Thursday, January 31, 2008

6 Run 3, Week 1 (BTHR-P2) + Run 3, Week 6 (CT5K): It's Starting to Get Interesting....


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Today's solo run began at 5:16 pm. It was 39 degrees, and the schedule called for 55 minutes of running. In reality, I ended up running 7 laps (5.18 miles) in 1:03:00 or 63 minutes, and did the first 4 laps in 35:01 minutes. That translates into roughly a 11:49 minute-per-mile pace for the first 4 laps, & a 12:09 minute-per-mile pace for the entire distance.

Next, at 6:41 pm, my friend & I did a total of 25 consecutive minutes of running. I congratulated my friend on completing her first 25 minute run -- we gave each other high-fives at the end -- & then we chatted briefly about what was in store for next week. It's hard to believe that we only have 3 more weeks left to the program! And I think it helped to talk about that, as it reinforces how much progress we've made together as a unit. Yea, we're almost there!

While we did our cool-down walk, I gave my friend an overview of the remaining three weeks of the CT5K program, in which we'll be gradually building from 25 minutes up to 30 minutes of total consecutive running time.

Next week is a series of nonstop 25 minute runs, followed by next week's nonstop 28-minute runs, and then of course, a final week of nonstop 30 minute-runs. And then, after that, we'll move onto the BOHR program.

I reassured my friend that, like before, we'll run at her pace, and just take it one step at a time. And since she just completed a 25 minute run, the good thing is that she already knows that she can run nonstop for this amount of time. And this is a good thing, because next week (i.e., Week 7) is all 25-minute runs! ;-)

I also found that it was helpful (as well as reassuring!) to her to give her endpoints and other parameters (i.e., timelines & other measurements, etc.), as it gave her a more complete picture of our current situation in relationship to our end-goals. I think she was somewhat relieved when she realized that the total running time in the final week was only 5 minutes more than what she was already currently doing now. This definitely made the goal seem more manageable and tangible, as the final running duration of 30 minutes was no longer some vague concept but rather now appeared to be a very real goal within her grasp.

I also gave her an encouraging look into what's to come, mentioning that the BOHR program has a generous adjustment period in which we run nothing but 30 minute runs for three whole weeks to get our bodies & minds acclimated to the idea of being able to comfortably complete this distance.

Also, another positive reinforcement was sharing the words of wisdom and sentiments expressed by many other runners who'd "been there, done that," and were looking back on both programs. One of the very powerful recurring ideas expressed by many runners was this: They discovered that, it wasn't until the BOHR program that they'd discovered they'd actually "become runners." The thunderbolt of this realization was a tremendous epiphany for many, because it meant that it was more than just being able to complete the mileage. They began to think of themselves as runners, both mentally and physically.

This new plateau of self-perception (i.e., a reimagining/re-envisioning/recreating of the self) is yet another thing she can look forward to reaching.

We also discussed how the next few weeks are really important to maintaining fitness, as they are the final building blocks leading up to completing the 5K distance.

Of course, the next couple weeks will be very challenging for both of us, as the CT5K runs will be all solid runs with no intervals from here on out, and will also dramatically increase my own total running time.

In order to minimize the potential impact on the knees, I've already told my friend that once we get to 30 minutes, I'm going to keep running & extend the run as part of the total running time of my BTHR runs. Of course, my times are going to be way off, but it won't matter, as it's only for a few weeks.

Just a few final notes: I my took my usual regimen of vitamins and glucosamine chondroitin, but noticed that my right hip was a tad bit sore after tonight's runs. This isn't at all surprising to me, especially considering I ran a total of 88 minutes tonight, which is a much longer duration than what I normally do! Plus, there wasn't much of a break between my runs, which wasn't exactly the greatest thing to do either.

As a result, I may even start doing this "combination run" concept as early as next week, but it all depends on various factors, namely when we meet for our runs, how I'm feeling -- particularly the knees & now my right hip, and my overall schedule & busy-ness level, etc.

Something going to have to give, (and I don't want that something to be my knees!), so for now, it looks like I might even have to do my joint runs first and then just tack on the extra minutes to complete the total running times for my BTHR program. Of course, this means that if I start this practice next week, my runs will be considerably darker & colder. The only other alternative to get in my runs would be resorting to the dreaded "t" word! But I guess it's certainly better than the other alternative -- potentially hobbling around in a state of perpetual soreness, or possibly worse, the worrisome "i" word that dare not speak its name in an athlete's presence! ;-)

On this note, my friend & I have been fairly good about stretching before our runs, usually starting our stretches after our warm-up walk, which is much more advisable than doing a cold stretch. It's important for the muscles to have warmed up slightly before stretching them.

OK, well that's what's in store for the next couple of weeks. Adding to the mayhem is my chaotic and uncertain schedule. Depending on what type of job I end up taking, my hours & location might possibly mean that I won't be able to run with my friend anymore. But of course that's a hypothetical that hasn't yet happened, so for now, we'll continue to meet until my schedule actually solidifies into something (hopefully!) a bit more regular. At this point, there's too much up in the air to merit any further discussion on the subject.

OK, time to call it a night. Hope you're all doing well!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

0 Run 2, Week 1 (BTHR-P2) + Run 2, Week 6 (CT5K): Late Starts & Slow Runs!


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This is going to be a super-short post today:

Went for my solo run at 5:24 pm tonight. It was 39 degrees outside. On today's schedule was 45 minutes of running. Ran a total of 6 laps (4.44 miles) today in 52:43 minutes today, or an 11:52 minute-mile pace. (No comment necessary; at this point, you can probably read my mind! Or if not, just look at the title of this post or my reactions to recent runs from the past week or two & you'll get the drift. ;-) )

Barely finished my solo run in time for my next run with my friend. Thankfully, my friend was running late today, as it gave me enough time to finish plus a few minutes to spare. Basically, my cool-down walk turned into the warm-up walk for our joint run. ;-)

Next, my friend & I ran our next run at around 6:20 pm or so. We did two intervals of 10 minutes each, separated by a 3 minute interval. It went really well.

Took usual regimen of vitamins & glucosamine chondroitin pills. Aside from being tremendously tired from poor quality sleep, the runs otherwise felt good. I didn't have a lot of energy today, but given my lack of sleep & kooky eating as of late, I guess this is about par for the course.

OK, that about does it for tonight's post. See ya!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

9 It's Strength-Training Sunday! + That's Entertainment, Folks!


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Did a strength-training session tonight in my makeshift home gym, but before that happened, I did something rather unorthodox for tonight's pre-lifting warm-up:

OK, I'm going to reveal something that few of us are probably brave enough to publicly admit, let alone blog about: Yes, I danced around the room all by myself in my own living room. (In case you were wondering, the blinds were, in fact, closed, thank you very much!) Imagine me breaking out into a dance, perhaps in a scene not altogether unlike the one from Risky Business, except with a very different soundtrack (not exactly a big Bob Seger fan!), and also replace the cool sunglasses & white button-down shirt with workout attire. ;-)

I just rocked out & let loose! Danced to some great electronic music with a heavy drums & bass -- It had this really pulsating, driving dance beat! It felt great!

As I flew around the house with wild abandon, my cats were eying me in a peculiar, wide-eyed way, which made me laugh. Thankfully, they were the only witnesses to my extravagant performance that evening. LOL! ;-)

Not surprisingly, I'd just finished watching the movie, Shall We Dance? earlier in the evening, & it really had put me in the mood to dance. ;-)

I'll admit it, I'm a sucker for movies about dancing, whether they be modern movies the likes of Strictly Ballroom, Take The Lead, Evita and such, or romantic classics like An American in Paris, Singing in the Rain, Ziegfeld Follies, Top Hat, etc.

Those of you fanciful souls who love to dance (&/or watch others dance) will know what I'm talking about here. You can't help but be moved by watching two elegant figures glide across the dance floor, their bodies moving in complete synchronicity to the music. Their graceful movements ebb and flow, and you watch transfixed. When they lean back, they almost appear to be suspended in time, pausing briefly like two frozen ice figurines, entwined in a beautiful pose. Their dance is a breathtaking emotional journal, and like Gene Kelly in Brigadoon, you are temporarily transported to another world. Moreover, you become involved in their secret, internal universe, wrapped up in their intimacy of the moment.

Perhaps the mood seizes you after watching a particularly wistfully romantic scene, which then leads into a dance number. Maybe you are watching the mambo scene from West Side Story, or the graceful bends and dips of ballet dancers performing Swan Lake, or the magical pairing of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers lilting around the ballroom floor, light as air and dressed to the nines.

Those of you who truly love and understand the emotion of the dance, will know what I mean. There's a part of you inside that's literally moved, and you just can't sit still. You've got to get up and dance.

