Everything you ever needed to know

Monday, June 23, 2014

Weekly Results: 6/16-6/22

I worked out on Monday (a double workout), Wednesday, and Thursday. Rested my weary muscles on Tuesday and drove all day Friday. Then walked a thousand, non-GPS tracked miles on Saturday and Sunday. I'm still on vacation until Monday evening but we have done a lot of walking, and a bit of hiking on our trip to Montreal. But I won't have a total mileage or calories burned for this week outside of what I did on M,W,Th.

Diet:Not so bad really. Even with vacation I've been splitting portions and behaving in general. Except for our trip to the Ben & Jerry's Factory in Vermont - free samples!! But they were small portions. I haven't been tracking my food very well this week so I may be under estimating calories so we'll see.

Weight:Before we left I was down 2 lbs. We'll see where I am once we're back.

Next Week:So, another weird week for my schedule (as will the week after this too). This is our final week in Connecticut and my family will be coming to help us out so we'll be taking them around New England for a bit of sight seeing. Once again, I will prioritize my 3 Up & Running workouts but probably won't get around to doing anything else outside of walking with the family at our various outings.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Is this a test?

Yes, yes it is.

So the final workout of week 1 of my new spiffy 10k plan by (Up and Running) was a 1 km speed test - see how fast you can run 1 km. But only after running for like 40 minutes before hand... And trying to squeeze it in before you leave on vacation but it was raining all morning so you have to do it at 1 pm when the sun is beating down upon you and you think you may just die even though it's only like 76 out there...

Yes, I whine - what else is new?

We were advised to do the test on a track or other flat piece of road - since there are no flat pieces of road around us I went to the track at UCONN which was not all that nice. Considering how nice a school it is and that both the men's and women's basketball teams won the national championships this year you would think it would also have a nice track field. But it doesn't. MTSU has a much nicer one - who would have thought?

Anyway, I digress (what else is new). I used my 30 minute warm up to find my way onto the field and ran around it a few times while sweating profusely.

Towards the end of my warm up a couple of people joined me on the track (which before only had some maintenance workers on it). One was a lovely girl in her young 20's (I assume) with a gorgeous athletic figure who warmed up by "jogging slowly" around the track - except they could have passed me twice in a lap with their slow warm up. :) I tried not to think too much about it knowing I can't compare myself to an actual track person who probably weighs 120. I just hoped she thought kind thoughts towards me. She was doing 200 meter sprints by the time I was doing my 1 km test. I made myself laugh by telling myself I was finally catching up to her when she would finish a sprint and walk slowly to cool down.
In the end, my 1 km test gave me a pace of 5:50 which translates to a 9:23 per mile pace (if I could actually run a full mile at that speed). I was very pleased with that pace since I was so worn out and hot. And my stomach was giving me back my lunch in the form of indigestion. I don't recommend eating a black bean burger before a hot run.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

I've had this EXACT thought

Whenever I start to feel sluggish on a run I think about the food I ate within the last 24 hours. It goes something like this:

Also, I've changed my hate relationship with the wind into a love relationship. Twenty mile per hour wind gusts feel much nicer on a 75 degree (F) day than a 40 degree day. Shocking, I know.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Weekly Results: 6/9-6/15

A good week for running and mileage. Three days of the old C2-10K runs, two days of shorter interval runs, one day of walking, and one day of the new 10k training plan. My speeds were decent this week but the weather was also much cooler so that always helps. Total mileage was 30.2 miles and calories burned were 5329. There was no cross training as far as doing my videos but the new training plan has various exercises in it that will work my muscles differently than just running.

Meh. Some days I started off well and then ended poorly.

Weight Loss:
On Friday, after my run, I was down 1.5 lbs but the weekend wasn't good diet wise and I haven't weighed myself again yet. If you ignore it, it's not really happening....

**Edit - eventually weighed myself and kept the 1.5 loss so that's 31 lbs lost total now. My goal was to be at 35 lbs lost by the end of this month. Not sure I'll get there.

Next Week:
I have my new plan now. The first week are some drills with speed work and other various interval training (I'll talk about it more in other posts). I have some commitments with the kids' schools (this is their last week) and we're traveling at the end of the week so besides the 10k training plan with Up & Running I probably will just be doing some walks or having "rest" days. "Rest" meaning "I'm busy with other things so I'll make myself feel better by calling it a rest day."

Sunday, June 15, 2014


So day one of the new 10k training plan. I chose to start it on Sunday rather than my normal Mondays since I knew I had some other obligations on Monday that might risk not doing the workout at all.

