Thursday, April 30, 2009

Missing running

I got a wild hair up my you know where and decided since I could get it for dirt cheap I would try this famous "weight loss cure" in the form of daily HCG injections. My main thought was to quickly shed some extra weight in order to make my new running obsession easier on my body. As with most things, I just jumped in and committed. Without reading all the fine print... Like the part that said no strenuous exercise and specifically no running while undergoing the treatment. WTF? Oh well, it is only for 23 days and I can still walk as much as I want everyday. Maybe by then my naughty dog will be trained to stay by my side instead of sniffing and stopping every 2 seconds. In the meantime, 5 days into daily shots and a crazy diet of protein and veggies I have dropped 11.5 pounds. Here comes the svelte super runner!
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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Notice anything?

It is amazing to me how many things I am noticing about my improved fitness. I can walk faster than I used to without getting winded. I went walking outside and while my pace was sufficient to give me a good workout it wasn't like I was out of breath or even panting. Of couse I would rather have been running but that is on hold while I am doing HCG treatments for the next 3 weeks. I can walk up a flight of stairs and not even feel an increase in my heart rate where befor it would skyrocket with just a single flight. It must be the year for us to get fit since the hubby just joined a gym, too.
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Friday, April 24, 2009

A ban I can support

I was struck today on the drive home that enough has not been said about the horrors of plastic bags... at least not from my own soapbox. Why aren't the rest of the cities of the world taking a queue from San Francisco and supporting a ban on plastic shopping bags? My opposition includes all the normal issues about how they are not biodegradable and most of them end up in the oceans where they either literally choke living things or break down into smaller pieces that totally mess with the DNA of those unlucky enough to ingest them. However, I have a much bigger beef than even that - the laziness of the average American. At this point in our history you would think we had learned SOME lessons from our recent history about re-using. During the early 19th century they had "rag and paper men" who's job it was to go to individual houses and collect rags from sewing and paper and take them away to be reused. Why, then, a century later, are we having to reinvent this and find ways to make recycling hip again? Every other developed nation in the world (well, OK, at least in Europe where I have personal experience) expects their citizens to bring their own bags when they do their shopping. So why is it a novelty that I get bitchy looks about from folks unlucky enough to be behind me at the grocery store checkout when my bagger is struggling to load my reusable bags with my purchases? I'm sorry my efforts at saving the planet interfere with your rush to be wherever you are heading. Several years ago when Ikea first appeared in my city, I thought it novel I was charged for the plastic bags I used to carry my purchases away and it was the first time it got me really thinking about the issue. Today, I get a credit for every bag I return to the store to reuse which is a nice incentive to get people to purchase the reusable bags but I think we should go farther. It should be a requirement that you go to the store with your own bags and if you don't you should be charged for the plastic ones you take away. Maybe if it hurt people in the only place most of us care about - the pocketbook - more people would be interested in making a difference that takes such little effort. Call me a hippie or a tree-hugger, call me a liberal fascist, just do it while you are reusing your own bags, please! I would rather see them banned altogether!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Spoke too soon

What is it with me?  I swear I have been invaded by the body snatchers where they left only the shell and screwed with the programming circuits of my entire being.  It is the only explanation for me dealing with the issues I currently have.  What are these issues and what are they caused from, you ask?  I have used my painfully acquired “Cause Mapping” skills to ascertain that I like to run more than my body can handle at this point.  Anyone who knows me will attest this is insane!  Even my brother asked me last week who I was and what I had done with his sister while I was gushing about running.  This week I cut back to only running 3 times a week and still doing some cardio daily when I can squeeze it in.  So, I walked the equivalent of a 5K on Monday night, felt good last night when I got done with all the other crap going on and got to squeeze in a late evening 1-mile run.  Immediately and promptly afterwards I had painful muscles which persist today.  So, apparently I am STILL – even with my efforts to cut back on specifically the running impact to my body – doing too much exercise.  The insanity is that we are talking about the girl who got winded going up a flight of stairs when I started the new job in October.  The girl who got winded walking to her car even!  It just occurred to me I should feel embarrassed about my poor health 6 months ago and not talk about it but then I think about the progress I have made with what seems like very little effort and want to shout it to the world.  I walked up the 6 flights of stairs today after lunch without getting even slightly winded.  It felt amazing!  Perhaps with the big 4-0 birthday looming around the proverbial corner I can consider this my midlife crisis?  All I know is that I will be 40 and Fabulous by the time it hits at this rate and couldn’t be happier!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Spoiled by nice weather

