Friday, August 12, 2011

Fuel for the Fire

The short of it:

I have been tired during my workouts. And another loss!

The long of it:

My last couple of gyms visits have seemed particularly hard. In thinking about it I realized my midday meal was sort of on the skimpy side each time. Monday I had a chicken soft taco and two bites of a burrito. Wednesday was the worse, I had a few small slices of cheese and a couple handfuls of dried banana chips. And on Thursday I had a salad with some grilled seafood on top (probably about 3 ounces worth). Oh, and chocolate (which didn't help with the workout energy for some reason, despite having almonds too). I feel like a complete dork saying, "I don't think I'm eating enough" because, well, my general problem is I eat too much. But my appetite has been on the low side lately, at least during the day, and I've been really busy so food just doesn't get in like it used to.

The timing on my c25k research was good because I ran across my old post on AccelGels. I still have some from then, do you think they are too old? Anyway, I think I'm going to consume one of these 15 minutes before my next workout and see if that helps. That will have to wait for Saturday though because I'm taking today off.

I've sort of settled into this idea of working out 5 days a week. I don't know, either my mojo is settling down to a somewhat normal range or I'm just getting tired but 5 days a week sounds like enough. Plus some sort of weekend thing usually. Speaking of that Marek didn't want to go in the house yesterday when we got home so we took a walk around the block. He chased me for a time and I chased him for a while and I was SO SO SO happy to be able to "run" after him and vice versa. Moving with my kids is the best reward, makes me all sappy just thinking about it.

So...all my hard work was reflected on the scale this week. I lost 1.2 pounds!!! I was happy to be in the 193 range and now I'm already in the 192 range. This is a pound by pound victory these days. And I selected my next goal. I want to get to the weight I was after Marek was born, 178.4 pounds. That's 14.2 pounds to lose. I will be thrilled when I am sort of back to where I started after he arrived.

I was looking at the effort I made at that point to get back in shape. Here's my log from that timeframe:

4/17/09 - 178.4
4/24/09 - 179.8
5/1/09 - 179.8
5/8/09 - 178.8
5/15/09 - 179.4
5/22/09 - 181.4 - 40% body fat
5/29/09 - 181.6
6/26/09 - 184.4
7/3/09 - 187.2
7/10/09 - 184.8
7/17/09 - 185
7/24/09 - 186

I was moving in the wrong direction! I wasn't ready though. At least that's what I believe looking back on it. Marek was born in March and I was trying to get back to it in April? That was obviously too soon, at least for me. I mean he wasn't even sleeping through the night - what was I thinking? It was roughly three months before I threw in the towel altogether. By the time I got pregnant with Myra I was back up to 199. Anyway, things are so different now. I feel ready, I feel motivated, I feel good.

We've got an action packed weekend ahead, a welcoming event for my mother's club on Saturday, then the gym, maybe stop by a housewarming, then out to a friend's house in The City (SF) for dinner. Sunday is a baby shower in the morning, then the gym, then...who knows?? Hopefully an afternoon hike or bike ride or some kind of fun with the kiddos. Bring it on!!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I am Stubborn


Tuesday - I was planning to go to the gym at 8pm. Didn't happen.
Wednesday - Bike, 25 minutes (kick ass level 4 people!), back and biceps.
Thursday - c25k Week 4/Day 5, being stubborn pays off, chest and triceps.


I was not planning to take a day off from the gym on Tuesday. I couldn't squeeze the gym in before the kids went to bed and come 8 o'clock, after a lot of wrestling and playing with the babies I was done. I've been pondering the 6 days a week schedule I've been on and thinking maybe it's time to go down to 5 days a week. So I used that as reason to not go.

Wednesday I was back at it and hit the ground running. Well, it was the bike so I hit the pedals pedaling? Anyway, I got on the bike for my 25 minutes of random, level 4. The course it gave me was brutal. It was almost all level 5s and 7s for intensity. There were literally only 2 bars that weren't. I put my mind to it and I did it. I even kept up my RPMs. I was definitely sweating a lot, even getting a few looks. Keep moving, people, nothing to see here. Anyway, I got off the bike feeling triumphant.

This was my first day with the new back and biceps routine. I liked most all of it. I was definitely challenged. The hardest things were the bent barbell row and the single arm bicep curls. I will definitely notice improvement when these get a little easier. Finished up with 5 minutes on the stair climber and then a good stretch. Burned 541 calories in an hour - that's not bad!

Today, Thursday, was a c25k day. I was optimistic that with my rest day on Tuesday the run would come easier. Not so. This was the hardest day yet. During the first 3 minute and then 5 minute runs my legs hurt in the back, kinda above my ankles, like reverse shin splints or something. And I was breathing hard. My heart rate shot up to the high point early on. I gave myself permission to quit halfway through if I needed to. But you know those traits that are mostly not good but sometimes come in handy and can be good? I am stubborn. Mostly this is irritating for my mother, and husband, and friends - and probably even my kids too - but today it paid off. I stuck with that darned week 4 plan and I did it. I had to take it 1 minute, sometimes 30 seconds, at a time, but I did it.

