Monday, March 30, 2015

Run Thirty: Running with the squirrels!

On the road! I didn't do the hard part of the loop by
the lake, but this side also has some ups and downs.
As I had hoped, the weather was lovely this evening so I ran out in the "real world" instead of at the gym. I didn't have music on, but I did have birdies singing and squirrels running around being terribly cute. That was nice. 

I left off the part of the loop that goes to the lake and has the biggest hills, but even the easier loop has some hills, which continue to throw me for a loop. There was also a fair amount of wind tonight, though I don't know how much difference it was making. Certainly, I felt like I was working a lot harder when I was running into the wind than when I had it behind me.

Anyway, I didn't make my goal for the run (which was to beat my previous best distance on the road, 2.26 miles). I didn't warm up well (while I was walking, I was having technical problems with my phone and earbuds and wound out scrapping the music idea because of it) and that may have made a difference. 

Next time, I'll do better. Maybe I can be inspired by the squirrels and get a bit more of a scamper in my step. 

Next run is scheduled for Wednesday. The weather is a little uncertain for Wednesday evening so whether or not I'm going to be at the gym or on the road will probably be a game-time decision. Goal for the run, if on the road: No, seriously, beat that 2.26 miles, darn it. Goal for the run, if at the treadmill: Run for 30 minutes straight, try to beat my best distance (2.31 miles). 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Run Twenty-Nine: 30 minutes!!

I went all 30 minutes straight!! 
As expected, I was on the treadmill again today. I didn't push the pace too much, because I wanted to actually go for all 30 minutes straight, which is why I'm just a smidge shy of my best distance.

I had the idea this morning that maybe I was going too fast during my warm-up walking -- so I wasn't getting really warmed up properly. As I was warming up (at a nice steady 3 mph), I decided to start slow and finish fast rather than starting with my highest pace and getting worn out too soon. I went 3.5 mph for 25 minutes, on the grounds that I knew I could do it already. Then I finished at 3.8 mph for five minutes, on the grounds that I knew I could do that as well. 

Which totally worked. :D :D 

Having done that, now I can work on getting faster. Of course, when I get out on the road again, I'm going to be working my way up to 30 minutes straight all over again. 

That might be Monday, to be honest -- weather forecasts indicate that it should be 60F and quite pleasant when we get home from work. I'm really hoping so -- this winter has been dragging on (today felt more like mid-January than late March).

Next run is scheduled for Monday. Assuming I'll be outside, my goal for the run is to run as much as possible and beat my last outside distance, which was 2.26 miles.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Run Twenty-eight: I finished C25K!!

Not awesome. But apparently I did okay.
Way way back at the beginning of February, before Run Six, I was strangely anxious and worried and really nervous about running. I went anyway, and it went very poorly. This evening, I had a similar strange anxiety before running -- just nervous and weirdly reluctant and worried about it. Fortunately, the outcome was different this time. The run didn't go wonderfully today, I don't think I made any of my goals for the run, but I did way better than I thought I would. 

I had some bad cramps in my calves (particularly the right calf) for the first eight minutes of running and wound out walking for a bit. When I got back to running after a few minutes, the cramps had pretty much resolved and I was able to keep going. I took another couple minute walk break a bit later and wound out finishing strong. 

Given how weird I felt beforehand, I'll take that as a pretty good outcome. 

And I only missed at least matching my best distance by one one-hundredth of a mile. (I think I must have made the walking time up by walking pretty fast during warm up and cool down.) 

The other big thing from this evening was that this was the last of the "programmed" runs from the C25K app. I have now finished the program!! *does happy dance* :D 

On the other hand, I still can't run for 30 minutes straight and I haven't even gotten close to going 3.1 miles. 

My plan for now, going forward, is to get up to actually running for all 30 minutes. 

Once I've done that, I'll see what kind of distance I'm covering with that and be able to decide what to do. I know there's a 5Kto10K app by the same people who did this one, but I don't know that I'm especially interested in 10K right now (not writing it out forever, just not right now). I've seen an "Improving your 5K" app somewhere that might be just the thing. The British National Health Service has three structured runs as a follow on program for C25K graduates. (Podcasts, not apps, so no route tracking, though I could have a different app do that part.)