I am so happy for nice weather... There is nothing better than being outside instead of banished to indoor cardio! Training continues and yesterday's run was invigorating and only mildly cold from the wind. I am slowly making measured improvements and still feel confident I will be running a full mile within the month. Amazing to think... I walked a 5K tonight with a friend and felt great doing it. I thought I would be sore but I wasn't and even the few knots in my legs are beginning to subside as my body grows accustomed to its new lifestyle. I have even talked enough about running that I have a couple of non-runners who would like to join in. I am telling you, it is contagious! The best thing I heard all day was when the hubby told me he got winded and couldn't even run a half mile after his workout at the gym. I know he is still rehabing from a new ACL a year ago but seriously I have never been in better physical shape than he has and never thought I would be. I am taking the satisfaction (and accompanying glee) where I may!
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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Long day

Sat on the bleachers at a local high school watching dance competition all day long. Yes, a glutton for punishment and a devoted dance mom! Can't wait to fall into bed and hope the kinks in my neck and back fall out while I sleep. The best part is that when I wake up it will be time to run. I love knowing that and will have sweet dreams because of it!
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Friday, April 17, 2009

Tweaked is better

I got to try the tweaked run today and man did it feel good to run again after a couple of days off. I am officially only running every other day for now to ease my body into it better. I also warmed up on my exercise bike and hit the neighborhood running. I liked it much better and was able to keep a steady run for a while. A new baseline for measurement. It was pretty windy and that made it cold and almost unpleasant but still better than the treadmill indoors. Can't wait for Sunday!!
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The proof is in the pants

A favorite pair of pants made their re-debute from the depths of the closet this morning and they look damn good! Haven't worn 'em in over a year-and not for lack of trying every few months. The scale says I haven't lost anything but that just means my new muscles weight more than the flab I have shed. The pants don't lie and these pants rock again! I love running on so many levels...
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Life happened

Today was supposed to be a training day where I got to run and try out the newly tweaked workout... What actually happened was an entire afternoon devoted to a Disaster Recovery test - aka productive chaos - and no time at work to slip away to the treadmill. Tonight was my monthly bookclub meeting - a hallowed tradition I am immoveable about missing - which meant no time for an outdoor run at home either. While I am bummed about missing my run today, I will just do it tomorrow. Bookclub, the friend time afterwards which yielded some fabulous story development for my novel, and the neighbor time after that was well worth the sacrifice. And let's be honest, my poor calves are just starting to give up their protests about all the work they have been doing lately so one more day of resting isn't going to be unappreciated on some level...
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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Kind of annoying

First, it is again snowing in my neck of the woods and it is pretty damn annoying. One day it is 70 and the next you need the winter coat - in April. Equally annoying is having to take a day off of training because you are pushing your poor body too hard. Today that wasn't a big issue since I was slammed at work and my designated workout time came and went before I even noticed. Funny, though, how quickly you can become addicted to an activity and miss it if you aren't doing it everyday. I couldn't (or rather wouldn't!) go running in the snow either so instead settled for some yoga to relieve some stress - from the damn IRS considering it is tax day - and still felt pretty good. Can't wait for tomorrow when I get to see if my "switching it up" methods get me better results.
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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Day 10