I didn't end up needing to repeat Week 3 but I'm 85% sure I'm going to repeat Week 4. I'm just not near ready for more. Week 5 is a serious jump up too (I'll have to read up on how I handled this last time), with week 5/day 3 being a 20 minute run. Week 4 is sounding more repeatable already. Ok, I just spent WAY too long reading old blog posts from 2008 when I was doing c25k before. The gist of it is I sort of followed the plan for Week 5, which looks like this:

Day 1: Warmup, jog 5 minutes, walk 3 minutes, jog 5 minutes, walk 3 minutes, jog 5 minutes, walk 3 minutes, Cooldown.

Day 2: Warmup, jog 8 minutes, walk 5 minutes, jog 8 minutes, Cooldown. Whoa! 8 minutes?! But wait, apparently that ain't nothin'

Day 3: Warmup, jog 20 minutes, Cooldown

We'll see what I do this time. All I know is I'm hanging on to Week 4 for a bit longer. After c25k I did chest and triceps. I do a modified pushup on the Smith machine and decided it was time to lower the bar. They were harder but doable. I feel good about this, Ken was telling me it's time for me to start doing regular pushups and this is a move in that direction. My workout was a challenge overall but I felt good about it. I think I might not be getting enough to fuel my workouts though. More on that next time. Night all!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Dodging a Volcano

Summary: I dodged a volcano, did c25k Week 4 and legs/shoulders at the gym, swam for 30 minutes.


I arrived at work yesterday morning (Monday) but I was dragging for sure. I just didn't feel good and after a few hours I threw in the towel. I went home and after a couple hours more I started feeling better. I left to run errands and soon I realized it was past lunchtime and I was hungry. I was close to a taco bell where I could get a couple chicken soft tacos. I remembered I wanted to try their new "Volcano" menu. I ordered a volcano burrito and my taco. While waiting for my food I looked up the nutritional information on the burrito. HOLY VOLCANO!! The burrito was 780 calories and had 41 grams of fat! My RDA for fat is 55-60 grams so that alone would have about wiped it out.

I made a quick decision. I got the burrito because I wanted to try it. I ate my taco and then I tried the burrito. I took two bites and I wrapped the rest. Later, at home, I got it out and do you know where it went? Here's a hint:

Good thing my disposal is not on a diet. I was feeling very happy with my repair work after a bad decision. I'm glad I thought to look it up and I'm glad it snapped me into some clear thinking. If I would have eaten that burrito something tells me I would have felt like food waste myself. By the way, I liked the burrito ok, next time if I want something from that menu I'll go with the volcano taco - it's 230 calories with 16 grams of fat - practically a "diet" item compared to that burrito! Just looked up the nachos - that would have been the worst choice, 980 calories with 60 grams of fat. Dear me, that should be illegal - or at the very least come with a special warning label. Ha! That would be funny if very fatty items came with a warning label ala cigarettes. WARNING! This item is known to contribute to obesity, heart attacks, diabetes, etc with a picture of a tubby midsection.

Anyway, on to the rest of my day because it gets better. Since I was feeling better I wanted to get some exercise before it was time to pick up the kidlings. Finally, my chance to get to the pool. But first I went to the gym and did c25k, Week 4/Day 4. This may have been my hardest day yet. I noticed some other women doing fast walks and wondered if that's what I should be doing instead of trying to run. Nah, I want to run. And I need to if I'm going to do a tri this year. Anyway, I really had to focus on that last 5 minute run but I got through it.

After the treadmill I was looking forward to my first day with my new legs strength training routine. I did the reverse squats first. The # of reps goes up with each set, 8/10/12, which is sort of mean. The cool thing is the empty bar alone weighs 40 pounds so I really feel like I'm kicking butt. I did the leg extensions next. They go up in reps/down in weight with each set. First set 10 reps/30 pounds, then 12/25, and finally 15/20 with an 8 second hold at the end of the last rep. Whew! My quads burned. I did shoulder work and then got on the butt blaster. I did the first two sets, 10 reps, then 15 and seriously doubted I would be able to do the final set of 20 reps (all at 15 pounds - one leg at a time). Yes, no surprise here, I did it. But there was a woman waiting for the machine and I think the peer pressure gave me the extra push or I might have given up early. I did some core work throughout and wrapped up with 5 minutes on the stair climber. Stretching felt soooo good after that.

After the gym I headed to the pool. I only had an hour so I got in the water right away. I wore my heart rate monitor because I was curious about my heart rate while swimming and calories burned. At first my heart rate stayed low, in the 120's, but as I got warmed up and was able to swim a little faster it got up into the 140's. After 30 minutes I'd burned 245 calories. I love swimming, it's so relaxing. I picked up the kids feeling refreshed and ready to face the rest of the day. I wish I'd gone to bed a bit earlier last night, I got about 7 hours of sleep but 8-9 would have been better.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Count Your Cadence


Saturday - c25k Week 4/Day 3 (I have a decent running cadence), The Dailey Method class
Sunday - Bike 25 minutes, chest and triceps. Sadly, no pool.

