Tuesday, December 28, 2010

About that water, eh?

Another thing I should be doing more of: drinking water.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta on CNN answered a reader's question regarding drinking water and losing weight asking if drinking more water helps you lose more weight. I always thought that dieting websites and articles said to drink more water in order to lose weight because people will do anything those articles say, especially if it's as easy as that. And so mentioning it in an article would be a simple way of getting a generally dehydrated population to drink more of the good stuff, instead of there actually being any body of evidence that shows more water means more weight-loss.

Anywhos, I was wrong. Dead wrong. A couple studies published by Dr. Brenda Day, associate professor of human nutrition, foods and exercise at Virginia Tech, showed that not only did "people who drank water before meals [eat] an average of 75 fewer calories at that meal" but also that "people who drank two glasses of water 20 to 30 minutes before every meal lost weight more quickly initially and lost significantly more weight than those who didn't."

As Dr. Gupta quickly calculated, eating 75 fewer calories at lunch and dinner for a year would result in a loss of 14.5 pounds over that year! Wow...and all due to drinking more water.

Dr. Gupta also explained that sometimes thirst can be mistaken for hunger by our bodies and so we overeat when instead we are just thirsty. And lastly, "water-based foods like soups, vegetables and low-fat dairy, which are equally important for weight loss, as they lower the calorie density of meals. That can help you reduce calories without reducing portions."

And I almost forgot: "In addition, being even 1 percent dehydrated can cause a significant drop in metabolism." Whoa. That's nuts.

Anywhos, it's good that it's winter soup weather and I'm a big fan of dairy. Now I just have to focus on the two glasses of water 30 minutes before dinner and I should be set. I mean, I'm already a big water drinker but I definitely don't drink right before eating so that's something new to try.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Apparently morning people have it made

I absolutely love mornings, and if it weren't for my obsession with sleep, I'd most definitely be a morning person. Lately, well, prior to going home for Thanksgiving and losing all motivation to exercise, The Roommie and I had been getting up in the mornings to go for runs. Although I'm not a fan of running and definitely don't like getting out of my toasty bed to go out into the freezing sunrise (you'd think those two would be complete deal-breakers), I really enjoyed getting my exercise out of the way and the resulting feeling of being energized for the rest of the day. And having already been up for a while, I was much more likely to eat breakfast, which has been a problem for me for years.

And now, there's an article in the New York Times, called "The Benefits of Exercising Before Breakfast" which mentions a study published in The Journal of Physiology that suggests that exercising intensely in the morning before breakfast has greater health benefits than exercising after eating or not exercising at all. As the article states, "working out before breakfast directly combated the two most detrimental effects of eating a high-fat, high-calorie diet [which are increased insulin-resistance and storage of fat in the muscles]. It also helped the men avoid gaining weight."

Granted, it was done on 28 healthy men and they did high intensity workouts ranging from 60 to 90 minutes, neither of which apply to me...or most anybody else. But the take-home message is that "exercising in a fasted state (usually possible only before breakfast), coaxes the body to burn a greater percentage of fat for fuel during vigorous exercise, instead of relying primarily on carbohydrates."

BUT..."Exercising on an empty stomach is unlikely to improve your performance during that workout."

So for me, that's good since at the moment I'm just running to burn calories and get my butt off the couch. I'm not trying to improve my time, per se. Rather, I'm going to the ability to complete some sort of mileage and my workouts aren't nearly long enough to cause bonking due to exercising on an empty stomach.

Yet another incentive to start getting up early again, I suppose.

I'm just going to ignore the part that says, "The researchers also don’t know whether the same benefits will accrue if you exercise at a more leisurely pace and for less time than in this study." And stick with the commentary of Leonie Heilbronn, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Adelaide in Australia, who has extensively studied the effects of high-fat diets, regarding the study: “I would predict low intensity is better than nothing.”

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

If only I could get my run fitness and finger back, I'd be golden

Yes, I haven't written in a very long time. Yes, you could say I've fallen off the wagon. No, I haven't gained weight!

After slacking for over two weeks, which doesn't include the week I spent at home because I kicked butt there, I weighed myself this morning with great trepidation. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised to see 213.0 on the scale. That's a 4-lb. loss from about three weeks ago when I last weighed myself. It's still not enough to keep up with my planned 5% loss by this week (I should be at 209.0), but I'll take it, considering I haven't been watching what I eat and have been sitting on the couch for two weeks.

About that sitting on the couch thing...I do have a somewhat legitimate excuse for the first week. But before I get into that, I would like to congratulate myself on my stupendous commitment to running while I was home for Thanksgiving. I made it out of the house four times, and all those runs were super hard: 3' jog 1' walk x 8 or 9, depending on the day. Prior to that I'd been doing 2' jog 2' walk x 6 or 3' jog 2' walk x 7, so nothing like the runs at home. And although it took a lot of self-pep-talking to get through each of my runs at home, the moral of the story is that I did it. And super fast! I'd gotten my pace down to a sub-10' mile for the entirety of the run, and about an 11' mile when you include the walking parts. It was pretty awesome. I'm sure coming down to sea level from 5000 feet made a huge difference, but whatever. It's still pretty cool.

And then I got back to Colorado and my laziness came back in full force. That, and my complete clumsiness in the kitchen and/or around fire derailed me from exercise for what should've only been about a week but has turned into two weeks and counting...

On Sunday night after Thanksgiving, I really wanted a pie. A pecan pie to be exact, and then I decided to make an apple pie as well. Bad decision. (We're foreign. We don't do Thanksgiving, and thus, no pies. Instead, I got lots of delicious Mom cooking, which I am very happy about, but alas, no pies.)


The pecan pie was already in the oven when I started slicing the apples using a mandolin. You know, the horizontal thing that you slide whatever you want sliced across and a super sharp blade makes it all go effortlessly and quickly. Well, that handy super sharp blade also slices human tissue pretty effortlessly, as I found out that night.

Only three slices of apples in, I had cut off the tip of my finger. And by that I mean, a third of my pinkie nail, along with a large chunk of the skin was gone. If not for the extreme pain shooting up my arm and the large pool of blood on the floor (it looked like someone had died in our kitchen), I wouldn't have known anything was amiss and kept right on slicing, it was that easy.

A trip to Urgent Care followed and I was bandaged and doped up on a whole bunch of meds about 2 hours later. In case you're wondering, they don't reattach pinkies. I even brought my finger with me hoping they would. They don't.


So yes, I cut off the tip of my finger and a chunk of my nail on an apple slicer and it hurt a whole bunch for many days even with strong medication. To add insult to injury, we had to leave for Urgent Care before the pecan pie was done and we never finished that apple pie. Huge bummer. But I digress.

By the end of the week I probably would've been OK getting my blood going without serious pain but once I start sitting, I can't get my butt off the couch.

What bums me out the most is that I've lost most of the run fitness I'd worked so hard to build up. Apparently taking up to a week off is fine, but with more rest than that, you have to start slower and slower until about two weeks out when you're essentially at zero. And that's me right now.

The bright part is that my super speedy military friend is no longer doing the 10-mile race so I don't feel nearly as guilty being slow. I'm kind of unhappy about him not being there, but at least there's a silver lining. So now I'm going to focus on getting up to a 10k instead of 10 miles and go from there. I was getting a bit overwhelmed with that ginormous task earlier, but now I'm content.

I also think part of the problem is I'm bored with running up and down our block. We have plenty of bike paths around here, but they're all concrete, which is way too hard of a surface for me. I was getting shin splints from running on the sidewalks already so I don't want to risk that anymore. I may hit up some running trails around here instead, which aren't nearly as convenient as going out my front door to run, but they're more pleasant.

That's the plan, at least. I've also made a bike date for Thursday morning with my neighbor (not a real date at all, bummer) and am signing up for the swim team after the New Year. I'd been planning on starting swimming this month but then the finger thing happened and I haven't been able to put my scabby hand in the water for any extended period of time. So that's something to look forward to next month!

Oh, and another silver lining is this sitting around has cured all the ankle and shin problems I'd been ignoring and pushing through. So maybe cutting off my finger wasn't too bad...

And lastly, that photo is of me indoor skydiving. Gotta say, best birthday present EVER. I would never jump out of a plane, but put me in a wind tunnel and I'm happy as a clam.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Weekly Plans for November 2010

I like lists. And goals. So if it's on the list and part of a goal, I'm more likely to do it. Hence this page of weekly plans of exercise.

