Monday, December 31, 2007

0 Season's Bests for 2007


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So, to end out the year, here are the "season's bests" & new PRs for 2007:

Season Bests

2007
4.76K (2.96 mi): 32:29 (12/13/07)
8.3K (5.18 mi): 1:01:36 (12/29/07)

Personal Bests

2007
4.76K (2.96 mi): 32:29 (12/13/07)*
8.3K (5.18 mi): 1:01:36 (12/29/07)*

*=I've run 3 & 5 mile distances much faster than this in the past, but this is the first time that I've officially tracked these very specific distance measurements (i.e., for the 2.96 &5.18 mi distances), since they correlate to laps around a particular lake of a particular length (1 lap = 0.74 mi, or 4.76K).


Here's to exceeding the above milestones & achieving even more in 2008!

Happy New Year's Eve, all!

-C

Sunday, December 30, 2007

3 The OTHER Benefits of Running (Besides Weight Loss/Maintenance!)


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As promised, I'd like to touch upon the OTHER benefits of running -- that is, aside from weight loss/management. Namely, I'd like to discuss some of the great positive outcomes I've observed that are a direct result of becoming & being a runner & living "la vida loca-motion." ;-)

OK, here goes:

(1) Increased energy, aerobic fitness, strength, flexibility, & stamina. Yes, blah, blah, blah. Everyone knows these ones already.

(2) Better skin, & a healthy glow, inside & out.

Color in the cheeks means less money spent on blush. Hahaha, just kidding. Also, in most cases, "perpetual perspiration" = less pimples, or atleast perspiring from exercise usually does that. ;-) There's something to the idea that all of the impurities from your body have to go somewhere, so what better way to keep your skin clear & clean?!

A healthy glow IS something to glow about. ;-) Yes, while you may or may not notice this "side-effect" immediately, other people often will, especially those who haven't seen you in a while. (While I'm of an analytical mindset, I'm not one for advocating too much self-analysis of oneself in the mirror!) And people really do notice the difference, especially if you workout regularly. I've had several people tell me how "healthy" & "radiant" I look, which probably has as much to do with external factors like my glowing complexion as it does with internal ones like my feelings of accomplishment & a much-improved outlook! And both are the result of my running.

(3) Confidence, self-esteem, & yes, sex appeal. Yes, we runners are sexy lot, plain & simple. ;-)

(4) Mo' mojo. If I have to explain this, I might have to change the parental rating on this blog. ;-) Of course, there's no rating, but you get the gist. That might give more meaning to the slogan, "Runners do it better." Heheheheheh. But enough about that.

(5) Character through perseverance. Sticking it out in the snow, ice, heat, & the slush really are character-building. And running a marathon is a life-changing experience, or so I'm told (because I haven't run one yet & am still in training to run my first marathon ever). You want to talk about grit & character-building, try running a marathon. It'll make you feel like anything else is a cake-walk. ;-) People say they feel like they can accomplish anything after completing a marathon. Wonder how they feel after completing an ultramarathon?! Bet they probably feel like they could walk on the moon without a space helmet. Heheheheh.

(6) A sense of accomplishment. We runners know that it just feels great to commit to something & see it through.

(7) Self-respect & the respect of others. For us runners, the daily act of running -- just pounding out the miles, regardless of our pace -- is worthy of respect. It's not just our large or extraordinary triumphs over adversity, but also our daily accomplishments, which make us who we are as runners. So let's humbly "wear" our running as a badge of honor & esteem!

(8) Running is a catalyst that causes you to wake up to other parts of your life. It makes you stand up & take stock of yourself, your situation, & everything & everyone else around you. Maybe you were sleep-walking through life before you became a runner, but somehow running is a little gift that gives you the energy to do other things & unlocks the doors of the mind to imagine new possibilities. Yes, it can also be used as a creative tool, to help us break past barriers or become open to new ideas & possibilities.

(9) Running is a glorious resting place for the mind. While the body moves, the mind has a chance to stay still. By this, I don't mean that the mind stops being useful or stops functioning. Actually, I mean just the opposite. In the quieting of the mind (i.e., known as "the monkey mind" in the world of yoga, tai-chi, meditation, & maritial arts, etc.), the noise of every day distractions melts away. The tongue stops flapping & the mind starts sharpening. The essence of our being & yes, our goals, come into focus. The arc of our lives flattens & compresses into a tiny little point, & we are able to see what is truly important & what is not. The essential and the non-essential immediately come into focus. Or whatever other analogy you'd like to use. Quite simply, running opens the mind, the heart, the soul, & pretty much everything else for that matter. It's impossible to keep your mind curled, clenched, & closed like a tiny fist when you run, because, as every experienced runner knows, that kind of tension, whether it be the act of making literal fists when you run or making your mind into a little fist (metaphorically speaking of course), can only lead to injury to yourself (& quite possibly to others). And I mean that in all senses of the word -- physically, emotionally, mentally, etc.

Like many other sports, running forces you to live in the present, & face reality. There's nothing like the sport of running to give you that needed dose of reality, especially when you come upon difficult challenges or face your own personal limitations (whether they be temporary or permanent ones!). But that doesn't mean that you should lay down without a fight. But for heavens sake, we still need to be smart about how we approach our challenges. ;-)

(10) Running is also a heavenly escape. The mind is free to wander. It often does so without conscious effort. Out of the void & the quiet emptiness of the mind, we realize our life. If you are aware of this possibility, running can become useful to you in the same way that dreams can function in your life, as a way to troubleshoot or reveal meaning & possibilities. Without trying to sound too esoteric about it, I find that my time spent running, whether alone or with others, can be like a waking dream. ;-)

There are many more benefits I could list, but for now, these are the benefits of running which most immediately spring to mind. And for many of us, they are also part of the reason why we run.

1 Weigh-In: Looks Like Baby Steps For Today's Weight-Loss Progress. And Yes, I Do Talk About Other Topics Besides Weight Loss!!!!!!


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Today I weighed myself & lost 0.2 lbs & 0.8% body fat. I have a feeling I've actually lost more, but won't see evidence of this until a few more days. Without going into detail, let's just say that women will probably immediately understand my coy little reference. Anyhow, that's the latest & greatest on my progress.

In my next post, I will talk about the "other" benefits of running, that is, other than weight-loss/management.

Since one fellow recently commented that I seemed to be "obsessed" about losing weight, which I'd already countered via my corresponding comments, I will now show him that I DO think about other topics by writing an article discussing the OTHER benefits of running. ;-)

While I appreciate this fellow's comments in general, it doesn't sound like he's been following my blog for very long or had looked through my archives. Otherwise, he'd see many, many other posts on topics completely unrelated to weight loss. I write about runner's apparel & gadgets, nutrition, running & general exercise tips, & many, many other topics.

As I AM trying to lose weight, it's only natural that I'd blog about it some, recording my progress & writing articles giving insights that I think would be useful to others.

As we bloggers know, there's always the danger of a new visitor dropping in who misunderstands us or simply gets the wrong impression of us from reading the last 5 posts. I guess for some readers, we bloggers are only as good as our last 5 posts. ;-)

This is the part where I urge people to not make snap judgments based on a single snapshot or meme that is a blog post, & to read more than just 5 posts to get a sense of a person's outlook & focus(es). Most of us bloggers would agree that it takes time & patience to truly get to "know" us, so don't assume in a post or two that you've got us all figured out. ;-)

Stay with us a while, & you might change your mind. Continuity (in reading/following a blogger's posts over time) does do a lot to give a person a bigger picture of a blogger's thoughts & thought processes.

Anyhooooooo, enough about that! See you in a few minutes, at my next post.......

