Tuesday, November 29, 2011
First, I'm going to lose some weight! Its hard to reduce calories when you are running, as the energy is sooo needed before and after a run. But if I'm relying on the elliptical for my exercise (and maybe even get those kettlebell exercises in that I've been wanting to do but haven't found the time!), I can easily do less calories and still not feel so drained. So, I'm saying it right here for all to hear...doing strict "healthy" Atkins starting today. Extremely minimal carbs, except maybe once/day (after all, I need some fruit some times!)....but absolutely no bread, pasta, rice, cereal, etc. Heavy on the veggies and protein (goal of at least 100 grams/day) and no added fat/carbs/sweets. I can't see going under 1200 calories/day, but I'll try to target 1000, knowing I have room for more if/when I need it. I'll up my B vitamins and ensure I take everything I need.
Goal: Drop 8 pounds in 14 days. Now, that being said, I'm sure 4 pounds is just water weight, so I only expect to drop 2 pounds/week of real "fat" weight.
I think this is doable. I know its going to take a serious effort, but I'm focused. Thanksgiving is over, and the kids scheduled events are finally over for the semester, so we can be better at cooking proper foods at home...and seriously, thats why its been so hard to lose any weight these last 3 months!!! Schedules have been so hectic that we eat whatever is convenient, and while most of it is at home, its still not always the best options. But, I haven't gained anything, so thats something. I just seem to continue to go up and down within a 7 pound range without effort....but since I haven't really tried (even though the lukewarm desire has been there somewhat) I am hopeful that I can sustain it for the solid 2 weeks.
I would really love to his the 140s prior to Christmas...and this could get me there! I need to look at this 2-week hiatus as an opportunity to lose weight, rather than focus it as a punishment not to run.
What's strange with weight loss and weight gain, at least that I've found for me....is that it is so easy to put on weight. Really, we can add an extra something every day and before you know it, we've gained more than just a few pounds of water weight. But, to lose weight? It takes a real concerted effort! Our bodies are perfect machines (at least somewhat), since our bodies naturally plateau within a given weight range. Cutting back calories a few hundred/day really doesn't work. I can easily cut back 300 calories/day and count religiously for weeks and not see a single change in the scale. Seriously, all else staying the same, I should see a difference! Our bodies just quickly adapt to the different energy levels available. But, if I severely cut back calories and increase (even temporarily) my energy demands, my body simply cannot adapt...so, I lose weight. Problem is...losing weight has to be a dramatic effort. Gaining weight takes no effort. I'm ready for the dramatic effort. Its been months since I've focused on this (actually right before I started this blog was my last true effort..and I did really well!), but I feel I'm ready again.
So, whats the problem? I have Bit 'O Honey in my bag, and I will have to hide it from myself now :)
Monday, November 28, 2011
My next race is scheduled for 12/16....a jingle bell run. I should be 100% for that. And, its only a 5K, so I'm not stressed. My goal is to do it in under 29 minutes. Possible? Yes. Probable? We shall see!
In the mean time, I'm going to play around with my training schedule to see if this is going to seriously stress my plans. Again, elliptical will be my focus, so I'll get something in there...just not running.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
So, stepping back...what do I mean by running the tangents? Well, to understand that, one must understand how a race is calculated by the race director. A race is measured by the shortest distance along the route. This rarely follows the drive a car would take on the road.
Its natural to run in a "lane", but this encourages many racers run a longer distance and thus increase their time for the race. A tangent is a straight line that just touches a curve. In other words, its the shortest distance possible between point A and point B while staying within the confines of the road/course marks. When a race-course is measured and certified, the course follows the tangents to the curves, and by running those tangents, you run the measured distance. If you don't run the tangents, you run a longer distance. Look at the diagram that follows:
The black line clearly delineates the road. A car/bike will follow the green (assuming you are not in England!). If you want to minimize the distance you are running, you should run the red line.Strangely, I was running the tangents, or so I thought. I remember several moments during the race where it felt as if I was the ONLY person doing so....so I can only imagine how long of a run most raced!
Now, why would you NOT want to run the tangent? There are some obvious benefits to not adhering to this rule 100%. Some prefer to run the yellow line...its not cambered at all. So, there is less chance of knee injury, but then again, it can be slippery (more of an issue for the barefoot runner). Also, running the tangent can be riskier since its often more crowded and there is more debris, and since its more crowded you can't always see the debris that you shoud be dodging!
Obviously, you don't want to run more than you need to if you are running for time...and who isn't in a race! At the time you save is not as important as caring for your safety....so its a balancing act.
