Friday, August 31, 2007

0 Running Apparel Tip #1: A Runner's Dream: The Wonders of Non-Cotton Running Apparel


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Check out this great video, which has excellent advice on running apparel & outdoor weather protection:



As many of you probably already know, (or have just learned from watching the above video! :-) ), it's really rather important to wear non-cotton running apparel. It doesn't matter if it's summer or winter. If you want to avoid chafing, sickness, & just the general icky feeling of having damp, sweaty clothes stick to you, then you'll want to pick up some non-cotton apparel.

So, to help you in your quest for great non-cotton running apparel, I've compiled a short list of great (& surprisingly inexpensive) resources I'd like to share with you. I shall post this list in my very next post, so stay tuned to learn these great shopping secrets!

1 The Voice of the Blog: What Compels Me to Write & Read Blogs


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(Addenum: I realize that this particular post is somewhat off-topic, in that it's not exactly about running or fitness, but since the subject matter IS about blogging, it IS somewhat relevant, if only indirectly so....)

Isn't it refreshing to know that this blog is a mini-narrative of a person's life (or rather, an aspect of a person's life), instead of just being one of those usual commercial blogs out there in the blogosphere that solely exist to push products? I just love those blogs that are nothing but ads, ads, ads, & absolutely NO content. Hahahaha. (I'm kidding here, people!)

And don't you just absolutely love how so many of them push product so hard into your face that you just want to wring your hands & walk away??!!!! ;-)

Well, I promise you that I won't do that to you, dear reader.

Now while I realize the need to make a buck, what I'd really like to know is just how many of those zillions of fly-by-night sites (that seem to replicate endlessly like mutant amoebic blobs & look like they were slapped together in two seconds flat!), are really that effective in selling their products anyhow? And you KNOW which ones I'm talking about. People seem to think that if they have ten zillion blogs, with names that are only slight variations on a theme, like http://sellyourproducthere.com, http://sellyourproductnow.com, http://sellyourproductoday.com, etc., that this proliferation will help take them to the next level of selling. I think this is a load of crap. 'Tis better to have unique blogs that distinguish you & your product(s) from the herd, and to devote your time to writing a few GOOD blogs, as opposed to 10,000 mediocre endlessly mutating blogs that waste your time & everyone else's to boot. Most people don't even LOOK at blogs after the first 10 you've listed with similar names. It's just market saturation without any distinction. I'd like to know what the thought processes are for people who set up these flimsy little blogs that took 2 seconds of effort & ALL look the same. Where's the FUN in that?! I mean, even if your focus is business-related, there's DEFINITELY a better way to market yourselves, people!

Simply put, the most effective commercial blogs out there are those that know how to target/reach their audience, and also offer something to the public (i.e., free tips & advice, etc.) instead of just being concerned with "sell, sell, sell, baby!"

Now of course, I do have two company blogs of my own, Ladybug Tea Co. & Welcome to My Planet, but again, the focus of these blogs is to discuss the various subjects surrounding the businesses I run (i.e., fashion, jewelry, tea & spices, entrepreneurship, etc.), & not just to discuss the products I make.

I personally prefer reading blogs where I can learn something interesting & have some fun in the process. I think that most people would generally agree that if you've got some spare time for blog-reading, it better be something interesting that immediately captures your attention. Now, I realize that this is, of course, highly subjective. And before you get the wrong idea, I'm not necessarily advocating the idea of grabbing the blogosphere spotlight by by any means necessary either. However, my point is that it's important to SAY something of value in your blog. And not just hear you talk about the fact that you ate a banana at 2 pm today. Ooh-ooh-ah-ah-ah! Let's distinguish ourselves from our simian cousins a bit more, shall we?! ;-)

The most compelling blog voices out there are those that SAY something meaningful. That's what makes ME want to read your blog.

It's also subject-specific: Of course, like any other person, the blog topics I most enjoy reading reflect my own personal interests; they are usually either recreational (i.e., music, film, TV, fashion, cooking, fitness/running, health/nutrition, cats, humor, literature, writing, etc.), philosophical (interesting, funny, &/or thoughtful personal narratives, or blogs about people's own original ideas or a discussion of others people's ideas -- the subject can be about pretty much anything in the universe), or anything geeky or entrepreneurial in nature (blogs focusing on small business administration, investing, retail, new technologies & techie gadgets, blogging, etc.).

Yes, that certainly covers a lot of territory. (I've got a lot of interests, & the blogs to match them all! OK, maybe not all.) Now maybe other people aren't interested in as many subjects in blog format, but then again, maybe they are. Of course, the larger point is that no matter what your topic is, you'd better have something meaningful to say..... And it also helps to be funny & unique while you're at it. ;-)

Let us not forget the first rule of blogging: Don't put your audience to sleep! ;-)

IMHO, blogs are best when they are a source of enlightenment & entertainment all rolled into one. They are a great way to share & exchange resources, a excellent source of practical information, a way to communicate with the world at large, a means of promoting yourself, your vision, &/or your products, as well as a window into the minds of others.

As for why I blog: I find it to be extremely fun, useful, & often highly cathartic. I love the act of writing in general (& of course love reading just as much!). So, it's not so surprising that I really enjoy blogging. (I hope it shows!) And of course, I hope that you enjoy reading my blogs just as much as I love writing them!

So thank you, my wonderful faithful readers out there in the vast wide blogosphere, for reading, commenting, faving, & subscribing to my blogs! You are what makes the blogosphere great. You make these blogs a truly interactive experience. I can't thank you enough for your interest & loyalty.

Until the next blog post.....

-C

0 Weigh-In: Yea! I lost 1.2 pounds!


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Yea, yea, yea! I lost another 1.2 pounds today! (Hey, that actually rhymes. ;-) )

As I said earlier, I've only been hopping my the scale when I feel particularly victorious & good about myself. And last night's run was one of those experiences.

Basically, my new trend has been to weigh myself on the next day after my run; in order to maximize results & make them the most consistent, I weigh myself after I wake but only after emptying the tank.

Another 3.2 pounds & I will have reached another zero marker. Of course, I'm not telling any exact numbers, but now I have only 18.2 more pounds to go to reach my original goal weight. I've lost 6.8 pounds in about 6 weeks, or about 1.13 pounds per week. That's not bad at all, because atleast my weight is continually moving in the downward direction, which is the important consideration!

If everything goes according to planned & can just I keep this up, I project that I can lose another 3.5 pounds in the next 3 weeks. Or perhaps even more, especially since I'll be running for longer consecutive periods of time more often.

That'd mean that, if I continue along this path, it would take me about 2 months to lose 10 lbs, which is certainly well within the guidelines of what's typically recommended for steady, healthy weight loss for women (i.e., of no more than 2 pounds lost a week).

I know some people who'd probably say that this was too slow of a time-table for weight loss & that I could lose weight faster if "I only put more effort into it," but frankly, for one, those people aren't coming along with me on my runs & aren't seeing how much effort I actually AM putting into this process. And secondly is the more salient point, that I don't really get a rat's ass what those type of people think, because you KNOW that these people have probably lost & gained weight faster than a yo-yo. And just like a yo-yo, the smart people out there know that this type of thinking only takes you two steps forward & five steps backward.

I'm a big advocate for GRADUAL weight loss, done in a safe & effective manner. Also I realize that part of the reason I'm not losing 2 pounds or more a week is that I don't have that much to lose. I'm not trying to lose 50 pounds or more like some others out there, who will naturally shed the weight faster (atleast in the first few weeks), because they have more overall weight to lose.

So, you see, I've got a really healthy, and more importantly BALANCED outlook on the weight loss process.

I know it's not as flashy or as appealing as some fad diets out there promising instant weight loss, because it takes effort & hard work, but BELIEVE ME, I'd rather lose the weight by exercising than by going on some diet that forces you to eat nothing but grapefruit & eggs for 10 weeks straight, thank you very much indeed! ;-)

The larger point of this post is to remind people to celebrate the smaller victories of your progress (& not just the big milestones!), as they will rally you onward to achieve more & more of your goal. My best advice to those starting out on a fitness plan is to TAKE SMALL STEPS and focus on the present. This will help buffer you in the low times when you are feeling discouraged or generally uninspired. The point is to stay focused on your progress & the positive steps you are taking every day to acquire better health & fitness.

Look at it this way: Every little bit you do -- no matter how small -- helps, or rather can ONLY help. Even if you take a few steps backward, you need to stay focused on moving ahead, because the mental energy you expend fretting over backwards steps will only take you further backwards.