Saturday, December 29, 2007

1 Check Out "Fiddy2.org" & The Blog, "Dane Runs A Lot"


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I'd like to give a shout out to my blogger-runner pal, Dane, who is one of the most amazing runners, ever. Back in 2006, he accomplished a feat some would say defies the boundaries of human accomplishment: He ran a marathon every weekend, & became the first person to run 52 marathons in 52 weeks. Yes, you heard me correctly.

AND, he did it all for charity, in support of L'Arche Mobile. (L'Arche is an international federation of communities in which people with a mental handicap and those who help them can live, work, and share their lives together.)

Might I add that he did all of this WITHOUT a corporate sponsor, & that all of the expenses for doing all of this came from his own pocket. Dane's an incredibly generous person, wouldn't you say?!

While he accomplished this running goal, he's still trying to meet his goal of raising $52,000 for charity. So, please help him out!

You can visit his charity fundraising site at Fiddy2.org.

And while you're at it, please visit his blog, Dane Runs A Lot.

Dane is simply amazing!

Oh, & I almost forgot to mention that I've nominated his blog for 3 awards: Best Charity Blog, Best Celebrity Blog, & Best Sports Blog.

My site was nominated for Best Charity Blog!
My site was nominated for Best Celebrity Blogger!
My site was nominated for Best Sports Blog!

Dane, I encourage you to "claim" the Blogger's Choice listing for your blog & to post the above badges on your own blog (i.e., copy the HTML code found at this link -- be sure to grab the code for all 3 awards) & on your Blogcatalog.com page to let others know about your awards. Congratulations on all your awards!

3 Run 3, Week 2 (BTHR) + Strength-Training Workout: I'm Apparently The Pied Piper of Running Today!


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I went running today at 4:50 pm. On today's running agenda was a slow 60-minute run. It was a lovely 51 degrees (which felt more like 70 once I warmed up!) & I had an extremely enjoyable run today. I only wore 1 layer (long-sleeved running tee & pants, & a very thin/light-weight fleece headband to cover the ears, but no gloves or neckwarmer!).

I didn't worry about my pace at all, as I was not going to push it with a tender knee (or two!). Today's run was just about trying to finish without further aggravating the situation.

In fact, I didn't even look at my iPod's stopwatch until I was finished with lap 4 (my time at this point was 34:18 minutes), & then only again at lap 7 (1:01:36). That's a total of 5.18 miles, or about an 11:34 minute mile. I'm very happy, because even my "slow" runs are getting faster. Yippeeeeeee!

The irony of this noticeable improvement in my pace is this: Not caring about my pace really helped me improve my pace!

But that's not all my carefree run accomplished: It also tremendously helped my knees as well as my mental outlook.

Today I ran for the sake of running, just like little children do. They run without thinking. They run because they can. They run because it makes them happy to let go & surrender to the energy of their own motion & the joy that accompanies it. The race each other for fun, enjoying the competition of trying to best each other, propelling/hurling themselves forward without a care in the world!

The joyous, carefree way children run is something that Danny Dreyer talks a lot about in his book, Chi Running. (You can check out the related book review I wrote if you're curious to know more.)

Speaking of children, I felt like the Pied Piper of Running today. Yes, despite everything I was feeling yesterday, I left all of that crabby energy behind (yes, it's safe to come out again! ;-) ) & instead felt a really contagious, joyous energy inside during today's run. I felt like I just couldn't contain it. I was spilling out of me & into the atmosphere, as my smile seemed to have some sort of magic effect on everyone I was passing by.

Little children saw me with a smile on my face, & many of them started running as I passed them. A few even ran beside me for a bit! ;-) I asked one of them jokingly if he was going to finish the run with me. Some of the children up ahead didn't even see me approaching but started to run nonetheless, as if they sensed the energy coming toward them. It's as if my energy was a basketball or a football & the children just caught it in the air & passed it along. Some of them saw me & then started running out in front of me, darting around in circles. One of the little kids (who was probably no more than 3 or 4 years old) almost collided into me, as he quite clearly wasn't paying any attention to the direction in which he was randomly circling. But it didn't even phase me. I smiled at him & then at the parents as I darted around him & just kept moving along.

I felt fantastic during the whole run! Originally I thought I might tire by the end, since I was feeling a tad bit lackluster on the fourth lap, but then I was able to pick up the pace again without much effort. In fact, I actually had even more energy during the final two laps. I felt an incredible runner's high & just started running faster & faster. I ran the final two laps much faster than all of the previous laps. I even sprinted the last half of the final lap. The funny thing was that I wasn't even pushing myself really hard & wasn't out of breath at all. It was all very natural & effortless. I just "coasted" along as I sprinted to the finish.

Even better, I didn't feel any knee pain at all at any point before, during, or after the run. (Or atleast none so far!) I think that day of rest in between runs & the slower pace really helped. And also, I took medicine which had Tylenol in it earlier today, (for another problem I was attempting to address), which also seemed to work really well for my knee as well! I don't like to over-medicate, so this was a perfect way to "kill two birds with one stone," as the expression goes.

Doesn't you just love it when you have runs like this?! Of course, I realize that it's not always going to be like this, but all the same, these runs are a true pleasure to experience.

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I was on a roll. So next, I stopped by the gym & did my strength workout: 150 crunches, 20 bent-knee push-ups, 70 calf-raises (unweighted), & an entire circuit of free weight exercises for my arms. As usual, I used 5 lb. weights for most of the free-weight exercises, save the one arm rows, for which I used 10 lb. weights. As usual, I do a set of 20 reps for each arm. Below is a pictorial diagram showing all of the exercises I did:





[Note: Since I don't have immediate access to nautilus equipment I use barbells for the pectoral flyes (a.k.a., pec deck). I also do two different kinds of front shoulder raises: The first set is done with forearms perpendicular to the ground & the second, with forearms parallel to the ground.]

OK, well that about wraps up my posting session for tonight.

Have a great evening & a Happy New Year!
-C

2 Fitness Tip #2: Uga, Uga, Me Strong Woman, Me Lift Weights


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I found these rather useful strength-training exercises & tips at Expert Village & thought they might be helpful to others who are likewise looking to incorporate more strength training into their fitness programs:

General weight-lifting tips

Weight-lifting videos for beginners

Core strength exercise videos

I was originally going to embed some of the videos in this post, but they don't appear to be displaying properly.

Anyhow, enjoy! Hope you find these references useful.

-C

Friday, December 28, 2007

1 Check Out Cymrusteve's Contest & His Post About The Film, "Spirit of the Marathon"


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Check out my friend, Cymrusteve's interesting post about the upcoming non-fiction film, Spirit of the Marathon.

And while you're at it, please visit Steve's blog, Run Bulldog Run for a chance to win a very cool prize by being the one to come closest to guessing his race time for the upcoming "Hair of the Dog" 5K New Year's Day Race. The race is upcoming up very soon (i.e., New Year's Day, Jan 1, 2008), so be sure to enter your prediction for his contest ASAP!

1 What in the Heck?!


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You might notice, particularly from my last fiery little post, that one of my biggest frustrations as a writer/human being is this: Why, when I take the time to explain things in excruciating detail, do those same people, who were supposed to be listening to what I said or wrote, then turn around & ask me the most inane questions! Are they stupid or just tuning me out? Are we on different planets? Do I really stink that much at explaining things? I often feel like I've completely wasted my time & my breath in explaining things, & as you can see, have become very touchy about the whole affair.

So why am I venting about this & being completely ornery & petulant?! What the heck's my problem? Where did that cheery sense of optimism go? Er, I'll answer that: Down the toilet, with the rest of the happy way I was feeling, only a few days ago.

Even optimists are allowed to feel crabby from time to time, & as I've said before, I reserve the right to be a moody @(#*&#$*&^!!!!! After all, being cheery all the time isn't even realistic (or even normal or healthy, especially when it used as a means of suppressing other not-so-nice feelings) for most of us humans, & while I like to smile as next as the next person, I occasionally go all flat & lifeless & sad or angry & bitchy, & yes, even get depressed from time to time. There I said it. Happy now, the rest of you glum people of the world?

