Saturday, February 28, 2015

Food Prepping: Week Four

This week's ingredients: Roma tomatoes, a bell pepper, an onion, mushrooms,
teeny tomatoes, a can of canellini beans, spinach, arugula, and kale.
Not shown: some 2% milk and various seasonings and stuff. 
I've got *most* of this week's food prepping done, but not quite all of it. I did manage to avoid getting in the way of dinner this week. So having one thing left to do tomorrow is definitely for the best. (Also, I wanted to go for my run, so I didn't want to take another half hour or more.)

As usual, this food prepping is (mostly) for me -- it lets me get more vegetables in my diet without taking away (in important ways) from what my husband, Patrick, and I have together. What I aim to prep is: an interesting salad for at least 4 lunches (it will replace a half-serving of our usual leftovers), something to replace my bowl of cereal at breakfast, something to replace one (of three) fish patties when we have fish a couple of times a week, and (maybe) a snack. 

What I made. 
This week I have:
  • Marinated White Bean Salad -- the four jars have the white beans marinating in a vinaigrette, some sliced onion, and some teeny tomatoes. The four flat containers next to it have (mostly) arugula and some spinach. At lunch, the jar of salad fixin's gets dumped over the greens.
  • Spinach and Mushroom "Gratin" -- In the rectangular dish in the middle I have what is almost certainly a very light gratin of mushrooms and spinach with a bit of a milky sauce. This is two servings and is my fish replacer. 
  • Baked Eggs with Vegetables -- this will have some assembly required every morning. The two round dishes on the right have some roasted vegetables (onion and red pepper in the top one, tomatoes in the bottom) for this. (This is veggies for four servings.) In the mornings, vegetables and an egg (and some parmesan cheese) will go into a ramekin and bake until the egg is done nicely. (I did this back in my first week of food prepping like this and it worked out just fine.)
I haven't yet made the Kale Chips -- tomorrow I'll cut up the kale, massage some oil into the surface, and roast it into kale chips. I've done this before as well and they're a very nice snack. They're also dead simple. But they will have to be worked around slow roasting a pork butt, which is what we're doing for dinner (and leftovers for lunches for the week).

Run Seventeen: What Happens at Max HR?

At least the app has me on the right continent now. :D 
I had a good time with today's run though my heart rate was occasionally alarming. One reading was one beat shy of my theoretical maximum (220-less-my-age). My husband asked the other day what happens if you reach your maximum and I realized I have no idea. Fortunately, I don't really believe that reading -- the readings seemed to be going up and down with only a modest correlation to my perceived effort. All I can figure is that I'm doing something different in how I hold the sensors to make the reading change. I'll see if I can get more information from the folks who work there on Monday when I go back. 

I did push the speed a bit more this time and made my goal! Today's plan was 5 minutes of running, 3 minutes of walking, 8 minutes of running, 3 minutes of walking, 5 minutes of running. My goal was to run at 3.5 miles an hour at least and to do the last minute of each running interval at 3.7 miles an hour. This I did. :: happy dance ;:

I one whole interval at 3.6 or more and some extra minutes at 3.7 in one.

I did not make my stretch goal of one whole interval at 3.7 miles an hour.

I did notice that I was occasionally over-running the treadmill -- bumping into the bar at the front -- then having to regulate my self back down. But I didn't want to speed up because I wanted to make my goal of "all running intervals at 3.5 miles per hour and the last minute of each at 3.7". I have a plan on how to deal with that.

I'm now a few hours post-run -- I helped my husband make dinner and we've eaten and cleaned up -- and I am pooped. That one took a lot out of me. Maybe I really was one beat below my maximum heart rate and it wore me out. I'm not sure. I'm just pooped.

