Tuesday, April 29, 2008

4 Run 3, Week 4 (CT5K): Getting Better.....


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Boy, was I looking forward to tonight's run. Never mind that it was chillier than it's been over the past few days -- 57 degrees plus (or should I say minus! ;-) ) wind factor, which felt like more like 45! -- I didn't care about that & bounded outside onto the open trails, eager to get my bod moving again.

Met my friend & we began our run at around 6:30 pm. It was a decent run. Felt especially good after the first few minutes of running. The body was warm, revved up & ready to go! [On those chillier days, I'm certainly thankfully for the body acting as it's own natural heating system. ;-)]

I wanted to run a lot faster, & knew I had it in me, but respectfully contained myself, as I promised I'd run at my friend's pace. I know that I really need to start running on the weekends, as I need to let those "wild horses" in my feet run free. ;-) Those of you regular runners know what I'm talking about. It's not just a need for speed, but it's a need to run unbridled & unencumbered by any other factors that keep us from running exactly like we were meant to do. I just need to break lose & go for it every now & then. It's part of why I run. It's the sheer freedom of being able to burst forth in a whirlwind of energy, when the urge strikes. It's not to say that I don't like running with my friend, because I certainly do, but I'm also glad to have those moments of running alone & in different environments than that trusty old lake.

Running at the lake is certainly easiest right now -- it not only saves on gas (which is at an unprecedented high in terms of price per gallon!), but frankly, it's also the path of least resistance. That second factor's important only because it gets me running. ;-)

My friend & I chatted a lot about facing challenges today. We discussed how important it was to focus on what we were doing right, in spite of us both being very stressed out right now, & in response, gravitating to those less-than-perfect "comfort foods." We also talked about how it was important to just let go of wanting to be perfect &/or trying to achieve everything at once, & instead focus on a few manageable goals. Juggling too many balls in the air at once usually means that the balls fly everywhere. ;-) Add extreme stress to the mix, & the number of balls that can be simultaneously juggled drops significantly.

So, it's back to baby steps for both of us.

2 Weigh-In: A Reality-Check -- Time To Pay The Piper. ;-)


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Well, it looks like my eating has not only caught up to my running, but has in fact now surpassed it! Looks like it's brass tacks time for little ole' moi. ;-)

I weighed myself today to find that I'd gained a shocking amount of weight over the last few months. Those "few" pounds I'd gained had morphed into a few more, & then a few more, until I gained a total of... Dare I say it here -- Well, I'm just too darned ashamed to put the actual number down here.

Regarding my weight & BF%, I'm not going to mince words or skirt around the obvious: I've backtracked significantly over the last few months. It's seems that all of that sitting around has caught up to me. Two easy interval training runs a week just doesn't cut it, when you eat like I've been eating over the past few (i.e., 2-3) months. ;-)

I'm not going to get dramatic on you or exaggerate or make excuses. All I will say as an explanation is that things have been fairly rough for me on other fronts, in terms of my stress levels for reasons I'd rather not going into at present. And as a result, I'd been eating things I really shouldn't be eating. I know, it's a very poor coping mechanism, albeit an all-too-human one. It's certainly a very odd behavior for me too, as I normally eat less under extreme stress, often forgetting to eat regularly or ceasing to eat altogether for several hours on end. (Please note I'm NOT saying this is a good alternative, only a less caloric one. ;-) ) Again, I'd like to allude to the cheetah analogy I made earlier regarding how the body deals by a "partial system shutdown." Well, it's clear that I'm well beyond that point, as anyone who has to deal repeatedly with extreme stress over a prolonged period of time can also well attest/comprehend.

If I were to analyze it a bit further & pinpoint the exact behaviors that got me to this point, I'd have to say that it's not that I've been eating enormous quantities of food or anything, but rather, that what I have been eating has been higher in sugar & fat that I'd care to publicly admit. ;-)

And yes, I don't want to hear about how I just blogged about ways to break a sugar addiction & other healthy topics on my foodie blog. And no, I'm not a hypocrite, as I'm clearly writing the articles to help myself & others get back on track. I'm trying to find that path back to fitness, healthy eating, & yes, back to the me I am deep down underneath the recently added padding. ;-)

All in all, I have to say that I'm not in the least bit surprised. Of course, the only thing I can do is to climb back onto the wagon on the nutritional side of things, & try to reclaim my life balance, which had frankly gone horribly askew these last past few months.