Right now, I don't even need a reason for my moodiness. As most men can already tell you, this is the part where they usually "exit stage left" to avoid the oncoming hormone explosion of an incoming female. Even other women, small children, & animals can sometimes sense that it might be wise to exit the room at a time like this.

Speaking of which, there's another really good explanation for this moodiness, although I dare not write about it here. ;-)

Anyone who lives within 5 miles of me & is thinking about dropping in for a visit, you might want to reconsider. And anyone thinking about calling me tonight to talk on the telephone, this is fair warning that I'm in a bad mood. I'm usually not in the habit of taking it out on others, but why take that chance, eh?!

Friends, relatives, & readers, potential commenters, you'll been duly warned. Best wait until tomorrow to make contact with me. The little random beasties are currently staging a potent biological takeover & it looks like they're getting their way.

1 The Key to Life, The Universe, & The Meaning (& Construct) of My Blog (Part 2)


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OK, so as promised, here's the continuation of the thread from my previous post:

In order to help you get the most out of this blog, I'd just like to discuss one final key organizational element of this blog, & clarify it's specific use here.

If you look at this blog's index (i.e., the section entitled "Labels"), you'll notice that there are various topical tags. Most of them should be fairly obvious & not need further explanation, but I'd like to explain just a few:

Labels

  • abimars (1) - Abi Mars is a blogger-runner pal of mine who not only has great courage, a glorious smile, & the hilarious wit to match it, but also just so happens to share many similar goals with me. The last I checked, she was on the final week of the Couch to 5K (CT5K/C25K) program & will soon embark on the Becoming a One Hour Runner (BOHR) program next. It goes without saying that I highly recommend her blog, but say it nonetheless I will. (Geez, that last sentence construct is very Yoda-like. Impersonate him I will. ;-0) She's also a frequent contributor/commenter here, & has earned the right to basically say pretty much anything she'd like to say here without censure. Yes, she's just that trusted, & yes, that completely cool & awesome.
  • awards (8) - Awards I've given to others or have won.
  • blogging (15) - Entries which discuss blogging.
  • body fat percentage (14) - Entries about my body fat percentage measurements & general articles/topics concerning body fat percentages (healthy & athletic ranges, etc.).
  • body image (5) - Any articles & journal entries concerning body image.
  • bohr (27) - Journal entries & articles concerning the BOHR (Becoming A One Hour Runner) program.
  • bthr (6) - Journal entries & articles concerning the BTHR (Becoming A Two Hour Runner) program.
  • castaway (1) - Another blogger-runner pal & frequent commenter, who has more recently changed his user id to "Mister Scott."
  • ct5k (40) - Journal entries & articles concerning the CT5K (Couch to 5K) program. Also commonly referred to by the majority of the world as the C25K. If you're curious to know why I diverge from the masses & instead created my own unique abbreviation, just read this explanation here.
  • cymrusteve (3) - My blogger-runner pal extraordinaire, cymrusteve, a.k.a., Steve Speirs. He's a regular contributor/commentor here on this blog, so I've given him his own tag as a badge of honor & respect for him as a friend, writer/blogger, & fantastic all-around athlete. Keep perusing this tag list to find other frequent commenters who've joined ranks with Steve & Abi. The people who have gotten special blog tags are the most frequent contributors/commenters of the lot, but there's always room for others. If you'd like to "see your name in lights" on my blog, all you have to do is become a regular contributor & I'll honor you with your own "badge" of honor - i.e., a tag. ;-) Also, please forgive me if I've forgotten to include/mention anyone's name here; it's not an intentional snub or anything! As soon as I blog about people, rest assured that I'll add tags for their names too!
  • digg (3) - Any entries related to Digg, especially those relating to the petition I started for runner-bloggers to get their own separate category on Digg. Interested? Just click on the tag & digg the related articles to do your bit. Or even better, take 2 seconds & send a short email to Digg about it.
  • eric gervase (1) - Eric Gervase is a fellow runner-blogger who's another frequent contributor/commenter on this blog. Please read the glowing review I just gave of his blog.
  • exercise psychology (13) - This category is most commonly used for general articles & advice, but can also be a not-so-secret little way for me to introduce my own observations about others' thoughts & perceptions on this topic.
  • fitness (3) - This is a general category, usually reserved for articles relating to fitness, but also sometimes used to describe my current state of fitness. Fitness articles can be about any type of aerobic exercise (running, cycling, etc., & other aerobic cross-training activities, etc.), flexibility/stretching, or any type of strength-training -- whether it be weight-lifting, core-strengthening exercises, etc. Basically, these articles are about anything fitness-related I care to write about!
  • flickr (1) - References to Flickr in general, or in specific, other people's Flickr pages, or my own Flickr page.
  • game of tag (1) - An annoying little blog-related game that smacks of chain-letters in days of yore. Due to the annoyance factor & not wanting to encourage others to bestow me with similar "honors," I'm seriously thinking about removing this tag. So be forewarned: Woe unto anyone else that slaps another one of these on me, because I've just about had it with these type of things. ;-) Just let them die, people. That purported curse on you, all of your progeny, & your Aunt Besty's cow, isn't going to come true, so just let it go. I & the rest of the world will thank you for it.
  • goal review (5) - Review of my personal fitness goals. I don't typically review other people's fitness goals, unless you are up for it. ;-) JUST kidding.
  • goals (23) - Any goal-related discussions, whether general or specific.
  • marathon-training (1) - Pertains to general discussion on the subject or specific log entries, once I start in with the marathon-training. It can also pertain to comments about others' marathon-training experiences as well, including fellow runner-blogger friends & compatriots.
  • miscellaneous (8) - When something is too minuscule or singular in occurrence to warrant a category of its own, but yet, still warrants some brief mention.
  • missladybug (1) - My sister & fellow blogger.
  • mister scott (1) - Mister Scott is a fellow blogger-runner & frequent commenter here. Some of you might know him by former username, Castaway. Check out his eloquently written blog.
  • nature walks (1) - Photos of the natural beauty I've captured with my digital camera while on nature walks.
  • newbies (1) - Usually a reference to general articles to help newbies of any sort - exercisers, runners, weight-lifters, bloggers, technophobes & the technology-challenged alike, etc.
  • non-cotton running apparel (7) - Related references to product reviews & comments.
  • nutrition (10) - Related references to tips or journal entries.
  • podcasts (6) - Related references to podcasts in musical or discussion format, mostly as they apply to running or fitness.
  • product reviews (8) - Product reviews of all sorts, regardless of category. No further explanation needed.
  • race info (1) - Specific races & related event information.
  • runs (58) - This reference is used to chronicle my runs, for journal entries only.
  • scale (25) - This tag appears anytime the scale icon/photo is shown.
  • steve speirs (2) - A.k.a., cymrusteve. See above for more details.
  • strength training workout (5) - Reference to journal entries of my strength-training workouts. (General strength-training tips/articles are filed under "fitness.")
  • tanita (1) - Articles & information about the Tanita body fat scale.
  • thank yous (3) - Posts expressing gratitude to others for various reasons.
  • tips (22) - Any & all types of tips/advice, regardless of category.
  • troubleshooting (2) - Technical problems relating to blogging & their solutions. I post these not just to give heads-up to readers about potential glitches on my blog, but to also help fellow bloggers who are struggling with similar technical problems find solutions. What can I say, I just like to help people.
  • walks (7) - Reference to journal entries of my walks.
  • weight gain (7) - Reference to journal entries of my weight changes.
  • weight loss (28) - Reference to journal entries of my weight changes.
  • weight management (1) - Reference to general weight management issues, whether personal or general.
I could go on about other features of this blog, but I won't torture you any further with my lengthy exposition on these matters. Hopefully, you've found some part of this post to be enlightening &/or interesting if not remotely entertaining. ;-) And if any of you are still clueless after reading this, then please slap yourself silly until you cry. And please for the love of Pete, don't tell me about it either, or I might end up crying too. ;-)

Don't you just love a sarcastic optimist?!!!!! ;-)

-C

0 The Key to Life, The Universe, & The Meaning (& Construct) of My Blog (Part 1)


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OK, well putting all jokingly inflated post titles aside ;-), I'd like to comment a bit on how my blog & posts are organized, to help you get the most out of my blog, or just to help you find what you're looking for, if it's something specific.

