Sunday, December 05, 2010
I'm currently two weeks into the BFFM Holiday Challenge. It goes for 7 weeks, from Nov. 18 to Jan. 8, but I plan to continue at least through the end of Jan. I did take before pics for that challenge but in different poses so I'm only posting my pics from today here. I am at 21.4% body fat using the Accumeasure or 25.6% using Omron and want to get down to about 17-18% body fat (Accumeasure). The number on the scale and actual number of lbs lost are not as important to me, though I'll track this, too.
I'm doing carb cycling for this challenge, three low carb days followed by one high carb/calorie day. On low carb days I eat around 1500-1600 calories with around 125g carbs, on high carb days I eat around 2100-2300 calories and about 240g carbs. I aim for about 175g protein every day, and fat is usually around 30-40g. This is modeled after Tom Venuto's BFFM plan. I shoot for all high quality calories on low carb days and one "cheat" meal or treat on high carb days. I haven't ever fully committed to carb cycling in the past, but this time am giving it 100% effort and it is not as difficult as I had imagined, though I definitely have to plan ahead - if I just wing it I tend to end up too high with carbs on low carb days and low on protein.
I'm doing four days of weight lifting each week - two days upper body, two days lower body/abs - with two 20-30 min HIIT cardio sessions and two 45 min steady state cardio sessions each week. This is less cardio than I am used to coming off of a marathon training plan, but I'm liking it! In the past two weeks I've dropped a little over 2 lbs of fat, thanks to sticking to my nutrition plan and hitting the weights hard. Cardio is SO overrated!
Anyhow, here are today's pics (please excuse the hair ):
Saturday, November 13, 2010
So, last Sunday I became a marathon runner when I completed the New York City marathon! A very cool first marathon, in my opinion - when I entered the lottery at the beginning of last year I figured, hey, if I never ran another marathon at least I could say I went big - and then was lucky enough to have my name drawn (on my birthday, no less!)
The marathon went very well overall. I finished in 5:00:45, which I am happy with. Going into it, I thought I might be able to finish in 4:30...that would have been a bit faster pace than what I had averaged during training, but I thought it was a possibility I could pull it off with the race day adrenaline and my muscles being rested up from the taper. The first 10-11 miles felt GREAT, very easy and pain-free, and I hit 13.1 miles in 2:16...so at that point I was on track for a 4:30ish finish. BUT, around mile 12 a side stitch reared its ugly head out of nowhere. I struggled with it for about a half mile before it went away, but after that I felt like the wind had gone out of my sails and my pace slowed.
From the halfway point through mile 20 I went into "keep putting one foot in front of the other" mode. My pace slowed to around 12:00-12:20MM, but I was able to block out the gradually increasing soreness in my lower body by tuning into my music. The Queensboro Bridge was a killer at mile 15, but I did not stop and walk, I kept running! I had just waved hello to my husband, son and parents right before it and that gave me a boost to keep going. I had worn my fuel belt but my water bottles were empty by the halfway point (as I expected them to be), so after that I was grabbing water or Gatorade at the stations at each mile, walking while I drank up, then quickly getting back to running.
I expected that once I hit mile 20 I would feel a great rush of relief knowing that only 6.2 miles lay in front of me...uh, no...all I could think was...I can't believe I have to keep doing this for at least another hour!!! I did know for certain at mile 20 that I WOULD finish, but let's just say I did not see another marathon in my future at that point. But I kept going, anxious for each water station as an excuse to walk for a few seconds.
Round about mile 22 my iPod up and died...ugh! I had fully charged it and would have sworn the battery had longer than a 4 hour life, but apparently not. So I pulled the ear buds out and thought, hey, at least the spectators are great, I guess I'll get to FULLY experience the marathon with no distractions now! And I told myself, when I get to mile 23 THEN I will feel good knowing there is only a 5K left. Uh, not so much...let me tell you, I was really hurting by then...I could tell I was going to lose one of my toe nails, and every time I began running again after walking through a water station my pelvis just ached with the first few jarring steps.
Somewhere around this point we entered Central Park and the spectators were just TREMENDOUS there, but it was hard to appreciate at that point when all I wanted was to be done. There was a nasty little hill in Central Park, and at that point I decided to alternate between running and walking, water station or no. Whatever it took to get me to the finish! My family had planned to be watching for me again at mile 24, so I made sure I ran through that mile marker as I didn't want my son to see me walking (I later found out that I was running when they saw me, yay!)
