Thursday, November 01, 2012
It's been a tough few days on the maintenance front, and I made some adjustments. My weight didn't go up much, maybe a pound; but it kind of lingered there, and I noticed my actions were kind of indicating I didn't have my head in the game.
I do pretty well with food when things are routine, or I can think about the non-routine situation in advance. I do less well when a non-routine situation surprises me. Tuesday I went into Taco Bell for a routine meal that is known to fit in my nutrition plan. It was crowded. Gave my order, and the question came back, which free taco did I want? Apparently I walked into a day early trick or treat special. If I'd known about it in advance, I would have changed my order to leave room for the free taco, and ordered the free taco fresco style. As it was, I ate an extra Doritos Locos Taco. I made it fit into the day, but regretted what I had to cut out later.
Yesterday, on Halloween, there was a snack day at work. I'd got an email announcing it on Monday, and forgotten. I figured I'd just ignore it, and did so . . . until a Bruegger's garlic bagel was delivered to my desk. So I had an extra bagel, plus cream cheese then later thought that maybe I should have just left the bagel in its bag, or only eaten half the bagel. That's the kind of thing I might do if I have time to think about it in advance. Oh, well. At least I went minimal on the cream cheese - a flavoring rather than a slathering. I have thought about that with bagels.
I made it though the rest of the day without taking anything from the snack cube, and I adjusted to make the bagel fit; but it rattled me to be that far off course by 9 AM. So . . . I decided to make some adjustments.
Tuesday I reluctantly admitted that I'm not going to be doing any walk/run intervals this week. The bad foot is as good as it's been since last February, and would handle the intervals just fine. But the sore thigh was no better Tuesday than it had been Saturday, when I couldn't get through all the intervals. It's looking like trying to do regular running on that thigh is a recipe for it getting better, roughly never. So it's time to take a week off, or maybe two. At least the thigh and the foot don't bother me with brisk walking; I'm going to be doing a lot of walking in the near future.
The adjustment comes in because I have to admit I won't be burning as many calories exercising as I would if I were running. So yesterday I cut my calorie range by 100 calories. Now, the way I have been eating would still fit in the revised range; but cutting the range gives me permission to eat a little less, and makes me think differently when those mid-day snack choices come up.
Cutting the calorie range might have been the last bit of motivational help I needed to stay away from the snack cube yesterday. It's my current effort to get my head back into the game, and so far it seems to be working.
You may ask, what about Halloween candy? Yesterday morning I had a trip to my eye doctor to deal with my glasses. This happened after the bagel and the decision to cut the calorie range. I was able to stare down the eye doctor's offering of Halloween candy without taking any, even though there were several kinds I like. Then on the way home, I bought a small bag of fun size Milk Duds so I'd have something to hand out. I got no trick or treaters this year, and I ate one box of the fun size Milk Duds. They fit in my revised, lower calorie range so I actually ate below the bottom of the old range. I'm pretty confident I can have the rest of those Milk Duds as a small daily treat until they run out, and not binge on them.
Maintenance is a complex thing. Sometimes, you can go for several weeks on autopilot, doing the same stuff by rote and having it work. It was that way for me in late summer. But now, I need to adjust things. The exercise has to be adjusted to accommodate recovery from injury. The nutrition plan has to be adjusted to accommodate the changed level of exercise. And most importantly, the mindset has to be adjusted to keep my head in the game.
With the mindset adjustment, I'm actually writing a blog tonight instead of playing Sudoku until it's time to head to bed. But more importantly, the changed mindset has got me to making better decisions about what I eat and how I manage my exercise. The exercise, the sleep, the nutrition, and the attitude all interact with each other. Each of them is important. Right now, that attitude or mindset is the key thing for me. Gotta keep my head in the game, or the other pieces won't fit together and work as they should.
Sunday, October 28, 2012
Yesterday's light mist turned into today's steady light rain. It was cold as I came home from church, and I didn't feel like going into the grocery store in the rain. So I just went home.
