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SEPPIESUSAN's Recent Blog Entries

Lesson Learned

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Just like my students, I do best with a routine. Lately, my afternoon routine has been something like this:

*Go home around 3 or 4 p.m. (right now it's just after 4 and I'm still at school - checking my email from here - you'll see why when you read about yesterday)
*Immediately change into gym clothes
*Do dishes from lunch (and any from previous night)
*Make cup of decaf green tea to sip during the rest of my chores
*Prep coffee maker for next morning
*Make next morning's breakfast smoothie
*Make current night's dinner
*Eat dinner while watching the news
*Clean up from dinner
*Go exercise!!! (unlike most people, I need to exercise while still relatively full...I can't work out as well when hungry)

Note that nothing in the list above says anything about turning on my computer!

Yesterday, I turned on my (brand new) laptop after I'd gotten home and changed into my gym clothes. I decided I'd spend a few minutes checking out some games. Well, all of a sudden it was 8 p.m. and Jess was calling, asking what time I was coming over (I sleep at his place every other night). I had to skip the gym, even though I'd been dressed to go since about 4 p.m.!!!! Ugh!

To try to redeem myself, I did two Coach Nicole videos when I got to Jess' - the 6-minute lower body workout and the 10-minute crunchless abs workout. Yeah, SO not equivalent to an hour at the gym. And yesterday was supposed to be an interval training day for my upcoming 5K!!

One thing I have going for me, my boyfriend stays at my place every other night, and we almost always go to the gym together. If I didn't have that routine in place, I'm not sure how regularly I'd be getting myself to the gym.

Anyway, my weight was up a bit today, and I'm trying to reason with myself that it is okay (even recommended) to take off a day here and there from exercise, and that my weight being up was just a coincidence. I guess I accept that, but I've learned my lesson: NO COMPUTER AFTER SCHOOL UNTIL WORKOUT IS COMPLETE!

(Using my computer at school doesn't count's the one at home with the games on it that I have to look out for. Is it any coincidence that the less I play computer games, the more active I tend to be? I cringe when I think how much of my youth was wasted on computer games!!)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DORIANRW 5/29/2009 8:12PM

  Those computer games have stolen more of my time than I care to admit. What I plan to be a five minute game turns into an hour before I know it. Way to salvage the exercise day even if it's not what you originally planned.

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SEEHOLZ 5/28/2009 11:23AM

    Ahhh,, you were one of THOSE kids-LOL!
I so get it... it's addictive.. If your routine works, KEEP IT!

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ZIRCADIA 5/27/2009 5:39PM

    I think your new rule is a good one. :) I'm on the computer ALL DAY at work -- so I rarely use it at home. But DH and I are console gamers... hahaha :D BUT!!!! I got a game at Christmas that I hadn't even played till like... the weekend before last. Not much time for gaming in my new schedule... :)

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BRUIN2 5/27/2009 4:48PM

    You gamer you.

Glad you set up this plan - it rocks!!

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Cross Training Day, and Learning to Balance Ice Cream

Monday, May 25, 2009

Today is Monday, which is a rest or cross-training day according to my 5K training plan. Jess and I went to the gym for a half hour. I did strength training for chest and abs, and stretching. Then we went for a 1.5 hour bike ride - 30 minutes to a place with woodsy trails, 30 minutes getting mosquito bites in the woods, and 30 minutes back - with a stop for ICE CREAM on the way home!! I had a small cup of "birthday cake" ice cream...I'd never heard of that flavor, and just had to try it. Delish!!

I think that one secret to making this permanent is learning to balance ice cream in with my nutrition plan. Getting a small cup helps...though my mean nutrition tracker did inform me that one serving of "birthday cake" ice cream is 450 calories?!? :( But still...I don't want to live my life without ice cream! I want to eat healthy most of the time, but when the occasion comes, I want to be able to have some fun food.

Last night we went to a BBQ. Sometimes when I am presented with a yummy food situation a switch seems to flip. It's like suddenly I'm allowed to go wild eating, so I better take advantage before my senses come back and I stop myself. It's awful, and almost scary. I have to learn to thoroughly enjoy just ONE SERVING of nice food, and then let myself STOP, without getting overly full and with full intentions to get right back to my normal healthy routine immediately afterwards. Luckily even with two nights of indulging in a row, I was only up 0.4 pounds this morning - to 157.6. Phew!