So, since in running, as in life, you can only go in two directions (because the stasis of standing still is actually going backwards in my book), why not choose to go forwards! It's the only choice, both mentally & spiritually. And so also should it be physically!

Happy running people & keep up the good work you are doing!

-C

Thursday, August 30, 2007

0 Run 2, Week 6 (CT5K): Running Under A Full Moon


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Today's workout was great! Lots of energy & feeling good. The interval training consisted of alternating intervals of two 10-minute-walks, interspersed with two 3-minute walks (& of course the usual 5-minute cooldown & warmup walks on either end).

Before I left the house, I happened to catch a glimpse of my reflection & I did a doubletake -- I could actually see the effects of my running -- especially in my legs, waist, & face.

I'm not just talking about the weight-loss either, although it IS absolutely amazing how effective running is for shedding pounds. (It's as if the body send out a signal saying "I can no longer shuttle around this extra weight because it's really getting in the way of my running!" ;-) )

My muscles are definitely getting more toned & definitely feel stronger than before. Also, my endurance is improving, as evidenced by tonight's great performance. My recovery time after my runs is also getting better too.

Also, note to self: Recharge iPod, & do it often!

During tonight's run, my iPod batteries went dead on me with only 2 more minutes left to my last (10-minute) running interval. Since I didn't feel like counting "one Mississippi, two Mississippi" 120 times in a row, & therefore, wasn't able to accurately gauge how much time I had left, I approximated what two minutes of running felt like, judging by the distance I was covering & the fact that I was doing my usual pace most of the time. I decided I'd play it safe & run extra long to make sure I ran long enough to adequately cover the 2 minutes. In fact, I think I ran closer to 5 minutes total during that last stretch of running. I could definitely tell because I was really starting to feel the effects of the extra running time towards the tail end.

I know that I definitely ran faster in certain sections: There's a creepy little alcove that I dislike running by, especially when it gets dark. Even though the area where I run is, for the most part, well-lit, & there are always people around even when it's dark, this particular area of my running path is a pitch-black little pocket of darkness. I can't really see that well when I pass it, & so I usually dart up the hill like a lightening bolt to get past this area. I am so totally paranoid that I usually imagine someone jumping out of the enclosure & grabbing me. That would certainly make most people run a whole lot faster!

The other unnerving thing is that tonight a man passed me, who first looked at me for a while, in an odd way and then, as if he couldn't decide what to do or which way to turn, backtracked & headed back up the hill towards the creepy alcove, as if he was going to hide in there & wait for me until my next go-round. This really got me wondering & made me reconsider whether or not I was going to loop around again back to this area. (I usually like to do circuit runs.)

Against my better judgment, I ended up passing the alcove again.

Of course the entire way up the hill & a few paces beyond it, I kept constantly looking behind me & glancing sideways, etc., to make sure no one was following me.

Also, I usually wear those typically recognizable white iPod ear-phones for the duration of my runs, but I definitely removed them when I passed by this area. Atleast if I was going to be stubborn about it, I wanted to have the full faculty of my senses to stay alert at all times.

Hell, I was even spooked on the way back home when I heard leaves rattle along the road. I jumped when the sprinklers went off. Boy, was I glad to be home after tonight's run!

Of course, as it turned out, there was, thankfully, no one lurking around the next corner in the darkness or hiding in the next bush, (or atleast no one jumped out from the bushes that I could see!). Apparently, my overactive imagination was getting a good workout tonight as well!

Admittedly, I was being stubborn about maintaining my running routine. I was afraid that if I had taken a different route, I wouldn't have been able to gauge approximately how much mileage or how many laps I covered!

I know this route practically from memory, & can tell you the approximate distance I've covered at various points along the route. Still, in any event, it doesn't change the fact that my judgment was questionable in the situation at hand.

Since I'm obviously here typing this post, things turned out OK. (Cross the fingers anyhow, so as not to jinx any future runs.)

However, I think next time I'm going to run earlier in the evening, even if it still 80-some degrees outside. It'll be a tough-go, but perhaps with my improved physical conditioning, I'll be OK in the heat. (I am a tad bit skeptical about this, as I was in much better shape 10 years ago & still had the same problem running under similar conditions. My legs are usually fine, but my lungs really take a beating in this area's stagnant hot air & stultifying humidity.)

The temperature takes such a long time to drop around here in the late summer months: At 9 pm, I believe it was still in the 80's. By midnight, the temperature had dropped to 73 degrees, which ironically is the absolute PERFECT temperature to run. But of course!

Well, I hope my mother doesn't read this post, knowing how she worries. What I wrote, regardless of whether tonight's concerns were real or imagined, would definitely freak her out. (Ab, if you're reading this post, please don't share its contents with any paranoid family members, including Mom. Thanks! :-) )

Seeing as how my mother never usually reads my blogs anyhow -- mostly due to time constraints & a low threshold for anything even slightly geeky -- it's truly a slim possibility.

Whether the matter at hand is personal safety issues, natural disasters, the horrors of possibly ending up in the emergency room with "swiss-cheese"-sized wholes in your underwear, or any other possible forms of impending doom, my mom just wouldn't allow herself to rest until she reminded her children of anything & everything that could possibly go wrong. :-)

Home-training not-withstanding, I do personally like to be prepared for the unexpected, but within reason. I'm not going to take along a 10-pound bag with everything but the kitchen sink in it to do so. Or shout like Chicken Little that the sky is falling.

So, on my next run, I'll take just take along my mace and my bowie knife, thank you very much. :-)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

0 That Was Some Midnight Rambling For Ya......


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Phew, that last post (on 8/29/07 at 1:03 am) was rather long. Hopefully, you are still with me, dear reader! I'm obviously going to post again tonight after my run, but I'll try to make this next post short & sweet!

0 A Few Final Thoughts Before I Bid You Goodnight


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Hello Everyone,

Well, if you've been following my blog at all by now, you'll know that I can never just seem to write a simple little light-hearted blurb about running, without following it up with something more ponderous & philosophical. Yes, I can't be funny all the time. ;-)

But seriously: I hope that you, the readership, are finding my journey to better fitness & overall health to be motivational & inspiring, to spur you on to reach/achieve your own fitness & health goals.

I'd like to share with you a few thoughts & recommendations regarding the importance of paying attention to one's state of mind & spirit, on the climb to those goals:

I'm finding that the key to making these goals a reality is to take small steps forward, and to only focus on thoughts & ideas which support those goals.

Furthermore, it's important to constantly reaffirm the solid belief in oneself & one's goals. The thing that makes getting into shape different for me THIS time around is that I have an unshakably strong will. I am GOING to get in my weekly exercise no matter what happens around me, save injury or illness. I have this unstoppable fire within & no one is going to deter me from reaching my goals.

Fortifying this single-minded mental strength is the continual belief that I will be successful: I really believe that I will reach these goals, & consciously guide my actions & words in support of these goals. Words, thoughts, visualizations, & intentions are clear pathways (& not obstacles!) to action.

Of course, while I don't claim to be perfect, I do realize that it's never too late to take corrective action, to keep me on the path to good health/fitness.

Along with this idea comes the belief that I shouldn't have to be anyone else but me, and that comparing my body or weight to others is counterproductive, & ultimately doesn't serve my goal.

Now I know that men aren't immune to comparison (i.e., gym locker rooms, the beach, etc.), but this behavior seems to be particularly insidious amongst the female segment of the population. So, ladies who do this, you know who you are. Please kindly stop staring, put your eyes back in your head, & focus on your life, instead of other people's.

If you are consciously sizing yourself up with someone, I'd highly recommend that you get out of the habit of doing this behavior, since it's extremely unproductive to both yourself & others around you, especially to those who are the possible targets of this behavior. By engaging in this low-level behavior (which is comparable to competitive consumerism & other chimpanzee-like behaviors ;-) ), you are taking the real focus away from what you are trying to accomplish, namely self-betterment. Ultimately, comparison just makes us unhappy, as we never feel "good enough" & it spirals endlessly into unhappiness.

So, a word of caution to all: Aside from causing eternal misery, the above-described behavior, if you let yourself be affected by it, can easily become a dangerous habit that can actually derail you from your goals (either subconsciously or consciously), as either the gazer or the gazed-upon.

Sometimes when I look at the garbage that writers/journalists fixate on (what petty thing so-&-so said about so-&-so, the unreal weight expectations of the Hollywood entertainment bubble & other people around the nation apparently influenced by this drivel, etc.) in the pop-culture mags & so-called newspapers, I can understand why some people have lost their way. They are helped along towards their oblivion, & it does seem that many really do want this "cheap & easy," instant oblivion that's readily offered by so many different sources. Dare I say that these people are willing & eager participants in this blind pact towards their own demise. And yes, not choosing to resist is still a choice.

