Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Grocery Shoppin' Biker

Today my lab mate cut his finger while we were changing a water filter and his blood dripped down onto my hand.  Like, a lot of it.  Those of you who know me at all in real life will know that it is a miracle that I did not shriek with horror, sob bitterly, or pass out.  Even more impressive than that was what happened this evening.

I rode my bike to the grocery store.

This is how the bike ride materialized in my mind:  "I'm such a dummy.  Five blades doesn't mean five replacement cartridges, it means five blades on EACH razor...  I need to take this razor kit back and exchange it for just refills and never go grocery shopping with Brittainy again.  Hey, I also forgot sandwich meat...  Those things are small enough to fit in my bike basket."  That's when the little lightbulb lit up.

Brittainy flipped it back off and said that it might rain, but then offered to pick me up if it rained and I didn't want to ride back in it (for that, she wins the good roommate award, and partially makes up for being a distracting shopping buddy).  I thought that it would be more likely that she'd have to pick me up because I would get exhausted and be stranded on the side of the road with jelly legs.

On the way home, I listened to the podcast of the Young Women's general meeting from General Conference this weekend, and by the time I even started to get tired, I realized I was only a block or two away from home, so I just stood up on the pedals and got myself up that last incline.  As I pulled up the driveway and kicked out the kickstand to unlock the door, I did a private victory dance.

Today was truly a red-letter day.  I feel so strong!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Achilles Ankles

I tried to start again on C25K last week.  I have a lot to say about this but not a lot of time to say it, so I'll save it for another entry.  I trained for my first 5K mostly OTP (off the program), running when I felt like it and walking when I needed a rest.  I ran my 5K that same way.  After I ran the 5K I started back on the C25K program.  With that reasoning, and the idea that anything is better than blatant inactivity, I am going to

Problem:  My ankles KILL me when I try to run on the program.  I guess it's all the hills here, and the unnatural pace that the program forces.  My method now is to run on all the flat parts, half the down-hills,  and the last little bit of the uphills.  I'm going to keep doing this until it feels comfortable and easy, and then I will gradually increase.  When I can run for several minutes without ankle pain, I'm going to start on the structured program again and train for a 5K.

In the meantime, genius athletes out there, what do you think I should do about my poor ankles to help them along?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I own a bike, but I'm not a hippy.

In anticipation of high gas prices this summer, I bought a bike.  I have never felt so out of shape as when I am riding it.

My goals regarding the bike is to be able to bike an average 5 mile Provo stretch (grrrr hills) and still be able to walk afterwards eventually.  A more immediate (and practical) goal is to be able to ride to my new apartment by the time I move in so I don't have to find someone with a bike rack.  An even more immediate goal will be to do grocery shopping on my bike.  So...  I may be GPSing my bike rides soon now, too.

Also, I really haven't given up on running.  I've just taken a little break after falling up the stairs a little over a month ago.  My shin is still a little sore, but in reality it's good enough to start again.  It's just frustrating to have to restart AGAIN.  Whatever.  Life's all about starting over, right?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Legacy Pains

I'm back on the ball - I worked out three times last week in total because although I added a day of weight training, I left off a day of running.  My bad.  I guess I'm just not ready for that yet.  Maybe I'll just wait until the running stuff becomes easy.

Speaking of running coming easy, it definitely didn't tonight.  I had the same ankle problems today that I did during the Lavender 5K over the summer.  I feel fine now (as I did that day) but it was really annoying when I was going through it.  The pain really climaxed during the end of the first five-minute burst of running, and it was then that I turned off the C25K app and just ran/walked at my own pace.  I still did almost 2 miles, but it wasn't as much as if I had stayed on the plan. 

I am going to try dynamic stretching on Wednesday and see if that solves some of my problems, and probably stay on Week 4 for another week and a half.  This is where I start hitting walls, much as I would like to NOT hit them right now.  

It kind of put me in a bad mood, which was even worse because today is Valentine's Day and everyone just assumed I was bitter.  Really, no.  But running is the thing that normally makes me feel good, and today I felt defeated by it.  I'm recovering, though, and it's nothing a viewing of some sappy romantic movie before bed can't remedy.  :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Chewing the Fat

Hey kids.  I just finished my run for the day, despite what I told myself momentarily when I saw that "5:00 left to run" on my iPod.  You know how I mentioned the Inner Coach earlier?  Well, I rolled my eyes at her when she said, "You're halfway done with this run!" after two and a half minutes.  I finished it, though.  I will say, it sure was nice to see my numbers on Strands today with improvements in all categories from duration to speed.