This entry is for the newly-initiated among you who are just tuning into my blog, or for those of you who are longstanding readers & would just like more clarification on what the heck is going on here.

Who knows? Maybe the exact answers you are searching for might yet be found here, in this very blog.

For example: "What is the meaning of life?" you might ask. What a silly, silly question. The answer of course is 42. ;-) (Anyone who doesn't get that reference, please slap yourself twice for not being enough of a sci-fi/fantasy fan to know what I'm talking about here. That would mean that your geek street cred is like, uh, ZERO. Now, REALLY, people! Tisk, tisk, tisk. Ask me a REALLY challenging question, will you?!)

I do realize that there will probably be some people whom, upon hearing such explanations, will still miss the point & be confused no matter what, but let's just assume for the moment, for all intentional purposes, that whomever you are, (yes you, who happens to be reading my blog right now), that you are not one of those unfortunate people. ;-)

While I do write about myself & my experiences, as one of the primary purposes of the blog is to chronicle my progress on the way to improved fitness & health & eventual marathon-training (i.e., hence the use of the word "journal" in the title of this blog ;-) ), I also dispense advice, & lots of it.

Again, if you read the description underneath the title of my blog, most of this should already be patently obvious. But then again, people don't always look first to see what's immediately in front of their face before speaking aloud or posing a question. As most truly wise human beings know, speaking first & thinking later can sometimes have dangerous consequences. And most of these very wise individuals know this often via direct personal experience. ;-) But nonetheless, let us discuss this blog's content & how it's organized.

As people tend to respond to pictures (as the lot of us are almost conditioned to respond to repeating visual stimuli like Pavlov's dog ;-) ), you'll notice that you might see a lot of photos/pictures, & that these photos sometimes appear again & again. Why would I do such a thing? Am I trying to torture my audience & bore them with the same damn pictures over & over again? Have I run out of interesting pictures to post?

I assure you that it's nothing of the above. Here's what some of those pictures mean....

The below pictoral guide lists the most commonly repeated photos & reveals their intended purposes/meanings. Repeated pictures are most commonly appropriated for journal log entries of my personal progress reports......

-- Journal entries of changes in my body weight &/or overall body fat percentage are indicated by a photo of my Tanita body fat scale. These posts are a log of my progress in these areas. General articles on weight & body-fat measurement/management-related topics will not show the scale icon.

If you do not care to read these entries, I promise you, I will not be offended. (In reality, I will probably be somewhat relieved, as these posts are rather revealing on a personal level.) I realize that some of you are probably here to read about weight loss or nutrition, some of you are here to read about running, & some of you are probably here for other reasons altogether. Hopefully, atleast some of you are here because you enjoy reading my writing! ;-)

(In fact, I'd be interested to hear from those of you who regularly read my blog or perhaps subscribe to it, as to why you are here & what you hope to gain from reading my blog. I have in fact already heard from several of my blogger-pals about this, but would also be interested to hear from those of you who haven't yet commented.)

But back to the weight-loss entries: As I just wrote as a response to a recent commenter, the weight-loss journal entries (& their affiliated symbols) will no longer appear once I lose all of the weight. Of course, should I regain any of that weight (heaven forbid the thought!), you might see a return of those entries, but for now, let us emphatically assume (with great confidence in my own abilities, acknowledging a deeper & more permanent level of change) that that won't happen. And I'll be doing everything in my power to make sure of that! Of course, I'll still be talking about nutrition & health in general & specific (i.e., personal) ways, so for those of you who enjoy these topics, rest assured that they won't be going away anytime soon. I also reserve the right to continue dispensing advice about weight loss in general, should anyone write me for my advice about it or if I should choose to write an article about this topic.

-- Locations of my runs are indicated by photos depicting the area. Of course that concept should be fairly obvious by now to those of you who've been following my blog for a while, but new readers might like to know that. ;-) Sometimes, for whatever reason, I might not always be able to take a picture of the locale as it appears in the present tense (i.e., to reflect the current year or the changing of the season, etc., etc.), but I will usually find some kind of picture to post of the area where I ran.

-- Journal records of my strength-training workouts are indicated by the photo of the rack of free-weights. Again, obvious to old readers but possibly useful to new ones. Again, general articles about strength-training won't show the photo of the rack of free-weights, although there might be other photos or videos displaying related subject matter or demonstrating various strength-training exercises.

Since this has become such a long post, I'm going to break up the content into two separate posts. The next section will talk about the specific purpose of various commonly used tags that are appear in this blog.

If you already get the gist of how my blog's organized & find this stuff rather dry & tedious, then feel free to skip ahead to something else more to your liking. ;-)

However, I do have one final enticement for reading the second part of this article: If you are are one of my blogger-pals who frequently comment here on this blog, you might want to check out Part 2, as your name will very likely be mentioned there, along with a paragraph or two about you & your blog.

5 Check Out Eric Gervase's Running Blog, "Stubborn Running"


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Every now & then I'll highlight a running, fitness, or nutrition-related blog that I think deserves recognition & increased exposure. Today that lucky blog is Stubborn Running by blogger, Eric Gervase.

So, why, might you ask, do I like his blog?

Well, I guess it just comes down to his personality & writing style. I like the fact that he's a fighter & is determined to be a runner despite the fact that he doesn't think he's suited for it. Sometimes I feel that way myself! ;-)

His persistence is admirable, his personality is charismatic, & his blog is very readable & enjoyable.

I also like the fact that whatever he's got to say, he just comes out with it. I can relate to being so direct, although I'm not quite so succinct when it comes to posting. ;-) I probably could take a few lessons from the brevity of his posts.

Anyhow, please take a moment to check out his inspired & interesting blog!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

2 Run 2, Week 2 (BTHR) + Run 3, Week 4 (CT5K): One Run Runs Into Another!


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I was supposed to run 40 minutes at a moderate pace for today's solo run. Well, instead, due to my own procrastination via blogging, I managed to only have time to fit in a "fast" 33+ minutes.

I had a very hurried/rushed run, as I'd bolted out the door at 5:36 pm & was supposed to meet my friend only 24 minutes later for our joint run at 6 pm.

In fact, I was cutting things so close that by the time 6 pm rolled around, I still had one more lap to go before I finished my solo run. Thankfully, my friend hadn't yet arrived, so I quickly ran the final lap. As I came around the final stretch of the final lap, I saw my friend waiting for me at the starting point of our run. Talk about cutting it close!

My friend probably waited no more than 5-10 minutes for me, or maybe didn't even wait that long. (Between the two of us, one of us usually runs a few minutes late! ;-) ) Atleast she didn't freeze while waiting, as it was really warm outside (i.e., low 50's).

I was so hurried, in fact, that I ran my usual 4 laps in about 33:03, which is about a 11:01 minute mile. Not bad. I shaved off a good 21 seconds off my lap time from Tuesday's run (i.e., 4 laps in 33:40, or an 11:22 minute-mile). Then my friend & I ran together, first walking a lap to warm-up & then repeating the final run of Week 4 (since we hadn't run together for 2 weeks!). Then afterward, we went out together, whereupon she graciously treated me to dinner. (She'd had some certificates for two free meals, & it was really sweet of her to think of me!) We had a great time!

