Saturday, January 08, 2011
Tonight I was up for another three mile run and, once again, I hit the gym as it was dark and blisteringly cold outside. The gym, thankfully, wasn't as overwhelmingly crowded as it had been earlier in the week, and I had my pick of treadmills. Since we recently gave up cable, my opportunities to watch TV are few and far between (which is fine with me, because the last few months, we had barely watched it anyway), so I made a beeline for one of the treadmills with a TV screen and tuned into Food Network.
I feel like my run went a little better than Tuesday. It wasn't great, but definitely not what I'd call blah. I'm starting to get back into the rhythm of running, slowly but surely. Tonight I upped my speed just a tiny bit, still not quite up to what I had been running before my layoff...but no biggie. I used a 4/1 interval. Previously, I had been using 2/0:30 (because previous to that, one minute felt like too long for a walk break), but I ultimately found that thirty seconds wasn't really long enough to rest my legs between running intervals. So I'm back to 4/1, which is essentially the same ratio of running to walking, just in longer intervals. And I'm sure my interval lengths may shift from time to time, if I'm having a tired day or a more ambitious day...or something. The 4/1 seemed to fit pretty well tonight, though.
I finished a treadmill 5k in 33:59, forty-five seconds faster than my time on Tuesday, and just a hair faster than 11:00/mile average. Not bad for a quick mid-week workout! I cooled down for five minutes, and then I was out.
I am starting to feel pretty excited about this year's upcoming running adventures. Not a lot of racing on the horizon, but plenty of training to do. I'm feeling a little lost as far as what my "running identity" is...as in what I really want to do with my running, the experiences I want to have, the things I want to achieve. Sometimes I'll read running magazines or blogs, where people are talking about training techniques, pacing, and other very scientific-sounding things, and I just can't relate. I sometimes feel like a bit of a fraud, just plodding along without a running watch, not really caring that much how fast or far I'm going, just using running as an excuse to daydream, burn a few calories, and maybe earn some cool bling. I feel like I'm not a "serious" runner and will never be (or even want to be, honestly), and I even doubt I have any business training for a half marathon or marathon. I know, crazy of me, right?! But my thought process does take some random turns once in a while, and I'm sure that every runner (or athlete of any kind) experiences flashes of self-doubt from time to time, no? I just have to remember that running can be different things to different people. The waddler who doesn't have any running gadgets, who has no clue if she runs negative splits, and who has never really done a tempo run is just as much a runner as the Boston qualifier. A favorite quote from John Bingham embodies one thing I like to remember about running when I'm feeling down on myself: "If you run, you are a runner. It doesn't matter how fast or how far. It doesn't matter if today is your first day or if you've been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run." I suppose I'm still a newbie, relatively speaking, and there is still a lot to figure out, but I hope that, as 2010 was, 2011 is a year of learning experiences and progress. I never in a million years I imagined that I'd call myself an athlete (of any kind), and here I am, an athlete, maybe one who's still forming her identity, but an athlete all the same. I have many miles yet to run, and I look forward to experiencing them.
Tonight's Entertainment: In true Christina fashion, I watched Food Network while I worked out. Although this time, it wasn't showcasing drool-worthy eats that made me hungry. It was an episode of Iron Chef which featured offal as the secret ingredient. I didn't actually know what offal even was until the commentator described it and I saw it on the screen, but it definitely isn't the kind of thing I generally (or ever) consider delectable! Nonetheless, it was intriguing to see the creative measures the two chefs took to make their offal appetizing to the judges. True entertainment!
Total CMHM training mileage: 6.57
Friday, January 07, 2011
All you need is faith, trust, and a little pixie dust!
Drink my water, 64+ ounces: DONE (30 days running)!
Eat five servings of fruits and veggies: DONE (7 days running)! One week! I'm definitely back on the ol' wagon now!
Eat mindfully all day and night: I give myself another A today. We are really starting to get low on groceries now, as in, I'll need to go shopping tomorrow night or we won't have any milk in the hizouse, but I still managed to get creative (in a good way) with what we had on hand. For lunch, I had yellow rice and black beans with spinach salad, and I took advantage of the cafeteria's salad bar to stock up on fresh veggies for dinner. For dinner, I ate leftover flank steak, roasted potatoes, and steamed up the veggies. Mmm mmm good. My big splurge for the day was a skim chai latte at breakfast time. I don't usually get those, but my throat was really sore and it was cold, so the warm, creamy tea just hit the spot.