My next run is scheduled for Monday. The Week Six, Day Two program is 10 minutes of running, 3 minutes of walking, 10 minutes of running. My goal for the run is to run all of both of those intervals. Beyond that, what I intend is to start each of the running intervals at 3.5 miles per hour -- if I bump the front, I'll raise the speed by a tenth of an mph. If I can't keep up, I'll slow the speed down by a tenth. I just want to see what happens if I let myself run without pacing myself. My hope is that I'll wind out averaging faster than 3.5 mph. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Run Sixteen: 20 Minutes!! :D :D

20 Minutes!! I ran like a gentle breeze, not
the wind, but I ran. 
I did it!! My goal for today's run was to run for all 20 minutes without stopping. I didn't care about how fast I was going as long as I didn't stop. I totally did it. I didn't really think I could and was nervous all day about going out for a run, but once I got on the treadmill I felt good and strong and comfortable and just went. 

In addition to being worried that I wouldn't be able to run the whole time, I was also concerned about 20 minutes being a long time to go without anything to look forward to. I am sometimes all about the Short Attention Span Theater. To combat that, I wound out doing a bit of playing with how fast I was going -- I would go "faster" (relatively speaking) for two minutes, then slower for two minutes to rest a bit, then faster. I never pushed the pace all that much (so my fastest was 3.5 miles an hour and my slowest running speed was 2.9 miles an hour), because I wanted to be able to keep going for the whole time. I did finish the last minute with my fastest speed (3.5 miles an hour), though, because I wanted to finish strong. 

Which was my first time ever finishing with my fastest speed. ;D

Playing with my speed like that was was fun and it did work to keep me engaged. I'll have to remember that. 

My heart rate was potentially a little alarming -- about 95% of my theoretical max (that 220-less-my-age number) for most of the 20 minutes, as measured by the sensors on the treadmill. I'm kind of guessing that it was reading a little high, because I didn't feel like I was working nearly as hard today as I did on Monday when the reading was quite a bit lower. I'm willing to figure that I was probably more like in the 80% range, which is good. I think that's where I need to be to get better cardiovascular health. 

Next run is scheduled for Saturday. The Week 6, Day 1 plan is run 5 minutes, walk 3, jog 8, walk 3, jog 5. After running for 20 minutes today, I'm *sure* I can do that. Goal for the run: Run all of those run intervals at 3.5 miles an hour, with the last minute of each interval at least 3.7. The overjoyed level of success will be to do all of one of the intervals at 3.7 miles an hour. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Run Fifteen: "Tough. Keep running."

Once again I had a bit of a fail with the
treadmill and my distance number may be a
This run involved two eight minute runs with a five minute walk break between them. My goal for the run was to run all of both of those, with at least one at 3.5 mph the whole way. I did 3.5 mph for all of both of them, except for the 3 or 4 minutes of the first one when I was going 3.6 mph. :D 

It was *not* an easy accomplishment -- the first run went okay, but the second one was *tough*. Starting at about minute 3 of the second run, my internal dialogue went sort of like this: 

"Can I stop now?" 

"Nope, keep running." 

"How about now?" 

"Nope, listen to the music and keep running." 

"I'd  really like to stop now." 


"Please? I'm really tired."

"Tough. Keep Running." 

And so on for about five minutes. My calves were mostly fine but my hamstrings were getting tired and sore and I was very winded. I could probably have done better if I'd backed the pace down, but I wanted to stay at 3.5 mph. 

The music *really* helped -- when I wanted not to be focusing on the fact that my legs were tired and I was huffing and puffing, I could listen to the music and sort of fly. 

I had an interesting treadmill issue -- or, at least, a treadmill issue that taught me something useful. When I had just started my cooldown walk at the end, the emergency stop got triggered and it took me a little while to get the treadmill going again. While I was standing still, I could feel my calves cramping all to heck. I did some extra cool-down walking to make up for it. Lesson learned: Cool down walks are important, so don't skimp on them. It doesn't hurt to do a little more if I have time for it.

I also discovered that the treadmills have a built in heart rate monitor -- if I hold the metal grips (which I don't usually, because I don't want to lean on them or use them for support) and wait a second, my heart rate shows up on the screen. Who knew!? When I was having to be very stern with myself to keep going, my heart rate was at about 80% of maximum (using the American Heart Association's figure of 220-less-my-age as my max). I need to do some more research to figure out what to do with that information. 