Anyway, once I've gotten so I'm running for 30 minutes, with no breaks, I'll explore these options.

Next run is scheduled for Saturday. I suspect I'm going to be on the treadmill again due to the weather. (This spring is coming in tiny little fits and starts.) Goal for the run: Run for all 30 minutes. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Run Twenty-seven: A Conundrum, but not a bad one

Once again, my best distance!! :D
Run twenty-seven went well, though I don't really understand why. I achieved my best distance, but I don't know that I actually accomplished any of the goals I set for myself. 

My goals for the run were to run for 30 minutes with no breaks, go more than 8 minutes at 3.8 mph, go more than 12 minutes at 3.5 mph. I walked for about 5 minutes (I was a little less obsessive with time today, so I'm not sure exactly) so I actually walked more than last time, though I walked pretty fast. I went for eight minutes at 3.8 mph, but I didn't go more than that. I did two minutes at 3.7 mph. And I did probably 12 (I don't know for sure) at 3.5, and I may have done more. 

What that all amounts to is that I didn't particularly do worse than last time by the numbers, but somehow I went a little bit farther. 

That's the conundrum -- how does that work? 

I did try something new at the gym -- I plugged my earphones into the treadmill, so I could get sound with the TV. When the show I was watching I was on, it was excellent for keeping me from obsessing about time and such. The commercials were not as good an Other Thing To Focus On. I hadn't updated my music playlist in a while so I wasn't going to be inspired by the music readily available. It was not a bad experiment. 

Next run is scheduled for Wednesday -- I'm in with a chance of being able to get back out on the road. It's supposed to be plenty warm for my lungs, but maybe rainy. If I can dodge between showers, I'd definitely rather get back out on the road. Goal for the run, if I'm on the road: Beat my last road distance of 2.26 miles. Goal for the run, if I'm on the treadmill: Run for all 30 minutes, beat today's distance. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Run Twenty-six: Good stuff, wedged into a busy couple of days

Best distance. And on the treadmill. :D :D 
I actually did this run on the treadmill yesterday evening, but haven't had a chance to post in the last 24 hours. 

Normally, I would run on Saturday, but we were planning a trip into Washington, DC to go to some museums (and to go to a specific pizza place for lunch). I knew we'd be doing a *lot* of walking around to get to museums, to get to the restaurant, and then around in the museums at the exhibits we wanted to see. Between wanting to get to the museum when they opened and not wanting to walk a bunch of miles after running, going last night just made the most sense. (Though not without its problems -- we have friends over every Friday, so I came home to guests and was busy right until bedtime.) 

Anyway, the run last night was very good -- I beat my best distance ever. 

I didn't quite make my goal in some ways but I did in others. The program for the run was 30 minutes with no breaks. I wanted to a) run 30 minutes with no breaks; (b) run at least 7 minutes at 3.8 mph; (c) run at least 11 minutes at 3.5. I did take a two minute walk break, so I failed at (a). However, I went 8 minutes at 3.8 and I went 12 minutes at 3.5. So I succeeded at (b) and (c).

Most importantly, I'm still improving and it felt great. :D

It is much harder mentally when I run on the treadmill -- it's like I don't have anything to think about or focus on so I obsess about time and watch the clock and feel every bit of tired in my legs. On the other hand, there are no hills so I can run longer. 

I'm really looking forward to my next run outside -- unfortunately that's not looking like it's going to be my next run on Monday. Monday is supposed to be in the 40s (which is around my "lung ache" threshold). 

Next run is scheduled for Monday. The program is 30 minutes with no stops. Goal for the run: Improve on yesterday -- run for 30 minutes with no walk breaks, go for more than 8 minutes at 3.8, go for more than 12 minutes at 3.5. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Run Twenty-five: Best on the Treadmill

Treadmill again but I pushed myself pretty hard and had my best
treadmill effort ever.