Running: See my separate running blog, coming soon. It wasn't a great workout, but it did go better than Tuesday's re-entry into the running world.
Cross Training: Not today.
On my way to DISNEY WORLD! 25.77 miles complete, 1264.23 to go (1290 total)
Strength Training: Did a ten minute SparkPeople video for lower body today. Also got an email notification that my kettle bell set is on its way! The Women's Health book is back ordered or out of stock or something, so will be shipped a bit later. I can't wait to start mixing things up!
Let's see, what random chit chat can I come up with today? I started de-Christmasing today. Now that the 12th day of Christmas is over (yesterday), I don't really have any good excuse to keep the Christmas decor up. So I packed up my sweet Mickey Mouse Santa tree that was sitting in my office into its box, and started carefully taking down the Christmas ornaments and boxing them up at home. I didn't quite finish. The Christmas tree at home still has a few ornaments to take down, and the lights, and then we have to disassemble and box it up, but it should be finished within the next day or so. Usually I'm sad to take the Christmas stuff down, but this year, not as much as usual. Perhaps it's because I have so much exciting stuff to look forward to in the coming year? I have to admit that I'm already pretty psyched for Disney 2012. I'm seeing Facebook updates from my friends who are rolling into WDW for this year's marathon weekend, and it just makes me happy to see their photos of the Disney gateway, the Jostens Center, the 5K race from this morning, and all the other Disney running goodness. I can't wait!
Not much else going on today. I spent a slow part of my work day looking at my vacation time for the upcoming year and deciding what time I will want/need to take off. So far, besides the Country Music Half, which I already have set up, I'm penciling W&D (early October) into my schedule, and maybe a week in summer, when my parents are planning to come visit. And, of course, I'm saving 6-7 days for January 2012! I also firmed up my race schedule for 2011, which I am keeping to a modest THREE races for two reasons: saving $$$ and conserving energy for the big day next January! I don't even have any 5k or 10k on the schedule this year. I'm also putting plans for Warrior Dash and triathlons on hold for now. I'm really that serious about keeping things low-key. I shouldn't go into my first 26.2 with burnout, that just won't work. So the big three are...drumroll please...
Country Music Half Marathon 4/30
Madison Mini Marathon 8/20
Wine & Dine Half Marathon 10/1
Yes, I'm giving W&D another chance. Because, in spite of the suckiness at the finish line, it was a fun race to run and the bling was ah-mazing...like seriously the best ever. And you all know how much I live the Food & Wine Festival. Food + Running = Heaven. Yep, I'm pretty sure. And I'll also state for the record that I do not plan to check a bag at W&D. Not gonna go through that again! Perhaps Disney will get themselves together in that department, but I'm not gonna chance it this time. So there you have it...I'm all ready to fly through 2011!
Thursday, January 06, 2011
All you need is faith, trust, and a little pixie dust!
For a dready Wednsday in January, today was a pretty good day! Lots of high points. Today I decided to wear a different coat to work, my favorite dressier wool coat which was getting a little snug last month. Today it fit like a charm, even all buttoned up! Looks like that pixie dust is kicking in, and it's been showing on the scale recently, too. And then, at lunch, when I was checking my Yahoo mail, I saw an email from SparkPeople entitled, "You are a Motivational Member." This means that several of my fellow SparkPeople members have nominated me for this honor...and I'm just touched, and humbled. I am the girl who barely passed phys ed, and now people see me as a motivator in physical fitness?! I'm just honored, just wow. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of my friends who nominated me for this award. It means so much to me to have this badge of honor on my SparkPeople page. To the outsider, it may appear as an innocuous little graphic on the sidebar of my page, but to me it represents a year and a half of hard HARD work, self-examination, and personal growth. I started this journey at 170+ pounds, feeling so incredibly down on myself, and, although it's been a rocky road at times, I've found peace, health, friendship, and inner strength along the way. I still have far to go, but I know that I have come a long way. And I hope I can continue to share my experiences and lessons learned with the people I meet. I'm just floored. Thanks again, friends.
