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Weekend fitness musings - running and lifting

Sunday, November 18, 2012

An odd thing happened today. The planned intervals came off exactly as planned. I did 6 cycles of run 4, walk 1, followed by a shorter run to get home. That covered 4.29 miles in 31:49, for an average pace of 7:25 per mile.

A year ago, I would have considered 7:25 to be in the range of acceptable paces for a continual run.

The bad foot still isn't 100%, but it isn't complaining loudly. The sore thigh is a little less sore, and closer to feeling like a normal training effect. If history holds to form, I could do intervals again on Tuesday, but then the thigh and/or foot would act up and Thursday would be contra-indicated. Since I'm committed to a 10K on Thursday, I think I'll stick to the plan of no running between now and then.

That leaves walking for cardio, and weight lifting so I can feel like I'm doing something for exercise.

I lifted weights yesterday morning. Did squats, shrugs, and bench press as the major leg, pull, and push lifts, respectively. Did each of them with more weight than last time. Yes, I realize this is a re-entry phenomenon and that pretty soon (probably the next cycle through the rotation of lifts) I won't be able to increase weights every time. That's okay. It will take a while to squat as much as I used to, but I'm already benching and shrugging more than I did the last time I was lifting regularly.

The squats definitely work the sore thigh. That may be why I'm not squatting as much; I'll see how that goes as the thigh recovers.

Yesterday evening I went out and bought a pair of the next bigger dumbbells, 45 lbs. I'm almost ready to use those for incline chest presses. I also talked with the guy at the fitness store about dip belts to add weight to my pullups. I see myself buying one in the not too distant future, but the DBs and the dip belt didn't both fit in the fitness equipment budget right now. For now, I'll play with some ankle weights I bought years ago but never used to add weight for pullups. When the 10 lbs. of ankle weights I have aren't enough, it will be time to buy a dip belt.

This adds yet another maintenance puzzle, figuring out how much weight is enough. There will be a point somewhere that I can't train beyond. Probably somewhere before that point, there will be a point where the risk of injury outweighs the benefit of training to lift heavier. Recognizing what those points are is a puzzle, and I hope I don't have to solve it the hard way.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HAKAPES 11/20/2012 9:40AM

    You're doing it so well. I always take inspiration about your progress, and not giving up, finding ways to live healthy among the new circumstances.

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MEXGAL1 11/19/2012 10:04AM

    nice to increase while you can. I know I need to increase more with the bowflex that I do Monday Wednesday and Fridays. It's getting to routine and easy. Just hate the discomfort but know it is important.
Have a terrific week.

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STRIVERONE 11/19/2012 12:58AM

    That's pretty impressive. Maybe the year of the bad foot will not overlap into 2013.

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BLITZEN40 11/19/2012 12:32AM

    You must be bookin' on the walk part of your walk/run intervals to get a 7:25 mile. Either that or sprinting the run. Maybe a little of both? Sounds like you are more than ready for that 10K. Good luck and have fun at the race!

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NWFL59 11/18/2012 10:07PM

    Glad to see you are able to do well in your other workout routines..

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RG_DFW 11/18/2012 9:35PM

    It's sounding good

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Adapting to Change

Saturday, November 17, 2012

This is a weekend of transition in my routine. My daughter got a transfer from her job working 9 to 6 or 11 to 8, Saturday to Wednesday, to a position that works 8 to 5, Monday to Friday. That moves our weekly visit to Taco Bell from Friday evening to Saturday noon; but the bigger impact is it moves her laundry from Friday afternoon while I'm at work, to Saturday afternoon. This, in turn, makes me spread my laundry out between Friday evening, Saturday morning, and Sunday.