I'm not just talking about numbing yourself out with drugs, booze, food, shopping, or even video & computer games. I'm talking about numbing out your mind in the most basic way -- the things we feed our brain.

There are many people who are constantly gazing outward, instead of inward. Constantly distracting themselves with noise & useless, frenetic motion (their own "sound & fury, signifying nothing") or fixating on the lives of others when they should be re-examining themselves. Afraid of stillness or silence, fearful or anxious of being alone, not allowing themselves to just be.

It would be too easy & convenient to blame it all on the media or some other external factor "beyond our control." For once, let's take responsibility for ourselves, OK?

Anyhow, let me ask you this: What's the real reason the media sells crappy pseudo-news focusing on gossip or other petty concerns? Well, there's obviously a market for it, otherwise they wouldn't generate this sort of donkey-doo. So, if you're sick of this crapola, send big business a big message: Vote with your almighty dollar. If you don't like the product, don't buy it. Demand better. Speak out & exercise your power, not only as a consumer, but as a curious & informed citizen of the world.

I'm not saying it's bad to seek a laugh from hysterically odd-but-true "news" -- Truth is most definitely stranger than fiction -- but it shouldn't be the ONLY news around or rather, the only news to which we pay attention or actively seek out.

But the greater point is this: Ultimately, if you feed yourself a steady diet of crap (or just the "edu-tainment" news), you're going to forget what your original purpose was & where you were headed. The mind-numbing distractions -- and there are many -- CAN be avoided, but some active thinking & questioning is required.

So people, put the garbage filter on & stop accepting the dross of others' mental chaos as so-called "reality." What about the old adage about not accepting what you read, hear, or see on face-value?!

Do you really think that Hollywood has conception of what a healthy body image actually is? Need I quote what the media circus publishes about Tyra Banks? Or those absurd comments Joan Rivers made about J.Lo being fat?! Talk about losing perspective!!! Are these people seriously off their rocker?! Why would anyone even bother LISTENING to these people! Who the heck are they anyhow, to tell anyone what the definition of "thin" is?! (I certainly wouldn't take advice from a walking skeleton with enough body image problems to keep those Hollywood plastic surgeons in business for life!) So why do people listen to this crap? How did celebrities become revered "experts" in serious matters for which they have no business advising? And, how did serious news media & entertainment get so confusedin the first place?! Let us not forget that media is big business, and these companies are focused on trying to sell you a product & make a buck, not on saving your life or looking out for what's best for you!!!! More people need to remind themselves of whose really looking out for their best interests.....

Why is it that some truly insane people think that "size 6 is the new 14"? Shouldn't your body frame, height, & other health-related factors be considered in determining what a healthy weight should be for you as an individual?! How thin do you need to be to feel good enough about yourself as a person? Isn't the real issue that person's displaced projection of low self-esteem?!

The bottom line is that this "keeping up with the Jones" in the physical appearance department has GOT to stop. Or we'll all just spin ourselves into an endless frenzy. Those type of thoughts are a bottomless pit of "nothing good"! I mean we all just have to block out all the noise of other people & their silly expectations & call that stuff what it is -- a load of counterproductive, distracting B.S.!

Of course, even if you yourself aren't doing this behavior, it can sometimes be unnerving to experience other people rudely & unabashedly staring at you & comparing themselves to you, sometimes with nastiness or harsh judgment in their eyes. All I can say is ignore those rude, judgmental people! As my mother always likes to say, "Consider the source." These unbalanced, harpy-like people are obviously so unhappy & insecure that they feel the need to stare & judge others as a way to assert a false sense of control over their own unstable emotional state.

But in the final analysis, who cares about them! Let's be peaceful warriors & focus on achieving our goals:

So, the point of that rather long digression is that it's important to keep your mind in check, and note when it has a tendency to redirect itself away from productive thoughts & feelings, & thus, away from your goals. Keep the focus on what's most important. I like to say to myself, "What's the most important thing I need to do right NOW?" That usually helps things snap back into focus rather quickly.

Enough said. Quite enough actually! ;-)

Doh! It's 2:41 am. Looks like I've done it again! Another late-night blogging session to screw up my sleep schedule.... Well, it's not really a loss, because it's supposed to be 88 degrees Fahrenheit tomorrow. So guess I'll be running late in the evening once again. ;) These vampire hours are killing my schedule.

Let's all hope & pray for cooler weather, eh?!

Have a good night/morning!
-C

P.S. As I've mentioned in earlier posts, you're welcome to comment on any of these posts & write to me about your own experiences of getting into shape. You inspire me too! Let me know how your exercise & nutrition programs are going. If you've got any fitness/running &/or nutrition tips or useful suggestions you'd like to share, by all means, write about it here. You can either post your comments on this blog or email me. I really do enjoy hearing from you! Thank you everyone for your comments & suggestions!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

0 Weigh-In: Yipee! I Lost 1.6 More Pounds !


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Whoo-hoo! I feel like doing cartwheels around the room! Despite some late night snacking yesterday (after my run), I still managed to lose another 1.6 pounds since the last time I weighed myself, which was on 8/18/07.

Apparently, the best time to eat dinner is within 2 hours before or after exercise, because it's supposed to be the most effective time period for metabolizing what you've eaten. So since my snacking was within that range, it probably didn't do as much damage as it could've, had I eaten several hours after my run.

Plus, I hadn't really eaten anything for dinner yesterday, so the snack was really a meal substitute. For some reason, I haven't been hungry around dinnertime, but boy, have I gotten a fierce hunger after my last few runs.

It's probably due to my current meal & sleep schedules, which are both royally screwed up! Most days I rise around 9 or 10 am, which isn't too bad. However, on those really hot nights when I'm "forced" to run really late at night, I sometimes don't get up until noon. It's a very bad trend & I've got to put an end to it.

I can't wait until the cooler weather of fall, as this relentless heat is messing with my schedule!

Yes, I know I could run early in the morning, but aside from not being a morning person to start with, there's another issue at play: The weather around here can still be pretty hot, even at 6 am. Plus, in the morning, there's the sun to contend with, unlike the evening. The heat can still be pretty intense either way, so I'd just as rather run without the sun beating down on me. Yes, I know, I probably have vampire blood in my veins. ;-)

OK, enough blathering on about the weather & such. Time to cash it in, as to not perpetuate this crazy schedule of mine!

Goodnight!
-C

Monday, August 27, 2007

2 Run 1, Week 6 (CT5K): A Much-Needed Run, Or "How Not to Let Your Trashed PC Get You Down!"


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I started tonight's run around 10:30 pm. I had a somewhat distracted run, as I had a lot on my mind & it took me a while to focus on the present moment. I blame some of it on my computer, which perhaps should be the real subject of this post, as it took up a good deal of mental space during my run! Yes, my computer bit the dust.

(It's the third brand new hard drive that's died on me in a very short time period. The diagnostics showed CRC errors on the hard drive, but were inconclusive with regard to the underlying cause. The internal fans seemed to have been working OK, so I'm suspecting it was probably a faulty motherboard. Anyhow, instead of buying a new motherboard for an older PC, it just made more sense to just buy a brand new PC. So there, that'll show that old PC who they're messin' with! ;-) )

Anyhow, let's return to the subject of running: Tonight's run consisted of the following sequence: a 5-minute warmup walk, a 5-minute run, a 3-minute walk, an 8-minute run, a 3-minute walk, a 5 minute run, & a 5-minute cooldown walk.

The run went fairly well. After I ran the first 5-minute run, my muscles started to warm up & it became progressively easier to increase my pace during each subsequent running interval. Not much else to report, so I'm going to check in "early" tonight.

Have a good night!
-C

Friday, August 24, 2007

1 Run 3, Week 5 (CT5K): Bionic Slow-Mo' Running


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I went for another late night run tonight (at 1 am). This run was significant in that it was my very first lengthy non-stop run of the CT5K training program. The running portion was 20 minutes long.

This run was also significant because of the high humidity & heat! Earlier in the day it had been 92 plus degrees, & waiting until 1 am (although eliminating the heat of the sun) didn't seem to do much to improve overall running conditions, as the temperature only dropped to only 80-some degrees. Yes, it was 80-something degrees at 1 am, with what felt like 200% humidity! Unbelieveable!