I noticed that when I was warming up, I was counting down the seconds left.  I was walking at the time, so it is odd that I would be counting it down.  I think it's just that I feel bored after doing the same thing for a certain amount of time on such a contraption as a treadmill.  I kept that in mind when I was longing for the running segments to be over.  Really, though, none of it was too bad.  I think I'm back to the point where monotony is a greater challenge than the physical effort of running.

The last few minutes, I measured my cadence by counting how many times my feet hit the belt in 15 seconds.  My right foot struck 22-23 times every fifteen seconds, which is exactly what your cadence should be.  I try not to stride too big and concentrate on keeping my back straight and tall, bending forward from my ankles, and I guess all that concentration on proper form has paid off.  I'd really like for someone who knows what they're doing to look at me and tell me things I can do to be even better.

More good-ish news.  I have not been dieting.  I repeat:  I HAVE NOT BEEN DIETING.  I weighed myself, and I've lost 3.4 pounds since the end of the month.  It's a little more than 2 pounds per week, so if it happens again, I need to do something to slow it down.  Don't get me wrong; weight loss is great.  I just don't want to lose it too quickly and then gain it all back (with interest) even quicker than I took it off.  I averaged a loss of one pound per week when I was doing this last year, and that was a perfectly comfortable weight loss - I was never hungry, and didn't spend inordinate amounts of time at the gym.  Also, I never did gain it all back, and that's incredible considering the junk I was eating last semester (you can ask my roommates if you don't believe me).  If I can continue this pace, I will be in spectacular shape for my high school reunion next summer.  Not the ultimate goal, but it would be nice.

Anyway, it's a good "start" to week 4, even if it is really the middle of the work week.

C25K W4D1
Distance: 1.99 mi
Time: 32 min
Weight: +8.6
Sensation:  Drippy

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Upper Body and Catch-up

I slipped up a bit and didn't write yesterday, but I did run!  For some reason, it was a little slower than usual, which is probably why it felt a little easier than usual.

I realized today that I run 2 minutes slower per mile than I did in September.  Hopefully that will improve as we head into week 4 tomorrow.

Also, I am beginning to work out 5 days a week for the time being.  It is odd because the C25K program gives me something to do three times a week.  I felt lost going into the gym today because there wasn't anyone in my ear telling me when to do what.  It was fine, though, because I did go in with a plan.  A five-minute (which turned into 7 as I got caught up in the Kentucky game) warm up on the elliptical with three sets of 15 on an upper-body circuit.  Then on Thursday I'll work on lower body.  As far as core goes, I should probably be doing those every day, but I don't.  One thing at a time, though.  One thing at a time.

I saw several people I know at the gym today.  I like it when people know me wherever I am, but more so at some place that I find threatening like the gym.  So, a big shout-out to you if we see each other at the gym!

Next week I am going to try the Nike Training Club App.  It looks like it will be really good, and I have been really excited to try it out since I downloaded it, but I didn't want to add in too much too fast.  Then again, I also really liked swimming on "off" days back when I did it.  I guess I'll just try different combinations, and we'll see what I like best.  I just know that I need to do something to firm up the muscles before I start losing weight from all the running so as to prevent flab.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Friday Night Fever

When I went to the gym on Friday night, I was encouraged by the number of attractive people there who were also spending their Friday night on a treadmill.  It made me feel less pathetic for being there instead of out doing something more glamorous.  I can't say that there could have been anything better for me to do, though, so I am grateful I have the opportunity to run as often as I do.

Week 3 seemed really hard looking at it from Week 2, but now it's not too bad.  I was actually surprised and somewhat disappointed when my workout was complete the other night.  I felt like it ended too soon, but both timers said it had been 28 minutes, just like it was supposed to be.  Monday finishes up week 3, then it's on to week 4.  I'm excited about the progress I'm making, and how much easier it seems this time around.  It's like my body remembers that it used to do this all the time just 6 months ago.

I also finally got to see the end of Dark Knight at the beginning of my workout.  Like I always say, you gotta hold onto those little things!

Next week I plan to add in two more days of light exercise.  For now I think it might just be 10 minutes on elliptical and 20 minutes of weight training or 30 minutes of laps at the pool, just to mix it up a bit and still give my joints a break.

Time: 28:00 min
Distance: 1.70 miles
Sensation: Entertained, pleasantly sweaty

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Inner Coach

Three minutes of straight running, kiddos.  That's what comes with week 3.  It's not bad at all, but I recall not being able to do week 3 on the road even after finishing week 5 on the treadmill.  Now the treadmill is on that 3.0% grade to simulate actual real outdoors running, so this is an accomplishment.

