Sunday, October 30, 2011

Post the results already!

Ok, I mentioned yesterday that I have a PR that I'm very proud of...but the "official" results are not posted yet! I'm so anxious.....Joe thinks I'm crazy competitive because I keep googling for the results and cannot find them. He thinks its quite amusing. I tell him I'm only being competitive with myself, but honestly, I really want to see how well I placed within my age group :)

I don't think this run typically is chip-timed, so I have no idea when/where the results will be posted...and no hint at all yet from their facebook page or website. Ugh. The suspense is killing me, but I know that this is still within the norm of not officially posting...yet. I'm just anxious!

I wish all races would tell up-front the ETA of posted results and where they will be posted. Guess I'll just have to continue venting to my husband. Its ok, he's a big boy and can take it!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Boo Run Race

Just finished the race this morning. I really wasn't feeling it. Think I was still a bit sore from Thursday's race, and I was simply tired. I had to get the kids up and get them fed/dressed...before you know it, it was time to leave. I did manage to inhale a small cup of OJ and a frozen waffle, and I grabbed a bag of sharkies for the drive. The race was at Lakewood Ranch Main Street....which is basically a small walking outdoors mall area with restaurants/boutiques/businesses that essentially ends in a cul de sac, so its truly not a "main street" in most interpretations of the word.

We got to the venue about 7:15, and wandered around. Saw a few runners, but there was not much signage where we parked....honestly, if we didn't see people walking on main street in between the buildings, you wouldn't even know there was a race. But, once we got to main street, it was evident. We wandered around looking for the porta-potties and the packet pickup. Neither was in an intuitive place. I think the main street merchants ensured that the porta-potties were placed far far away from everything else, which is odd....after all, the merchants were closed during the race. As for the packet pickup/registration table, we definitely needed to ask for guidance to get to was a bit rainy, so maybe the table was moved from a better location to this location last minute (as it was under shelter). When we got to it the lines were all over the place and not clearly defined. If there was a way to put signage over the tables (rather than on the front where visibility is hindered by people standing at the tables), that would have helped tremendously. That being said, I simply don't know how overhead signage could be accommodated given the location of the tables. I don't want to make it sound as if this was stressful at all...these are two minor things that could be improved upon and did not detract from the race at all.

Now, once everyone gathered their items, they walked back to main street. There were announcements, tables to check out, drinks, an array of tables from the restaurants that were closed this early. Plenty of space and plenty to wander around to waste time until the race started. The race actually started 10 minutes late due to a police issue on the route....details were not provided, but then again, definitely not needed. So, the announcer took the opportunity to thank the volunteers and let the charity organizations speak about their efforts...all worthwhile minutes.

The starting line and finish line were clearly marked with blow-up tunnels. So, I was able to get pretty close up to the starting line. I absolutely didn't want to have an experience like I did at my last race, so I ensured that I was up close away from any pets and strollers! Now, that being said, I know I wasn't as fast as many up there, so as soon as we started the race, I made sure to move to the right side to avoid hindering others run. I saw the kids and Joe, and the kids were clearly excited to see me run :)

I started out too fast, for sure. After I saw the kids at the corner of Main Street and Lakewood Ranch Blvd, I saw I was running under an 8min/mile...absolutely too fast...I slowed down, but not fast enough...I was still running under a 9min/mile pace. I continued doing this pace too long though. The first mile ended in 9:11. Great if it was a 2-mile race, but I knew I was headed for trouble doing the first mile faster than I should. Second mile was I was right were I should be, although a mile too late. The last mile, I stopped 4 times...a total of 1:30 minutes...crazy, eh? Well, I should have been able to predict it, since I started out way too fast. Last mile (due to the stops) ended up at 10:19. My total race time, per garmin, was 30:56 (official time on digital timer at finish line was 30:58, I think. Official postings forthcoming.

About the race...pros:

  • Great layout....widest path was in the beginning (the way it should be) and by the time most crossed Lakewood Ranch Blvd, it went down to 1 lane...which was perfect for the size of the crowd. Nobody was riding anyone's behind!
  • Course clearly marked....honestly, hard not to do so as the road was the perfect layout for this. It was a simple out and back, which is fine.
  • Police were great holding back traffic. I did hear coming back one woman yelling at an officer because they had to wait. Seriously, I'm assuming that there was signage before they got to Main Street telling them to bypass the area due to race (or expect delays). Granted, this is my assumption...but sounds logical.
  • Nicely sized event...the venue could easily double the number of participants and it would be fine, so this event can easily grow over the years without much change.
  • Water stop was about 1.3-1.4 mile could grab water outbound or on the return...more than sufficient
  • Chip timed, which is important to me
  • Final 1/10 mile I was able to see the digital clock which definitely encouraged me to kick it up a notch at the end and finish with a strong sprint.

  • Takes forever to get the official race results online...and when the results were taken they were a tad off due to the line waiting to get scanned. Not significant, but I really was hoping to see an official timing under 31 minutes. The digital timer said 30:58 when I crossed the finish line, but my recorded time was 31:06. Also, I don't think the results are posted to, or for posterity.

  • Weather looked unpredictable and started to sprinkle near the end....seriously, didn't Mother Nature know we had plans????
  • Would have liked clear markings from parking lot to packet pick-up. We arrived in more than enough time, but if you were a late arriver, I can imagine this would have been stressful if there wasn't that police-dictated 10 minute start time delay!
  • Wish the bathrooms were closer. When you have kids along with you, its quite a trek...would be nice to see bathrooms at the start line area and the finish line area
  • Packet pick-up table should have overhead signage if at all possible. Maybe a pop-up shade tent would alleviate weather issues AND allow for display of this?
All in all, would I run this race again? Yes!

As for my time, I was quite pleased with it. I will have to work on balancing my energy and not starting out too fast, but at least I was able to give a final kick at the end to finish in under 31:00. So, a PR for me. Sure, I'm a new runner and still have a ways to go, but I'm pleased with this performance, even if I did have to stop more times than I otherwise should have!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Creaky Bones 5K Race

Last night was my first halloween-themed race! Major pros and major cons here....


  • great costumes

  • free face painting for kids

  • nice festival atmosphere all around

  • great venue

  • great Mix1 protein drink (disappeared fast as they were so tasty!)


  • I was in the front of the pier and it wasn't clear to me where the starting line was. Silly, I know, but I kept seeing the finish line which was on the main part of the pier, and it was logical to me that it would start there was no way I could be at the front of the pack. There was also no indicating of pace flags, so those that are faster start near the front...but this wasn't a huge race, so that shouldn't be expected.

  • The 5K and the 1-mile fun walk started with the same shotgun...and the first 1/4 mile was surrounding the building at the end of the pier, so there was little room on the road. Now, this would be bad enough with just the 5k'ers (as they did have more than enough if they started the run on the pier roadway (which was 3-4 lanes wide and then it would easily/naturally widdle down to a 1-lane width at the end of the pier to the sidewalk/roads). The problem here is that there were double-wide strollers and lots of small/large dogs as part of the 1-mile fun run. So, I was competing with an unnecessarily crowded 1-lane space against strollers and dogs with dim lighting for the first 1/4 mile. There were a few people that were tripped by leashes; I was fortunately not among them, but it was close more than once!

  • Sorry...but I don't think a ton of dogs should be jammed in a small darkened space with tons of strangers running....just asking for trouble there.

  • There appeared to be a chip mat at the start of the race, so I unfortunately presumed that my time would be adjusted by my actual start time...not so. I waited until the crowds dissipated a bit, so I was one of the last to cross the start line. This could be clearly a result of my naivete here, I completely admit that. But, if there is a mat that looks like its recording chips, why not use it and adjust the final recorded "official" times with the data? This would have been a PR for me, if it were the first 1/8 mile took me time to cross the line + congested....yeah, 3 minutes to do just that! Live and learn.

