Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Week 7, All Days

Okay, I'm now back from Spring Break and pumped to finish out my college career and my 5k training at a run, so to speak. The new inserts have kept my knees from hurting during all of my runs and at PT on Monday, Chris gave me a few more exercises and told me that it seems that our time together is at an end.

Run summaries:

W7D1: This was my first run with my neat-o new running gear (since it rained the day after I went shopping). I went with my mom (who'd taken the day off work to spend it with me) to a local park that has a new trail around it and was pleasantly surprised at how well the run went for my first 25 minutes. I've found that it's always rocky until minute 10, when I seem to finally settle into the run with my pace and my breathing. Up until then, I always want to just call it a day and go home. Sadly, after the 25 minutes, it was too cold to keep walking/jogging, so go home we did. Still, new gear and inserts = SUCCESS!

W7D2: This run amused me. I had PT that afternoon and had no car, so instead, I left my apartment and ran on the bikepath (2.7 miles) to Jon's work to use his. This run felt great (again, only after I had hit the first 10 minute mark) and it let Chris see my knees right after the run. Despite the fact that my patella is still not tracking 100% properly, we're done for now, unless something starts hurting again. Funny anecdote: I jogged behind a woman pushing her baby in one of the really cool BOB strollers. As such, I ended up being on mitten patrol since baby kept flinging things out onto the path. I really have to give a kudos to parents who run with their kids and push the stroller--I don't know about you, but some days it takes all my energy just to get myself up and out of the house. I bet it's exponentially more difficult to not only get yourself motivated and ready, but to get the baby and stroller as well.

W7D3: This was last night's run. Jon wanted to push himself to do 8 miles for his half training, so I decided to push myself as well. Well, actually, the 25 minute run was really difficult for me this time. It wasn't until I hit the 25-minute mark that I felt that I could keep pushing on with my steady jog. All told, I ended up jogging at about an 11-minute mile pace for 45 minutes, completing the 4-mile circuit that I was on. During my run, I felt like I was really in a stride and doing really well. Unfortunately, after my run, I ate dinner and went to bed a few hours later, only to keep waking up feeling gassy and bloated. Has this ever happened to anyone? I ate a normal dinner (salad and a serving of my turkey meatloaf) and had had a power bar before running, but still. It wasn't until 2:30am when I finally ate a fiber One bar that I was able to go to (and stay) asleep for the remaining 3 hours. Now, today, I'm a little sore--I'm thinking of staying home and going for a walk or doing some Pilates tonight instead of another heavy workout. Then, it's on to Week 8!

Next up, recipe for fun Turkey Meatloaf Muffins and a few NSVs!

Friday, March 26, 2010

WW Weigh-in

After 3 weeks of delinquency, I mustered my forces and dragged my poor-eating self back to WW.

Here are the current stats:

Weekly weigh-in: 171.2
Loss: +.2
Total loss: 22.4
Emotion: Mildly surprised, but hopeful

All in all, I managed the end of the quarter this time much better than the last one. I'm now back in Cincinnati and am trying to keep myself within my 24 points a day limit, while still enjoying being here. Part of me is really nervous about going to the WW mtg Saturday (I always go with my mom when I'm back here since I love our meeting/leader here) and seeing if the poor eating choices in Alabama have caught up to me yet.

I've also not run since Saturday and I've got some decent excuses and more lame ones, so I've got no one to blame but myself. Though, I was really hoping to run outside today (it rained) since yesterday I finally leveled significantly up in my running gear as an early birthday present from my grandparents: tights, tank, shorts, and a running jacket from Under Armour. I can't wait to try them out. Just checked and tomorrow it'll be cold (hopefully the "HeatGear" will still be enough), but sunny so I'll have a chance to run W7D1.

Megan (a friend who's doing WW with me in Athens) and I have also set a Zumba date for every Thursday before our WW meeting next quarter--Hopefully the both of us can "sprint" to the finish and stay on plan and lose some more weight in time for graduation in June.

Oh, and lastly, I put the new inserts in my shoes and they feel good, albeit different. Tomorrow will be my first run with them, so I'll let you know how that goes!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Breaking the Plateau

I'm back from Alabama (I'll put up some photos soon) and, after 4 days of unhealthy eating at such amazing establishments as Five Guys, Niffer's, Mike & Ed's, and Wendy's (the first 3 unsarcastically), we had a food count of 3 burgers, 1 pulled pork barbecue sandwich, and more beer and wine than I should have. But, it was vacation and I wasn't too worried about it since we spent all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday painting, sanding, carrying things etc. Though, despite all the activity, I didn't track and am glad that Tuesday is the start of my WW week.

