Monday, September 05, 2011
Ah, three day weekends. After getting up early on Saturday and Sunday, a day I can sleep in. I stayed in bed almost till 7 am.
I am not a morning person. Time was, I could sleep in till 9 if I'd been up on time the previous five days. But a while back, I set a Spark goal to be in bed by 10:30. I missed a couple of nights, but not by much and not in the same week. So sleeping in isn't the production it once was.
Got up, and got about the day in a leisurely fashion. Fixed my breakfast, checked my friend feed, looked down the list of stuff I do daily on SP. My kettlebells called to me. The last two days, I didn't do anything with them. My body was too beat up. Pre-spark, that could have been the start of the kettlebells gathering a lot of dust. But there's 2 Spark Points to be gained by doing my morning TGU/Windmill combos and KB snatches. So they got done.
Thought about going to the gym, which is open from 8:30 to 2 on Labor Day. At 10, my daughter showed up. She's storing stuff in my basement in preparation for moving to a different apartment. We had a nice chat, then she left for work. Geared around to get to the gym, and at 11:30 I realized I barely had 1000 steps on the pedometer. (For reference, on a normal work day I'll have about 1500 steps when I'm sitting at my desk with my morning cup of tea.)
Hmm. If I go to the gym, I might not get cardio in. That puts the 10K step streak in jeopardy. So I set out to walk my 5.2 mile loop, to get today's cardio.
Walking was hard. It was cool and overcast with sprinkles that later turned to a steady light rain. I had a tough time holding to the walk instead of running portions. But yesterday was a 5K training day, and tomorrow is another 5K training day. Today I need to *walk* to loosen the calves, so I'll be able to walk/run tomorrow. Forgot to check the pedometer right at the start or end of the walk, but I did a bit earlier and a bit later. 5.2 miles in 74 minutes generated somewhere less than 9400 steps, but that was good enough for the 10K step streak.
Got home in the rain. Taking care of the lawn is a lost cause this weekend. Got lunch, and it's too late to get to the gym. Played on the computer some, and the cat wants to be fed early. Tough toenails, cat. I guess I can vaccuum so you'll leave me alone for a half hour.
Done vacuuming, and it's still too early to feed the cat. Don't want to drive anywhere, and it's a dreary day for a casual walk. The gym would be good, but it's closed now. Well, I have weights in the basement. What's on the agenda? Deadlifts, incline dumbbell chest presses, lat pulls, and standing calf raises. Can't do the lat pulls at home, but I can do the other stuff. Shut the cat out of the basement and lift weights.
This is the first time I've done a full weight lifting session at home in a long time. Maybe Christmas 2009 was the last time? Anyway, get done with what I can do at home, and feel like I need to do something else. Can't do lat pulls. Don't like bent over rows. Settle for renegade rows, which are more a core exercise than a pull, but there is that pull element. Plus, when I get done with renegade rows I'll know I've put some effort into the session.
Pre-Spark, what would this Labor Day have been like? I probably would have got the vacuuming done. I might have done more with the walls in the empty room than I did today, but I probably would have spent most of the day reading. I would have thought about a walk, and likely not done it because of rain. I would have thought about the gym, likely not gone, and likely not have lifted weights at home. And of course I would have eaten more and worse than I really did today.
All in all, not a bad Labor Day. I got in a nice 5.2 mile walk, I lifted weights (including deadlifting 110% of my weight), I had a nice chat with my daughter, and at 8:30 pm I feel like I've had a very relaxing day.
Life is good.
Sunday, September 04, 2011
Friday morning I weighed in a 184.4, and duly noted it as a 20-year low. Saturday I had no change, weighed 184.4 again. This was overshadowed by my inability to run as much as I thought I should and realization that I needed to pace myself.
Sunday: This morning I weighed in a 183.4. Stepped off the scale. Weighed again. Same answer, down a pound from the day before, which was itself a 20 year low.
So I put the weight into Excel, and changed the 2011 graph to add the point. It might be a smidge below trend line, but not far. This is probably a real weight loss. Then I updated the range for the long term graph, and I got a nearly horizontal wiggly line with a lot of white space below it. Huh?
It took me a while to figure that one out. Turns out that Excel's hidden algorithm for scaling line graphs takes a range from 221 to 184.4 and sets the minimum vertical axis number at 160. But if the range is 221 to 184, Excel assumes that I want to see how that all relates to a bottom of zero. Because I've upgraded to Office 2007 since the last time I fiddled with graph settings, it took me a while to figure out how to manually set the minimum; but I did get my readable long term graph back.
This could easily turn into a rant about Microsoft, but that's not where I want to go with the thought.
