoticon

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