Overall, November 2010 was a very fluid month in that I rarely stuck to a scheduled workout but I did end up doing most of them. By the end of the month I was running a 5k at about a 10:00-10:30 min/mile pace (amazing!) and even got four workouts in when I was home for Thanksgiving. I was very proud of myself for that.

Unfortunately, December began with a horrendous apple slicing accident that kept me benched for two weeks and I had a hard time getting back on track. So there will be no weekly plans for that month.

But for now, here's an archive of my weekly plans for November 2010.

Key for colors is at the bottom of the post.

Week of 10/31: Run four times
Monday - Nada
Tuesday - C210K: Week Two, Day Two
Wednesday - Nada
Thursday - C210K: Week Three, Day One
Friday - C210K: Week Three, Day Two; C210K: Week Two, Day Three
Saturday - Rest
Sunday - C210K: Week Three, Day Three; C210K: Week Three, Day One

Week of 11/7: Run four times (and somewhat enjoy it)
Monday - Rest
Tuesday - C210K: Week Three, Day Two
Wednesday - C210K: Week Three, Day Three
Thursday - Rest
Friday - C210K: Week Four, Day One; C210K: Week Three, Day Three
Saturday - C210K: Week Four, Day Two
Sunday - Rest

Week of 11/14: Run five times (no more falling behind!)
Monday - Rest
Tuesday - C210K: Week Four, Day One
Wednesday - C210K: Week Four, Day Two
Thursday - C210K: Week Four, Day Three
Friday - C210K: Week Five, Day One
Saturday - C210K: Week Five, Day Two
Sunday - Rest; C210K: Week Four, Day Two

Week of 11/21: Run while in California
Monday - C210K: Week Four, Day Three
Tuesday - C210K: Week Five, Day One
Wednesday - C210K: Week Five, Day Two
Thursday - C210K: Week Five, Day Three; C210K: Week Five, Day Two
\Friday - C210K: Week Six, Day One
Saturday - Rest / Travel Day
Sunday - C210K: Week Six, Day Two

Accomplished day's exercise
Weekly goal
Amended weekly goal
Other exercise (non-goal oriented)
Regular get-some-movement-in filler exercise (not strenuous)
Added exercises (unplanned)
Comments regarding the week

Friday, November 19, 2010

Mental health days

I've had a pretty stressful couple of weeks with work and school having had too many deadlines and exams, so I needed a day off. And a friend suggested we head up to the mountains for our first day of the season. I don't have class Tuesdays and Thursdays and ditching work is not that difficult, so we decided to head up on Thursday. Good timing because they got 22" of fresh powder between Tuesday night and Thursday morning.

I'd planned on getting a run in before we left in the morning because I'm way behind with C210K, but my bed was warm, it was still dark outside, the moon was the wrong color, whatever excuse you think of, I used. This was the second day in a row that we'd agreed to go on a 6 am run and then bailed. I learned that I don't mind morning runs as long as the sun has risen, which is not the case at 6 am this time of year. So 6:45 and later is our time-frame from now on.

But I digress. The mountains were beautiful and the day was absolutely perfect. There weren't too many people so we got a lot of runs in and the snow was just right. The wind picked up a bit in the afternoon, but once you started going down a run, the mountain blocked it, so no problemo.

After snowboarding all day yesterday and eating healthy all week I was so excited to weigh myself this morning. But instead of the anticipated loss and much to my surprise, I gained two pounds and am now up to 216.5. This may be because I have yet to recover from Wednesday's drinkfest (it usually takes me about three days for my weight to stabilize and day two (today) is usually the highest weight-wise of the three) or maybe my muscles are recovering from a full day of snowboarding (my calves are burning!). Or I'm just not logging my food correctly. I don't know. It's weird. I'm totally off my goal of losing a pound a week so I may have to amend that yet again.

I'm hoping that it will drop down again tomorrow, but I'm also going out to celebrate a friend's PhD defense with the soccer girls, so that's not gonna help with the plan to stay away from booze one more day. And it's not like sticking to only one beer will prevent the alcohol water weight, so I may as well go all out, right? Well, not entirely logical, but still. It's annoying.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Breakfast challenges

I've started participating more in the forums on the 3 Fat Chicks forums recently because I feel like I need to be more involved that way to keep reminding myself that I need to make smarter decisions about food and not just write it down and say, "Oh shucks, I probably shouldn't have eaten that extra brownie, or had that extra beer."

The support on there is really amazing and I've learned so much about so many people and the struggles we all go through, as well as the ups and downs. Now I don't feel like a failure every time I slip up, or even due to the fact that I've been "losing weight" since freshman year of college (that would be September of 2003) and instead have gained over 50 pounds. So yeah, 3FC is cool.

BUT, I often find the challenges don't really apply to me or go along with what I need and want. If you can't tell from my blog entries over the summer and my recent sign-up for a 10-mile obstacle race (I don't expect you to because I'm sure no one actually reads or follows this blog), I'm a pseudo-masochist. I play rugby after-all.

Most of the challenges on 3FC, however, are weight-loss challenges. Like, "20 pounds lighter for New Years'", for example. Maybe I should get more intense about my weight-loss, but at the same time, I'm more so trying to change my lifestyle one step at a time instead of losing weight quickly and focusing on the numbers. I'm not ragging on these kinds of challenges at all. I think they're great. They're just not for me because they bring out the unhealthy I-need-to-lose-weight-fast-no-matter-what-the-cost part of me, and that usually doesn't last very long. I mean, look at my weight-loss history. I've been a yo-yo dieter and it obviously hasn't worked.

So, if you're still with me, the point of this entire entry is that I finally found a challenge that's perfect for me! It's a streak-based challenge where you pick something you will or won't do every day for 21 days and stick with it. If you mess up, you start the counter all over. Here is the "Every-Day" 21-Day Challenge explained even better.

Long story short, I've never been a good breakfast eater. I prefer to skip it and sleep in the extra 10-15 minutes. Always. The only time I eat breakfast is when I'm home and my mom makes it for me as soon as I wake up and I have nowhere to be so I can get up and eat as late as I want.

So my challenge is to eat breakfast every day. And since I've joined the thread, I've kept with it. And I'm not exaggerating when I say that the thread is THE ONLY reason I've kept with it, since I think 7 days is the longest I've ever gone for eating breakfast. I even got up a bit earlier today to pour myself some cereal before school. It's so weird. But I love it.

Since I've got the breakfast thing mostly down, I'm going to work on sticking to my exercise plan daily since this 10-mile race is sneaking up really fast on me and I've been slacking too much lately. So wish me luck!

And you should join the challenge as well. It totally works!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

To Belize or not to Belize...and oatmeal

Honestly, I don't know what to do. About a month ago, I posted about being excited about going to Belize for a month in May and June, but the more I think about it, the more unsure I am. Above is a photo of the orphanage at which I may (possibly) be staying. It's pretty cool and warm and pretty, and especially more appealing now that there's snow on the ground over here. The other option is to head to Poland to visit family and go on a sailing trip, assuming my friends aren't getting married/otherwise occupied like last year. It's way more expensive but I think I'd enjoy it slightly more. I'm also kind of bummed that this much-needed long vacation will interfere with my tri schedule for the summer. So I need to take that into account. May is the perfect time to get out of Boulder, but it's also the prime tri training month. And I'm most definitely not taking my bike to Belize, or on a boat. That's just stupid.

In other news, the 7:03 morning run on Tuesday turned into the 7:45 morning run on Tuesday (that's how long it took me to get out of bed...yup, 45 minutes). But once we got outside it was so beautiful: The birds were chirping, the leaves were falling, and the sun was peaking out from behind the clouds. Absolutely beautiful and peaceful. The run itself was pretty hard even though it was just 2 minutes of running at a time. My legs felt heavy, but I didn't feel the urge to quit and ran everything without even thinking of stopping. So I'm getting back to my original excitement of C210K. Woohoo!

And I'm really glad we went before work, because within a half hour of us getting back, the skies had turned gray and it had begun to rain and sleet. And that continued all day, with the rain eventually turning into hail and then snow. Wow, great timing!

When we got done with the run, I had an intense craving for oatmeal, which never happens, and have been eating it for breakfast ever since (a whole three days). I think it's just the perfect food for this weather...comforting and filling.