Now that I'm back in Athens and gearing up for a new quarter that'll start next week, I'm really trying to focus setting out my goals for this last quarter before graduation. I've been at this 170ish-pound plateau since September and, despite my newfound running routine, I've yet to lose any noticeable weight and it's rather frustrating. I know I've toned up, but still, I'd like to see some results on the scale. Jon's lost about 5lbs I think since we've started running and about 20 since November. He looks amazing—not that he didn't in November when I met him, but I know he's pleased. Not gonna lie, I'm a bit jealous (and proud) that the running has made such a huge noticeable difference for him, even if he is annoyed to be between belt loops. That said, Jon and I talked about some different food possibilities for next quarter that could help me out, such as eating a smaller breakfast, eliminating some snack bars and some alcohol, making sure I measure all my portions, and trying to make sure we're getting all 25g of fiber/day. I'm also going to try and add some strength training as well to see if that helps. I think when I'm in Cincinnati this weekend, I'm going to try and pick up a relatively inexpensive food scale to have a better idea with chicken and things. I'm determined to make Spring quarter different from Fall and Winter.

Today, Chris actually gave me a resistance band and few more leg strengthening exercises to do that will help strengthen my lower body. He also had me get a pair of Spenco orthotics to put in my running shoes, so tonight I'll be boiling them and starting to try and break them in. I really hope that between these new exercises with the band and the new orthotics, my knees'll hurt less. Though, I'm sure if I am able to knock off at least anther 10-20 lbs that that'll also help them out a lot.

Anyway, after this weekend, I'm really hoping to kick it in gear between now and June/July. We found out last week that the Study Abroad I'm working on this summer in Paris is a go, so I'd love to be able to fit into a smaller size to do some shopping over there. Oh, and I'd love to be an even better runner by then, since I keep having these fantasies of running in Paris along the Seine... Well, off to weigh in (for the first time in 3 weeks...). I'll talk about the Alabama Runs and my WW update later.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Week 6, Day 1

Whew. What a busy (and productive) day. I went and installed myself at the best coffee shop on campus (the Donkey) at 7 o'clock this morning in order to crank out all ten pages of my English final (due tmw at 4) and the last page of my 10-page French final (due tmw at noon). Getting there while it was still dark outside was an interesting experience, since Donkey stays open 24/7 (literally) during finals week, there were some interesting characters this at 7am. My favorites were the two people crashed on the couches upstairs 100% sleeping. Not "I dozed off" sleeping, but really sleeping. One guy even had an alarm set that went off at 8am. He promptly turned it off and went back to sleep. Long story short, today was a long and tedious day, but I finished the work and spent all day looking forward to tonight's run after sitting on my bum for 12 hours. See? On the left is a picture of my little study nook @ the coffee shop. It looks like I moved in. On the right, you have a little close up of all the essentials to get through the morning: the adorable feet lamp on my table (It has on blue nailpolish), a WW 1-pt bar, and my coffee.

Anyways, by the time Jon picked me up and we got changed (I substituted a zip up hoodie for the evil jacket), it was after 8 by the time we got running and I have to say the first 5 minute jog was actually pretty rough. My knees were hurting and I was feeling pretty bad about feeling so bad since I'd done so well yesterday. At one point during the run, the back of my right shoulder started to hurt, perhaps I was keeping my arms too tight? But, thankfully that too went away. After doing some blog catch up today, I paid closer attention to my stride tonight. I noticed that if I run on the balls (ish) of my feet or at least focus on hitting up front, my knees seem to hurt a bit less, but I find that stride kind of difficult to maintain, especially as I get tired.

Thankfully, I managed to make it through the podcast, and, as always, spent the rest of my time listening to my own music. One of the biggest benefits with running with Jon (well, at the same time as Jon anyways) is that he always runs for at least an hour, so I push myself to keep going/doing stuff as long as he's working out as well. Tonight, since we were forced to go up and back a few times since only 1.5 miles of the bikepath is lit up at night, we kept passing each other, which was fun. More importantly, I decided to try for another 20-minute jog. At about 18 minutes, Jon said he was going to stop when he got back to the bridge, so I turned around. So as to not keep him waiting too long, I thought I'd try to run at least until 25 minutes... then 30... and then the end. By the time I reached him, I'd jogged for 32 minutes (slowly) and finished a little under 6 miles total. I'm feeling really good about it and I stretched out a lot, but now, I'm off to finish my edits and massage my so-tight-they're-painful calves and go to bed. Night!