The funny thing is that during my run, I couldn't tell if the beads of water on my forehead were from perspiration or condensation from the humidity!

Anyhow, I did my best under the circumstances & pounded out a very consistent, although somewhat slower-paced, run. Although my muscles had no problem warming up (one of the few advantages of high-heat conditions ;-) ) & I was sufficiently hydrated, I felt like I was the bionic woman going in slow-motion for most of the run. ("ETT-ETT-ETT-ETT-ETT-ETT-ETT-ETT!") Or like a knife cutting through frozen butter.

All through the run, I had the distinct feeling that my body just couldn't go any faster; I tried to pick up the pace, but for some reason, my feet felt like lead & my body was meeting with lots of resistance, or rather it just wouldn't heed what my brain was telling it to do! Needless to say, tonight's run was extremely hard.

Maybe it was partly psychological, as it was my first non-stop lengthy run. Although I knew I could complete the run, I wasn't sure if I could keep a decent enough pace through the whole thing. Frankly, I was dreading my run just a bit, but that was mostly due to the heat.

It also didn't help that I was already fairly tired by that point (from running around a lot during the day & also because it was so late in the day).

The nice thing about running so late at night is that it's very quiet & peaceful. There were a few couples sitting on benches near the trail -- at times it felt like lovers' lane! -- but other than that, it was very calm & still outside.

Also there were some ducks & geese nesting near the waterfront, which was strangely reassuring/relaxing to witness while running. This is a great contrast to my previous run, in which some of them took to waddling around the middle of the path, which made my run feel like an obstacle course! Tonight, however, they were very calm & still. Maybe they were feeling the effects of the heat too! ;-)

All in all, I felt like I did the best I could do under the circumstances. I still felt like I got some benefit out of the run, & am looking forward to the challenges in Week 6, as well as hopefully a lot less humidity!

Well, it's insanely late (or rather, early!), & I've got to get to sleep. Time to sign off.....

Good night & happy trails,
Corey

Thursday, August 23, 2007

1 Run 2, Week 5 (CT5K): A Stellar Midnight Run!


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Perhaps I wasn't dreaming after about feeling like a super-cyborg yesterday, because today's run amazingly felt even easier than my previous run this week, & I did even longer intervals tonight (i.e., two intervals of alternating 8-minute runs & 5-minute walks, with the usual 5-minute warmup & 5-minute cooldown on each respective end).

As on previous workouts, I added some time to my warmup & cooldown walks, but this time it was only a few minutes more to each end. I think my legs are starting to recover faster, and knock on wood, my knees feel... well I'd rather not jinx myself by saying anything, but you get the point.

Plus, to make tonight's workout even more interesting, I hadn't slept a wink all last night & was blurry-eyed & feeling whoosy from lack of sleep; and yet, no matter, I still had plenty of energy for tonight's run.

And yes, if you're wondering, I really did push myself tonight to keep a faster, steady pace. (The last time we ran together, Erik told me I was clocking something like sub-10 minute miles, which, although not blazing fast, is fine for the CT5K training program. After all, I'm retraining my body to run after a long exercise-hiatus. Once I get into better shape, I'll focus on improving my times.)

I have to say it's been a bizarre ride to better fitness, in terms of what my body now seems capable of handling lately, despite any lack of sleep or weird running hours. This is not meant to sound cocky, but my body feels like it can "take" more of whatever challenges I "throw" at it, (not that I'm planning on abusing this newfound reserve!) Had this been a year ago, & I'd faced the same situation, I guarantee you that I'd feel twice as tired as half as motivated to run! ;-) And my throat would probably be very hoarse by now too! ;-)

Just to be on the safe side, I'll cross my fingers & take it easy tomorrow. On my body that is. The brain will be getting a nice workout, as I prepare for my upcoming art gallery show. I've been doing a lot of promotional activities for the show, both web-related & otherwise. Still have so much to do, but it's great to still squeak in my runs. Feels great to have that constant always there, no matter what's going on in my life. Makes things a heck of lot more manageable, even if it's all a mental "power of preservation" thing to help get myself to the next step.

On a completely unrelated note, I think I'm going to call it quits tonight & end my blog post right here. I'm starting to get what should be known as "blogger bahongas." You consecutive multiple-hour bloggers KNOW what I'm talking about here. I actually have large red WELTS from sitting on the chair too long. Thank goodness I run or I'd really be in trouble! ;-)

Have a good night & keep running!

-C

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

0 OK, This is Really My Last Post of the Evening!


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OK, just couldn't end on such a wry note, as per the mood of my last post. While I do realize that my previous post was more about finding the humor in my situation & less about the actual aforementioned exercise goals, I thought I should probably address these goals in a more serious manner:

(1) Pushups, situps, & such: For now, I think I'll suspend my original short-term goals of weight-lifting, push-ups, & situps, and table them until after the gallery show. There's no sense in setting unrealistic time-tables for reaching goals, so it's best to just postpone these goals for a month until I actually have the time & inclination to meet them.

(2) Vitamins: I still need to take my vitamins more regularly. I also have to buy a B complex vitamin (i.e., B2, B6, B12, etc.) & take that as well. When I do actually take my vitamins, I'm currently taking a multi-vitamin, iron, calcium, and grape seed extract. So, I'll just add the B vitamin complex to the regimen. I think if I take my vitamins in the morning & put the containers in a more visible place, that'll help. (I've got two of those 30-day pill boxes with the snap-top lids, which makes it really easy because there are 2 whole months of vitamins already parsed out. So there shouldn't be any excuse -- save forgetfulness or lack of reminders! -- for why I'm not taking these vitamins.)

(3) Abs Diet: I need to get back on this plan. Right now, I'm eating a lot of the Abs Diet power foods & most times, am using the correct portion sizes, etc., but need to follow the plan more closely. For the most part, I am, however, eating semi-regular snacks & meals. I'm eating healthfully in the spirit of plan, but not following it to the letter.

(4) Drinking 8 glasses of water: I'm probably drinking closer to 4 glasses a day (i.e., two 16.9 fl. oz. bottles of water a day), so I need to get better about this too.

Well, after all, we are all only human, and can seek to aspire to greater levels of goal attainment, as well as a higher level of overall exercise performance & discipline. This way, there's always something to look forward to, and every day we can only improve our capacity to achieve!

OK, this time I mean it. I'm REALLY tired. Hope these last few posts have been inspiring or, at the very least, entertaining!

Goodnight!
-C

0 Some Thoughts About The Situps & Pushups I Am Still Not Doing


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OK, that's certainly a guilty little title for a blog post, now isn't it? ;-)

Although I seem to be on schedule with my fitness & weight goals, I'm really slacking off in the situps & pushups department. OK, let's not hold back here: I haven't done ANY situps or pushups since I posted those short-term goals on the right side of this blog page. I've done some leg lifts, but let's be honest: That wasn't really on the original goal sheet. And let's just forget about weight-lifting; that hasn't even registered on my radar for the past month or so. ;-) OK, so maybe I am trying to bite off more than I can chew. I think I am just a tad bit overwhelmed by the mountain of tasks I have to complete in the upcoming months. Maybe I should scale back, & reprioritize.

Now what could possibly be keeping me from accomplishing these other minor goals? I am rather busy & truth be told, feeling a tad bit overwhelmed. Why would I possibly feel like that? Well, let's see. What is it again that I have to do over the next 6 months to a year?

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(1) Run my own business. No scratch that, I run two businesses, & am about to embark upon a third. (A couture fashion business, a bridge line, and now, a tea company.) No, I am not insane. Just driven. And no, I hopefully won't be "driven insane" either. ;-) Oh, and speaking of which, I've got to calculate & file my estimated taxes (yes, one of the joys of being self-employed!), which are due sooner than I'd like.

(2) I have 19 lbs. left to lose in the next 4 months. No, actually, scratch that. I absolutely need to lose the weight so I can start trying on wedding gowns. I don't want to all of a sudden start uncontrollably braying or mooing before the wedding ceremony is about to start. ;-)

(3) I have to plan our entire wedding in the next 9 months. I haven't even started on the invitations yet. Barely even picked out a place. Of course, everyone tells me I should start that soon, or I might be getting married in my parents' backyard, or worse, my own backyard, which, by the way, is non-existent. Perish the thought. ;-) And oh, by the way, we also have to write our wedding vows by the end next week, which we haven't even started yet. Let the games begin!

(4) I have to prepare for an upcoming art gallery opening/exhibition/trunk show scheduled for the last weekend in September at the Sirani Gallery (I'm the featured artist), write my bio (which is something I'm dreading), do a final inventory count (something I'm dreading even more), order display equipment (very soon!), make new "Ferlanti Couture Collections" tags & then tag several hundred items with the new tags, and basically do several other tasks relating to the preparation of this show.

