Wednesday, August 31, 2011

How short is too short for men's running shorts?

I completely stole this from someone on Daily Mile (so I cannot take the credit), but I loved the logic in this one!

The length of the leg should match your running pace. i.e. 10min/mi- go for the long 10" shorts. 9min/mi, 9" shorts. 8min/mi- 8" shorts. etc. The faster you run- the more appropriate the shorter leg length.

Really makes sense to runners feel insecure showing so much more skin, so they go for longer apparel (I did at first as well...stuck to capris even though it was damn hot!). Now, the more serious you are, you tend to be less concerned with what non-runners think of your apparel, so you are more willing to flaunt your lack of modesty since it suits your sport and go with the shorter shorts that simply make running more comfortable.

What an odd run...but I think I found the "long run" method that works for me!

Ok, last night, I decided to change things up a bit on my run. I've been having a really time running long lately, and I wasn't sure what it was due to. I was fine just a few weeks ago! But, after I laid it all out, I realized I had changed a few things:

  • increasing speed

  • not bringing water

  • not eating a ton before a run (well, at least not watching what I eat before a run)

The only thing that was consistent was the fact that I was running in the evening, and I also have always focused on drinking at least 80 ounces of water during the day that I run (typically 24 ounces at breakfast, 24 ounces at lunch and 24 ounces on the drive home...and then a tea somewhere in the morning). So, at least I know that I've been hydrated!

But what has caused my sluggish behavior? I thought for short, less than 45 minute runs, I could forego the water....honestly, its not like I drink much of it. I tend to pour most of it on my face/chest/neck to cool me down. See...I'm not one that sweats constantly. Instead, I'm one of those red-faced runners....the heat inside me doesn't escape as easily as others, so I turn beat red! But, maybe the cool-down pouring of the water kept me going? So, I ran with 12 ounces of water on my fuel belt last night.

I also ate a ton yesterday. I swear between noon and 6pm, I ingested about 1600 calories. Insane, I know...and much more than I would ever typically do, but the dip was quite tasty... My only intention was to get in some carbs, but I obviously went overboard :)

So, given the events of yesterday...what did I accomplish? I ran 5.2 miles! Well, there were 4 minutes of walking in there, but I went the distance! Not bad! Actually, this is the farthest I've ever gone! Now, the average pace was a sad 11:25, but that included the walking segments, as I didnt stop the garmin during these mini breaks. So, maybe without the walking, it would have been more like 11:00-11:15? My math brain isn't working this morning, so that range will have to do.

Yes, slower than I would prefer....but what surprised me most was that I think I could have gone much farther! 6 miles? Not a problem...maybe even 7 miles? I think that would have been doable!

So, I know my method for doing a long run now. For the near future, I need to bring water to cool down my skin. I also need to focus on short sessions between walking breaks. I think I could change the vibration on my garmin to notify me for every 1.1 mile split and try that out with a similar method...and then slowly move the distance between each split up. The following week 1.2, then 1.3 and so forth. I'll also start sooner so I can get home well before dark, as I would have gone farther last night if it was brighter out. I will partake in a ton of carbs also a few hours before a long run, but will not overstuff myself like I did yesterday...I know it was simply too much.

I'll still focus my two mid-week runs on speed (eg targeting 10:00 pace for the 5K distance)...but for that weekend run, this method will be mine for awhile. I just can't believe that I almost went a 10k distance! I almost did half of a half-marathon! Not bad...considering my first half-marathon is 5+ months away :) I feel re-energized and more motivated now than I have in a few weeks, and I'm so glad that I did this little experiment!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

BodyMedia FIT, Body Bugg....coolest gadgets ever!

Ok, I want one of these. Remember, I love data and gadgets...and while I am certainly not obese (not anymore, at least!), I am truly interested to see what my metabolism is. The basic premise is that you wear this watch-like band on your upper arm for 23 hours....and it calculates energy expended to determine your overall metabolic requirements for a normal day. Its not based on some silly formula which only 1/3 of the population properly represents, but instead on your own body chemistry. How cool is that? And the BodyMedia FIT actually calculates energy consumed while resting/sleeping (the Body Bugg does not). Oh, just imagine the data you could acquire with this!

Now, its even useful if you are just trying to maintain...many runners will complain about a lack of energy, and with this handy tool, they may easily see that they simply are not consuming enough fuel. Food is Fuel!!! What a handy little way to remind you just how important food can be.

Now, the downfall....$150 for these things, you typically need to purchase a monthly online subscription at $7-10/month. Thats a tough pill to swallow if I think it will only be for occasional use! I wish someone I knew had one and I could "borrow" it for a month and pay their fees...hey, I'd even chip in for the purchase price just to "gauge" my current metabolism! And then every few months, I would just want a temporary check-up to see whats changed. They really should find a way to rent these things, like they do breast pumps to new moms or textbooks to students...that would make a killing!

Who Inspires Me?

Those that seem to do it all....not those people on magazines or those that seem to do one thing extraordinarily better than anyone else on earth....but those people who take care of themselves, work full-time (if you don't, its hard for me to relate) and take care of their family. Those are the ones that just seem to balance everything well, and nobody is left wanting, especially their own mental health.

I feel like I'm much better at this since I've started to exercise regularly. Sure, I'm busier than hell! But, I feel like every moment of my time is valuable now....and its a great feeling.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Just getting outside helps the mind...

Doesn't it? Funny since we got outside to run thinking that we would just help our body :)

Too many goals!

There are so many things that I want to try and do and fit into my schedule, but there simply isn't enough time or energy for it all. Its great that I'm so motivated and I don't want that to wane, but I also realize that I just need some downtime! I think the biggest issue is that I get up at 6:30, and after getting ready, having my shakeology breakfast, getting the kids ready/fed/dressed/teeth brushed/hair brushed/shoes on, making their lunch...well, lets just say I'm content if we get out of the door by 7:20. Its insane around our house in the morning. Sure, Joe helps...its not like I do it all, but its still stressful. By the time I drop them off at 7:30 and stay a few minutes, I'm off to work on my 45-50 minute drive. I get to work hopefully by 8:30. See? Mornings are not a time for me and my physical fitness routine!

So, that leaves evenings. I get home before 6pm, make dinner, let the kids play (so I have a little bit of decompression time while Joe cleans the kitchen, which usually ends up being on the computer, checking email/FB and reviewing the mail)...busy still! Then, its time for my exercise routine, if Joe's current routine doesn't interfere with that. Before you know it, he'll be playing baseball every Wednesday night and playing basketball every Tuesday night....he's also been running a bit throughout the week until his shoulder is fully recovered for his normal routines, so I don't want to interfere with that. But DANG, its a lot to balance. And...the kids will start soccer soon, and Ella may play t-ball this Fall....and the school has a ton of events in the Fall. We have a few trips planned, and I have a few runs planned. Yes, life is BUSY!

So, how do I fit in my goals...which ones should take precedence? How do you prioritize them? I want to continue with my training routine (remember, that every week of Hal Higdon's half marathon training plan = a month for me)...but I also want to do Hip Hop Abs (borrowed the DVDs from a friend), Slim in 6, and maybe try something more challenging like P90X or something. I also want to increase my fitness, via the above, finish the Shakeology 14-day challenge (one week down, one week to go), and lose 20 pounds before ready to get rid of all of this weight! But, how much is too much?