You gotta hold on to those little things, ya know?

Another milestone today is that my positive thinking inner-coach finally showed up.  I know 3 minutes sounds like such a short amount of time to go through anything, but it seems to just DRAG on while I'm running.  Tonight, I just kept telling myself really positive things, and I got through it.   It even seems easy now, looking back on it.  I just kept telling myself that I could do it and that three minutes isn't really that long until I was done. The second three-minute stretch seemed a lot better because I already KNEW I could do it.  It was a great feeling.

C25K W3D1
Distance: 1.65 mi
Time: 28:00 min
Sensation: Satisfaction

Monday, January 31, 2011

One Step Forward

Today ended Week 2, which means that Week 3 begins on Wednesday.

I got a weird blister on my left foot today, but it's got a day to heal up, so hopefully it won't affect my performance when it's time to step up the pace.

I increased my walking and running speeds by .1 mph each today, and didn't notice much of a difference.  I may just do that every third day, at least until the third day workout involves continuous running (I believe that's week 5 or something).

I'm so excited about the progress I'm making.  I'm already solidly in the habit of working out three times a week, and I've even got a good attitude about it.

I've heard a lot of positive response from friends who have blog-stalked me here.  I'm so glad that the positive changes I've been making in my life have bled over into theirs, and it is a big encouragement for me to continue.

So I'll issue a challenge now.  What is one small thing you can do to improve your health immediately?  I'm not talking "lose 5 pounds," here.  I mean, something even smaller than that, something action-based.  What if you substituted one soft drink per day with a glass of water?  What if you decided from now on to fill half your plate at each meal with vegetables?  What if you decided right now to walk just a few hundred more steps each day?  Small  steps, taken consistently, add up to major mileage on your way to better health.  Success doesn't only happen when we reach our big goals; it is in every step forward that we choose to take.

In this time I've been training, I have yet to diet.  I work out no more than thirty minutes three times a week.  What I'm doing is NOT earth-shattering, but I already feel SO much better, after only three weeks of steady progression.  You will feel better, too.  So don't give up when things get hard, just keep being persistent, and you'll see the pay-off sooner or later.

Today's workout:
Distance: 1.78 mi
Time: 29:00 min
Sensation: Contentment

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Treadmill I Love

I weighed myself after running today.  No big.  I didn't want to use my post-christmas weight as a starting weight, so I waited until I was exercising for a little while to weigh.  It might not be different, but it makes me feel better to do it this way.  I'm not brave enough to post my actual weight on here, but I will post the difference between my current weight and what I weighed the last time I checked when I was exercising regularly.  Once you see that number hit zero, I will be back where I left off weight-wise.  Cardio-wise, I don't think I really lost that much over the time I've been"off."  Also, I must say that losing weight through exercise alone as I have must be the best possible way to lose it because it faithfully kept coming off one pound a week over a period of several months, and even after a long period of not doing anything and eating fattening food, I never did gain it all back.  It would have been better to never stop in the first place, but we can't go back now, can we?

Week 2 is proving to be VERY easy.  I think the biggest challenge in all of this is I hate the treadmill.  I did, however, find some treadmills that I don't mind being on.  Two words: Cardio Theater.  I think it's worth the full price of a Gold's Gym membership for that experience.  If it's available at your gym and you haven't tried it, please do yourself a favor and give it a chance.  Except if you go to my gym.  I don't want it to get too busy in there.

I got very interested in watching Inception, and didn't even notice I was running.  I also got a really nice cadence without a strong beat in the background to distract from it.  It's running without headphones but WITH distractions, and the best of both worlds.  Additionally, I suspect that those treadmills were better quality treadmills - they didn't seem to shake as much, and it felt more like being on solid ground.  I just can't say enough good things about my workout today - I feel great, and I enjoyed it thoroughly the whole way through, not just at the end.  Yeah!  High Five!

C25K W2D2
Distance: 1.72 mi
Time: 29 min.
Sensation: Disbelief
Weight: +11

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Always Easier the Second Week

'Tis true.  I don't know what it is about it, but the second week is always oh so much easier than the first week.  I just don't think my legs like changing speeds very often, so the 2 minutes walking to 90 seconds running intervals allow me to get into a better cadence.  Also, 90 seconds of running at a time isn't very much, so it's still very easy aerobically-speaking.