(5) Cook, clean the house, do laundry, do dishes, water the plants, sort through the mail, pay any outstanding bills, get my paperwork in order (I've been gone for 3 weeks & things tend to pile!), etc. I need to get caught up on the day-to-day stuff.


(6) I have five zillion blogs, (OK only a slight exaggeration), which although not a priority in my life, is something I still feel obligated to do on some level, if only for mental health reasons. ;-) I find, that along with running, it's a great way to unwind after a long, hectic day.



Now I'm absolutely SURE there are some things I missed on the list. My addled brain is just too tired to think of it all & record it for posterity. ;-)

OK, despite what you might think, this post wasn't an attempt to beat myself up. I'm not into self-flagellation. Perhaps just some self-deprecating humor! ;-)

As my father always likes to say, "Put one foot in front of the other, & just take one step at a time."

So, I will now attempt to make myself feel better about all of this. So, what am I doing RIGHT?

(1) Exercising diligently & consistently, despite the weather or any other factor. (Now THAT should be patently obvious from what I wrote in my previous post from earlier this evening.)
(2) Keeping calm despite the "storm" & trying to comfort others & keep them calm as well -- As I probably mentioned before, our family has a sick relative to take care of, & even though I've just left my parents' place after 3 weeks of helping out, I will probably be returning there at some point to continue helping & supporting my family.
(3) Eating relatively healthy since I returned from my parents. I had a few "snack attack" moments of black licorice eating, which isn't too fattening (although there's lots of refined sugar in there). Other than that, I've been eating very healthy foods -- Low-fat, low-salt, high protein & fiber.
(4) Working diligently on business-related activities every day.
(5) Cleaning up the house after my return, which is not something I like to do. And that's putting it mildly. I absolutely DEPLORE cleaning. I'm the type of person who thinks it's pointless to make your bed in the morning because you'll just get back into it later that evening. I can hear my mother cringing right now as I write this. ;-) I only make the bed when there's company coming over. Come to think of it, I also do a GREAT job of cleaning when I know there's going to be company coming over. I seem to clean best under duress, but I'm trying in earnest to change this. ;-) You see, even though I like to cook, I'm actually not very domestic. If I could, I'd pay someone to clean the house, vacuum, do the dishes, etc. (Since I live in the city & don't have a trusted cleaning lady, I basically don't trust anyone to come in & clean while I'm not at home. So back to option #1.) I run two (but soon-to-be three) businesses & lead a full social life, so it's hard to find time to take care of errands & cook, let alone clean!
(6) Being supportive of my mate's exercise program. OK, I do kid him a lot about the process, but when it comes down to it, I'm very happy to see him working out & getting into shape.

I'm sure there are more things to add to this list as well, but frankly I'm way too tired to keep writing. Have a good night!

-C

Monday, August 20, 2007

0 Run 1, Week 5 (CT5K): A Cold & Rainy Nocturnal Run


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If I had to write a pseudo-haiku about today's run, it'd go something like this:

"Today's run
Was not much fun.
I sloshed around in the rain,
Trying to pick up the pace,
But alas, it was in vain.
The trees in front of my path
dipped from the weight of the rain
As I tried to duck around them,
my running form resembled The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

For if I sped up,
I'd slip & land on my face,
And then I'd be out of commission to run a 5K race."

(OK, yes I know there are too many syllables & lines in this poem for it to be considered an actual haiku. ;-) )

Well, if you're still reading this post, thank you for sticking around after that silly poem. ;-)

In a nutshell, here's the scoop on today's run: I started out by walking several laps around the lake. At first, I only intended to do a 15 minute warm-up walk like usual, but got so amped up by the music I was listening to that I decided I absolutely HAD to finish the album before I started my run.

What was I listening to that was so compelling I couldn't turn it off? The Prodigy's "Fat of the Land," which is a personal running favorite. To hear samples from this excellent album of lush electronic soundscapes & bombastic bass 'n' beats, check out my electronica blog, Electrik Muse. (Update, added on 8/28/07: Please note that his blog is no longer active, so check here, on Music Unbound: We Don't Need No Stinkin' Genres!, for the post on The Prodigy.)



Anyhow, back to the story: I got going & really got into the music. And just couldn't stop. My 15-minute walk had turned into a 45-minute walk.

Of course, the irony was that it had just stopped raining while I was walking but then started raining again as soon as it was time for me to start the first running interval of my CT5K workout! That's right, it's "Murphy's Law of Running" at work. ;-)

It was a really cold, rainy run, as it'd already rained earlier in the evening, and the temperature had already dropped considerably, from around 72 degrees Fahrenheit during the day to about 63 degrees or so. It wouldn't have been so bad, had it not been for the on-and-off again drizzling. I'd try to take cover under the tree canopies during the hard downfalls. Every time it'd stop raining, I'd shiver & try to dry off, so as not to turn into a dripping icicle. ;-) There were several moments I seriously thought about stopping & packing it in. It would've been so much easier to just call it quits & head home. Or at least head indoors to my gym & hop on a treadmill to finish the rest of the workout.

Cold & wet isn't exactly a great combination for avoiding respiratory illness, to which I seem particularly susceptible. And I do want to keep on running.

But something in me just forged ahead, despite the rain & my shivering. Perhaps I threw caution to the wind, but ultimately I was determined to get my run in tonight, no matter what.

Then something strange happened. After an initial few minutes of silent grumbling to myself about the weather, things suddenly began to get fun. Rain be damned! I didn't care.

I even distinctly recall enjoying the challenge of the weather, and at one point, said silently inside my head, "Bring it on! Is this the best you can do!?"

The answer I got from the heavens was more rain & lots of wind. At one point there was lightening (I think it was heat lightening), and I realized that perhaps I was getting a bit too cocky for my own good. ;-)



I was already pushing my luck being out in the cold & the rain; what elements did I think I could I withstand next, a hurricane?



Tonight's running program (after the 45-minute walk!) was a brisk, 5-minute warm-up, & then 3 intervals of 5-minute runs alternating with 3-minute walks, & then a 5-minute cool-down walk. I ran rather conservatively, as I was afraid to slip & fall on my face, as stated so eloquently in my lovely little ditty above. ;-) After all, a twisted ankle does not a CT5K finisher make.

I felt that I certainly could've gone faster tonight, & was frankly, rather disappointed in my overall performance. A few minutes into the run, I wondered if I was getting enough out of the workout, as I didn't feel tired. Actually, I didn't feel tired during any point of the run, which concerned me a bit. I kept trying to go a bit faster, & all the while, watching my footing in the semi-darkness & trying to avoid big puddles.

Splish, splash,
I wasn't about to take a bath!

(OK, my little rhyming self is getting a bit too carried away here....)



But as I was saying, I didn't feel winded in the slightest. Unless I am some super-human cyborg & don't know it yet, I'm doubting the usefulness of tonight's workout.

I mean it's now almost 11:30 pm here, & I am still not feeling the effects of my workout yet. Usually I feel some burning sensations in my muscles (the good kind of burn, not pain!), or they feel a bit stretched. But tonight, nothing.

What the heck?!

I didn't exactly feel like I was wussing out, but the run just felt too darn easy. I pushed myself up the hills & my legs felt powerful but didn't tire even after I came down the hills. Am I the bionic woman? Superwoman? A transformer?

I assure you I'm not having illusions of grandeur; I just can't explain tonight.

Well, I hope the next few workouts are harder (Hahaha, never wished that before!) & more of a challenge than tonight's workout. I want to feel like I'm getting SOMETHING out of the workouts.

Happy Trails and To All A Good Night!

Signing off,
Corey the Cyborg
"I'll be baaack." ;-)



P.S. Note to self: Check weather forecast before stepping outside to run! ;-)

P.P.S. Better yet, post weather widget on your blog to make this task unforgettablely obvious to yourself & others.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

0 So Why Can't We See Corey Run?!!!


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Sorry folks, but the above images are as close as you'll probably ever get to seeing pictures on my blog of me, Corey the Cyberpenguin, running. ;-)
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I got a very literal request the other day about my blog from someone I know (who shall remain nameless!): "So if you call your blog 'See Corey Run,' where are the photos of you running?"

I'd like to address this question & the person who asked it in a very direct & simple manner. To this person I say, "I will post the pictures of me running on my blog when you post full-body photos of yourself on your own blog. Wait, that's right, you don't have a blog, because while you are certainly technically literate enough to create your own blog, you are too chicken to put your thoughts out there. So there, you hypocrite!"