I'm hoping that things will turn around on other fronts to help set me on a better course. I am making some effort to carve out my own destiny on a few of those fronts, so it's not just like I'm sitting passively on my duff waiting for it to come to me. ;-) Well, to be honest, I did have some discouraging moments where I did sit on my duff & wallow, but I'm now back in the action phase again. ;-)

It's funny, one of the key lessons of sports & running is how to keep going when things are at their hardest. Under the circumstances, I think it's pretty amazing that I've managed to keep my running going despite the high stress levels. Frankly, there are a lot of people who might've crumbled facing what I've been going through these past few months; so, putting aside all of the less-than-perfect eating, I think it's still a testament to my inner strength & personal character that I've since gotten back on track & am reupping my strength & commitment to these goals.

So there! As the saying goes, "Don't let the turkeys get you down." And perhaps I should add to that, "And pass me a drumstick & a few slices of low-fat turkey breast while you're at it." ;-)

OK, very funny. But turkey is, in fact, a very good source of low-fat protein! ;-)

Seriously though, the weight gain stops right here, right now! Thank goodness I'll be hitting the pavement with my running buddy this evening!

Friday, April 25, 2008

5 This Post Has Nothing To Do With Running Whatsoever


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OK, every once in a while I like to purposely stray off topic. And this is just one of those times. ;-)

First of all, I just wanted to encourage my fellow bloggers to join the Million Blog List Project. (BTW, if you're curious, this blog is #1043 on the list.) Of course, the goal is to reach 1 million blogs, but it's also a directory where you can get more visibility for your blogs. So check it out!



Also, I just wanted to encourage the rest of my blogger pals out there who aren't already connected to me via Facebook or some other social networking communities (you know who you are), to befriend me on these communities, if you haven't already done so. To find me on these social networks, just click on any of the links on the Wink widget at the bottom of the right sidebar of this blog & that'll take you to the corresponding profile page where you can befriend/link to me.

Another great idea for bloggers is to use this blog's Wink bar as a checklist for the social networking communities you'd like to join! ;-) The more places to list your blog(s) the better, right?! ;-) Just thought you might find this tip helpful!

Speaking of which, if you have a particularly good blog directory resource you'd like to share, one which isn't already mentioned here on this blog, you're more than welcome to share it with us here in the comments section of this post. I'm sure that the bloggers who hang out here would certainly be grateful for the tips! Thanks!

And lastly, one final piece of blogging-related information. This is addressed primarily to those of you blogger pals who regularly frequent this blog, comment regularly, &/or regularly converse with me via email &/or online chat: If you happen to be Whovians & love discussing all things Whovian, please let me know in the comments section of this blog! (If you don't know what a Whovian is, then just forget that I mentioned it in the first place. ;-) ) Let's have a bit of fun to see who gets what I'm talking about: If you understand the reference, just mention the "code word" from Season 1 or 2, & I'll let you in on what this is all about. Very cryptic & mysterious, eh? ;-)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

2 Run 2, Week 4 (CT5K); Drill Sergeant, Corey, At The Ready!


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My friend & I ran again this evening. I was actually surprised she called to run, because last night we'd gone out to eat dinner & see a movie together; she still had a ton of work to do afterwards for her job & as a result, had told me she might not make our run the next evening. But she managed to get everything done in time & pulled through in the end. I was very proud of her for keeping to her commitment to herself & to our joint runs, especially since she was thoroughly exhausted from staying up the night before to complete her work (it was due first thing the next morning!).

Anyhow, the weather was beautiful - a gorgeous 75 degrees! -- & it certainly made our run a lot more pleasant.

We were both feeling a bit tired after our run, but it was a good kind of tired.

I have to say that I was rather merciless tonight & turned a deaf ear to her plea to take a break as we were nearing the end. In the nicest way possible, I told her to "suck it up" & keep going. ;-) I believe my words were something to the effect of "This is the last 5 minute interval -- The sooner we finish it, the sooner it'll be over. If you take a break now, it'll be that much longer before you finish. So let's just get it done." I just didn't want her to lose momentum, but I was also being tough because I thought she had it in her to go the extra 5 minutes. At this stage of the game, an extra 5 minutes is not that big of a deal. Really. It's such a moderate program & plus, it wasn't that long ago that she was running 20-25 consecutive minutes of running with me.

I know she's not as keen on exercise as me, & is at a slightly different stage of fitness, but she was able to do it before without any problem, so it's certainly feasible that she can do it again. I know that part of the issue is that her life revolves around work right now -- she's so very busy! -- and that certainly makes it a challenge. But I reminded her that her co-workers who exercise have similar workloads & that, not only is it possible to do this, but she's already done it before! (Last time, she'd made it all the way to Run 1, Week 7 of the program, which culminated in a 25 minute run -- the second of two 25-minute runs we'd done thus far! And there were only 2 more weeks left to the program at that point!)