At mile 26 I looked at my Garmin and saw that my time was 4:58...I knew if I booked that last 0.2 I could finish in 5:00, so I took off...and I made it! Leading up to the race, anytime I would imagine crossing the finish line I would get choked up, but when I actually crossed the finish I was so tired that I was just relieved to be done!
I am so proud of myself for following through for the 16+ weeks of training: showing up every weekend for those long runs, even when I didn't really feel like it...persevering after a bad run...turning down activities that might have compromised my ability to perform well during my runs...modifying my training plan the last three weeks when I developed tendonitis in my knee. I honestly felt like the marathon itself was just the icing on the cake - I already felt like a success just for completing the training. And despite my thoughts toward the end of the marathon, by the next day I was already thinking about how I could do the next one better! :)
Monday, October 18, 2010
I ran the Women's 5K Classic in Allentown, PA, this past Sat. The race benefits breast cancer research. Though I didn't set a PR, I was very happy with how the race went. I finished in 27:40, a mere 15 seconds slower than my PR from March (27:25) and this was a much hillier course, so I'll call it a tie! I felt like I paced myself well, didn't go out so fast that I was dead a mile in, and was able to push it at the end. I had that pukey feeling after I crossed the finish line, which I take as a sign that I did my best!
The cool thing was that when I checked the race results I finished 27th out of 232 in my age division (35-39) and 177th out of 1416 total women. That puts me in the top 12% for my age and the top 13% overall. Totally psyched about that - I am moving up in the ranks! It will be a benchmark for me when I start to finish in the top 10%. I don't think I am going to hit my 5K goal for the year, which was to finish a 5K in under 25 minutes, but I am okay with that. With the marathon training my focus has been primarily distance/endurance, so it is unrealistic to expect great gains in speed in shorter races. I still want to hit that goal, but will move it to next year and take some time to follow a training plan with emphasis on increasing speed.
On the marathon training front, it has not been going as smoothly as I had hoped. I began having pain on the outside of my right knee during my 20 mile run a couple weekends ago, and it came back the following weekend during my 15 mile run. Though I was able to complete both runs, the knee really hurt afterwards and the next day. Recovery was about 48 hours the first time, but the second time it took 4 days before it didn't hurt just to walk. Consequently, I missed a couple of my mid-week runs last week - didn't seem advisable to run on a bum knee!
So yesterday I went out for what was to be my second 20 mile run, and could feel the knee acting up again. Didn't really hurt to run, but when I stopped after almost 7 miles to refill my water bottle the knee locked up a bit and the pain set in. I decided to call it a day rather than push for the full 20 miles and potentially make things worse. Came home and took an ice bath and some ibuprofen, and things feel good today, so I think it was the right decision. I'm going to move my training schedule around a bit to still try to get that second 20 mile run in - my plan is to do it this Wed., do a 5-6 mile run next weekend, then the following weekend do 12 miles as was originally in my training schedule. I don't want my last 20-miler to be 5 weeks out from the marathon, and I think getting one in 2.5 weeks before the marathon still allows adequate time for the taper.
Hoping the knee will hold up, I'm focusing more on cross-training and leg strength training these next 3 weeks in an effort to help correct any muscle imbalances, which I think is what is to blame for my knee problems right now. I hadn't been doing much cross-training or leg work for the past month or so as the runs were really taking it out of me and I was trying to save the leg muscles and my energy for them. But I think that may have been a mistake - live and learn!
Monday, September 27, 2010
Marathon training had been going well. I was feeling fast after my speed workouts on Tues., keeping a good clip for my tempo runs on Thurs. and had been conquering my long runs on the weekends, solidly completing each long run as the distance increased each week, even if my pace was gradually slowing a bit. I was feeling on track and very much looking forward to rocking the NYC marathon!
Until this weekend. Saturday was an 18-miler and it did NOT feel good. The temps that morning weren't bad, in the 70s, but it was HUMID and I sure did feel that. I was pretty happy with my pace for the first 12 miles, but ended up taking walk breaks to get through the final 6 miles. That is the first time I have EVER taken walk breaks during my long run, it was something that I always prided myself on not doing - I would tell myself it was okay to slow the jog down as much as needed just so long as I kept a jog going. But I had to stop and walk a number of times to complete this one. I will give myself props that I never walked for longer than a minute and after the crisis had passed (out of breath, stitch in side, etc.) I did always begin running again - I don't think altogether I walked for more than 1/4 mile. It was still disappointing, though.