I was just looking at my pictures, and I noticed that several of my best ones were at 137 pounds. I'll see how I'm feeling once I hit my goal of 140...whether 3 pounds really makes that big of a difference. One thing's for sure...I can't wait to be a stable size so I can start doing some serious clothes shopping. :) :)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RUN_LIFT_EAT 5/29/2009 10:10AM

    Yes ma'am about the clothes shopping!!!!!!

That bike ride sounds heavenly! And who cares about 450 calories in the occassional birthday cake ice cream, like you said life without ice cream is not any life I want to live! I love that flavor, too, although moose tracks is my weakness.

I have done that BBQ behavior you talked about in the past. I think for me it came with being too strict the rest of the time with my diet. Like, if I had a decent amount of flexibility ALL the time I was less likely to feel like I had to desperately take advantage of when that switch was flipped. also think it comes with practice. But yeah, I ate and drank my face off last weekend so I haven't mastered it. It sounds to me like you have a pretty solid grasp on that and dietary balance in general.

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TERRIANGEL 5/26/2009 10:20PM

    Awesome. And ABSOLUTELY right! Who wants to live life without ice cream? Just make room for it in the food schedule. Very sensible. Yay YOU!

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ZIRCADIA 5/26/2009 5:10PM

    You're doing great -- you're being mindful and allowing occasional indulgences. This is the continuing transformation from ALL OR NOTHING SUSAN to healthy lifestyle forever Susan. :) (At least that's my take on it!)

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KJNE8O 5/26/2009 11:54AM

    "I think that one secret to making this permanent is learning to balance ice cream in with my nutrition plan."

Absolutely! Totally denying yourself of "treats" will just lead to anger, frustration, diet rage (as I call it) and a complete binge later on. A small cup as a treat from time to time is good!

"Luckily even with two nights of indulging in a row, I was only up 0.4 pounds this morning..." Remember that it's 3500 calories to make a pound so being up that much could be water, too much sodium or even just stored glycogen. Go get active and it will be gone in no time!

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SEEHOLZ 5/26/2009 10:38AM

    Having a kid, you definitely know BC ice cream- it's yum! I'm glad you enjoyed yourself- you're right: Balance is key and eating fun food is fun - in moderation!
Have a great week!

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SKYFYRE 5/26/2009 2:04AM

    Ugh, I am best off to go to Coldstone for a serving of their ice cream and just enjoy it versus taking home a tub from the grocery store! Glad the day of exercise was great!

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FITGIRL15 5/25/2009 11:26PM

OMG, that sounds so freaking amazing!!!
I love birthday cake & ice cream :)

PS... I doubt 3 pounds will make a huge difference! :)

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BRUIN2 5/25/2009 10:36PM

    Yay for such a fabulous workout day!!

And yum, I had birthday cake ice cream cake before - I bet it was worth the calories!!

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First Blog Entry from my New Computer!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Wow, I love my new laptop, wheeee!!

Right now I'm sort of killing time because I was supposed to be at a BBQ right now, but my boyfriend had to make an emergency trip to his condo to deal with a leak in the roof. He seems to think everything about that building is his personal responsibility...but in a way he's right, because if he doesn't do anything over there, nobody else ever will.

So after a large iced latte earlier today, I was feeling zippy enough to make today my pace workout day. My warmup was my three-minute walk to the gym and some quick stretching. I then set the treadmill to 8.0 mph and was off. I slowed it down one tenth of a mph every minute at the beginning and completed my first mile in about 7.75 minutes, I think. I completed 3.1 miles (5K) in exactly 26:59. The race is exactly five weeks from today. Can I shave off three minutes from this all-out effort in just five weeks? Actually maybe I could have gone a teensy bit faster, but I'd just eaten lunch and didn't want to make myself puke!!

After that I read magazines on the bike for about 36 minutes and I think because I'd been running so hard, I was literally dripping sweat (I'm not usually much of a sweat-er). Then I did arms, stretching, and came home.

Yikes, major thunder out there. I better shut down to protect my new baby - er - laptop!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ZIRCADIA 5/26/2009 5:02PM

    YOU ARE SO FAST. I bow down to you. ;) And congrats on the new laptop btw! :D YAY!

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LILTROUBLE 5/25/2009 8:09PM

    oooh how fun to have a new laptop - i need one!

glad that you are doing so good. you are going fast. you are awesome.

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SKYFYRE 5/25/2009 5:48AM

    Yowzer If you keep this up you'll set a record for race day!

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BRUIN2 5/24/2009 5:32PM


You are a SPEED DEMON.