  • The course was dark for most of the way, which is what is expected...but I rarely heard anyone telling times. I actually saw 8-9 signs indicating where the course marshalls were, but only saw 1 sign indicating my distance. Frustrating since I had no idea how far I had gone or how far I still had to go.

So, will I do this race again? Nope. Next year, I will try the Creaky Bones Sarasota venue (not the St Pete one again), as the initial part of competing with dogs and double-wide strollers in a crowded space makes me uncomfortable and unnecessarily stressed, and my final official time was off by way too much as a result.

My official course time was 32:45. That being said, I absolutely know it took me over 45 seconds to cross that starting line....without a doubt. So, my true time was under unofficial PR for me. Again, my disappointment with my time is my problem as I just assumed the time would be adjusted by the starting time...but just imagine what it would have been if I didn't have to compete with double-wide strollers and dogs AND was at the front of the line!

Now, on a really happy note, I am finally in the top half for my age group (Women 40-44)...and I would have been in the top half for these other age groups as well:

  • Women 35-39

  • Women 30-34

  • Women 25-29

Not bad :)

UPDATE: So, I received an email from, stating that the Creaky Bones race results are now available to link. Lo and behold, I have a chip time of 31:35! Not sure why only shot gun times were (and still are) posted on coolrunning, but that is besides the point. Woohoo.... So, I'm presuming that I had a 32:48 shotgun time and a 31:35 net time. Love to see improvement!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Running Coach Wannabe

I know its completely premature for me to be a formal coach, but I must say I really do enjoy helping all of these other people at work run! Its been great. Today, we had a total of 6 runners during lunch. The "club" is now a formal group at the office, and I can only imagine that it will continue to grow. I do enjoy being that positive influence on people. Its not like I'm trying to convert them to something that they don't already want, so the desire is there already, and I'm just helping them find the drive!

I was clicking around Road Runners Club of America's website and came across the Coaching Certification program that they offer. I must say it does intrigue me, so I got on their email list. The course seems to fill up rather quickly and they are not offered very often, so maybe by the time they make their way to Florida, I'll be up for it? As long as it doesn't occur during the crunch time for runnign the half marathons down here (February-April), I may just do it. Its $300, but the sense of accomplishment would be wonderful, don't you think? Its completely a personal endeavor, I know. And, I doubt I would ever generate revenue from it, but I would enjoy having that little piece of paper. In all actuality, I'm very curious to see if I'm doing things properly here at work. I know its hard to screw up a newbie and the certification really helps those develop more competitive runners, but still it would be nice to know these things. If nothing else, i can use it on myself!

Fit Bit Ultra

You've heard of the Body've heard of the BodyMedia Fit....but now there is another player in this field. The Fit Bit! They just recently came out with a new product, so the older model is called Fit Bit Classic, and the new model is the Fit Bit Ultra.

So, how does this differ from those other models? First and foremost, there is no monthly subscription price. While I was really intrigued by the BodyMedia Fit, I was a bit put off by them "owning" my data and that they can also sell it and sublease it to others, for commercial use. I also didn't like the fact that I needed to invest in a product and (if I only used it on occassion) would have to pay a premium to utilize the device I already purchased.

Now, Fit Bit does a lot of the things that these other products do. It does err on the low side, compared to the BodyMedia Fit, which I prefer, e.g. it estimates steps/calories less than the BodyMedia Fit.

There is also no bulging arm band. Now, for those in northern climates, this may not have been an issue when you always wear thick sweaters or long-sleeve shirts, but for us Floridians, I wear short-sleeve shirts more days than not.

This is definitely a gadget, very unnecessary. But, it does its job. Its not going to yell at you like Jillian Michaels, so you need to have some personal drive already. But, if sometimes you need that extra push, this will do it for you. You will instantly see your progress in the day, calories burned etc (unlike the other devices which you need to sync/upload first), so it will provide a little extra incentive to get moving.

All in all, this is now on my Christmas wish list....hope my hubby sees it! So, if I do get it...I will definitely provide a formal product review afterwards.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

How to make time...

Certainly we cannot create more time. We have to learn to live with the time we have. And, we all know that if something is important to us, we need to make the time to do it. That doesn't necessarily mean foregoing other things we need to do with our time, but instead, we need to learn how to be creative with our make the most efficient use of every moment available.

I'm trying to find more ways to do just this in terms of exercising. Many of those moments I have may not allow me the opportunity to run for 45 minutes, but surprisingly many allow me to run 1.5-2 miles.

For example, my daughter's softball game was yesterday. It is 1.5 miles away. I ran there. I left 15 minutes before my husband/kids left the house and we met in the parking lot right on queue. I also ran home afterwards...just made sure I left during the last inning...and I met them at the door (good thing we timed that right, otherwise I would have been sitting on the stoop!).

Today, my husband brought the kids to their soccer practice. 2 miles away. I got home a tad early, raced into my running clothes and off I ran to soccer practice. I get there right before they finish, saw the last 10 minutes of practice, and we all drove home together.

Right there, in the span of two days, I was able to run 5 miles more than any other week...and it hardly took anything away from family time! I'm also running 2-3 days a week during lunch with other people consistently now...which gives me another 5 miles a week. Sure, they will never constitute the necessary "long run", but they sure do increase my bone strength and speed my recovery time. Short runs also help me focus on speed. Since I've been doing a lot of these quick runs, I've seen my speed average 9.5 the first mile...never would have thought that would have happened before. Can I keep it up for 2 miles...not really...yet. But, I'm not exhausted, nor am I about to keel over from lack of oxygen, so there truly is an improvement!

Now, I can never rely on these quick jaunts...but when I see them available, I need to jump on them. For example, I don't see another similar opportunity until next Tuesday for my daughter's next softball game, but I can guarantee you that I will try to squeeze it in! And they have a soccer game next Friday, which I may just be able to run home from since it ends at 6pm. Really, I see no acceptable reason not to do this more often. I just need to plan ahead and have everything I need ready for the waiting.

Again, if exercise is important to you, you need to make it important to everyone around need to make the time!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tummy Troubles

I don't know whats going on. My tummy is just a ball of nerves! Hasn't really settled since Saturday. I thought it was something I ate, then I thought it was just some phantom gas....but even that eventually goes away by itself. its not really causing pain, but definitely noticeable discomfort like I need some pepto bismo just in case.

But it has hindered me enough. Maybe its just the last few weeks and the craziness that we've all been dealing with. Between the trips, the funeral, the hectic schedule...I just need a week to rest, but we all know that is not going to happen. Life goes on and its surely not going to slow down for me! I'm just mentally worn out right now. At least its happening now, rather than when I need to start my half marathon training, right?

But, I want to get in some more exercise and not make my stomach worse in the process. My daughter's softball game is tonight, so hopefully I can run there and then run back, so while its not a solid 3 miles, its 1.5 miles twice :) And, then if I'm up for it, I'll do some kettlebell exercises later on....and then bed!

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Battle with Pace I know that I can run 4 miles straight..I've done it before, and while its been awhile (been focusing on speed lately), I know its possible even if I have to pause a bit. But, its the shorter distances that frustrate me.

This morning, I went out too fast. I was planning a 3-mile loop at the local preserve...wonderful wide trails, eagle's nest in site, bridges, small critters, but still safely populated. Its actually my first trail (when I started C25K). I was on this same trail for a good 6 weeks before I outgrew it...but I ventured back there today. Beautiful morning, and I ran right from the car. Now, I know I can run 3 miles straight. I've been doing that off and on, but the problem is the pace! If I go out too fast, I bonk and cannot find the drive to run the entire distance. But, I want to run faster.