Nothing is certain in life, except that things change. When life changes, we all need to adapt to the change. This change in my daughter's schedule is not one of the bigger events that you might think of as a life change; but I need to adapt to it. If I don't, something that I don't control will happen. Things that could happen if I don't think about how to adapt might include laundry not getting done when it needs to (either mine or my daughter's, or possibly both); not seeing my daughter as much, if she finds an alternative laundry solution; a degradation in the father-daughter relationship; or possibly something else that I can't foresee. All things considered, it's better to adapt and try to guide the changes down acceptable paths.

Today the adjustments to change went well. I got a load of laundry done last night, and got the bulk of my laundry done this morning. Having a time limit on the washer and dryer meant I couldn't leave the house until the last load I had to do was in the washer; so I lifted weights while laundry was in progress and walked after the last load went into the washer. Daughter got here on schedule a bit before noon, we had lunch, and had a nice long afternoon chat before she went on her way.

There's a lesson here for maintenance. Part of adapting to life changes is adjusting when I exercise, and what kind of exercise I do. Yes, I wanted to lift weights today anyway; but without the changed schedule, it wouldn't have happened in the morning. Part of adapting to life changes is to keep the food intake under control, even when life changes social patterns. I came in right where I planned to eating today, but it wasn't going to happen without tracking what I eat and making thoughtful adjustments to adapt to the schedule.

I even got my 10K steps in today, in spite of a totally sedentary afternoon and the fact that this is a non-running day for me. I accomplished this by walking 5K in the morning before daughter got here, and going shopping in the evening. I picked up some things I need, but which could have waited till tomorrow; but I also added about 2500 steps to bring the day's total up to where it should be.

It's been a good day. It remains to be seen whether this change in schedule will work well over the long haul, but it went well today. I'll try to replicate what I did right today in the coming Saturdays; but I recognize that life will change, and things won't always be like this.

And when life changes, I'll adapt. In the past, part of the way I adapted to life changes involved eating more. I choose not to adapt that way now. I want to maintain my weight, and maintain my fitness. So I will adapt thoughtfully, in ways that let me do this as life changes around me. I'll do this because maintenance is not steady state; it requires frequent adjustments.

And sometimes those adjustments are more than tweaking the calorie range, but also include revising the regular schedule of exercise or meals. I'll make those adjustments, because life *will* change. It's up to me to make sure I change with it in ways that enable me to continue to maintain.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HEALTHIERKEN 11/19/2012 12:46PM

    ". . . when life changes, I'll adapt. In the past, part of the way I adapted to life changes involved eating more. I choose not to adapt that way now . . ."

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WATERMELLEN 11/18/2012 6:51PM

    Good for you: it helps to anticipate change and plan for it rather than just "letting it happen".

I know my default "plan" is also . . . excess eating!!

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ONEKIDSMOM 11/18/2012 4:32PM

    I know you're going to find the right plan B for you! Spark on!

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MEXGAL1 11/18/2012 10:42AM

    for me it's all about adjustments. You know it!
Have a terrific Sunday.

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PDQ1203 11/18/2012 8:40AM


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MSLZZY 11/18/2012 7:54AM

    Life happens and you are on top of it. emoticon

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KRISZTA11 11/18/2012 5:35AM

    Being proactive is a great approach to change.
It is so good to see the strong bond between you and your grown up daughter...

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PLMITCH 11/17/2012 10:37PM

    Yep, agree with what you are saying 100%. Keep up the good work!

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RG_DFW 11/17/2012 9:55PM

    You've certainly been flexible the last few months

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NWFL59 11/17/2012 9:27PM

    Glad you were able to adapt to the dynamics of your life experiences. emoticon

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Making it up as I go

Friday, November 16, 2012

When I last blogged, the plan was to run intervals and possibly lift weights on Thursday. Thursday turned into a rest day instead. It started with the light jog up and down my hallway in the morning. I could feel the sore thigh a little more than I liked, and the bad foot was worse than it had been on Tuesday. If it had only been one or the other, I'd have run the intervals anyway; but with both, I decided to give the legs another day of rest. I can lift weights in the evening instead.