Bolstered by my SparkPeople award and some high praise from my boss at work today, I was 1000% motivated to make it a great day, and I did. I ate very well, solidly, all day long. And I talked Bruce out of a dinner run to Arby's, where there is hardly anything likeable that really fits into "healthy eating," to another place where we could ALL get dinners we'd enjoy! I rounded out the day with a solid aerobics session and some strength training at home. And I also finally ordered a couple of more Christmas gifts from the $$ Bruce gave me. Finally, a kettle bell kit and that Women's Health book I keep carrying on about. So I'll be on the lookout for a big Amazon box in the next few days. I can't wait to start mixing up and amping up my strength training! So here are my fabulous stats for today:
Drink my water, 64+ ounces: DONE (29 days running)!
Eat five servings of fruits and veggies: DONE (6 days running)! Almost back up to a week long streak!
Eat mindfully all day and night: I give myself an A today. I'm really starting to enjoy packing my lunches again, now that I'm really working hard to mix things up and incorporate whole, fresh foods into the mix. (Minus the finicky little gladware containers, which I have come to HATE...) Today I ate up the other half of my couscous from yesterday, and lots of fruits and veggies and such. I left room for a small ginger cookie at the work cafeteria. I don't mind making a bit of room for the naughty stuff, as long as it's "real" freshly-baked yumminess. Dinner was grilled chicken, dumplings, biscuits, and veggies, and dessert was a small handful of Jelly Bellys, my second favorite candy after chocolate covered raisins.
Running: The good news about yesterday, in spite of its blah-ness, is that I did not feel even a hint of residual soreness today. I'm all set to give it another go tomorrow.
Cross Training: Seventy very energetic minutes with my girl Leslie! Equivalent to 4.67 miles. I've said it once, I'll say it again. Aerobics make me really (really) insanely happy. Now, does that make me too nerdy for you?
On my way to DISNEY WORLD! 22.42 miles complete, 1267.58 to go (1290 total)
Strength Training: Quick core strength training video. In this department, I'm seriously bored. I hope my new purchases will help in that department.
It really was close to a perfect day. The only dark spot was that Timmy had a bit of a rough day at daycare. Time outs for saying "no" to his teachers, and very unruly behavior when I went to pick him up. Bruce and I suspect that he's picking up a few bad habits from one of his classmates, who...isn't the best behaved little boy, to put it nicely. We figured that something like this was bound to happen in school eventually, but it's kind of heart-wrenching to see bad influences molding and shaping our little boy, and not for the better. Much as we try to drill good behavior into him at home, we can't insulate him from every outside influence, much as we sometimes think we want to. I'll just hope that he's back to being the charming little boy we know and love in the morning...because today, he really wasn't. Anyway, tomorrow's lunch is finished cooking, so it's time to pack it up and head to bed. Until tomorrow...
Wednesday, January 05, 2011
Well, here it is, peeps, after being on hiatus from half marathon training since October 30, I'm ba-ack! The target race, half #6, is the 2011 Country Music Half Marathon, to take place in Nashville, TN on April 30. I have secured the vacation time, made housing arrangements for the big weekend, and plonked down my registration fee. It's all official-like! Why Country Music? I believe I may have given you the back story in a recent blog, but I'll recap, just in case I didn't. After college, I lived in Nashville for a year. I was there for graduate school, which didn't end up working out, but 2000-2001 was probably one of the biggest "finding myself" years of my life! On April 28, 2001, I had been planning to attend a get-together at my church, which was kind of on the edge of downtown. However, I discovered that the streets I usually took to church were closed due to the race, and I'd have to take a long way around to get there. So I stayed home...and mid-morning, I got a call from a friend inviting me to come hang out with her and a group of others out at MTSU, in Murfreesboro. With nothing else to do, I went over there...and Bruce was there. I noticed that he was being awkwardly polite with me: giving up his seat for me, offering me snacks, and stuttering and struggling to make eye contact somewhat. As I was about to leave, he asked me out on a date. We went out for pizza that evening, and the rest was history! So, indirectly, I blame the Country Music Marathon for connecting me with my husband...and since I started running, it always seemed like a natural addition to my bucket list!