OK, now I'm only half-joking, but my point is there is something kind of weird about posting too many pictures of yourself on your own blog. And it's not just from the point of view that it might be considered slightly vain; I think it's a good practice for limiting the "creepy" factor, because you just never quite know who's actually reading your blog. And, yes I'm addressing the normal people now. Creepy people, you know who you are, & can now stop scanning my blog looking for pictures of me in skimpy running shorts or a bikini. It'll be a cold day in hell when I post those pictures. Hahahahaha!

Unless you are some kind of attention-seeker with very low-esteem, my point is that why the hell would you want to post multiple full-body snapshots of just yourself on your blog for total strangers to gawk at or possible weirdos to think about in potentially unacceptable ways?!! Maybe I’m old-fashioned & way too private, but I still think that some things just aren’t meant for public consumption.

But seriously, for me, it's not a question of body self-image or worrying that the camera will add 10-lbs., or anything remotely like that. It's just that I'd rather publish my thoughts on health & fitness on my blog & have people focus on that, than have my blog turn into a cheesy, superficial photo-op, where people focus solely on shallow things that have nothing to do with the focus of my blog.

Frankly, I'm sick-to-death of other people being oh-so-concerned with a woman's weight or appearance, as if it's a woman's public responsibility to remain thin & gorgeous for other's visual "consumption." I say, be thin & gorgeous for yourself! ;-) Or be happy as you are, but just try to be as healthy as possible so you can live a good life.

I'm not denying the power of attractiveness or the importance of dressing properly to make a good first impression in our modern world, but sometimes it'd be nice to suspend discussion of the "obvious" & go beyond exteriors.

What I'm questioning here in this post is the motivation of people to see & be seen. I'm also questioning (men and) women's own motivation for why they want to get into shape, lose weight, etc. I'm not professing to be totally immune to the "appearance game," but I'm honestly motivated to lose weight for much deeper psychological reasons than just professing that I want a "tight tush" & a "flat stomach."

Of course I'd like to be the best "me" possible, from the inside out -- I want to be fit & healthy & feel great on many different levels. But it's more than that.

Without getting too personal, let's just say that dealing with a sick elderly relative really puts things in perspective quite clearly: I'm primarily motivated by the desire to live a long, healthy productive life, unencumbered by illness if possible, & of the highest quality possible. And of course, it'd be wonderful to share this life with equally healthy family & friends.

At best, my general goal is to bring my constructive energies to the fore to serve as a resource & (hopefully!) by example of my commitment to fitness & nutrition, be an inspiration to others. And in keeping with this goal, this blog is a way for me to share my health-specific knowledge with others, so that all of us who participate in the discussion become a larger community of support & reinforcement in the quest for better health & well-being.

If you need more evidence of the positive effects of exercise & its links to longevity, I'll give you a personal example: Until about eight weeks ago, my 94-year old grandfather was swimming at the Y every day. Yes, you heard me right, he was 94-years old & had been an athlete his entire life. He was a high school track star & later, became an avid golfer. His athleticism is a great inspiration to our entire family & many others.

On the other end of the scale, I see people around me that are way too young having health problems that could've easily been prevented from happening, if they'd only made their health a priority. If you could prevent a health problem by changing your diet & exercise routine, wouldn't you want to do it? How much is your life worth to you? Or heck, if you won't think of yourself, how much is your life & the effects of you being alive worth to your family? How bad does your health have to get before you get that wake-up call & decide to change your lifestyle? Wouldn't you choose good health & a long life? A good deal of the facts are in, and the verdict is out on what it takes to lead a healthy lifestyle. So the question remains: Are you going to choose health & long life for yourself? It's an imperative that's screams too loudly to be ignored. It's something so basic but yet so important, that almost all of us have the power to do something about.

To paraphrase an insightful Chinese proverb, "the best doctors don't need to treat their patients at all." In other words, preventative health-care is the best medicine of all.

0 Exercise Psychology Tip #2: Excuses, Excuses! Or How to Deal with Guilty Non-Exercisers!


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It's funny, I've also found myself responding differently to people when they tell me why they aren't exercising. And it's not like I'm asking them to confess their "exercise sins" to me either! I honestly think that many people feel guilty around me, & are prompted to tell me their excuses. They see me changing, while they are standing still. They have to compensate by making excuses for their inaction in order to feel "OK" & thus maintain their current, non-changing state.

All around me, every day, I hear people lying to themselves, making excuses, and backpedaling themselves into complacency. "I'm too old, I'm too fat, I'm too 'whatever' (insert your word of choice here!)"

People, I don't want to hear it!!!

It's not that I don't care about you, but please don't bore me with your excuses. Tell them to yourselves (if you must lie to yourselves in order to face yourself in the morning), but just not to me.

Of course, I don't say this out loud; I just nod politely & try to change the subject.

Change is a conscious choice. And equally true is the fact that you can't make someone do something they don't want to do or make them see an obvious truth staring them in the face that they just don't want to see.

So, my response is usually a non-response. I figure anything I say won't help. As the cliché goes, "actions speak louder than words." Maybe I can inspire them through my actions, maybe not.

Of course, I'd like to see all of my friends and family healthy & happy, and lead long, productive lives. But I'm not going to fall into the common trap of being judgmental, preachy, or didactic. Everyone makes their own choices in life, & there's no sense in overstepping my bounds. I can only control myself & my own actions, give help where appropriate, & in all other cases, wish the best for the people I care about.

So, if you happen to be the one particular good friend of mine (who shall remain unnamed) whom I called out for previous BS workout excuses sometime last month, & happen to be reading this, I apologize for overstepping my bounds. It won't happen again! This is the "new" Corey speaking. 8-)

0 Weigh-In: Yea! I lost another pound!


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Yippee! I've lost another pound! That makes a total weight-loss of 4 lbs. in 6 days. Unbelieveable. This running thing is awesome! ;-)

Of course, I've run many times before, but for some reason, this time around I'm dropping the weight much faster than previous training periods. This time, the pounds feel like they're just magically dropping away. Of course, there's some effort involved on my part, but I feel like I should cross my fingers or something. I really hope things keep progressing in the same manner.

At this rate, I'll turn sideways & disappear by Valentine's Day. ;-)

Going by previous experience, the first few pounds usually come off fastest, and then once a plateau is reached, it gets progressively harder to lose those last few pounds. But alas, I am getting ahead of myself.

I can't wait to see what the next few weeks will yield. Hopefully, I can lose another several pounds in the next month of CT5K workouts. Realistically, I'm hoping to drop 2 lbs. a week. That'd mean, if everything goes according to planned, I would only have 11 lbs. to lose after the 2 month period, & I'd be way ahead of schedule. That'd leave 2 more months to lose 11 lbs. which I think is definitely do-able. That'd still leave more than enough time (5 months) to try on wedding dresses & hopefully get any necessary alterations done in time. So, am I nuts or is this doable? Any former brides care to comment on the realism of my timeline?

Of course, if I can keep going at the current rate (which is highly optimistic thinking at best, and possibly completely unrealistic at its worst!), I'll meet the deadline even faster. I honestly wouldn't mind dropping another 5 lbs. (in addition to the 25 lbs.) if there was additional time.

Notwithstanding my elation over the 4 lb.-weight loss, I'm still going to keep my energies concentrated on the fitness side of the equation. I figure if I focus on my re-discovered athleticism & the desire to eat & make healthy food, the weight-loss will naturally happen. As I said before, one thing is guaranteed: If I keep running, the weight will peel off me like bananas. ;-) OK, it's obviously a corny pun, but the point is that I can't fail if I just keep moving forward (& take extra good care of my knees/legs).

This is the attitude that has kept me running up those tough hills back at my parents' place (i.e., my hometown of an undisclosed, vast number of years). Even when I was at my most winded, I just kept saying to myself, "Keep going, just keep going. You can keep running forward." It's also the attitude that's going to take me forward to my next set of goals.

I think if you've got the determination to make your goals happen -- if you make them a priority -- you WILL succeed.

The "keep moving forward, no matter what" attitude in running is also an analogous parallel to what's required of all of us in life, in order to lead a sane, happy existence. Sometimes we falter (& not all of us face change in the same way), but ultimately, we need to keep moving forward. The same persistence, determination, & discipline required to be successful in sports, also helps make you stronger in other areas of your life.