I've been trying to find various takes on the classic oatmeal, since it's so bland just by itself. I always microwave it using milk and not water because I have an aversion to making anything on water, including hot chocolate...it becomes so watered down and tasteless. And oatmeal needs all the flavor it can get, so I also usually add a couple teaspoons of brown sugar to sweeten it up. So far I've had the following:

Banana and Brown Sugar
- Mix 1/2 cup oatmeal and 1 cup 2% milk and microwave for 3 minutes
- Add salt and brown sugar, to taste, and a small banana
- Nutrition info:
  Calories: 393
  Fat: 8 g
  Carbs: 74 g!
  Fiber: 6 g
  Protein: 9 g

- I should probably eat less of it and not use 2% milk, but with a goal of eating 1600 calories a day, this fits perfectly into my breakfast allotment of 400. I'm surprised the banana is so calorific and only contributes 2 g of fiber.
- Substitute water for milk and you cut out 122 calories (271 total). But I need my daily dairy otherwise my life is not complete.
- And 74 g of carbs?! Uh, oh. 

Cinnamon Apple (and Brown Sugar)
- Mix 1/2 cup oatmeal, 1 cup 2% milk, 1 tsp cinnamon, and 1 diced apple (preferably McIntosh) in a bowl
- Cover and microwave for ~5 minutes
- Add salt and brown sugar to taste
- Nutrition info:
  Calories: 399
  Fat: 8 g
  Carbs: 77 g
  Fiber: 12 g!
  Protein: 9 g

- Same calorie concerns as before. Could be 277 calories without the milk, but again, I need dairy. And I don't mind eating a hearty breakfast. It keeps me from snacking until lunch, so I save many calories in the long run.
- 1 tsp of cinnamon has 4 g of fiber!!! I've been working on increasing my fiber intake lately (I don't eat nearly enough) so this is a HUGE selling point for the cinnamon apple oatmeal. And it's so freaking delicious.
- Again, so many carbs! Apparently an apple has 21 g of carbs, which is way too much, and the oats have 27 g.
- I'd been eating 3/4 cup of oats with 1.5 cups of 2% milk, which gave the whole meal 536 calories and 97 carbs, but I figured that's just too much. I was full for about 4 hours after eating so I took that as a sign that my breakfast was just way too big. So I'm going to try this 1/2 cup of oats thing in the morning and see how it goes.

Monday, November 8, 2010

I don't do 6s

Friday I did W2D3 of C210K (2' jog 2' walk x 6) and it was KILLER!!! I hated practically every minute of it and even stopped in the middle of one of the intervals because I was so fed up with running. But I pulled myself together and focused on putting one foot in front of the other and somehow made it through. It took all the will-power in the world to run, but I kept telling myself that I need to do this otherwise I will never get in shape. And somehow that pep-talk worked :)

And Sunday I had a 3' jog and 2' walk x 7 that was just as brutal mentally. It must've just been last week that's been so bad because I'd been so happy and positive about every other workout I've had, including other 2' and 3' runs.

I have been pretty stressed lately so maybe that's translating to my runs, but hopefully this week will be better. I was a little worried about the big jump from 2' running to now 3' running (what a difference a minute makes!) but I noticed it's essentially the same intervals for three more weeks, so I have time to get better at it. And here I thought I'd be up to 5 minutes next week. That would've been scary!

And tomorrow is another 2' jog 2' walk, which is such a relief. Since the weather for the next 36 hours looks like this:
And since we can't afford to skip anymore runs, it's looking like I'll be running at the bright and cheery hour of 7 am. Well, actually, it's going to be 7:03 am since I refuse to wake up in the 6s to torture myself go for a run, and 3 minutes should be plenty of time to get out the door.

A little about myself and my sleeping habits. Getting up early for me is 9 am. Maybe even 10 am, depending on the day. My job allows for this kind of flexibility so I tend to work at night when everyone else is asleep and there's nothing on TV to distract me from my work. School isn't flexible at all, which is why I resent it so much, among other reasons.

So yes, wish me luck. It's going to be brutal, mentally more so than physically. At least it's only 2 minutes of running at a time. And a hot pot of tea awaits me when I get home. :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I believe in miracles

I forgot to mention this in my post last night, but when my roommate and I were doing our C210K workout yesterday (1 minute jog, 2 minute walk) we got our paces up (or down, I guess) to between 9:05 and 8:40...for all of them. And I still feel like I could've gone just a little bit longer. WOW!

I remember our first run about two weeks ago when I was DYING during the first couple 1 minute intervals. Like, thinking that this shouldn't be that hard. I mean, I felt like I could do a couple more intervals then, but not any faster. And most definitely not at that kind of speed.

I know it's just a one minute interval, but still. There's hope for me. I just need to keep pushing myself as hard as I can to get faster and fitter and maybe one day I will become a fast runner. So far, I'm becoming someone who enjoys running (after I get out the door first, of course), which is absolutely shocking to me. In a good way of course.

AND, another goodie that totally made my day. My fat percentage is down to 48.7%. Wowsers! And my lean mass increased even with some weight-loss. I am so on the right track. And so happy/relieved/understanding of my non-shifting scale. I have no idea where the muscle came from. Maybe from doing beer curls...or drunken slalom races? I don't know, but I'll take it!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Runner's high? Not quite...

Within the last two weeks I've really started following the Couch to 10k (C210K) program. And surprisingly, I've stuck with it! Although I couldn't really run this weekend because I was resting my ankle (the one I drunkenly injured almost four weeks ago), I really wanted to get out there. Today, on the other hand, I had no desire to go, but I had to.

You see, I'm doing the Tough Mudder: Austin race on January 29th and it's going to kick my butt if I don't get training. And since I'm essentially going from sitting on the couch to a 10-mile muddy obstacle course designed by British Special Forces, there is some fear and fire under my butt. So I've made an effort to get out there four times a week, minimum.

(The C210K Program is designed for three runs a week, but I don't have enough time, that is weeks, to finish it and get up to 10 miles by January 29th, so I decided to amend it and run four times a week instead. Shouldn't be too much of a biggie and hasn't been so far.)

My only issue so far (besides some lack of motivation) has been the ankle injury and now possibly knee pain. I don't know if the knee is due to compensating for the ankle or a nagging, recurring old rugby injury, but it has me somewhat worried. It could also be my shoes, which are fairly old and have taken their share of abuse, so I'm going to go to the running store this week and get fitted for a proper pair of shoes. I figure with my crappy ankles and surgically repaired knee (the gifts that rugby keeps on giving), $100 is not too bad of an investment in new and good running shoes.

Another problem could be running on concrete, which I've read is REALLY bad for your joints, so I may switch to asphalt (that is, the road) as often as possible. Lately I've been running up and down our quiet street, so I should be ok with cars, but I don't know what I'll do once the distances pick up. I've read that grass is supposedly perfect as a running surface as are trails, but I don't trust my ankles that much yet. I should work on strengthening them when I'm at home watching TV.

Wow, now I sound like an injured train wreck. It's actually not that bad, I just like to dwell on things.

As for eating...well, I haven't been doing too well. BUT, I also haven't been eating out nearly as much. I've just been cooking and eating enormous portions of beef stew and burgers, which is not so good for the calorie intake. So even though I've been burning a minimum of 2500 calories daily, I still haven't lost any weight. That could be because I've been drinking a lot lately and thus getting way more calories in that way as well as holding on to water for the daily weigh-in. So I'm going to weigh myself tomorrow and see where I'm at. Hopefully it's less that 217, because that was my weight a couple weeks ago and according to my GWF, I should be down at least a pound or two.

So here's to hoping!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Weekly Plans for October 2010

I like lists. And goals. So if it's on the list and part of a goal, I'm more likely to do it. Hence this page of weekly plans of exercise.

So here's an archive of my weekly plans for October 2010:

Key for colors is at the bottom of the post.

Week of 9/26: Run three times
Monday - Bike to work/school
Tuesday - C25K: Week One, Day One
Wednesday - Bike to work/school; Indoor soccer
Thursday - C25K: Week One, Day Two
Friday - C25K: Week One, Day Three
Saturday - Parents in town so nada planned 7 mile hike: half uphill, half downhill
Sunday - Parents in town so nada planned
As you can see, I'm all about ditching exercise. The only things I actually did involved getting my butt to class and hanging with the folks. Granted, we did go on a a 7 mile hike on Saturday, but that doesn't get me any fitter for the 10 mile obstacle race at the end of January, so I'm not counting it. I'm going to try to repeat this schedule next week and get a habit of exercising on certain days going. We'll see how that goes.