The details:

On Saturday I went to the gym and did c25k Week 4/Day 3. For the first time on Week 4 I felt solid. The rest day on Friday really made a difference. My heart was happy too, I stayed in the not-so-high range throughout all the runs. It felt really, really good not to be gasping for air on those runs. Earlier in the day I'd read an article on running form and saw this:
Count your cadence (how many times your right foot hits the ground) for 30 seconds, and multiply it by two. Aim for 85 to 95 steps per minute.
Of course I had to find out what mine was so I counted - 84. Not bad. I suppose I have to pick up the pace a tiny bit but I was happy to be almost in the recommended range. I googled for more info and of course found a blog by a triathlete - those neurotic tri people love this sort of crap. Anyway, Patrick McCrann says to aim for 90. He says if you get to 90 most of the rest (i.e. technique stuff) will fall into place. I like that idea, I don't need to be getting all nutty about my "form".

After the run I hopped off the treadmill and headed around the corner to The Dailey Method for a free class. They are opening a new location and offered free classes for this past weekend. Going to this class right after c25k really added to the challenge. I was also suffering from that inner thigh pain, which made some of the moves altogether impossible. The class was very challenging, they do a lot of high repetition exercises, so when you've been holding your leg in the air for what seems like forever, they add 8 more reps. Ouch!

I liked it but there are a few reasons why I'm not ready for it. First, I like to feel capable and competent when I exercise, not be repeatedly "quitting" before the reps are over. It should motivate me to get stronger but instead it makes me feel like I'm weak - not something I'm going for in my exercise routine. Second, my big fat stomach the fat in my mid-section gets in the way. I couldn't do some of the positions very well because of it. Finally, for my current goals I think I need to be doing a mix of cardio and strength training and this is all strength training (and balance/stretching). It probably sounds like I'm down on the Dailey Method (or bar method, or pilates, etc) but I'm not. I think this will be great down the road when I am stronger and lose more body fat. Hopefully this time next year I can buy some classes and really get a lot out of it. When I can do the movements and not poop out or feel my midsection getting in the way I think this class will be awesome. Then I think I will be inspired, not feel weak. Does that make sense?

After the class I asked the instructor about my inner thigh pain and she recommended two stretches, the Happy Baby pose - now there's a stretch I feel funny doing at the gym - and the Reverse Frog pose (or was it half frog?). Actually, both involve spreading my legs in a way that feels awkward for me outside of my living room. I appreciated the tips. I know this kind of attention will be appreciated when I take these classes down the road. Oh, that's the happy baby pose up there and here's a picture of the frog pose:

I headed home to my own happy babies and felt pretty good. As the evening and next day (Sunday) wore on my shoulders really started to hurt. I don't know what I did to irritate them (it doesn't take much) but it felt like any funny movement might make them cramp up or something. Speaking of cramps, have you ever gotten one in your abdominal muscle? Me either, until this weekend. It was SO weird. One of my abs on the left side cramped up while I was on the floor playing with the kids. Felt just like a Charlie Horse but in my abs. Of course I googled it and found I'm not a freak of nature.

Back to my weekend. My mother stayed over Saturday night for some extra face time with the kidlings and that was a lot of fun. They both light up when they see her, especially Marek, he just loves his grandma. We got to play a lot and there were smiles all around. On Sunday the kids had a swim lesson. Miguel was playing soccer so Stacy graciously stepped in to be parent #2. She was going to hold Myra but missy was in a pissy mood (ha!) so I ended up with her and Stacy had Marek. Again, they weren't so into the class idea but just wanted to do their own thing. Myra needed a lot of consoling - it didn't help that it was a cold summer day. Boo on cold weather at 11:30am in August! Back at home after everyone was warm, dry and fed they happily went down for their naps. Whew, those kids are exhausting!

When Miguel got home I took forever trying to decide if I wanted to swim or go to the gym or swim AND go to the gym. I finally decided to go to the gym then swim. I did the bike, Level 4, for 25 minutes then hit the weights. Today was chest and triceps so the only new thing I did was the scissor kicks with leg lefts. I chatted with Ian and he thinks this is why my inner thigh hurts. It only hurt a little during today's sets (I did 3 sets). After that I stretched (oops, forgot to do my stairs!) - and yes, I did the happy baby pose but I did it facing the wall - and headed out to go to the pool. Darn it, found out the pool was closing in 15 minutes. Pooey!

So I headed home to find Marek in the middle of a major meltdown. And it was a mysterious one too, he just woke up from nap crying and screaming and wouldn't stop. Anything we offered met a furious, "Nooooo!" with lots of kicking. He finally settled down when Miguel came in munching on goldfish crackers (food fixes everything, right?). Later when he talked about a tiger chasing him we decided he must have had a nightmare. The rest of the evening was a whirlwind of child caring and then sleep, lovely sleep.

p.s. did you notice no mention of my back? Woo-hoo! It's still tight when I wake up but by mid-morning I'm feeling cool and groovy :)