- I ran last night.
- I have a group run during lunch today.
- I have the 5-mile turkey trot tomorrow morning.
- I will run again Friday after work (I fully expect that we'll let everyone out early).
- We are traveling to legoland Saturday, so I'll try to run after dinner there...fortunately the park closes at 6pm and we plan on just grabbing a rotisserie chicken from Publix for dinner, so while Joe preps that, I'll run.
- Then, Sunday, I'm hoping for a longer run.
- Monday is another group run during lunch...then I'll take a hiatus.
Total miles-wise, this will still put me behind my mileage goals, but I'll try to use the elliptical religiously while I'm taking the time off to keep in shape. I just need to listen to my body right now, as I don't want this pain to continue throughout the half marathon training. But, I guarantee that the miles will be done via the elliptical! Gotta dust that baby off now!
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Monday, November 21, 2011
I feel like I have a very solid base now. The only worry I have is my right knee. I fear its going to plague me for several months....but we'll work through it week by week and pull back if it simply seems to be too much.
So, this week, I plan on the following:
Tuesday: Evening Run at Home - 3 Miles
Wednesday: Lunch Run at Work - 2.5 Miles
Thursday: Turkey Trot Race - 5 Miles
Sunday: Morning Run in Orlando - 4 Miles
So, the long run for the week is actually a no-chip timing for-bragging-rights-only charity run Thanksgiving morning. Fortunately, this is just 3 little miles away from home...so how could I say no! I won't be running a long Sunday run with the running club, as we are going to Orlando for Saturday and staying over the night....but don't worry. We will get our exercise, as we are going to walk around Legoland all day on Saturday!
I also need to find a way to squeeze in 3 kettlebell strength training sessions every week....maybe just 20 minutes each. Should be doable, but I just need to stay determined and focused in order to avoid any excuses that I dream up!So, 15 miles are planned....lets see how well I can hold to it!
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Friday, November 18, 2011
Next, we ventured over to the Sweaty Bands store. I do like their store set-up....easy to try everything on, which they encourage. But, more importantly, no shipping fee :) I picked up 3...couldn't resist. The more I run during lunch at work, the more I value a good headband to look ok in the afternoon. And yes, I know they are all polka dots...they simply attracted me today, what can I say?
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Erin has just started the C25K program. She is in week 4 and is dying (not literally). She thinks she's failing because its still so hard. She's ready to quite. So, what did I tell her? Quite simply, I told her to do Week 2...just one day. She needs to do this to prove to herself how far she's already come. She can easily do a day in Week 2's training and sail through it easily! Only when you step back do you ever realize how far you've come!
What does this give you? If gives you a sense of accomplishment when you need it most. It gives you a sense of purpose, that moving forward and pushing yourself will get you there. And, it gives you a sense of pride.
Trust in your training plan. It may not be the best, for you...but it will get you where you need to be. Once you are there, you will have a better sense of what worked for you and what didn't and then you can tweak that plan or ditch it and grab a new one entirely. But, its worth it...stick with it and reap those rewards.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
So, I ran a tad...nothing significant...just with the Lunch Bunch crew, working on their C25K Week 6 Day 2. 2 miles in the books. Sure, its not much, but at least I don't have a big old goose egg for the week anymore.
Lets just hope I don't feel any issues! I plan on running Friday night, and then again at the 5K race Sunday. Pray to the knee gods for me, please?
Sunday, November 13, 2011
I want to be a better runner. And while I want all of the above, I'm focusing on small steps...incremental improvements to get there. If you've ever taken a Franklin Covey class, its all about reviewing your long-term goals and finding small things you can do on a regular basis towards attaining that big goal. So, right now, I'm focusing on increasing my mileage to handle a 10K race (in January well). Once I feel that I can easily run 6 miles straight, I'll work on increasing that speed. Once I manage that, I'll increase my distance again to handle the half marathon distance (in February-April), and once I'm confident about that, I'll focus on increasing that speed.
I simply can't take a bite out of everything...so I need to work on one little goal at a time, something manageable and not too overwhelming or unobtainable. So, speed will be set aside for now, while I work on getting the mileage in and strengthening my bones. While I know my bones have strengthened since I started, they are still not 100% for the 10K distance. How awful it would be to finish a 10K race and feel great about it, only to take off 4-6 weeks of running to recover, and because of that, not be able to run the half marathon races I've signed up for! So, I'm taking it small....handling it in increments, and hopefully will reap the rewards.
Friday, November 11, 2011
If I didnt get fit....my children would always think that being healthy is not something anyone should strive for, and being the typical inactive "couch potatoe" is normal.