Speaking of which, I really miss dancing -- I took ballet, tap, jazz, modern dance, etc., for several years. Also took ballroom (foxtrot, waltz, etc.) & latin (salsa, meringue, cha cha, rumba, mambo, Argentinean tango, etc.) Hell, I even break-danced back in the 80's, believe it or not! ;-) Also especially love to freeform dance, & "back in the day" used to go clubbing all the time with my girlfriends, dancing until the very early hours of the morning. We would dance for several hours straight -- We just kept going & going. Our energy was boundless! It was a fantastic workout, & loads of fun! Dancing is something that I just really love; there's so much joy in it & it's such a freeing thing.

Would like to take ballroom dancing lessons again & am going to do my best to convince Erik to join me.... ;-)

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

OK, and now I will gravitate back to earth, and finish reporting the remainder of the evening's workout activities. ;-)

So, after that lovely little side-excursion into the world of dance, I did 25 push-ups, 300 crunches, & a whole host of free-weight exercises: Using 10-lb. weights, I did 70 standing, (weighted) calf-raises, 20 shoulder shrugs, & 1 set of 20 reps for each arm of the following exercises --side bends and one arm rows. And then, using 5-lb. weights, I did 1 set of 25 reps for each arm of the following exercises --concentration curls, shoulder presses, front shoulder raises with forearms parallel to the ground, front shoulder raises with forearms perpendicular to the ground, pectoral flyes (pec deck), & alternating dumbbell curls.





OK, that does it for my report of tonight's strength-training workout.

Have a good night!
-C

Saturday, January 26, 2008

10 Run 1, Week 1 (BTHR-P2) + Run 1, Week 6 (CT5K): Got to Keep Moving to Stay Warm!


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Just got back from my two runs of the day. According to the weather report, we ran in 30 degree weather. Right now, my hands are so cold, I can barely type! They were warm while I was running, but of course became cold again when I stopped. And, yes, I had warm gloves, but they apparently weren't warm enough! ;-)

OK, well this post's going to be brief, as I've got a lot of job-hunt related stuff I've got to take care of today:

My first run (which I started at 1:25 PM this afternoon) was supposed to be 40 minutes, but in order to complete my usual 5 laps (3.7 miles), my time was actually closer to 43 minutes, 43:05 minutes to be precise. That means I ran a 11:38:39 pace today. That's a marked improvement over last week's 40-minute runs, but slower than the week before that. Considering I only got 5 hours of sleep (yes, still not sleeping well!), I'd say that the run was still decent. Frankly, what I'm most ecstatic about is that I've been running for several weeks straight now without knee pain. Those glucosamine chondroitin pills I'm taking before my runs appear to be doing the trick (I took another 2 before today's run as well), plus I've been very moderate about about my exercise. Well, lately I might be a little too moderate in my exercise ;-), as I've only run twice this week & also twice last week, which is not fulfilling the required 3x/week exercise "pact" I've made with myself. But I'm going to cut myself some slack, since I'm fairly stressed these days. I guess I should be proud of myself for continuing to run & lift semi-regularly in spite of all of the chaos. ;-)

OK, so onto the next run: My friend & I were supposed to meet around 2 pm today for our run. I was actually doing the final lap of my solo run & rounded the corner at approximately 2:07 pm or so, and was thankful that she hadn't yet appeared (as I was a bit late myself in finishing up my solo run!). Since I didn't yet see her, I took the opportunity to do a brief cool-down walk around the lake, walking about 1/4 of the way around the lake and then doubling back to our meeting spot, all the while making sure that our meeting spot was still within my line of sight. She had actually showed up earlier but then, upon not yet seeing me, had gone back to her car to get her scarf. ;-)

We started our workout closer to 2:15 pm or so, and ran 2 intervals of 8 minutes followed by a final 5-minute run. My friend commented that the runs seemed rather easy, which was great to hear, as it means her fitness level's definitely improving. And of course our run today seemed relatively "easy," especially when compared to the 20 minute run we did the last time! ;-) We had a great chat today & managed not to gab too much afterward, as my friend needed to return to work to finish up some paperwork & then had plans for later in the evening.

As for me, I'm going to do some final follow-up related activities concerning my job hunt, and then perhaps later, I'll do the movie write-up, as I'd promised. Will be something to look forward to doing after the job-related stuff! OK, thanks everybody, for your great comments. I plan to reply soon!

Hope you're all having a great afternoon!
-C

Friday, January 25, 2008

7 Expect the Unexpected....


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Tonight's joint run with my friend & my solo run were postponed, as there wasn't enough time to do both runs (or even one of the runs!) before the start of tonight's 7:30 pm showing of "Spirit of the Marathon." I'll probably end up doing my solo run tomorrow, & my friend & I are making tentative plans to run this weekend, possibly either this Saturday or Sunday.

Now I know of course that you'll probably all anxiously awaiting my review of this movie. ;-) LOL. But before you get too excited, I've decided to let the whole experience settle in a bit, and also give myself a bit more time to make sense of the chicken scratch I haphazardly scrawled onto a small notepad in complete darkness!

I certainly feel like a reporter or a movie critic, (or perhaps more like a ten-year old about to give her first school book report)!

But after looking at my notes, which run diagonally across the page and often overlap each other, I'm beginning to think that maybe I missed my calling in medicine! Hahahahaha! I'd be really good at writing really unintelligible prescriptions -- No problem at all! ;-)

Overall, Erik & I really enjoyed tonight's movie. Of course, since you can read the movie synopsis on the official website, I'm not going to retread ground that's already been covered. Instead, I'm going to share my impressions of the movie, touching upon overriding themes and interesting highlights.

So, for those of you who saw tonight's film, I'm curious to know what you thought of it? Any profound thoughts or reactions? If applicable, how did the six individuals' stories compare to your own marathon training/racing experiences? Which stories particularly resonated with you? Which marathoners did you identify with most, and why? If you are brand new to marathoning, did watching this movie inspire you to take on the challenge of running your first (or second!) marathon?

Of course, I plan to stop by the blogs of people whom I know saw the film tonight. But not until I write my own review first, as I don't want to be influenced one way or the other or unintentionally mimic other people's thoughts or reactions. This way, I can write instinctively, & capture the essence of the words as they spring from my heart & mind. But of course, I'm very curious to read these people's blog entries, & hear what they have to say about the film! (Will have to reign in those wild horses of anticipation & hold off for now, until I get that blasted review done. ;-) )

I know it's probably best to knock out this review while the movie's still fresh in my mind, but the review's going to have to wait, as it's very late & my sleepiness is winning out! Hopefully the notes I took will keep me in good stead until I can find the time to do the movie write-up, provided I can make heads or tails of what I wrote! ;-)

Have a good night & will probably check in again sometime tomorrow......

-C

1 Running Apparel Tip #9: What Should I Wear (For My Outdoor Runs)?!


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Now normally the question posed in this post's title would be more suitable for my fashion-related blog, but in this particular case, I'm talking purely about the practical aspects of dressing suitably for when we runners head outside for our runs!

Well, I found a really useful tool I'd like to share with you, which will help you answer this exact question. So check out the Runner's World What-to-Wear Calculator!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

5 Spirit Of The Marathon Movie Is Tonight! + Tickets for Encore Presentation Go On Sale Tomorrow!


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Tonight, Erik & I are going to see Spirit of the Marathon. I know that many of you have already got your tickets & are very excited to see this film (Cymrusteve, Eric G., Bill/tbtgwacmtt, Blaine Moore, Tim Wilson, etc.). Many people have mentioned to me that they are going with their running clubs, which should make tonight's showing extra fun! I bet the entire theater will be filled with runners! ;-)



If you weren't able to make today's showing or tickets are now sold for the showings in your area, don't fret: You now have a second chance to view the film in a theater near you.

While the film was originally billed as a "one-day-only" movie premiere, a second, encore presentation -- scheduled for Feburary 21st at 7:30 pm -- has been added, due to popular demand. Tickets for this event will go on sale, starting tomorrow, January 25th, for this second showing. Click here, here and here to view the latest event details & theater/ticket information.



Again, if you want to catch this highly popular film, I'd strongly advise that you get your tickets in advance. To purchase tickets online, just visit Fandango.com, MovieFone, or MovieTickets.com, or other online ticket vendors. Good luck getting tickets!

For those of you going to see the film tonight, hope you enjoy the movie!

Like other blogger-pals, I'm sure I won't be the only one blogging about my impressions of the movie later tonight. ;-)

0 Nutrition Tip #8: The Scientific Reasoning Behind the Sweeth-Tooth Phenomenon


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OK, this is a really weird coincidence. I was just blogging about sugar cravings, & lo and behold, I just hopped over to my blogger-pal Dana's blog, Run Granola Run, to check out what was going on over there, and what do I see? An article explaining the scientific basis for what I like to call "sweet-tooth-itis."

Maybe this article will help you fellow sugar-addicts out there, to better understand what you're up against. So check it out!