This first day had a warm up run, some skipping exercises, and then progression runs (start slow, end faster). I felt a bit skeptical of the skipping - I knew it was a good exercise but I also knew I might feel silly doing it, in public.

The warm up run was fine, nothing special. I went to some soccer fields that are fairly close to where we live. Thankfully only one part of the fields were in use so I was able to use the other part without a crowd watching me.

How I felt while skipping:
How I probably looked to others:

It was fine - definitely got my heart rate up much higher than my normal even paced running. Switching to the progression runs afterwards were much harder. Kind of like bricks in triathlon training where you go from the bike to running and your legs are like, "what the heck are you doing?!?" But they got back into the groove and I finished things up.

All in all, I got over 5 miles in and burned about 900 calories. So it was a good workout. Any skeptical thoughts I had beforehand can now be answered thusly:

Friday, June 13, 2014

Only a slight exaggeration

So this happened at the end of my run today:


Thankfully, the puddle wasn't that deep but still...

Rain, rain, rain, rain, rain - it does nothing but rain in New England. Don't get me wrong - I still love the cool, cloudy days. And since neither our condo nor the kids' schools have AC I'd rather it be in the 60's and rainy than sunny and in the 80's. But I am beginning to feel a little like this:

I've had good runs this week though, in spite of the rain. I went ahead and started week 12 of the C2-10K plan (on my Zen Lab app). The new plan with Up & Running doesn't actually begin until next week. Week 12 isn't that much different than week 11 - it's just 3 segments of 18 min runs with a 1 min walk instead of 17 min runs. I might be able to finish week 12 on Sunday depending on the weather (it's supposed to warm up again so if it's too warm I'll just do shorter intervals).

Today I burned myself out around mile 3 so that I had to take a longer walking break in the middle of the segments but I did add extra minutes of running to the end (ran 21 minutes instead of 18). I knew I was going faster because of my initial splits (mile 2 was 11:12 and 3 was 10:40) but it didn't necessarily feel faster while I was running. At least at first...

Whoa there Speedy Gonzales.

But after 3 miles my legs said no more. After a 3-4 minute walking break I started jogging again for the final segment but I thought I was going way slow (it was like jogging in molasses). My 4th mile split was 13:18 (which included the walking break) but my 5th was 11:05 so I must have sped up again but didn't really realize it mentally.

The circle is the longer walking break.

From what I can see for the first week of the new plan, there will be speed work involved. Which doesn't necessarily excite me since it pushes me out of my comfort zone but I know it is necessary so I'm trying to keep a positive outlook. My weekly mileage will go down for a couple of weeks but I think I'll be able to get it back up in July.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

3 Months Later...

So this past month hasn't been as stellar weight loss wise - only about 8 lbs lost. I've kept up with my exercise so we all know the culprit is diet plus my body is getting used to the exercise so it's just not burning as much as it did at first. I knew I would get to a slower point eventually though I had hoped I could get another 15 lbs down before it happened. But I'm still going in the right direction so I won't dwell too much on it except to remind myself not to snack as much.

Running has definitely improved. Both distance, time, and endurance. I've logged 147.69 miles over the past month (between both walking and running). I can run about 5 miles now - though I technically haven't done it straight through. My current C2-10K plan gets me about 5.25 miles with the warm up and cool down. But theoretically I know I could run 5 miles if I needed to. Like if Zombies were chasing me or something. Although, I hope they're slow zombies...

But I have sped up in general. My 5k results show that as well as a couple of other good runs. It's still slow in comparison to most people who run everyday but I am improving and that's all I really focus on.

While I have done some cross training I'm still not doing enough. I have no excuses - I'm just not doing the work.

Next month:
This will be the hardest month for me to do things. We move back down to Tennessee in a couple of weeks and the kids will soon be on summer break. My easy, peasy non-working schedule where I had from 8-3:30 to do anything I wanted will disappear - possibly forever since I am looking at working again. I do have plans to stay active but I know it will be harder.

The new 10k training plan will go through the next month (it's an 8 week plan) and that will be the most helpful with keeping me on track as I'll be accountable to a coach and group. Once we're in TN I'll have access to gym equipment again which I do hope will improve my cross training. But I'll also be dealing with heat and humidity so that will take a bit to get used to again.

The diet will be the hardest as we travel and transition from one house to another. So we'll just see how that turns out.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Why did I ever complain?

Now that it's June I get so happy to see a gray and cloudy day with an occasional chance of rain. Back in April this made me madder than a wet hen.