It's not just that 183.4 initially made my long term weight chart blow up. 183.4 is off the chart historically in that I *don't remember* just when I last weighed that little. I remember struggling to come down from the unreasonably high weight of 185 some time in the mid to late 1980s, but I don't remember what I weighed in which year from 1985 through 1990. I recall a couple of key weights from 1991 - 186 before I moved, and 191 after I unpacked the scale.
There's other stuff I don't remember, too. I don't remember what kind of scale I was using back then, or whether I had standardized the time of day to weigh or the clothing I weigh in. For sure, any scale I used was only accurate to one pound, and may have had a bias of being heavy or light by a pound or two. I remember a couple scales with such a bias, but I don't remember whether I was using a biased scale the last time I weighed this little, or which direction any bias might have been.
I'm now in uncharted territory. Any further weight losses are into territory where I can only say very roughly that I used to weigh this little more than 20 years ago.
I don't think I really believed I could lose weight below 185 when I started with SparkPeople. When I set a goal of 175, I forget what time frame SP set for it, I think some time in early 2012. That looked way aggressive to me, so I changed the goal to July 4, 2012.
Yesterday I backed that goal up to April 15, 2012. That now looks like way far out, at the rate I'm losing; but I'm okay with that. Now I'm becoming concerned that I might be losing a shade more quickly than I ought to for the last 10 pounds, and perhaps I ought to slow that down a bit.
That requires some thought. I've been comfortable in the eating range, and exercising quite a bit. The exercise is going to get toned down as fall commitments like choir and bell choir start up, so I'm reluctant to add calories to the diet. And there are a couple of social eating commitments coming up that may blow a couple of specific days of eating. But I want to keep the running training, which would mean the exercise I will be getting won't be comparable to what I got in past fall seasons on the fitness bandwagon.
Decisions, decisions. Which way do I go? I don't know for sure, because I'm in uncharted territory.
Saturday, September 03, 2011
I've always had trouble pacing myself. That's one of the reasons I've never been a runner; I've never been patient enough to train slowly.
Thursday I turned in a pretty good walk/run time in training. Friday I lifted weights and got out for a walk late to keep some streaks going. And on to Saturday.
The plan was to get up early, do a walk/run of 5.2 miles before meeting my daughter at McDonald's for breakfast, then do normal weekend stuff. What happened is I ended up slacking off a lot.
First, the walk/run. This was not a training exercise. The idea was to walk longer than I would in training, and not push hard on the runs. Well, the humidity this morning was every bit as bad as yesterday. The good news is I got out when the temperature was still reasonable; but I was doing terrible with the running. First stretch, I felt like slowing to a walk at one and a half minutes. After that, I managed 5 two minute runs, with 2 to 5 minutes walking between. The next time I set out to run, I managed a half minute.
My socks were wet. I'll try buying new socks, feels like the wicking action in these socks isn't what it was. My calves hurt. Either I really worked too hard Thursday, or the walking lunges yesterday were too much. I could feel a soreness in my thighs; when I got home I looked it up and I guess I worked by hip adductors pretty hard on Thursday. I don't think the RDLs and walking lunges yesterday would do that.
The technical term that weight lifters use for how I felt is "pretty beat up." This is obvious from the time I start the walk/run, but by the time I'm ready to admit it I'm more than halfway through the course, having run a total of 12 minutes. That's kind of deflating after training with walk 1, run 2 and running 20 total minutes. Couldn't manage 20 minutes in 2 minute segments, even with more time walking between runs. Sad.
Managed the 5.2 miles in 64 minutes. Got a little bit of a late start, so I skipped the hamstring and quad stretches, but made sure to to a good job on the calf stretches. Made it to breakfast on time, to hear daughter talk about moving to a solo apartment the first of October. There's drama with her landlady/roommate, who seems headed for Learning Experience in Life.
After breakfast, it was hot and humid. Normal weekend chores got started late, and some didn't get done. What did get done was a nap; grocery shopping; a bit of playing around on the SP site; and watching some football. I made no attempt to deal with the lawn in the heat. Tomorrow is supposed to be just as bad. I'll see how my body feels before I try to deal with the lawn then.
This is kind of a wakeup call. I've been diligent about getting exercise, but not as diligent as I should have been about controlling how much exercise. This has given me problems in the past, when my fitness program imploded but I kept eating like it was still going on. I'll try to deal with it better this time.
First step is tomorrow. Maybe I'll start Week 1 of the 5K My Way running program, and maybe I'll just walk for exercise. I need to listen to my body and see whether I've got enough rest time in to charge back into training. If not tomorrow, almost certainly Monday for the training. Tomorrow is supposed to be hot again, but Monday should be cooler at the cost of having some showers. I can deal with showers when out to walk or run.