I submitted her article to Digg, so if you'd like to digg her article, please be sure to digg it by clicking on the pink Digg link below. (Again, to avoid duplication, please do not click on the yellow Digg button which appears at the upper-left corner of this blog post. The original article is the one that should be dugg, and not my post. After all, I'm only giving the author a shout-out & not really posting much original content, other than providing my brief commentary about her article. Dana's actually the one who should get all the credit for her useful & well-written article.)

Below is my description of her article, One Sweet World as it appears on Digg: "Dana goes in search of the scientific reasoning behind increased sugar palatability,a.k.a., sugar-cravings, and discusses why so many food products in the market place have become increasingly sweeter. She also examines the effect of this output of sweeter foods into the marketplace."

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1 Weight-Loss Goal Reassessment + Confessions of A Sugar Addict!


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Well, it looks like, at the rate I'm going, I'm probably not going to meet my original goal of losing 15 lbs. by 3/31/08, so I've modified the goal to losing 10 lbs. by that same date. That's still possibly stretching it a bit, but maybe I've got some hope in hell of achieving it. Heheheheheh.

Right now, this goal is extra challenging due to a particularly higher-than-normal stress level. With regard to my eating, I'm doing OK, just not great, that's all. But I know I can't expect to lose weight/body fat the way I've been eating lately.

Maybe instead of displaying the rather tame-looking photo of a scale which appears at the top of this post, it'd be more appropriate to post pictures of all of the naughty, sugary things I've been eating lately! ;-) Except that then this blog entry would contain nothing but pictures with long stretches of blank space. And permeating the air would be a long and uncomfortable, static silence, pierced by the occasional interjection of white noise from the blogosphere, & the hissing punctured sound of plenty of hot air leaking directly from me! ;-)

As I was just telling Abi, I can relate to what she's been going through, as I've been having similarly intense hunger pangs & have also succumbed to some not-so-saintly eating as of late. ;-)

And now, for a partial disclosure of this week's highlights of my most infamous dietary horror of horrors, brought to you by yours truly! Brace yourself, it's not a pretty site:

For starters, I blew my weekend-only "sugar rule" right out of the water tonight. Yet AGAIN. The whole messy problem started with some red & black licorice nibbling (OK, innocent enough! Zero fat too!) on Saturday & Sunday, and then progressed to a complete sugar "drought" on Monday (which was excruciating! -- insert image here of me scouring cupboards & coming up empty, then eating a grapefruit as an temporary substitute!). I then moved on to some Hot Tamale snacking on Tuesday (just a handful or two, or three!). By Wednesday (i.e., yesterday), I was an absolute wreck, as the sugar beasties had gotten hold of my better nature & completely capsized my best intentions, and drove me over the deep end.

So what did I do tonight? Evil little me, wrested from my usual calm harbor of regulated blood sugar, I sent Erik on a grocery run to pick up ingredients to bake Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies!

And boy, was I craving chocolate like nobody's business!

No need to go into the reasons why (just use your imagination!), but by the end of this evening, I was in the throes of a full-on sugar high, and was completely and gleefully unapologetic about the error of my ways. Hey, it was probably just the sugar talking, OK?! ;-)

The only thing I can say in my defense was atleast some part of me, (that is, the minuscule, remaining part that hadn't yet been seized by this sugar-induced frenzy), had the common sense to "plan" in advance to "only" eat 4 cookies. And atleast it didn't get too out of hand -- I did in fact eat exactly 4 cookies, & er, well, one or two small forkfuls of batter. ;-) And then I put the rest of the batter in a plastic bag, & shoved it in the freezer really quickly! ;-)

Ironically, ole' big eyes here became stuffed after eating cookie number 3 & those few small forkfuls of batter! I probably should've stopped at number 3, but somehow, I managed to stuff in the last cookie, swallowing it down with some milk.

Like how I put that? Maybe I should just call it what it was -- a pre-planned "cookie attack"! ;-)

It's not like I needed any more convincing that refined sugar is EVIL incarnate. OK, I honestly already knew that. While it surely tastes good, it also happens to age people faster (i.e., has to do with a related increase of free-radicals & how that affects your skin, etc., etc.) & frequently makes people moody son-of-a-guns. (Or rather, some real *bleepity-bleep-bleeps*!!!!)

And it's certainly my own personal weakness. That, and salty-sweet foods.

Like salt, a person requires more & more of the substance over time to get the same effects; what once tasted way too strong now tastes "just right." I remember as a teenager doing an experiment in 9th grade biology class in which we tasted various concentrations of salt & sugar. Back then, I could immediately taste the lower concentrations before most other people in my group -- I guess I can thank my mother for that (i.e., my mother made sure our diets were very low in sugar & salt). While my salt-intake is still fairly low, I hate to see how I'd rank on the sugar sensitivity meter if I took that test today! ;-)

And like it or not, it's been found that refined sugar has addictive properties which are very similar to other legal "drugs" like caffeine or nicotine. It's like crack cocaine for sweet-tooths. Next thing you know you'll look over your shoulder & see people next to you freebasing Pixie Sticks on a mirrored surface. Hahahaha!

If sugar is the devil, then stress is its trigger-happy partner-in-crime! Add the resulting irregular eating & sleeping patterns to the mix, and you've got yourself a major internal meltdown! And of course, there you have a not-so-lovely picture of my nutritional week-in-review. Thank goodness I'm exercising & otherwise eating healthfully, or I don't know what would've become of me! ;-) But the cumulative effective of these unsteady & inconsistent eating behaviors clearly still falls short of expectation.

And, as a direct result of this, from as early as 11/10/07, my weight & body fat have been bobbing up & down, around the same set point for over 2 months now! From the set point, I've lost as much as 4 lbs. & 3.7% body fat, and then have gained it right back again. I've lost & gained this weight back & forth, like a freakin' seesaw.

Although I haven't weighed myself recently, all I have to do is look in the mirror or feel how my pants fit to know that I'm probably right back up there again. Ugh.

Well, atleast I still fit into my jeans (!) or rather, have a few inches of room to spare there. My favorite pair is still a bit big on me, so I'll have to get them tailored. However, there's no point in doing that now, as I want to wait until I lose the remainder of the weight. And of course there's no sense in having them tailored twice! ;-) In reality, I probably need to buy a few interim pairs in one size down, but for now, I can get by on what I have.

The funny thing is that I have a few pairs of pants in my "endpoint" size, which are currently sitting in my closet, but of course they are one size too small. (They're probably mocking me right now as I write this!) I feel like I'm in the midst of the dramatic tale of Goldielocks & The Three Bears. Except that the "just right" size requires me to lose about 15 more pounds! ;-)

Well, in case you haven't guessed it by now, it looks like the Gemini twin you are used to encountering -- "Can-Do Corey," i.e., the calm & sensible one -- has left the building, and has been replaced by her evil twin, "Eve Black-Licorice," who's out in full-force today, people! She's a real badass, & is completely unpredictable. When she comes out to play, you can count on her ransacking this blog & wreaking havoc on any preconceived notions you might have about the author. And she does it all with complete and reckless abandon, serving up some rather pointed, no-bull, in-yo'-face reality-checks & cheeky little commentaries! While there's a certain amount of freedom & joy to be found in such mayhem, the author would rather not claim responsibility for what this alter-ego does during her reign of blog-tastrophic terror. ;-)

It is the author's undiluted and honest opinion that sometimes, "Eve Black-Licorice" frankly saves this blog from turning into one gigantic lecture podium, as she could be credited as the one who writes the truly fun posts, turning this blog upside down with a vengeance, while her goodie-two-shoes twin is off somewhere, probably taking herself way too seriously, and is frankly being a complete, uptight stiff. ;-) There, that'll show her!

Well, this has all been very well & good to write about myself in the third person & make you wonder if my sanity has also left the building, along with my seriousness. ;-) But now that the sugar high has died down & I've regained consciousness (or should that be a conscience, dietarily-speaking!), it's time to ponder how to get myself out of this sugar-trap nightmare that has gone on for far too many days thus far. I think that I might have to lock myself in a room & go cold turkey on the sugar consumption for a while! LOL.

Wish me luck! Is that the sugar demons I hear once more at the gates, beating down my door?! Let's hope not! I think that might be my other twin, trying to get back in. ;-)

Visions of sugar plum fairies, dancing in my head,
Make them go away, before I lose my nutritional street cred!
They hoo and they haw, and they make quiet a racket
But keep listening to them, & you'll have sized up a jacket!
They sprinkle their decadent magic, taking aim at my diet,
So beware you little sugar beasties, you'd better leave me in quiet!
I'll do my best to fend off their advances,
Like a persistent admirer, they are really pushing their chances.
So do you know what happens to those who end up in a disastrous sugar fog?
They end up confessing all their food sins, like me, on their blog!