Quite do you balance life? I simply don't know the answers to this. I suppose time will tell. I can't be supermom after all, and I can only try to use my time efficiently, while still giving my children (and husband) the time and support that they need. Sure, my needs will come last after them...but they will come way ahead of all the other things going on in my life. They have to, right?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Shakeology 14-Day Challenge - Day 7 Update

So, a shakeology every day for breakfast. And an exercise routine daily. So far, so good.

For breakfast, I haven't experimented too much with the flavoring/recipes. Its just easier to stick to the staples, so I can focus on getting the kids dressed, fed, and out the door in time for school. So far though, its just as easy as my regular morning routine. I add a scoop of Shakeology, a banana, two tablespoons of PB2, 2 cups water, blend it....then add 1 cup of shaved ice for a nice two-glass breakfast chocolate shake....I even have my husband drinking them!

The schedule below is what is expected (and the detail in the ellipses is what I did)
Day 1: 30 minutes cardio (30 minutes elliptical for me)
Day 2: upper/core strength training (all of the exercises)
Day 3: 30 minutes cardio (35 minute elliptical for me...thunderstorms outside in the gulf)
Day 4: upper/core strength training (all of the exercises, plus a quick 20 minute run, just because)
Day 5: 30 minutes cardio (5k run for me)
Day 6: 60 minutes cardio (35 minutes elliptical in the morning/strength training)
Day 7: Rest or upper/core strength training (30 minute run for me))

Just doing the basic exercises this time (maybe I'll do the advanced exercises next week). Exercises include:

  • 30 seconds flutter kicks;

  • 1 minute russian twists;

  • 1 minute plank (weight on forearms);

  • 1 minute side plank right/left side (weight on forearms);

  • 50 push-ups (modified knees);

  • 30 dips;

  • 20 glute bridge march;

  • 30 lunge w/rotation;

  • 45 arm pull over straight-leg crunch;

  • 45 modified bicycle (floor);

  • 45 seated rotation;

  • 45 bird dog ab exercise;

  • 24 plank with knee bends.
Its time-consuming, but I've tried to do all of these when the kids watch their one tv show in the evening. I've placed the PDF directions for the exercises on dropbox, so I can access it via my iPad, and read along while the room is fairly dark to calm the kids prior to book-time/bedtime.

I've set my regular strength training routine aside for now, and focused on the exercises above...its more time-consuming than my 20 minute routine, simply because I have to pause so much between each exercise. But, in time, the rest time will has to, right?

Whats really surprising is that I thought my normal routine tones me up a bit...but these ones have been making my abs seriously work! Even two days after, it pains me to sit up in bed! But surprisingly, running and elliptical have helped alleviate that...maybe the gentle movement and/or small stretching that goes along with the running helps? I dont know...either way, its working for me, for now :)

As for weight loss....I'm down 2 pounds! I've also averaged about 1600 calories/day...which really is just about 250 less than my supposed required caloric intake. So, I think the loss is related more to shakeology than the fitness at this point, but I'll take it! I think the 2 pound loss is surprising, since I have been craving salt lately...and I've definitely been ingesting more than the sodium I am certain I am still carrying some water weight around me. Anyways, I'll update again next week!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hal Higdon's Half Marathon Training Schedule...Rescheduled

An overview of the novice half marathon training plan is as follows:
An overview of the 12 week training program is as follows (Monday-Sunday):
Week 1: Rest Day, 3 mile run, Option Day/2 mile run, 3 mile Run, Rest Day, 30min Cross-Training, 4 Mile Long Run (10 miles total)
Week 2: Rest Day, 3 mile run, Option Day/2 mile run, 3 mile run, Rest Day, 30minCross-Training, 4 mile long run (10 miles total)
Week 3: Rest Day, 3.5 mile run, Option Day/2 mile run, 3.5 mile run, Rest Day, 40min Cross-Training, 5 mile long run (12 miles total)
Week 4: Rest Day, 3.5 mile run, Option Day/2 mile run, 3.5 mile run, Rest Day, 40min Cross-Training, 5 mile run (14 miles total)
Week 5: Rest Day, 4 mile run, Option Day/2 mile run, 4 mile run, Rest Day, 40min Cross-Training, 6 mile run (16 miles total)
Week 6: Rest Day, 4 mile run, Option Day/2 mile run, 4 mile run, Rest Day/Easy 2 mile run, Rest Day, 5K Race (15 miles total)
Week 7: Rest Day, 4.5 mile run, Option Day/3 mile run, 4.5 mile run, Rest Day, 50 min Cross-Training, 7 mile run (19 miles total)
Week 8: Rest Day, 4.5 mile run, Option Day/3 mile run, 4.5 mile run, Rest Day, 50min Cross-Training, 8 mile run (20 miles total)
Week 9: Rest Day, 5 mile run, Option Day/3 mile run, 5 mile run, Rest Day/2-3 mile run, Rest Day, 10K Race (21 miles total)
Week 10: Rest Day, 5 mile run, Option Day/3 mile run, 5 mile run, Rest Day, 60 min Cross-Training, 9 mile run (22 miles total)
Week 11: Rest Day, 5 mile run, Option Day/3 mile run, 5 mile run, Rest Day, 60 min Cross-Training, 10 mile run (23 miles total)
Week 12: Rest Day, 4 mile run, Option Day/3 mile run, 2 mile run, Rest Day, Rest Day, Half-Marathon Race (22 miles total)

Option Day: Typically this is a choice between running 2 miles or cross-training. Cross-training can include a 30 minute walk, swimming, biking. These are designed as easy days, so they should be enjoyable and primarily for pleasure, not for sweat.

Cross-Training Day: Walk, Bike, Swim, Elliptical, etc

Rest Days: Can/Should include stretching and light strength training
But, I'm ready to do something...ready to improve gradually...but there are no half marathons here in the Fall (except one, which I simply won't be ready for). Given that this is Florida, most of the bigger events are in the winter...when the tourists justify their flock for warmth. So, I have first half isn't scheduled until early February, after all.

So, my goal:
September (focus on mastering week 3/4 above)
October (focus on mastering week 5 above)
November (focus on mastering week 7 above)
December (focus on mastering week 8 above)

There really are not that many differences between week 8 and week 12, so that will be January (which also will include my first 10k race). Slight increase in long run, but then tapering until the final half. So, I think the plan is good. September's week will average 12 miles of running and about 6 on the elliptical (total 18)....and then December will average 17 miles of running and about 8 on the elliptical (total 25).

Friday, August 26, 2011

Salutation Nation 2011

If you have ever been interested in trying yoga, or are a fan, maybe you want to check out Salutation Nation! The events are hosted by the lululemon stores throughout the continent. If you haven't heard of lululemon, you must try their fitness clothes....while a huge part of their catalog is dedicated to yoga, they also have a nice variety of running attire (for both men and women).

I'll be attending the one on 9/10. The Sarasota location will be on the main lawn of the Ringling exciting is that? I must admit I've never done yoga outside so I'm looking forward to this experience...and while I loved the stretching and calmness of yoga classes in the past, my hip/belly fat always got in the way of really good I'll be attending to see if I can feel a difference now that I've dropped some weight!