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Of course, I paid the price for my faster lap time with some latent post-run knee throbbing, which occurred much later in the evening. (I felt fine before & during my first & second runs!) Even the Ibuprofen I'd taken - one before & one afterwards, wasn't really doing much of anything to improve the situation. And it got worse as the evening progressed. Thankfully, we were sitting down over the next few hours! I don't know what I would've done if there'd had been a wait for a table (at the restaurant) with nowhere to sit!

I now feel much better several hours later, but of course I know that I've got to be careful & attend to my knees properly, especially if I want to have a long & productive running "career."

And so, as a direct result of this evening's knee throbbing, I might be temporarily suspending my BTHR program to do some indoor biking, as a way to simultaneously maintain fitness & also lessen the pressure/friction on the knees/joints.

We'll see how I feel this Saturday, when it comes time to do my slow-paced 60-minute run. Perhaps it'll be a 60-minute indoor biking or rowing machine session instead!

Next up on the CT5K agenda: We're planning to resume with Run 1, Week 5 (CT5K) this upcoming Tuesday. I think I should atleast be able to handle the much lighter running intervals, as it's only a few consecutive minutes of running, & thus less wear & tear on the knees. We'll see how I feel.

Perhaps I'll just do some stationary biking this Saturday to save my knees for next week's runs.

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The weird ironic thing is that the only reason I'm having knee problems in the first place is due to an isolated incident back in October 2006, in which I injured my knees during a particularly strenuous workout, while I was vacationing with my family at Canyon Ranch. Our health & fitness-focused vacation was overall, a truly amazing experience that I will not soon forget. However, at that point in time, I was entirely out of shape & also repeatedly egged on to exercise more stringently by a particularly zealous exercise-nut who is also a family member (& shall remain nameless).

Now that I think about it, this family member is currently in very sad shape in terms of their running "career," as they've managed to injure themselves on repeated occasions while working out, to the point of not being able to run anymore. Had I realized that this person was insane back then & has still not learned their lesson to this very day even after multiple injuries (i.e., this person, who is now age 66 & has two bad knees & several other injuries, is currently thinking about running a 5K race with me -- a very BAD idea, & I've told them so!), I would've completely ignored this person's advice to push myself harder. But of course there's no point in wishing to rewind the clock, as I can't change the past & can only move forward.....

But back to my knee injury "history": Before this point (i.e., the injury of October 2006), I had a brief brush with bursitis, & a bone bruise on my right knee (due to an ice rink injury caused by idiot ice hockey skater that'd crashed into me while going way too fast), but both of these injuries had occurred in the early 90's & I'd never had any significant problems with my knees since then ...until now.

I generally like to think of my body as a sturdy machine (as I'm typically very happy with it in terms of its athletic performance), but I'm not crazy enough to think that I'm indestructible either. ;-)

4 Exercise Psychology Tip # 8: Optimism For The Modern Realist. Or, How to Remain Optimistic Without Annoying The Crap Out Of Everyone Else Around You!


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Just in case you think I might've taken one too many happy pills while writing those last few posts, let me just remind you that I'm not your average optimist. Or, rather I'd like to think of myself as practicing "realistic optimism" with a dash of enthusiasm. ;-)

You won't find a fake smile plastered onto my face. No way, *#$&*@#!!!! While I'm into "keeping it real" (for the most part!), I still recognize the value of an occasional escapist moment -- a good sci-fi/fantasy novel, a spark of creative inspiration, a good film, etc. Just because you are happy, doesn't mean you've got to be sipping the office Kool-Aid. ;-)

If it's not already patently obvious to you by now, I don't exactly come from the saccharine, "have a nice day" school of optimism.

And I certainly won't be shouting any overly chipper, cheerleader-like pronouncements. You know the kind I'm talking about, people. Just like those uttered by that fake, dippy woman on Office Space, i.e., the one who glibly walks around telling people they have a "case of the Mondays."

Peter Gibbons: Let me ask you something. When you come in on Monday, and you're not feelin' real well, does anyone ever say to you, 'Sounds like someone has a case of the Mondays'?
Lawrence: No. No, man. Sh*t, no, man. I believe you'd get your ass kicked sayin' something like that, man.

Yes, Office Space had a lot of hilarious moments which poked fun at this kind of corny, inane, (or what I like to call "stupidly happy") type of behavior: Remember that annoyingly smug waiter who worked at Chotchkie's with Jennifer Anniston's character?

Don't ya sometimes want to punch those people in the nose?!!!!!!

OK, now that we've gotten that out of the way, I think I can safely go back to feeling happy without losing any of my "realist" street cred. ;-)

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BTW, if you're a fan of the Office Space movie, you'll definitely want to test your knowledge of the movie by taking Tech Comedy's Office Space quiz.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

3 Weigh-In: Pounds Once Gained Are Now Lost Again!


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As expected, I lost the 0.4 lbs. I gained a few days ago. While I now weigh a slight bit more than what I weighed on 12/12/07 (1 pound more to be exact), I'm not going to fret about it.

I don't typically worry about 1-2 pound fluctuations, as there are always many factors, & even more so right now, now that the holidays are here. In general, weight gain could be the result of any number of factors: The time of day of the weigh-in, holiday meals or other special occasions, possible water-retention, muscle-building, etc.

The way I like to think about it is this: I've got 8.8 more pounds to go to get to my old goal weight number & only 13.8 lbs. more to go to get to my new weight goal (which is my "athletic ideal weight" goal).

I still think I look pretty freakin' fantastic, if I do say so myself. ;-) I'm not saying this to be proud or pompous or vain, but I do think I deserve to enjoy/appreciate the results of all my hard work! And while I'm not yet at "goal weight," it's not going to stop me from reveling in feeling great about myself for what I've achieved!

Yes, even those of us who haven't lost all of the weight we need to lose can still feel confident about the changes thus far, & enjoy our progress & the journey to a fitter, healthier self. And we can all use these achievements as motivation to keep going on this journey. I like to look at it in the wider sense -- It's a journey of self-improvement, & not just in the areas of fitness, health, & nutrition. We can use these improvements as a way to spur ourselves on in other areas of our live as well.

Of course the increased body-confidence and overall self-confidence are very typical by-products of getting into shape!

Speaking of which, I wore a fun sweater dress to go out with my friends last night, which I wouldn't have dared to wear when I was twenty-some odd pounds heavier. I did a double-take passing by the mirror before I went out: Yes, this was really me! Sometimes I just have to pinch myself to believe that the "old -- a.k.a. thin -- me" I was used to seeing a few years ago is now back once more again.

While I've been a healthy weight for most of my life, over the last few years, I was definitely not a healthy weight. So, it's been a mental adjustment to see myself as the thin person I used to be. Or rather, that might be a tad be inaccurate to phrase it that way: I am actually not that same person. I'm a completely new person inside, regardless of my "return" to my former weight.

While I now weigh around what I weighed my senior year of high school, I realize that I now actually look far better than I did back then. And back then, I was running in track & field, but I didn't run or lift anywhere near as regularly as I do now.

I feel toned & buff, even despite my current body fat percentage (which still is a few points higher than I'd like). Even back in middle school, I remember being around 21-22% body fat (after getting this measurement one day in gym class), which was still considered to be "normal" & healthy. So keeping that in mind, I'm actually striving for a goal that I have never realized before -- 14-20% body fat. I get goose-bumps from the excitement of just thinking about reaching these personal milestones! Wow, I can be better than I ever was before! Pretty exciting stuff!

So anytime I feel discouraged about stuff going on in my life, I just remind myself what I've already achieved. And while I'm "not yet there," in terms of my weight-goals & body-fat percentage goals, I know that all I have to do is keep going.

