Saturday, January 7, 2012

10 Miles! (and I *love* long runs)

Today had a 10 mile run on the training plan.  In the last few days I'd been mentally lazy and allowing myself to "dread" the long distance.  I finally snapped out of it after writing my positivity post yesterday and I dug in with all positive thoughts, "I'm going to have a great run, I feel good, I'm ready, I love running", etc.  Despite only doing this for less than a day my attitude had become more positive by the time of my run and I faced the challenge with a willing mind.

I'm going to back up for just a mom came over last night and made a fabulous dinner (she always does!).  She grilled a ribeye roast and we had it with baked potatoes (butter, sour cream) and asparagus (with more butter).  I spared no expense in the calorie department.  Oh, and I made rice pudding for desert and it was really good too.  To top it all off she also brought a box of peanut butter cookies so I snacked on those all evening and some this morning too.  I blame the long run, it makes me feel that not only can I eat large quantities of food but that I probably should so I'll be stocked up on power for the run.  Maybe I don't need butter and sour cream for the run but who wants to split hairs?  Not me.

My run today was great.  I needed a change of scenery so I drove to Sausalito and ran on the Mill Valley/Sausalito Path.  The path itself is only 8 miles so I had to add in a few miles running down Bridgeway Ave in Sausalito to get to 10.  My mommy/runner friend Laurie met me there and we started together.  She's speedier than me though so mostly I was chasing her.  We've been having some freaky spring-like weather here and today was no exception.  It was gorgeous!  

Of course I had all sorts of issues in the 2 hours and 6 minutes of running, intermittent knee discomfort (I don't think it rises to the level of "pain"), feeling thirsty with no water fountain in sight.  Oh, I did get a bit of a friction burn (as soon as I got in the shower I felt the sting).  One burn was from my heart rate monitor and the other was in a random spot on my boob.  There must have been a fold in the lining of my sports bra, something was rubbing me the wrong way (ha ha!).

But mostly it was all good.  There were no hills to speak of and a really neat thing is that for most of the run I was on dirt or some other soft surface.  Look at these pictures, isn't it just a beautiful area?  When I finally got to stop I was very pleased with myself for not only getting the 10 miles done, but for making my mind get on board with the whole thing too.  All positive thoughts about long runs.  I know negative thoughts will creep in but I'm going to be there with a super-positive thought to push them out!  I love long runs, they're so relaxing.  Long runs are a chance to show what I can do.  My body is getting better and better at long runs.

Tomorrow I'll be hitting the gym for some time on the upright bike (or maybe I'll ride to the gym - there's  a great idea!) and strength training.  I'll close with some stats from my run today:

Friday, January 6, 2012

Imagine Success

If you've spent any time reading my blog you know I'm a huge fan of positive thinking.  I believe we tend to underestimate the power of our brains, of our thoughts, and their ability to both influence how we feel and behave.  Just think about a friend or co-worker you have who is a negative-nelly, isn't s/he sort of a downer to be around?

Positive thinking can turn bad days into decent days, decent days into good days, and good days into great ones.  It can't keep you from feeling down when things go really bad but it can help you recover afterward.  And when it comes to diet/exercise I think positive thinking is HUGE.  How else can you handle that gain when you were so "good" all week?  Think positive - pat yourself on the back for a job well done despite what the scale says (remember, it lies) and look forward to a better number on the scale down the road. 

When it comes to exercise, visualize success.  I recently read in an article that people who imagined themselves exercising regularly worked out for almost an hour more each week than people who didn't see themselves reaching their fitness goals.  If you're starting out a new exercise plan, imagine yourself a month from now, still at it and going strong.   If you find your mind going to, "Eh, I don't really feel like working out today" - imagine yourself at the gym or on your walk/run.  See what kind of feeling you get by envisioning that.  Hopefully it's a positive one.  I'm going to start imagining myself crossing the finish line at the Kaiser half-marathon.  And I'm going to remind myself that every day is a success as long as I'm making a real effort to follow my plan. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Normal Reese

I got up at 5am this morning to head out for an early morning run. It wasn't easy, but I was meeting a neighbor so that got me out the door, otherwise I would have totally bailed on myself.  Running in the morning is tough for me, I feel stiff and it's hard to push myself.  But we got it done and I'm super happy with that because I have no other time to run 5 miles today.