Next run is scheduled for Wednesday. The schedule for Week 5, Day 3 is a 20 minute continuous run. Eeep! Goal for the run -- keep running for 20 minutes. I'm not going to press for any particular pace as long as I keep going. I'm anticipating more stern dialogues with myself. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Run Fourteen: Goal Achieved! :D

Almost back up to my best run ever (which
was Week 2 and I've no idea how I did it).
Oh, yeah, run fourteen was awesome!! 

First thing in the morning, I went for my run while my husband was shopping at the market across the street across the street from the gym. This worked out beautifully.

I even kicked my goal for the run in it's underachieving behind! :D My goal was all five minutes of all three runs with at least one at 3.5 miles per hour. What I did was all five minutes of all three runs with ALL of them at 3.5 miles an hour. I could probably have gone faster on the first one, I kept over-running the treadmill, but I didn't want to go so fast on the first one that I couldn't do all of them at 3.5 miles an hour. So I paced myself so I could keep a good steady speed. 

I did have a bit of a problem with crampy calves, though it went away after about 30 seconds of running. I also had a bit of shin pain, mostly in the walking intervals, which was sorted out by slowing down a little bit so I wasn't over-striding so much. 

When we got home I remembered to stretch and massage my calves. I didn't remember to do that last Wednesday (because I had a bunch of stuff going on as soon as I got home) and was stiff and hurty and sore for a couple of days. No fun. 

I've been focusing mostly on calf stretches and massage because my calves are thick and stiff just on their own, but today I could feel the run in my hamstrings. I need to look up some good hamstring stretches. I counted on Downward Dog to deal with them today (because it's good for many things).

I have some extra time this weekend and want to use some of it to work out a not-too-long (20 to 30 minutes) and fitness-level-appropriate strength routine for Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays (three of my non-running days; Friday is my Rest Day). I have some resistance bands (from physical therapy ages ago) and am also equipped to do body weight exercises. 

For the rest of the day, it's snowing out (yay!) and we've done all our errands so I can just bask in the glow and enjoy. 

Next run is scheduled for Tuesday. The program for Week 5, Day 2 is eight minutes of running, five minutes of walking, eight minutes of running. Goal for the run: Run all eight minutes of both of those, at least one at 3.5 miles an hour. If I can do both at 3.5 miles an hour I'll be Awfully Pleased! (I'm still not thinking ahead to Wednesday -- 20 minutes straight. Eep!)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Run Thirteen: Lucky 13!

Still not in Africa. I don't know where
my phone is getting that.
I didn't make my goal for Run Thirteen. My goal for this run was to run all of the running intervals (two three-minute intervals and two five-minute intervals) and two one three and one five at 3.5 miles an hour at least. I did do all of the running time and the first three minute interval I ran at 3.7 mph. After that, though, I couldn't stay above 3.3 mph. Sigh. I touched on 3.5 in the last five minute interval, but couldn't stay there.

I had mentioned that 3.5 miles an hour was a stretch goal, right? I wasn't kidding.

Despite not quite making my goal, it was a good run. I felt good and enjoyed myself. And I don't feel like I'm laboring and struggling -- though that may be a Gift of the Treadmill and not exactly quite real. But I'll take it, because it feels awesome. :D

The treadmill is helping me build up strength in both my legs and my lungs, which is very cool. 

Once again the silent TVs added a level of surreality to the proceedings. But my new running playlist was pretty good -- especially for the first half of the run.

Next run, I'll be starting Week Five of the C25K program. Each of the three runs in Week Five is different and the third one is 20 minutes without a walking break. Eeep! I'm not going to think about that too hard -- it's a week away and I'm trusting the program. My next run is three five minute running intervals, which is actually a minute less than I've been doing this week.