Evening came, and I needed to sit and do nothing for a while to recover from a de-motivating work day. Yes, it's possible to have those de-motivating days even when I work at home. I ended up calling it a rest day to let the beat up body recover. Of course, rest is a relative term. I did get in two half hour walks, at about a 14 minute per mile pace. It was hard to walk slower in the good walking weather.

I took Friday off work, and thoughtfully turned off the alarm that was set for 6 AM. Got up at 6:47, and went about the morning routine in a relaxed and dilatory fashion. The foot and thigh felt better. The sun was shining, and the temperature was right around freezing. Projected high was in the upper 40s F. It was the same kind of day we had on Thanksgiving last year, when I ran my first organized 10K.

With some uncertainty, I decided to run my intervals with a notch up. I moved to walk 4, run 1; and I set out to keep it up for 10K. It helps that I can trust RunKeeper to tell me accurate distances on the iPhone, so I don't have to map it out in advance. Also, I can run a squiggly route around the neighborhood with opportunities to bail for less distance.

So I didn't have a firmly planned route in advance. Just before the one mile point, I made a decision to throw in the big hill, from the easy direction. On the back side, I ran one of the three small hills. At the tail end of the route, I added a small amount of distance to complete 50 minutes (gotta grab that 10th Spark Point), and it came out to a total of 6.41 miles:

It went well. As expected, the first running interval felt long after doing all those 3 minute running intervals. In hindsight, looking at the elevation chart, that might be because I was running up a hill as tall as the little hills I've trained on; I just never thought of that particular stretch of road as a hill. The end of the third interval found me on the down side of the big hill, and feeling like I could keep running. I slowed to a walk anyway. On the flatter portions of the route, I didn't try to run fast, and when I paid attention tried to not run particularly quickly. So I ended up with an average pace of 7:48 per mile, which isn't a huge increase from my run 3/walk 1 pace. I guess I must have successfully slowed the running somewhat.

Later in the run, I began feeling my calves. They had a familiar training effect soreness, so I gave them extra time on the post-run stretching. I also made sure that I stood or walked gently quite a bit for the next couple of hours. I've learned the hard way that sitting continually on that kind of tired is a Bad Idea.

The big question is what my legs and feet will feel like tomorrow. Tomorrow is a non-running day, because I ran today. My current thinking is to get a shorter workout, maybe 6 full cycles of run 4, walk 1, on Sunday; then not run again till the 10K on Thanksgiving. But that's a tentative plan; I bear in mind that the last plan I articulated didn't happen as intended.

Still and all, even if the legs and feet react poorly to the increased distance today, I have 6 days till the 10K. I'm optimistic that I'll be able to repeat today's effort by then.

And the weight lifting? I think I'll skip it today in favor of lifting tomorrow. That will make me feel like I'm doing something on a Saturday even if I'm not running.

At any given point, this probably sounds like a well thought out, disciplined approach to rehab and training. But from where I sit, it feels like I'm making this up as I go. And that just has to be good enough.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WATERMELLEN 11/17/2012 8:04PM

    The best is the enemy of the good . . . and I'm all for making it up as we go along. A bit like having a birth plan, and improvising during labour . . . and continuing to make it up for the next 20 years or so as we raise our kids!! Just one of the great things that being a parent teaches us. Good ol' Wordsworth: "The child's the father of the man . . . ".

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MEXGAL1 11/17/2012 8:39AM

    I say yes to listening to the body. Sometimes rest is necessary.
Have a good week end.

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ONEKIDSMOM 11/17/2012 5:27AM

    I'm all for Good Enough!

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BLITZEN40 11/16/2012 10:39PM

    Looks like a great workout! Nice job on the pace. I have to hand it to anyone who can to walk/run intervals. To me they're way harder than a solid run. Something about stopping and starting again (okay, maybe just the starting again) makes it twice as challenging. Way to go!

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MSLZZY 11/16/2012 9:59PM

    Sounds like a sensible plan to me.