0 Run 3, Week 4 (CT5K): All Hyped Up & Ready For More!


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I went running tonight at 11 pm with my fiancé, Erik, for the last run of Week 4 (CT5K). He was rather tired & had a sore ankle but graciously agreed to accompany me, since the run was so late at night. There was a really pleasant breeze & I had loads of energy.

Like Runs 1 & 2, I started out with a brisk 15-minute warmup walk, before launching into my intervals, & of course finished with the usual 5-minute cool down walk. (I've been using the extra time to prepare my rather "temperamental" knees for what lies ahead! They've been a tad bit tender at times this week, so I don't want to prematurely end my running by over-doing it & taxing them too much.)

After all of the hill training of the past few weeks that I did back in my hometown, tonight's run -- which had little elevation change -- seemed rather easy in comparison! I found that I kept wanting to go faster, but had to hold myself back at times in order to pace myself properly.

Truth be told, I don't feel tired at all right now. I'm so amped up! I feel like I could go out & do another run! Of course, now I'm completely wired from my late-night run & will have trouble going to sleep! But all the same, I feel fantastic! Wowowowowowow!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

0 Run 2, Week 4 (CT5K): A Farewell (for Now) to Running in My Hometown


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I first want to thank everyone who's commented on my blog. Thanks so much for your great commentary & feedback. I really enjoy & appreciate hearing from all of you! It's a great inspiration to hear your stories, and wonderful to know that there are so many people who, like me, are working to either get back in to shape &/or are training for races -- whether they be 5Ks or marathons!

I'm less inclined to write about the mechanics of my run earlier this evening, (which was more of the same of what I did for Run 1 of this week, although thankfully a bit less tiring), & more inclined to dwell on more philosophical matters surrounding my running experience of the past few weeks.

This post is going to be a tad bit wistful, as I'm leaving my parents' house early tomorrow morning after several weeks of helping them care for our infirm, elderly relative. I'm sad to leave for so many reasons, as I'll miss my family & am concerned about them -- they've taken on many new responsibilities caring for our ailing relative -- but I need to get back to my life back in the city, as that's where my livelihood is and also where my fiancé & cats are. I miss them terribly & am looking forward to seeing them tomorrow!

In terms of my running regimen, I have mixed feelings about returning to the city. Running in my hometown has spoiled me rotten, as I could just walk outside my door & start running. Also, the air is clean, there's hardly any traffic, & I feel safe running alone, even at night. I will also really miss those wonderful nostalgic feelings I get when I retrace the routes of runs I did when I lived at home (back in high school & earlier), especially my runs with family & friends. Lots of memories. I remember the hills I ran with high school buddies, when we trained for track, and the routes of former races. In my recent runs here, I passed by many places and people that stirred many thoughts and feelings inside. I thought about different moments in time, as well as people I know or used to know. My hometown running adventures of the past few weeks have been a very meditative experience, and even more so, under the current circumstances surrounding my family.

One of the reasons I love running so much is that it gives you a time for your mind to breathe, (not just your body!). It gives you that much needed space to reflect and find your internal compass. It helps keep you sane & balanced when the chaotic noise around you gets louder. It's a special space you can come back to time & time again. Something to look forward to every day or every other day. When everything else is spinning around you, you still have that inviolable hour of calm & silence to which you can return.

Well, it's rather late (2:15 am!) & I need to get up early for tomorrow's trip. I wish you all a good night (or rather, morning!) and will check in again this Friday.

Happy Trails!
-C

Monday, August 13, 2007

2 Run 1, Week 4 (CT5K): A Long, Slow Run


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For today's CT5K workout, I did a brisk 5-minute warm-up walk, & then repeated two interval sets consisting of a 3-minute run, a 90 second cool-down walk, a 5-minute run, & a 2.5 minute cool-down walk, and then ended with the typical 5-minute cool-down walk.

As my legs were a bit stiff & my knees a tad swollen, I walked for about 15-20 minutes before starting the CT5K workout. I find it really helps to give myself the extra warm-up time, especially when my body is feeling stiff or sore.

I also walked the rest of the way home after my workout. Between walking & running, the total mileage I completed was close to 5 miles. (I figure it's good to have a long cool-down walk as well. Plus, it trains my legs to complete the mileage & hopefully, eventually run the entire distance at some point.)

Today's workout was tough. By the time I began my workout at 6 pm, I was already feeling pretty tired. Not a good sign, but I still was determined to prevail, despite my low energy reserves.

It also didn't help that I hadn't eaten much throughout the day, due to an upset stomach -- Just a glass of fruit smoothie for breakfast & a few spoonfuls of coconut chutney for lunch, before my workout this evening. I'd hastily taken a B12, B2, & iron this morning without water or food, & am fairly certain that the iron pill was the culprit, even though it was supposedly formulated to be gentle on the stomach. (So, word to the wise, despite what the label says, always take your iron pills with water & some food in your stomach to buffer the effects.)

So, as I ran on a fairly "empty tank," it's no wonder that I wasn't feeling as energetic as I did during my last workout (i.e., last Friday).

I know that it's not always possible to have energetic or easy runs all the time, so it's just as important to make the effort to run on those difficult days when you don't feel like dragging yourself out there & running.

Over the years, I've found that in both my general running & race training, persistence & discipline (coupled with a keen sense of body awareness) help develop consistency & results.

It's a half hour past midnight & I have to get up early tomorrow. One thing about running: It certainly helps you get a good night's sleep. I think I'm going to hit the pillow like a two-ton weight of lead!

Sweet dreams & happy trails!

-C

Sunday, August 12, 2007

0 Weigh-In: I'm the Incredible Shrinking Woman!


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Hey all of you people out there who need inspiration to get/keep moving, I lost another 1.75 pounds! (That's a total weight loss of 3 pounds in the past 2 days. Yippee!) I weighed myself this morning, just for the heck of it, & was pleasantly surprised to find I'd lost yet more weight.

Now, I know what you're probably thinking. Why, after creating an earlier post entitled "Make Friends with the Scale," would I ever weigh myself the next day, after explicitly stating that it's probably NOT a good idea to weigh yourself too frequently. Well, dear reader, the only reason I weighed myself again is that I looked in the mirror & felt thinner, & thought it might be reflected on the scale reading. In other words, I was looking for positive reinforcement.

I know I'm not approaching dangerous ground by doing this. Even if the scale's numbers hadn't reflected how I looked or felt, I still would feel OK. You see, my feeling & looking thinner "outweighs" the numbers. (OK, probably a bad word choice for a pun, but you get my meaning.)

0 A Night-time Walking Tour of My Hometown


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Tonight I gave my aunt a night-time walking tour of my hometown. (The other members of our family were at the DQ; my aunt & I didn't weren't in the mood to eat ice cream, so we went for a walk instead. A much less caloric activity! ;-) )

It was a very pleasant evening for a walk. We walked up & down Market Street, starting on one side of the street, crossing over & walking all the way back. The streets were lit by the town's signature lamp posts. I told my aunt all about the town's historical background & Victorian era buildings, as well as some details about the various shops we passed by on the street, & related background information about the shop owners. I also shared a few nostalgic anecdotes & memories along the way.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

0 Weigh-In: Yea! I Lost A Pound & A Quarter!


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I don't exactly remember the last time I weighed myself (think it was at least a week ago), but since whenever that was, I've lost a pound & a quarter! And this was even after the big meal my sister & I cooked for 7 family members (4 of us + 3 out-of-town visiting relatives) last night. Truth be told, I didn't really eat that much last night -- mostly veggies, very small portions of chicken & potatoes, a non-alcoholic grape juice spritzer, a cup of masala tea (i.e., my own original recipe), & a very healthy dessert (my own version of peach "cobbler" made with only peaches/nectarines, cinnamon, nutmeg, oatmeal flakes & OJ with a little dab of non-dairy whipped topping.

If you'd like to try the cobbler recipe, check out my foodie blog, Cook. Eat. Drink. Blog. This site is dedicated entirely to the pleasures of cooking & eating whole foods, & has several original recipes which I plan to incorporate into a cookbook.

Anyhow, I'm really excited to be getting closer to my goals. As my goal is to lose 25 lbs. in 4-6 months, now there are 23.75 more pounds to go! ;-) Over the past month, it's been a hard won battle, as the pounds haven't exactly peeled off as quickly as I'd have liked. My weight has fluctuated up & down by 1-2 pounds in the last several weeks, but I'm not discouraged by this, as it's probably the exchange of muscle for fat. My physical appearance also confirms this, as I look leaner & more muscular. And of course, since muscle weighs more than fat, I'm not going to worry that much about it. It's most important to focus on the fitness progress I'm making, as the weight loss will naturally come as my fitness level advances. One thing can be guaranteed, if I work out regularly & eat moderate, measured portions of nutritious meals & snacks, I WILL lose the weight. Even if it takes longer than I'd like, the weight loss will come. How can it not when I'm hitting the road every day or every other day!