Look at you - pumping out blazing fast times at the BEGINNING of your training!! I bet the call you "The Flash" at the gym...and not because you're all about indecent exposure.


You are going to rock this training - don't worry too much about what you're going to be able to accomplish in five weeks time. Just rock this training and know that you are going to rock the race!!!

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Week 7 Ends

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Week 1 -1lb
Week 2 -2lb
Week 3 -1lb
Week 4 -0.4lb
Week 5 -2lb
Week 6 -1lb
Week 7 -lb

OK, what was I thinking having Sunday be my weigh-in day?? Did I forget about having a life and going out to eat on Saturday nights? Oh well...the fact that I can keep posting losses even after my Saturday night overindulgences is pretty good. Last night we went to an Indian restaurant in Jamaica Plain with my parents. My mom and I split a vegetable soup and Aloo Palak (spinach, potato, and ginger?? maybe? in cream) with rice. So I overindulged for sure, but it could have been worse if we hadn't split our meal.

Oh, guess what I bought - a new laptop computer!! My old one basically died, which I knew was coming, so on Friday night I made my dad the computer expert meet me at Staples and help me pick out a new one! Then on Saturday, while Jess was off mulching the yard around his condo building and then playing golf/getting sunburned, I brought my new laptop over to my parents' house so my dad could set up my laptop for me...putting Office on it, antivirus software, making a backup of my operating system (I think that's what the backup was??), etc. etc. etc. A computer store would charge $200 for all the work my dad did on my computer. And while he was doing that, my mom and I went to Concord, which is a very picturesque town with a lot of historical significance, so that I could run and my mom could walk/go into the shops. I ran for an hour and had a great time! Afterward something hurt in the area of my left calf/ankle/achilles tendon, so I hope I'm okay. I don't want an injury just when I'm starting my 5K training!!

Speaking of the 5K training, I sort of just jumped right in with the Friday plan - which was to rest or cross-train - I did strength training and 15 minutes of elliptical. Saturday was supposed to be a 2-5 mile easy run... I don't know my mileage yesterday but I really hope I was actually closer to 6 miles in 60 minutes... Sunday is a 4-6 mile easy run. I did more than I was supposed to yesterday so maybe I'll do the lower end of the range today, I don't know yet. Depends on how my calf feels I guess.

I'd still like to get in my regular strength training while I'm doing the 5K training...yesterday I didn't make it to the gym for that, but that's was my first missed session in a while. Maybe we'll go to a different Gold's today than normal, just for variety.

By the way, my 60-minute run yesterday was broken up into parts. First I left my parents' house and headed toward Concord on foot. My mom drove up and met me 20 minutes later. We just happened to be at a big empty soccer field at the time, so I did one big lap of the field. My parents' dog Teddy scampered along beside me, or he'd stop to smell some grass and then zoom up to meet me was TOO CUTE.

I still need to figure out what I'm going to do for my pace intervals, speed intervals, and hills. I've had a lot of success in the past with my own method for pace work: on the treadmill, after my warmup, I put the speed on a very high level, like 7.5 mph. I run at that speed as long as I can, and then when I start to feel like my heart is beating too fast I turn it down to 7.4, and try to keep up each new speed for at least a minute before assessing whether to go slower. Every once in a while I'll bump it back up to a higher speed again and start the slowly reducing speed process all over again. I'd like to do one "pace workout" like that per week. I'd like to try to start at an even faster speed, like 8 or maybe even 8.5 mph, if not now than after I've been training a little longer.

For speed intervals, I've had success with one minute fast, one minute slow, and repeat for 15 or 20 minutes, with the last speed interval or two being the fastest of all. I'd like to do one speed interval session per week.

I've never tried hill work, but maybe I should do something similar to my speed minute with an incline, one minute flat...I should probably try this at a fairly slow speed at first...maybe 6.5 or 6 mph.

So those three types of workouts, plus two longer "easy runs", can make up my five days a week of training.

Tuesday: speed intervals, 20 minutes
Thursday: hill intervals, 20 minutes
Saturday: long/easy run (45 min-2 hours)
Sunday: long/easy run (45 min-2hours)

I intentionally left the pace workout off. I would like to do the pace workout on a day when I'm feeling very good with lots of energy... so I will have to be a bit spontaneous with that part (which is part of why I've never followed someone else's training plan before!). I chose the short intense stuff for Tuesdays and Thursdays when Jess and I go to the gym together and he only likes to do about 20 minutes of cardio. I chose the long runs on the weekends because that's when there's extra time, although even that may have to change if the weather's awful or something. I don't know how I'll do with sticking to a plan like this...we'll see!