The problem here is finding the right pace thats still a stretch for me, yet doable so I don't bonk. My initial pace was under 9:00/mile, which is insane for me. I slowed it and finished the first mile in 9:23, which is still way too fast for me. I wish I could do that for 3 miles, but its simply not going to happen. I know that I can run 1.5 miles at that pace, but once I get over 2 miles, I slow to a tad less than 10:00. If I go for 3 miles, I can manage 10:00/mile if the stars are aligned. :)

So, no negative split for me today. Overall average pace was 10:15. But, you can see how awful my pacing was!

Avg Pace

In fact, I walked 5 times in the last mile alone! Just imagine how great my pace would have been if I could have sustained that. That being said, I wonder how much more I could have done if I was running with someone. Its simply too easy to walk when nobody is around.

On the good news, I have been getting better. My maximum cadence has been averaging 88-92spm. My average cadence has been averaging 86spm. When I first received my garmin footpod, my average cadence was 83-84spm, and my maximum was around 86spm. I just need to find a way to level it all out.

So, for a 5k run, what should be my pace to strive for, but not overstep? I'm thinking a sub 10:00/mile pace, just barely sub of course and then try to do a negative split the last mile. At least thats my plan. I have a race Thursday night and then one again Saturday morning, so maybe I'll play around with that idea then and test it out.

A New Beginning

Its been such a crazy month already. First, the trip to Orlando with the kids (just a quick trip, but a trip nonetheless). Then, Joe and my trip to Hawaii for a wedding. Then, the sudden trip to Pennsylvania for Joe's father's funeral....that was busy. Joe flew up last Monday, and I followed with my two kids plus my stepdaughter Thursday, and we just got back yesterday.

But, all this chaos, and especially a death in the family, helps place health and fitness as a primary goal of ours. Joe is now down to 205 so he wants to lose another 5 pounds, and that will certainly happen before Christmas. He's 6'3" so 200 pounds is perfectly fine for him. But then again, maybe he'll change his goal to 195 soon thereafter :) I remember him at his high of 225 and while I noticed the little belly, I didn't really think it was bad. Its amazing how different your perspective can change in a few years, isn't it? He simply looks fit now. And, he's running better now as well. He's started playing baseball again, but hasn't pitched again yet (but we know he should asap to diminish the scar tissue buildup after his shoulder surgery earlier this year), and he's back to playing basketball once a week.

So, where is my new beginning? Still my weight, but with an added umph as of late. I've been plateauing now for awhile, but its time to kick it into high gear. Dieting is always so hard, but at least once you lose some weight, its pretty easy to maintain it! Honestly, with three trips this month and tons of food, I haven't really gained anything, so I know I'm doing something right. The problem with me takes a serious effort to lose weight. It takes constant focus, constant exercise and constant food watching. But, I know I need to do it. If nothing else, Papa's death is a reminder that health should be valued and constantly sought.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Running in the Cold!

Up in northwestern PA and it was chilly! But, I had a margarita earlier that afternoon...and man, what a great thing to do after a calorie-laden drink! First, you burn the calories off. Second, the alcohol doesn't make it nearly as cold as it really was (I'm thinking that it was 35-40 degrees....freezing for my little florida bones) :)

Now, I did list out all the items that you should consider having when running in the cold here....but seriously, alcohol could easily be added to that list!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Lunch Bunch Run

Looks like our little running group at work is growing again! We have two new runners that will be joining in the next 2 weeks. Its exciting! One hasn't run for a year or so, so she'll be trying out the C25K program this weekend to gauge where she is...she may have to start at week 1, or maybe week 3...who knows. The other, I don't even know if she runs at all, or if she is an able runner already. Either way, our group now totals 6!

Now, I still want to get the miles in, so I just have to determine how I'm going to do this if there are some runners who are in the early weeks of the training....I feel I should step back with them, or maybe we can rotate...those that have time to do 4 runs a week can take one run to do the early weeks of the program. That way, they are still getting out and giving back, but are not risking injury simply because they have a somewhat bigger base AND because the early weeks are not requiring a lot of extra exertion. Besides, I think it will encourage their pride if they can rerun Week 2 or Week 3 and realize how easy it is for them now :)

I simply cannot wait to have scheduled runs every day of the week, so people can just join when/if they are able to. Right now, we have 2-3 scheduled runs/week, and schedules/vacations/sick days all limit everyone's ability to always make those scheduled runs. But if we have critical mass to have daily runs, then everyone can chose those 2-3 days during the week that works with their individual great is that!

I do love the comaraderie that is being felt. Everyone is so encouraging of everyone else, and I love playing the role of mentor, even if I am still a newbie myself!

Most of them should be able to run 30 minutes straight by the end of November, which will really help my half marathon training also. That starts mid-November, and I need to get in at least two 5ks mid-week during the first 2 if I can get that done during lunch, I should have more time with my family at night. Besides, the weather is great this time of year!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

iBungee Laces

So, I won a raffle for donating to a "Team in Training" participant for the Tinkerbell Half! Not the grand prize, but 2nd best...needless to say, I was thrilled. There were a few things in this package and one in particular I had no interest in....the iBungee laces. Surprisingly, I received two sets of these 30" (standard length for running shoes) laces.

So, I got my prize package Saturday...and I laced my shoes up last night. Went for my first run in them during lunch today (lunch bunch run) and I really like them! Sure, I have a lot going on down there between my RoadID and my garmin footpod, but these things are neon-y fresh! I received a yellow and green pair, and I must say that they are flourescent colors...really stand out. So, put them on older shoes and all of a sudden, your shoes will look hip again!

I think my shoes are actually more comfortable now. Seriously. Why? There is even tension throughout the shoe now. And, my shoe feels more secure, and therefore, there is less heel slipping going on. Its definitely one of those little products that you don't need...but then when you try them, you really like them and may decide to stay with them for the long run. Hey, its a cheap little experiment, so maybe its worth a gander?

If interested, they are pretty cheap...but you can get free shipping with amazon's minimum here.

Life just gets in the way....

...and sometimes you just need to be flexible. Tons of things going on. Shockingly, I haven't even unpacked from our trip to Hawaii, and now we have to fly up to Pennsylvania. Too much stress right now. Joe actually flew up yesterday, so I'll fly up with the kids on Thursday for their grandfather's funeral. Its solemn, and they are handling it ok, I suppose. My 5-year old daughter is being a trooper...and I'm glad that she experienced the death of her dog (last month) before the death of a person. As for my son, he's just at that age that I think he might understand, but his emotions are unclear to him. He's acting out a bit, simply because he knows its something serious and sad, but angry as well. Typical 4 year old reaction, so I need to be there for him and not talk, but just be.

So, everything is being put on hold....KettleWorx will be slightly delayed, but I should be able to catch up by doing the exercises every other day (rather than 3 days/week), but "Slim in 6" will have to wait until I get back home. So, I basically did 3 weeks of the program, and will have taken a total of 2 weeks when I get back Sunday, I'll attempt the "Ramp it Up" again and see how that goes.

Fortunately, the organizers of the Creaky Bones 5K Sarasota allowed me to change our submission to the Creaky Bones 5K St Petersburg. That was kind of them...I'm not sure if we will have the energy for this next week, but at least we now have a choice. And, if it gives the kids something to look forward to, even better!

I'm just bringing the necessities via carry-on, but that will include my running shoes. If nothing else, getting out for a run will allow me some breathing space while we are up north, and since there will be so many people in such cramped quarters (not much playing outside I'm sure since I have Florida will be freezing to them) so getting outside will be a nice stress reliever....or so I hope.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Slim in 6 - Week 5

"Burn it Up" was supposed to start tonight...but it simply will not. I really had good intentions of continuing on while on vacation, but I was simply too busy there, and I felt ok when I got back, but the following three days I was still experiencing some jet lag, so between spending some good time with the kids and sleeping, neither of us had time to do much! So, this slipped. I will start Week 5 with a few days of "Ramp it Up" and see how it goes. If all progresses without any next-day soreness, I'll jump into "Burn it Up" mid-week. If not, I'll re-evaluate to see if I need to extend the program for my lapsed week.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

KettleWorx Cardio - Week 1

So, today I start this little program...very doable. 25 minutes, 3 times a week. Only expense was the video (via Netflix home delivery) + $27 15lb CAP Kettlebell.