I was back on the treadmill today - the weather was a little too cool and I didn't want to get my lungs messed up.  I did push myself pretty hard, at least. This was my best distance on the treadmill, though I didn't get to my best distance on the road from Wednesday.

I did run all 28 minutes. I did only one minute at 3.7 mph, but I'm okay with it. Because I did 3.8 mph for at least seven. Of the remaining 21 minutes, I did 11 at 3.5 and the rest at 3.3. So I had a higher low speed and a higher high speed than last time. And no walking.

So I did fairly well.

Next run would normally be on Saturday, but my husband and I have plans, so I think I'm going to go on Friday instead.  We're expecting a late return of winter weather (including a chance of snow), so it'll be the treadmill again. The Week 9, Run 1 plan is 30 minutes of running.  Goal for the run. Do that. Go at least as many minutes at 3.8 and 3.5 mph as today.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Run Twenty-Four: Best Pace AND Distance!!

Running on the road is so much cooler,
even though it's much harder! 
Best Pace and Distance!! I haven't gotten both of those since like Run Five! :D I did not run the whole way, but I did run for more than half of the 28 minutes. I even did some of the running uphill. :D

Check out that running speed -- even with walking, that's faster by like a minute per mile than I've been doing. 

I'd be doing a happy dance, but I'm pretty pooped. I also pushed myself maybe a little bit too hard -- I'm coughing and my lungs aren't entirely happy. I'm looking forward to talking to the doctor about what can be done with this exercise-induced asthma. (I know things can be done. And we're seeing the doctor later this spring. So it'll get sorted.) 

It's definitely not cold-induced asthma today -- the weather was absolutely gorgeous. There were a lot of people out exercising enjoying the lovely evening. I actually impressed a lady who was out for a walk with her husband -- I passed them twice and did about 2/3ds of the loop in the time they did the other (easier) third. She actually did a double-take when she saw me the second time. :D That was fun. 

Next run is scheduled for Wednesday. Unless the weather forecast changes radically in the next day and a half, I'll be on the treadmill again. It's supposed to be in the 40s and I think that will make my lungs twitchier so discretion is going to be the better part of valor there. Goal for the run: Run all 28 minutes, do more than 7 minutes at 3.7 mph or more. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Food Prepping: Week Six

This week's ingredients. Tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, scallions, arugula, a carrot,
potatoes, soba noodles, edamame, a lemon, and salad. Snack ingredients not shown.

This week's food prepping went very quickly and efficiently. I don't know if I'm getting better at selecting what I'm making to make for easy prep, getting more efficient at the prepping, or getting back my cooking chops, which had gotten kinda rusty. Or a combination of all three.

My prep this week is for four breakfasts, four luncheon salads (to accompany half of a boneless, skinless, chicken thigh), two vegetable dishes for fish dinners, and post-run snacks (because it's getting too warm for cocoa). My goal calorie content for these is: breakfast, less than 160 (it goes with other stuff to bring brekky to about 400); salad, about 150; fish-replacer vegetables, less than 130 (because a fish patty is 130); post-run snack, 100-150.

The results. Including a couple of things made with ingredients not shown above. 

I am very excited about what I made. :D Here's the rundown: 

