Saturday, December 17, 2011

Running Down a Dream

Thursday was a planned gym day and while my mind was up for the task, my body wasn't.  My back felt really tight and it was my mid-back, which was a new feeling.  My legs were quite sore too.  I had an internal debate all day long about what to do.  I was driving toward the gym when I realized it was a bad idea.  I need to listen to my body.  And my body was saying it needed rest/recovery.  The good thing is, my schedule allows for either a Thursday or Friday workout without any consequence.

So by the time my workout rolled around on Friday I was feeling up to the task - both mentally and physically.  My half-marathon training plan called for an easy 3 mile run.  Do you see the air quotes around "easy"?  The concept of an easy run made me chuckle.  My how things have changed in the last 6 months.  I did a 3 minute warm-up and then set the treadmill to 1° incline at 5mph.  And off I went.  There was a guy grunting and groaning on a nearby treadmill - he sounded like he was in labor.  At first I was irritated but after a while it became entertaining.  I kept telling myself that I was lucky not to be suffering like he apparently was.  He was hilarious!  I was bummed when he was done before me.  My three miles were done before I knew it.  I maintained a 12-minute-mile without much difficulty.  My heart rate stayed in the high 140's for most of the run, got into the low 150's toward the end.  Still, I wouldn't call it "easy" just yet.  Maybe some day.

Today, Saturday, was a long run.  8 miles.  Only one more mile than last week, right?  I took the kids to playgroup in the morning then we came home for lunch.  I wanted to wait at least an hour after I ate so I played with the kids for a bit and then put them down for naps.  I mapped out a route that took me down a nearby footpath and back home, which was 3 miles out/back.  I did that twice before a final 2 mile loop around the neighborhood.  I planned the two home pit-stops, at mile 3 and mile 6, so I could drink some water.  Both times I ate two Shot Bloks just before getting to my house (Thanks Laurie!).  Then I'd stop long enough to take 3-4 big gulps of water from the bottle I'd left in my driveway before heading off.

Around what I would guess to be mile 7 I started to feel a bit of aching in my legs and hips but nothing too uncomfortable.  I finished the 8 miles in 1 hour, 40 minutes.  Only 6 minutes more than my 7 miles last week!  Worked out to be an average of a 12.5 minute-mile.  I was very pleased with that.  During the first half of the run I was on pace to finish with a 12 minute-mile average but I must have slowed down during the second half.

And something different, I listened to music!  I felt like I needed something to keep me entertained, besides my thoughts, during all that running and I figured I haven't been needing to pay such close attention to my breathing anymore.  And it was great!  The music really makes a big difference, especially when a good song comes on like "Running Down a Dream."  I found myself wondering, more than a few times, "why am I doing this?"  It's not exactly fun to run for 1 hour and 40 minutes (though it does motivate me to work on my speed just so it doesn't take me so darned long to run a farther distance).  I wondered if the friend who asked to train with me and got me thinking to sign up for this race is training too (Hey Erinn, you better be running!).  But I can see, once I lose weight and build up more strength, how it could be more and more fun.  Right now I have short periods of fun but most of it still feels like pretty hard work.

But, there you have it.  Once again, my longest run ever!  And only 5 miles short of the half marathon.  Ha!  Next week the training plan recommends an actual 5k event for race and pacing practice.  I don't see any 5ks being on Christmas Eve so I'll just have to run my own 3.125 miles.  Or I could do my 9 miles next week and a 5k the following Saturday, which is New Years Eve.  There are a few choices for 5k on new years - unfortunately they are at 11pm so that probably won't work. 

So, sadly, I didn't get any questions for the video q&a I was hoping to do.  All for the best I suppose, who knows how much time it would have taken!

Oh!  I almost forgot, I lost a whole .4 pounds this week.  That's twice as much as last week.  I'm not even averaging a half-pound per week these days.  I wish I cared more but the truth is I kind of don't.  I mean I do, sort of, but not enough to make any big changes.  The only reason I'd like to lose faster at this point is to be lighter for the half-marathon.  But that doesn't seem to be translating to less food intake.  It is what it is.  As long as I'm headed in the right direction I'm not complaining.

Running down a dream, that never would come to me, workin' on a mystery, going wherever it leads...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

11:45 (!!)

I managed to take Monday off from exercising and it didn't kill me.  I did miss that feeling of being ahead of the game as I start the week.  I went to the gym on Tuesday and the training schedule called for a 4 mile run.  I mis-read and thought it was a "pace" run.  Since this was on the treadmill I decided to do a bunch of intervals that would keep me from getting bored.  I did the first mile doing incline intervals, increasing .5 degrees each minute until I finished a minute at 5 degrees.  For the second mile I did 5mph, 5.5mph, and 6mph for a minute each and cycled through those until I got to a mile.  I did the same things for mile 3 and 4 and when I was done I felt like I'd kicked butt!  And the neat thing was I beat the 12 minute mile pace, I averaged 11:45 minute miles - I did 4 miles in 47 minutes - with inclines!  That was pretty cool.