As you know, I ran five half marathons last year, three of which were closely spaced together to qualify me for Half Fanatics membership. After my final race, I was thoroughly burnt out on running. I did make a half-hearted attempt to train for the Berbee Derby 10k, and I did complete that race, but after that, I was completely done. Not only was I physically fatigued, but the joy of running just wasn't in my heart anymore. End result, I took a hiatus in December. I knew I'd be back to running, but I just needed a short "absence makes the heart grow fonder" break. During the month, I turned my attention to cross training and planning out my 2011 racing and training goals. For this half marathon, I am going more conservative than ever with my training. Previously, I used Hal Higdon's beginner's training plan, which I still believe to be excellent and would highly recommend, but this time, I selected a gentler approach: Jeff Galloway's plan. This one requires 3 runs per week, two thirty-minute runs, which I'll do on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and a third run, which will typically be longer. (As the distances get longer, the LSDs are only ever other week, giving ample time for recovery between LSDs.)
I promised myself that I'd be gentle with myself, that I would not concern myself with speed or beating x minutes/mile or x:xx:xx time on race day. I know the Type A fraction of my brain will be fighting that promise all the way to the finish line, but I have to keep remembering. I don't enjoy running when I get caught up in the numbers. Playing the numbers game makes running into a chore, something to dread, not something fun and confidence-building, which it is supposed to be. So, remember, Christina, this is for FUN, you are not trying to break any records here. (And rest assured, you won't...)
Another fun aspect to this race is that I've recently joined an online community of Disney running enthusiasts, and many of my new friends will be attending Country Music too. How odd that my first Disney running group get-together is not at a Disney race, but I definitely won't pass up the chance to socialize with some like-minded souls!
Back to tonight's workout. In the days leading up to today, I felt my excitement building, knowing that I'd be off and running again. But, at the same time, I approached my run with some trepidation. I hadn't run in a month. While I have remained "fit" in the general sense, how much running fitness had I really lost? Would three miles feel like thirty? How much slower would I really go? What if I didn't finish the workout? In advance of my workout, admittedly, that perfectionist in me was already being way too hard on myself! This was a workout to approach with minimal expectations - really just finishing the distance and having the best time possible - but I was already essentially telling myself I was about to fail.
I know, I know, this line of thinking has to STOP.
I hit the gym at eight o' clock. Thankfully it wasn't quite as crowded as it was last night, probably because I was there a little bit later in the evening. I picked a treadmill and selected the 5k program. I had forgotten my water bottle (oops...but it was "just" a 5k, right?) but had my iPod to fuel me with some soothing tunes.
I started with a one minute walking warmup and then started jogging lightly at 5.5 mph. I didn't feel quite as clunky as I expected to. I got through four minutes easily enough, and tacked on a fifth. If I could do 4:1's - which is what I had planned - why not push it to 5:1? Yep, there goes Type A Christina again. After interval #1, I felt great...almost like I hadn't lost anything in the month off. But in interval #2, I bumped up the speed a bit, and that went fine, but in interval #3, I realized I wasn't ready to push it any higher. And I was starting to feel a bit tired.
But I don't know if it was physical fatigue as much as it was being bored and tired of the dreadmill, already! Part of me suspects that I would have - psychologically - done much better running outdoors. But, I'm sorry, I know many people are willing to run in 10-15 degree weather, but I am not one of them. My body just does not like the cold so much. 25 degrees I can do, if push comes to shove, but 10-15 and DARK, you can just forget it! Hopefully as winter wears on, I'll be able to get outdoors a little more, especially in the weeks leading up to the race!