New Bling

Okay, you've convinced me. Well, that and the fact that my neck still looks like I attacked it with a curling (or straight) iron. This is not possible, since I don't touch either of them (since I already have naturally curly hair) and is still blamed on what will now be referred to as the Ex-Nifty, now evil, obviously not for running jacket.

That said, does anyone have any recommendations for good running clothes? So far, I've found what I want (I think), but it's all UnderArmour, and it's a bit pricey... I'm planning on calling in on my birthday (early), so I can get a few pieces, since I'm a poor college student.

As Spring is approaching, I'm looking at a general combo (tights, tank, shorts, jacket(?)). I have some old mesh shorts I can deal with for now, but since I'll be in Cincinnati (i.e. Civilization) next week, I'm going to take the opportunity to get the rest.

Here's the main contender for tights: UA's Heatgear Capri.
I like it because it's made for warmer weather, but will still keep the thighs from chafing (VERY important). That's also why I like it over the full length, since I don't really need *that* much coverage.

For tanks, I'm thinking either the HeatGear tank or the Moisture Transport Tank. I guess I can't really decide between the idea of the compression fit or the "fitted" fit.

As for the jacket to replace the Evil Ex-Nifty Jacket, I have no clue.

Any suggestions, ye other runners/runners-in-training?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Week 5, Day 3

So this morning was the big run I'd been semi-dreading: 20 minutes non-stop. I had to run early so that I could go to see Chris (my PT for my knee) at 10am. We both hoped that I'd run and my knee would hurt and then he could get a better idea.

Today I started out in Athens at my apartment. Broke out the nifty jacked I lifted from my sister and got my play list ready. Since there were no intervals, I opted to use my iPod's stopwatch instead of the podcast—good life choice.

After my warm up, I ended up on the bikepath, feeling really good about the run after my first mile yesterday. To my surprise, the 20 minutes went by really fast and at the end of the run, I felt like I could have probably kept going. Instead, I stopped and walked for 5 minutes, trying to decide how I wanted to get home. In the end, I decided to pass by Jon's work and take a tour through campus instead, since I could easily use MMR to figure out distances since I'm good with my campus geography.

Originally, I was going to try and push myself to run 10 more minutes, but after 10 passed, it felt short and I had good music, so I kept myself going for another 20, then 25 before walking my final 5 minutes home. I've been keeping a steady (i.e. feels kind of slow) pace, but it's seems manageable. In the end, I ran 4.71 miles and if I put the 15m of walking with the 45m jog, that translates to a 4.71mph pace (duh, I know). So, not too bad, I think that puts me on track for my goal of a 40 minute 5k at least.

On a bad note, a) the "nifty" jacket chafed my neck really bad so I look like I'm wounded (or have a hicky?), so that stinks and b) when I got to Chris's for my appointment, my knee didn't feel as sore, so I think he thinks I'm making it up, even if it did steadily hurt throughout my run. Regardless, he used ultrasound on it and taped my feet again (that seemed to help last week) and next week if nothing changes, we're going to look into some $20 inserts that he recommends.

All in all though, epic win in the running department. I think this is beginning to grow on me. AND today means that I'm finished with Week 5, which is supposedly a scary week that induces many drop-outs. I've survived, though with a hurt neck. I think I might have to go ahead and invest in some real running gear.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Week 5, Day 2

Look at me all pumped up for today's run!
I need to figure out a better way to deal with my earbud cord
when I'm wearing this jacket though...
that was a bit irritating.

As promised, here are a few photos from today's excursion on the bikepath. Before starting W5D2, I wasn't feeling too nervous, but the first 8m run kind of had me wondering how the 2nd would go. Jon's finally out and running again and he kept pace with me for the beginning 8m run, but then he continued on jogging when I moved to the 5m walk. The 2nd 8m run wasn't bad either and, like I usually do, I kept running after the 5m cooldown at the end. I've found so far that this is where I really get to push myself. I guess during the podcast I end up being afraid of pushing too hard and not making it the whole time, but then afterward, I put on my own running mix (no offense, techno, but you get kind of repetitive) and keep on trucking, usually making for a 60 minute-ish workout.

Today I was particularly pleased. Sadly, there were no cross-streets today on the bike path, so it's hard to use MMR to see exactly how far I ran, but I know it was at least 4-4.5 miles, since it's a 1/2 mile from the house to even get onto the bikepath and then the first mile-marker I saw was 15.5 and I turned around at the 14. Good enough for me.