Saturday is a 10 mile run.  Remind me why I'm doing this?

In other, more important news, check out this picture of Reese Witherspoon.  Is it me, or does she look refreshingly normal?  I wish we saw "celebrity" bodies that looked like this more often.  She's not fat but she's also not airbrushed into looking superhuman.  I mean, her thighs are touching for crying out loud.  If this were for a cover shoot you know they'd trim those down in photoshop.

Tomorrow is weigh-in Friday.  I'm sort of expecting a gain as I was up nearly 1.5 pounds at midweek.  I'll be happy if it's super small, like .2 or something.  Whatever it is, I know I'll just carry on.

I read this morning that 50% of people will give up on a new exercise program in 3-6 months.  I started back to the gym on June 4th, seven months ago now.  No giving up for me!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Trying out Pilates and a Speedy Run

It's been an action packed couple of days.  Oh, before I forget, I put Diary of an Aspiring Loser up on Facebook.  Click the "like" button on the left-hand side of the page if you do indeed like my blog :)  
Anyway, so yesterday I went to the private pilates session (being a responsible blogger I brought my camera).  I arrived early so I could do a quick 10 minute warm-up jog beforehand.

What can I say about Pilates?  It was interesting.  There were times when it was quite challenging (I spent 1/2 the time wincing).   I think it's one of those things that you really need to practice to get "good" at the positions and moves so you can then really get a lot out of it.  This being my very first time meant a lot of correcting and reminding of proper form.  It's also very precise, a slight movement off here or there and you're not hitting the target muscle.  I'd say 2-3 times a week would be needed to build up good form habits and then to start really challenging yourself and gaining more strength. 

I learned some interesting things, like my left leg is stronger than my right.  After some discussion with the trainer, Laura (more on her in a bit) we concluded it's because I tend to hold my kids on the left side (so my right arm is free to do stuff).  I needed reminding probably 20 times to engage my right quad/hamstring/glute.  I also learned my inner thigh muscles, the adductors, are quite weak and stiff.  Still pondering what to do about that.

Now on to something else that was really cool.  The trainer, Laura Molina, who is also the owner of the business (Strength Within Pilates - love that name!) is a fellow big-time life transformer who's lost over 100 pounds!  She even did the SF to LA Aids 585 mile bike ride!  We chatted some after the session - it was so cool talking to someone who knows this journey, who gets it.  I have 3 group classes left and I plan to use those after the half-marathon but I hope to stay involved with Laura beyond that.  It's neat being around people that are on the same road I am. 

After the Pilates I had one of my favorite go-to lunches, a High-Tech curry shrimp burrito.

Shrimp pan seared in yellow curry with onions, fresh veggies, brown rice, tomatoes, cilantro in a grilled low fat wheat tortilla.

It is SO very good.  Then I went to a chiropractor to have x-rays taken of my back.  I'm meeting with him tomorrow to see what he finds.  I'm willing to give it a try to see if it will help. 

After that it was off to the gym for my 3 mile run and some strength training.  I have been feeling like I could push myself on a 3 miler and yesterday was the day.  I started out with a quick pace, not sure if I could maintain it the whole time but willing to give-it-a-go.  Well, would you look at this?

That's right.  10:46 average pace.  That's 5.57 average mph!  Holy speedracer!  And I was not on a track, this was in the streets surrounding my gym and even included some slight inclines (total elevation change was 76 feet).  And do you see how the third mile was the fastest?  My heart rate stayed in the high 150's/low 160's the entire time.  I am so happy with how this run went. It wasn't easy but I just kept pushing myself to go and it paid off.  And can I just say that 3 miles is such a lovely distance.  After the half-marathon is over I think I'm going to use 3 miles as my go-to distance for gym/training.  So after the run I hit the weights and did back/biceps/core work.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself. 