One other thing in this long, rambling blog...I just wanted to record my blood pressure and pulse readings from my parents' automatic device...this was maybe an hour after I'd finished my run, and I measured it four times without much waiting between.

1. 116/72, pulse 51bpm
2. 117/63, pulse 49bpm
3. 109/65, pulse 46bpm
4. 107/68 pulse 47bpm

I know that anything under 120/80 is what to aim for...I hope mine's good! I may still be overweight, but I'm glad that my exercise and healthy eating is making me healthy in other ways! Oh, and speaking of being overweight, on my parents' scale I only weighed 155.8, which was about two pounds less than I'd weighed that morning at home, and about two pounds higher than the top of the healthy BMI range!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ZIRCADIA 5/26/2009 5:01PM

    The plan sounds awesome!!! :D The pacework idea is a really cool take on it -- I haven't heard of doing it that way before.

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SEEHOLZ 5/24/2009 1:54PM

    I think your plan is great! I like the idea of keeping the speedworkout for a day when you are feeling it! With a 5K, because it is such a short distance, you can be more flexible, because you can push yourself harder...

WOW--- you are dropping those lbs girlfriend! I am jealous, but totally happy for you!

Anyways, make sure you stretch out the calf/achilles and keep stretching--- running outside is harder on your body than the treadmill, so keep that in mind... stretching is great for you!

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BRUIN2 5/24/2009 11:18AM

    Do you have a nice big hill somewhere nearby that you could do your hill runs on?

I find that the real thing is the best when it comes to hills! A hill anywhere between 400 - 800 metres long will do (oh, oops, you don't think in metres do you? ha.) Um, well, 1/2 a mile is about 800 metres, so I guess a hill less than half a mile long? Personally, I like the short, steep hills, but you could also go for a long, gradual incline...

Start with say 3 repeats, then each week add a repeat until you're up to 6-7 repeats. Start the workout with a 10-15 min warm up, and make sure to do a cool down.

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REGISTERED: New Charles River Run

Friday, May 22, 2009

After getting so much positive feedback on yesterday's blog entry about running (thanks guys!) I decided to sign up for the race I'd been hemming and hawing about - the New Charles River Run. I registered this morning - I'm doing it! There is a 5K and a 7.5 miler; I'm doing the 5K.

I signed up for the "philly division," for which there were two options - 140lbs+, or age 40+ 140lbs+. Anyone know what's up with that? Is it some kind of special category for "heavier " women (filly=horse! should I be insulted?) so you're more likely to place with your time?? Why is 140lbs the cutoff, I wonder? Regardless, I checked out last year's results, and the 2nd place finisher in my division was about 25 minutes, so I actually have a shot!

Like I mentioned yesterday, I have been in three 5Ks. I finished my first in just over 30 minutes, my second in just under 30 minutes, and my third - which was actually slightly longer than 5K - in 28ish minutes. However, there have been times that I've gone much faster on the treadmill, so I know I'm capable of a significantly higher PR if I train right. My fastest-ever run, by far, was 10K on the treadmill in 49ish minutes!!

So.... call me crazy, but I'm thinking of shooting for a 24-minute 5k!!! I cannot believe I'm admitting this publicly, it just seems so hugely ambitious! Even if I don't meet that goal I think I can blow my old PR out of the water. I have just over five weeks to train (5 weeks to 5K - I can't take credit for this catchy motto - Breigh pointed out to me once that I had 10 weeks to 10K). I just started looking for training programs, which I have never followed before - always just did my own "thing." I'd like to follow a program, but are they all as confusing as this one??,7120,

If you don't have time to check the link, it has six-week training programs laid out for beginners, intermediate (into which category I clearly fall), and advanced. However, the actual specifics are, at least to me, so incredibly confusing, I don't think I could follow this plan without an interpreter. It has you doing pace intervals and speed intervals with distances given in meters (my gym's treadmills don't count in meters!) and the number of minutes/seconds each interval should take, with rest in between also given in terms of meters.

I'd want a plan that told you how many MPH to set your treadmill at, and I think it would take a lot of math to translate the plan in the article I linked to MPH. I did a littlecalculating of my own and found that to get an average MPH, you do 186 divided by the minutes you plan to complete the race in. (186 is 60 minutes times 3.1 miles in a 5K). So, if I want to complete the race in 24 minutes, I'd have to run an average of 7.75 mph. 25 minutes would be 7.44 mph.