So I'm going to be patient and gentle with myself during this process, and recommend the same for anyone else trying to get into shape after a long hiatus from fitness.

Yea! Yea! Yea! I'm so happy about this! My current progress is even more inspiration to keep moving! It's one step at a time. In our day-to-day existence, it's the small victories that keep us moving forward in life!

0 Run 3, Week 3 (CT5K): A Run in the Sun


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Tonight's run went really well. I went running around 5:15 pm today & it was beautiful outside. Sunny but not too hot, with a nice breeze & just the right amount of shade. I took the path of my usual 5-mile route that I used to do when I trained for high school track & local area road races, but instead of running the whole thing I started out walking the route for about 20 minutes & then began my CT5K workout. After the workout, I walked back home. The CT5K workout was probably about 2 miles & all of the walking done before & after the CT5K workout probably totaled around 3 miles. The nice thing about having a long post-workout walk is that it definitely stretches you out & helps alleviate any post-running soreness you might otherwise have the next day.

I had a lot of energy today, with continual surges that came in waves & powered me throughout my entire run. Only a few hours earlier, I'd taken a B12 vitamin & an iron supplement & had eaten a late lunch consisting of a piece of cheese & some left-over celery soup. (See my blog Cook. Eat. Drink. Blog. for the celery soup recipe). The vitamin supplements probably had the most to do with my elevated energy level.

I love running through the downtown area of my parents' town. It's wonderfully scenic & very calming. The only drawback is that sometimes the sidewalk pavement can be a tad bit uneven in certain areas, so you have to be rather vigilant about your running form, even when you're at your most fatigued. Otherwise, you might go flying into the air rather unexpectedly. ;-)

The residential areas (especially around the golf course & the country roads) are also a great place to run around here, but you do need to constantly be on the lookout for passing cars. Cars can go flying by & often come dangerously close to you when you're running/walking on the road. There isn't any dedicated path or trail that runs parallel to the road, or for that matter, even really much of a roadside area for runners & bikers. This means it can be a challenge every time cars approach & you're forced to run in the uneven roadside areas, which are often hilly & full of dirt/gravel or grass; their elevation also can increase suddenly/sharply. This can take some getting used to, but it's still generally a very pleasant place to run.

I love running outdoors, especially on a beautiful sunny day. I find it quite a contrast to running on a track, which I abhor & find painfully boring but will still do out of pure practicality when the circumstances merit it. I think the repetitiveness of the track makes runs feel longer & much more tiresome. I find I'm always thinking "when is this run going to be over" when I'm on the track. In contrast, I rarely ask that question when I'm running on the open road. I usually can't wait to run when I know there's something interesting or beautiful to see/experience. On the open road, I love that feeling that you're moving forward & are going somewhere, versus the track, where I feel like a hamster on a wheel, going in endless circles. When I run on the road, I still do end up making a large circuit (I start at the house & end at the house, or start at a certain point downtown or on campus & end up in the same spot). However, since I am completing one big circle versus making several little ones (in which the scenery doesn't change & isn't very stimulating), road-running is hardly ever tedious in the same way that a track can be. I'll take the open road over a treadmill or a track any day.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

0 Run 2, Week 3 (CT5K): A Run With My Sister


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Tonight's workout went well. My sister joined me & we ran around the university track at around 7 pm or so. We are both using Robert Ullrey's CT5K podcasts & synched our iPods so that we both hit play at the same time, which worked well.

We were supposed to walk earlier in the day (i.e., the 5-mile walk I'd mentioned in my previous post), but waited too long & it started to get dark. So my lil' sis accompanied me for the CT5K workout instead of the walk we planned to take together. Perhaps on some subconscious level we both didn't want to take the 5-mile walk, because we sat in the computer room working on our laptops instead of heading out the door while it was still light.

I think I had a case of "big eyes" & was a tad bit too ambitious in my goals for today. It was a good thing I only did one workout, because I was pretty tired after today's CT5K workout.

Luckily, on most days, my energy levels are high & the workouts feel almost magically effortless, but today was tough for me, probably because of the crazy hours I'd kept last night & the resultant delayed sleep schedule.

My legs were initially a tad bit tight & I felt a slight soreness in my knees. The knees felt a bit inflamed, so I think I need to table my eagerness to "go for it" & take it down a notch. Maybe those extra few laps on Monday had taken a toll on the knees; who knows.

Also, I've got to be careful not to overdo it during my runs, either out of eagerness or a sudden burst of energy (i.e., "runner's high"). Part of this is to due to the fact that I'm slowly succumbing to the pressure of that non-negotiable, looming weight-loss deadline -- I've got to take off 25 lbs. by the end of January (i.e., 6 months), as I need to allow myself enough time to pick out a wedding dress & get it altered when I've reached my goal weight. There's no sense in trying on dresses before I reach my goal weight.

This is the first time I've come face to face with a personal goal that has a hard & fast endpoint that I can't wiggle out of or put off. Up until this point, my work life had usually been the place where I'd faced the most non-negotiable deadlines, not my personal life.

It feels good knowing that I've got the character & moxie to meet the challenge head on, & that I've decided to step up to the plate, instead of folding under the pressure or procrastinating. In fact, my response to the weight-loss challenge this time around was definitely different from previous efforts; I was almost eerily stoic & mechanical about moving towards my goals, which is very "unlike me." (While I'm very goal-oriented to begin with, most people who know me would hardly describe me as "stoic" under most circumstances.) Was I having an out-of-body experience? Had someone replaced me with one of the Stepford wives? Or was it just that I'd had enough & needed to have a hard & fast, non-negotiable deadline to get my rear off the couch & finally start exercising consistently? (Over the past year, previous exercise attempts had been spotty & inconsistent at best, & nonexistent at their worst.) So, this new resolve is really something to be proud of, especially in light of my recent past history.

But back to what I was saying about today's workout: I worked hard today & was fairly winded after the workout.

As usual, the factor that seems to hold me back from going faster is my lungs [aside from the very occasional tenderness in my right knee, which until recently, hadn't manifested itself since the episode at Canyon Ranch (click here to revisit that saga)].

During this week's workouts, my lungs are working overtime, but my leg muscles still feel great -- strong & powerful -- when I stride down the road. The intervals are gradually increasing in difficulty, so that probably accounts for some of the lung issues & initial tightnesses in my calf-muscles & quads.

The good news is that, while I haven't weighed myself lately, I can still see the progress. My leg muscles are tightening & I generally feel powerful & energetic (dare I say sometimes euphoric?!) while working out. This is really encouraging.

Areas that need improvement: Need to START doing sit-ups, leg strengthening exercises, & push-ups. Have been very remiss in this area.

Otherwise, I can pat myself on the back for my progress & steadfast commitment to the CT5K running program. I feel like, although anything could happen, I wouldn't allow it to rattle me or derail me; I'd still keep running 3 times a week, no matter what.

Whatever happens throughout the day, it's a great comfort to have those runs at the end of the day. Even if I'm tired & don't feel like it, I know I've got to go or I won't be able to respect myself in the morning -- It's my choice, and every time I chose to do the right thing, it reinforces my drive to reach my goals.

OK, I feel happy & inspired myself after writing this post. Hope you feel the same after reading it!

I'd like to wish you all good luck with your fitness goals -- Keep running!

-C

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

1 Late Night Blogging & Other Casualties


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Ugh, I was up until 6 am blogging last night/this morning (see Music Unbound: We Don't Need No Stinkin' Genres! for evidence of my nocturnal blogging habit.) I was just on a roll & couldn't stop. Woke up at 1 pm (that's 7 hours of sleep) & dragged my carcass back into my parents' computer room to blog some more. Do you think my blogging is becoming a problem?!!! Hahahaha.

So, to wake up & get me back on schedule I'm actually going to do two exercise sessions today. Yes, you heard me right. No, I'm not some insane exercise maniac who doesn't know her limits. The first workout will be a 5-mile walk this afternoon (pretty easy, even with hills), and the second will be my next CT5K run, but it won't be too late this time, because as you can see, it gets me way too wired to go to bed, along with my post-run blogging & decaf-tea drinking habits, which apparently aren't helping the situation either. ;-)

Time to get back on track!

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