Week of 10/3: Run three times
Monday - Bike to work/school
Tuesday - C25K: Week One, Day One
Wednesday - Bike to work/school; 15 mile bike ride; Indoor soccer
Thursday - C25K: Week One, Day Two
Friday - C25K: Week One, Day Three
Saturday - 15 mile bike ride (harder than Wednesday)
Sunday - Outdoor soccer
I seriously screwed up my ankle Wednesday night after soccer (like, writhing in pain on the ground for 5 minutes before I could even move) so I've been hobbling around all week. Hence the not-completed running goal. But what else is new? I had to tape my ankle up pretty hard and take a lot of painkillers to make it through the soccer game on Sunday, but it was well worth it. Once it completely heals, I really NEED to start running because this 10-mile race is coming up quick. Hopefully next week. I've been saying that every week, so it better stick this time.

Week of 10/10: Recover and rest my ankle - great, lazy goal :)
Monday - Bike to work/school
Tuesday - Rest for the ankle
Wednesday - Bike to work/school; Indoor soccer (in goal)
Thursday - Rest for the ankle
Friday - Rest for the ankle
Saturday - Bike 'n' Beer (40 mile ride)
Sunday - Recovery
A whole lot of nothing happened this week. I couldn't run because the ankle was still really bugging me and I didn't want to mess it up even further by pounding over 200 pounds on it with every step. Instead, I should've gone on a few rides during the week (after all, that's why I bought long-sleeve bike jerseys), but as you can see, that didn't happen either. My brother and his gf organized a Bike 'n' Beer of the pseudo-local breweries so I'm really glad I went on that since it got me some exercise. And by "some", I definitely mean "a lot". Hopefully all this rest will've paid off and I'll be able to run next week and start the dreaded C25K. I feel like once I start, I'll be good to go and will stick with it. At least that's the plan.

Week of 10/17: Run three times
Monday - Bike to work/school
Tuesday - Recovery and rest
Wednesday - Bike to work/school; C25K: Week One, Day One
Thursday - C25K: Week One, Day Two
Friday - C25K: Week One, Day Three; C210K Week One, Day One
Saturday - Rest
Sunday - 25 mile bike ride

Week of 10/24: Run four times
Monday - Nada
Tuesday - C210K: Week One, Day Two< Wednesday - Nada
Thursday - C210K: Week One, Day Three
Friday - C210K: Week Two, Day One; Rest ankle
Saturday - Rest
Sunday - C210K: Week Two, Day Two; C210K: Week Two, Day One
I was pretty good and excited about running this week, but by Thursday night my ankle wasn't feeling right. So I took an unplanned day off on Friday (even though I REALLY wanted to run) and forced myself to run on Sunday, probably against my better judgment, but I need to get some fitness in. So with a wrapped up ankle, I made it through a tough workout. Hopefully next week I'll feel somewhat better.

Weekly goal
Amended weekly goal
Other exercise (non-goal oriented)
Regular get-some-movement-in filler exercise (not strenuous)
Added exercises (unplanned)
Comments regarding the week

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Trouble ahead, trouble behind

I've been having a rough time keeping on track lately. And by that I mean I haven't been able to resist food cravings and offers of junk food very well. I still log my food every day (which is kind of hard when I'm snacking on everything) so I know exactly what I'm doing wrong and how it's costing me. But for some reason I'm indifferent. Same goes for starting to run. It still hasn't fully hit me that I have to run 10 miles in a little over 3 months.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Just because I'm absent doesn't mean I'm off-track (for once)

I'd like to say that I'm really proud of myself. For the past week and a half, I've been diligently logging my food and making sure I don't eat too much junk. I've even gotten myself eating breakfast...well, only twice a week, but that's still better than before. And by breakfast, I mean the first meal of the day since I don't usually get up at the normal people breakfast time.

The only part I've been slacking on is the exercise. I officially signed up for my 10 mile trail running/obstacle course race that's in late January so I really have to get my butt into shape. I got winded walking up 3 flights of stairs today. And yesterday I had to walk my bike up the hill to work/school. Oy, this is not good.

I do have the intention of running every day. But The Roommie is rarely home when I get done with work/school and as soon as I plop down on the couch, I'm there to stay. When we were dog-sitting this weekend, I was really good about getting home, putting my bag on the ground, changing, and heading out the door. No stopping to grab something to eat or to watch an episode of "Parenthood". Nada. It was amazing. But when I run on my own I tend to go slower and walk more than with The Roommie. She's faster than me so that makes me want to keep up with her instead of slowing her down. I guess even my slow no-motivation-to-go-fast running is better than no running so I should suck it up and head out the door, but I always have the hope that when she gets home, we'll go together. But by that point I'm already very happily surfing the web or watching TV.

My other somewhat-more-legitimate excuse for sitting still this past week was a super sore/badly messed up ankle. I have no idea what happened (or how it happened) but last Wednesday after soccer I did something to it walking up the one stair to our door and the next thing I remember is lying on my back in the muddy grass at 2 am writhing in pain. I couldn't even move, that's how bad it hurt. I haven't screwed it up that bad in a while. So for the past week I've been hobbling around, "resting" it by not biking and not doing much of anything, except the two soccer games during which I was heavily medicated. So yeah, not that much resting. I guess it would be called selective resting, since I still did all the fun things (soccer) while making excuses not to do the more unpleasant ones (running and biking up that hill to school/work).

So I'm babbling. BUT, other big news...I'm rejoining the college racquetball team! I played a bit last fall but got really frustrated by my complete suckage. I don't ever remember being that bad at a sport. It doesn't help that I have no depth perception and I've never really played any racquet sports, but still. It's an athletic activity involving coordination and reading an opponent's moves. I should be amazing at this! And instead, a few times I wanted to leave the court crying. But I miss it so I'm going to give it another shot. Once the ankle heals, of course.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Belize on the government's dime?

I don't know if I mentioned this before, but I've been seriously considering going somewhere tropical for a month next spring or summer. I'm getting the travel bug again and going home for the holidays is just not cutting it anymore. My method of travel usually involves "moving" to a new country for a significant period of time and living with a culture instead of just going around and sightseeing. I hate sightseeing and I generally suck at it. That's where Belize comes into play.

I've exhausted Europe and have no desire to go to Asia. Canada's too similar to the U.S. and Mexico's in my backyard. So that leaves Central and South America, as well as Africa. I would absolutely LOVE to go to Africa and work on animal refuge or something like that but it's so far away and so expensive. Belize, on the other hand, is just down the Yucatan Peninsula from Mexico and its official language is English, meaning the transition to "living" there won't be nearly as tough as it was in Italy. AND (drumroll please...) it's got the second largest reef in the world, right after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. That means a water-based culture, lots of SCUBA diving, and the possibility of volunteering at a reef conservancy, which would put me on a boat or in the water every single day. Just the way I like it.

I talk about volunteering because I think that's the best and easiest way to get thrown into a culture when you're only there for about a month or so. It puts you right into the inner workings of an organization and, most importantly for me, you're pretty much given people to hang out with/talk to so you're not completely alone when you first arrive. That, and it gives me something to do while I'm there. And lastly (like the title suggests), you can write off all expenses (flights, visa fees, etc) from your taxes if you put in enough hours. So essentially a free trip.

So far I've decided on two different kinds of volunteer groups: a home for abused and neglected children on the outskirts of Belize City and a reef conservation group on one of the beautiful cayes off the coast of Belize. They are two very different experiences and so I don't know which one to actually pursue. The kid's home requires 40 hours a week but gives food and housing (also has a "strict no alcohol policy" which sounds like no alcohol on the premises but maybe can go out once a week...kind of like camp) while I don't know about the reef conservation group since I haven't even contacted them yet. From what I can gather, I'd be on my own for food and housing but I could also do whatever I want during my free time. For the kids, I'd be more inland, as in, not directly on the beach, and for the reef, I'd be surrounded by water. Decisions, decisions...

I'm going to look into more reef/marine animal conservation NGOs and email them about volunteer positions to see what's out there. I'm leaning towards the kids though, because it'd be great volunteer experience for a potential med school app and I'd be able to follow a pediatrician around in a somewhat family practice environment (in that it's not emergency medicine, but rather everyday coughs and colds). And right now, my future is somewhat more important than hanging on a beach. But at the same time, the whole point of heading to Belize is to be in a beach-like culture and be in or on the water as much as possible. Assuming I have weekends off, I can still do that even working 40 hours/week. So for now, it looks like I'm going to the orphanage.