Plus, I just wanted to keep running. I really hate stopping when I set my mind on finishing something, whether it be running or anything else. I mean, unless there's something seriously wrong happening which would physically prevent me from completing a run, I just want to keep going. I can't stand quitting in the middle. It just drives me batty. Of course, I've already mentioned a zillion times before that I am a person who exercises in moderation & listens to my body, but still, I'm not one to wimp out & stop for no good reason. If I can complete the run, I will. No bones about it.

Plus, on some level, I think she likes when I kick her rear into gear. ;-) It's not that we have a skewed relationship -- we treat each other as equals -- but she's mentioned that she needs someone else to push her right now. Ultimately, we each have to want to get into shape of our own individual accord -- We have to want to achieve it for ourselves more than someone else wants it for us -- but for right now, this dynamic works. And as I've mentioned before, I'm not exactly a saint or a font of motivation myself right about now. I obviously need the push out the door as much as she does. ;-) We are both thankfully to have each other for positive reinforcement!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

3 Run 1, Week 4 (CT5K): Another Beautiful Day For A Run


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Went for another run tonight with my friend. It was in the seventies. Had a good run!

To warm up our muscles, we stopped to stretch after the first few running intervals. Not much else to report.

Am going to continue the trend of keeping posts short-&-sweet. So no worries; you won't exactly be straining your eyes to read my posts over the next few weeks. ;-)

Part of the reason these posts are short is that I'm very busy & don't have time to elaborate, plus the established format of the CT5K program itself, & the fact that it's my third time through the program in under a year means that there's not quite as many revelations or new stuff to report the third time through. ;-)

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Also, just wanted to say, thanks, everybody for your recent comments. The reason I haven't responded yet is that I'm feeling a tad bit burnt out from blogging (if you can't tell from the above comments!), & need to take a break. Maintaining 4+ blogs is a lot of work! However, I would like to let it be known that I sincerely appreciate your comments & will get around to responding to them at some point. Please know that it's nothing personal. I just need to maintain my sanity. ;-)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

5 Run 2, Week 3 (CT5K): A Little Bit Extra


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My friend & I ran again tonight. It was beautiful outside!!!!!! Another utterly sublime, gorgeous day; we're just loving it! (Now if only it could stay this way for the next few weeks, & not get any hotter. Wouldn't that be fantastic?! I mean, who wouldn't want to run in 75 degrees & sunshine all year round?! Of course, knowing how hot it usually gets in this area over the summer months, we'd better enjoy this perfect weather while we still can. ;-) )

We had a good run, although it was still a little bit too easy (for me anyhow!), but we ended up running a little bit longer because we were gabbing & I didn't hear some of the interval cues. ;-) Also, my friend stopped to walk near the end but I kept going & then eventually reversed directions & loop around to meet her for the final running interval. (I would've liked to have run the entire lap all the way around the lake, but there's currently some construction blocking part of the path, so I was forced to reverse directions.)

Anyhow, that's the low-down of tonight's run in brief. This weekend, it looks like it's going to be pretty warm (& hopefully beautiful! -- Cross the fingers), so it would be the perfect time to do a solo run. Again, just thinking aloud, no promises either way. ;-)

Either way, it's onto Week 4 for us next Tuesday.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

0 OK, The Venting's Over -- It's Safe To Come Out Again! ;-)


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Hello Readers,

Happy Tax Day, everyone! Hope you all managed to get your tax returns in on time.

Maybe I should apologize for that little bit of ornery griping in those last few posts. Yikes! It's amazing how much better of a mood I'm in after today's run. ;-) Yet another reason to run.

Ever notice how everything seems much better after a run? The feel-good hormones start to kick in, & then everything's just la-de-dah fantastique. Viewing today's run in that light actually makes the before & after pictures of it all seem rather comical.