My adult children are mildly overweight, which is the norm in this country. I don't think they are anywhere near being diabetic, but it always worries me. We think a size 12 is perfectly fine for women, and yet its quite large if you look at any European country. They are "normal" by these sickly American standards. They do not exercise, and since gym has been cut from the educational budgets, they don't even know how to play sports...but rest assured, they do know the rules simply by watching television on the couch every night. My daughter is consumed about her appearance. She is mildly obsessive about her weight, and goes through stages of loving the attention that she gets about her breast size, but also stages of hating her legs, arms, face. She simply doesn't appreciate everything her body can do for her. It is not a healthy view of her own abilities/body. This sometimes leads her to be a bit more depressed than she otherwise would be. She seems to thrive on male attention as a result, to counter this negative worry, and I fear that she is being more risky in her behavior than is healthy. This worries me, especially when she's away at college. She has put on additional weight due to the emotional stress of being away from home, and I fear her health is being negatively affected.
If I stayed where I am (now)... my children assume that being active and healthy is something we all simply do, not the minority. Its been a part of their entire lives and they wouldn't know what to do without!
My adult children are active and healthy. My daughter is a freshman in college and runs throughout the week, and she plays college softball on a partial scholarship. My son is a senior in high school and runs track. They are both athletic and have high self esteem. My daughter is proud of what her body can do. She seeks admiration of her speed and agility, and as such, has a strong sense of selfworth. She is interested in boys, but only mildly, as she has her own pursuits and if the boys can't keep up, she won't stop for them! She eats healthy most of the time, and indulges some of the time. She is accustomed to competition that sports has taught her, and enjoys the comradarie of being a part of a team, but also loves to excel individually as well.
Now, I focus on my daughter in the above analogy, simply because girls worry me more than boys. Boys are socially more active, and they obsess less about their weight and appearance than women do. Young girls are also more prone to view their body's faults than view the amazing things their bodies can do! There is also a significant correlation between a young girl being in athletics and achieving high academics; likewise, there is a correlation between athletics and less teen pregnancy and less drug/alcohol experimentation. Given this, its now more important than ever to be strong, fit role models for our own children!
Of course, some may say that the results of not being healthy are far from normal, and the results of being fit are atypical. But, the statistics support these two views. Being fit and active, especially as a young woman, encourage a girl to see herself for more than just her gender. I'm so fearful that she will only seek out positive attention from others, through any means necessary, rather than find pride in herself. And, if me getting fit and staying fit helps support this view, I will do it as much as humanly possible. I simply need to remind myself that my two little ones won't be so little soon enough...and I only have so much time to mold them to be healthy adults.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
However, for myself, I often find myself forcing myself to run cautiously...reminding myself to pray to the running gods. After that initial stress fracture when I first attempted to run, I have had no injuries....a sore knee on a few occassions, but thats it. Not even a blister has come my way!
And yet, I'm planning on foregoing this "safe" practice next Sunday. I want to run that entire 11 miles with the club. I think i can do it. But, is it safe? No. Is it significantly more miles than I have ever run at one time? Yes. You know that 10% rule for runners....I'm so pushing that off of a cliff. Even if I chose only to do the 9 mile run, its still a lot more than I ever have done.
Yes, to the running gods, I will pray....please let me pain-free after next Sunday's run.
Monday, November 7, 2011
Now, am I really qualified to utilize this title? Well, not yet. But by the time the course takes place, I will have two half marathons under my belt (as well as one 10K and one 15K), which makes me able to tell people that I'm really a runner :)
So, why do I want to do this? Sure, its kinda cool to have this certification...but I think its two-fold. First, I want to see how I can improve my own running. I've seen great improvements due to everything I've read and tried to incorporate, but I want to know how to do it right. I know it doesn't replace having a coach which can SEE what you are doing (unless someone videotapes me of course), but maybe I can help myself along significantly? I don't have a problem being my own guinea pig :) Besides, its cheaper to get this and work on what I learn from this experience than to pay a coach for a few months.
Second, I'm really taking on the "coach" role as part of our running club at work. While I can talk the talk to those that have no experience, I really would like to gain some confidence that I'm doing it right, you know? I certainly don't want to ruin the experience and guide them incorrectly...so this would certainly allow me the opportunity to know I'm doing it properly.
So, I'm excited about the opportunity...but also a bit intimidated. Do I really belong there? Is it appropriate for me to take space in a class opposed to someone more qualified? Since technically anyone can register and get certified, I suppose I may be the minority but certainly not an oddity.
