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.
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.
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.
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 (16°C), 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.
Sunday, November 11, 2012
At the tender age of 49, I took up weight lifting as a means to try to control my weight. It seemed to work for a few months, then stopped working. Six years later, I admitted that the reason it didn't work is because you can't out-train a crappy diet. Since then, I've been on SparkPeople tracking what I eat and getting some exercise every day; but heavy lifting got squeezed out of my schedule about a year ago when I got really into running.
Fast forward to running injuries, and I'm having to admit that another cliche I wanted to ignore is true: Runners need to cross-train to reduce injuries. Strength training is highly thought of. As I think about what I *didn't* injure, I'm pretty sure a history of doing squats and Romanian deadlifts helped me have zero problems with my quadriceps and hamstrings when I first trained to be a runner. I had some calf issues, but I hadn't trained calf raises nearly as diligently as I'd trained squats and RDLs. And ongoing kettlebell work was keeping those hamstrings strong.
So, as I rehab from the bad foot, I'm getting back into lifting weights. I have a nice set of equipment that I bought some time ago. One of the nice things about weight lifting is that there is no technological obsolescence; an Olympic bar purchased in 2005 is every bit as good as one you could buy today. Just dust the equipment off and rearrange the basement to make it accessible, and I'm good to go. Except for the minor detail that I actually have to *use* the stuff.
Re-entry to weight lifting is a time to be diligent. It's easy to lift once and then let it drop again. It's harder to start from being off the wagon and go to lifting regularly, which is the goal. Today is the 4th time lifting since I started, and the 3rd time since I got real about figuring out what my current working weights are.
The heavy lift du jour is the Romanian deadlift. This works the hamstrings, and was traditionally my second heaviest lift, behind only the conventional deadlift. After being pleasantly surprised by how much I could deadlift and unpleasantly surprised by how little I could squat, I wasn't sure where the working weight for RDLs would shake out.
It turned out that 185 was a good working weight for RDLs today. 195 would have been too much. Since my RDLs have historically been just a little lighter than my conventional deadlifts, this supports my thinking that I could have deadlifted a bit more than the 185 I deadlifted a week ago. Next session I'll test that theory.
The pulling exercise du jour was barbell bent over rows. I added some weight; and then some more; and a bit more; and found a good working weight at 105 lbs.
I have never in my life done barbell bent over rows at 105. The last time I was doing them regularly, 85 felt about like 105 did today. Looks like all the pullups I've been doing have been good for more than just the lats.
For a pushing exercise, it was the bench press. I worked at 95 lbs., which was about right for now. It's also about as much as I've ever benched, though I haven't done much with the bench press. I've done more with dumbbell chest presses, which I haven't consistently done with heavier than 45 lb. dumbbells (90 lbs. total), ever. All in all, I'm happy with my upper body strength for this pass at re-entry to lifting.
That was enough for a session, but after I refilled my water glass I decided to do a round of one leg calf raises. They went much as expected. Then I set out to do walking lunges.
Last session, walking lunges with a pair of 20 lb. dumbbells defeated me. Let's think about that. I did them after my squats, with both exercises working the quads pretty hard. Oh, yeah. I remember. Do the walking lunges on the day you do RDLs, which work the hamstrings hard and don't do much with the quads. I also dropped the weight a bit, using a pair of 17.5 lb. dumbbells. (Technically, these are 15 lb. dumbbells with 2.5 lbs. of magnetic plate mates added on to each DB.) That turned out to be a good working weight for 20 paces (10 reps) of walking lunges, and I have just enough room cleared in the basement to get those 20 paces in if I'm careful how I turn.
Now that was enough, and I geared up to go for a 5K walk so I could get my 10K steps in on a Sunday. As I thought about writing this blog, I realized I forgot to stretch, again. Thinking about the blog brought it back to mind, and I took the time to do my stretches. The quads needed them. Light bulb moment; if I'd been in the gym, stretching would have been a natural part of the routine. But I've disrupted that pattern by canceling the gym membership and lifting at home. So I need to establish the stretching routine at home.
This can be done. Blogging about it helps me keep the details in mind, which makes it more likely that I'll keep this up.
Scheduling is looking rather fluid. Running, lifting weights, and other stuff in my life seem to be shifting around right now. It will take some trial and error to figure out how to fit all the pieces of the schedule together so I get done what I need to do, and don't burn out trying to do too much.
Reminder to self: It's okay to have a lifting session with just three lifts. It's nice to have a couple minor lifts to add on, but getting the major lifts in is the important part. And now that I've calibrated where the weight needs to be on most of the major lifts I do, that should become routine.
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