The video is actually snippets from a variety of separate exercises. So each set/rep has a different cast of characters. I've only attempted the video once, but I do wish they better utilized the features of a video format (eg countdown timer). I think I should have started with a 10 lb kettlebell as well. It was hard, and I suppose we'll see if my muscles ache tomorrow!

So, I will try to do this three mornings every week for 6 weeks. Should be quite easy to squeeze it in since its only 1 hour/week. Also, its a separate video each week, so you only repeat a routine max 3 times, assuming you felt confident enough to move on to the next week's!

I'll update everyone next week on my progress!

Post Hawaii Weight Change

Ok, I admit it. I'm afraid to step onto the scale. I know the trip definitely made me gain some water weight, but I feel a few extra pounds slipped in there as well. It was all worth it, of course, but this just means that I need to be extra diligent the next few weeks. I should at least rid myself of all the water weight this week since I have a race on Saturday! Darn you Hawaii.....I feel like a blimp right now.

Seasons Change

Seems like I get back to Florida and it is finally Fall! Love this season....granted, it pretty much lasts til early May around here, so I better start enjoying it! Then again, summer starts in May and is ending a two-season state can be interesting to live in!

So, with changing seasons....come changing habits...come changing workouts? New Year's resolutions have never meant anything to me...but it seems that refocusing around the equinox may be appropriate.

Summer was focused on running. I must say I really have come a long way. I'm proud of myself! I don't say that often enough, and I know I should. I'm a confident short-distance runner. And, I've strarted getting stronger! Between the Shakeology Challenge and the Slim in 6, I definitely see the differences. And, I've lost about 35 pounds this year!

But that was just the beginning. I want more. So, soon enough I'll be starting my Kettlebell workout, my half marathon training and the P90X (if I can squeeze it in). And, I want to lose another 15 pounds. That is my winter goal.

So yes, I have goals...I just need to constantly refocus and not over-train at the same time! What does the changing seasons encourage you to reflect on?

Friday, October 14, 2011

It is COLD outside!

Well, not yet. I do plan on going to Kentucky for Christmas and definitely plan on running there. Problem is...there are very few trails (surprisingly, well at least that i could locate online), and there are a ton of hills in the area we are traveling to. So, I need to prepare to run on the hilly roads, in potentially frigid conditions. Considering that I'm used to the Florida weather, this is going to be an interesting adjustment for me...but at least I'm trying to plan ahead!

While I want to plan, I also don't want to over-indulge on "winter" equipment that i will only use one week a year. For Florida winters, I can do with tights and a long sleeve top. So, I need to purchase each needed item frugally....if its an item that I will use for years and years, then I'm ok with it, but if new technology will come out that really makes an item age fast, then I should try to do without.

First thing that i do think that I "need" are Kahtoola Microspikes. Everything I've read about these, people are raving about them. You simply can't slip, even on ice. So, I would feel better running on potential black ice on the hilly streets.

I also will only be able to run during the day, which should be fine for me, since it should be warmer mid-day than morning or evening. There are no street lights on these hills afterall...this is horse country.

I have a few winter running tights, in all grades. Some base layers I still have from rock climbing and hiking when I lived in California, so I should be set there. As for tops, I do have a few long sleeve running technical tops with zippers so I can adjust air once I'm warmed up (bought them on season clearance when I first started running)....hope those are enough! I do have my old marmot skiing shell...will I need that to keep the wind at bay? How about arm warmers? Should I get some zenzah's for my shins to keep the muscles warm? Remember, I am sooo not acclimated for this weather!

I will not, however, purchase new current ones will have to do. I have one pair of "warm-ish" non-florida running socks...hope those work fine. There is a lot of mesh on them, so I may have to layer socks to keep my feet warm.

I do have some "runners" gloves (again a season clearance item).

But, this is what is suggested for wearing, based on the current weather:

  • 30 degrees: 2 tops, 1 bottom. Long-sleeve base layer and a vest keep your core warm. Tights (or shorts, for polar bears).

  • 10 to 20 degrees: 2 tops, 2 bottoms. A jacket over your base layer, and wind pants over the tights.0 to 10 degrees: 3 tops, 2 bottoms. Two tops (fleece for the cold-prone) and a jacket. Windbrief for the fellas.

  • Minus 10 to 0 degrees: 3 tops, 2 bottoms, extra pair of mittens, 1 scarf wrapped around mouth or a balaclava.

  • Minus 20 degrees: 3 tops, 3 bottoms, 2 extra pairs of mittens, 1 balaclava, sunglasses. Or, "Stay inside."

But the above assumes you are accustomed to the temperature. I'll be leaving 65 degrees and going down to 30 degrees! So, I think the 10-20 degree references above may work better for me.

As for running, I've read that you should start your run into the wind and finish with it at your back, so the breeze doesn't blast you after you've broken a sweat. But, there is really only one road, and I can only really go in one direction if I want to stay away from crazy drivers....and besides this hilly road is fairly desolate, with lots of open areas, so I will just have to deal with whatever it brings.

One thing I must do is protect my skin! Vaseline or BodyGlide all over my cheeks/face to prevent windburn....remember, my skin won't be accustomed to this! Kiehl's makes a product people rave about....called All-Sport Non-Freeze Face Protector. They are out of stock now, but will probably have some in the Fall...and I will be looking for it. Apparently, it feels like a very thick balm, but is absorbed into the skin quite quickly...very good reviews.

And, if I need to dry my wet shoes overnight, crumpling up some newspapers and cramming it in tightly into the shoes (with the insoles removes) helps soak up the moisture! Who knew!

Slim in 6 - Week 4.5

So, Week 4 didn't go as planned. As you recall, Week 1 was the "Start it Up" video. Week 2-3 was the "Ramp it Up" but I wanted to continue the "Ramp it Up" while I was on vacation. We simply didn't have the time! Between the required appearances at required times (we were there for a wedding there was a luau on Saturday, a reception on Sunday, the wedding on Monday and a brunch on Tuesday), we hardly had time to see all the sights! We did manage to do some beautiful hiking and drove a lot...saw almost every corner of Maui! But alas, something had to give...and it was "Slim in 6".

So, I'm 5 days behind...I just got back from Hawaii yesterday, so I will do the "Ramp it Up" tonight and see how I feel. I swear I really did work out in Hawaii though. Between some running, some hiking and a lot of dancing (which my calves were sore for 2 days, so you know there was some serious aerobic jumping there), I felt pretty active. I'll probably do the "Ramp it Up" tonight and tomorrow, and then Sunday move to "Burn it Up" and continue that for 2 weeks. I did get the "Keep it Up" video as well (part of the package), so I may try that afterwards.

