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 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