I also read that contrary to common advice about starting out slow, athletes were fastest when they started off 6 percent faster. 6 percent faster than 7.5 mph is 7.95 mph.

Even if I can't decipher the specifics of the plan in that linked article, I can take from it the basic principles...the idea that you need add miles at race pace, do speed intervals, train on hills, and rest (or cross-train easy - bike rides with Jess??). The basic plan seems to be rest on Mondays, intervals on Tuesdays, 2-5 miles easy Wednesdays, hills Thursdays, rest Fridays, 2-5 miles easy Saturdays, and 4-6 miles easy Sundays. I like that this plan would actually fit well with my schedule - I can more easily fit in longer runs on the weekends, and speed and hill work are best done on the treadmill on the weekday evenings I go to the gym with Jess, which just happen to be Tuesdays and Thursdays. I know I will be tempted to skip the rest days on Mondays and Fridays, but I can cross-train and strength train.

I will need to develop a more specific plan...and I'm sure I will soon...but first I will a) let this idea gel, b) do a little more research, and c) wait for advice to come rolling in (ie - comments on this blog entry).

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LAB-LOVER 6/28/2009 5:13PM

    Hey! I was there too -- how did you do? What a great day!

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TERRIANGEL 5/23/2009 10:12PM

    Cool beans!!

Hmmm...I have yet to sign up for a 5K this year. Maybe I'll join you. Gotta look into it. But I do NOT like the idea of being in a weight category, I'll tell you that! I'm not prize fighting for heave sakes! emoticon

Rock on with the training, susan!!!!! emoticon emoticon

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SKYFYRE 5/23/2009 5:09PM

    Wow, you are a researcher! Way to go I hope you meet your time goal! Fun!

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KENSINGTONC 5/23/2009 11:52AM

    Oooh I'm so excited for you!!!! You can totally do this - can't wait to hear the race report!


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    I think you can do it in 24 minutes!!! I can't wait to hear how you do!

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SEEHOLZ 5/22/2009 2:28PM

    I know you can run that pace-- it's a little under 8 min/miles.
As for the speed workouts and all, it's easiest to do at a track- can you do it at the one at school? You probably don't want to, but track workouts can be fun... definitely a nice change up to the treadmill... otherwise, it's kind of like this. I,600 meter ( well and some) is appr 1 miles, so 800's would be 1/2 mile repeats, 400's 1/4 miles and 200 1/8 of a mile. That's how I look at it in treadmill terms... I personally would not attempt strides on a treadmill, but that's because I think it takes a while for the speed button to catch up to the body... and I'm not practiced well and I don't like the treadmill....
Anyways, 5 in 5 is a great concept! You will so rock this!

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BRUIN2 5/22/2009 1:09PM


Holy crap though - 6 days of running a week?!? That's a butt load.

I had the best results when I was running five days a week - mondays and fridays were my rest days.

I think that the different weight divisions are to give more people a shot at winning - the horse nomenclature is strange... but man, look at you - you could ROCK the division. Maybe a good reason to stay in the 140s. HAHAHAH.

So excited for you!!!!!!!!!!!

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RUN_LIFT_EAT 5/22/2009 12:48PM

    Those plans confuse the CRAP out of me!! I am so with you, WAY too much math!

What I have always done when specifically training for an event is exactly what you are doing. I take the plan, figure out the days for rest/recovery runs, versus sprints or fartlek runs, and make my own calendar. I wish I could learn to read these things, but yeah, not so much.

I totally think you are within striking distance of that time! My only qs are how hilly is the course? If it is make sure you sprint some hills and what is the weather going to be like? The heat KILLS my time!

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ZIRCADIA 5/22/2009 12:36PM

    Yeah, I've never followed a plan w/ meters either. I always just tried to apply the principles to whatever I was doing. A speed workout could be sprints w/ recovery in between or whatever. Run some hills. But then again I've never really felt super serious about it before -- can you find a track to run on for speed workouts? That's where all the meter measurements come in is relative to a track. Anway -- I SAY GO FOR YOUR GOAL!!!!!! :D Why not??? If you don't meet it, so what? You will most likely still get a new PR for a 5K race since your last one was 28minutes. So go for it!!!! Also have you seen what they call those divisions in like triathlons? Or maybe even in other races that I just haven't seen -- ATHENA for women and CLYDESDALES for men. I can dig on the Athena title -- that sounds so powerful. But Clydesdale???

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