Today, Wednesday, is another gym day.  I have not been feeling like getting up it in the freezing dark so Miguel agreed to have me go either after he's off work or just before the kids go to bed.  I'm hoping mornings will feel more do-able when it's less freezing cold outside.  That said, I'm sort of 1/2 committed to a 5:15am run with Karen (my neighbor friend) tomorrow.  If I don't do it first thing I don't think it will get done.  At least it's not raining, right? 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Workout Log and Fried Chicken

Are you starting a new workout routine for the new year?  If so, might I suggest you keep some sort of workout log?  I track what I do each time I go to the gym or for a run, cycling, etc.

I get a few things out of keeping a workout log.  First, it helps me remember what the heck I'm doing.  I have 3 sets of weight training routines and 2 sets of abs routines.  I wouldn't know if I was coming or going without my log. The other thing I do is make notes for the future - as in, "next time increase to 10 pounds."  Or I'll make notes if a certain exercise hurts or if I'm sore.

Second, I get a sense of satisfaction as I check off when things are done and when I write my final time and calories burned at the end.  Having a record just makes it all the more real.

But probably the biggest thing I get is a record to review.  When did I start doing these tricep kickbacks?  When did I last increase weights on this exercise?  How long have I been doing Level 4 on the bike?  You get the idea.  I remember it came in very handy when my lower back starting hurting.  I could look back to see if the back pain issues started at a time when I made workout changes.

What I usually do is fill in all the exercises and weights (copied from the previous time I did them) while I'm warming up for cardio.  Then, once I'm done with cardio I just check them off as I do them.  Like I said, it's rewarding.  You don't have to have one of these "workout log" books, just a notebook will do fine.  Whatever you decide to use I recommend spiral bound - you need somewhere to keep your pen.

Alright - on to the heart of the matter.  My last post was on New Year's Eve and now here we are in 2012.  What have done thus far?  Well, I finally broke down and had some fried chicken.  What a way to start the new year!  Let me tell you how it started...

It was the first day of the new year.  Miguel was off playing golf.  I had a mom friend over for a playdate.  She showed up with a bottle of champagne (Thanks Monique!).  Can I drink champagne and still go to the gym this afternoon?  Sure - I'll only have a couple glasses and then drink tons of water.  So we're cruising along watching the kids play and enjoying the bubbly.  I mention I will be going to the gym later and Monique points out they might be closed - it is 1/1 after all.  That's right!  They are closed today.  Let's order chinese food!  Don't ask me about the connection, I have no answer.

Well, lo and behold all the chinese food places are closed.  All for the best.  So I make a salad and some potstickers instead and I really enjoyed the champagne.  Later in the day I headed out for some errands.  I took way longer than planned and would be getting home almost at dinner time.  That's when I had the bright idea to pick up fried chicken on the way home.  It was quite tasty.  I had a moment's thought about the new year, resolutions, diet, etc thing and then I let that go.  1.  I'm not on a diet.  2.  I'm not doing resolutions.  And 3. Fried chicken is good.  All things in moderation, right?

Since I missed the gym on Sunday I went yesterday - Monday.  I started with the upright bike for 25 minutes.  Man, it's been harder than usual lately.  All I can guess is all the running is doing something weird to my leg muscles.  It's true I used to ride the bike 2-3 times a week and now I only ride 2 times a week but that doesn't seem like enough to make it harder.  Eh, who knows?  All I know is I did it.  Then I did chest/triceps/core work.  I am still really enjoying the challenge of pushups but they really are a challenge.  I even find myself grunting on the last few.  Good thing my ability to be embarrassed is mostly worn off.  My poor kids, I think I might be that mom that embarrasses them when they are older.

So this morning I took a peek at the scale and I'm up by about 1.5 pounds.  No surprise there.  You eat fried chicken, drink champagne, eat chocolate (oh, did I forget to mention the chocolate?) and that's what happens.  Good thing is I have the rest of the week to hopefully pull it together.  But if not, I can tolerate a small gain this week.  Small though - not 1.5 pounds hopefully.

Today I have a 3 mile run.  My schedule also includes the gym but I'm doing a 1:1 pilates session so I'm going to wait and see how that goes before I commit to weight training.  As strong as I feel those free body exercises always kill me!  The pilates is one of those groupon type packages I bought where I get one 1:1 session and 3 group classes.  I've always wanted to try it.  I'll keep you posted!

I hope the new year is going well for you so far!  Remember, slow and steady and strive for imperfection!!!