Whatever it is, week 2 was the easiest week for me last time, and it still seems to be true this time around.

I owe part of that to my bud Madison, who gave me stretching pointers.  Ya know, not on her blog, but still, it was helpful.  Basically, I abandoned the whole "stretch before running" attitude, and now jog lightly for five minutes prior to stretching, then proceed to my usual workout.  Much less tightness now.

Today on the treadmill, I watched Arizona vs. UCLA.  I cheered for Arizona because BYU beat them, but maybe I should have cheered for UCLA because they beat BYU and they apparently needed it more.  I guess I need to get better at picking out the losers so I can have a more exciting time.

Also, my "run like the wind" anthem that really motivated me today was I Don't Feel Like Dancin' by Scissor Sisters, which I discovered via Emily, the same one who took the pretty pictures in my Lavender 5K entry and helped me get through the end of the race by showing up at just the right moment to cheer me on.

Okay, well I've plugged enough music and blogs for one entry, so here are the stats:

C25K W2D1
Distance: 1.77 miles
Time: 29:00
Feeling: Accomplished, yet adequately sore.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Hechos Son Amores

I spent Wednesday through Friday in Monterey, California and failed to pack proper running gear.  I was actually quite unprepared for how gorgeous it was going to be, and I felt jealous of the people I saw running along the shore.  But as they would say in Argentina (and many other places) "Hechos son amores no buenas razones."  Good intentions only count when they lead to action.

Except the action was that on this day that I could have easily skipped the gym, I pushed myself and went anyway.   Not only that, but I'm actually very glad I did.  I had a hard time during the first part, but I made it through without compromising on the schedule, although I did lower the speed slightly for the last half of the run.  I figure I'll start out at this running pace and I can always work my way up to my goal pace once I can run a 5K on the slow pace without walking breaks.

I don't struggle with running anymore; I struggle with the walking parts.  Does anyone else experience this?  I just feel this incredible tightness in my calves that is oh so much worse when I'm walking than when I'm running.  This might mean I'm not warming up properly before stretching, so I'll have to figure out some way to change up my routine and see if I can reduce this discomfort.

I discovered today that basketball games are really the best thing for me to watch while I'm running.  It's sometimes hard to find a team that I care about, so I just cheer for whatever team is losing because that makes it more exciting.  I glue my eyes to the TV and can completely ignore the fact that I'm essentially running on a rapidly-moving inclined conveyer belt.  I love basketball. <3

C25K W1D4
Distance: 1.83 mi
Time: 31:00

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


I guess this entry is a bit belated in that I actually did the running yesterday, not today, but better late than never.  I seriously considered taking yesterday off, but I'm glad I went, and I'm glad I stuck it out.

I ended up running the full speed I had intended when I started this thing, and for the amount of time the program calls for.  Be proud.  I'm also still running with a 3% incline, which is another thing to be super proud of.  

I am hesitant to move on to week 2, but I do remember that last time I went through this thing I was also hesitant, and then week 2 ended up being easier than week 1, so I'm just gonna keep moving on.  It was those weeks that you are running continuously for 20 minutes where I really struggled on the treadmill, so if I linger anywhere, that's where it'll be.

Tomorrow I'm headed to California for Western Spectroscopy, so I'm going to get up early in the morning to get my run in before I leave.  Then I plan on running on Saturday afternoon.  I know better to kid myself that I'll be able to run while we're at a conference.  If I can, great, but if not, I have a back-up plan.

Here's the stats:
Distance: 1.87 Miles
Time: 31:00
3% Incline on treadmill

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Busy Busy Busy

Woo.  Yesterday was sooooo busy, and I still squeezed in the gym.  It was a fantastic research day, which means my legs were already like jello when I got to the gym from standing over a laser table in weird positions and walking/running up and down concrete hallways all day, and that made getting on the treadmill to intentionally run that much harder.  But once again, making the decision of whether or not I would go ahead of time made it that much easier, even though I may or may not have tried to talk myself out of it.

At the gym, things got nasty.  I went through the first half of the workout just fine, but then my legs started hurting pretty bad, so I slowed it down.  I almost walked through the running segments, but I decided to just push through on a lower speed.  Besides, it was during the walking segments that my legs really got the best of me - they felt fine during the running segments.  I just think the treadmill is an evil invention, that's all.

I will be honest and say that I did NOT enjoy the workout yesterday, but at least I did it, and I did still feel the satisfaction afterwards of having followed through with something even though it was hard.  I know my sacrifice and perseverance will pay off soon.