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RG_DFW 11/16/2012 9:46PM

    Good way to listen to the body

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GREENGENES 11/16/2012 9:08PM

    An impressive analysis as always! Keep it up.

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NWFL59 11/16/2012 7:20PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Tuesday quick blog

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

It's late, and I don't want to spend much time on a blog because I want to get to bed earlier tonight than I have been doing. So this will be a little fragmented, because I want to jot down some thoughts but don't want to take the time to organize them well.

Today is Tuesday, a work at home day. Because I did intervals on my day off yesterday, today is a non-running day. That meant walking 5K at lunch to get my steps in.

My usual Tuesday evening commitment isn't happening today, so at 5 I quit working and thought about lifting weights. I wanted to get some grocery shopping done today, so I kept it short. Ended up just doing deadlifts and incline dumbbell chest presses. That, and 20 paces of light walking lunges as a warmup. That wouldn't have felt like enough to be worth the effort of going to the gym, but it would have got me out of the house fast enough for my Tuesday evening commitment, if it were on today.

Maybe less is more, in some cases. I did the working deadlifts at 195 lbs., and 2 reps at 215 just to see that I could. I controlled the chest presses with 40 lb. dumbbells, and next time I might boost that to 42.5 lbs. with my platemates; after that, I need to either buy heavier dumbbells or go to using the bar.

It's enough, even though I skipped doing a pulling exercise. I don't feel too bad about that, given that I do pullups du jour every morning. Hmm. With 15 neutral grip pullups in the sets this morning, it might be time to start looking at dip belts to add weight there. It might take me a while to convince myself that the fantasy of doing *weighted* pullups could become real.

Got home from grocery shopping, and found an envelope from the National Weight Control Registry in the mail. Took the time to read it, and filled out the forms. I'd send them photos, but what I've got is electronic and I don't have a color printer. So I told them they could contact my doctor for weight loss verification. I'll mail that off tomorrow.

And now, off to bed. Tomorrow will be a long day, so it will be at least Thursday before I worry about shopping for more weight lifting equipment. Hmm. Not having a gym membership could get expensive here . . . but I'm lifting more than when I had a gym membership, so it could also be worth it.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BLITZEN40 11/14/2012 6:18PM

    One benefit of buying your own weight lifting equipment is that it's a one time purchase, not an on-going bank account drain like a gym membership is. The up front costs may seem higher but in the long run you end up saving a lot of money. Plus with your own equipment, if you end up not liking it or not using it, you can return it and get all your money back, unlike a gym membership. And if you do end up liking what you buy you've got an actual product in hand to show for it that you own. It sounds like you use your equipment frequently so if you want something new, get it. You deserve it and your health is worth it.

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RG_DFW 11/14/2012 10:13AM


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MEXGAL1 11/14/2012 9:16AM

    HOpe you have a great day today as well.

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MSLZZY 11/13/2012 10:00PM

    Between you and sis, I don't know who inspires
me more with positive attitude. Have a great

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ONEKIDSMOM 11/13/2012 9:08PM

    Nighters... if you don't hear from me in a few days... think of me having fun. emoticon emoticon

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Intervals, Blood, and the Next 10K

Monday, November 12, 2012

Today is a bank holiday, but not a holiday at work. I took the day off anyway, so I could exercise in the morning before donating blood in the afternoon. I reasoned that if I got the run/walk intervals in early, I'd have enough time to hydrate before the blood donation appointment.

"Early" is a relative term. Between waiting for the alarm to wake up, and being leisurely about breakfast and computer use first thing, I didn't get out until 8 AM. I was listening to my body, but not sure I understood what it was saying. The bad foot was clearly ready for this. The sore thigh wasn't 100%, but might have been ready. Then there was the blood appointment. I ended up deciding to do the run/walk intervals, but not to try to run fast and to keep the intervals at 3/1.