Goodnight! Hope you enjoyed that little rant & subsequent spur-of-the-moment poem......
-C

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

0 Check Out Cymrusteve's Post About the "Cheetah Fast" Treadmill Workout


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If you're in search of a good treadmill workout, check out this post from Cymrusteve, of the blog "Run Bulldog Run," in which he describes the "Cheetah Fast" treadmill workout plan. If you want a quick & effective workout, this one'll give you a good run for your money. Quite literally!

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IMPORTANT NOTE: To avoid duplication, please use the above Digg hyperlink to digg Steve's original blog post instead of the yellow Digg button shown in the upper left corner of this particular blog post. Thanks!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

0 Run 3, Week 5 (CT5K) + Run 3, Week 5 (BTHR): A Nexus of Sorts


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Before our run, my friend & I chatted briefly. We decided to push back our run to 6:30 pm, because we were both busy finishing up various projects. I could tell she was feeling some initial resistance to the idea of running tonight, because she started in with her usual tactics. ;-) She told me that it was 36 degrees outside and looked very cold, to which I countered that, according to the weather reports I'd seen, that it was actually closer to 40 degrees (i.e., 39 degrees to be exact, but I decided to round up by one degree to make the number seem more attractive!).

Still, I knew I might need to do some more convincing. So, to further fortify the cause, I tried another tactic & and dispensed a bit of "tough love" couched in humor. I jokingly told her, "Oh come on now, no excuses this time! You're not going to bail on me, eh?!" I laughed afterward & added a "Only kidding!" at the end, but I'm pretty sure she knew that all kidding aside, I was not about to let her get out of it so easily! ;-)

Of course, I knew she'd be just fine once we got started. After all, 40 degrees feels more like 60 during a run. And plus, there was no wind at all, which made running a lot more pleasant!

So, the run went ahead as scheduled, with me running a bit late. I was finishing up some tasks that had a non-negotiable deadline & my computer was extremely slow & not cooperating. (Yes, needless to say, I've got the undeniably lousiest OS in the world -- Vista! -- but have been too busy to revert my desktop back to WinXP. I think my next computer will most likely be a Mac! ;-) )

Anyhow, I tried contacting her via her mobile around 6:20 pm to let her know I was running late, but wasn't able to get in touch with her. We met, with me waving as I was running towards her, offering my apologies for running late, etc., etc. We probably started our run closer to 6:40 pm (!).

To make things even more interesting, today was our 20 minute run. My friend's reaction was rather funny because she'd completely forgotten that today was the "moment of truth" (& possible impending soreness!). And when I reminded her of what workout day we were on, you should've seen the expression on her face -- It was simply priceless!

Of course, when I reminded her that her reward was going back to shorter intervals for our very next workout, that idea seemed to make her feel a tad bit better!

(I often think my friend would make a great stand-up comic or comedic actress! In addition to her arsenal of hilarious facial expressions, she's got a knack for poking fun at the absurdities of life, and her comedic timing is spot-on. Her sense of humor is sharp as a tack, and can be very deadpan & understated at times. She's a lot of fun, but there's also a lot of substance there as well. I think most people have barely scratched the surface..... Anyhow, back to the story!)

Next, we talked about our approach to the run, and decided that we'd take it slow. I told her that we could go as slow as she needed, but that it was important (especially psychologically speaking) for us to keep going & not stop. And then I told her that she most certainly could do this, as we'd only just run two 10-minute intervals during our last run together.

She tried to bargain with me, and asked if we could do a 15-minute run instead, since our previous run had been several days ago, i.e., last Monday. Of course, my response was then to bargain right back & say, "Well, how about if we run the 15-minutes, and then see how you feel?!" ;-)

I also promised to talk to her continually to distract her from focusing on the time & to keep us going! She laughed and expressed that this was a good thing because she wasn't sure if she'd be able to speak at all during the run!

We stretched a bit before our run, & did our usual 5-minute warm-up walk. And sure enough, before we knew it, time had passed rather quickly. The first time she asked me what time it was, we were 11 1/2 minutes into our run. I told her that there were only a few minutes left to go to get to 15 minutes. And I resumed the story I was telling her. The next time she asked about the time we were 18 minutes into the run, which really surprised her. I think when she realized that there were only 2 more minutes left to go, she knew she could definitely finish out the run. I think that then, at that point, she started to believe it was possible for her to run 20 consecutive minutes, which is a big deal. I hope it'll be a major turning point for her.

The final time she asked for the time, we'd arrived at the 20 minutes. I told her she did a great job & we "high-fived" each other!

We chatted for a long time after the run. Before parting ways, we made plans to run this Thursday.

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Next, was my solo run. By the time I got started, it was fairly late, i.e., 8:44 pm. And true to the description of tonight's planned workout session, it was a very slow 60+ minutes of running indeed! I ran 8 laps (5.92 miles) in 1:12:38, or an 12:16 minute mile! Yowsa! That's really slow!

Oh well, my last run was 3 days ago, and before that, there was almost a 5-day spread between runs. So what can I expect?!

Part of the problem was that I found it hard to focus on my running, as my brain kept honing in on all of the activities surrounding my job hunt. I couldn't even get into my usual running mantras, although I did try some visualization tricks towards the end of my run.

I usually picture one of my running heroes (lately it's been Jackie Joyner-Kersee for some reason) striding powerfully towards the finish, and then superimposing the image of myself running in the same manner. Now of course I don't have any grand illusions about my running performance or actually think I'm Jackie Joyner Kersee, but it's an exercise in imagining possibilities.

And while I probably look rather shrimpy in comparison to her tall muscular physique, it's not really about the physical similarities, (although in truth, my hair, au natural, probably resembles hers more closely, so that part isn't hard to imagine!). Rather it's about imagining what's it's like to run like one of the great running giants. One can still dream, at any rate. ;-)

Well, that exercise obviously didn't produce the results I was seeking! No matter, I was happy to complete the run, as my legs were feeling fairly tired by the last lap, and I'd clearly approached the edge of their reserves.

I think it probably only dropped a few scant degrees (I'm guessing it was closer to 34-36 degrees) by the time of my second run. Overall, the weather wasn't very cold, and the run felt really pleasant. Perhaps a bit too pleasant, if you know what I mean. ;-)

I know I probably didn't push myself as hard as I could have, at least not in a cardiovascular sense. I do know that by lap 8, my legs felt awfully rubbery. I was waiting for my knees to start rebelling on me by the 8th lap, but surprisingly, they held together and behaved themselves. I didn't have any pain after my run.

Again, I'd popped a glucosamine chondroitin before the run, & that seemed to do the trick. Yea! Now onto Phase 2 of the BTHR plan -- Becoming a 1.5 Hour Runner! (or would that be, "BO.FHR" or perhaps, "B1.5HR." ;-) )

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Speaking of workout plans, one thing I just noticed is that both runs tonight were "Run 3, Week 5." That's a weird coincidence, don't you think? A kind of nexus of sorts, for both my friend and me. Aside from the workout days being at the exact same point, tonight's two workouts signal a new phase, for both running programs.

For my friend, it means she'll be moving on to Week 6, her last week of interval runs before she approaches her solid, consecutive runs. (I wonder if she knows or realizes that! Maybe it's best not to talk about it too much, lest she "exit stage left" & make a run for it! LOL.)

For me, it means that I'm embarking on the next phase of the BTHR program, a 10-week program designed to take me from 140 to 240 minutes of running in a gradual progression. That's 100 extra minutes of running in 10 weeks, which is very do-able. I'm really looking forward to the challenge!

Just one final note about Phase 2: In order to distinguish my next series of runs from the first, I will delineate the new weeks to come by putting a P2 after BTHR in the poast title, as in "Run 1, Week 1 (BTHR-P2). That should help to clearly distinguish the two phases. And of course, the final phase of the program, Phase 3, will be "BTHR-P3." Simple enough.

OK, well I've got to get to bed now (I didn't get back to my place until after 10 pm!), so "sweet dreams" everyone!

So, are you now picturing yourself jumping over hurdles instead of sheep hopping over a fence?!

4 Why Are You Here, I Mean, Why Do You Visit This Blog?


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OK, it's time to once again open up the floor to this blog's new visitors & regular readers who have yet to comment here on this blog. Of course, the floor is always open to all readers' comments, but this post is specifically devoted to you, the silent reader -- whether new or regular visitor, or subscriber -- who has yet to voice their opinions. So now's your chance to be heard!

As I was looking through my Feedburner stats today, I noticed that this blog has quite a lot of subscribers & repeat visitors, which of course makes me completely ecstatic! Of course, this is not said for bragging purposes, but it did make me wonder one thing: Why are all of you here? Of course, I'm not referring to that expression in the larger philosophical sense -- although you're perfectly welcome to answer that question if you wish! ;-) -- but rather, why are you dropping by my blog?

For new visitors, how did you hear about this blog? Are you dropping by specifically to read about running or was it a completely random occurrence? Would you consider subscribing or returning again to read this blog in future? Why or why not?