Sunday, November 6, 2011
Saturday, November 5, 2011
- Knuckle Lights or Firefly for night running...afterall, Santa wants me to be safe, right?
- Given Brand Arm Pocket...there are a few capris that have NO zipper...and this is much cheaper than a new pair of capris!
- FitBit because I really want to make sure I eat enough, but still lose weight and get proper sleep...Santa wants me to be healthy, right?
- Saucony Headband, because warm ears are important this time of year!
- Houndstooth Running Skirt, because Santa wants me to be stylish!
- Chocolate Run Love shirt, because my arms get chilly...and more importantly, I would look so cute in this!
- Moji One, because none of my body parts should hurt after my half marathon next year.
- Zenzah Compression Socks, because my half-marathon training plan these next few months require quick recovery, and they will feel oh so good on a plane/car when traveling for said races.
Friday, November 4, 2011
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Yes, selecting the proper race can have an effect on your self esteem. Who knew, right? Now, if you are not a natural competitor, you can disregard this entire blog postings....but if you are competitive (even if you have never partaken in a running race before - you know who you are), read on.
Step 1: Find a race that meets your initial requirements of distance/location/cost
Step 2: Look at last year's race results
Step 3: For your age/gender, where would your expected finish time rank? If you PRed, would you still be on the bottle half of your rankings? If you ran awfully (compared to your ability), would you still be well ahead of last place?
Step 4: Decide
Yep, I must admit it...thats what I do. I ran a poor race at the Creaky Bones (most of it beyond my control) and yet still placed in the upper 50% for my age/gender. But then a few days later, I run a PR at the Boo Run and still place in the lower 50% for my age/gender. Now, that was disheartening...sad to say.
Sure, I know I'm improving and its all good, but if your goal is to be a certain place in your age group, make sure your expectations are reasonable based on last year's results.
But, we should always take the time to reflect back on how much we have accomplished. I know the last few days, I've been a bit reflective and have focused on my race pace as not being where I thought it should be on the "official" records. But, I need to rethink that...remember that I could not have done this just a few months ago! I've seriously come a long ways!
I was speaking to my husband last night about the scheduled half marathons next year and he said "I don't know how you can do that" ...he was not being dismissive or unsupportive, but simply thinking that he could never run that distance at a single time. While I'm nervous about it, to say the least (afterall, I have taken a big bite out of this running/race thing), I also realize that I've only been running for a tad over 5 months. I have a very solid 5K base to work with. I have over 3 months to train, and I'll do everything the training says to do!
Sure, its a lot of work...but then again, I need to remind myself, when I'm feeling overwhelmed, about how far I've come...and know that I will get through this. Before you know it, I will have a series of medals on that wall showing how much I have completed in one short year.
Appreciate everything you have gained. Appreciate all that you are. Appreciate everything that you are capable of.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
There are also all the other regional/national companies that handle the chip timing. Often these companies will post the results on their own websites for posterity.
The running club will also post the race results on their own website for future reference.
Now, that being said, the results that are posted on the first three sites will probably be there almost indefinitely! If a chip timing company fails, the website will fail. If the running club determines not to continue posting an older race, they will remove it. Just be forewarned....if you want to keep your results indefinitely, print out the club's/company's results for yourself. If its on Athlinks, Cool Running or Active, you can rest assurred that it will not simply go poof one day.
There are also a few sites that will post race results even for races that they do not properly host. Running in the USA is an example. But regardless of where its posted, just remember that no company is required to keep your results online forever...hopefully its on one of the bigger sites which host a ton of international events. But if not, save it yourself!
The RPI listed is your "Race Performance Index". As of right now, your RPI lists your performance against your peers in a specific event (Age, Gender and Overall).
The RPI will eventually be universal...across regions/climates/elevations/terrain/distance. Coming soon, your RPI can be used as a measuring point against which to size up, search for, and connect with other runners, triathletes, cyclists, and other endurance athletes in the community.
Plans for the RPI:
- RPI will be rolled out on for a limited number of race distances in November:Running - 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, and Marathon.Triathlon - Olympic, Half Iron, and Ironman.
- During November, Athlinks will gather feedback and additional data points to further develop and massage the Index with a goal of 85% predictability for race finishes based solely on RPI.
- When the above analysis is complete, Athlinks will calculate RPI for all distances of races....your "goal" pace or target for any other event, not just the ones you have completed!
For the math geeks out there...
- Combined finish times, totals, and historical and geographically relevant data for each race from 2008 to the present.