Today was dreary and rainy and I ran indoors on the treadmill. I have decided that for many reasons I like running outdoors better - not the least of which is not having to fiddle with the damn treadmill to get the right speed settings. In the outdoors, I just decide I want to run and I run at the pace that feels good. On the treadmill I have to fiddle with numbers and buttons and it just isn't cool to be reaching and running and trying not to stumble and fall face-first into the display while hoping to catch yourself without bouncing down onto the whirring belt below your feet to be spit humiliatingly out the back. Not that it has happened like that... yet... but it is exactly what goes through my mind every couple of minutes of walk/run intervals when it is time to adjust the speed - AGAIN. I started out strong today and felt good but by the time the 10-minutes of initial walking was over and I was ready to run, my legs were sore and I could barely get comfortably through two or three intervals before my calves cramped up on me so hard that I had to slow down and resort to walking. I only ended up logging 22 minutes. I was pretty ... well... pissed, dejected, worried, exhilarated (I got almost a full 120 seconds in on my first running interval) and everything in between. I broke down and admitted I might need more info than what I had found on the Internet and turned to a friend who is a fairly new runner - less than two years - to get some sanity check and pointers. It doesn't suck that she trained with a "real" trainer for a year and could give me real information that worked for her. I found that 1) I am training way too much if I'm running every day. Cardio everyday, OK but running everyday, not OK. 2) It may not feel like it but I'm going too fast in trying to increase the time I am running at each interval. The fact that in just over a week I have doubled the length of my running intervals is apparently not OK. 3) I'm wasting my best running energy on my initial 10 minutes of walking time. Oh, and I could probably use a masseuse to work out the poor calf muscles but tell me something I didn't already know on that regard.... So, I am officially on the running only every other day plan and am going to switch it up a bit with warming up on a recumbent bike (I happen to even have an exercise bike at home for the running outdoors days) so I can save my legs for running up front when I get on the treadmill. I have to say, it still feels good to be achy at the end of the day because I had a good run earlier. I just have to stop comparing myself to the marathoner's and lifetime runners that seem to surround me and realize that I AM doing good runs - for me! - which is the only one it really counts for...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Day 9

I had to listen to my body today and take a day off of running due to a very nasty headache. I wasn't able to get my run in during work hours at the fitness center and by the time I got home my head was pounding and I could barely see to drive. I did, however, take a minute on the way home to drive my outdoor route and determine the distance of my 30-minute outdoor runs. 1.6 miles isn't too shabby for this beginner. Which means when I get to the point where I can run the 15-minutes straight prescribed in the training program I will be running a mile (or something close to that). I refuse to think of today as a defeat but instead am reveling in the fact that I am already showing significant improvement after only a week. Tomorrow is another day and one in which I get to run!
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Day 8

Today was a personal best even though there isn't too much to compare with as yet. First day running outdoors with my running shoes and still can't say enough about them! I am back to my lungs giving out before my legs do. There's one stretch of road I could easily mark progress on and I was able to go twice the distance as the last outdoor run. I had more running intervals on this run and I wasn't sucking wind as much after any of them. I'm going to have to plot out a new route because now I am done with the route before my 30 minutes are gone. Progress is such sweet victory! And, now that word is out, I have been recruited for my first "race" which luckily I have more than a year to train for. It is a 9-person relay between two cities where each team member runs three 3-mile legs. I am still amazed it is only a week in and I am seeing the kinds of results I am with increased lung capacity as well as endurance. I balked at the thought it would only take 30 days before a non-running-never-run-before beginner could be running 3-mile stints but it sure looks now like it is possible!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Day 7

I actually yelled out in elation when I started running in my new shoes. No pain in my ankles, no pain in my feet... It was like running on a cloud and it felt like I didn't even have shoes on my feet. I am so keeping these shoes!!! Can't wait to take 'em out on the road tomorrow. Hopefully it won't be raining!!
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Day 6

I couldn't stop myself from going to the fitness center at work but I convinced myself I needed to do something besides run and opted for the elliptical. My ankle didn't bother me too much and I felt encouraged that all I needed was a day to rest it and could hit the running again. And then I made my first visit to a running store. After an hour with the sales guy and a whole bunch of shoes, I walked out with my first pair of shoes just right for me. Holy shit!! Guess what, my ankle doesn't hurt anymore! It was also the first pair of shoes I ever bought without looking at the price tag and trying to talk myself out of them because quite frankly I would have paid anything they said for the way they fit my foot. I am back in the game. Or, one could argue, I am finally officially in the game... The only obstacle now is finding a treadmill over the weekend and avoiding the temptation to just go outside and run since the sales guy (who is up there on a pedastal at this point) said I had to do a real run on a treadmill to be sure they were really the right shoe. If I run outside first they cannot be exchanged. So, I am headed to my nearest friend's or family with a treadmill at the first available opportunity! Running shoes are the best thing since sliced bread!