Monday's run was the final day for week 11 of C2-10k (3 segments of 17 min runs and 1 min walks). It had rained through most of the morning so it was closer to lunch time before I finally got out but it was still overcast and in the 60's - so lovely running weather.

I did NOT make the mistake of overdressing and I decided to run my normal course in reverse so that I hit the main hills at the beginning rather than the end. It was a brilliant run. Not as fast as last week's run but still in the 11's for my splits and my energy level stayed at a normal range.

Also, this past weekend I went ahead a signed up for another 1/2 marathon in October (so now I have one in October and one in November). The one in October is the same one I've done twice before. We'll just see if I properly train this year. The last time I ran it, in 2011, I was better conditioned because of my triathlon training but I hadn't done any real training for runs over 6 miles. I still finished the course without too much difficulty but I know it's within my grasp to get under 2:30 for a half if I put in the right kind of mileage leading up to the race. The 10K training is a good intermediate training to get me through the hottest months of the year and to work on increasing my speed and then I'll still have about 2 months to add on the extra mileage. So it's all realistic if I can just stay motivated.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Weekly Results 6/2-6/8

6 out of 7 days but everything was more low key this week. I had one great day of running (Wednesday) but otherwise everything else felt ho-hum. C2-10K runs on 3 days, walks on 2 days, and a shorter interval run 1 day - nothing on Saturday. Only one day of cross training. Total mileage: 25.74. Total calories burned 4610. I didn't finish week 11 of the C2-10K because the weekend was really warm. I had planned to just walk on Saturday evening but forgot about it once we had dinner and were in relaxation mode. On Sunday I could have finished week 11 but I went with shorter intervals since the weather was so hot.

Ha ha ha. Diet? Who's on a diet?

I've had far too many indulgences lately. To the point where I need to put myself on strict restrictions again to curb the impulse eating/snacking.

Only half a pound lost at my lowest weight this past week. It's bounced up and down with my diet indulgences.

Next week:
So by the end of this week I'll be starting the new 10k training plan with Up & Running. I won't get to know much about it until Thursday. I will finish week 11 of the older C2-10K plan but haven't decided if I'll try any of week 12 before the new plan starts. I may just stick with shorter intervals for now. The weather is supposed to stay nice for this week so I won't have as many issues with warmer temps.

All, in all, I'm glad I have a new plan coming up because I need more motivation to take the next step. My mental energy is drained right now and the heat makes it easy for me to come up with excuses to not push as hard. I don't think June will be my best month but I will keep plugging along.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Note to self...

Hey dumbass!

It's June now - stop wearing your jacket when you go for runs. I don't care if it does feel chilly in your house and the wind is blowing like crazy. You'll get too hot if you wear it.

Oh, you choose to wear it anyway? Well, don't blame me when you feel like puking on the side of the road after your last big hill.

Week 11, day 2 of C2-10K (still on 17 min runs & 1 min walks - x3). So overheated even though I unzipped the jacket and rolled up the sleeves. I also was having a hard time breathing today due to allergies and exercise induced asthma. When I go in for my yearly physical in July I'll ask my Dr. about a low dose inhaler that I can use on bad allergy days.

Even though it was the same distance & route as Wednesday's run, I felt like death today and was slower - all my splits were over 12 m/m. Sunday will be my last day for week 11 and it will be even hotter so I need to make sure to hydrate better the day before and won't make the jacket mistake again. I did finally get some biking shorts so that I could run in something cooler than capris. I can't do regular running shorts because of my thigh issues. So far, so good with the bike shorts. They're spandex and the length goes down to a couple of inches above my knee so there's no chafing.

My feet on the other hand just do not like my shoes. It's the same brand (ASICS Women's GT 2170) but a newer model of what I wore before with no issues.

But these rub on my heels like crazy and almost every run/walk I have bloody socks. I haven't had any other issues though with joint pain (like I got from a shoe a few years ago) so I can deal with investing a large portion of our income to Band-Aid purchases until it's time to get a new pair of shoes.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

I'm a winner!

On a lark I entered a give away at Shauna Reid's blog (formerly known as The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl - also a great book). One of her current projects is as the Community Director of the program/website Up & Running. They offer training plans and social media forums for new and seasoned runners. She had a giveaway for the 5k or 10k program. So I entered - normally the fee (in US$ is around $97).

How pleased was I to wake up on Wednesday and see a happy little email waiting for me saying I won one of the spots?!?

The 10k training starts on June 12th. I don't expect my overall format of training to change much from what I'm doing now - I'll just be using Coach Julia's program rather than my ZenLab 10K app. It's still 3 runs a week and cross training. I'm really most looking forward to the forum aspect of the training as I like to find good running communities but it's often hard as many people are just so much further along in their progress than I am.