In any event, after what felt like eons, I got through the 5k program and wrapped up with the treadmill's standard two minute cooldown. I was incredibly relieved to be done. I can't believe how ridiculously HARD it felt. I mean, I know, in general, that running three miles isn't necessarily easy, not exactly a walk in the park, but I don't remember it being this draining either. While I cooled down, I could barely wrap my mind around the fact that I had run 13.1 five times in 2010, and was contemplating at least three more in 2011. Wha...? I almost can't fathom that my body will be able to do that again! I hopped off the treadmill and was almost shaking my head in surprise as I wiped down the treadmill and reset it for the next user. And that was that. Rather unceremoniously, I gathered up my iPod, jacket, and car keys, and drove on home. This dailymile update pretty much sums up how I felt about the whole workout:
"Christina ran 3.1 miles in 34 mins and felt blah. First time running in a month...and it was on the dreadmill. Don't remember it being this hard. Blah. It will get better, right?!"
But the important thing is that it's DONE, and I made it. I did the distance, which was my primary goal for tonight's workout. I didn't have the best time (it was 34:44, if you are curious, five minutes off of my 5k PR), but that will come...at least I hope! And it wasn't fast, but I did not expect it to be. Tonight's mileage, including cooldown, was 3.22, modest, but satisfying enough. So all in all, not a bad start. It's not the end of the world to have a lackluster training run - we all do once in a while - but it's a minor bummer that it had to be my first CMHM training run. I certainly hope things turn out a little better than blah when I repeat the process on Thursday. Hopefully, as my body re-adapts to running, I'll be on the up and up in no time!
Tonight's Entertainment: Christmas harp music on the iPod (hey, don't scoff, technically it's the 11th day of Christmas, so I'm still within acceptable limits...on the 11th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me a boring tiring run on the dreadmill!) I also caught the occasional glimpse of the Biggest Loser on the gym TV, but since I didn't have sound on it, it was really more like people watching than actually watching TV.
Total CMHM training mileage: 3.22
Wednesday, January 05, 2011
All you need is faith, trust, and a little pixie dust!
Whew, and here it is, the first day of Country Music half marathon training! As you know, I've been chattering about this day for a while. Let the journey begin, starting right here, and ending somewhere around ten AM on April 30. Stay tuned for all of my adventures, the good, the bad, and the just plain boring/disgusting/crazy! I would call today another successful day. I'm getting into the rhythm of eating "better" after lapsing somewhat over the Christmas holiday. It's funny, when I'm not eating well, I feel like I could eat everything in site and still not feel satisfied. But when I'm eating my fruits and veggies and managing my portions and choices more carefully, I'm seriously, amazingly satisfied with my food. Isn't that crazy?! Well, maybe not so much crazy because my body is getting what it actually needs, what it biologically craves, even if it's not what my squishy psychological side is craving...but it's just so wild and I dunno...cool. I actually got home from the gym today and I wanted a clementine. Wha?? Not chocolate or candy or soda? I wanted fruit?! I'm finding that I still like to integrate some naughtiness into my schedule, but have become more selective about which ones I'll have. I'm not really into pre-packaged sweets so much now (except maybe chocolate covered raisins...), so I'll save those calories for real baked goods, like ones I make or that the awesome bakers at my work's cafeteria conjure up. I have completely lost my taste for frozen "health" meals like Lean Cuisines, where I used to eat them ALL THE TIME when I have "dieted" in the past. I just want "real" food now...hmmm...there's something to this whole going for "whole" foods approach to eating...huh?
Drink my water, 64+ ounces: DONE (28 days running)!
Eat five servings of fruits and veggies: DONE (5 days running)! Look at me go!
Eat mindfully all day and night: I give myself an A today. Last night I realized I didn't have any leftovers to take for lunch, so I made the effort to cook up some pearl couscous. It smelled so yummmmy on the stove, and tasted even better when I had it today. I paired it up with some veggies and salad, and I was golden. I had room for an "aztec" brownie at lunch (the aztec description because it was bittersweet chocolate flavored with cinnamon, chili powder, and other spices), and filled out the rest of the work day with plenty of fresh fruit. Dinner was broiled flank steak, roasted potatoes, and steam-in-bag veggies. I wasn't crazy about the veggies, though. They came in some kind of sauce...and I'm starting to discover that I'm not really digging the artificial frozen veggie sauces so much anymore. Just give me plain veggies and let me do my own sauce or season them with some good old-fashioned salt and pepper.