Next run is scheduled for Saturday. Goal for the run: Run all five minutes of all three intervals with one of them (at least) at least 3.5 miles an hour. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Run Twelve: The world was moving she was floating above it and she was

Run Eleven did not take place anywhere
near the equator. Ignore the map.
Two life lessons while running today:
  1. I cannot walk on a treadmill and drink from an open-mouthed water bottle at the same time. I wound out putting one foot down on the non-moving edge and stumbling then riding backwards then stumbling some more. The lid to the water bottle went flying, my phone landed on the tread (with my earbuds dangling from my ears) and ultimately was deposited on the floor. I had to hit the emergency stop. It was the least graceful thing I've done in quite a while. (Note I was not even trying to drink while running, which I knew would go badly. This was walking and deliberately at a quite easy pace so I could take a drink.) 
  2. I can absolutely do this, y'all!! I mean the running thing, not the drinking on a treadmill thing. I ran all 16 minutes today. All of them. And I didn't feel like I was dying for even a second. Which probably means I need to go faster next time and I will. I'm still buzzing and bouncing over this. 
"And She Was..." by the Talking Heads is still the Best.Running.Song.Ever. 

At least for me. 

I feel like I have wings on my feet and I'm floating and gliding when that song plays. I need to find other songs that work as well for me -- since the weather forecast is suggesting that I'll be running on the treadmill at least through Saturday. (Cold, snow, more cold, bitter damn cold, and maybe more snow is the outline of the week, apparently.) I need to explore the music thing more. I want to put together a good playlist that is timed to the workout.

In addition to the awesomeness of the music (which I'm still humming) the experience of running while *warm* is delightful! I may be kind of hooked. 

That said, I'll probably be ready to get back on the road when the weather turns nice. The TV in front of me today was silently (they're always silent) showing "Little Women: LA" which appears to be that sort of reality show that I think of as "people behaving badly". In this case little people behaving badly in Los Angeles, which is a fertile ground for bad behavior. I would have preferred the puffy purple elephant kids' show from Saturday, which was merely odd.  

The total distance number in the picture above is what I remember the distance being before the Treadmill Fail added to the number after the Fail. (As I said, I had to hit the emergency stop button to get myself reorganized and that wiped out all the data.) Honestly, I remember the pre-Fail number being higher than what I wound out adding, but I adjusted it down because what I remember seems kind of implausible to me now.

My next run is scheduled for Wednesday. Goal for the run: All of all the running intervals and at least one three minute and one five minute interval at 3.5 miles per hour or more (those need not be consecutive). Yes, that is a stretch goal. Also, come up with a playlist that is not all "And She Was" to run to. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Food Prepping!

The Ingredients, except I forgot to include a carrot and a bunch of scallions
in the picture.
I'm trying to get in a habit of spending some time on the weekend preparing myself some healthy food to eat during the week. If I have interesting salads chock full of Good Stuff prepared, it's super easy to add one to my lunch. If we have healthful snacks, we'll eat healthful snacks.

I'm trying to get myself set up with a salad for lunches, something to replace the bowl of cereal at breakfast, something to replace a fish, erm, piece the two nights a week (on average) we have fish , and something snacky. These "replacement" foods aim to be lower in calorie and higher in nutrient content (or at least different in nutrient content) than what they're replacing. 

From the ingredients above, I made the following: 

  • Four tofu and soba noodle salads with scallions and carrots. Those are the four mason jars (two half-pints full of fixin's and two pints with fixin's and some salad greens) and four blue-lidded containers in the back. The two smaller containers are supplemental greens for the pint jar sized salads. The greens are mixed salad stuff, baby spinach and arugula.
  • Potato and sweet potato chips -- baked in the oven. (The potato chips are the dark brown ones.) These were experimental and definitely need some tweaking. We cut them a little too thin so they went from Not Chips Yet to Very Brown in a matter of seconds. But it's a nice, tasty snack that's not too difficult. So we'll probably try them again. 
  • Four breakfast wraps (the tinfoil wrapped objects) with spinach, mushrooms, egg, feta cheese and sun-dried tomatoes. These are now in the freezer -- according to the recipe they get microwaved for four minutes for a tasty hot breakfast. :D
  • Not shown: Tofu and roasted mushrooms for when Patrick and I are having fish. (We get Gorton's Potato Crusted Fish and Gorton's Beer Battered Fish and alternate them.) Replacing one fish piece with a quarter of a block of tofu and a quarter pound of mushrooms, roasted, will save calories, give me a treat that I've been missing (I love tofu and mushrooms) and deprive Patrick of nothing he would enjoy. So it's kind of a win all around. 
Not that it was an entirely successful food-prepping adventure -- I started too late and totally was in the way of Patrick making dinner. The breakfast wraps and salad went really quickly. The *chips* took forever -- next time we'll know to do only one potato instead of three, slice it a little thicker, and begin a little earlier. 