As for the weight-loss thing...I've been getting better about not eating out and eating more healthy. I still haven't made a food schedule, but I'm getting there. My parents are in town this weekend, so I'm pretty sure I won't be cooking much at home (hopefully my mom will because she's awesome like that) so I haven't been grocery shopping at all. I'm saving that for when they leave.

I know I keep putting off food shopping cooking and all that jazz. It's so easy to blame my laziness on other things going on in my life and making excuses because school's kicking my butt or I have a huge project due at work. But, if this is so important to me, then I should be able to make time for it. I mean, I make time for going to the movies or playing a soccer game, so I should have a couple hours to spare for my health!

So I need to give myself a routine and all will be well. So far I've incorporated my homework into a weekly schedule so I know exactly what to do when. Now the next step is adding grocery shopping into it (I've planned for Wednesdays). And after that, a specific workout schedule, like run on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, bike on Saturday and Sunday or something like that. I want to enjoy all aspects of my weekend and keep the unpleasant things for the week (such as work, school, and running), so I think that schedule looks pretty awesome. I'll probably move it around a bit, but for now that sounds good.

Been biking to and from school on Mondays and Wednesdays. Nothing today.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Work, work, work, play, play, play

This weekend was crazy and indulgent. Here's a photo from Saturday night's party. I was in the White Trash group (more details to follow). And I won third place out of over 50 costumes. You would've never guessed that I absolutely hate Halloween:

Now onto the rest of the weekend.

I had this huge final report due this week so I was super stressed. And by "due this week" I mean I should've had it in about two weeks ago but had been slacking and not putting in my hours, so it got postponed a bit (I never said I was good with schedules...in fact, I believe that they don't apply to me). Anywhos, my boss finally asked for a firm deadline so I told him I'd have it done by Thursday. I didn't have it done by Thursday. I did spend about 8-9 hours on it that day, but by the end my brain was so fried I couldn't write another word. So I finished it on Friday and he seemed pissed. I'm also pretty sure it's not was he was expecting after I'd been leading him on about how much time I'm spending on it. So tomorrow (Tuesday) morning I get to get chewed out/possibly lose my job. AND I have to get up early to do it. Double whammy.

I may be being a bit overdramatic here, but he is not happy with me. Couple that with the fact that he's already running out of money and I may be out of a job by the holidays anyways, and you can see that I'm not in a good spot right now. I should be kissing his ass, doing everything and anything he asks for promptly and diligently to give him reason to fight for more grant money for me, or at least recommend me to other co-workers/collaborators, but I'm not. I kind of like the idea of focusing on school and being a college student again. I don't want to have to worry about putting in 30 hours/week in addition to two science classes and labs. But I need health insurance and I need something to put on my med school app. And research apparently looks good. I also need a good recommendation from my boss as well as a paper or poster or something to show for my year(s) of working there. Oy, so much to do, but so little motivation. And all that explains my sleeping problems. I'm generally a bad sleeper, but I haven't been able to fall asleep before 3 am for at least two weeks now and I'm absolutely exhausted.

But I'm digressing again. So Friday I was super tired and stressed and I just wanted to finish the damn thing. Once I did, I needed to do something for myself to get my mind off work. So, in true Boulder fashion, I decided to go on a bike ride! Instead of sitting in front of the TV or lying in a hammock, I went on a bike ride!!! I'm so proud of myself. :) It was so nice and amazing. Every time I get back on my bike I am reminded of how much I love riding and I wonder why I don't go more often. So I rode for 10ish miles on my favorite short route and it was awesome. Deserted country road along the country airport and the country schoolhouse. Just plain awesome. That is, until my seat came unscrewed. That was a shocker! I had installed a new one right before the ride to test it out and see how it felt (I'm still on a seemingly never-ending search for a "comfortable" saddle, and by comfortable I mean doesn't-make-me-cry kind of feeling). So I must've not screwed it on right or something because four miles from home in the middle of business park, my saddle came undone.

And I began despairing. I called anyone I would think who could be out of work to drop off an Allen wrench or something. That didn't work out. So eventually I started pedaling home, out of my saddle the entire time. That was painful. Oy. Not even a half mile down the road I found a coffee shop/bike shop and they fixed it up for me. But my great ride turned bleak for about 15 minutes there.

Anywhos, the rest of the weekend wasn't so good exercise or weight-loss wise. Right after the bike ride, I went to happy hour with my brother and his girlfriend and ended up drinking way too much booze of all shapes and flavors. Saturday we had a themed flip cup birthday tournament/party so that also involved a lot of PBR. I was supposed to have a soccer game on Sunday but it got canceled so I spent the entire afternoon either watching football or asleep on the couch. It was glorious.

As for food, I ate about half a container of raw cookie dough. Ugh. What was I thinking? I need to start logging my food again because that makes me realize how many calories I'm putting into my mouth and for the most part curbs my impulse appetite. That, and it's a pain in the butt to input every single bite of food I take and that's usually enough to keep me from snacking on things. I'm obsessive like that. I need to know the weight or amount of everything when I write things down, which I guess is a good thing.

It's a new week and a new mission: Run three times. I really need to get myself in shape enough to run 10 miles on January 29th. More on that later. This post is already too long.

218.5 on Friday. No weigh-in today. Waiting til Wednesday for the beer water weight to go away.
Bike to school: Up and down Folsom (3 miles - 320 calories - GWF on left calf)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Another success

I overcame my inner lazy person and biked to the library today instead of driving. Granted, that was instead of biking up the monstrous hill to work, but I still got pretty winded going the barely-sloped-upwards 1.5 mile ride, but it's something. And this way I don't have to worry about getting a parking ticket (the other real motivation for biking). So although my motivations for biking around town don't have much to do with weight-loss and/or getting healthy, I'm still doing it and that's all that matters.

As for the rest of the day, I have a huge report due for my boss "for Thursday", as I told him (and Thursday ends at midnight, right?), so I probably won't be doing much of anything else besides stare at my computer screen. And instead of working on that, I'm posting on here. But I'm glad to see myself actually writing a blog three days in a row, and I've started posting on 3fatchicks again and weighing myself somewhat consistently (I forgot this morning). So it's happening slowly but surely.

Oh, and about the library...I wish I had an office this nice. I work in the engineering building so the whole thing is a concrete bunker with small windows and no open space. In addition, my department is small and cramped into this wing with super narrow hallways that make the whole place seem very claustrophobic. So where's my office, you ask? Tucked away between the computer graveyard and the freight elevator. I feel like I've been stuck in a closet, or more accurately, a concrete dungeon. There aren't any windows, even though the long wall faces open blue sky. My office-mate and I have been tempted too many times to take a sledge hammer to the thing to give us some light, but I'm pretty sure there are major fines associated with such an action. So instead, I don't go into the office unless I need to talk to my boss and instead work from places like my bedroom (which also has minimal natural light, but at least I get a sliver of trees above my desk) or the library where I can look through the whole wall of windows and see the mountains and the creek and people. Wow, it's so nice to see things other than artificially lit concrete.

So yeah, I need a better office.

Forgot to weigh in this morning.
Bike to and from library (3 miles - 260 calories - GWF in left side of bra)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Baby steps, but need to do more

Day One and I've already failed at sticking to the plan. Well, partially, at least. And I guess technically it's Day Two, so I'm really off to a bad start.

Yesterday I'd planned on going on a ride, but that never happened. It was such a beautiful day, too, so it's quite a bummer. Instead, I ate a package of Mambas and half of a homemade raspberry pie. But, mmm, that was delicious.

It's been really hard to get myself out the door once my butt hits the couch. And usually that's the only thing I want to do when I get home from work. I need to figure out a better system/schedule for this exercising thing otherwise I'm never going to make it stick. I'm not a morning person, so waking up early to work out is most definitely not an option. I know a lot of people say that and then go on to change their habits, but it's absolutely impossible for me. Believe me, I would love to be an early bird (I'd even settle for a normal human being at this point) because the few times I've worked out before classes and/or work, it's been marvelous and I was on such a high the rest of the day. But that only lasted about two days and then I made up excuses, some of which were fairly valid, such as I'd rather sleep. Well, valid for me.