The workout:
C25K W1D2
Distance: 1.84 mi
Time: 31:00 min
Listening to: Absolutely by Sister Hazel

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Feels Like Starting Over

Beginning again has officially begun.  I am running on a treadmill at the gym set on 3.0% incline, and following the Cool Running Couch to 5K program (link at right).

And boy, 3.0% incline sure feels appropriately challenging.  This morning my legs feel just like they ran outside yesterday, except I got a LOT sweatier than if I had run outside, even in the summer time.  Perhaps I need to invest in a larger water bottle.  I also set the run pace/ walk pace to be a little higher because I know that when I'm running outside I tend to run faster, and I want to already be accustomed to running at the pace I tend to run at when I start running outside.

Scheduling was difficult yesterday, but making the decision to run ahead of time really helped.  I actually had to run during a long step in an experiment for my research and come back afterwards to stop it.  It worked out fine, though, and now I feel proud that I was able to finish the first day with a positive attitude.

I want to shout-out to all of you who have left supportive comments on here.  I really appreciate your encouragement!  My college buddy Tamara is doing her own health overhaul, and I think we will be great mutual encouragers.  I also magically found a buddy on Strands this week who started commenting like crazy on my goal and workout entries.  And then this girl I went to high school with posted on a C25K forum, and we've decided to also buddy up through cyberspace.  I've never had much luck with the buddy system before because of scheduling problems and because I tend to feel discouraged and compare myself to other people, but feeling love and support from people all around the country really feels good and makes me want to do my best, so THANKS!  :)

3.0% Incline Treadmill
1.92 miles in 31 minutes
16:08 min/mile (we'll definitely be improving THIS)

PS: I really do think of you all while I'm running.  When I think it's too hard and want to quit, I think, "Well, what am I going to tell the people who read my blog?" and it gives me the motivation to keep going.  So I also thank all of you silent readers out there!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year - New Resolve

Last year's one resolution was to have a "theme," instead of a resolution.  That theme was "it's my turn," and I may make it a two-year resolution, because I think it's a good theme that deserves two years.  "It's my turn" is all about taking life by the horns and making my life what I want it to be every day.  This blog was begun in February of last year as a branch of that theme, and running really did become a passion for me.

I never would have imagined that I would fall off that wagon, but I did.  It's old and cliched by now, but they say that the boxer that wins isn't the one who is knocked down the least but the one who continues to pick himself back up.  I refuse to let my past failures stunt my future success.

That said, I really hope to get back on the ball, and for several reasons.  Reason number one, I realized that my ten year high school reunion is in 18 months.  That's the perfect amount of time to lose the large number of pounds I need to lose to be in the healthy range without doing unhealthy things to my body to get there.  Reason number two is I have realized that although my body seems to "like" being heavy, it really doesn't.  I'm more tired, more stressed, and just ugh about things since I quit running.  When I was running I was really happy.  I was happy with myself, with my body, and with pretty much every aspect of my life.  All of the positive effects started from the very first day.  I really need to get back into this and recommit myself again.  I really need all you out there to hold me accountable to this.

So, speaking of cliches, I am starting an exercise program in January.  And it's cold, so I'm going to have to go to the gym.  Hurdle number one would be signing up for the gym membership, but I already have one, so I guess I'm ahead of the game there.  I hate that the gym is crowded in January, and I hate that the people at the gym look at my pudgy little body on the treadmill and think that I have never exercised before in my life and am just in it for the short-term.  It makes me want to wear a t-shirt that says, "This ain't my first rodeo, bucko."  Also, treadmills.  Yuck.

I'm going to start training again with the Couch to 5K program, same as before.  The big change I'm making is that I'm going to run the treadmill (dreadmill) on a higher incline than before so that it's less of a shock to my poor legs when I start running on pavement as soon as the snow melts in Provo.  I may actually work through the program on a 1.5% incline once, and then start over again from week 3 with a 3% incline.  Week 3 was very difficult for me outside, even after week 6 on the treadmill on 1.5% incline, but in the spirit of working up to outside conditions, I'm going to do it.  That will have me running a 5K three times a week OUTSIDE by May, assuming I can stay on the C25K schedule.  Even if I take 2 weeks to do each "week," the first time around, I'll still be there by June or July.  At that point, I may temporarily hire a personal trainer to help me through the slump that has historically occurred there.  In the meantime, it is up to you who read this blog free from ads, to earn your keep and ride my chubby butt so I stay with the program!

Is there anyone else out there who is starting or restarting the couch to 5K program?  If you're out there, I'd love to hear from you.