But I now have tasty, tasty food for most of the week. :D 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Run Eleven: On A Treadmill

The stats are wonky because of me doing this
on a treadmill.
I did my first run ever on a treadmill during my first ever time in a fitness center this morning. It was an interesting experience. There were a whole bank of TVs silently showing things from CNN to the Oprah channel to Univision's Spanish Language children's programming. I can not even guess why anyone had the kid's show with the puffy purple elephant (presumably in Spanish, though there was no sound from any of them) on in a gym where no one under 13 is allowed. There were some really inspiring people who I want to be able to run like (one woman was doing sprint intervals and looked like a painting of a goddess). I could listen to music for the first time (and now know that "And She Was" by the Talking Heads is Awesome To Run To). 

I joined the gym because the weather is going to be very cold and dry and windy the next few days and I can't keep beating up my lungs with cold-and-exercise-induced asthma. I had two attacks that each kept my lungs hurting for a couple of days last week. 

Running on a treadmill is definitely easier -- I was able to run for five minutes without much trouble and even did a six-minute run, though that took some willpower. My speed wasn't anything to write home about (3.something miles per hour when running) but that's about where I'm at. I feel like maybe I was able to run better because I could breathe better, but I'm not sure. It probably also helped actually being able to get my muscles warmed up walking before I started with the running. It's been cold enough outside every time I've run that I don't really get to feeling warm until about half-way through. 

Which probably means I'm doing something wrong.

Anyway, so how did the run go? Pretty well, on the whole. 

The week four running program is: 3 minutes of running, 1 1/2 minutes of walking, 5 minutes of running, 2 1/2 minutes of walking, repeated twice. My goal for the run was to do all of one five minute interval and at least three minutes on each of the other running intervals, for a total of 14 minutes of running. Somehow I managed to miss a cue (even though I was in the nice quiet confines of the gym and listening to music straight into my ears), so I didn't wind out following the program exactly right. * facepalm * I did make my goal for the total time -- I ran the first three minutes, the first five, and then added a sixth minute on to the second five.

I think the treadmill is going to be good for building my cardiovascular health, even if it isn't as good for developing as a runner. My endurance {and keeping my breath to the extent that's different) has always been a weak point for me. Even when I'm walking, I get winded pretty easily. I don't want to treadmill every day but there are going to be some good sides to it, I think. 

Next run is scheduled for Monday. I'll be going back to the gym because it's supposed to be bitter cold (wind chills not too much above 0F). Goal for the run -- either run all of everything (without missing any cues for a change) or run at least 14 minutes again at a faster pace. I'll be overjoyed if I can run all of everything *and* go at a faster pace. I'm hoping that Wednesday it will be warm enough to go outside again -- I don't want to do all of Week 4 on the treadmill. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Run Ten: Moving On Up

No personal record today. :(
I missed one of the "stop running" cues on the app again today so I wound out messing up the run and walk statistics again (because I was walking during a running time and running in a walking time). I wound out running about 50 seconds more than the 9 minutes expected though, so it's all good. I had to work my way through some tough calf cramps, which wasn't too much fun, but stretching them when I got home may have helped.

Apparently, if a car passes just as the cue sounds, I just don't hear it at all. And my phone's vibrate function isn't very strong, so I don't pick up on the tactile cue. I don't listen to music or wear earbuds while I'm running, so it's not going straight into my ears. 

I need to work on that. 

I'm not too worried about missing signals next week -- with a  couple of five minute long running intervals (and much shorter recovery intervals), I expect that I'll really be pushing to get through the whole time. 

But I've thought that before. 