So, why not give it a try! Come alone, or bring a should be a nice experience! And, of course, I'll update my experience on this blog after the event :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

ThinkThin Protein Bars

So, I've purchased a few of these and I have to say, I like them! For the most part, they are relatively decent....while I'm not a big fan of maltitol, I'm ok with these. I can pronounce all of the ingredients, and it has more whey protein than soy protein, which is a plus. It has a high protein: calorie ratio, which makes it great for its primary use. Sure, its not a meal replacement, but it does make a pretty decent snack! And even better, after an evening workout, I can munch on this and not wake up the kids (unlike anything that requires a blender).

I've tried most of the peanut butter/chocolate varieties, all of which have 20 grams of protein per 230-240 calorie bar. All in all, the only one that I would not buy again would be the white chocolate...just not the texture that I want. They are pretty dense, so if you like light and fluffy, just say no. But, if you like some serious dark chocolate taste (and are also a fan of chocolate-covered espresso beans, try the chocolate espresso bar, while the peanut butter variants are always a great choice as well.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

PDO Sporteer Armband

I like the simplicity of this arm band. It holds my iphone (with the bumper removed),
and is easily adjustable. It is comfortable, weighs nothing and has no bulk at all, which I also appreciate. I can easily slip my car key behind my phone in the pocket as well...just the key, mind you..nothing else.

That being said, while I know that I have not stretched it out doesn't fit me very well anymore. It is definitely built for a larger woman or a man's body. So, if you fit this description, by all means, purchase it. But if you are small-medium build (woman), pass it on to your husband :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Runner's Week

Isn't it simply strange that a runner's week starts on a Monday when everyone else starts on Sunday? :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Shakeology 14-Day Challenge - Day 1

So, today we commence the 14-day program....hopefully it will prove to kick start my metabolism. I've ordered the shakeology and have my supply waiting for me in the kitchen. I've decided to focus on having it for breakfast every day, as its just easier with a blender here at home. Today, I used 16 ounces of water, the chocolate shakeology with a server of PB2 and a banana....blended it, then used the margaritaville maker to add some shredded ice to it...

so maybe 3 cups of water total (ice + plain water). It was the right consistency for me. I can taste the greens in the shake, so if you think you are adverse to greens and the chocolate will cover it up 100%, this may not be the thing for you. That being said, while I could taste them, they were not unpleasant by any means...just a tad strong.

Hope has provided the exercise for today...30 minutes of cardio. Since my husband is out of town, I'll have to stick the elliptical at home tonight....unless anyone wants to fly to Florida to babysit! :) I think tomorrow is upper/core workout for strength training, but she hasn't implied any specific exercises for that yet.

I'm interested to see how varied the exercises are (most of the challengers on her team are runners, after all, so cardio will be easy for most of us to get in). I'm definitely interested to see how I can manage both her work and my existing routine....I hope I can continue to do both!

Regardless, I'll update the blog next weekend regarding the challenge....and then again when its complete. Maybe I'll even share some of my personal stats :)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

How far ahead should I plan to race?

It seems that its best, for me at least, to plan all the season's training at one I mapped out basically where I want to be by the end of April and am now prepping for the early start to the season on Labor Day. To me, I can plan out those slower races and prepare for the onslaught of the higher mileage ones for after Christmas....rather than just looking one race out. To me, that would be harder to stay interested as I like to plan everything, even the goal of races, albeit this is new goal for me of just a few months ago.

But, I wonder what will happen as I get closer to April, that last race...will I be completely bummed that I have no race in the future to look forward to, to plan? Or, will I be so exhausted and ready for a break? I suppose only time will tell.

Don't Compare...or should I?

So, I was at a party last night. And the mother of a new freshman cross-country runner was there (she's been running for about 6-8 weeks now). We are both running our first race together, just by chance. She weighs about 110 pounds, and is lean...she's got great form, from what her parents have said (per the coach), and the father expects her to finish in under 30 minutes. Well, I asked the mother earlier how well she's doing and of course, she gloated, which I expected (after all, why wouldn't she be proud). I mentioned that I wonder how I will do at the race, and she came straight old and told me to not bother competing against her daughter.

First, I know she has youth on her side....and she's carrying NO weight. I know she will be faster than me, but I honestly wanted to know how speedy she was. So, I took it to mean that I shouldn't bother as I'll never be as fast as her daughter. I took this as a slam on my ability, but then again they have never seen me run...or know how well I am determined to stick to it. I can only think she is looking in the mirror when she said that. Well, I am NOT her. I'm trying to get back into shape. I'm pushing myself harder than she ever has (at least since i've known her). I'm not overweight anymore like her (well, just a tad, but pretty healthy I think). And...why shouldn't I try to compete with her? Sure, she's 25 years younger than me. So what?

Maybe her off-hand remark wasn't meant as anything more than not to compare myself to anyone....especially the youth. But, quite honestly, it pissed me off!!! I've worked so hard since April on running. I've been consistent. I've been focused. I've educated myself on so many things that I had no knowledge of. I'm eating properly, with the right nutrition and making really good decisions most of the time. So, is it completely out of the question that I could never be as good as a young runner? Ever?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sweat Zones 101

Did you know that men and women sweat differently? This knowledge can be HUGE when determining what clothes to wear! It certainly explains to me why my husband (when he runs and uses my armband) returns my armband in such wet condition that I'm afraid to touch it! Trust me, it is truly disgustingly dropping wet! I always wondered why his arms sweat so profusely and mine were simply moist. Well, now I know!

First, the source of this data comes from this great article/study which I think you would find interesting....its located here. The picture is also from this same article.So, why do you need to know this stuff? Surely, its pretty interesting....but even moreso, it can help you select clothing that helps with ridding your body of unwanted moisture. There is no such thing as gender-neutral" running clothes for a reason!

Women's Body Parts (in order of sweatiest to least sweaty):

  • Upper/Center Back

  • Lower/Center Back

  • Upper/Non-Centered Back

  • Lower/Non-Centered Back & Chest

  • Every other part has minimal sweat distribution
Men's Body Parts (in order of sweatiest to least sweaty):

  • Lower/Center Back

  • Middle/Non-Centered Back

  • Upper/Center Back

  • Waist & Upper/Non-Centered Back & Shoulders

  • Every other part has minimal sweat distribution
Ok, so what does this mean/imply?

  • Men should avoid wearing items around their waist (eg spibelts and water hydration packs.

  • Women should avoid wearing items on their upper/center back (eg camelbacks that sit higher on the back) or sports bras that have full coverage over this area. Instead, focus on waist packs for hydration and sports bras that have straps.
Anything that covers a major sweat area is going to hinder your performance. If your sweat cannot evaporate easily, you are going to be colder in cool weather and warmer in hot weather...hardly a good thing for your body. Your body is an amazing machine which self-regulates, and putting too much next to these areas will just make it work harder...who needs that when they are just trying to keep up in a race!

Friday, August 19, 2011

An "Ah Ha!" Moment

I was running the other day, and all of a sudden, I realized that my legs were just moving and falling into rhythm like they have never quite done before...I felt warmth throughout my entire lower body, from my upper thigh to my heel. It simply felt like every single muscle/joint/bone was working in sync. I must say that this was quite nice to feel. Sure, it was still effort...but I never really felt like this before while running....perfect biomechanical movement, at least for me. Thats the only way I can think to describe it. Every lower body movement just worked and create this incredible flow of movement and I could feel the strength and power in every muscle, moving like a machine thats been well-oiled.

And, last night when I ran, I felt the same was very much like an "ah ha" moment for me. I just hope that the whole run will eventually be like that!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Garmin Forerunner 610...Part 1

I've said it before, and I'll say it again....I'm a gadget girl. I like data. I like technology. And when those two things are combined, its not longer a "want" ...its a need!