The plain fact of the matter is this: Exercising is really not that hard. It's just a matter of doing it, just like the Nike commercial ("Just do it!"). And since running is quite literally putting one foot in front of the other, it's a good of a metaphor as any. ;-)

2 Run 1, Week 2 (BTHR): Christmas Day Run


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Today's run started at 12 noon. Was supposed to run a fast 30 minutes today, according to the BTHR running schedule. Ran 4 laps in 33:40. (Or approximately an 11:22 minute mile.) Which, while not quite what I was hoping to achieve today, was still pretty good, considering I was fighting waves of nausea throughout the run & still managed to keep going through it all.

Only had a 1 min warm-up walk today due to time constraints. (Am meeting friends at 1 pm to drive into the city for a holiday movie & dinner. Was my own fault for not moving faster when I got up this morning so as to run earlier in the day, but oh well, makes no difference thinking about that now.)

Temperature was a relatively warm 41 degrees - I wore two layers on top (long sleeve running top & fleece parka) & one layer on the bottom (running pants). Felt really warm after 2 laps, so took off fleece parka, light liner gloves, & neck warmer, & just ran in long sleeve running top & running pants.

As usual, popped 1 Ibuprofen before the run. My left knee was a tad sore by lap 3, but it didn't hurt too much, just throbbed slightly.

OK, got to dash into the shower now; I barely have any time to get ready for today's get-together!

Happy Holidays!
-C

Sunday, December 23, 2007

1 A Post-Holiday Feast Weigh-In: I'm Not A Masochist, Really!


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While some of you might think I'm insane to weigh myself the morning after a holiday meal, might I remind you that there's a good reason why I did this. And it's not for reasons as masochistic as you might think. ;-)

My reasoning for doing such a "heinous" thing as a post-feast weigh-in was this: I set out to prove that a pre-feast workout can be one of the best things you can do for your mind & your body over the holidays!

And, as direct proof of this, I am happy to report that, after an hour of running & a strength-training session, that I only gained 0.4 lbs. after last night's meal.

I think that's DAMN good, people, don't you?! I managed to minimize my holiday weight-gain: Instead of gaining the "holiday five," it was more like the "holiday point five"! ;-)

Of course, I know I'll manage to quickly get rid of the minimal weight I gained last night with... you guessed it -- a return to normal eating & more exercise! 8-)

This feels GREAT!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

1 Run 3, Week 1 (BTHR) + Strength-Training: Holiday Eating Damage Control In The Works! ;-)


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Today was apparently the first official day of winter. Not that you'd know it by the photos I've posted above. Since I didn't get a chance to snap a current photo of the place where I ran today, & felt that I had to post some kind of photos to illustrate the site, I instead posted the above photos, showing the area in much nicer weather.

Of course, these lovely scenes are nothing like what it looked like during my run! ;-) The grounds were snow-covered & icy, but thankfully the roads had been kept clear by plowing machines.

Yesterday, we'd travelled for several hours, in order to celebrate X-mas (early, i.e., over this weekend) with Erik's family. I'd originally planned to run yesterday (before our trip began), but due to the number of pre-travel errands I had to accomplish, that run never happened! (It seems that over the past few weeks several of my planned runs never materialized on the exact date I'd planned, but rather had been postponed by a few days. But atleast I'm still fitting in my runs! ;-) )

As you may've noticed, I've been running a lot in different locales, due to all of the travel I've been doing (holiday-related & otherwise). And today's run was no different. This time, I ran around the neighborhood where Erik's mom lives.

The nice thing about running is that it's very "portable." You can literally run almost anywhere. While it's true that some places are more runner-friendly than others, I think that, if you're really determined to run, you'll find a way to make it work, even if you're on vacation, on the road for business travel, working endless hours, or in the midst of studying for finals. As the old cliché goes, "where there's a will, there's a way." And when it comes to running & fitness in general, it's all about how motivated you really are to find the time & the place to workout.

And this is even truer when the cold weather starts to roll around. Even if you don't belong to a gym (for whatever reason) & so, might not have access to a treadmill, weight machines or free weights, you can still workout. You just have to be more creative about it, & adjust your way of thinking about how you'll exercise.

If you can't run indoors & therefore have no alternative but to run outside in freezing cold weather or rain, it might just require that you bundle up more heavily or wear waterproof gear. Or if the path's iced-over, get cramp-ons. ;-) OK, everybody has their limits with what they'll bear, but you get my point.

Those of you who've been faithfully following my blog's trajectory might recall reading a previous post regarding a friend of mine who managed to exercise using nothing other than his body. He did sit-ups, push-ups, resistance exercises using a wall & the floor, squats, leg-lifts, & ran.

Again, my point is that, even with severe limitations -- whether they be your budget, injuries*, the weather, etc. -- exercise is still possible. You just have to adjust your mindset & the body will follow. We all have limitations; it's just how we decide to work around those limitations that makes all the difference.

If if helps motivate you, take inspiration from the triumphs of people who managed to do a lot with only a little.

[* - Please note: I'm not suggesting that you exercise the injured area directly, which might cause further damage. An example of what I mean is that, while you might not be able to run on an injured leg (nor is it advisable!), but you might be able to swim or do other activities which still allow you to move without further aggravating the injury. As always, you should consult a physician to determine whether or not exercising with a particular injury is advisable.]

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But back to today's run. Here are the basic details: I ran at 10 am for a total of 60 minutes. The temperature was 34 degrees, & while the grounds were snow-covered, it didn't snow during my run. I did several laps around the neighborhood, but couldn't measure my distance since I indiscriminately weaved in & out in different patterns that I can't now remember or retrace after the fact. ;-) There were several hills, so while I can't measure the exact distance, I do know that I got a very good workout! ;-)



After my run, I met up with Erik at his mother's gym, which was close by & within walking distance. He'd already done his hour of aerobic fitness (30 minutes on the stationary bike & 30 minutes on the stairstepper).

At the gym, I did 100 crunches (which are better for your back than full sit-ups!), 20 bent-knee push-ups, & my usual regimen of 20 reps each arm with 5 lb. weights of various exercises -- concentration curls, front shoulder raises (with forearms perpendicular to the ground), front raises (with forearms parallel to the ground), shoulder press, alternate dumbbell curls, pectoral "machine" flyes (substituting with barbells!), one arm rows, & calf raises (without barbells!). I also did one another set of one arm rows of 20 reps each arm with 10 lb. weights. (I'd unintentionally left out the shoulder rolls/shrugs, due to forgetfulness!)






After my workout, I felt truly wonderful. Now I could look forward to eating tonight's holiday meal & desserts, & just relax about it!

While I'm not going to deny myself anything I want, I'm not going to stuff to the hilt either! There's no need to gorge myself, as it's not enjoyable to overeat & then get sick to one's stomach. I'll just eat until I feel satisfied, keeping an eye towards moderation & reasonable portion sizes.

As the typical Gemini, I like variety in food as in other things, so with me, it's more about satisfying my palate, to taste different flavors, than to eat large quantities of food. So I'll eat what I want to satisfy my appetite & taste buds, but not necessarily in endless quantities! I'm just going to eat until I feel full. At any rate, I'm certainly going to enjoy tonight's holiday feast!

Happy Holidays,
-C

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

4 Run 2, Week 1 (BTHR): Back On The Road Again....


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Market St.

Well, I'm back on the road again, in two senses of the word: I'm at my parents' home, having travelled here for a brief stay, & am also back to running after a brief hiatus.

I decided to run today instead of yesterday. The run started at 2:30 pm. During my 55:03 minute run, there were snowflakes falling all around me, & it was a pleasant (read, "not-too-windy!") 34 degrees. ;-) Luckily, none of the snow was sticking to the road & there were only small patches of ice in spots.

I was really bundled up, wearing 3 layers on top (a shirt, a fleece zip jacket, & a Gortex jacket on top of that), two layers on the bottom (2 layers of running pants!), a neck warmer, wool headband, & fleece gloves. I felt very puffy & well padded, & probably looked like the abominable snowman!