The best part of today's run was after when I turned around at that 14 mile marker. Although I briefly ran track in middle school and had to take PE etc. in HS, I don't think I've run a whole mile (without stopping) since then. But, today, I turned around and started running, telling myself that I'd run for two songs (the turned out to be "Thnks fr the mmrs" by Panic! At the Disco and "Rumors" by Lindsay workout mix isn't always the most thought-inspiring music) and then let myself walk. By the end of "Rumors," I'd already passed the 1/2 mile marker, and decided to push myself to the finish. So, thanks to Lady Gaga's "The Fame," and some fun French techno/club music, I made it to the 15 mile marker in under 12 minutes. That being said, I'm alternately looking forward to/dreading the 20 minute run I'm going to attempt tomorrow morning. I know I should wait a day in between, but I'm going to see the trainer at 10am and he told me to run before so that my knee will be sore (if possible). So, we'll see!

Back on track

Okay, I apologize, I fell off the face of the earth these past two weeks... The end of this quarter is really taking all of my writing time in front of the computer/in general. Due to doctor's appointments/interviews for our Paris program this summer, I haven't made it to WW this week, so no weigh-in stats (but I'm going Tuesday, so we'll have them then). I'm afraid I'll be up a few pounds, but it's okay. I'll live.

That being said, I haven't dropped the ball on my workouts at all (so I might just be okay). Although Jon has taken 2 weeks off of gym going in order to try and let his ankle get back to normal, I've kept up with going 5x/week, which makes me feel good since I no longer have him as a motivator.

This past week we had some beautiful weather in this part of Ohio, so I've taken to doing my runs outside. We're so lucky here in Athens to have the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway right on campus. It's less than half a mile from my apartment in Athens and less than half a mile from Jon's in Nelsonville, so it's easily accessible, safe, and, what's more, gorgeous. Oh, and it has mile markers that help you guestimate how far you've run. I've taken to using Map My Run to either plan my routes or check out what I've done, since I tend to stray from the path a bit and don't have an iPhone to use a GPS app like Run Keeper. If you have an iPhone, I recommend DLing it. Jon and some of his co-workers use it and it seems to work really well. We took an hour and a half walk the other day to enjoy the pretty weather and help him get back into working out and Run Tracker not only maps your route on a google map, but also tells you your pace, calories burned, distance, etc. Also, for you C25Kers, it lets you use it and listen to music (or your C25k Podcast) at the same time. Anyways, I'm done plugging the app, I'm content with the more tedious Map My Run in all my iPhoneless glory.

Anyways, I'm enjoying getting outdoors more after this epic winter. On one of my off days I took a chill 12-mile bike ride on the bikepath just to get a feel for where it goes and the scenery and all that and I can't wait to start seeing it get green and ready for spring. Also, I was so happy to finally get my bike out of storage. This means I can stop taking the bus and start biking to campus again. The only damper on the plan is that I can't figure out a) where I stored by bike lock and b) since I accidentally changed the code to unlock it last quarter, I think I've probably forgotten it... I might just have to buy a new one. Ulgh. Anyways, for now, I had to carry Mr. Bike down 2 flights of stairs from my apt to use him and then back up to store him in my bedroom. I love him, but he does take up quite a bit of space.

Today I'm going to do the Week 5, Day 2 Run and start at Jon's and head towards the bike path, so it'll be all new territory there too. Someday I'd love to leave my car in Athens and ride the whole way from Athens-Nelsonville (14.3 miles from my door to Jon's).

Let's see what haven't I updated about... Oh! I went and saw the PT for my knee last week, but I had taken the weekend off so when I got there it didn't hurt at all, so I kind of felt like the PT thought I was making it up. This week I'm supposed to run before I go see him so that he can see the difference and hopefully get a better idea. We'll see what happens! I just want to make sure this gets worked out so I can do the 5k in May.

Funny anecdote: I've told all the professors/people I work with I'm training for this 5k and yesterday I ran into one of them in Krogers. She looked in my cart and congratulated me on my tons of produce by saying "Gotta keep it healthy for that training!" It'll be fun to finish the 5k and show them photos in the end. :) Also, does anyone else surreptitiously check out the items in other people's carts? I tend to look at them and think "Oh, you could totally replace X with Y and it'd be so much better!" or "Wow, my cart really does look healthy (smile)." It's the little things I guess. Plus, if I don't bring it home, I can't eat it. Win!