Hawaii Trails

Love it was perfect. And, running with my husband is great! Shocked (but understandable) that we've never been able to run together before :)

Our resort is at the far north end of the Ka'anapali shores at Kahekili Beach (on the map to the right, its last resort on the left). There is a boardwalk (for lack of a better term) stretching from this resort all the way down to the southern end of Ka'anapali area, which is near Hanakao Beach Park. Its truly not a "boardwalk" but part of it was rather a shelled path about the width of two people. And the other part was a wooden path, but still not elevated at all, which is what often comes to mind when the term "boardwalk" is used. Perfect for running, but definitely an early morning thing before the crowds come out! By 8am, people were strolling with their lattes and unaware of trail etiquette :)

I definitely suggest that people run when they are on vacation. Not only does it discount that extra delicious food that one always partakes in, but the world is so different at 6 miles/hour that you miss so much of a new surrounding when you are in a car all of the time! It was truly gorgeous...and the breeze was amazing...and the fact that I know I have more running endurance than my husband was just nice to boot!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

10K & Half Marathon Training Plans

My first 10K is scheduled for 1/14/12. I don't really plan on 'training' for this, but rather just run it along with my half-marathon training schedule (they actually suggest to run a 10K on/around Week 10 anyways, so that works out perfectly.

My first half marathon is scheduled for 2/12/12. Assuming a 12-week training schedule, that means that my training will start on/around November 21th! Yup, thats after Slim in 6, I'll give myself a rest and then jump right into this training schedule.

For my training, I'm going to use the "Hal Higdon Novice Half Marathon" training schedule. My goal is not a time goal, per se, but rather a goal to finish in the standing and unaided position! I'm really not sure how this will work if I couple if with the P90X program. With the running training, there are only 3-4 days of running each week, so I may be able to do it if I really focus on time management. But, I know that this training has to take precedence over the P90X if I want to ensure that I finish in the upright position! I hope I can do it both...but if I have to slack-off on P90X and only do half of it, so be it. I definitely don't want to overtrain and risk injury after all!

So, what is the Hal Higdon Novice Half Marathon training plan? Its a 12-week conditioning program that focuses on a single long-run, with 2-3 short runs in the week, coupled with other cardio and/or strength training. Its truly a very well-rounded program, which is what attracted me to it. And unlike Galloway's method of run-walk-run, I think Hal's program assumes that you will/want to run the whole thing. Maybe I can't when it comes right down to it, but I certainly want to get close!

Week 1 starts off like this:
Monday: Rest Day
Tuesday: 5K Run
Wednesday: 30 minutes Cross Train or 3K Run
Thursday: 5K Run
Friday: Rest Day
Saturday: 30 minutes Cross-Train
Sunday: 4 Mile Run

Week 10 looks like this:
Monday: Rest Day
Tuesday: 5 Mile Run
Wednesday: 5K Run or 30 minutes Cross-Train
Thursday: 5 Mile Run
Friday: Rest Day
Saturday: 60 minutes Cross-Train
Sunday: 10 Mile Run

The following two weeks are taper weeks, finishing with my first half! So, you can see that its possible to work P90X into this schedule, if I plan it carefully. Rest Days can be substituted for upper-body strength building in the P90X program since it won't encourage overuse injuries with my legs, and the program above clearly has sufficient cross-training opportunities for the yoga or kenpo exercises of the P90X program.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

P90X Nutrition Plans

So, I gave everyone a heads up on things to consider prior to starting this program, but what about nutrition? How is the nutrition program different than anything else out there?

Just as there are three "blocks" in the P90X training, there are also three phases to the nutrition plan. Most important to the plans is the macronutrient content, rather than specific food choices. One needs to find foods that fit into the macronutrient ratios that one loves to eat, rather than have a specific diet dictated. The plan encompasses the following three phases:

Phase 1
Fat Shredder is a higher-protein diet that jump-starts your fat loss as you begin building muscle. Meals in this first 4 weeks should proportionally be: 50% protein, 30% carbohydrates and 20% fat.

Now, just by reading this, for me personally, the first phase will be the hardest. This is basically an atkins/south beach diet as carbs are severely restricted. The biggest concern I have with this is how to keep up my energy for this phase. While I know restricting carbs will seriously get me in ketosis so I utilize my fat stores for energy rather than my glycogen-muscle-carb stores, it does drain you. I just need to remind myself that its only for a month.

Phase 2
Energy Booster gives your body the energy it needs with a balanced mix of carbs and protein. Now, the Energy Booster is very balanced clean eating with lower levels of fat and extra carbs for extra energy during those Plyometrics workouts. Simple to follow.

Meals in this phase are 40% protein, 40% carbohydrates and 20% fat. Eat three serves of complex carbohydrates daily (e.g. whole wheat bread, pasta or oatmeal as well as one piece of low glycemic index fruit daily). Protein remains high so as to aid in muscle recovery.

Stay with this program for the duration of P90X, or progress to Phase 3 if muscular endurance is your goal and/or gain more muscle.

Phase 3
Endurance Maximizer is a serious athletic diet with more complex carbs and lean protein for ultimate performance.

This phase, if chosen, kicks in near the tail end of the program to avoid plateaus. It’s heavier on the carbs, but hte potential to push your endurance will follow.

20% protein, 60% carbohydrates and 20% fat. The extra carbs will allow you to work out heavier and harder, thereby pushing you farther than you thought possible. Of the three phases, elite athletes eat most similarly to Phase 3 (especially long distance runners). When you’re at your peak/plateau, your body needs this extra easily-absorbed fuel to break through ceilings.

So, the Endurance Maximizer is basically a carb-laden, prepping for major endurance exercise type of eating...perfect when you are piling on the miles late in a half marathon training plan :) so I'm sure I'll be following this late in my training schedule when I slowly enter the highest mileage and taper and then the actual run.

In all of the phases eating frequent small meals and drinking lots of water are emphasized.

Also, you can follow the meal plan or the portion plan (many serves of each food type you are allowed), whichever suits you....or you can simply create a sound nutritional plan of you own based on the information above.

Before you start the program you will also need to calculate your recommended calorie intake (and maybe readjust it with each plan), which is based on your activity level and resting metabolic rate.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

KettleWorx Cardio - The Beginning

So, when I get back from Hawaii, I want to start this. I can definitely do this in addition to what I'm doing now (running + Slim in 6). Basically, its a 6-week effort and its only 3 days/week and its only 20 minutes/session. I know some people may rewind and do the 20 minutes twice for a true workout, but since this is supplemental, I think the 20 minutes is more than ok. I plan on doing this in the morning. Again, 20 minutes? I surely can handle that! I can surely find a way to squeeze this into the rhythm of the household!

Each week is a different video, so if you just stick to 20 minutes, you are going to view each video only three times...not much chance for boredom here, right? I like that! Cuz, while I do think the Slim in 6 is working nicely for me, I've been watching the same 57 minute video every day for almost 2 weeks I will appreciate the variety!

So, I have the videos....and I ordered the CAP 15 lb Kettlebell. And man oh man, that thing is solid! Its small, which makes it less intrusive, but it is a serious weight. I suppose I didn't expect this, since its less weight than you are supposed to start with. No way could I start this with 20 lbs. Also, no way that someone who hasn't done any strength training could do this with 15 lbs! I would think someone who has never done anything could start with 5-8 lb kettlebells max. So, I know there will be some delayed muscle soreness that I will have to deal with, but hey, how bad could it be if its just 20 minutes?

As always, I'll provide a weekly update on the effort (the video as well as how effective kettlebells are) and maybe, just maybe you will want to give it a go :)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Slim in 6 - Week 4

Finished week 3. I feel pretty comfortable with this video now. Its still a workout, no doubt about that, but since I am on vacation right now, I really don't want to deal with any muscle soreness, so I will not be moving on to the "Burn it Up" video until I return home later this week.
The "tricep" part of the upper body warm up is still hard, but doable. Its just so early in the video so when its so hard, I feel a tad demoralized...but that goes away quickly. The lower body exercises around minute 30 are still hard but doable. The crunches/ab work are still hard, but doable. Yes, I'm very tired and am still sweating a lot to this video! Let me just say that exercising under a fan on full speed is HEAVEN!