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Later, I hopped in my car & retraced the path I took. There was a small portion I couldn't measure because I'd have to have driven my car through an underground tunnel path! ;-) However, I estimate that I ran somewhere between 4.8 & 5.0 miles.

So my pace today was approximately an 11-minute mile. Not exactly speed lightening, but within keeping of my definition of a "moderate pace" for what should've been a 40-minute run. (Also, there were several large hills, so that partly accounts for today's pace. It was definitely more challenging than my usual course back home.) Of course, part of the reason I ran more than 40 minutes is my typical reason for doing so: I just had to finish the running loop to get back to where I started, which took longer than originally anticipated.

As far as the extra time was concerned, it doesn't seem to have impacted my knees. They weren't swollen & felt just fine afterwards, which is the most important factor in the equation right now. Of course, just to be on the safe side, I popped 2 Ibuprofen & iced both knees just in case!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

5 Takin' It Easy To Get Stronger


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I only ran twice last week, but this week am planning on returning to my usual schedule (of 3 runs per week). As I mentioned several times before, my knee had been acting up (i.e., swelling a bit after my runs), & I'd been popping Ibuprofen like it was candy. Now if only it tasted as good as candy. ;-)

Have to say that I'm happy to have a little bit of a break, if only for a few days. My knees & I definitely needed it!

Now I can return to running with a renewed vigor. And hopefully the knees will be the better for it too.

Tomorrow is the second run of (the first week of) the BTHR program, in which I'll be running 40 minutes at a moderate pace.

I'm also going to squeak in a little bit of strength-training, probably on Thursday.

I'm doing some last minute travel, so it's going to make working out a bit more challenging this week. I hope to get back into town while it's still light outside on Thursday, so I can run around the lake. We'll see how things go.

I've only packed 1 workout outfit, (which is for tomorrow), so on a purely practical level, I'll have sufficient motivation to get back early on Thursday for my second workout. Otherwise, I'll have to workout on Friday & Sunday for my remaining 2 workouts. ;-)

Friday, December 14, 2007

1 Weigh-In: See-sawing On The Scale: One Number's Up & While The Other's Down!


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Weighed myself this afternoon to find that I've gain a minuscule/negligible amount (i.e., +0.2 lb.) of weight, but have lost 1.1% body fat, which is the more important number of the two.

Also, on a completely unrelated note, I've decided to separate my goals into weekly, short-term, & long-term goals. This way, I can better direct my attention to the immediate, every-day steps I need to take, while still considering the longer term perspective(s).

Thursday, December 13, 2007

3 Run 3, Week 4 (CT5K) + Run 1, Week 1 (BTHR): One Run Inside, One Run Outside!


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At 2 pm, it was 34 degrees & drizzling, so my friend & I went indoors for our very first joint treadmill workout. It was nice to see what the CT5K interval training felt like on the treadmill, because more than likely, we'll be doing more indoor workouts until the program ends in January. While I'm going to encourage her to run outdoors with me as much as possible, we both know that there are going to be some days when icy conditions or heavy downpours will most likely force us indoors. Let me preface this by saying that I don't have a problem anymore with running in the rain, as I now happen to own a Gortex warm-up suit, thanks to my mother's generous donation to the cause! However, my friend isn't so keen to run in the rain, as she can't seem to find her rain slicker! ;-)

My friend & I hung out at the gym & talked for a while. By then it'd stopped raining. I ran my solo run outside shortly afterwards, at 3:45 pm. Following the BTHR workout plan, I ran a fast 4 laps around the lake, which ended up being 32:29 minutes today! Or, a 10:50 minute mile. My best time yet this year! I know most people would probably think it's nothing to crow about, but considering my former state of physical fitness just a few months prior, it does show decent improvement.

In the next couple months, I'd like to whittle my time down to a ten-minute mile. I think with the increased distance interspersed with short fast runs, I should be able to make considerable progress in this area. If only I could get back to my former time of an 8 minute mile! ;-) That's a long way off, but at this point, I'm just happy to be making continual progress!

If I just take the training one step at a time, I'm confident that I can make significant strides (pun intended!) in the next several months to a year. I can't wait to see how much improvement I can make over the next 1-2 years! By the beginning of June, I'll hopefully be running 2 hours (or close to a half-marathon training distance), & by the end of the year, who knows how far I'll be running! If I'm running 13-15 miles by the end of next year, then the following year (i.e., 2009) I hope to really buckle down & get to work on actual marathon-training. I figure I'll have worked up a considerable amount of mileage by then, so it'll just be a matter of fitting in the number of runs required to get my training to where it needs to be, in order to be adequately prepared for racing conditions. I'm so excited just thinking about it all! There's so much to look forward to accomplishing!

0 Looking Ahead To Race Training: It's Goals, Goals, & Yes, More Goals!


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Looking ahead, here's my next tier of running & race-training goals:

(1) From December to June, follow BTHR plan. (5K-->half-marathon training). Through the winter, run outside as long as humanly possible, i.e., until it becomes too icy. Then move indoors for gym workouts. Continue interval training alternating equipment: treadmill, stairmaster, bike. For weight-lifting regimen: Circuit train using nautilus equipment, or get Dad's weight training machine & use that.
(2) In April 2008, enter 5K races.
(3) By June 2008, enter 8 & 10K races.
(4) By October 2008, enter half-marathon races.

After reaching the first set of goals, I'll see where I am on the calendar. If necessary, I'll re-evaluate the timeline for the next set of goals. I think this is a good start, with specific, measurable, realistic goals.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

0 Long-Term Goal Review: Am I On Target?


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And now to review my long-term goals.....

Here are the original long-term goals I stated at the outset of my fitness/nutrition journal:

(1) Lose 25 pounds in the next 4-6 months (by Valentine's Day at the latest).
(2) Complete the CT5K program in 9 weeks/2 months (by September 21st).
(3) Follow the Abs Diet Plan for 6 weeks (concurrent with exercise plan).
(4) Lift free-weights once a week, beginning the week of July 22.

Since I've already achieved Goal #2, & it's actually really more of a short term goal, I'm going to revise my long-term goals to be the following:

(1) Lose 25 pounds in the next 4-6 months (by Valentine's Day at the latest).
(2) Run & successfully complete my first marathon.
(3) Follow the Abs Diet Plan until I lose all of the weight, then develop a maintenance plan, based on the principles of the Abs Diet Plan & the Canyon Ranch meal plan.
(4) Weight train regularly, starting with once a week & building from there. Specifically: Over the next year to two years, develop enough upper body muscle strength to be able to do 50 pushups & bench-press my body weight. Also, in this same time frame, be able to do 500 situps, & 100 leg lifts per leg.

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MY LONG-TERM GOAL PROGRESS REPORT (9/22-12/11/07):



(1) Lose 25 pounds in the next 4-6 months (by Valentine's Day at the latest).
Goal Assessment: I'm almost there!!!!! Since starting my running program on July 21st, I've already lost 22.4 lbs. & it's only 12/12/07, so not only have I almost achieved this goal, but I'm actually ahead of schedule. Only 2.6 more pounds to go to achieve this goal. That makes a gal feel pretty good, eh!?!
Reassessment Plan of Action: Keep doing what I'm already doing! I think I can lose a total of 30 lbs. by the end of February or early March. By May, I hope to lose another 5 lbs. after that, which'd take me to an extremely ideal weight for race training & (hopefully!) a fantastic overall body fat percentage. So, that'll be the new long-term goal. ;-) So, make that 35 lbs. total by May 2008 & a range of 14-18% body fat by this time next year (i.e., mid-December 2008). I think that's extremely doable!

(2) Run & successfully complete my very first marathon by December 2009.
Goal Assessment: Still working on building my mileage, so hopefully by May 2008, I will be running half-marathon distances, & can move on from there......
Reassessment Plan of Action: N/A.