For repeat visitors & subscribers, what makes you want to come back for more? Is it due to your general interest in running & sports nutrition, a personal connection, your general enjoyment of my writing style/voice &/or sense of humor, or some other reason?

And here are some questions for all visitors: What do you hope to gain from the experience? What do you like or not like? What do you want to see more of or less of here? Do you have any specific questions about running or sports nutrition, or specific requests for topics that you'd like to see me address here in this blog?

I'm just really curious, and would to love to hear from you.

I promise to post your comments -- compliments and constructive criticism alike -- as long as they are written in a civil & manner, with the express intention of helping me improve this blog. (Also, not that I should have to write this, but let's please keep the level of dialogue elevated, free of insults & personal attacks.) I look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks so much in advance for your feedback!

1 Brief But Useful Training Tip, & Some Reflections on Achieving Balance in Running & in Life in General


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I found this common-sense training tip in Runner's World (i.e., under Training-->Training Essentials-->Training Tips). While it's short & sweet, it certainly makes a whole lot of sense!

Taking a balanced approach to training is, of course, a recurring piece of wisdom, espoused by coaches, personal fitness trainers, and runners alike.

When our training is not going well or is somehow out of whack, it's usually because we need to reassess our training balance: Are we working out our upper & lower body, core & limbs, brain & heart, all in equal measure?

Of course, balance in training, as well as in life, is often easier said than done. Most of us runners lead busy lives, filled with continual activities revolving around work, family, friends, & our communities at large. How do we manage it all?

Some of us have gained mastery in this area by continual practical application. Dare I also use the dreaded "D" word -- discipline?! Does that particular word possibly conjure mental images of schoolmasters vehemently cracking pupils' hands with rulers, à la Pink Floyd's The Wall? ;-) If that's too harsh of a word for you to consider, then simply just reframe it as "the mindful, determined pursuit of one's goals through continual practice." ;-) Most of us are doing this already with our weekly runs, so it's really not such a scary concept after all, especially when you consider the path you've already paved with your existing accomplishments.

And sometimes we find that it's necessary to sacrifice certain goals & pursuits to make others happen. Of course, that's not necessarily a bad thing either; it's just a reality, especially at certain major junctures of our lives.

Achieving a sense of balance in our lives in general, as well as in our training, is, for many of us, a lifelong challenge. And I think that's a good thing to think about -- not just when life is calm & easy, but also when the chaos & stress ratchet up a few notches. This is what Hemingway liked to call "grace under pressure." And it's a very important skill to possess. While we might sometimes let a few balls drop when we juggle all of the priorities and projects in our life, the important thing is to maintain balance through it all, as best as possible, and to keep sight of our most important priorities.

Also, priorities are often fluid and subject to change from time to time, depending on various factors in our lives. And being open to these shifting goals and new possibilities is often a positive sign of growth.

Also, if we are truly honest with ourselves, sometimes we just need to be flexible and see that what we once labeled a "priority" is really designated solely because it's a "want" versus a "need."

This is where reassessment comes in handy! When we go through life on autopilot, it's because we've usually buried my head in the sand, and don't wish to "wake up" and see the reality of what's around us. Exercise wakes up the body and mind, reconnecting the two entities together, reacquainting them (!), & usually restoring the balance between the two as well! Exercise helps us get back to basics and "work out" all of these issues and more - both literally & figuratively speaking!

On that note, the reassessment period can take on a larger scope: We wake up to the influences in our lives, re-evaluating all of the people, activities, energies, and things we let into our lives.

It's these epiphanies which give us the necessary insight on how to move forward in our lives, and the ability to know which priorities are truly essential to our being & happiness, many of which have formed the backbone of our own individual character.

I know I've said it a zillion times on this blog, and I'll say it again: Becoming aware of all of your qualities, tendencies, & general behaviors, in a gentle and non-obstructive way, and courageously embracing them is the best way to make positive, conscious choices in a direction of your own choosing. These choices may take you in a new direction, but maybe that's what's required to get you to the next step. (I know I'm at that exact point in my life, right now in fact!)

We are not always ready to see the path before us, but when we are, it's imperative that we not waste any time & just get down to the business of living.

And maintaining continual awareness & reassessing our progress from time to time should help us to do just that!

OK, enough philosophizing! It's time for me to put my money where my mouth is, follow my own advice, & act!

4 Nutrition Tip #7: Some Useful Articles on Running & Eating ;-)


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Cymrusteve & I were recently chatting about eating & weight management & how it affects a runner's performance, over at his blog. So, as I was looking through Runner's World, trying to help him find the article he'd mentioned, I came across other useful articles about related matters, & thought I'd post them here for people who are interested:

The Runner's Diet (Learn how to eat the right foods at the right time)

He Eats, She Eats (How gender affects eating & nutritional needs for runners)

2 Some Yoga Articles, Just For Dave G. & Mister Scott ;-)


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I found two Runner's World articles about yoga for runners that I thought some of you might find useful &/or illuminating:

Yoga For Improved (Running) Performance
Yoga For Runners (Yoga poses, etc.)

Seems there are many of us lately who are doing yoga for increased flexibility & injury avoidance.

Any interest in trying this activity, Eric G? I bet your YMCA probably offers yoga classes. ;-) Plus, it'll give you some variety in your workout program while you're recuperating & waiting to get back into running.

Monday, January 21, 2008

2 Corey, What Happened To Your Other Blogs?! (Priorities, Priorities.....)


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If some of you subscribe to "Ladybug Tea Co." & "Music Unbound," you might've noticed that these blogs are no longer accessible. I've decided to take them offline for now, because I'm just far too busy to maintain/update these blogs with new posts, & frankly, with all of my current irons in the fire, am spread way too thin. Something had to give, so it was these 2 blogs.

I did post replies to recent comments, and apologize if you've not had the chance to see these latest comments. If you're really curious, you can always just email me, and I'll see what I can do about digging up the comments you didn't get a chance to read. (Frankly, with everything going on in my life right now, these type of requests are a rather low-priority on my list of to-do's, but if you email me, I promise I'll get back to you at some point.)

Anyhow, I do promise that my running, cooking, jewelry, and JCrew blogs will all remain intact. While I can't promise how regularly I'll contribute to any or all of these blogs, I will say this: I do plan to continue my practice of blogging here after every run, at the very least.

And, if my past blogging history is any indication of posting frequency, you can probably expect that, out of all my blogs, that I will continue to post the most regularly here at this blog.

Yes, I am clearly the most dedicated to my running blog, as it's been a huge anchor in my life over the past year. This is even more so now, amidst all of the surrounding chaos and flux in my life right now. (So you can see why I posted that barrage of quotes about change. Now, perhaps it's all beginning to make sense..... ;-) )

The way I see it is that if you don't put your health first, then it's hard to handle any other priorities. And in my book, blogging about running goes hand-in-hand with running itself. Blogging about running is a motivational activity; and keeping a journal of my progress & writing articles about the sport is my way of staying mentally connected to, as well as focused upon, the act of running. And more specifically, writing about my daily runs helps me visualize/plan where I'm going with my running, as I'm sure it also does for many other runner-bloggers! And hopefully, what I write here will help other people as well, either to motivate or improve themselves, or to further their own self-awareness as a runner and human being, as well as their knowledge of the sport in general. Of course I don't presuppose any sort of omnipotent knowledge about the subject, but I do think that I have a lot to say about the sport, particularly with regard to training methodologies and the "runner's psyche."

On the most basic level, I certainly hope that you will find something interesting or useful in here as well!

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As for the other blogs, the jewelry blog is my next priority, followed by the JCrew blog, and then the cooking blog. That doesn't that I still won't post from time to time on these other blogs, only that I'm more likely to post on these secondary blogs when I've got a specific reason to post: For example, if there's been some specific development or news, or something's caught my attention that I think is notable & worth writing about.

As for the cooking blog, I will most likely post recipes whenever I decide to try out new recipes (whether they be my own concoctions or other people's recipes). While I do love to dream up original recipes when the mood strikes me, I frankly don't have a lot of time right now to devote to this sort of activity. Due to my current job hunt & 5 zillion other activities, my "gourmet cooking" weekends (as well the associated inspiration for creating new recipes) have been in short supply as of late. ;-)

In many ways, I feel like a leopard that's been out on prowl for food: All unnecessary mental functions (i.e., creativity, etc.) have shut down in order to promote survival. ;-) It's like my job hunt has become this primal "beast" to which I must feed all of my focus and powers of concentration. OK, that's a rather dramatic analogy, but as I'm currently without a job, and am no longer actively pursuing my jewelry businesses anymore as a full-time career, I do need to find gainful employment rather soon!

OK, well enough about this. The good news is that there are several job possibilities in the works. So I'm definitely making progress in that area.

Anyhow, back to what I was saying about posting recipes on my foodie blog.....

