Sunday, March 29, 2009

0 for 2 in 2009

2/22/09 - Hustle Up the Hancock - FLU
3/29/09 - Shamrock Shuffle 8K - SNOW

I am 0 for 2 for my planned events this year, and that is just sad.

Friday, March 27, 2009

7 Things

Thanks to A Daunting Tale of Scale Warfare for tagging me in her blog to post 7 Things That I Love. Without further ado, here is my list:

1) My Daughter. She gives me purpose in life, and I am blessed to have her. Even on our most mundane days, she brings me true joy.

2) My Family. Even though they drive me bananas at times, they are a daily part of my life and I would have been hard-pressed to survive the things I have survived without them. We never run out of things to talk about, either.

3) My Kitties. I cannot even imagine my life without these furry little monsters roaming my house. They show me unconditional love (except when the food dish is empty... then they are just annoying).

4) Gadgets. I feel like the 6 Million Dollar Woman when I go for a run with my Garmin 405, GoWear Fit, Polar F11, and Nike+ iPod strapped on to my body, but they motivate me and keep the "cool" factor going for me with exercise. I am a geeky gadget girl at heart. Don't even get me started talking about my iPhone!

5) Bubble Baths. Due to my 30 year old hot water heater (yes, it REALLY is 30 years old), I have never been able to take a bath in my home since I bought it in Februray 2007... and I had a brand new soaker tub installed during the remodelling before moving in just for that purpose! But, as of tomorrow, I will have a spanking new tankless on-demand hot water heater and I plan to rekindle my love affair with le bain moussant. Break out the candles!

6) Music and Singing. I love music, and I cannot stop myself from breaking into song when a good one comes on (or even when I just think about a good one!). I make up songs all the time and sing them to my child and to my kitties, and now my daughter also has the singing bug so our van is like a mobile opera!

7) My Home. I will admit it... I am a homebody. At the end of a long day, there is no place that I would rather be than in my home with all of my things about me. I am getting better about going out from time to time, but frankly it is still an effort. Couple this with my extreme dislike of driving, and I am a veritable hermit!

This list is just so incomplete because I love far more things than I dislike. But I think that is a good thing because my cup is always half+ full.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Getting Ready for Next Weekend

I set a goal for myself to run 4 miles during my long run today so that I will feel prepared for my 8K next Sunday. I haven't run an 8K distance since last November, so I am feeling pretty nervous about it. I thought if I could run at least 4 miles today then I would feel able to do 5 miles during the event.

I hit the track a little after 11:00am (oh how I would have loved to run outside today, but alas childcare was required so the gym it was). 4 miles is 20 laps on the track on the inside lane, but I run on the middle of the five lanes so I figured that if I did 20 laps I would be running at least 4 miles and a bit more for good measure. After my warm-up walk, I started the countdown: 20, 19... feeling strong... 18, 17, 16... this should be no problem... 15, 14, 13, 12, 11... hmmm, I am pretty damn tired... 10, 9... I am in the single digits, YIPPEE... 8... ugh... 7... slowing down... 6... damn it, I am going to finish this... 5... only one mile left... 4... just listen to your music... 3... feet, keep moving... 2... dear GOD why do I feel like I am shuffling... 1... well, there is NO WAY that I am giving up now... ding ding ding ding time for a cool-down walk! A very slow cool-down walk!

According to my Nike+ I did 5 miles for the whole workout, which seems pretty close. So next weekend's race will be a stretch, but I can do it, albeit VERY slowly at the end as I found out today. Frankly, I might go faster in the last few miles if I power walk! Whatever, I am going to be okay.

Now my ex-husband is on the way over and we are going to go for a "family" bike ride. I am a slow moving vehicle right now, so this should be an adventure!

I plan on running on Tuesday, doing some form of cross-training on Thursday, and then I have the 8K race on Sunday. And that will just about wrap up March, the month in which I ran more miles than I did in both January and February combined, and more than the month of December in total. Things are looking up!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Energy Shot

When I run on weekdays, I am usually wiped out because I run after work but before dinner. I usually do not get in a snack beforehand, so tonight I decided to make sure that I had one an hour before my run. I also decided to try an energy shot called E-Drenaline that one of my co-workers got for free at the train station where they were giving out samples. I drank it on my way to the gym.