Thus far, I had 6 workouts with the "Start it Up" video, and 12 workouts with the "Ramp it Up" video. I'm predicting that I will have another 3-4 on the "Ramp it Up" (we travel Wednesday night through Thursday morning, so not sure if I will take Wednesday or Thursday as my recovery day for the week). So this Friday, will go onto "Burn it Up" for another 2.5 weeks least when I transition to "Burn it Up", if I'm really sore, I can limp around all day on Saturday and avoid doing errands :)

I was hesitant about doing this series on vacation...not sure if I would have the time, but then again, its only one hour every evening. And, we are not "party" people. We just wanted to spend time together, be casual, be active, but no bars or nightclubs or even fancy dinners for us. We have a condo here in Hawaii so we can make everything we want here. I was a bit worried that we wouldn't have the time, but its amazing how relaxing and how much one can do when they are not working and/or caring for two little munchkins :) So, I can commit to doing this an hour a day while we are here.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

In my former life...

When I was 18 or so, I met a boy.

I was with him for a good 11 years, was married, divorced, etc....but when I look back at this time, I remember being involved in a particular national marathon quite a bit. His father was the Race Director, and he has now taken that reign and manages it. I do look back on this time fondly. We were both very involved in the race weekend, from helping at the expo to helping with drug testing to helping wih the finish line chutes and even recording the race results!

I mingled with the world-class athletes...attended the cocktail party the evening after the marathon with all the invited/elite athletes. Even had dinner multiple times with Anne Audain. Of course, at that time, I didnt know that I should be so impressed with her (At the Olympics in 1984, she competed in the first women's marathon, and in 1988, she finished 11th in the inaugural women's 10k). She was just this quirky kiwi running a 10k that wore full-faced makeup at every running event :)

I even had dinner many times with the elite USSR athletes who came over to the US with their "coaches" (but we all knew that they were really KGB agents watching them to ensure that they behaved themselves and didn't defect...seriously, no running coaches ever looked like these burly men!).

I remember always seeing these slender gizelle-like athletes and thinking how they are a world apart from everyone I know. Its not that I didn't want to run, it was really a matter of not knowing that I could. I was surrounded by people that had trained with professional trainers for umpteen years of their lives. This was a "runner" in my mind, not the thousands of other local/regional/national people in these same races. So, it never really crossed my mind that I could be runner as well.

Its interesting how I've come full circle in this regards. I was interested in how the marathon was managed, but never really had an interest in running in it. Now, I don't really care how a race is managed, but want to run one!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Hawaii here we come!

Grandparents are visiting from Kentucky and are going to spoil the kids for the next several days while Joe and I fly to Hawaii. Saturday will be an entire day of traveling, and then once we arrive and get situated, we are going straight to a pre-wedding luau (this is in lieu of a rehearsal dinner). So, no exercise on Saturday for me! Suppose that will be my "rest" day.

But, I do plan on keeping up as much of my exercise routine as I can while we are there! I won't be bringing my yoga mat, but my running shoes and resistance bands will be packed! I finally get to run WITH my husband. We've never done this before, since we've always had to balance the running with the kids. I'm excited for this though. Hopefully we will fall into sync quite nicely. He's much taller than me, but I think my cadence is faster than we shall meet somewhere in the middle :)

I also hope to continue the "Slim in 6" while we are there. I'll take the video with me, and should have more than enough space in our unit. Between the luau, the wedding and the after-wedding brunch, we will be busy. And, we also want to check out Hana, which is the other side of the island. We won't be there too fact, its too short of a trip really, but didn't really have an option as my parents had to fly back a week after they got here. So, busy? Bring it!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

How to Select a Kettlebell

I know I want to try these workouts soon. When people describe a strength-building exercise as "fun" repeatedly (by different people), it definitely gets my attention!

There are a ton out there. Some are cute and comfortable, and some appear to be smolted straight from the Soviet Union. Some are filled with sand/water and some are truly 100% cast iron. Some even are adjustable with a slight they can expand from 5lbs-30lbs.

So, what is the right option for you? First, a few things to consider:

  • Vinyl coated kettlebells may have a nicer appearance, but they will not protect your floors if the kettlebell falls. Seriously, these suckers are heavy, and no amount of 5mm coating will protect anything...but they will wipe down nicely! I simply don't know why people think that they will do so. They are heavy. If they fall on your toes, you will be visiting the emergency room. If they fall on your tile floor, you will have a crack to contend with. If they fall on a wooden floor, you may have a dent.

  • Vinyl coated kettlebells will tend to slip more if you are sweating, so be warned. I think they have a nice feel to them and they would rotate more easily in your hand, but then again, I plan on doing these workouts inside on my tile floor, so the risk of slippage isn't worth it for me.

  • Err on the side of a lighter kettlebell. Seriously, you need to concentrate on proper form before using heavier weights. But, if the kettlebell doesn't exert any muscle burn, its not doing you any good. Kettlebells are designed to help you stabilize your body or your muscles. Men tend to overestimate their strength, while women tend to underestimate their purchase accordingly.

  • If you can do bicep curls with 5 lb weights, then get a 10 lb kettlebell and so forth, but never heavier. So, don't go for the 15 lb one just yet. You may grow out of that first weight within 2 months, but thats ok. Having one too heavy will hinder your progress and cause injury. So, if the first kettlebell you purchase is simply not right for your current fitness level, do not be too timid to return it for the proper size.

  • Buying individual kettlebells are fine, as you only need one at a time. So, don't succumb to purchasing a "set"

  • Sand-filled or water-filled kettlebells tend to be bulkier than their pound-equivalent cast iron versions, so they will be more awkward to work with

  • Buy a kettlebell that is part of a line that you will buy stick with a bigger brand thats easier to find. I personally would hate to have two kettlebells at home that don't match (but I'm anal like that)
So, after my research, I knew I wanted a compact ball, which leads me to the basic CAP kettlebell...simple is better. Whats even better about this brand is that they are sold via Amazon and Walmart. Walmarts typically do not have them in the store, but they will ship to your local store for no charge...but if its too heavy or too light, you won't need to pay for return shipping. That being said, Amazon ships free and also typically offers no sales thats probably the best option.

I ended up purchasing my 15lb kettlebell from Amazon. It arrived the following week, and I'm pleased with it. Its a heavy sucker, so I know it will work me, but its not so heavy that I will struggle and over-strain. Remember, most kettlebell exercises use two hands, so you rarely do exercises with just one arm/hand. 15lbs seemed appropriate for me. As for the finish, it definitely looked like a "serious" piece of workout if your brother is a personal trainer, he will not laugh at you! Its also very compact and stores in much less space than one of my other handweights. And because its only one piece (as opposed to storing two dumbbells), its easy to find a home for it.

100 Pushup Training Plan

I'm committed to trying this...just a few weeks to doing 100 pushups? Less than 30 minutes a week to commit? I'm game!

I looked at a few different plans and selected this one: The image to the right is from their site. They start you off with a "test" to see what your current level of push-up fitness is. I wonder how many I can do consecutively to failure? Initially, I'm guessing I'd fall into the "1" rank, which is ok with me. I don't expect to be able to do alot. The site indicates that most fall into rank "1" or "2". First, I've only been exercising a short time. Second, as a woman, I naturally have less upper body strength than men...and I'm just guessing that this little stat assumes you are a rank "1" is fine with me.

Regardless, push-up are great cheap exercises...they will develop the pectoral muscles and triceps, with ancillary benefits to the deltoids, serratus anterior, coracobrachialis and the midsection as a whole, thereby defining your abs, triceps, shoulders and torso. Of course, you won't be able to see all these ripped muscles until I get rid of all this extra fat! :)

So, what does the first week look like? Its every other day, 3 days total/week. The sets are small to begin with, and they assume a 60 second break between each set.