I didn't do as good this time controlling the exercise-and-cold-induced-asthma and have a nasty cough now. I expect I'll feel better tomorrow. I need to talk with the doctor about this when we go in for physicals in the next few weeks.

I'm looking forward to getting home when it's light out, so I'm not out there running in the dark (with a white jacket on). Saturdays are my day for running when it's actually *day* out, which will be nice. I haven't gotten the Secret Runner Society smile in *weeks* because I never see any other runners -- I'm starting to feel a little more part of the Secret Runner Society and am looking forward to seeing other runners.

Next run is scheduled for Saturday. Goal for the run: Run all of one of the five minute intervals and at least 11 minutes overall (preferably 14 minutes overall, because that would be at least three minutes of all the intervals and five minutes of the one of them). 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Diet Revamp: There's more to this than running

Today's lunch: White Coq au Bier (a half-serving) and Roasted Sweet Potato-
Quinoa-Black Bean Salad. Snacks not shown: A banana.
If I want an afternoon snack, I have a slice of whole grain bread
and a little bit of peanut butter.
So far all I've been posting about here are my runs, but this Upward Trend toward a fitter healthier me also involves some significant changes to my diet. My husband, Patrick, and I are working together to figure out how to keep what we like about our diet while allowing me to make improvements and get healthier.

The things we want to keep are:
  • Eating most meals together -- we sit down at the table together and eat more or less the same food for at least 2 meals a day (breakfast and dinner) and we both value this highly.
  • Eating mostly Patrick's (and our) home cooking -- Patrick is a wonderful cook and he enjoys experimenting with his cooking, trying new cooking methods and flavor combos. We do not want to take that away from him, or take away any of his joy in it.
  • Beer -- We drink and enjoy craft beer together and do not want to give that up. We have always and ever enjoyed one beer a night, taking notes and really savoring it, so it's not too hard to keep it part of our healthful eating
  • Cooking one big and special meal over the weekend -- working on it together is good bonding time and it makes leftovers for lunches for most of the week

The things I want to change are: 
  • Eating less overall -- there is no way I can eat the same amount of food as Patrick without gaining weight and losing health
  • Eating more vegetables that Patrick doesn't like -- neither of us are great vegetable eaters, but he's got a shorter list of Vegetables That Are Food than I do and I don't want to miss out on some lovely veggies that I like and he doesn't
  • Food planning -- I do best at eating healthful foods if I have the whole day planned out from the start. It allows me to make informed choices about trade-offs (e.g.: If I have that donut, I'll have to pass on beer). I map the whole day out at breakfast and then just know that I'm not having that donut today. If I want one tomorrow, I'd better plan it in from the beginning.
  • Calorie counting -- I have successfully lost 60 pounds counting calories, gained it back when I stopped, and want to go back to it because I found it basically painless and an easy way to make sure I was eating well (and not too much). It's part of the planning I do every morning at breakfast.

We're approaching the changes we make as an experiment -- we're trying new things to see if they work. If they don't work, then we can just try something else. If they do work, then we keep that as a tool to help us both get healthier. 

The lunch in the photo is what I'm having for lunch most of the week -- a half-size portion of the White Coq au Bier (like coq au vin, only we use beer instead of wine) we made on Saturday with a nice big, colorful salad. The salad has roasted sweet potatoes, roasted red peppers, dried cranberries, black beans, quinoa, arugula, and a nice big bed of mixed greens. This lunch is kicking ass and taking names -- the salad is amazing and the Coq au Bier absolutely delicious.

I think the general approach -- replace some of my portion of what we're eating together with something that Patrick wouldn't eat anyway -- is going to to be a useful tool in our toolbox. We just need to make sure we don't get tripped up by kitchen logistics. Our kitchen is small and awkwardly laid out, so we have to coordinate what we're doing in there.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Run Nine: Overjoyed Again!

One of these days I'll have a better picture than
this run log again. :D 
Once again, I've gone way beyond what I thought I could do today. :D I ran both three minute intervals and both 90-second intervals. And I even did them all in the right order, which I think made a difference. The last minute of the second three-minute interval was really hard -- I almost stopped with about thirty seconds left but I just told myself I could do it and kept going until the app said stop. By the time I'd walked out both the 3-minute recovery period from that run and the 5-minute cool down I felt pretty good.