So the morning thing is not going to happen. The next option is right when I get home. Don't even think about changing into sweatpants and sitting on the couch! Instead, change into workout gear and get out the door! I think that's more feasible, except for maybe days like today when I was dragging so bad. I'm so tired that I can't even read a book because the lines keep moving, which is why it's 9:30 pm and I'm getting ready for bed already. Somehow I found the energy/determination to write this entry, so that's most definitely a positive since I knew I wasn't going to write tomorrow about today and one missed day usually leads to another and another and another and soon enough I'll be back changing my template and promising to stick with the plan.

Ok, I'm babbling. Ooh, I had a sad realization today about my calorie burning. As I mentioned before, I started wearing my GoWear Fit (GWF from now on) to keep me motivated and interested in this weight loss journey on a daily basis (I LOVE seeing and plotting my daily calories in and out). Anywhos, instead of wearing it on my arm like recommended or my leg like I thought I would, I put it inside my bra under my left armpit. I've read online that the GWF gives relatively accurate readings from that location for all sorts of activities, so I figured I would give it a shot. I'm tired of having to explain what's on my arm and a couple of months ago I would dread having people touch my left arm because I was worried they'd ask about it. I'd physically recoil.

Here's what it looks like on the lady's upper left arm (that's not me, if you're wondering). My armband is black instead of gray/silver. So ugly and so obvious:

I'm getting off-topic again. So, I wore my GWF starting this morning and I thought I would have burned way more calories on my bike to work. Granted, it's barely 1.5 miles and takes me maybe 15 minutes if I'm really slow, but there's a HUGE hill at the very end (7-8% grade) and it's super hard to get my out-of-shape self up that thing on my 30 pound rusty bike. So I thought I would burn a significant amount going up it. Boy, was I wrong! The whole 20-minute ride burned only 102 calories. Agh! Granted, it's about 70 more than had I sat around doing nothing, but that's just sad. Looks like I'm going to have to actually do something outside of the commute to work to get this weight off (duh!). But at least that monstrous hill a few times a week will help with strengthening my quads and getting me used to hills again.

Either I'm really not burning that many calories, or the GWF mismeasures when it's in my bra. I'll try it on my arm tomorrow and calf on Friday to compare the data and see what's going on. It's also not nearly as accurate during activities like cycling or the elliptical even if you're wearing it correctly, so that could also be the problem. We'll see. I'm hoping the bra thing works out because it'd be so much nicer and less anxiety-inducing if I could keep it secret from the world.

And now onto another great positive thing that happened today...I didn't chicken out from biking home. It's completely downhill so not hard, but it was raining and all I had was a t-shirt. But once I got on the bike and started heading home, the rain/drizzle didn't bother me at all. I even ran an errand on the way home. Go me!

Baby steps :)

220.5 lbs.
Bike to and from school: up Folsom, down 17th (3 miles - 240 calories)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Usual

I did what I always do when I decide to make a new resolution (usually because I've been away for a while and let myself go): I changed my blog template. And because I do this relatively often, I'm getting pretty good at xml codes.

So here's the new motivation for keeping to this plan...the (hopefully) upcoming trip to Belize. I would love to be there right now :)

Edit: Now that I've seen other beach blogs I'm having second thoughts. This one is indeed too neon, so I'm going to try to find a more peaceful template. I know this has nothing to do with weight-loss and I should be working/studying/biking/all of the above instead of obsessing about this, but that's what I do.

220.5 (new high...ugh)
So far nothing, but may head for a ride in a few.

I need to start slowly

Another good sign: I've dug my GWF out of the drawer and it's charging right now. I haven't worn it because it's been summer and I don't want people to see me wearing it, but I've heard that there isn't much discrepancy in calories burned if it's worn in the bra. So I may try that. Or on my calf since it's becoming jean weather for good now.

I figure if I start off with it in a different spot and then feed it calories eaten and weight then the algorithm should adjust for that location and work better than if I just wear it there once in a while and on my arm the rest of the time. We'll see.

And lastly, I need to start off slowly, with this getting-back-to-working-out thing so the goal is 3 exercise sessions this week. Biking to/from school/work doesn't really count as a workout since it's only 5 - 10 minutes of actual sweating. The rest is flat biking. So here's the amended schedule:

Monday - Biked to school/work (doesn't really count, but I want to write it down and feel good)
Tuesday - 10 to 15 mile easy ride
Wednesday - Bike to school/work, maybe run if leg up for it, soccer in evening (in goal so don't actually sweat)
Thursday - Off
Friday - 10 - 15 mile easy ride
Saturday - Run if leg works, bike 10 to 15 miles (harder) if not
Sunday - Hangover day = off!

Breaking the cycle

Lately I've been a huge sloth. I've gained about 10 pounds in less than a month (eww). I get winded when I walk up a flight of stairs. And I sweat profusely all the time. I am disgusting.

So of course I come to this blog, post something inspiring, and hope it works out. But I usually quit a few days later. I don't know if this will be any different. But I'm tired of being ashamed to look in the mirror or dreading dressing up because I don't look good in anything. I'm also tired of being single and not having anyone interested in me because I live in the thinnest city in America (no joke, we really are). I know that if I had a stellar personality or some confidence then that would all change, but I don't have anything to be confident about so that option's out the window.

Ok, enough self pity. The motivation I'm going for right now is feeling comfortable living in a bathing suit again since I'm heading down to Belize for the month of May and maybe June. It's not set in stone and the closer it gets the more nervous I am about the whole trip, but I'm determined to make it all work out because I'm kind of wishing I'd gone this summer and May is a great time to leave Colorado.

And although I've said this before, I'm one step ahead of myself in actually making this work since I already printed out a workout calendar as well as started planning my meals for the week. So at least there's progress. Oh, and I've been biking up that dreaded hill to work a couple times a week so there's some exercise there, even if I've only done it two times. You gotta start somewhere :)

The only thing holding me back from going on a run in the next few days (which I want/need to do but at the same time don't want to do) is a monstrous bruise on my leg that hurts even when I walk. I've been limping around all day. And I'm no pansy. This thing is a deep purple and about the size of both of my palms. Yeah, I don't take care of myself real good.

So I may start the push-ups again since that doesn't involve jiggling my legs. I thought about a swim, but then I remembered how bored I get every time and end up quitting early. And now a bike ride idea popped into my head. So I guess I'll be doing that tomorrow. Probably a short one (10-15 miles) to get myself back into biking shape.

Ok, so here's the plan:
Tuesday - 10 to 15 mile ride
Wednesday - Bike to school/work then maybe run afterwards if leg is feeling up for it
Thursday - 10 to 15 mile ride
Friday - Bike to school/work, run afterwards
Saturday - 10 to 15 mile ride (faster)
Sunday - Venus Women's Ride/hangover recovery

No official weigh-in this morning, but 222.0 at the end of the day. I hope that goes down by morning.
Bike to work: 17th Street hill...not nearly as bad as Folsom: my lungs didn't hurt for hours afterwards.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Breakfasts, lunches, and bike rides galore!

I haven't done too much since getting back to Colorado, besides Warrior Dash, of course. I was sooooo sore after that "race" that I could barely walk. Apparently I shouldn't be running down mountaintops without properly training beforehand. Oops.

In other news, school has started and I'm slowly starting to figure out my schedule. I finally have some human interaction during the course of my day, which is super nice. Yesterday (Wednesday) was my super long day, beginning with 2 lectures then an hour break for lunch and then 4 hours of section and lab. I woke up late so didn't eat breakfast and it wasn't looking like I'd be getting home for lunch. So no food til 5 pm?! Not gonna happen.

I decided to go to the campus grill/cafeteria and ended up getting roast chicken with potatoes and peas. That was heavenly. I also sat down next to a woman from the English department and we had a nice chat. I want to keep doing that (having lunch with someone) but I don't want to spend so much money every time.

And that's what brought me to looking into getting a snazzy lunchbox and packing a nice nutritious lunch for which I've planned ahead. From this other blog I read (Adios, fat pants!), I got a few websites dedicated to packing healthful lunches into Bento boxes, essentially lunch boxes with compartments that fit in very nicely. So I've been looking over them and I think I'm going to start small and plan a multi-colored, veggie-filled lunch once a week and build up from there.

Like this, from Basic Bento:

The next step is making breakfast as well, but I think that may be a once a week kind of thing. The same goes for biking to work/school instead of driving a few blocks and walking up that dreaded hill. But if I'm doing this once a week, what do I do the other days?

No weigh-in. Waiting on my beer water weight to go away. Perhaps tomorrow.
Nada either. SLACKER!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Warrior Dash!

Today was a really fun race that I had been looking forward to for a while. I even scheduled my California vacation around it, and had to cut out an extra weekend of fun on the beaches to get muddy. All in all, it was definitely worth it.