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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Day 5

Feet up with a chai and ice on my ankle... I ran indoors today and took it easy because my ankle was still achy from yesterday's run. I was able to run but not as long as I wanted because I was afraid of really injuring myself. I got 12 minutes of run/walk intervals in and walked more at the end than the program outlines. I am toying with taking a day off between runs for a few days to see if that will ease me in a bit easier - although I hate the thought of days without running. The 30/30 program is designed for either every day for a month or every other day for 2 months with the same results. Sadly I think I need some rest days in between - at least until I drop some of this pesky weight off my frame making it easier on my poor joints. We'll see how the ankle feels tomorrow...
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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Day 4

Well, it is spring but try telling that to the weather! I got home early and rushed out for my run in hopes of being done before the rain clouds burst. While I got that wish, the run came with mixed emotions. Today, my legs gave out before my lungs. While this caused me elation since I have never been in great cardiovascular shape, I was pissed as hell that I had to walk/ limp the last 10 minutes on a cramping calf when I WANTED TO RUN! Seriously, I don't know who I am anymore and it is only day 4. I woke up this morning thinking about when I was going to get to run. Weird for this reading couch potato! Must hit the running blogs to find tips to alleviate cramping...
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Tuesday, April 7, 2009


I have officially been bitten by the running bug. I never thought I would ever be a runner. I have always chosen water sports or bicycling as the preferred method of exercise and quite frankly thought runners were a bit off their rockers. I don't exactly know what happened but I think I have become one of those runners. I of course have a long training road ahead of me before I can actually run any significant distance but man do I crave just the act of running. I've been taking advantage of the fitness center on site at the new job and been working out on the elliptical or the bike about 3-4 days a week for the past month or two. But then, the elliptical just wasn't enough and I wanted something more strenuous. I took a page out of my husband's playbook and hit the net for some research and found tons of sites for running. Now, I am equipped with a 30-day training plan designed for people just like me who haven't run a day in their lives and promises to turn me into a 3-mile a day runner in a month. Today was day 3 of training. It is amazing how good I feel - my legs are sore for a while after the workout but never lasts into the next day so I can easily train every day. (It is even weird to listen to me right now! Train every day? Who am I?) I will chronicle my training in hopes it might keep me on my rocker...

Training guidelines - "30/30 Program"
Train for 30 days / 30 minutes a day
Must walk the first 10 minutes and the last 5 minutes
Middle 15 minutes, alternate running and walking until you build up ability to run the entire 15 minutes straight. Very beginning goals are to run for 30 seconds, walk for 90.

Day 1 - morning jog/walk outdoors on mostly flat route. Had the dog with me. I don't have a stop watch so I couldn't judge exactly how long the jog intervals were. I just ran until I couldn't anymore and then walked until I could run again. Really out of breath after the running parts but pushed myself to run 4 intervals in the 15 minute time frame. Noticed later in the day my ankles were really sore. Funny the muscles you use differently depending on what you are doing... This was actually the second time I went "running". I attempted to just run a mile a couple of weeks ago and thought I would die plus my hips hurt for days. That was before finding the training program. Training is much better than jumping in blind...

Day 2 - indoors on the treadmill. Wow, I can run longer than I thought! Averaged 90 second running intervals with 1 minute walking in between. Legs were really sore - especially my calves - but stretched really well afterwards. Ankles are still a bit achy but better than yesterday and they didn't bother me WHILE running, just afterwards. Felt good and I was less out of breath today. Had an epiphany on one of the last intervals. I had been running like I always do and was so tired and out of breath but wanted to push myself to run for another full 90 seconds. I changed my stride and instead of bouncing more up and down I kept my upper body stable and flat and just moved my legs. OMG, it was like finding a burst of energy for actual running instead of bouncing. Can this be what the hubby calls being an efficient runner? Look at that, already making progress...

Day 3 - evening outdoors on the same mostly flat route. Had the dog with me again which hindered me today. Might leave her home next time instead of fighting to keep her from sniffing and running to the fences of all the other dogs in the damn neighborhood. Still was able to run several intervals and by using my new and improved stride I was less out of breath than the last time I ran outdoors. Again couldn't be specific on the time and due to doggie issues didn't get as many long running intervals but still a good workout. Ankles aren't noticeably store today - nor is anything else come to think of it. I can't believe I'm training every day!