My legs are going to be tired, I can already tell -- I reversed the direction I went around the neighborhood because I observed on Saturday that I was going the easier way. The way I've gone the last couple of times, I'm hitting most of a (very gentle) uphill during the warm-up walk then running weaving around through a (slightly) steeper downhill. I chose to go the harder way today -- running up the steeper hill (still weaving around all the little cul de sacs) and walking down the gentler one -- because it seems like a good idea to mix things up. 

What all that means is: I ran all of the intervals, including two three-minute intervals going the (relatively) hard way. :D

I was a little nervous because I had a bout with exercise-induced asthma after running on Saturday (can I just say that I'm really looking forward for warmer weather, the cold's a little tough on me). I really didn't want to do that to my lungs again. Fortunately, some extra layers of warmth on my chest, deliberately breathing through my nose, and a neck gaiter up around my mouth (though not covering it tightly) kept that at bay this time. 

Next run is scheduled for Wednesday. It will be the same plan again (third day at week 3 level) and I know I can do it. (Which is just astonishingly cool, by the way.) So my goal for the run is to try and run farther -- I did 0.6 miles today. I want to beat that. 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Run Eight: Life Lesson, Important-type!

No personal best today -- but it's a 28 minute
planned run rather than 30 or 31.
Learning to run giving me many new insights.

Today's big Life Lesson is that I apparently have always underestimated what I'm capable of. I also apparently have no clue at how fast my body can *improve* when I put demands on it.

I keep thinking I can't do things. But when I try them, I can. 

A couple of weeks ago, I thought I'd need two extra weeks at the Week 1 level because running 60 seconds was kicking my ass. A few days later, I ran all of the intervals. Despite my not having run voluntarily since childhood, I only needed one extra day. 

Last week, I was positive I was overdoing it at the Week 2 level and thought about taking a step back to Week 1 for a few days. That was the day before I went out and ran all of the intervals at Week 2. 

Last Wednesday, after completing Week 2, I thought there was no way I could do a Week 3 run -- which involves two three-minute running intervals. I'd pretty much decided that I was going to do a second week at the Week 2 level just to get myself ready. 

I changed my mind on that this morning and set out for my first Week 3 run -- my goal was to run all of one 3-minute interval and at least 90 seconds of all of the others, which would have been 7.5 minutes of running. (The Week 3 program is "two repeats of 90 seconds of running, 90 seconds of walking, three minutes of running, three minutes of walking". That adds up to 9 minutes of running -- which is how many I did last Wednesday when I ran six 90-second intervals.)

I actually did better than my goal -- but in a weird way. I missed the first cue to stop running and ran right through that walk break which made for a 3 minute run. I then spent the rest of the run kind of making it up as I went along and mostly ignoring the voice from the app -- I wound out running four more 90-second intervals for a total of 9 minutes of running, better than my goal. 

I'm feeling excited about trying other new things now -- apparently if I ask my body to do stuff I don't think I can do, it gets there quickly. 

Why didn't anyone ever tell me this? 

I'm now getting psyched to go to the climbing-wall gym in town -- I've been wanting to do that for ages. The absolute baby-beginner wall is calling my name. 

In related news: I've lost almost 12 pounds since mid-January when I started eating better and walking (before I started running). That's pretty freaking cool as well. 

Next run is scheduled for Monday. Goals for the run: Run at least 9 minutes, run all of at least one 3 minute interval, and follow the instructions from the app. (If I can do both of the three-minute intervals, I'll be overjoyed.) 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Run Seven: Cool! But unexpected!

Not a best time or distance, but I'm still
On Monday, I had a very unsatisfying run -- crampy and winded and just not-good. I did a little research and came to the conclusion that I was pushing myself too hard. My aerobic fitness is utterly in the tank and I haven't run for fun in decades, so the Couch-to-5K program is probably underestimating how well-cushioned my couch is, so to speak. I was actually okay with this and had started mapping out how to handle slowing down a bit.