Day 1 - 2, 3, 2, 2, max (at least 3)

Day 2 - 3, 4, 2, 3, max (at least 4)

Day 3 - 4, 5, 4, 4, max (at least 5)

Assuming I progress with each week, week 6 looks like this:

Day 1 - 25, 30, 20, 15, max

Day 2 - 14, 14, 15, 15, 14, 14, 10, 10, max (at least 44)

Day 3 - 13, 13, 17, 17, 16, 16, 14, 14, max (at least 50)

Throughout the 6 weeks, the program asks you to retest yourself, to determine how many to perform the following week. In the case above, I just assumed I did the bare minimum for "passing" to the next week. And then, when week 6 is completed, one is supposed to perform push-ups to failure again...and then maybe restart it, but at a different level.

I think this is worth trying...just not sure when I can squeeze it in. Maybe next year!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Tips for Newbie Runners

  • Buy running shoes from a running specialty store...yes, you will be paying a lot, but its worth it (all other purchases related to running are nothing comared to good shoes)

  • Never run back-to-back days until you have 6 months of running under your belt. Trust me on this one....its simply not worth a stress fracture. So, even if that last run wasn't very good and you know you could do better, wait another day before reattempting it!

  • Remind yourself that if you can make it through the first 6 weeks, it will get so much easier!

  • Call yourself a runner, even if you don't believe it quite saying it over and over again to people (strangers even), you will start to believe it

  • If you (like me) stay encouraged by buying the little accessories that make running "cute" and running clothes enjoyable, by all means, buy it

  • Read books about running...they will help you stay motivated, even when you were over-zealous and ran back-to-back days and now have to abstain from all impact exercises for the next 6 weeks (yes, personal experience here)

  • Subscribe to running blogs (have you done that yet? hint hint) or facebook pages (I know this great one about a crazy mother) that put the sport in your face so its always on your mind and keeps you motivated

  • Try to meet other runners (even if they are only virtual), as your friends won't want to hear about all of your running woes....its not that they are disinterested (well, yeah, they are disinterested), but that doesn't mean that you should be disinterested!

  • Remind yourself how far you have come in 1 week, 1 month, 1 proud of your accomplishments!

  • Remind yourself (even if you are dead last in a race), that you are much much faster than that slob next door that never even got off of their couch!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Another Notice!

Ok, this one surprised me. I was driving my SUV which Joe, my husband, had been driving for a few months....therefore, his prior office landlord (and friend) recognized the car. I was driving home past his old office, and apparently David (said landlord) saw me in the SUV. He mentioned to Joe today that I looked great...that he could tell that my face/neck/shoulders looked thinner. I scoffed when I heard this. Really, how would one notice while I'm driving about my weight loss? I didn't think it was that noticeable that someone else that was driving near me (or walking for that matter) would be able to see so quickly!

Either that or he simply doesn't pay attention to the road :) Either way, it was nice to hear. When things like this happen, I just have to remind myself that the fat is coming off...just don't base everything on that darn scale. I must say, after my annoyance this morning with my diet, the fact that I got two nice compliments today sure does help put that into perspective.

What is your passion?

I love problem solving, and research to me is problem-solving (really, something simply doesn't make sense to me and I need to find that missing link that will bridge one piece of knowledge to the next). I suppose that is where this blog germinated from.

I love to learn. Hey, if you cant find something on the internet...just let me know, as I am the notorious google queen (or so I've been told many many times before). Yup, I understand the google search engine pretty well.

And learning for self-fulfillment just doesn't cut it though, as I feel the need to share the knowledge. You see the theme here...this blog is for me :) Yeah, maybe I'm a little narcissistic as I did get all excited when my blog hit 1000 page views, but really, its more than just a number. I want to make a difference. Sure, I'm still trying to determine what I want to be when I grow up (I suppose that means I'm still young at heart, right?), but I know I like to guide and teach and encourage...I've found that I'm pretty good at that actually!

While I get a lot of joy out of my family and watching my kids fail and then step up and try again until they understand how to solve problems by themselves, I likewise want to give others the tools that they need to be successful.

You see how this all comes back to my blog? Funny, isn't it? I recall last year when I was humbled by gaining all the weight back that I lost early in the year (it was really only about 15 pounds and I know why I gained it, but that didn't help me accept it...I simply pushed those smaller sizes to the back of my closet and went on with life). Yet, the running has fueled this blog, and the blog fuels the running....and its all centered around health and fitness.

I suppose something last week really culminated it for me. Someone I work with has always complained about her 30 year old husband's lack of a balanced diet and lack of exercise. He's overweight, but was ok with that...and the fast food twice a day? Regardless of the about of nagging she gave him, it didn't matter. They recently were blessed with a beautiful little boy. One would think that this major life event would kick his ass into taking better care of himself....there was more talk, but there still wasn't an impetus for him to do so.

He's been complaing about vision issues for the last month...headaches, a little eye strain here and there. So, he drove to work on Monday (same way he drives every day), his boss hands him client directions (to their house, work orders, etc) and he realizes that he cannot read them...with either eye! He refuses to go to a real medical doctor, saying he just needs to see an eye doctor. She knows better, so she coerces him into an opthamoligist begrudgingly, only to be told that the doctor can see a hermorrage in his eye with her naked eye! She says that its the worst case she's ever seen (except in text books). They are immediately sent to an urgent care (again, he doesn't want to go to an ER) and his blood pressure exceeded the capability of the machine! They were sent to the ER and they read his BP at 240/180. Know this..he felt fine. Why? Because his blood pressure has been so high for so long that his body has acclimated to this level! Quite frankly, everyone at the hospital was surprised that he has yet to have a stroke! Remember...he is only 30!

Its been 5 days now that he's been in the critical care unit, and who knows when he will be moved to a "regular" room. My heart goes out to him and his family. I can only imagine the self-hatred he is going through right now simply because he knew that his life is at stake and it was due to his own failings. I so hope that they rebound from this (physically, I mean) and that he makes a determined effort to adjust his lifestyle. His father died 6 years ago today, and I know that he does not want his little boy to grow up without a dad. Fortunately, he has a wife that is well-versed in healthful living, so I know he has a good guide. I just wish I could help.

You cannot force someone to find motivation. They need to find it themselves. But, the moment they have it, you watch out for it, and delve in and help them! I suppose this is similar to the person who I mentioned awhile ago who we wanted to help do the C25K program, but I know she is simply not ready. She wants shortcuts. I simply need to watch for signs of readiness. And if you are reading this blog and have suffered through this long post, I hope you also are watching yourself for those signs of readiness. Its tough. Its sometimes telling yourself how you have failed in the past. There are no quick fixes. But this is your life we are talking about...this is your family's future. Its worth it.

So, get up and do something...anything! And if you need a penpal or any guidance whatsoever...if you need someone to remind you to get up and move....if you dont have that support at home...don't let that stop you. Let me know....let me see how I can help. Hopefully if you are reading this blog you continue to read. Hearing it and being reminded of how much our body can do is one way to keep that motivation up. If nothing else, I hope that I inspire someone. If not, I'll be content with trying :)

Slim in 6 Got Me Noticed!

Someone came up to me today (who has been doing the HcG diet...I know, I know, I advised against it, but she wanted a quick fix). Anyways, she said that she may be dropping this diet as she doesn't see the big improvements for everything she is giving up. She said that she's going to borrow a copy of Slim in 6 from a friend because she said that I "look so good!"

I told her I've only been doing it for 2 weeks, and she said that she already sees a difference. So I suppose I shouldn't be too disheartened by my "Diet Sucks" post from earlier. Yes, I know I haven't lost hardly anything in the last month, but I am being noticed for my continued headway towards "slender" status!

That does feel good, I tell ya!