I'll keep with my current training until the new one starts which means I'll finish week 11 and maybe a couple days of week 12. I just did my first week 11 workout (also on Wednesday) and it was brilliant. The weather was perfect - cloudy and in the high 50's. And I chugged along like I had all the energy in the world. With the warm up and cool down walks (both 5 minutes each) I made it 5.26 miles and my splits were: Mile 1= 14:05 (this includes the walking warm-up), Mile 2= 12:08, Mile 3= 11:22, Mile 4: 10:52, and Mile 5= 10:37 (at least 30 seconds of this was my cool down walk).

The times are among my best for my current running especially considering that I've added on distance. But it was the level of effort that really amazed me - while it wasn't easy breezy it also wasn't "please just kill me so I can be done" either.
So good news and a good run for National Running Day.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Race Report from a Different View

As mentioned in my Amica 5k recap, my kids came along and did their own 1/2 mile fun run. This is the first time either had done something like this. I first planned to have my son run the full mile but we never really did train him for running a longer distance without feeling like giving up so it was better to do the shorter distance and not feel so discouraged. My daughter was a last minute entry and I was more worried about her because she hates walking with us, let alone running. But she insisted and I was happy to have her try.

My son did well and my daughter ended up just walking most of the distance with me holding her hand (there was a bit of frustration on her part). But both of them finished which was the most important thing to me. They got a little medal and super kid capes to wear.

Here are their race reports (in their own words).

A. (my daughter, age 6):
Watching mommy run in the race was awesome! I got something even awesomer from the kid’s race. A medal!! And I got a pom-pom too. And when I saw mommy running in the race she was running so fast and sweaty. It was a great day. But that’s not all. Because it was so great playing at the playground. So we got up at 5:00 a.m. But I took a nap in the car on the way back. And we got McDonald’s for lunch! The playground was awesome too because it was fun playing around while waiting for the kid’s race. Even though I cried a bit… And I got a water bottle with the medal. So today was so great, really, really, really good. But the best part was when I saw mommy running the race. She wasn’t even in last place! Everyone had a great time. I even was feeding the birds. So it was great that I got to go there. Even though I had to wake up really, really early. It was great but tiring. But the greatest part was winning the medal and the water. So that was my day. I hope some other people have the same day as me when I’m older.

S. (my son, age 8)
In the race there was one part I loved the most; the part when I had determination. So really this is how it went. I was just finishing the race up when suddenly BOOM it felt horrible. There I was keeping my pace running ahead then I slowed down. I got courage and it felt like the light side in me was flooding the dark side and WOOSH I was sprinting as fast as I could, running in front again. A quick thought came to me I have never ever run this fast in my life. But then I lost it and slowed down. I got to the last part and I knew everyone behind me was trying to get in front. I got the feeling again and I sprinted to the finish. I felt tired but happy.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

More food products I love

I mentioned in a previous post that I don't eat a whole lot of meat. I don't ever plan on being a vegetarian since I do occasionally love a nice steak (or chicken wings) but I have no problem cutting down the amount of meat in my daily diet. I'm happy to get my protein from eggs, dairy products (especially cottage cheese), and legumes.

However, I'm not a big veggie fan. There are quite a few veggies that I enjoy but a lot that I can't stand and you'll never hear me proclaim, "Ooooh I was soooo craving zucchini and spinach today!!" I'm not that person.

Many of my lunches will include a salad, or sliced bell peppers and cucumbers along with either beans, or hummus, and some type of high fiber bread product.

I started off using the healthier dressings but I hated the taste so I usually indulge on my salads with one tbsp. of regular ranch dressing (half of the container pictured above). I use so much low/non fat stuff otherwise in my daily diet that it works out fine in the overall picture.

Nutrition count for the lunch pictured above (including string cheese and my daily vitamin)
But I get bored of eating the same thing all the time.

I used to always eat a frozen dinner (like Lean Cuisine or Smart Ones) while I was working since that was the easiest thing to take with me. But I got burned out after too many years of doing that. I tried a few within the past couple months but it's hard to find a variety I like that isn't too high in carbs or fat, and has enough protein. Also they have a ton of sodium as all packaged foods do.

So as a recent alternative I've been eating Morning Star "burger" products. It still provides the ease of a packaged product. I have had (and enjoyed) the original grillers and the spicy black bean burger. I'll eat one or two (depending on if I eat bread with it) and they are quite yummy.