But the local news is full of the prediction that Sandy will be here on Tuesday. They're predicting high winds and possible flooding. Advice on how to prepare for power outages is on all the news media. Granted, the forecasters tend to over-forecast bad weather; but the national weather models show the center of the storm coming very close to where I live. The only question is, how much weaker will it get before it gets here?
So I changed clothes and went to buy the groceries that couldn't wait till Thursday. Got home, and the pedometer read 3600 steps or so.
It was still raining, and today is non-running day. Too bad, this is better weather for running than for walking. But I had to defend that 10K step streak, so I layered up underneath a breathable raincoat, and went for a walk. Didn't map the distance, but it had to be longer than 5K and shorter than 4 miles. That got me past my 10K steps, and I felt better about the day; and the walk in the rain turned out to be pretty pleasant.
Sometimes people question me when I tell them I had "good running weather" on a day when they didn't care for the weather. I tell such people that there is no bad weather; there is only inappropriate clothing. Well, Tuesday is supposed to be the peak of wind and rain here. Tuesday is also my next scheduled day for walk/run intervals.
That will test the theory that there is no bad weather, or at least test whether I have appropriate clothing for whatever weather happens to show up on Tuesday. Of course, this assumes I don't have worse problems like loss of power. After all, the weather forecasters do get it right some of the time.
Along about this time of year, I start thinking that anything I don't have to shovel is good weather. For the short term, I think I have another standard. "Hurricane Sandy" would be bad weather. "Remnants of Sandy" would be good weather.
Saturday, October 27, 2012
No, this isn't a blog about diet. It's about organization, motivation, and peripherally about fitness.
Q: How do you eat an elephant?
A: One bite at a time.
That's a metaphor from a budgeting forum I follow. Over there, it's generally applied to the situation of digging out from under massive debt; but it can be applied to how you accomplish any task that is too big to just do all at once. I recognize that it isn't the most copacetic metaphor for a forum that focuses on weight loss, but it happens to be the metaphor that stuck in my mind the past couple of days.
Today I ran part of my scheduled walk/run intervals. The bad foot wasn't grumbling much, and the sore thigh was better than it had been in a week. The plan was 8 cycles of walk 1, run 3. During the 6th run cycle, I noticed the sore groin (which had been totally silent this morning) grumbling. The smart thing to do would have been to slow to a walk as soon as I noticed; but Mr. Testosterone convinced me to finish the 6th interval. I walked the rest of a shortened route, stretched, and got on with my day. That's one tiny bite at the elephant of rehabbing to be able to run again.
But the rehab isn't why the metaphor is going through my mind. A week ago, I let my gym membership lapse. I might have gone in to renew it, just in case; but the nice manager called me to ask about it. He mentioned I hadn't been there since May. I hadn't kept track, but I knew it had been a long time. Well, if I'm not using it, I may as well not pay for it. I've got weights in my basement, I can run on my lunch hour the days I work at home, and I actually use the chinup bar at home.
There is one minor difficulty with the weights in the basement. The past year was home improvement year with emphasis on the basement. A home energy audit revealed a mold problem. I shoved everything to the middle of the basesment so the mold problem could be corrected. Then I left it there to get the air sealing and insulation done, which didn't happen for a long time because I got busy at work. Then there was the replacement of the main wastewater drain. That one involved breaking up the concrete floor, pulling out the old pipe, laying new pipe, and putting down new concrete where the trench was.
So my basement had everything in the middle, and a lot of leftover stone dust from the jackhammer breaking up the floor. I couldn't get to the weight rack to use it, and it was a big job just to clean up after the wastewater drain repair.
That was an elephant, all right. It's just the kind of project I never start because I can't make visible progress. Just cleaning up the dust is daunting. But I've already let my gym membership lapse, so . . . one bite at a time. I need to get this done.
Yesterday I had a day off. The important task, renewing my driver's license, went quickly because I got to the DMV when it opened. I got a long walk in, and got to work on the basement a bit before noon. I spent about three hours doing stuff that didn't seem to make much impact and wanting to quit. I kept telling myself, "One bite at a time." By the time I quit so I'd have Friday evening with my daughter, I had cleaned the perimeter, moved a table, moved an assortment of stuff to the garage for the next trash pickup, and planned where things would go.