Against all expectation, I ran all 90-seconds of all six running intervals. I had a little bit of cramping in my legs but ran right through it (I just slowed down a little). I didn't even think about how long or how far I ran -- just ran when the app said run and walked when it said walk.

Awesomely cool!! Entirely unexpected, but cool! It felt very good and sort of zen. And I totally rocked my goals for the run.

My running pace was pretty slow this evening, but I was consciously trying to go about as slow as I can. I even occasionally slowed down if I picked it up too much. I read somewhere that the idea with the C25K program is for the jogging to be at a "conversational pace"-- so one can carry on a conversation while running. There is no possible conversational pace for me when running (short of not running at all), so I'm just trying to take it as slowly as possible while I build aerobic fitness.

I'm probably going to spend my next running week (Saturday, Monday and next Wednesday) at the week two level because I think it'll give my body time to adapt to what I'm asking of it. Unless something changes my mind between now and Saturday. (Week three has three minute long runs, which I can't even imagine right now.)

Next run is scheduled for Saturday. My goal for my next run is to repeat the feat of running all 90 seconds of all the running intervals. If I can do it without (much) calf cramping, that would be wonderful. And I'll be overjoyed if I could get my distance back to my max distance so far: 1.69 miles (last Saturday). (If I do decide to level up to week three, I'll go for running all of one of the 3-minute intervals.)

Monday, February 2, 2015

Run Six: Not awesome.

I painted one of my running shoes. Because obsession is like that sometimes.
(c) Sara Rabe, 2015, gouache on paper
I did run six at lunch at work today -- the weather at lunch was merely unpleasant (mid-30s F and wet), when we get home it will be pretty brutal (wind chill around 18 F and winds around 20 miles an hour sustained). I did this with Run Three last week and it worked out just fine, but today not so much.

I was scared and worried  before I went out. Anxious. My heart was racing before I even put on my running shoes. It wasn't that I didn't want to go, exactly. I was just scared of what would happen.

Let me be clear - I work in a heavily travelled and well patrolled part of Annapolis and knew I was going to be running in the middle of the day in the heart of that well patrolled and travelled area. I wasn't scared about my personal safety.

As far as I can tell, I was scared of it not going well. There was some niggling worry that if I didn't go out there and cruise through my goals for the run (which should have been a total softball) Something Bad would happen. Something Bad maybe in the form of losing my motivation to do my next run and the run after that and so on.

Possibly because of fears just like this I have a history of peaking early and low in physical activities -- I took a Tae Kwon Do class in college and got praise for how well I did a particular sort of roll in the second and I never did anything in the class as well again. Not even that roll. I quit after a couple more classes because I was so frustrated.

Anyway, despite being scared of going out there and failing and Something Bad happening, I tied on my shoes and went anyway.

It wasn't a great run. My calves were cramping from before the mid-point on (I'd been feeling so good, I've been slacking on stretching and massaging them). I got horribly winded in the first run (up a little bit of a hill) and never really recovered. My shins were (and are still) a little hurty. And it just didn't feel good.

My goal for the run was to run all 90-seconds of four of the six running intervals and at least sixty seconds of the other two. I did not make my goal. (First time for that, darn it.) I ran all 90 seconds of one, almost all 90 seconds of another, at least sixty seconds of what must be three and completely wimped out on one because my calves were so crampy. I kept moving the whole time, but I didn't run nearly as well or as much as I wanted to.

So now it's on me to avoid Something Bad happening. I'm not going to give up because of one unsatisfying run, for heaven's sake.

My next run is scheduled for Wednesday. I'm going to take a step back in my goals for the run and go for: Run all of at least two of the 90 second intervals and at least 60 seconds of the rest. But mainly, just get out there and go for a run.

Small note on the painting: Drawing and painting are what I do in the evenings when I'm not running. The colors on the painting are pretty accurate but the proportions are off (I really do have toes). I'm sure I'll be drawing my running gear again. And as all the gear I have at this point are my shoes, some socks, and the massaging roller ball, it'll probably be the shoes.