Be it the snack, the energy shot, or the placebo effect, I had more energy tonight and averaged a 12.5 minute mile during my run (which for me is a great time)! Woo-hoo! Now I just need to work my mileage up from the 3 or so that I have been doing to 5 for my 8K in less than a week and a half... yikes. Seriously, though, I have not run 5 miles since November, so I may end up walking some of the race but I will finish it. It is what it is, and with only a week to go there is only so much that I can do to prepare.

One nice thing happened today, though. I went to my favorite tea shop for my weekly pot (or in tonight's case, two pots) and I ran into a woman who I had spoken with on one of my visits last month. She greeted me and, as I sat down, told me that my talk about running (and stair climbing... this was before I dropped out of the Hustle Up the Hancock) had inspired her to start back on an exercise program! That was so great to hear! She told me about a run here in town in late April, and we are both going to do it. I guess it goes to show that, even though I do not see my accomplishments as inspirational, they can be to another who is ready to start (or restart) her own journey to health and fitness.

All in all, a good day. And my weigh in this week had me down 0.5 pounds which, although a small loss, is still a baby step in the right direction.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Mid Day Running

I took a vacation day today in order to go to the County Assessor's office to dispute my 2007 property tax bill, so I packed the rest of the day with other chores that never seem to get done in the crazy life of this working singe mom. And then I decided to hit the gym a bit earlier than usual in order to check off my workout for the day.

It is amazing to me how much my speed and energy is affected by the time of day that I run. Of course, other factors may be mixed in like the time since I last ate, what I ate that day, how much I slept the night before, TOM, etc. But I am so used to running in the evening that my daytime runs feel just plain odd. And the races I have run, which are always in the morning, kicked my ass and resulted in pretty bad final times for me. Today I ran about as fast as I normally do in the evening, but I was sweating up a storm when I was finished. I couldn't even wear my coat in the 35 degree Chicago weather afterward!

I have been back on track with my three weekly runs, but my mileage has really slipped from where it had been before the holidays. I really need to kick it up in order to do well in the Shamrock Shuffle 8K that I am running at the end of the month. But time may not be as much of a factor in that race because I got in touch with an old friend from a previous job who started running in January who asked me if I would like to run with her. She is concerned that she might not make the 1.25 hours allotted for the race, so I am going to run it with her and make sure that it is a good first race experience for her. So I am not going to freak about finishing time in this race.

I decided to do my normal Thursday run today instead because I worked late last night, so I did Jillian's 30 Day Shred last night instead. I was surprised that I only burned about 180 calories during the workout according to my GoWear Fit, especially considering that I usually log about 300 calories burned when I enter that exercise into The Daily Plate. It is good to know this so that I do not overestimate my workout calorie burn and then eat more than I should be eating for my weight loss goal. I am really glad that I bought the GoWear Fit!

We had a Health Fair at work last week, and I found out some interesting facts about my health from the screenings they offered to us. I had my cholesterol tested (they give a total number only, so I do not know the LDL and HDL levels from this specific screening) and it was 124. She told me that was low, but I am not going to worry about that. I do not eat red meat, haven't even had chicken for months, only eat fish if I go out to eat (like... never), and really don't eat much dairy other than my Skinny Vanilla Lattes, so I just do not eat cholesterol or much saturated fat at all. I do eat enough healthy fat, though, which includes avocado and olive oil almost every day, so I am not eating an extremely low fat diet. When I was a vegan for three years back in college, I remember that my cholesterol was 117 so 124 does not seem like a crazy number for me. Even when I was 50 pounds heavier and not working out last year at Health Fair time (and eating plenty of high-fat dairy), it was 174. So I consider this good news.

My glucose level was 89, which is great for a non-fasting test. I had a stroke risk assessment, and my blood pressure is very good and there is no plaque build-up in my carotid arteries as shown on the ultraound that they did.