Also, my other reason for not posting as many original recipes is that I've decided to reserve some of the as-yet-unposted ones for my upcoming cookbook. Sorry but I can't give them all away for free! After all, there's got to be some incentive to buy my cookbook. ;-) However, I think I've been extremely generous thus far posting a lot of these original recipes, and don't worry, I still plan to share a few more freebies before the book's been published. So there's still some time for you to try out some of these original recipes before the cookbook goes into publication.

OK, well that's it for the update on my blogs. Hope you're all having a nice holiday today! (Today's Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, which is a national holiday observed by most American places of business, for those of you who are wondering what I'm talking about.)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

5 Run 2, Week 5 (BTHR): You Can't Judge Your Pace By How It Feels!


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It was 37 degrees and cloudy when I went for my run today at 5:15 pm. On the schedule was 40 minutes of running at a moderate pace. I did 5 laps (or 3.7 miles) in 43:20 minutes, or a 11:42 minute mile pace.

At the 4 lap-marker (2.96 miles), I believe I'd clocked roughly 34 minutes and a certain number of seconds that I can't seem to recall! (Depending of whether the number of seconds were on lower or higher end of the scale, I estimate that my pace at the 4-lap marker could've been anywhere from an 11:29 minute to an 11:44 minute mile pace.)

It's funny because I thought that the last 2 laps (i.e., laps 4 & 5) felt faster than the first few, but apparently they weren't really that much faster in reality. Sometimes the feel of a run doesn't correlate to one's actual pace!

Considering my "fast" pace of an 11:17 minute mile (or a total of 41:45 minutes) only a few days earlier, today's run, relatively speaking, could certainly be considered a more moderate pace. ;-) OK, well maybe that's being too generous; the run was a rather glacial pace compared to what I've been clocking for my most recent 3 & 3.7 mile paces, but in terms of my overall times of the previous week or two, it was only a minute to a minute & a half slower from what I've been doing thus far for the 3.7 mile distance. As a relative comparison in the latter terms, it's really not that much slower. ;-)

Still, I always marvel at how much difference an extra minute or two in total running time can make to one's pace! I mean, from a purely mathematical viewpoint, the calculations are hardly surprising. However, from a physical standpoint, the translation of the overall times into paces as a factor of physical exertion & other factors (the weather, the wind, the running course, one's daily mental & physical condition, etc.) still manages to astonish me. Sometimes even the level of effort or the feel of one's run, doesn't always translate into what one expects either.

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Despite the heavy snowfall earlier in the week, the path was perfectly clear for today's run. There wasn't a patch of ice in sight either. That alone, made my run a very happy one indeed!

Also, it was a lot warmer than I'd expected: I wore the usual 3 layers on top, but was way too warm by the second lap, so I ended up removing my fleece neckwarmer, gloves, and outer zip parka. Ahhhh, much better!

I didn't take Ibuprofen or glucosamine chondroitin, but my knees felt surprisingly good after the run. I think that finally, my moderate exercise practices are beginning to pay dividends! 8-)

Speaking of which, I read something recently somewhere that mentioned how progressive, gradual usage of the joints can actually strengthen them over time, so maybe that's what's going on with my body. As I'm giving myself adequately recovery time, perhaps the joints and surrounding supportive muscles are actually getting stronger & improving over time.

I realize that this is in direct contrast to the usual conventional fear-mongering (I won't call it "wisdom" because I don't believe that would be an accurate word to describe it!) that presupposes that somehow running "damages" the joints "over time." I think what's really going on here, if we get right down to it, is that this is a gross overgeneralization, and seems to heavily rely on lopsided data accumulated from the practices of overzealous exercisers/runners.

To these sadly misguided people I say this: How about let's not just dwell on the supposed/perceived "down sides" of the sport, and instead, think of ways to deal with these issues?! When someone keeps mentioning "problems," I like to say "well, how about thinking about answers!" If you're always looking for problems, your mind is mentally invested in staying in the realm of problems. You've already accepted your plight. However, on the other hand, if you see that what you formerly perceived as a "problem" can be an opportunity to grow, it then becomes a challenge. True, it's harder to challenge your brain think of solutions, but isn't that where you really want to go anyhow? What's that expression, life is really 95% what you make of it (i.e. how you respond), right?! So let's fight that urge, both internally & externally, so we can keep moving forward. And I mean that both figuratively and literally.

So, yes, I really want to prove all of those worry-warts wrong!!!! ;-) I think when you exercise intelligently, and learn from your past mistakes, you are making a new path for yourself. Many of us just need to retrain our brains, consider new ways of being & doing, and retool our approach to exercise. After all, sports aren't just for your body. They are a chance for us to use our brains to their utmost capabilities, not only to train in a smart way and listen to our bodies, (and to learn from past mistakes & avoid repeating them!), but as a tool for improving our lives and the lives of others around us.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

3 The Runs That Didn't Happen Today ;-)


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It was snowing really heavily this afternoon and into early evening, so my friend & I didn't run together today, not even indoors, because the roads were fairly bad, and she just wanted to go straight home from work before they got any worse (i.e., icy!). Frankly, I don't blame her, as the roads were apparently very slick and slippery.

Well, under the circumstances, I'd even considered doing some treadmill running, so I could atleast get my solo run in for the evening, but that never quite happened. All day I'd been applying for and inquiring about jobs, making phone calls, sending emails, and tailoring my resume to various career opportunities, etc., and had rather conveniently lost track of time. ;-) True, my friend did call me around 4 pm to discuss our plans for that night, but then I just went back to the job hunt & promptly forgot to look up again at the clock. When I did, it was already well past 6 pm, and closing in fast on the next hour, and I knew I wouldn't be running outside in the dark and in the snow. And I frankly felt like hopping on a treadmill even less! (Most of you who are regular readers know that hell has to first freeze over, or atleast the road, before I'll typically jump on a treadmill, as I truly despise the blasted things. So I've got to be feeling pretty desperate about the weather conditions before resorting to treadmill running! Not to mention that treadmill running really bothers my knees even more than running on the road..... The forced pace of the treadmill seems to be a really unnatural stride and messes with my natural running rhythms and body alignment.)

Of course, when it comes right down to it, I didn't have any excuse at all for not running, other than me stressing out about various things on my plate that had absolutely nothing to do with running. And not surprisingly, over the last few days, I haven't been sleeping very well, and additionally had been doing some late-night noshing. While I didn't exactly go the usual route of "stressing out & eating everything in site," it still wasn't great that I'd be snacking at such a late hour. I think I probably gained a pound or two from the combination of late-night snacking & lack of exercise over the past four days, but I'll be damned if I'm hopping on the scale until I "feel thinner" again. Most likely, that'll happen after a few more weeks of consistent running and weight-lifting! Heheheheh.

Oh well, tomorrow's a new day, and a new chance to begin again.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

1 Running Apparel Tip #8: Find Good Places to Buy Running Sneakers (On Our Blog Catalog Running Forum)


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I'd like to make you all aware of a new discussion thread on our Blog Catalog running discussion group, Runners, Runners, Everywhere, entitled "Where Are Your Favorite Places to Buy Running Sneakers?"

You don't need to be a blogger or even be a Blog Catalog member to follow the discussion.

However, if you'd like to join in on the discussion (i.e., post a comment or add a new discussion topic), you will need to create a login. It takes a matter of seconds to create a login &/or list your blog.

Non-bloggers are also eligible to participate in our running group discussion. To do so, simply sign up for a free guest account by clicking on this link & filling out & submitting your account information (i.e., username, name, email, password, etc.).

So I'd like to invite you to join Blog Catalog, (that is, if you're not already a member), & more specifically, to join our Blog Catalog running discussion group. If you enjoy discussing & learning about running -- whether you are a runner, general athlete & sports enthusiast, or simply enjoy following the sport as a spectator -- you're more than welcome to participate in the discussion. There are many members whose primary sport isn't running; they bike, blade, or do other sports & incorporate running into their exercise regiment, solely for cross-training purposes. There are even several self-proclaimed non-runners who participate in the discussion because they are curious to find out what this "running thing" is all about. And that's perfectly fine too! Membership is open to all interested persons.

Our Blog Catalog running discussion group is a very large & active group. As of the last count, our running discussion group is 350 members strong & counting!

There are several runner-bloggers from around the world (& from all walks of life!) who regularly participate in the discussion.

And in fact, you might even recognize several of their names -- in the posts, comments, categories, blogrolls, etc. -- on either this blog or other running blogs!

Many of us runner-bloggers who participate in the Blog Catalog running forum have formed an informal "blogger circle of friends" -- We regularly frequent each other's blogs, commenting on each other's posts & encouraging each other's progress. It's nice to be part of such an engaging & interesting group of friends!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

11 Road Race Updates & Adjustments to My Racing Calendar


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In a previous post, I blogged about the upcoming races I was interested in entering.