  • Breakfast: My new favorite weekday breakfast is what I call Eggs and Vegetables -- roasted tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers topped with a poached egg and some Parmesan cheese. Delicious, filling, and well below target calorie count at 121. Obviously the eggs aren't shown because I poach those fresh each morning. (Front right of the picture -- two big round containers and one small one with the grated Parmesan.) 
  • Lunch Salad; This week's salad is an Asian Noodle Salad with soba noodles, a little bit of red bell pepper, grated carrot, edamame, scallion and a rather nifty Thai-esque spicy peanut dressing. All over mixed salad greens and some arugula. (Four stacked flat containers of greens, four half-pint mason jars of fixin's in the back left.) This salad is higher than my usual target calorie count at 195, but the broiled chicken thighs it'll be going with are lower than usual, so it will work out just fine. 
  • Fish replacer: Baked potatoes topped with a lemony vinaigrette dressing (with Parmesan cheese in it) and arugula. Sort of a salad in a baked potato. I have the potatoes baked, so they'll just go in the oven with the fish to reheat. I'll dress the arugula just before putting it in the top of the spud.  (Potatoes are in the front left; arugula and dressing in the back right.) I had to hunt for potatoes small enough to make it fit in the target calorie count, but I managed to get it to 137, which is close enough. 
  • Post-run Snack: I didn't show the ingredients for this in the first picture, though the toppings are in the second, because I actually had it yesterday after my run. It's plain, non-fat Greek yogurt with toasted pistachios, almonds and quinoa, chopped dates, lemon zest, sea salt, and a little drizzle of olive oil. It was *delicious* and I forgot the lemon zest and sea salt. I can't wait to try it again. One 5.3oz container of yogurt will make three snacks (which works out perfectly because I run three times a week). (Two little round containers in the front middle with toppings; the yogurt is in the fridge. The orange packet next to them is an olive oil sample we got in the mail; I figured I'd use it here because it was about the right amount.) This may beat hot cocoa as a post-run snack and I'm a huge fan of the hot cocoa. The calorie count is right in my range at 125. 
I'm'a be eatin' good this week. :D :D

We finished off last week with the fancy weekend brunch version of an egg-tomato-pepper-onion breakfast yesterday. Tomatoes, peppers and onions sauteed with eggs cooked right in there until the whites are set and the yolks are runny with a lovely Dutch goat cheese (called Midnight Moon and that's all we know about it) over whole wheat English muffins. That's delicious speck (sort of in the line of proscuitto only smoked) around the outside of the plate.

It did not come out looking pretty this time, but it tasted *delicious*! 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Run Twenty-Three: Pushing Myself

Back on the treadmill. But I pushed myself
harder than I have been. 
The weather was grey and wet and intermittently rainy today and we had a vaguely irksome day running errands (we should not have had to go to three grocery stores looking for a basic, simple condiment). Anyway, I just didn't want to deal with running in the real world and real weather, so I went back to the gym to run on the treadmill.

However, I went back to the treadmill armed with the knowledge I gained running in the real world last Monday and Wednesday -- which is that I can do a lot more than I think I can. (Yes, I know I've learned this lesson multiple times in the last eight weeks. I'll probably have to learn it again because it's so unexpected.)

My planned goal for the run was to run all 28 minutes, with as much as possible at 3.5 miles per hour. After running outside last week and beating my best treadmill distance without even running the whole time, that seemed like maybe an easier goal than I wanted it to be. So I decided to push myself and see if I could do better than that..

First, I confess that I didn't run all 28 minutes. I took two one-minute walk breaks (one at about 10 minutes and one at about 22). I didn't really slow down much but I did rest my legs just a little. So I guess that was a bit of a fail.

On the other hand, I ran the first six minutes and the last minute at 3.7 mph, I ran eleven minutes at 3.5 mph, and I ran the remaining ten minutes at 3.3 (except the two minutes when I was walking at about that speed). Which is a lot more at a much higher speed than my last trip on the treadmill.

That is why I made my best distance today by more than a tenth of a mile. :D

I'm considering officially that I made my goal, darn it, because even though I did stop running for a couple of minutes, I didn't actually go any slower when I did.

I can totally feel it now, a few hours after getting home -- my hamstrings are all pingy and twingy. It's kind of cool (but also a bit uncomfortable). On the up-side, my lungs are fine -- no exercise-induced asthma at all. :D

Next run is scheduled for Monday. The program is 28 minutes of running. I'm not sure what the weather's supposed to be like -- if it's nice I'll be outside; if not, I'll be on the treadmill. Goal for the run, if I'm outside: Run as much as possible and try to get to the 2.1 miles I did today. Goal for the run, if I'm on the treadmill: No walk breaks, more at 3.7 miles per hour, more at 3.5 miles per hour.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Run Twenty-Two: Road Again

I went around the loop in the other direction.
It didn't help with the hills.
It was nice again this evening so I abandoned my plans for a run on the treadmill and went out on the road instead. Once again, I didn't even get close to going for 25 minutes, though I did better than Monday. I'm thinking I need to step back a bit and do Weeks 5 and 6 again on the road because the road is *so* much different from the treadmill. (There are hills, y'all!!)