- Plotted those times on a measurable scale from 1 to 100 including one decimal point (1-1000).
- Accounted for statistical anomalies and normalized the times to account for extreme conditions such as high altitude, heat/humidity, freezing temperatures, etc.
- Examined each of a user's results at each distance and graphed them along the above scale.
- Accounted for and removed any high peaks or low valleys outside the normal bounds of good/bad day performance fluctuations.
- Assigned bonus and penalty points for various markers (to be detailed at a later date).
- Calculated final RPI scores for each member.
So, for all of those people out there that don't know how they will do in a race...this is it. Only ever run a 5K in warm weather and want to know how you will do in a 10K in cooler weather? This is it. Only run a half marathon near the beach and want to know how you would do in a tri in high altitude? This is it. This system has a ton of potential...I for one cannot wait to see it. So, if you want to be one of the first to play with their predictions, sign up now for a free account!
Also, don't be discouraged if your race isn't readily available in their system. You just supply some basic information, and they will review the race and post the results so you have all of your race results in one place! Kinda cool, eh?
n updated post for RPI is here.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
So, am I prepared? I did purchase a new jacket, the Brooks Nightlife jacket. I think its actually last year's model, which is fine with me. I teeter-tottered between the black with yellow and the yellow with black. I knew the yellow is bright! I usually would stuck with the black one (as I would use it for more than just running), but then after rethinking it...I have a ton of other jackets that are versatile with jeans and other apparel, but none that serves this purpose. I realized that the only reason I was ordering it would be to be seen in low light, so why risk not being guaranteed seen? So, I succumbed to the yellow. It is definitely bright and is a bit overhwhelming at first, but I'm comfortable with it now.
I purchased gloves on clearance awhile ago...Brooks Pulse Lite gloves. I actually had a chance to use these when I was running up in Pennsylvania a few weeks ago. Its the same yellow/black combo as the jacket. They were very comfortable and the yellow stripe is extemely visible in low light. Absolutely a great investment.
My RoadID/ShoeID also has some reflective stripe on it....its an extremely valuable safety piece to have, and while I wouldn't buy it just for the reflective stripe, every little bit helps!
I must say though, while scouring RoadID's site for the link above, I came across a new product of theirs: FireFly. This is a nice little product regardless of weather...would definitely be used in our house, as my husband often runs at night. In fact, I just put this on his christmas wish list for him :)
Sure, you can also cover your head with some type of reflective gear...hat or something, but I will stick with something that focuses on keeping my ears warm, as my hair covers my neck and head sufficiently for warmth but still allows breathability. There are also tons of options for capris/tights with reflective ability, but I think the above sure do work well. Its a little bit of an investment, but these items will last 10+ years! Seriously, how much wear and tear would a running jacket really get? And a ShoeID? Those things are indestructable! Think of them as investments in your personal safety...no less important than pepper spray if your running in a secluded area.
But, there are certainly many different types of chip-timing...some just ok and some stellar, and lots in between. But, just for a summary of these (that I've seen so far), here is a ranking (from worst to best):
Scanned - Everyone starts at the same time (gunshot), and when you pass the finish line, your chip is scanned (like the hand-held scanners you see in grocery stores). In this case, to get the best representation of your time, you must start at the front of the start line, and also once you cross the finish line, there should be no pause in getting your chip scanned. Both are impossible, but significant deviations can be mitigated. These chips are often imbedded into your bib.
Gun Shot (No Chip-Timed Start) - Everyone starts at the same time (gunshot), and when you pass the finish line, your chip is scanned by the mat below your feet. In this case, to get the best representation of your time, there should start at the front of the start line. If you start near the back, you will you encounter a ton of congestion and it may take you a significant amount of time simply to cross the start line. These chips are often tied to your shoelaces.
Net Time (Chip-timed start and chip-time finish) - The gunshot is heard, but your "starting time" does not start ticking until you cross the start line. Similarly, the "finish time" does not stop until your cross the finish line. This is the best representation of your personal "net" time. These chips are often tied to your shoelaces.
A few things to note...
- USATF's standards are based on gunshot when determining the overall winner and/or top awards for age/gender. This is the reason why even great huge amazing races usually seed the best runners to the front of the line.
- Just because there is a mat at the starting line, don't assume that your "net" time will be recorded. I made this assumption once and it was very disheartening. If you think you are going for a PR, got to the front and then when you pass the start line, just make sure you are out of the faster runner's ways.
- Oftentimes, your overall placement/time and your "net" time will be available in the official online results, but not always....look at prior year's race results to see how they were presented.