It's a hard lesson, but I need to learn to pace myself. Not only in a single day's run, but also in overall exercise and fitness. I really don't want the program to implode and see the results I've already achieved evaporate. If I have to see slower progress, fine. But let's not lose what I've already got. To hold on, I need to keep working the program, but not work it so hard that it implodes.
Pace yourself, kid. You're worth it.
Friday, September 02, 2011
In Rochester NY, we sometimes get deceptive humidity. It really doesn't feel very bad, but after you walk a half mile you're dripping with sweat.
Today was warm, about 88 at lunch, and there was nothing deceptive about the humidity. It was in my face. I took a short walk and got back into the air conditioning. I didn't bother counting the walk as exercise.
The boss let folks out early for the Labor Day weekend. I used the time to go to the gym early (planned for after work) with the idea of mowing the lawn later, or maybe making up the cardio with a walk from home when it cooled off. Heh.
The gym is air conditioned, but the a/c isn't terribly efficient in the weight room. The weight room is in the basement, so it was cool enough; but much of the outside humidity migrates in. I was sweating seriously after a warmup, and dripping after the first major lift. Well, that's what lifting weights is like in the summer. I persevered, in spite of having forgotten to pack my water bottle. I made lots of trips to the drinking fountain.
After lifting, I reasoned that I might get a half hour of cardio in on a treadmill, and that would boost my step count up to where it would have been if I'd got the lunch walk. Still no water bottle, but it's only half an hour. I can drink before and after. Well. The cardio room a/c was working well, but 2 minutes in my feet were telling me that my socks were wet and it was NOT a good idea to keep going. Canceled out of that program, and didn't count it as cardio.
Ran a couple errands, and still got home a bit earlier than normal. Step out of the car, and the heat and humidity are oppressive. I've acclimatized to fall weather, let's not go back to high summer! Went in, fed the cat, had dinner, and recorded stuff on the nutrition and fitness trackers. Survey the yard. I really need to run the hedge trimmer before I mow, and then bag the clippings. I'm not up to that this evening, it will have to wait for tomorrow.
At this point, my pedometer reads about 8800 steps. There's no way I'm getting 1200 more steps inside my small house. Start looking as Spark Streaks. I've got a 44 day streak of exercising 10 minutes a day going, and I don't know whether weights should count. It says I have a 19 day streak of 10,000 steps, but it's really 48 days with an accidental streak reset thrown in.
So at 7 PM, the stupid motivational tricks get my butt out the door for a walk. I need 10 minutes and about a thousand steps. This is doable. The heat is less, as the sun has gone behind some western clouds. The humidity is still in my face, but can be dealt with as long as I'm willing to sweat. Get to the turning point for the short version of the walk. I've already worked up a light sweat. I'll need a third shower for the day anyway. May as well go the full 2 mile route. Turns out I'm at an off pace, and that takes me 32 minutes. Good enough for the streaks and the steps.
Now, off to bed. I want to be up early tomorrow, so I can walk/run 5.2 miles and get cleaned up before breakfast at 9. Then with the exercise and step streaks defended, I can see about taking care of the lawn tomorrow afternoon.
Thursday, September 01, 2011
The plan had been to take pictures at the end of each month. Yesterday was end of month, and I forgot.
I record my weight each day. The difference in weight between July 31 and September 1 was all of 6.8 pounds. It would not be surprising to see little difference; it's a bit surprising to see as much difference as there is. That's still not where I want the "after" pictures to be, but it's good progress for one month.
Then after I took pictures, I went out for the last of my remedial training on running. The plan was walk 1 minute, run 2 minutes, times 11 for a total of 22 minutes running. That should prepare me to start Week 1, which starts out walk 1, run 3, times 8 for a total of 24 minutes running.
This evening it was 80 degrees out, warmer than it's been while I'm running since last Friday. I changed a few variables. Put my older running shoes into the gym bag and retrieved the newer ones, thinking that might help some irritation of the bottoms of my feet I'd noticed before. Tried to figure out the Pose Technique that WATERMELEN had recommended. That's hard without a coach to look at how I'm doing. Tried to figure out what it should feel like and run that way. What I ended up with feels more like pulling the ground with my front foot than pushing with my rear foot. It gets me moving faster, with a longer stride, as promised. I didn't figure out how to slow down and stay in that method.
The most notable thing about this session is that I've hit the point where the limiting factor is my cardiovascular fitness. Part of that will be running faster, part might be not getting the Pose Technique right, part will be the temperature (which comes with deceptive humidity). During the session, I lost track of time segments once. Did a walk 1, run 1, walk 1, run 2, walk 5 steps, realize what I've done, run 1, and back on track. Ended up covering 3.9 miles in 33 minutes, 11 cycles of walk 1, run 2 with the irregularity from losing track.
That rate would get me through 3.5 miles in under 30 minutes.
All in all, it's been a pretty good day.
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