So, I found a 20% deal for a Garmin 610, and I'm very pleased with it. I did purchase the one that came with the HR Monitor, and I'm glad that I did just that. I also eventually found a deal on amazon for the footpod...again, the more data, the better! For me, I think the knowledge that this provides gives me insight into the sport, as well as allowing me to focus on some aspect of training to improve upon. Since running is such a solitary sport (e.g. you are always competing against yourself), its hard to determine where/when/if you should focus your training efforts. Sure, speed is always one of them, but thats usually the effect, rather than the need to focus on improving those 'causes' which will ultimately result in the effect of increased speed.

So, I suppose this review isn't your typical review...its not going to be about all the bells and whistles and how easy it is to navigate/learn, but rather why the data is provides helps me focus and keep working towards this unknown goal of mine.

I find that after a run, I slip in the little wireless USB into my laptop, and it syncs with garmin connect. I log into garmin to see everything that it collected:

  • Heart rate (average/max)

  • Cadence (average/max)

  • Speed (per split, which I left at the default "per mile")
But, the little graphs I find interesting (see upper right). These charts allow me to correlate my pace with the elevation gains, and my cadence. I've seen before that some of my runs have slow increases in elevation, and my cadence slows down...therefore, my speed slows down. But, in a perfect world, I should focus on keeping my cadence the same, even though my stride may be sure, my pace may slow a bit, but if my cadence stays consistent, I should be proud of doing that! Then, I can eventually focus on my pace on the uphill climbs!

In other words, it helps non-trainer people like me identify where my focus should be...where I'm not excelling. I do not intend or expect to ever run a 7 minute mile...but surely I can do better than where I am now! Its that incentive that this little gadget provides. Its knowing that there are some low-hanging fruits that I can improve upon rather easily. Its knowing that my lack of performance on some evenings is probably due to a few simple adjustments in my mentaility, run route, etc. Its knowing when elevation is encouraging and when its discouraging. Its knowing that bridges impact me and how they do just that...and its not always a bad thing! Its knowing that if I increase my cadence my 10%, I could become a 9min/mile runner...well at least when the weather cools down.

Its all of this. Sure, they are not easy things to adjust/relearn that I can incorporate in a few weeks, but they provide me with concrete mini goals to focus on. They provide me with the tools to measure and correlate and compare. And, if I can find that I'm improving even slowly on these little things, I know my overall performance will be enhanced. its not a "black box" anymore that some people are just better runners...its putting concrete reasons why some perform better than others. Now, I know what I need to do, and I know how to track it, and all I need to do is put in the time!

Running Cadence

So, I purchased the little footpod for my Garmin. Remember, I am a gadget girl. It attaches very easily onto my shoe. I actually decided to put it in my little amphipod shoe pocket instead of on the laces with their little gizmo. I thought the added protection offered less chance of it disappearing.

Running cadence is the amount of times that your foot strikes the pavement in one minute.

After my first run with the gizmo, my running cadence is 83spm (steps per minute). Now, Garmin only counts one foot's I had to multiply this times two to get to the standard definition of 166spm. I think Garmin keeps this consistent with their biking cadence counter, as cycling usually refers to only one full rotation of the wheel (therefore, for consistency, only one foot is required for running). This seems counter to the normal definition, but so be it.

Apparently, world class marathon athletes have a steps per minute of 100-110. That is fast. And sprinters have a spm up to 200!

At least I was pretty consistent throughout my run though....anywhere from 80-85. But I probably need to concentrate on my cadence and watch that on my garmin throughout.

The ideal is supposedly between 180-190spm (so my garmin goal would be 75-80spm). I'm quite shy of that, aren't I. Should I work on this or work on my pace? Can both be improved simultaneously? I suppose if you improve one, you are probably improving the other, right? One thing I know is that I shouldn't try to overstride to improve my pace, but rather increase my cadence!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Heart Rate Defined

I know that some people reading this know everything I'm going to detail...but for a new "athlete" like me, this is all new and a huge learning event for me!

So, it seems that fitness is quite reliant on your max and min heart rate. Well, there are tables, surely, but what do they mean? There is a handy little calculator here that supposedly clarifies my garmin's estimates.

I enter my age, 42; gender, female; resting heart rate, 60bpm...then hit calculate. Why 60bpm? Because I've been too lazy to check it for the first precious moments when I wake up and am still in bed. Seems though, that this 60bpm is a fairly fit person (not amazingly so, but not a couch potatoe either), so I'll work on the assumption that I am fairly fit.

I don't know my max...and most people don't. Now, my garmin assumed it was 187, but if I let this tool estimate it, its 180. I'll stick to the 187, just because I like that number better :)

Now, if you really want to try to find out your max HR (which a lab test is the only true measure), there seem to be quite a few different methods online to estimate this...go and google!

Most zone charts are based on at least one of the following:

  • Lactate Threshold

  • VO2 Max

  • Maximum Heart Rate
Also, while some use "7" zones (explained here), the common practice is to use "5'" which are listed here:

Zone 1: Healthy Heart(40-52%), eg Walking Briskly
Zone 2: Easy(52-64%), eg jogging, can carry on a conversation
Zone 3: Aerobic(64-76%), eg running briskly, can speak in short sentences
Zone 4: Anaerobic Threshold(76-88%) , eg Going Hard, can speak in one word only
Zone 5: VO2 Max(88-100%) , eg All Out!

For me, this equates to the following heart rates (BPM), per the online calculator:

Zone 1: 110-126
Zone 2: 126-141
Zone 3: 141-156
Zone 4: 156-171
Zone 5: 171-187

Basically, I want to be in zone 3 or 4 at my level. Zone 3 will maintain/slightly improve my cardio base, while Zone 4 will push it into a 'safe' overdrive while still burning the "mommy weight" which is one of my goals :)

But, what about that dreaded "fat burning zone" .... In a nutshell, the higher your zone, the more your body will rely on carbs (rather than stored fat) as a percentage of energy. So, yes, Zone 3 will burn more fat than carbs....but if you punch it up to Zone 4, you may be burning more carbs than fat (as a percentage)...but you are burning much much more overall (and even the fat burned in Zone 4 is most likely more than the fat burned in Zone 3). In other words, pushing up to Zone 4 will technically burn more fat than Zone 3.

Now, what is this dreaded Zone 5? From what I understand, this is your anaerobic exercise. Still feels like serious cardio, I know, so the term anaerobic seems foreign to me, as I usually equate this to lifting weights and the like. This phase requires your body to use the sugar, or lactic acid, stored in your muscles. However, this phase does continue to burn calories and can result in weight loss.

That being said, if you want to return to ketosis, you will most likely want to maintain your workout in zone 4-5 to burn off that Dairy Queen Peanut Buster Parfait from earlier in the day :) Otherwise, you will be burning fat, but sugar will definitely remain in your system, so ketosis is never reached. need for tunes?

For the last few runs, I've preferred to go when its started to get dark but not yet pitch black. I also prefer to run in the middle of the road, which seems to be less cambered and no cracks to encourage falls! This requires me to run without music. Surprisingly, I've enjoyed it. I'm surprised at how little noise my feet make when touching the ground....really, its like I'm running in stealth mode! Well, except for my loud breathing :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

5K Race Pace Goal?