(3) Follow the Abs Diet Plan until I lose all of the weight, then develop a maintenance plan, based on the principles of the Abs Diet Plan & the Canyon Ranch meal plan.
Goal Assessment:
Doing fairly well with following the Abs Diet, but it's more of a loose interpretation than an exact science, when it comes to meal-planning. ;-) Doing well with eating reasonable portion sizes & healthy foods.
Reassessment Plan of Action: I'm following the basic tenets of the Abs Diet in terms of portion sizes, nutrition & food types, etc., but need to get back to eating small meals & snacks again, & making sure that I follow the "meal, snack, meal, snack, meal, snack" structure of the plan.

(4) Weight train regularly, starting with once a week & building from there. Specifically: Over the next year to two years, develop enough upper body muscle strength to be able to do 50 pushups & bench-press my body weight. Also, in this same time frame, be able to do 500 situps, & 100 leg lifts per leg.
Goal Assessment: Over the past several months, my strength-training workouts have been spotty at best, but overall, I'm doing better than before at increasing the number of times I lift per month. Still, not so great overall. ;-)
Reassessment Plan of Action: Just keep doing strength workouts on the same day at one of my weekly runs, which helps to reinforce the pattern of action. First, work on building the pattern of strength-training into my schedule, then worry about increasing weight increments! ;-)

2 Short-Term Goal Review: Am I On Target?


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Time for another short-term goal review. Since my BOHR program ended today, it seems as good a time as any to do another progress assessment.

This is the second short-term goal review I've done so far. (The last one I did was on 10/3/07, & covered the period of 7/21-9/21/07).

In keeping with my strategy of continual reassessment, I will now provide a brutally honest assessment of my progress in achieving my originally stated short-term fitness & nutrition goals, & will also set new short-term goals for the next 2 month period.

So the question is this: Have I achieved my short-term goals of the previous 2-month review period & am I on target with my upcoming short-term goals? Let us now review these goals & compare with the results:

MY SHORT-TERM GOAL PROGRESS REPORT (7/21-12/11/07):

Flexibility: Stretch before & after all workouts.
Goal Assessment: Did warm-up & cool-down walks & additional stretching.
Reassessment Plan of Action: Still need to get some stretching straps like the fabulous ones I used at Canyon Ranch! Note to self: Put this on to-do list.

Aerobic Fitness: Complete the BOHR program in 10 weeks/2 months (by mid-December).
Goal Assessment: Achieved!
Reassessment Plan of Action: I've gotten a new running plan, BTHR, which will occupy/challenge me for the next 25 weeks (or 5 1/2 months). (The end goal date for completing the BTHR program is 6/1/08.)

Nutrition: Follow the spirit (if not the letter of) the Abs Diet Plan for the next 10 weeks (concurrent with exercise program).
Goal Assessment:
Mostly achieved. While I more or less followed the breakfast meal plan, I strayed a bit at times from the "meal, snack, meal, snack, meal, snack" plan. Sometimes I didn't eat as often as I should have and not surprisingly, these results were often reflected on the scale/body fat percentage measurements & in my fitness energy level. However, I did eat healthfully most of the time; yes, there were a few isolated instances in which I strayed from the eating plan, but that is not only allowed, but highly recommended! ;-) Let me explain: The Abs plan builds in a weekly "cheat meal," which I sometimes optioned (as a restaurant meal) & sometimes used instead to eat a treat, usually a fattening dessert or snack. On the few occasions in which I ate these treats, it didn't get out of hand, with the one notable exception being the weekend of my trunk show (11/30-12/2). So I'm going to pat myself on the back for a job (mostly!) well done.

Reassessment Plan of Action: I need to get back to basics & eat small meals & snacks more often/regularly. Also I need to option my weekly "cheat meals" as a way to prevent "going nutso" like I did during that trunk show weekend. ;-) A food fest every now isn't the worst thing that can happen, but it did noticeably slow down my weight loss progress over the last few weeks. It sent my body fat percentages spinning back upwards again, as well as my weight! While I was still able to turn it around in a matter of days, I'd like to avoid backtracking too much, as I only have 7.6 pounds left to lose. I'm too close to my final goal to turn back now!

And further down the road, I know I'll need to think about following a realistic & effective weight maintenance plan which incorporates regular exercise, eating strategies, & a solid nutritional foundation. Basically, it'll be a continuation of the principles I've been already successfully employing thus far, the only difference being that the efforts will focus on weight maintenance, race-training, & performance-focused nutrition. The exciting thing about the idea of reaching my goal weight will be that soon I will be able to redirect my focus towards athletic performance. I'm excited when I think about how much I can potentially improve cardiovascular fitness, toning, flexibility, & strength! Can't wait to transform my body into a taut & toned muscular machine (!), as I take my fitness to yet another level.

Nutrition: Take multivitamins every day.
Goal Assessment: Did better than the last two months, but a lot of improvement is still needed in this area. Again, I took multivitamins when I remembered to take them, which was only about 2-3 times a week or less!
Reassessment Plan of Action: I still need to set up automated reminders in Toodledoo or MS Outlook. There's simply NO excuse! Reminder to self: Stop blogging & set this up NOW!

Nutrition/Hydration: Drink 8 eight-oz. glasses of water a day.
Goal Assessment: Mostly achieved! Kind of dropped off my efforts in the last month, & have probably only been reaching about 60-70% of my goal.
Reassessment Plan of Action: Get back into the habit of using the F.I.T. (Fluid Intake Tracker) clip Erik bought me to track my water intake.

Core Strength: Do 50 situps 3 times a week (preferably on same days as the BOHR runs).
Goal Assessment: Very inconsistent! Only did a few sets of situps over the past few months. While I'm getting better at incorporating situps into the mix, it's not at the level of where it needs to be.
Reassessment Plan of Action: Do situps in the gym after one of my weekly runs, to ensure they get done. Best to do them at the same time I do my strength workout. Also, for the next 2 months, I'm going to increase the number of situps I do to 100, since there's really not that much difference between doing 50 & doing 100 of them.

Arm Strength: Once a week, do 10 push-ups & also lift 5-10 lb. free-weights.
Goal Assessment: While I am getting better at lifting weights, again, it's nowhere near the level it should be.
Reassessment Plan of Action: Again, I'll do my arm strength training in the gym, on the same day as my situps & other strength-training exercises. I find that if I do them in the gym, they actually get done, versus waiting until I get home to lift or do pushups. If I'm in a situation in which I don't have access to a gym, I can certainly make do, but right now, I need all the reinforcement I can get! ;-) I'm currently working on building a pattern of strength-training, so if doing my strength-training in the gym lowers my resistance to the activity, that's what I'll do! ;-) Also, for the next 2 months, I'll be increasing the number of pushups to 20, & will continue to follow the series of barbell workouts I got from Powerblock.com.

Leg Strength: Do leg lifts once a week.
Goal Assessment: Failed miserably! I did my leg strengthening exercises far fewer times than my arm workouts! ;-)
Reassessment Plan of Action: Again, I'll do my leg lifts in the gym, on the same day as my situps & other strength-training exercises. ;-) Since I don't have access to nautilus equipment right now, I'll just start with 20 lifts for each leg, doing various types of leg lifts (i.e., front, side, rear, & bent-knee lifts, plus bent-knee cross-overs, etc.).



Weight Loss: Lose 8-10 pounds in the next 2-3 months (by December 11).
Goal Assessment: Achieved & exceeded! From 9/19-12/12, I lost 13.2 pounds.
Reassessment Plan of Action: My weight loss goal for the next 2 month period (i.e., from 12/12-2/12) will be to lose another 8-10 pounds. As I'll continue to increase both the distance & intensity of my runs with the upcoming BTHR program, it should be an achievable goal.

The next post will discuss/assess my long-term goals....

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