I tried doing the loop near my house in the other direction than I did the other day -- I figured that would break up one of the long uphill stretches. It's possible that it was a little better -- but it wasn't a miracle cure either. There is no way to avoid ups and downs on this loop. Which is actually, probably, good.

I never considered not running today, but I dithered long and hard over treadmill vs. road. I wasn't totally feeling like running -- just felt a little meh and poky -- and I couldn't decide which would be better. Until I got outside and saw how gorgeous it was.

Once I got out there and going, it was pretty good, though not as brilliant as some of the runs I've had on the treadmill.

Next run is scheduled for Saturday. It is almost certainly going to be on the treadmill because Week 8 is 28 minutes and if I can't do 25 on the road, I sure as heck can't do 28. It's also supposed to be raining and ucky out. Goal for the run -- go for 28 minutes. Do as  much as possible at 3.5 or more miles per hour. If it is nice out and I run outside, I'll probably go back to one of the week six days -- like eight and five and eight with breaks. That might have me running more than knowing I'm not going to be able to do all of 28 minutes..

Diet Revamp: Embracing the Vegetables

Image by Elina Mark via Wikimedia Commons. 

I have had what can best be called a reluctant relationship with vegetables for most of my life. When I was growing up, vegetables came from cans and were boiled until grey-green and served with a pat of butter on top. (Except the canned asparagus -- that was served with some shredded cheddar cheese on top). It was grim. 

Later in my childhood, after my mom remarried, I remember there was fresh broccoli as a snack most every evening. And the nasty cans were banished from the kitchen -- I don't think Momma or I ate LeSeuer Peas ever again. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Run Twenty-One: On the Road Again!

On the road again -- hills and pavement and
just wow! 
The weather was spectacularly nice today and, with Daylight Savings Time having started the sun is still up when we get home from work. So I decided to run on the actual *road* rather than going to the gym to the treadmill. Which meant that everything I had as a goal for the run went right out the window.

I'm not entirely sure how I feel about how this run today went -- I didn't even come *close* to running for all 25 minutes. Not even close. I'm not sure I even ran 10 minutes all at a stretch. On the other hand, I clearly didn't do too bad on the pace overall. I mean, 1.96 miles is my best distance and even beat the day when the distance was artificially boosted. 

I certainly felt like I was running faster, except when I was going uphill and it felt like I was barely moving at all. My legs feel like I did when I was really pushing the pace (all the way up to 3.8 mph) a few days ago.  

So I think it went well, though it's definitely a bit of a comeuppance to have gone from "25 minutes, Yay!" to "I'm dying!" But I'm dying with actual hills and roads and the whole deal. So okay. 

I did pass a couple of runners while I was running and got the Secret Runner Society Smile. That made me feel pretty good. :D 

Next run is scheduled for Wednesday. It's supposed to be raining, so I figure I'll be on the treadmill again. The plan is 25 minutes, no breaks. Goal for the run: Run 25 minutes, with no breaks. I want to try and start with 5 minutes of 3.5 mph and end with 5 minutes of 3.5 mph and stay above 3.1 mph the whole time. Stretch goal is to have a kick of speed up to 3.7 for the last minute (or two). 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Run Twenty: 25 minutes! :D

I didn't push the speed much, but I didn't just
shuffle along either. :D 

Yesterday was a busy busy blur -- I got up and went for my run first thing in the morning while my husband was at the market. After that it was all errands and visiting family and friends over until I fell asleep around midnight. I hardly got a chance to sit down, let alone sit at the computer and post. 

Or even to reflect on the run and what had gone well. 