How do you set a goal? Last Tuesday night, I ran a 5k around the neighborhood at 32:30. I was quite pleased with the 10:27 pace. A bit better than I thought I would be actually. Honestly, I think having my new Garmin Forerunner 610 really helped here. I was constantly checking my current pace and then pushing myself a tad more if my pace was above 10:30. At times, it was up to 11:00 (like on the minor elavation gains or the times when I was just daydreaming), but when I saw the pace, I immediately tried to keep it steady at a lower pace. It worked time and time again. It was just the right amount of "goal" that I needed to keep it up.

Now, on race day, what should my pace be? Obviously, I can do a 10:30 without too much of an issue. Taking into account the adrenaline rush (which would encourage me to go out fast, but may make me crash near the end), I certainly don't want to go out at a 9:00 pace! I'm simply not ready for that! But, I still feel that I could push myself a bit more than 10:30. Afterall, I do have another 3 weeks before the race to play around with this time....thats another 6-7 5K runs total (if I continue to run 5K distances every Tuesday and Thursday, which is my intention). I also plan on using the elliptcal at least twice a week (unless I use it just once a week and do some sprinting the other day).

So, lets say I can get that down to 10:20 comfortably....will the adrenalin rush of race day allow me to run at a 10:10 pace? A 10:00 pace? Remember, I did run 2 miles once in 20 minutes...although I was gasping for breath afterwards! :)

Of course, I know that if I let adrenaline push too far, too fast...I will go out at a 9:00 pace and then crash after 1 mile, so I know its somewhere in between. I wonder how people determine this....or is it simply based on race experience.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Mercola B-12 Energy Booster

Ok, as many probably know, B12 is a fantabulous energy booster! The problem though is that the most potent form is available by injection only. See, B12 is hard to absorb in sufficient quantities, unless you are eating red meat regularly...and even supplementation is difficult since the digestion process doesn't allow full absorption of what you eat - so obviously, B12 caplets are not cutting it as much as we thought. Now, all the science behind B12 is here, so I simply won't restate it.

But, I do like this product. Its easy to carry along. It has a pleasant taste. Its easy to take. It doesn't give you a jumpy reaction, but keeps your energy level throughout a long period. Its natural.

Just my two cents....for those fighting lethargy all the time :)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Shakeology Challenge!

I'm least starting later this month for an entire 14 days I will be! Team Epton forced me...I blame Hope completely for this. The goal is to see if we can jump start our metabolism and incorporate a workout program (in addition to any training I'm currently doing) to feel healthier and lose weight/inches.

Once you sign up for a free Beachbody membership, commit to drinking one shakeology a day for a meal replacement and sign up for the challenge....what do you need to do? For 14 days, Hope will post a workout schedule for every day in the 2 week period. There will be mainly resistence work, plyometrics, high-intensity interval training, etc. Since there are a lot of runners training for a half marathon on this team, Hope will focus the resistence work on core and upper body for strength building and the cardio will most likely be running/biking/etc. There will not be any special equipment requirements, and if someone doesn't have the needed equipment, Hope will make modifications to the workout schedule to suit what you have on hand. It will take 20-30 minutes a day.

Diet-wise, she asks that everyone drink a Shakeology shake for one of their meals/snacks per day. Your diet should consist of 5-6 small meals/day. And also, try to eat as healthy as possible, within your comfort level. Quite simply, make good choices.

She even put a private Facebook group together to hold each other accountable, and she will provide all the support and address any answers/questions we may have.

Everyone on the team who make a full effort to participate will win some fun Beachbody prizes at the end and one participate will be chosen to win the grand prize of a basket full of Beachbody goodies (although I have no idea what that is!)....maybe a workout set? new mat? my mind can wander!

I can do this, right? I hope I can keep up with my normal routine AND do this for 14 days. I suppose I could always cut out the free weight training that I've been doing twice/week....but I'd rather do my normal workout plus this. I'm curious to see if I could drop 5 pounds in the 2 week period if I do everything that I've been doing plus what the challenge requires. Think its possible?

But, even more importantly, I do want to kick start my metabolism asap! I'm on this semi-crash diet for another 10 that will end next Thursday (just in time for a Cracker Barrel breakfast at work the following day...I'll say no to the pancakes and syrup, but yes to the eggs and bacon/sausage at least!). So, I'm hoping to drop to about 152 prior to this thing kicking off (I'm currently at 156). More importantly, I want to stabilize at 152 prior to this challenge. Then, if I can finally get into the 140s as a result of this challenge, I will be ecstatic! I've lost so much weight this year (last estimate was 30+ pounds) by pushing myself hard for a bit, then plateauing intentionally, and then doing it all over again. But, if I can get into the haven't been there since before the kids were born! Maybe not even since my 20s!

And, it just so happens that the challenge ends on the eve before my first real race. Maybe this will give me the extra push I need to do well!

No Guilt Honey-Mustard Dressing/Sauce

Water it down a bit more for a salad dressing, and keep it at a thicker consistency for a dipping sauce for chicken. This versatile little dip has no calories (almost), no sugar, no bitterness, no carbs, no nothing. If you are on a strict diet, or simply don't want to worry about the content of some bottled items, try this on for size...

1. Mix about a half cup of yellow mustard with a packet of Stevia (or any sweetener you like). Mix to taste. If you like it tart, add more mustard. If you like sweeter, add more sweetener.
2. Add just enough water to give the mixture a dressing-like consistency.

Now, there are brown/spicy mustards that have no strange/sugary ingredients in them, but if you are not a label reader, stick to basic yellow mustard.

If you want something a bit tangier, try this:
Take Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar (just a tad, this stuff is potent)
Add spicy mustard, garlic powder, oregano, and crushed red peppers, to taste
Mix. Enjoy!

A note about Bragg's...don't even bother with any other apple cider vinegar. There has been a lot of research about the thermogenic effects of this vinegar, but Bragg's is the only one typically available that has the "mother" of the apple in it. Its unfiltered, so you will be able to see sediment in it...but that is why this one is so much better than any "clear" version out there....the clear version has essentially been stripped of everything natural and healthy in this vinegar. Its available at (for cheap mail order), as well as amazon...but typically available at the organic section in the grocery store.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Road ID/Shoe ID - Product Review

What can I say...I simply feel safer with this thing on my shoe. I purchased the Shoe ID, and I'm glad I did. Sure, its $20, and sure you will be lucky to find any discount code for more than $1 off, but its a basic essential in my book. I don't even know its on my shoe. There is no bounce, no jiggling, no weight. Also, RoadID gives a lot of good advice on what to include on your item, so I included:

  • Full First, Middle and Last name (given, not nickname) - It is easier for emergency personnel to locate vital medical history if they have your given name. If you have a nickname, include that in quotes.

  • City, State, and Country (zip codes are not necessary, as medical personnel will not need to know how to mail you a letter.

  • Food/Drug Allergies should be included. Use the medically-accepted abbreviations that RoadID lists. If you have none, list "NKA" for "no known allergies" or "NKDA" for "no known drug allergies"

  • Blood Type/Organ Donor/DOB can also be included

  • You can also include insurance information, that just means you would have to purchase another tag when your company willy nilly changes your plans...something to consider
All in all, the guidance is good...and it does give a certain piece of mind, especially if you do not run with a phone (with a ton of contacts at their fingertips).