Running: Guess what, I'm ba-ack!! Tonight's workout was about as I expected, slow, physically demanding, and tiring, but it felt good to ease my way back onto the wagon. I will blog my CMHM training runs separately, so check out today's entry...coming soon! Total mileage for today was 3.22.
Cross Training: NA
On my way to DISNEY WORLD! 17.75 miles complete, 1272.25 to go (1290 total)
Strength Training: Today was a quickie bootcamp workout, upper body stuff.
Today was a rather unproductive workday, for the most part. My clients still seem to be half asleep...or still on vacation. (Shh...now I've said that tomorrow will be crazy busy!) I did have one big accomplishment today, though: testing on a development project I did last month wrapped up today, so I was able to kick the thing out the door, finally! Now, real-life clients in real-life hospitals will be able to use the little bit of code I put together. Scary (in the sense of holy crap, that's a big chunk of responsibility there) but sa-weet!
I did get a chance to comb through listings today, as did Bruce, and we found five houses that look like viable candidates, including the one we saw on our "I'm bored" Sunday afternoon drive. One was a gorgeous new-ish house with lots of square footage, but the property taxes were a bit spendy and the lot was a wee bit small. Another was on a generous-sized lot, but the layout was a little iffy. The third was gorgeous on the inside (like almost perfect!) but the outside is hideous...imagine a house that looks like it would fit in next to the Brady Bunch. Yup, all we'd need is some astroturf! But, man, oh, man, the interior looked totally up-to-date and friggin' awesome. And, there's just something oddly humorous about living in a Brady Bunch-style house...it would actually kind of fit with Bruce's and my quirky personalities. So who knows?! Our fourth house looked amazing, inside and out, had a great lot, but is a little bit of a longer commute...so location may go against it. The fifth house, after we compared it with some other houses, appears to be somewhat overpriced for what it is, but the location's awesome (oh yeah, location, location, location!!) and we still want to check it out. The joys of house hunting! It was quite a trip looking through listings. I have to wonder what some of the sellers were thinking when taking photos for their listings. Some of the photos had so much clutter in them that you could barely get a look at the room underneath the clutter, and some of the rooms had ghastly paint jobs or wallpaper that were horribly distracting. I mean, yes, we all know you can repaint or tear down wallpaper pretty cheaply, but yeesh, if you're trying to sell your place, it's a little bit harder to do if your walls are hideous! My mom is a big fan of all those real estate kind of shows on TLC (or some cable network, I dunno, we don't have cable), and whenever I get a glimpse of one of those shows, they're always talking about taking your clutter out and painting the walls in neutrals to give your house maximum appeal. So, sad as it is, I have trouble picturing myself in some of these houses because the photos are just hideous.
Other than house hunting, I did some browsing on Amazon for inspiration for the rest of my Christmas money. I don't want to rush into spending it, but I'm definitely in window shopping mode! I heard a rumor that Garmins were on sale on Target's website, and I also found that the 305 is now at the lowest price I've ever seen on Amazon. Much as I'm generally not a running watch kind of gal, I could see it being pretty useful once training runs start to get really long, especially double-digit miles. And there's still that Women's Health book I keep coming back to, and maybe some kettleball stuff. Hmmmm. And I also mentioned to Bruce that I'd love some new work clothes. My work doesn't really have a dress code, i.e. we can go casual all the time, and I've really taken advantage of it...but now I feel like I'm going to work dressed like a slob, and I am really trying to take more pride in my appearance. (Call it a new year's resolution, if you want.) I have some nice business-casual stuff, but not a whole lot, so I'm thinking about hitting Kohl's, my go-to clothes shopping store, and adding a few new pieces. A couple of tops, a couple of pairs of pants, and maybe some new comfortable but attractive shoes. And I'm also planning to set up a haircut appointment very soon because I'm fairly overdue for one.
Hmmm...just a random ramble, but I wish it were possible to do rich text blogging on SP, you know, colors, different font sizes, bold, italic, etc. I use those features in pretty much all other venues to get my point across...but here I just have to use ALL CAPS to emphasize...pretty much anything. So don't mind all my virtual "shouting" on here...
That's about it for tonight! Just about time to hit the sack, after I've written up a quickie blog about tonight's training run...
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