In truth, I have been feeling more and more stressed about the marathon training. My legs have not felt fresh going into the long run for several weeks now, even when I take the day before off completely. It seems that they become sore sooner in the run than they used to, and as I mentioned earlier, my pace has been slowing - which is the opposite of what I expected to happen as I got further along in the training program. An unpleasant side effect of the stress - and something that is just adding to the stress - is that I have been having days in which my eating choices are not what they should be. And it turns out, eating unhealthy foods still sets off a vicious cycle for me - I am not satisfied with one doughnut, it makes me crave more junk! Funny how marathon training has not altered this.
My weight is up 6 lbs since I began the marathon training plan in July. I can feel it in my clothes - while I can still button my smallest pants, there is muffin-top going on. *sigh* I am struggling with how to manage my calories with marathon training. My strategy has been to keep my calories around 1600 during the week, during which I time I generally do great with making healthy choices. The night before a long run I will have a somewhat larger, carbier dinner than usual, and the day of the long run I let myself have some things I wouldn't normally eat, like a pancake/sausage/egg/cheese breakfast sandwich from Wawa, my post-run treat the past two weeks - yum!, and maybe pizza for dinner. The problem is, when I do my long run on Sat. I tend to have trouble reining my eating back in on Sun.
I would really like to drop some of this weight I have picked back up, but I'm not sure if it is wise to try to lose weight while training for the marathon as I definitely need to have enough energy for the runs! But I am stressed about not being able to wear some of the clothes I would like to, and I hate that I have been losing control sometimes with my food. I would like to be able to cash in on some of this calorie-burning surplus I've got going on by indulging a bit, but I think as a former junk-food addict maybe that is not going to be possible.
But back to the training itself. I decided to scope out some other marathon training plans to see if I could come up with a plan to finish out these last 6 weeks before the marathon without dreading the long run each weekend. And I think I may have found the answer in the form of walk breaks, ironically enough, since they were something I totally eschewed before! I knew that Jeff Galloway recommended walk breaks and read a little about the objective behind taking them - give running muscles a break early and often so that they can keep going strong through the end of the marathon. So next weekend I am going to try a pattern of 4 minutes running followed by 1 minute for the duration of the run. JG's site estimates this adds 15-20 seconds to your overall pace, which seems like small price to pay to feel better at the end of the long run.
So I am kind of excited now to give this a try next weekend! Which was the point of looking for an alternative plan - to feel excited about running again. Mission accomplished! Now if I can only hang onto that excitement for another 6 weeks!
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
We returned from visiting my family in the Kansas City, MO, area a couple days ago and I am beginning to get back in my routine and assess the damage.
The bright side is I did great getting my exercise in while I was out there. I did a long run both weekends for my marathon training, one 13-mile run and my first 15-mile run, and I am most proud of myself for following through with that. It would have been really easy to shrug them off but I knew I didn't want to pay the price of falling behind on my training so I just did it. And my dad was great about mapping out an awesome run for me - I need to thank him for his help again! I also got in two swims for triathlon training and two additional runs - a speed workout and a tempo run. I did some plyometrics for legs in my parents' basement one night and some triceps dips and pushups another night, but that was about it for strength training - will get back to that full force next week after the triathlon this weekend!
I did not do stellar with my eating over vacation. Not every day was bad, I ate really well the day we went to Oceans of Fun and again a couple days later when we went to Worlds of Fun. We didn't want to drop a lot of money on the park food so we brought our own, and this really helped me eat healthy - plus, being out in the heat tends to kill the appetite and we were busy having fun. And there were a few days that I did okay and probably ate around a maintenance level. Towards the end of our visit, though, I found myself falling prey to some binge eating. My stomach was very upset several nights due to the quantity/poor quality of food I had indulged in, and I had to reach for the Pepto. I do not regret that I indulged on vacation, but I would continue to strive for eliminating the binge element in the future, even on vacation. The upshot of my overindulgence is that I do feel like I got some cravings out of my system and I am psyched about getting back to eating every day in a way that makes me feel great both physically and mentally!
I stepped on the scale this morning and I am up to 149.2. I want to get back to 135 because I know it will improve my running pace and help prevent injury as the length of my long runs continues to increase. When I look in the mirror I still think I look basically the same, though I can feel a difference in the way my clothes fit - a bit snugger around the waist, and is that the hint of a muffin-top? I'm not gonna stress about it, just going to start making the right choices again, every day. I had been on a bit of a slippery slope even before vacation, bobbing between 140-145, going off-plan on the weekends too often. So it is time to get back in the groove of clean eating and not using food as a reward or for comfort. Feeling great is its own reward!
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