What was NOT cool was that I had legs/shoulders/core to do for strength training when I was done.  I tried to do the lunges and squats on the smith machine but that was just not happening so I did them with free weights.  Much better.  I still had to take lots of breaks but I got them all done.  Later, when I was supposed to do three sets of squats with shoulder presses I could barely do one set so I didn't quite do everything but I felt great about my workout nonetheless.

I don't think I've mentioned that boot camp is out.  I liked it but financially I couldn't justify paying for classes when I already have a gym membership.  So today was to be my first day getting up at 5am to hit the gym instead of boot camp.  I got all my clothes together last night but I wasn't sure if I'd actually do it.  Unfortunately I stayed up later than I planned so that made it even worse when the alarm went off.  I rolled over and had a little dialogue with myself:
"Should I go? What's more important - 2 more hours sleep or the gym?  I am tired.  If I go will I be tired all day and cranky with the kids?  Maybe I should just go, see how it is, and if it's awful I will make a new workout plan that does not involve Wednesday morning workouts."
I honestly wasn't sure what the "right" thing to do was but I got out of bed and went.  My workout went ok.  I did the bike for 25 minutes and then chest/triceps/core for strength training.  I forgot to take a few bites of banana before I left the house and I think eating on empty didn't help.  I just didn't feel quite as strong as I normally do.  And I was stiff as heck when it came time to stretch!  But that could be residual from the running and not the fact that it was still dark out and I should probably be in bed.  I got home and 5 minutes after I walked in Marek woke up.  No going back to sleep for me!

The day went fine.  My mom and a friend with her daughter came over, which was nice.  We had pizza and salad for lunch and I'm sure that helped.  I took Vitamin B in the afternoon just in case.  And I had a second round of coffee around 11am - something I never do.  With the extra calories, caffeine, vitamins and people over I made it through the day.  I think I'll keep Wednesday workouts for now but just make sure I go to bed on time the night before and eat a little something before I head out the door.

My legs were a bit sore today but by this evening they were really hurting.  I took some ibuprofen and probably should have taken a bath but that didn't occur to me until just now and I'm heading to bed in a few minutes.

On the food front - I had a low moment last night.  I had cereal after dinner.  Twice.  And it wasn't my "healthy" cereal - it was Miguel's Frosted Flakes.  What really irritated me later is that I didn't even remember tea.  Darnit, tea might have saved me those calories and the frustration with myself.  Ah well, live and learn.  Tonight I was all about the tea.  I ate a small amount at dinner to balance out the pizza lunch so I am a little hungry right now but I'll survive and the tea helped.  That reminds me, wasn't there some "dieter's tea?" that people were drinking back when?  I wonder what that had in it?  I'm off to google.  'night all!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Minor Aches and Pains

My body definitely knows it ran 7 miles yesterday.  Mostly it's been my knees (and hips a tiny bit) that are a little achy.  Another good reason to get this weight off - so my knees don't have so much bearing down on them with every step.  Second most achy thing was my lower back, though neither was painful, just enough discomfort that I took notice.  On the whole my body just felt a bit tight all day.

I spent the morning and lunchtime with the kids and then in the afternoon, during their naps, I did some holiday shopping before going to the gym.  During the shopping I got hungry and knew I'd need something to eat for energy for the gym.  I decided to go to Peet's (coffee) and get my new favorite thing to drink - hot tea and I hoped they'd have something decent to eat.  They did - yogurt.  Yogurt and tea are a strange combination but I went with it.  The yogurt had a bit more than 200 calories, a little fat and even a gram of fiber (raspberry) so I figured that was a good snack choice.  I almost got a mini-lemon scone but I knew I'd get more bang for my calorie buck with the yogurt. 

I got to the gym feeling a bit tired, it's been a busy weekend, but willing to exercise anyway.  I did 25 minutes on the upright bike followed by back/biceps/core strength training.  I was SO happy it wasn't a legs/shoulders day.  I debated doing the plank given my lower back aching but I decided to do them anyway and hope for the best.  I left the gym feeling better than when I arrived.

Tomorrow, Monday, is a planned day off from exercise.  I LOVE to exercise on Monday (almost as much as Sunday) - just feels like I'm starting the week ahead of the game.  But with my training plan for the 1/2 this seems to be the best schedule.  I can always change my mind though so if not exercising on Monday gets me down I'll make a change. 

On a totally unrelated note I am sort-of finally getting my period.  Something is going on with my body though because I'm quite late (and no - definitely NOT pregnant) and things are starting out slooooowly.  Gone are the days when my period would just start, bam!.  Now it seems to tip-toe in over a period of days.  But this is the first time that I'm aware of it being this late.  Anyway, I was crampy today though so maybe by tomorrow I'll have a normal period.  Maybe my jokes about perimenopause weren't too far off?  I don't know but all I care about is my metabolism.  I hear menopause wreaks havoc on your metabolism and I don't need mine slowing down anytime soon!  I guess it makes sense because preparing for a baby every month MUST burn a few extra calories.

Anyway, I hope that's not it because I just looked up the symptoms and it's mood swings, sleep problems, vaginal dryness, weight gain...not exactly a party!  I gotta think positive here...maybe all the exercise and weight loss is making my periods wonky?  Yeah, let's just go with that.

Well, that's all for me.  I've been really focusing on getting to bed on time so it's off to dreamland.