And now some photos...

Before the race, sparkling clean (I'm on the left in the brown shirt and my roommate's on the right):

Directly post mud pit:

 The last sprint to the finish, through fire, of course:

All in all, it was a really fun race but I thought it was a bit too easy obstacle-wise. I felt like it wasn't much of a challenge, excluding the long hill we had to run up, but that was just an endurance challenge and not a how-do-I-get-around-this-obstacle challenge. A little kid would've had no problem completing every single one of these obstacles, which many did. I was looking for a bit more of a challenge...not that my heavy and out-of-shape butt could've handled something more extreme, but details. And this is how Tough Guy comes into play.

Because of the relative ease of Warrior Dash, now I'm definitely set on Tough Guy UK: The World's safest, most dangerous taste of mental and physical pain, fear and endurance. It's a race held in January in bloody cold England that has some serious obstacles and some serious tests of inner strength.

Check out this appropriately titled ESPN review: Death Race 2007

So if I ever find myself in England (or even Europe) in January, I'm totally doing this. But I'm not flying across the pond for the sole purpose of putting myself through hell. At least that's what I say now. We'll see if that changes.

No weigh-in. Too early to even think about it.
Warrior Dash: 3.27 mile "run" with 12 obstacles

Thursday, August 19, 2010

New leaf?

I have a tendency to write these kinds of posts after a super long absence. I get super optimistic about working out, eating healthy, and losing weight. And then a few days pass and I'm over it. This usually happens when I'm at home with nothing better to do but scheme, plan out my life, and make resolutions, which is the case today.

I'm hoping this time the feeling will stick. My mom has now lost 45 pounds (so proud of her!) and weighs 20 pounds LESS than me. How embarrassing. I have got to do something about this because I can't be fat and unhappy any longer. And I've noticed that my abs are absolute Jell-O. I can barely hold a crunch for 5 seconds, and the only reason I know that is because I couldn't hold myself up when I was fixing my hair in bed (try to imagine that one). I used to be able to do 200 crunches at once and now I've got nothing.

So I've started the 100 push-up program. It's a six-week program that "promises" you'll be able to do 100 push-ups at the end of it. It's pretty simple, like Couch to 5 k, and only requires 5 sets of a small number of push-ups three times a week. For example, Day One of Week One for my level is the following number of push-ups: 10, 12, 7, 7, and at least 9.

I can't do enough real push-ups to make this program worthwhile, because I would have to repeat too many weeks with little progress, so I've been doing "girl push-ups" instead, you know, the ones on your knees. And once I build up to 100 of those, I hope my upper body is strong enough to be able to do at least 10 real push-ups. And that's when I'll start the actual program. For now, though, I'm sticking to girl push-ups since I'm already super sore from the 15 I did two days ago. Not a good sign, but I can only go up from here!

I really like structured things like this and I've been meaning to start the day off with push-ups for years now, so this seems like a great thing for me to do. And there's no guess-work. Everything is planned out. Yay :)

Oh, and I'm going to add my weight and daily training to the end of each blog post in italics. Hopefully this will motivate me to post more often. So here's the first one:

Push-ups: 10, 12, 7, 7, 13!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Getting back to tri-ing

One more posting from the tri forum. Again, it captures my feelings about tris quite accurately.

I know I've been absent for a pretty good chunk of time and I'm sorry for my sudden departure without any explanation. The short version is I needed time away from tris and anything tri-related. The long version follows. Thanks so much for your concern through PMs and inspires. You guys rock!

All is well over here in the sense that nothing is majorly wrong, I guess. I haven't done much of anything (tri-specific, at least) since the Oly in late June. It took me a good three weeks to get back on my bike for a short ride. And after that amount of time off, it had to be short to be surviveable. Geez, it's amazing how much fitness can be lost in such a seemingly short amount of time! It's like I was back at square one.

Since then, I've only been back on the bike a couple times, with no scheduled runs or swims at all. Part of my reasoning was that I'm going back to sea level with no bike for two weeks, so whatever I build up before then will inevitably be lost. So why try, right? Yeah, not the right attitude at all, but it seemed like a sufficient justification at the time.

Anywhos, I felt (and now I know for sure) that I was still jilted by my last tri experience. I don't usually hold on to things for nearly this long so it was kind of weird to have this feeling of crappiness hover around me every time I thought of tris. I needed a positive experience but wasn't about to commit to another hellacious form of expensive torture without being absolutely sure it would do the trick of cheering me up.

And that's where volunteering changed everything. A few friends and I had signed up to volunteer for the Boulder 70.3 Ironman race held this morning a while back after we had a blast at the sprint early in the season. Although the actual volunteer experience wasn't nearly as good this time around from an organizational standpoint (some of the coordinators were absolutely infuriating and incompetent), the athletes I interacted with made getting up at 4 am well worthwhile. It was so much fun and exciting and totally restored my faith in triathlons. The positive vibe felt in transition and before the race start was what I had forgotten about tris. And I missed that. So that's why I'm posting back to the group. I miss you guys.

So yeah, I'm back, albeit slowly and probably going to work on building a base for next season or possibly a late-season race, but I'm excited to get back into things. That hasn't happened in a while. I'm also seriously considering joining the tri club out here to get in some swim workouts with instruction since I feel like that's where I need the most coached help. The bike and run I can fix on my own, I think, (that, and I'm really intimidated by the routes they do so that'll have to wait), but my swim form needs some outside assistance. And the tri club seems like the most cost-effective way to fix that.

And that's that. As always, sorry this is so long, but I figured a one-line explanation wouldn't be sufficient to explain my absence.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Feeling much better

By today, he sting of yesterday has worn off, as long as I keep my mind off the bike portion of the race. That part's still pretty raw.

Oh, and last night we had an end-of-season party for a softball league I'm in. Of course my body marking hadn't washed off completely (not like I tried all that hard ) so people kept asking why I had "622" Sharpied onto my arm. They were pleasantly surprised and impressed that I did a tri that morning.

And the best part was when this super cocky guy on my team found out the distance. "Oh, you did a tri? How long was it, a sprint?" Nope, an Oly mofo. His jaw literally dropped. Awesome!

Lastly, as of 10:45 pm last night, my soul is complete. At least that's the text I sent to a friend. So apparently it didn't take all that much for it to heal. Just a few beers and some good company.

Loveland Lake to Lake Triathlon

The second triathlon is done! And it may've been the hardest thing I've experienced (mentally) since being in the mountains of Italy for a month two years ago...wow, was it really that long ago? Anywhos, below is the race report, again written for the tri group so it's a bit long.

Loveland Lake to Lake Triathlon
1.5 k/30 mi/10 k
 Loveland, CO
26 June 2010

I have no idea what happened to me during this race. Physically, I was fine throughout. I hammered out the swim slowly but surely. My bike split was faster than the trial run last week. And I probably could've run most of the 10k. But I gave up around mile 20 of the bike and it just got worse as the race went on. I barely talked myself into going out on the run. Midway through, I was completely done. Had it not been an out-an-back, I would've just headed back and gotten a DNF. By that point I didn't even care. So I trudged through it and somehow finished.

That was the nutshell version. Here's the more detailed one. Like my last report, it's also written for me, so excuse the length. And really, it's long, especially the bike part.

We planned to leave the house promptly at 4 am to get there when transition opened at 5. I made the mistake of sleeping in til noon the day before so I couldn't fall asleep that night. Ended up finally dozing off at 2:30 or something, and woke up to my alarm an hour later. I know, 1 hour of sleep before an Oly is probably the worst way to start a day. But since I'm a night person, I'm used to getting only a few hours of sleep before huge athletic events, and I'd also had a pretty restful week. So I figured, no biggie. And once I was up, I felt refreshed and good.

Anywhos, one of the girls I was carpooling with forgot her helmet 15 minutes into the drive, so we turned around to grab it. By the time we left for good it was 4:45, and we had about an hour drive ahead of us with the first wave going out at 6:20. Most definitely not enough time for me. I was pissed off and really stressed. So I think that's where the bad attitude began.

BUT, we made pretty good time (partially due to my erratic driving) and got there around 5:20. We had plenty of time to set up, walk around, and even take a few pictures with our other friends also doing the tri. I calmed down and was really enjoying myself.