Okay, well, sorry this post is so long and ramble-y. I'll try to be better this week about keeping you guys up to date. I really appreciate that you read/comment (this post is for you, Dave), it keeps me motivated. Actually, if the weather stays like it is, I think I'll take my camera with me and get some photos of my run to show you all. This week and next should be interesting for my runs since I'll be in Alabama this weekend and then back in Cincinnati for a few days for Spring Break. Hopefully I can find some fun places to run! More soon! :)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Weigh-in and whatnot

Alright well last night's run wasn't stellar (due to time constraints). I took a 45 minute Pilates class and then went up on the track to run, but I only had a half hour instead of the 36 minutes that the full run requires. I only made it through everything but the last 3 minutes of the final 5m run, in order to have a brief cool down before leaving for my WW meeting. That being said, I think it's going to be more difficult for sure, but definitely do-able. I've found that I run at a markedly slower pace (at least it feels like it) than my 6.0 pace on the treadmill, but it's something I can maintain for the full run time without changing, so I think that's better in the long run.

As for the WW mtg, I was pleasantly surprised:

Weekly weigh-in: 171.0
Loss: +.2
Total loss: 22.6
Emotion: Optimistic

I didn't have a great weekend food-wise, so I was relieved to only be up +.2 this week. I caved in to a craving of chicken tenders and fries Saturday night after dancing with friends, but stayed within my weekly/activity point allowances for the week. Though, I still feel like I've done crummy when I go over like that since I then know why I'll have gained if I do. Oh well, it happens.

Today, I'm hoping to make it to Spinning (barring heavy snow since today I have the car whose windshield wipers are broken). My knee kind of hurts from yesterday's run, so I probably won't re-attempt it again until tomorrow so as to not overdo it. Also, since I'm going to be home all day, I think I'll look into how to make a crock-pot beef stew... Seems like a good day for it!

Well, sorry for the short post, but homework calls. More later!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Week 4, Day 1

I can't believe it's only Tuesday... somehow Monday managed to feel like a whole week in itself. Anyways, the weekend was good, if not very productive in the working out category, but after a 5-day workout week, I needed some time to stay home in pajamas.

Yesterday's workout wasn't stellar due to me forgetting what time Spinning actually started, but today promises to be better. This'll be Day 1 of Week 4 of the C25K podcast, so we'll see how that goes. After the run last week on the real track at the gym, I'm feeling pretty optimistic. I know that I ran a lot slower up there, but it didn't seem to hurt my knees quite so badly or leave me quite so starved for oxygen each time I'd go from the 6.1-6.2 runs to a 4.1 walk break. Today I stumbled upon this article on the C25K site, and it really got my excited for my run today/this week/the next 5 weeks because I KNOW I can do this. It's not pretty and it's not easy, but I know I am capable of doing this.

I remember back in the day when there were certain Pilates moves I couldn't do because my thighs were too big and I was too inflexible... I can do those now, and I remember that the day I realized that, I felt like I'd really made a difference in my daily routine. I also remember the day I decided to try Spinning. Old me would have never tried Spinning regardless of whether or not I would have been able to complete the class because I would have been too embarrassed in a class with that many "in-shape" people. Now, Spinning is still really hard and is always a challenge, but I've been going twice a week and I know that every week I can push myself just a little bit harder and keep up with the rest of the class. I'm sure if I stick to it, running this 5k will be the same, only with a tangible goal at the end.

Speaking of exercise, I had an early morning appt. with the doctor today to go over my blood test results. As anticipated, my cholesterol is higher at 226. Instead of medicine (and because my diet and exercise are already good), she's having me start taking fish oil every day for 6 months and then come back and see her/retest to see if that helped. My good cholesterol is apparently 61, which is good and is what is keeping my heart attack risk at an acceptable 3.7 (where 4.5 is the high number for the acceptable range). She said this is thanks to my exercise habits and to "not stop exercising no matter what" and that I'm "doing really great" and have healthy habits. For someone who's always been overweight and rather out of shape, this kudos for my exercise routine and my diet really felt good. It's good to know that even if I have this hereditary high cholesterol, I'm still on the right track.

She also has me going to physical therapy for my knee next week... it's been kind of bothering me, so I want to check it out before anything bad happens.

Want some motivation for your week? I also stumbled upon this on the C25K site. I know it's especially pertinent for me with finals approaching, my busy schedule, and the crummy weather outside:

Anyways, have a great Tuesday! More later, I'm sure :)