Friday, August 12, 2011

Shakeology Plans & Weight Goals

So, I ordered the chocolate shakeology goods...along with some protein powder. I've had a lot going on in the last several months related to my weight. I decided months ago that the baby weight had to go....I had gained so much just trying to get pregnant (and keep it), and then I gained more when I was all stressed out keeping the kids in check! I always put my health and eating habits last, and it did eventually catch up with me. I had that "a ha" moment more than once...the first time, I did lose about 15 lbs, but eventually gained it was a temporary diet/fitness kick. This "a ha" moment has held momentum and has really created healthy habits that i think I can continue for a lifetime, or so I hope (as long as my knee holds up). But, maybe, just maybe, if I continue to lose weight, my knee will no longer be an issue with running? That, and the fact that each month of pounding pavement is simply making my bones stronger...yes, I'm on the right path!

I did a full round of HcG, I finished C25k, I started B210K, I did almost 7 weeks of doctor-supervised weight loss, I'm doing a mini round of HcG now....and I'm still running 3 times/week, doing strength training twice/week and elliptical twice/week. If I keep this up, I should be toned, right? Well, I've seen my body make miraculous changes in the last few months (I've lost an estimated 35 pounds, and its estimated because I didn't own a scale early on as its nicely kept me in the dark!), but I'm not where I want to be yet.

So, where do I want to be? I want to be right around a BMI of 22. That puts me around 130-135 lbs. of course, I would be pleased just to be in the "healthy" or "average" range, but to get there I still have to drop another 11 lbs (to get to 145). I just keep reminding myself of where I was and where I want to be, and I have to find the incentive to continue.

For me, this incentive and continued interest has come as a result of mixing things up...I kept on changing my approach/methodology to the weight loss effort. I've repeated things here and there, but have sustained variety in the approach so I don't feel too bored with an approach, and I've gone intense on a few, and then took healthy breaks for my body to stabilize. This has helped tremendously. While not all the methods I've used are acceptable to some, I feel that I've made good cost/benefit decisions and have gone into it with eyes wide open. Diabetes is looming in my family now, and I don't want to be a member of that club!

My ultimate goal is to get to 135 around Christmas. I want to be raring to go for the 10K and Half Marathon races early next year, and if I settle up a bit more than 135, I'm ok with that...I'm not targeting a number, but rather a middle "healthy" range....and if I do have to buy an entire new wardrobe, I suppose I'll just have to indure that pain :)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Zagg Invisible Shield

The more I read about my pricey garmin watch, the more I worried about scratches on it...seems like a lot of people complained about this. I suppose the complaints are appropriate. it is an expensive thing, so you want to keep it pristine, if at all possible. And, since its a piece of athletic equipment, it will be put to work outside and in places that are prone to scratches. So, I purchased a Zagg Invisible Shield. The 39mm size here fit the Garmin Forerunner 610 was easy to install, came with all the supplies to clean the face prior to application, smooth the front after application...took seconds to install. It also does not in any way interfere with the use of the touchscreen. Small price to pay to keep the face clean and readable for years to come, right? Also, chances are you can find a discount code that is valid here.

Running Club?

I tell you, I did actually apply for a running club...I've received an email update from them and even have my little card that shows membership. And yet, I'm still a bit intimidated by the thought of running with "real" runners. To non-runners, I suppose they think of me as a runner...but I'm not completely sure I'm convinced of that just yet!

I simply have to force myself to go, right? If I completely embarass myself, I just won't return, right? Whats there to lose besides a little bit of face and my pride?

So Many Races Committed To...I Should be committed!

Remember, I'm a new runner...just started in March, and I've committed to over half of the races you see on this blog! That means that half have been paid for! Some of them simply are not open for registration yet.

So, why so many.....I suppose I know myself pretty well. If I don't have a strong goal and haven't blatantly told everyone, the goal will just sink into oblivion. So, I threw down money once race at a time and spaced them all out so I have something to strive for. Now, all of them are pretty short for 2011, but for 2012...well, that was a different issue entirely.

Seems like all the BIG races are in the winter down here in sunny florida, which makes sense for the tourists. Sure, there is the Women's Running 5k/Half in November, but I simply will not be ready for that one. So, that will be a 5K and I'll really enjoy the experience. And there are a lot of other 5K-5Miilers between now and the end of the year...I'm hoping to continue to get into shape for those and work on my speed. Then, starting with a 10K in January, I should be primed to work on my distance....gotta do that for the half marathons that I wanted to do...

For 2012:

  • January's St Pete Beach 10k race seemed like a perfect opportunity to ensure that I had a decent pace for a longer than 5k distance.

  • could I say no to an inaugural Rock n Roll race right here in my city?

  • February...the Princess race is what started it all. I think this will simply be FUN

  • March...Gasparilla is all about pirates, and my son's eyes went WILD when he saw the ad for this run, so how I could I disappoint?

  • March...Sarasota is like 5 miles away...again, a local race that is absolutely beautiful?

  • April...Irongirl 1/2...well this was sort of thrust onto me, a dare might you say...but I will definitely be ready for it. I just hope my teammate (who dared me, for pure self-indulgent pleasure of forcing herself to get into shape) holds to the bargain.
So, one could say this is all crazy....and if I have to drop out of one, so be it. But, I'm hoping that I will be really well conditioned to do them all by then. Afterall, it is several months away!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Best 5K Time Yet!

Last night, I ran a 5k in the neighborhood....32:30! Thats a 10:26 pace! Yeah me!

Music Right for Running!

Now, for some of us, especially on longer runs, we need music to keep motivation, steady beat, etc....but what songs best suit this? Its been proven that occassional treadmill sessions can increase your natural pace because it forces you to keep the higher rhythm....well, music selection can do the same thing.

I discovered the All8 BPM site to calculate your current running pace...try to mimic it. Simply click the white space in the last "touchscreen" line and click your keyboard to determine your running pace. Hopefully you can estimate it pretty well, as I don't think you want to carry around a keyboard outside and run to get an exact BPM pace! Now, you may want to tap a tad higher on the keyboard to get at a pace that is pushing you a bit, for training purposes, but not so fast that you struggle.

Another great option is - you plug your goal mile time into the search engine (or desired BPMs) and it generates a list of songs. Just click through to purchase on iTunes or Amazon! They also have full play lists for the same pace.

Cadence appears to be the nicest version which covers a myriad list of BPM needs. There is an iphone app, a desktop app that reviews and updates your BPM in the iTunes library and they even have a BPM calculator.

Also, check out Podrunner and MotionTraxx both have free workout music downloads available in any BPM.

Monday, August 8, 2011

First 5K Race Coming Up!

It will be here in 4 weeks....I know my goal should simply be to finish the race, but I really want to do well! Now, this is a speedy one, where there are a TON of fast runners, so most races I think I'll try to target the middle of the range for my age/gender (based on the prior year's results), but with this race, that is not even attainable as that would be right at 30 minutes! Yes, they are that fast. I think its also because there are a ton of high school runners on this one and they can run fast without having to deal with "mommy weight" or "old bones" as an issue.

Canes Classic had only 371 finishers last year, so the size of the race is small and good for a first time out, right? I hope so at least! Its flat, shaded for the most part and at 9am on Labor day. Considering I have convinced two other fairly-new runners to sign up for it as well, I'm nervous....I have a "crowd" watching me, and even if its only a crowd of a few people, I can't hide from them!

Countdown until Busy Schedules!