                                                                   47:23             AG: 56/56
                                                           2:53/100 yards       OA: 694/715
I felt really good throughout. I was much more relaxed than during the sprint last month and just powered through it. My roommate was about a pool length ahead of me and swam around the same speed, so it was really nice to have a pace buddy within seeing distance. Kept me consistent and persistent in my swimming. I probably could've gone faster but I wasn't really racing this race, but rather going for a solid finish. And, I didn't want to come out as dizzy as I had last time. So, I did good

There was about a quarter-mile run to transition which I did as a slow jog and then headed to the bikes to get ready to ride.
                                                                      2:26          AG: 45/56
Most of the bikes were already gone by the time I got there, which is fine. Other than that, I took my time and made sure I had everything I would need and headed out.

                                                                2:04:27             AG: 53/56
                                                             14.46 mph          OA: 686/715
These were the most demoralizing and lonely 2 hours of my life. I wanted to cry at least 10 times and I'm not a crying person. I think I may've shed a tear or two towards the end, and then promptly told myself to suck it up and keep going.
From the beginning I could tell I was a bit tired. I think I used my legs too much during the swim or something, because they felt a bit heavy in the beginning. That feeling went away pretty quickly, so I probably just needed a warm-up.

My roommate and I are the same bike pace too so we stayed close to each other and chatted for the first few miles. Other than that, there was no one else around. Eventually she went ahead leaving me to chat with the voices in my head.

Somewhere around the first hill around mile 8 (don't know the mileage since my bike computer wasn't working) it hit me that this race sucks and it's going to be a long day. I had been one of the last people out of the water and now even my roommate, who I'd hoped to be on par with, had left me, making me really far behind. With all the curves and ups and downs in the road, I could only see other bikers every once in a while. And even so, they were super far away and probably impossible to catch. I couldn't talk myself into thinking I was racing, since there was no one within sight to catch, and then I tried saying it's like a group ride, which it wasn't since I was alone. I had run out of positive things to compare this to or convince myself of, so I sank into despair.

There have been very few times when I've felt so low and alone, and powerless to change the situation. This bike leg is now added to the list. There was absolutely nothing I could do about the situation besides keep pedaling which, thankfully, wasn't too hard. But it took so looooong...

Even now writing about it is pretty hard and brings tears to my eyes, so apparently I'm not over it and it wasn't a fleeting thought, but a true soul bruising. In fact, it's taken me all day to write this report. I don't know what sparked that initial feeling, but it all spiraled from there.

The long hill wasn't bad biking-wise and going down was super awesome...except for the fact that I couldn't see another biker for at least a few miles ahead. The rolling hills were much easier to conquer (physically at least) this time around as compared to last week when we scouted the course. I wasn't cursing them or the course at all. Maybe I was too wrapped up in my own feelings to notice the difficulty of the hills. But at least by that point, I could see 5 miles down the straight road and there were plenty of people to keep me company, even if they were a spec on the horizon.

Every time I saw a light-colored jersey up ahead, I hoped it was my roommate so I would be able to tell I hadn't fallen too far behind. But as soon as I got closer I realized it wasn't her. After 3 or 4 of these disappointments, I resigned myself to the fact that she was way ahead and I stopped getting my hopes up, which helped. The bright side of this was that I was passing people, and never got passed during the whole 30 miles. Yay for small successes

Anywhos, it was around this time (rolling hills, mile 20-ish) that the thought of not finishing crossed my mind. All along I had been aware of the difficulty of running 6 miles after all this. Even though it was daunting, I knew I could push through it and somehow finish, even if I had to walk the whole thing. By the rolling hills, it seemed impossible. Every time I felt that way, I would try to push the run to the back of my mind and just focus on getting through the bike, but eventually I just couldn't shake that feeling. I had no idea how I was going to continue on.

Once closer to civilization, there were more volunteers to cheer us racers on. Some of them looked bored out of their minds which exacerbated everything I was feeling, but the vast majority were genuinely enthusiastic so I put on a smile and yelled out "Thanks" because I really was grateful. The aid stations got an extra shout-out due to the kids' ridiculous excitement and encouragement.

Had my roommate not waited for me in transition, I would've quit. No doubt in my mind. To add to the feeling of being the last racer on the course, I literally had to wade through the people who were getting their stuff out of transition to go home. No joke. And thus began my anger towards race management. But more on that later.

Some volunteer realized I was still racing instead of going home (like most everyone else in transition) and yelled some words of encouragement, which was nice. I got all my stuff and jogged out with the roommie, who apparently was feeling the exact same way.

                                                                   1:36:55          AG: 54/56
                                                           15:37 min/mile   OA: 708/715

Umm, I should've labeled this as a walk instead. Going out, there were a ton of people heading back in, kinda weird to see after being alone for a couple hours. We ran most of the first mile and then did the rest of the 10k as a half walk, half jog, not because I was tired and couldn't run any more, but because I was done with this race. So over it.

We talked to a Team in Training lady for a while who walked the entire run because she'd badly broken her leg in a fall off a 30-foot cliff (yeah, crazy!) recently and was just looking to finish. There were lots of interesting people on that course, and because we were so slow we got to talk to a few of them, including the group of old ladies who was doing a garden tour down the streets we were running. Incredible landscaping, I gotta say. Even gave us some ideas for our own garden

Back to the race...as we were heading back to the finish for the last 1.5 miles we saw absolutely no one racing or working the race. No volunteers, no racers, nothing. Just a bunch of cones and some beach-goers by the reservoir. It was as if we were going for a Saturday jog by the lake instead of participating in a race. Some dude was putting away football equipment into a shed so we asked him if he knew where we were supposed to go, since by that point we were already back to where we had started and the route took a different turn. It was completely ridiculous that all the volunteers and race officials had left their posts and essentially abandoned the course.

We kept following the cones like the guy suggested and eventually we ran into a finisher chilling by the water who told us where to go. Soon after that our friends spotted us and pointed us in the right direction and for the last half mile we were rounding an inlet so we could tell where the finish was.

It was absolutely ridiculous that there was no one telling the runners where to go. The race was far from over as there were at least 10 people behind us, with one lady going out as we were coming in. We talked to a few people after the race and one late finisher said she got lost and ended up running around the high school thinking that's where the course went, instead of turning away and going along the lake.

I know that people get tired of cheering after a few hours. I most definitely did last week when I volunteered, and that was only a sprint! But that doesn't mean they should leave. The run photographer had even left by the time I was coming back around. I paid just as much for this race as the guy who finished in 2 hours so why do I get shafted with poor race management? Not cool. And I understand that an Olympic race is long and it's hours until the last biker comes in and people want to home. But I shouldn't have to dodge finishers when I'm trying to get through transition. There has to be a better system for that. And I definitely plan on writing the race director about all this, especially the run part.

Back to the race again...for the finish, the roommate and I sprinted the last few yards, even though I wish we had crossed hand in hand (seriously) since neither of us would've made it through the run to the finish if we weren't together. So that's my only regret.

Nothing special. Since most racers had already left and the awards ceremony was finishing up, the line for the massage tables was super short. So I got a massage. And a beer that a friend had saved for me.

Official time: 4:33:56
Overall: 701/715
Females: 306/317
Division (Athena): 5/6
AG (if I was in it): 53/56

Results (Bib 622):

- NUTRITION: Spot on throughout the whole race. I wasn't hungry at all the whole morning. The Shot Blocks were delicious and kept me full and energized, even though I didn't use that energy for much during the run. The extra Gatorades at the two bike aid stations were much needed and I'm really glad I grabbed some. But then again, maybe my emotional break-down was due to not enough nutrition. I don't know.
- RUN OFF THE BIKE: Well, I should rephrase that to "my legs off the bike." Felt great. Seriously. I could've definitely run most of that 10k, but just didn't want to. My legs didn't feel heavy at all even during the first mile (which I did actually run), and felt somewhat fresh throughout...probably because I walked the rest of the way. That is probably attributed to the last 4 miles of the bike being downhill, but I also made sure not to push too hard earlier on the bike course either. And it worked

What's next? I don't have another tri scheduled or in mind until at least September. BUT, I want to try the Oly distance again this season. It needs to be conquered, and I can't wait a whole year. So we'll see how training goes throughout the summer and take it from there.

For now, I'm taking a break from formal-ish training, and just enjoying swimming, biking, and running without any structure or planning at all.

All in all, even though the bike was soul-crushing, I'm glad I did this race. I have no idea how anyone who does a HIM or IM pushes through a whole race. So STEVEA and STEVEB, wow. Major kudos to you.