Lululemon Outlet Craze

Since we were in Orlando this weekend, I just had to stop by the Lululemon outlet (this has definitely become my exercise clothese brand of choice!). I think it may just be the only outlet they have in the entire country (ok ok, maybe they have two). Regardless, I scored some serious items! I'm loving their products so much these days. For yoga and running, the quality of the fabric simply cannot be beat! The running materials are so light that tissue paper may just be heavier...and the yoga materials are so stretchy that it combines all-over compression and stretch perfectly.

So, what did I indulge in? I'll tell you if you promise not to tell my husband. He saw the bag, and just said "I don't want to know how much, right?" you see, I can't tell him now since I promised :)

Three capris! One was a heathered off-white basic "Wonder Under" gym crop capri which I just had to get because I never see any colors other than grey and black. See, its a necessity, right? I also purchased the "Its a Cinch Crop" which was basic black on the bottom with a teal super-wide waist band that cinches up with two little drawstrings above each hip. I saw this in the catalog and wanted it then, so I indulged. I also got the "Aero Crop" which is just really cool. Its a dark grey, but it was a 3-d feel to it with yoga-inspired design all over the bottome 3rd of the legs that are "grippy" texture...which also cover the knee. Is suppose its not only really cool, but also I justified it because it will allow me not to slip when doing anything on my knees :)

I also picked up a "The Bust Stops here' sports bras. These were similar in construction to the Moving Comfort Fiona. I really wanted a "Ta Ta Tamer" but alas they had none in the store.

I also picked up a hat and a visor...I simply couldn't pass up the $5 price, even if I typically don't wear hats. But, given these two, I may just have to start! :)

Last but not least...I picked up two tops. The "Scoop Neck Tank" is absolutely cute. Seriously, just look at that it! Its designed for yoga, and has a fairly high cut in the front, but more of a racerback in the back, and I swear I could wear this out and about and even dress it up...loved it in the lavender. I also grabbed the "Dignity Halter" in black....I could easily wear this with jeans as its quite a low-cut, but still somewhat simple...and at $9 it was a steal.

Yes, I should hold my head in shame...but what surprised me most about this visit is the sizing. I know the size 8 bottoms fit great for me, but Lululemon's size 6 are a squeeze. I do have one running skirt in size 6, and its not comfortable enough for me to wear. But, regardless, all the bottoms I purchased were size 6. They were tight, but I'm determined to get to this size within the next few months. Tops purchased were all size 8s...the girls will never fit a size 6, which is more than ok for me. The tops were a tad tight as well, but once I get rid of my back fat, I should be good :)

No running skirts in the store, which was disappointing, but then again, I'm well stocked there. I did think it was strange to see the store arranged by size, rather than item. So, all of the size 6s were together, and all of the size 8s were together and so forth. I don't think they sold anything smaller than a size 2, or larger than a size 10. A smaller mens section was also available. And, no yoga mats were there for sale. I would have liked to check out "The Mat" as I really think I need a thicker one...I'm so tired of folding mine for some exercises.

So, it was a splurge, but its the only store I ventured into! And I love everything I got. We'll go back in January (for husband's baseball tournament at ESPN Wide World of Sports) or February (Princess Half Marathon) I think...and maybe we'll see what they have available :)

Dieting Sucks

I just have serious problems doing it. I can easily limit my calories to 1600 without an issue, but going lower is nearly impossible...and then I cave. I may simply have to go on a serious crash diet OR simply rely on exercise to lose weight, which will take longer. Surprisingly, I can easily do 1100 calorie diets for 7-14 days and then go back to normal levels...its just this in between stage that is tough.

I *think* my body fat is around 26% now, so I'm close to my goal. But, I simply don't see it being close. I know I'm jaded when thinking about my own weight, and I know it will take time and that the last pounds are always the hardest...but darn it! I want it now!

If I don't think about weight as the goal, my goal is to lose another 2" on my waist, hips, buttocks, chest and on each thigh (I have seriously fat inner knee/thighs, so I can definitely lose half of my weight here, if the diet gods were smiling on me!).

But, I have noticed an increase in strength, so I do know that I've gained muscle...not enough to offset the amount of weight that I should have lost by now (last 6 weeks or so), but I know I've gained good stuff, so I'm not going to stress over it too much. At least if I've even gained 2 pounds of muscle, I know that my metabolism will increase simply as a result of this.

So, whats the plan...I'm going to stick to relatively decent eating habits. I'll never go over 1800-1900 calories, so worst case, I will plateau. But I'll continue to ensure that 80-90% of those calories are excellent choices and the other 10-20% can be crap :) But, I'm still going to continue the serious exercise for at least another 4 weeks and then re-evaluate. That should get me past the "Slim in 6" program, and it should get me to the point where I am running more during lunch with my fabulous "Lunch Bunch" :)

If I feel I still have a ways to go, I will go on an ultra strict diet for a few weeks and then re-evaluate again. I just really want to be in near-excellent shape before starting my half marathon training! I want to be able to start strong and focus on strength of running rather than weight loss. Iknow a lot of people actually gain weight when training for a marathon, so I know the tendency could be there when training for a half marathon....all that exercise does make one famished!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Slim in 6 - Week 3

Week 2 I started the "Ramp it Up" video. Your after-workout soreness should be almost completely gone between workouts before you move on to the next level., and mine was 100% gone, so I felt confident moving up to the "Ramp it Up" video. I also transitioned to my Black Mountain bands. I think the band that I moved to "green" is labeled 10-12 lbs, but it is slightly shorter than the provided Slim in 6 band, so it was more work for me. I then transitioned down to the "blue" band, which was still hard, but at least I was able to do all of the resistence work without serious strain. I'll probably try the "green" band again soon.

First Workout Thoughts
First 30 minutes was good. Many of the same moves as the "Start it Up" video, but added intensity and a few additional variations (eg instead of just lunges, there were lunges followed by a knee up)....up to this point, I could do about 99% of all the reps at their pace. Then, we got into some lower body moves which KILLED me! This surprised me as my lower body has always been so strong. Then, with the resistance bands, some of the alternating moves wore me down (but I did move up to the 10-12 lb band, so I'm sure this will be fine in a few days). The segment ended with stretching and yoga, and I was glad it was over. 13 more days of this video...phew!

Last Workout Thoughts
I was able to do all of the exercises. The parts that were really hard in the beginning were the tricep extension with squat (pretty early in the video), which just killed my arms since it followed so many other arm exercises. I was able to finally do that fully. The other problem area was the leg lifts/leg extensions segment. This includes several different leg exercises, which were same leg with 5 exercises all back-to-back...then it transitioned to the other leg. This was HARD. I think if I just had to do one and then switch to the other leg and then the second exercises, etc etc it would have been fine. So, first week I saw improvement here.

At the end of the week, I was able to do all of the exercises, but I was not able to do it at their pace. For example, I could do 4 crunches in a row faster than they were, but there is no way I could do 8 in a row at their I was able to do 4 faster and then pause and then do the other 4, so I finished with them. I simply need to work on my stamina for these two areas.

Its work, for sure...and its a serious time commitment, as the "Ramp it Up" is 55 minutes of will sweat! But, I know there is a difference....if nothing else, I could feel it in my running race yesterday. I know its absolutely due to this video in the last 2 weeks, as I actually slowed down on my elliptical/running during this time.

Video Critique
Sound was a bit better than the first video. Only a few times did I think it was noticeably strange, and only then for a few minutes. The trainers....There were, as with the last video, two additional trainees. Both were young, mid 20s or so, and both were very lean. However, one was female and one was male. They hadn't perfected the workout (the man really), which was nice to see because they seriously reacted to some of the moves in a realistic way, which made it a bit easier to feel at east with the effort demanded.

The overall balance was great. There was the warm-up, the lower cardio segment (which worked both upper and lower body), the abs, the lower body, the resistance bands (which worked the upper body), and then the cool-down/yoga segments.

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