So, Joe is doing well with rehab. He currently has 82% mobility, and started tossing "towel" he's targeting 2.5 months until he is back pitching baseball and/or playing basketball (honestly, he will be doing both so Tuesday/Wednesday nights will be dedicated to his exercise). I need to find the mental toughness to get as much done (eg build my foundation) as much as possible in this next several weeks.

But, the mental edge is missing right now. I've been doing a lot more elliptical (as you've read) because of my knee discomfort. And, I've determined to alter my training schedule through the week and only run a longer run once/week on Sundays (so Sunday will technically be B210K W4D2 for me), so in 8 weeks, I will supposedly be up to a 10k distance (or at least a 60 minute length). But I just want to do so much more.

I shouldn't beat myself up for it, but I know I can do more than I have been how do I make it all work? I'm still determined to go by this schedule:

Monday - rest day/strength training (with free weights at home)
Tuesday - 5k run
Wednesday - 20 minute run (or 20 minutes elliptical)
Thursday - 5k run
Friday - rest day/strength training (with free weights at home)
Saturday - 45 minutes cardio (60 minutes elliptical)
Sunday - long run (B210K W4D2 is next for me)

So, I just need to stick to the schedule, right? Honestly, its that long run that intimidates me. Maybe because the last few B210K sessions have been so difficult? I just can't break this week 4 hump, but then again, how much is my brain giving me the "knee" excuse? Is it mental or really physical (and the minor physical is justifying the big delay in my brain)? Or, is this horrid summer weather in Florida just getting to me?

Whatever the reason, I need to find a way to push the negatives out and focus on the small goal at a time.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Loving the Elliptical Again

When I first moved to Florida (pre-kids) I purchased a Life Fitness read drive elliptical (same exact kind I loved using in the clubs). I used it a lot, especially since I wasn't accustomed to the awful summers down here....I was previously living in LA. But, when I became pregnant with my daughter, it started to gather some dust; after all, I did have morning sickness until week 22, and it was the 22 hours/day kind! Then, when I became pregnant with my son, it gathered more dust. No excuses here besides sheer exhaustion and a lack of motivation.

Being a "baby buncher" (two kids right after one another), I had my work cut out for me. I lost most of the weight right away from my first pregnancy, and then immediately found myself pregnant again just as fast! And I lost most of the weight again from my second pregnancy. The problem wasn't necessarily being pregnant. I do swear that having two children in close proximity is hard on your body, and even if you lose the weight the second time, its much harder to get your shape back! Adding to that issue, when you have children, you tend to focus more on what they are eating/learning/sleeping and put your own health second....thats exactly what happened.

But, this time I'm so focused....while my knee hasn't been kind to me as of late, I have been getting my workouts in on this dear old friend. In fact, 30 minutes is a breeze now, even though the amount of sweat I produce and the redness of my face my indicate otherwise. But, its something I can keep up if I can't run outside, and I'm content with that for now. Hopefully I can start putting in more miles on the road soon enough, as I do have a 5K race on Labor Day to start preparing for!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Product Review: PB2

Ok, this stuff is great! Ever hear of it? Basically, its peanut butter that has been allowed to separate from the natural oil, the oil is sold as peanut oil (duh), but then its dehydrated until its a powder. So, you basically have all the benefits of peanut butter with no fat! Each serving is about 5 grams of protein for less than 45 calories (that ratio is one of the best out there), so peanut butter is now a fantabulous source of protein!

Bell Plantation has a standard peanut butter powder, but also sell a chocolate peanut butter powder. I've tried both mixed in with my chocolate protein powder and love the variety that they offer!

Now, the S&H is quite high for a small order, so if you are interested by a "4 1-lb pack" or something more and split it with others...makes the overall cost much more manageable!

Shakeology, Body by Vi, and all the others

Ok, so I'm a bit interested in the Shakeology product. I saw a presentation for Body by Vi, and I'm not too keen on their overly-sweet product (afterall, I've been trying to wean myself off of sweet products and this would make that more difficult to me, mentally)....that and the fact that they utilize soy protein and artificial sweeteners. That being said, I know two people using the Body by Vi products and they LOVE them and have lost significant weight without really stressing themselves out.

Shakeology has no artificial ingredients, so I'm researching it. We really do try to avoid artificial ingredients in house and have zero HFCS or artificial sweeteners. I much prefer stevia in low doses or in acidic drinks to mask the bitterness. So, I want to research it a bit more....but, I have no idea what to research. My breakfasts as of late have simply been the iced mocha frappe, but maybe I need to get more nutrients in my daily regimen. But then again, maybe I don't need to change anything and just see if this current plateau stops plateauing!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Trying to maintain in the light of knee-ness

So, I've been pretty diligent this week. First, I swore off running on Sunday when I felt that my knee wasn't handling it well (and ended up walking back home 1.5 miles). So, I was diligent on the elliptical that stares at me in my bedroom as a constant reminder that its not there just to air dry my clothes. So, its been put to use! Monday and Tuesday were both elliptical exercises that went well! If nothing else, I'll be maintaining my level of fitness, even if I'm not necessarily improving it.

But, you know that swearing off that I did...didn't last. I felt ok, but knew I didn't want to risk a long run, so last night I promised myself a simple 2 mile run around the neighborhood...enough to get exercise, but short enough that I would be back in 20-25 minutes to spend time with Joe before he left for Chicago. Surprise...I pushed it. I ran fast (for me, at least). 10:02 pace! Of course, I do think it would have been under 10:00 if my phone would stop beeping me with messages and distracting me, so I'm calling that an "under 10" run. :)

Tonight, I jumped back on the elliptical...felt good. 30 minutes went fast, especially since I promised my kids that they could sleep in my bed while daddy is out of town....but they had to promise to not say a word while I exercised. Actually, since the elliptical is a mere 3 feet from the bed, I actually think that the white noise from the machine helped them fall asleep fast. Not a word. Now, of course, I have no idea where I'm going to sleep as I don't think there is much room in the bed for me now that their stuffed animals are all over!

Tomorrow, I venture to a longer run. The kids will visit with a friend and I'll run from their house to the park and back (or run around the park a bit...same park that the labor day 5k race is, so its not a bad thing at all!). I hope I can get 5 miles in, even if I have to walk some of it. Again, I'm not willing to exacerbate my knee, but if its feeling good, I want to push it a bit more!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

B210K: Progress Stalled

I've been working up to the 10k length, but this little knee concern has me wondering if I should be pursuing this at a slower pace. The program (by the way, the iphone app is soooo worth the miniscule price of the program) calls for this:

Week 1
Run 10 min/walk 1 min Repeat x 4.

Week 2
Run 15 min/walk 1 min. Repeat x 3.

Week 3
Run 17 min/walk 1 min. Repeat x 3.

Week 4
Run 18 min/walk 1 min. Repeat x 3.

Week 5
Day 1: Run 22 min/walk 1 min. Repeat x 2.
Day 2: Run 25 min/walk 1 min. Repeat x 2.
Day 3: Run 30 min/walk 1 min. Repeat x 2.

Week 6
Run 60 min.

Right now, I'm on week 4. I know that people do this program successfully, but I'm also curious if the increase every week is viable for me. I can do it from a heart/lung and muscle perspective, but I don't think my bones are strong enough for the endurance quite yet. I suppose if I was running a year or two already, that would be a moot concern. Then again, I do need to drop some more weight which would probably alleviate additional bone stress....gotta plan that diet soon!