It was a good run -- not as awesomely fun as the previous one, but I wasn't laboring and struggling. I managed to go at my 3.5 mph speed for the first five minutes (of 25) and the last minute. I went between 3.1 and 3.3 in the middle. 

And I wasn't so beat or pooped for the rest of the day that I couldn't be on the go All Day Long. So that was good as well. :D

Next run is scheduled for Monday. The program is again to run for 25 minutes with no breaks. Goal for the run -- do that and go for eight minutes (nine would be better) at 3.5 mph. 

The weather is finally taking a turn toward Spring in these parts -- so it's possible that for Wednesday's run, I'll be able to get back out on the road and off the treadmill. That will be nice. A little intimidating -- I've gotten kinda used to the treadmill -- but nice.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Run Nineteen: That was so much fun!

This is not *actually* my best pace and distance
because I had five extra minutes of warmup,
for complicated reasons that don't bear going into.
That was so much fun!! Really!! I ran for 22 minutes straight (the Week 6, Day 3 program) and it just felt so good. Saturday and Monday, I felt like I was laboring a bit and there were times that were very hard. Today it was light and fun. :D

Of course, there's an easy explanation for that: I wasn't pushing my pace much at all today. I maxed out at 3.5 miles per hour and only did that for a few minutes. I really just wanted to go the whole time and relax and feel good the whole time. So I made sure that happened. 

I guess that means I didn't make my goal -- my goal was to run all 22 minutes with as much as possible at 3.5 mph. I'm sure I could have done more at 3.5, but it would have made the whole run a lot more difficult.

On the other hand, I absolutely and totally succeeded in running for longer than I ever have and *loving* it. The music was good and I was light on my feet and my body was happy. Which is absolutely huge!

What I've read about this program I'm doing is that one should run at a "conversational" pace so that you're able to carry on a conversation, though not sing. Until now that has been a fairy story -- completely impossible to accomplish. But today, I was about there. I couldn't have conversed for the whole 22 minutes, but I could probably have said a few words even all the way at the end of it. 

Which, just *wow*! That's cool. 

Next run is scheduled for Saturday. The Week 7, Run 1 plan is to run for 25 minutes. (I think that's the plan for the whole week.) Obviously my goal is to do that. If I can keep the fun and lightness while maybe doing a few more minutes at 3.5 miles an hour, that would be fantastic. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Run Eighteen: 3.8 miles per hour...for a while at least

That distance represents 34 minutes of walking,
instead of 33.
There was a math fail. 
My plan for today's run was to push my pace a bit, since I was pretty confident that I'd be able to do two ten minute running intervals. My intention was to raise the speed on the treadmill whenever I bumped into the front of it and slow it down if I started being unable to keep up. 

I tried to follow my plan at first and spent the first five minutes of the first running interval at around 3.8 miles per hour. Then I could feel that I was working really hard and breathing hard in a way that I wasn't going to be able to sustain for 5 more minutes. So I slowed back down to 3.5 mph for the rest of my running intervals. 

(Also, my heart rate was in what theoretically ought to be an anaerobic zone for almost all of those five minutes, which is apparently not supposed to be possible. I figured that I really shouldn't push it any harder than that. Clearly, either I'm not understanding something about this heart rate business or my body is weird.  Or both.) 

Anyway, I did wind out running for 5 minutes at Faster Than I Thought I Could Sustain  and I did run for all of the running intervals. So I'm not at all displeased. 

I'm starting to get a little bit bored on the treadmill -- music isn't totally transporting me any longer (though that may be because my earbuds and I don't get along very well) and looking at stuff on silent TV screens is losing what thrill it ever had. You  know it's bad when I sort of miss "Little Women: LA". I'm looking forward to getting back outside at some point. 

Unfortunately, some point is not going to be my next run. The weather on Wednesday is supposed to be rainy. Then cold and snowy. Ugh. 

Next run is  scheduled for Wednesday. The Week 6, Run 3 program is a 22 minute run, with no breaks. Goal for the run -- do that, end strong, do as much as possible at 3.5 mph.