Well, thanks to my friend, Marcy, I now know that the Lewisburg 5-Miler won't be happening this year. I'm actually kind of relieved to hear this news, as I was torn between running the race & participating in the Lewisburg Arts Festival this year, which are both held on the same day. Due to the time-consuming nature of setting up our booth for this outdoor festival, I wouldn't have had enough time to have done both activities, unless I had someone else who could take care of the bulk of the setup. The other reason is that I've been doing this arts festival almost every year for the past few years, & my customers from this area tell me that they look forward to seeing me there every year. So, it looks like I'll be choosing to do the festival again this year!

So, right now, it looks like I'll be entering two road races:

Saturday, June 21, 2008, 8:00 am - Run For the Roses 5K. I plan to run this race with my CT5K running buddy (i.e., the same person I've been blogging about here!).

Saturday, July 19, 2008, 8:45 pm - Rockville Twilighter 8K (a.k.a., the Rockville Rotary Twilight 8k). This is a favorite race of my friend, Janice. Hope she runs it this year!

Also, I've decided to post my race calendar on the left sidebar of this blog, which I'll be adding very shortly, so be on the lookout for that update as well.

3 Writing About Running... and Getting Paid for It! ;-)


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In the midst of sending out cover letters & resumes in search of a full-time job, I've decided to simultaneously pursue freelance writing and other types of part- or full-time contract work, utilizing my management, writing, & technology background.

Of course, one of the main topics I'll be writing about is running, but also am planning to write about sports nutrition & health, and other general fitness-related topics.

So, right now I'm currently in the process of writing running & fitness articles for submission to various online freelance writing sites like Triond, Helium, etc.

If any of you have written for any of these freelance writing websites, I'd love to hear about your experiences and opinions. Which ones you do like best & why?

How many of you are currently making your living through writing -- either as a freelancer, full-time blogger, journalist, screenwriter, magazine/copy editor or writer, or another type of writing/editing career?

Any advice you can give on the above topics would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much.

0 Some Really Fantastic Articles From Jim2's Running Page


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Found a wonderful site, filled with many excellent & well-written running articles, which I'd like to share with you. The man who writes these fantastic running articles is named Jim, and he offers lots of sage advice, as well as many great running & marathoning resources. So check it out:

Jim2's Running Page

There are many, many articles to peruse. At last glance, there were two in particular that caught my attention for obvious reasons:

When To Run the First Marathon?

Structuring A Training Plan

Monday, January 14, 2008

0 Run 1, Week 5 (BTHR) + Freestyle Run (CT5K): Two Runs Followed By Thai Food


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This post is going to be a short one:

Went for my solo run at 5:54 pm. It was 40 degrees & slightly overcast. It was a bit nippy at first, & I was wearing 3 layers on top, & the usual fleece accoutrements (gloves, headband, & neckwarmer), & slightly heavier running pants. By the end of the run, I was no longer wearing the gloves & the heavier outer fleece; however, I quickly put them back on for my second run, as it got considerably colder after a mere 40+ minutes!

For this first run, I ran a total of 5 laps (3.7 miles) in 41:45 minutes, or an 11:17 minute mile. This is a big improvement over the majority of my previous 3.7 mile finishing times. (However, a week ago on 1/8/08, I did best my time so far this season for this distance, clocking 41:30 minutes, or an 11:12 minute mile.) Nonetheless, it's still in keeping with tonight's schedule, a "fast" 40 minutes of running.

At the 4-lap marker (2.96 miles), I'd clocked 33:19, or an 11:21 minute mile pace. So, as you can see, I picked up the pace for the final (fifth) lap & thus managed to shave a few minutes off my total time.

Next, I met my friend for the second run at 6:30 pm; as mentioned previously, we did an intermediary run before tackling Day 3 (CT5K), of two 10-minute running intervals interspersed with a 5-minute walk.

By this point, the temperature dropped to 32 degrees (plus wind chill!) for our second run. Actually, my friend took special care to point this out to me, which is how I know exactly how cold it was! ;-) Was proud of her for sticking it out in the wind & the cold, & for completing the two 10 minute runs without stopping.

After our run, she treated me to dinner at a Thai restaurant; we had a great time & it was a very sweet thing of her to do.

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One last comment: You might've noticed that I've revised & also added content on my sidebar, regarding season & personal bests, & the outline of the BTHR program.

(Also, as I was filing through the archives, I noticed some minor inaccuracies in my pace calculations, which I've since corrected.)

Anyhow, just thought I'd point out that I will now be tracking & updating my PRs & season bests on a regular basis, in case any of you are curious to know my best times thus far.

OK, have a good night & I'll check in with you again soon!

4 Share Your Race Predictions Here


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So, what are your predictions for your upcoming road races? Are you trying to set any PRs or just trying to finish?! ;-)

I'm betting that by this May, I'll be able to get down to atleast 10:30 minute-mile for the 5K distance, & will consistently crack an 11 minute-mile in the 6-miler. These are modest enough goals to be sure, & I'm clearly hoping to achieve more than that, but going by my existing times, these are my current predictions.

If you'd like to toss your ring into the hat & predict my times for the Run for the Roses 5K this June, be my guest. You're welcome to look at my PRs on the side bar &/or scroll through the archives which are labeled "runs" to see what my previously recorded times have been. Please keep in mind, it'll be my first 5K race in a few years, & it's also only the middle of January right now.

On your mark, get set, go! 8-)

0 Oops! Made One Small Correction


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There are those of you might recall that two days ago I blogged about finally getting to the last week of Phase 1 (BTHR). Well, actually I'd discovered that, while I correctly completed & recorded Day 1 & 2 of Week 4, that I mistakenly skipped ahead to Day 3 of Week 5 in my last post. As it turns out, this oversight was of no consequence (save any confusion caused by the post itself), because the runs themselves were the same (i.e., 60 minutes of running at a slow pace).

Maybe that mistake was just wishful thinking on the part of my subconscious (LOL!), but I've since corrected the mistake on that post.

Just thought I'd mention it to those of you who follow my weekly running progress, in case you were confused or were wondering what happened to Phase 1's final week of runs I was supposed to do! If not, then just completely disregard this post! ;-)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

0 Nutrition Tip #6: Some Creative Ways To Keep The Munchies At Bay


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Now we all know some of the typical suggestions for keeping the munchies at bay.

For the purposes of this discussion, we'll assume that most of us have gained a sufficient amount of experience (if not expertise) in these areas, that, if ever translated into a concrete measurement, would probably fill a library building 50-stories high.

Whether we amassed our history the hard way ( i.e., through trial & an error), or were able to get it right, more or less, on the first try -- is of no consequence. You can compare notes with others or read a book on the subject, but if a technique doesn't work for you, it's as good as trying to achieve satiety by eating sawdust. No, please don't try that. I was making a joke. ;-)

In the long catalog of trials to achieve satiety nirvana, we have all, at the very least, become experts on the capricious whims of our own stomachs! ;-)

We've all tried various techniques for staving off the munchies with varying rates of success.

For the sake of this discussion, we will forgo any potentially embarrassing discussions of those isolated incidents in which, out of desperation, we temporarily suspended all logic & reason & succumbed to the possibility that following silly suggestions -- like standing on your head while reciting "I will have self-control" ten times in a row -- would actually work for us.

Thankfully, most of us are experienced enough by now in this area to know what works for us & what doesn't. But that doesn't mean we can't learn anything new on the subject, or add a few new tricks to our toolbox.

While I'm sure many of us have already tried the suggestion of drinking lots of water or other types of liquid beverages to give us that full feeling, most of us have usually found that this only serves to temporarily stave off the hunger, as it gives a person a false sense of satiety for only an hour or two, but then the hunger soon returns. And unless you want to be making fifty consecutive trips to the bathroom, this technique is probably not advisable to use as your only go-to technique. And it's particularly not recommended if you're sitting in the middle aisle of a crowded movie theater or are staying with guests who only have one bathroom. ;-)

So, what other reliable options are there?

Well, of course a much more sensible suggestion would be eating several small meals & snacks throughout the day to stabilize your blood sugar. Of course, this technique not only prevents the build-up of raging hunger & thus a potential out-of-control over-eating incident, but also has the added benefit of often helping to regulate one's moods. ;-)

While most of us can relate to being cranky from lack of food, or spacing out into a "food coma," I can assure you that almost no one wants to be on the receiving end of either scenario:

The person who's extraordinarily hungry could be as scary as Ghoul Man in Plan 9 from Outer Space. (Just in case, please keep all limbs well out of reach! ;-) ) And the person who's overeaten is probably in the midst of a catatonic stupor, due to the fact that the majority of their bodily resources have gone to their stomach to aid in the digestion process, and so they probably aren't going to be the most scintillating conversationalist at that particular moment! Of course, the restricted flow of blood to the head during the digestion process could potentially explain the general lack of conversational abilities &/or energy. ;-)

So, while the necessity of maintaining balanced energy levels & moods is a less-commonly cited or discussed reason of why it's so important to get our portion-sizes right, it's nonetheless, an important factor to consider. And, while these issues (of controlling portion sizes & balancing food intake at measured intervals) tend to affect diabetics and hypoglycemics in a much more magnified fashion, they can also affect people who do not have these conditions as well, albeit to a much lesser degree. Of course, everyone's affected differently & some people are affected more than others. Moreover, these factors illustrate that the concept of controlling portion sizes is not just for the general sake of maintaining a healthy weight or decreasing our girth. ;-)

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But what if eating 5-6 meals a day isn't practical for you? What if you work in a job where it's difficult to eat all day long, or for some reason, you don't have access to a refrigerator in your workplace?