So, I'm reconsidering....I wanted to get into a short run/long run weekly schedule anyways in order to gear up for the half marathons that I want to do next year (the same developers have the Hal Higdon's Novice Half Marathon app that I've already purchased and he pretty much adheres to a similar schedule so the transition would be smoother). So, I was considering this type of schedule:

Monday: Rest Day
Tuesday: 5K run
Wednesday: Cross-Train (20 minutes) or 2 mile run
Thursday: 5K run
Friday: Rest Day
Saturday: Cross-Train (30-50 minutes)
Sunday: Long Run (which would be Week 4, Day 3 or Week 5, Day 1 for me)

So, this Friday, I will attempt Week 4, Day 2 (again...I tried it Sunday remember but didn't want to risk knee injury) and if all goes well, I may attempt Week 4, Day 3 this Sunday. Now, I have 6-7 more workouts to finish the 10k program, so the above would take me 6-7 more weeks. That would put me on/around 14 miles/week over the next several weeks before increasing my mileage any more. I would hope to increase the mid-week runs to 4/3/4/6 or increase the long run to 3/2/3/7. I think the former makes more sense...but I suppose thats getting a little head of where I am right now...either way, I will eventually get to 4/3/4/7, right? Lets just finish the program first!

While I would have liked to finish the 10k distance sooner and definitely way ahead of my first 5k distance, I do like the idea of trying to increase my speed on the shorter 2-3.1 mile distances. I really have no idea how fast I can run for that distance as I've continued to increase my endurance and have pretty much been stagnant at 10:45-11:15 min/mile pace. It would be nice to gain some comfort in knowing that I can run 2 miles in 20 minutes, you know? Then, I could work on some simple speed work drills to increase the 5k distance while slowly increasing endurance over the next 7 weeks. And, that would give me more opportunity to play with my new garmin thats arriving this week! While I love the app and feel the need for music on the longer runs, I would like to go without music on the shorter runs. I don't think I need the constant reinforcement for rhythm and mood enhancer that the music least I would like to see if I don't!

Evening Snack: Cocoa Crack

If you are like me, you tend to run in the evening. Of course, you should eat something once you get back from running, but I tend to avoid the kitchen as its right near the kids rooms, as I absolutely don't want the kids hearing me come in if they are supposed to be trying to sleep!
But, there is an alternative to whipping up some whey protein powder with milk...which can be quite loud in our echo-ey tiled kitchen or eating that dreaded protein bar! So, you can easily see that my whey protein frappa is definitely out of the question! Cocoa Crack!

Why is cocoa crack a good snack in the evening, you ask? You can make it way ahead of time, and its simple to make. In fact, it only has 3 ingredients! Its two primary ingredients have all of the benefits:

  • Chocolate: Great for boosting blood flow for muscle growth. Chocolate offers numerous health benefits due to the fact that cocoa is rich in antioxidants and components that could benefit cardiovascular health. Cocoa boosts nitric-oxide (NO) levels due to a flavanol called epicathecin. NO increases blood-vessel dilation, which gets all the good things to your muscle faster (nutrients, hormones, oxygen, etc) thereby promoting muscle performance, recovery and growth.

  • Coconut Oil: Now, we have all heard about the bad press for saturated oils, which was inappropriately condemning coconut oil. But, coconut oil has some magnificant qualities! Yes, you want to avoid filtered/processed oils....simply put, they have nothing healthy for you. But, natural, cold-pressed, unfiltered coconut oil is absolutely amazing for you. Not only is there a thermogenic affect, but its filled with medium-chain fatty acids! Some additional benefits of coconut oil are listed here.
So, what is this "quiet" recipe that you may be asking now? Cocoa crack is simple to make:

  • 1 tablespoon organic dutch cocoa (of course conventional will do)

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or coconut cream (not the face kind, the food kind)

  • 1 teaspoon stevia (or your sweetener of choice)
Mix....spoon and flatten onto sheet of wax paper and freeze.

Freeze, you ask? You see, coconut oil will become a liquid around 80 degrees, but below that is a solid. So, freeze it and keep it frozen. It actually is more of a "bark" type of treat, as you can easily break it off into pieces for a quick snack. And no, its not going to melt immediately upon breaking a chunk from the freezer, but its not something you want sitting around either!

The next question you might be asking...where do I buy good coconut oil? Well, I discovered this place several months ago that I like. You may even find yourself cooking chicken in coconut oil, which is how I started using it! Tropical Traditions is a small company, but check out their website to see what I'm talking about...its full of useless knowledge that health-conscious people will find valuable. :) I only mention them because they have some great sales that make good coconut oil obtainable to those who cannot afford the "designer" products in those high-end stores.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Protein Powder Treat!

So, I succumbed to a cinnamon Eggo waffle this morning for breakfast...definitely didn't need anything on it at least. But, I only had one, and I made my breakfast staple, which is delicious by the way:

Take 1/2-3/4 tsp espresso powder
Whip with some cold water (I just blend it in the margaritaville maker...easier)
Add 1 scoop of chocolate-flavored whey protein powder
Turn margaritaville maker on and blend all of the above with some shaved ice

Absolutely wonderful mocha frappe! Yes...there is a reason that I have this almost every morning. I simply don't see any downside to it!

Free Weights...Who Knew They Did Something?

So, I was considering some light weight lifting for days when I wasn't doing anything know, something to keep me busy while the kids watch a show in the evening or when Joe puts them to bed. Just so happens I went to my stylist and picked up a Prevention mag of all things and they have this simple progressive 3-step free weight routine for toning. I definitely wanted to stick to free weights simply because I didn't want to leave the house! After all, I'm focusing on 10-15 minutes of toning...nothing more and commuting to a gym to do this is just a ridiculous waste of my time. But, if I was to be completely honest, I never really thought that they did anything...thats why you go to a gym and use these serious pieces of equipment, right? Turns out that they do alot, and the expensive equipment is expense because it takes up space, looks impressive and forces one to have good form. Of course, that last little benefit is nice, but hey, I can't afford the space or the money for equipment!

So, I grab some free weights that Joe has lying around...he has two sets, so he won't miss it :) And remember, he's still an invalid with his shoulder anyways! Of course, I didn't even know how heavy they were! I have done the first 'week' for the last 1-2 months, and its pretty significant...In fact, each following day, I always feel my muscles asking for help, so its definitely doing something....maybe because I discovered that the weights were 3 kilograms each?!?!? Well, when I glanced at them, I really just assumed that was pounds....did you know that 3 kilograms is about 7 pounds!

Basically, its a little circuit training with the free weights. First lunges, bent arm row, then push-ups, then shoulder press, bicup curls, squats and tricep kickback. Lunges kill me (I suppose they should if you do them properly and deep enough)...and then the shoulder press wears me out, but everything else is fine. I do 10 reps of each in the order above, then 3 sets. So far, so good.

Want to know the biggest surprise??? I actually feel definition in my upper arms! Wow...didn't even know my tricep really existed!

So, I think I finally realized why it took me so long to master these...its the darn weight that I was using! But, I can confidently do three sets I'll be moving on to "week 2" next. Fortunately, there are less exercises with week 2, but most of them combine movements, eg starting out with a lunge and while you are lunging, you do an arm curl. Or, you start with a squat and finish with a shoulder press. We'll see how that goes. I'll continue to do these at least twice a week (maybe on my "rest" days) and see when I feel I can move up to "week 3" which combines week 2 with balance exercises.

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