Here are the nutritional stats on the black bean burgers:
1 burger patty
  • Calories: 110
  • Fat: 4
  • Sat Fat: .5
  • Cholesterol: 0
  • Sodium: 330
  • Carb: 13
  • Fiber: 4
  • Sugar: 1
  • Protein: 10
I eat it with, or without bread. If I include bread it's usually sandwich thins which are about 100 calories. Without bread, I have two patties and I'll just cut it up and dip it in ketchup or salsa/taco sauce.

They are best prepared by thawing in the microwave for one minute at 50% power and then putting in a pan on the stovetop for a few more minutes to finish warming up. If you use the microwave for the whole thing they are tough to cut and chew. You can use the pan for the whole thing but it obviously takes longer.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Weekly Results: 5/26-6/1

Did something all 7 days but one day didn't count for much since I ended it a little after 1 mile due to my bad mood. Total mileage was 26.47. I got 2 days of my C2-10K plan done (the 2nd day went a bit quicker than the first), 3 days of shorter interval running, and 1 day of that short walk. I think I only did one day of cross training this week so 4990 calories burned.

Diet:Not bad but not great either. It wasn't my focus this week and we ate out more this weekend which always means more calories.

2 lbs lost even with the diet not being too strict. However, I didn't get the loss until the end of the week. At the beginning I went up 1 lb. I was very glad when it came down 3 to give me my net loss of 2. I hope to lose 8-10 more lbs this month.

Next week:
Will finish week 10 of the C2-10K program and move on to week 11 which are 3 segments of 17 minute runs and a 1 minute walk. And back to trying to get more cross training. :) I start packing boxes this week so we'll just see how much time I have to get things done.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Amica Ironhorse 5k

All done. And it was done well.

Like always I woke up a few times in the night wondering how close to my 5:20 a.m. alarm it was (midnight and 3 am were a couple of the checks). I got everything ready the night before so I was ready with plenty of time. The kids weren't too tired/grumpy and we got out of our house around 5:55. After a quick stop at Dunkin Donuts (for the family's breakfast - mine was 2 eggo waffles; one with almond butter and the other with .25 cup worth of egg white and a sprinkle of mozzarella). And a second quick stop to get the water bottle out of the trunk for a thirsty child we were on our way towards Hartford. The directions I choose put us in the middle of the ghetto (well as ghetto as Connecticut gets) which made me worried for a moment and also ticked off at the amount of traffic lights we had to stop for. Once we got to Simsbury the traffic was backed up. There were a little over 2000 runners and the parking was filled up. We eventually found a spot that was pretty close to the 5k starting line but it was a decent walk over to where you were supposed to pick up your packets. By the time I got my stuff I had 20 minutes to wait in the port-a-pot line and then get back to the starting line. It took me over 15 minutes to get all that done but I was at the start line with no problems and put myself right at the back. My husband and kids stayed back at the playground where they had a lot of fun.

The half-marathon group started one minute before us (the 10K had started 15 minutes before that). Since I was at the back of the 5k group I did have to pass a few people at the beginning but plenty passed me too - I just couldn't always tell if they were 5k people or 1/2 people.

Mile one came up suddenly and I almost freaked out when my watch said 10 minutes. But I quickly realized that was the 1/2 marathon's first mile marker (they started further back than us). My first mile was clocked at 11:09. I was worried about that pace because I knew it would wear me out so I tried to slow down a bit. The second mile had more elevation change but it was really minor and didn't bother me too much. I got to mile 2 exactly at 23:00 (so that was slower with a 11:51 split). The last mile was mostly downhill except for one rise over a bridge. I must have been going much faster than I realized because I finished the last 1.12 mile in 11:22 (I didn't look at my watch at the 3 mile sign). Finish time was 34:22 with splits of 11:04 (so more proof that the last mile was much faster).

Post race with my kiddos.
The weather was perfect - sunny with no wind and right at 50F degrees at the start of the race. It was cool enough that I almost wore my running jacket but after my long wait in the port-a-pot line I knew I would be too hot in the jacket.  And I was quite sweaty at the end even though the majority of the race was in the shade. The views were beautiful but it seriously felt like it went by so quick - way quicker than any of my training runs.

We hung around for 2 more hours so the kids could do a fun run. That is my only complaint about the race. I wish they would have done that at the beginning so we didn't have to wait around so long. But I guess it's hard to plan the right time for that with three distances of races if all the parents want to be able to watch.

Now we're back home and I'm back to thinking about my 10k training. Which doesn't involve any port-a-pots.