Today was similar, with the morning being taken up by the important stuff. By 1 PM, I set to work on the basement. There were lots of breaks to manage laundry and watch some football, but I kept telling myself, "One bite at a time." Got more stuff moved around, and cleaned up where I moved stuff away from. Took a couple of passes figuring out exactly how to place the weight rack, dumbbell rack, and plate tree; but I got that part done, and got a small start on the rest of the clutter.
I still don't have the basement where it needs to be, but it's down to where one or two more sessions like today and yesterday will get there. Most importantly, the weight rack is where I want it (for now) and I can lift weights in the basement whenever I have the motivation to do so. Like maybe tomorrow before I start in on the remaining clutter? Not today. I didn't do any serious weight lifting today, but I moved my collection of Olympic plates and dumbbells around while cleaning and organizing. That will have to be good enough for now.
As I write this, I notice that my 30 lb. dumbbells are still on the living room floor. I haven't used them upstairs for a while, since I brought up the 35 lb. pair for renegade rows. Time to put them on the dumbbell rack with the others, so they're near the bench when I'm doing things. One bite at a time, and that's a small, easy bite I can do now.
I've got some other stuff to do around the house that needs a lot of time put in. Mostly, it isn't as closely related to fitness as making the weight rack usable was. But it's stuff that needs to get done. I'll just have to get it done, one bite at a time.
Thursday, October 25, 2012
A long time ago, in a galaxy far away, I was a telephone operator for five years. This was back before cell phones existed, and I got to ask lots of people if they'd accept a collect call from someone with a name like John Mrmlrgh. John mumbled his last name, I'd mumble it the same way to the best of my ability, and 95% of the time the charges would be accepted. The other 5% of the time, I'd have to ask John to repeat, and I'd be embarassed to find he had some perfectly common last name like Morgan that I shouldn't have any trouble understanding. (Of course, I couldn't just *tell* a customer to enunciate. That would be rude.)
I'm reminded of that experience this week. The common wisdom for exercising and rehabbing from injury is, "Listen to your body." Well, my body mumbles about as bad as John Mrmlrgh did. It's talking, but I have a lot of trouble making out what it's saying.
I have this bad foot that keeps mumbling at me. I've been listening to those mumbles for long enough that I've pretty much figured out what most of them mean. Today, the foot was mumbling very quietly in a pattern that told me I'd have no trouble doing my Thursday walk/run intervals.
Unfortunately, I've recently developed a sore upper leg/groin. That sore leg mumbles differently than the foot does. Today its mumbles sounded a lot like they did last Saturday, when I did walk 1, run 3 intervals and all was good . . . except that the leg got worse the next day, and the better part of valor was resting the leg instead of doing my normal intervals on Tuesday.
So I chickened out and skipped the walk/run intervals this noon. Took a brisk walk instead, that mapped out to about a 14 minute mile. Here's the weird thing: That sore leg was silent for two brisk walks totalling 57 minutes today. No complaints whatsoever. But there was the mumbled complaint for the light jogging up and down my hallway this morning, and a somewhat louder complaint for a few test running paces early in each walk.
I *think* the right thing to do today was to walk instead of run. Tomorrow is another normal non-running day, and I'll see how the Mrmlrgh leg mumbles on Saturday.
I haven't tried that distance, but I think the rehab is to the point where I could walk a 10K briskly. It remains to be seen whether I'll be up to doing walk/run intervals for a 10K distance by Thanksgiving. And after that planned race, it's no more organized races until I have no doubt about my ability to run continually.
But the planned race is probably a Good Thing. It got me to think about, and more importantly to start, a rehab process to get back into running. While that hasn't gone as quickly as I'd like, there is progress. And it almost certainly has enabled me to walk more briskly than I would be doing if I hadn't done some running intervals.
That's maintenance for right now. Listen to the body. Hear the mumbles. Work on figuring out what the mumbling means. Act on what I think the meaning is, and make adjustments when it turns out I didn't hear clearly.
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