Well, other than getting a new job ;-), I'd suggest packing foods that have a longer shelf-life. Try eating things that don't need to be refrigerated, like dry-roasted (or raw) almonds for instance, which if eaten in reasonable quantities, will not only sate hunger due to their fiber & (healthy) fat content, but also have excellent health benefits (i.e., they're a good source of protein & Omega-complex fatty acids). Unless you're on a low-carb kick, pretzels & low-fat whole-grain crackers are other possible alternatives.

Celery & carrot sticks (as well as other cruciferous vegetables like raw sweet peppers, cauliflower, & radishes, etc.) also have a relatively long shelf-life, as long as they're consumed within the day.

Also, some foods will keep for a few hours but not for the entire day, so eat these foods as your first snack of the day. For example, low-fat mozzarella cheese sticks tend keep for a few hours, so maybe that'd be something you could eat for your mid-morning snack. Etc., etc. You get the idea.

If it's not possible to snack on the job, then maybe you can take small breaks & step away for just a quick minute or so to quietly munch on something. I guess the issue is more how you choose to deal with the scenario, & also how understanding or accommodating your boss & coworkers are going to be in a situation like this. If you think you can step away for a minute, or are able to munch quietly in your cubicle while you work, then of course there's no need to even bother enlisting others in your cause.

Even if you've got one of those jobs where you're front & center the whole day, &/or it's perceived as unprofessional to eat at your desk because you're in the public eye all day long, you probably will still be allowed breaks, which will make snacking fairly feasible.

In any event, most people in a workplace tend to be fairly reasonable, so if you find it necessary to enlist reinforcements so you can carve out time for yourself to eat, just explain the situation in a nonchalant & relaxed manner. In most situations, you can usually work out something with the powers that be.

Of course, if you work for yourself, or work from home, you just have to remember to eat your snacks & meals on a regular basis. Especially if you tend to get absorbed in your work & often forget to eat on a regular basis, setting a timer or an electronic reminder (i.e., in MS Outlook or whatever calendar software or reminder service you use) is also a good suggestion, not only to use as meal reminders but also to make sure you take regular breaks to keep your mind fresh, & to keep you on track with your work schedule. Setting up defined end points like this also helps you set a reasonable end point for the day's work & reinforces the separation of work & home life.

Most times the real source of the challenge is that we, as individuals, don't really & truly have any excuse for why we don't set aside time for ourselves to eat regularly. We simply just don't make the time for ourselves to do this. We need to carve out time for something this basic, as nourishing ourselves is one of the most fundamental building blocks in the larger hierarchy of needs.

You know those mandatory verbal instructions that airline stewardesses automatically rattle off before the plane takes off? Yes, I'm talking about the spiel that they could say in their sleep about how, in the event of an emergency, it's important to put your oxygen mask on first so you can tend to the needs of others around you? Well, it's the same deal with taking care of your own basic needs. So consider yourself worthy enough to pay attention to your own needs. Even if it's just for the sake of others, or being able to better accomplish a task in the workplace because now you've got a sharper mental focus as a result of taking care of yourself. Just take care of these needs for the brief/negligible amount of time it actually requires. And then you can go back to scurrying around like a crazed (& potentially rabid) sewer rat, back to whatever the heck it was that you were doing.

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I'd like to suggest a few additional techniques, which can be used in combination with other strategies:

1. Keep your hands busy. This is especially useful if you are watching TV late at night & all of a sudden get an attack of the munchies. I like to knit or go through coupons while watching my favorite TV shows. That way, I accomplish more than just sitting on my duff. Admittedly, there are days when I just want to collapse on the couch, but if I start getting hungry after dinner, chances are I'll have my knitting needles out. ;-) OK, I know that not everyone knows how to knit or is interested in something like this, but it's just an example of something you can do, instead of immediately grabbing for the after-work or late-night snacks.

2. If you do find yourself watching late night TV, get TiVO or other DVR (digital video recorder). Now before you sound the alarm, I promise I'm not getting any kickbacks from DVR companies, & am certainly not a DVR saleswoman. Nor do I currently having any controlling interests in these or any such related companies.

Having said that, I know it might sound like a ridiculous suggestion to some, but if you are one of those people who get hungry just by simply looking at tantalizing images of food on late night TV, then having a (digital) video recorder easily eliminates this vulnerability, as it allows you to fast-forward over those images & verbal descriptions of food. Likewise, if you know this is going to be a problem area for you, whatever the hour, then don't watch the Food Network TV channel when you don't want to be eating! The larger point is this: Know your weakness, & plan accordingly.

3. If you are going to succumb to late-night snacking, minimize the damage by putting your snacks in a small bowl, so they look more plentiful to the eye. Yes, it's a bit of trickery, but in this case, whatever fools the eye might help circumvent the passage of more food to the stomach. Also, be sure to eat slowly & enjoy every mouthful. If you take the time to enjoy your food & are conscious of this enjoyment, chances are you'll be less likely to reach for more.

4. Check your head & make sure it's screwed on straight. Yes, you heard me correctly.

Now, wait-a-minute, that doesn't sound like an eating technique!?! That sounds more like a snide & condescending insult! What the @#&$*#!!!! Well, before you get your knickers in a bunch, let me explain.....

Taking a mental inventory, & listening to your inner "self-talk" about your hunger & food is often the first defense to preventing trouble in this area. Sometimes we can talk ourselves down from that scary little ledge of potato chips & general mayhem. And then other times we just need to go ahead & eat the potato chips in a reasonable quantity to avoid a total & complete meltdown. Again, you know yourself best, so use your own best judgment in this area. We're all adults here, & no one's looking over your shoulder to see if you "cheat." That mentality is for immature adolescents who haven't learned how to manage their own boundary-lines.

Then again, you might need to police yourself or eliminate temptations if your will isn't strong enough. Out of mind, out of sight. And nary a statement has ever been more true, than when applied to one's own cupboards!

Frankly, I find that if my will to lose weight & get into shape is strong enough, I don't set myself up for failure & I can stand strong in the face of challenges & adversity, because I want to get my act together more than I want to eat that piece of cake or whatever. I also feel like after I run for an hour that I just worked so hard. And frankly, to undo all of that hard work is simply just way too upsetting of a thought to contemplate doing it.

I'm not saying I'm a saint when it comes to food, but I am saying that in general,"where there's a will, there's a way."

Of course, building in treats & the occasional "cheat meal" into your meal plan will also obviously help to keep your sanity as well. As I've already discussed that ad naseum in previous posts, let's move on to other topics.

5. Also, realize that snacking isn't a dirty word. By all means eat healthy snacks & meals, but be honest with yourself about your portion sizes. If you're going to eat several small meals a day, then your portion sizes should be divied up accordingly, so you are eating smaller portions for each meal. In all likelihood, you'll probably find that you fill up much faster this way, much faster than you might've initially expected.

6. Also, know the facts about how your body metabolizes food, so when you do decide to eat those special treats, you can minimize the damage.

For example, are you aware that if you eat meals &/or snacks within 40 minutes of exercise, the food will be metabolized at a much higher rate than if you ate that food without any exercise at all?!

Did you know that it's important to leave atleast 4 hours between your last food intake of the day & your bedtime?! The body's temperature will initially rise after food consumption, to help burn off the food & turn it into energy, but then will drop considerably about four hours after the food has been consumed. This rise in body temperature to help the body metabolize food is what's commonly referred to as the body's thermic effect of food. And, in this particular example, the thermic effect of food just so happens to occur during the four hours preceding sleep, but is of course, not the only time when this effect can take place. (Please note that this particular scenario & its corresponding advisory are not simply a regurgitation of the ever-popular general advisory to avoiding eating after 8 pm; however if you typically go to bed at midnight, you might want to reconsider this advice. ;-) Anyone who goes to bed earlier, should think about revising this timeline accordingly. If you are going to have a post-dinner snack, it's advisable to allow yourself enough time -- atleast 4 hours -- between the time of your evening snack and your bedtime. )

Well, that's all the tips I have for now. If you can think of any other useful tips for staving off the munchies that work for you, please feel free to leave your comments here.

OK, that's all for tonight, folks!

Bon nuit,
-C

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