Skip to the body composition testing and YIKES!!!! I am certainly overweight, at the high end of the BMI range for Overweight, and my body fat percentage is just crazy high. I have to lose some serious body fat and build some more muscle like... NOW. I was also told that my basal metabolic rate is 1745 calories per day, meaning that my body burns approximately 1745 calories a day just to sustain its functions without me ever moving a muscle. His suggestion is that I eat that many calories per day and then add extra activities in to make up the difference so that I lose weight, but I eat 1600 a day now as recommended by The Daily Plate and I seem to be losing well on that so I am not going to change that in an upwards direction right now. As a matter of fact, this week's weight loss was 2.8 pounds and I like that number! :-)

So, it looks like my health is okay and I am moving towards a healthier weight, so all in all I think I am headed in the right direction to live as long and healthy a life as possible. Now I just need to find a hot man to enjoy it with, LOL!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Days of 10,000 Steps

I have had it in the back of my mind for years that a person should aim to take 10,000 steps per day. I am sure that I have seen it in several places, so it has always been a goal for me.

Now that I am using the GoWear Fit every day, I am painfully aware that I do not come anywhere close to that goal unless there is a 30 minute run tucked into my routine for the day. I always thought that I put in a pretty decent number of steps each day because I commute on public transportation and then hustle my way over to the company shuttle both going to and coming from work. And, of course, I try to get up and walk periodically during the day.

What I discovered is that I barely reach 6000 steps on an average day, and that number decreases DRAMATICALLY on the weekends to maybe 2500 or 3000. WOW! The only days that I have reached and surpassed 10,000 steps have been the days that I run for 30 minutes after work. Even on weekends that I run, I rarely reach the coveted number.

The best part of the GoWear Fit for me is that I can see a real-time snapshot of the activity I have done so far each day, and I can make conscious decisions to fit in some more. Or not, and then I have to live with a missed goal that day... and some days that is just fine. But I find myself doing the stairs almost every day at work during lunch just to add an extra 700-odd steps to my day (in addition to about 7 minutes of moderate activity). And any gadget that can make that seem like a good deal is a blessing to me!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Three Weeks and Counting!

I am running in my first race of 2009 in three weeks, and it is an 8K. I have not been running that kind of mileage in my run since sometime in December, so I have some work to do to get back up there and have any kind of decent time. Ever since the flu, my running times have slowed considerably, which is probably also due to the fact that I have not been running much lately. So back to the gym it is for me!

I ran almost three miles on Thursday evening, which made me feel very good. I missed it. And I plan to run again tomorrow, probably after the birthday party that my daughter has to attend. I have still been walking the stairs at work at lunch, but have been sticking to one time down and one time up all 12 floors so that I do not get too sweaty. I plan to keep doing that until it no longer feels difficult, and then I will move on to two times down and up.

I had a bit of a detour last weekend, and it really hit me hard. Friday night I was out drinking with some people from work, and something happened (or actually didn't) and it threw me into a bit of a depression. Which I ran with... straight to the Girl Scout cookies. I decimated a few boxes, and then kept the party going with horribly fattening food from a local pizza joint, tons of my daughter's snacks like brownies and popcorn, Chinese food, candy, and of course more cookies. And all of this eating threw me into gastrointestinal distress and thus I skipped all exercise and just sat around.

By the time I pulled myself up from the depths, I was freaked out by what I had done and by the fact that I had left it go on for the better part of a week. I skipped my weigh-in this week because I only had a day of being back on track under my belt by the time that Thursday came around and I could not handle facing the number that I was sure would be on the scale. Friday I stepped on the scale, and much to my great surprise I was only up 0.2 pounds from where I had been before the fiasco. I stepped on the scale today, and I am down 1.7 from my last formal weigh in, so that is good news!

Now that I am back on plan with my eating, I am also committing to getting back on plan with my running so that the upcoming 8K is a good experience. I am signed up with a bunch of people from work who are very competitive, and although I know that my time is going to be SIGNIFICANTLY slower than theirs, I also know that they will be looking at it and will be judging it so I do not want to be a snail.

I have also discovered another interesting thing over the last two weeks. I purchased a GoWear Fit a couple of weeks ago, and have been using it every day since that time. It appears that I burn fewer calories per day than a "normal" person of my height/age/weight, by about 250 calories per day. This means that the number of calories that I have been eating to lose two pounds a week per The Daily Plate has been too high to actually hit the two pound goal. Frankly, I am not ready to go down in my calorie intake, so this means that I am going to have to add more activity to my day each day in order to meet my goal at the rate I have set. Or at least understand that it will take me more time to get there than I had previously hoped.

I am off to get ready because we have a full day ahead of us. Have a great weekend!