The sky was overcast, the temperature was 60 F (16C), and there was a light breeze from the south. The sore thigh reminded me in the first two running intervals that not rushing things was a good idea. Then it warmed to the task, and I had to make myself slow down when it came time for the walking intervals.

I noticed that it's hard to get Mr. Testosterone to shut up when I run the same route as last time. It becomes obvious when I'm not as far at X minutes as I was the last time I ran this route. Maybe this would be easier if I didn't have the intervals beeping in my ear; but I need that beep to keep from running longer than I should.

Got to the end, and it mapped out to 4.29 miles in 34:15, for an average pace of 7:59 per mile. That might be a second or two quicker, as I fumbled with stopping the app; but close enough. I had the iPhone out and was watching when I hit the end of the 8th cycle at 32 minutes; I was at 3.98 miles then. So for the average of full cycles, I was at an 8:02 pace. Close enough to the average 8 minutes that I had told myself was good enough, but really not that much slower than last time.

I noticed that RunKeeper generates a graph of elevation and pace. It's not very interesting when I run the mostly flat 5K, but it looks kind of cool with intervals and the three little hills thrown in:

I'll take tomorrow off from running because I won't run two consecutive days when my legs and feet aren't 100%. I'll take Wednesday off because of the work and evening commitment schedules. So the next possible intervals would be on Thursday, in three days. That three day rest factored into the decision to do intervals today instead of resting the leg. That, and the blood donation; I wanted to get my 10K steps in.

The blood donation was a little different. The nurse couldn't get a temperature. Then she had trouble reading my blood pressure. She did get a pulse, at 50; that seems normal enough for where I am as a runner. Then the iron count came in at 12.4, when they needed 12.5. At this point, I'm not terribly confident in this nurse's competence, so I took the offered retest of iron. Another nurse came in, and the iron from the other hand came in at 14.4, with room to spare. The temp came in at 97.6, right about where it usually does for me. I think the blood pressure reading was high for me, but it was within the Red Cross range so I didn't complain.

Got to the donation, and I had the original nurse back. She picked a vein that had given previous nurses trouble, and the flow was slow. The machine kept beeping. But the donation did complete, so that was good.

So what is my body saying? It's probably telling me that it isn't a good idea to run the same day that I'm going to donate blood. I don't think I'll make that mistake again. Over the next few days I'll find out whether I correctly interpreted what the sore thigh was saying. Ditto for the bad foot, but I'm more comfortable with understanding the foot.

It's 10 days to the 10K I've committed to. Assuming that I've understood what my body is saying, I think I'll notch up to 4/1 intervals on Thursday, do more of them on Saturday or Sunday, and then take Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday off from running before the Thanksgiving Day 10K. If my legs and feet were perfectly healthy, I'd want to just run 5K or so on Tuesday; but things being as they are, I think resting the leg and foot is more important than getting a day of cardio work in.

After this, I'm waiting till I can run continually for half an hour, three days a week, before I sign up for another race. The competitive field just makes Mr. Testosterone too loud for comfort.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RG_DFW 11/13/2012 11:31AM

    Yes, stay safe and be careful

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BLITZEN40 11/13/2012 10:18AM

    Great pace for your walk/run workout. You must have been moving right along in the running intervals. Good luck on your Turkey Day 10K!

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WATERMELLEN 11/13/2012 8:09AM

    Thanks for persisting with that blood donation: all those of us who have needed transfusions appreciate that. And best of luck with you imminent 10k planning for you and your daughter . . . gotta "run" in the family!

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ONEKIDSMOM 11/13/2012 7:28AM

    Gotta love those techno-toys! Probably will be off line for a while starting tomorrow myself... if I don't manage to find access to post before then, best of luck with the 10K to you AND your daughter.

As for the "down to one cat", that happened a couple of months ago. You probably didn't become aware of it because I didn't post about it.

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KRISZTA11 11/13/2012 3:07AM

    That elevation graphs looks nice!

I'm glad intervals went so well.
Stay safe during the 10K too!

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