Before: Picture two stressed-out people with tense scrunched up faces & bodies, who at the outset of the day's run were preoccupied with everything but running at that particular instant. ;-)

After: Picture those same two people in oasis of relaxation & a total sense of calm. Ahhhh, much better! 8-)

Do any of you remember those comical-looking, Pepto-Bismol pink, squishable toys from the early 80's called "Nerds," which basically were big squeezie-toy heads with exaggerated features stuck to a plastic base, the most discernable features being their large nose & ears? (They still make them, I think.) Anyhow, I think I could've squeezed a hole into one of those things in the "before" stage. ;-)

2 Run 1, Week 3 (CT5K): A Quick Run


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Went running with my friend tonight; the temperature was in the low fifties. Had a good run, although the workout still felt a bit too easy. I'd love to skip ahead to the next week, but it sounds like my friend quite isn't ready to do the same. The workouts are a bit more challenging for her. So maybe if I'm feeling extra motivated, I'll go for a longer run this weekend & see how it feels. Again, not making promises here, just thinking aloud. ;-)

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I can tell my friend's also struggling with similar motivational issues when it comes to running. Thankfully, we still are able to keep each other in check & bolster the other one to get out the door, when it comes to our joint runs: When my friend & I spoke on the phone, I could tell she was looking for an out, & was probably hoping I'd cancel on her. But no such luck. She wasn't getting out of it that easily. ;-)

5 Weigh-In: The News Is Neither Here Nor There


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It's been an incredibly long time since the last time I posted any updates about my BF% or weight. So, drum roll please. (Hahahahahaha!)

No seriously, it's not that bad, & not that good either. (I'm too ashamed to post the total number of pounds gained in the last 2 months.) But let us refrain from an exercise in self-immolation. Rather, what I mean is that while I did gain weight during the hiatus period of "non-running" (i.e., the prolonged period of illness-followed-by-slacking-off), I haven't gained any additional weight after this period (i.e., now that I'm running again!). Of course, the few extra pounds I did gain during the hiatus still need to come off.

As for the BF%, that's another story altogether. ;-) I did gain a few BF% points (not sure when exactly, since there are only a scant few records to go by), but am not going to reveal the exact increase here (for the same reasons as stated above).

This is a wake-up call on many different fronts.

Also, on that note, I just want to address something that I've been thinking about lately, & there's no place better than to do it in a post where I'm putting myself out there, discussing a sensitive topic like weight & BF%. And that is this: Please remember that there's a real living, breathing person who's writing this blog, not an autobot. ;-) And this entity, while certainly being a resilient little bugger, is human & flawed, & a work-in-progress, just like you. I say this because I'm writing this blog as an honest reflection of my experiences, and this is not always going to be pretty. I'm sure there are some people out there who'd probably like it much better if I always wrote cheery little platitudes about my experiences 24/7, but I'm not going to do that. I'm not going to do that because that would be phony, & dishonest, & very unlike me. Sometimes, these experiences are going to be painful & uncomfortable, & yes, sometimes it IS going to be rockin' party & a bowl full of cherries, & sometimes it's going to be somewhere in between, but one thing it's certainly NOT going to be is dull. So there! ;-)

Also, just because I blog openly about my experiences doesn't mean that I always wish to dissect them to the nth degree. Sometimes I'm just writing about them to vent or simply to express the moment. And then I move on. My blog posts are memes, & are not necessarily permanent truths. Again, it goes back to that "work-in-progress" theme mentioned above......

And just for the record, please know that I'm only going to entertain constructive comments on this blog. (This is not said to imply that there've been any specific recent cases to the contrary; I'm just stating it to let it be known.) As the cliché goes, if you don't have anything nice to say about someone, (& at that, someone you might not even know!), best not to say it all...." I'm not putting myself out there so people can pick on me or judge me. There's no point in an exercise like that, other than to gratify an immature, insecure person's sense of schadenfreude. So please kindly put yourself in my shoes & consider how you or another person would feel or think, before you leave a comment.

I've noticed that the blogosphere can all-too-easily descend into a pit of backbiting & nastiness (Ever notice how some people seem to actually enjoy pouncing on each other like wild animals!?), & I absolutely refuse to participate in that kind of energy/drama or further its cause. That kind of behavior towards others serves no positive purpose, & won't be tolerated here.

The other phenomenon I've noticed is that the blogosphere seems to be rife with people misreading context or purposely taking things out of context. This is another behavior I'm not going to entertain here. Nothing annoys me than people who don't take the time to actually read my posts before commenting or who just take things out of context in general.

So, if you are new to this blog, please realize that everything I write here is in context with the surrounding posts. This blog is a continuous story written in several posts over a long period of time, hence the use of the word "journal" in the blog title. ;-) Please don't jump to conclusions & assume that you know me or can know what I'm all about -- all from just one post. Understand that, if you really want to get the full story of what's been going on here in this blog, then you're going to have to inevitably look at previous posts, & "Gasp!", sift through the archives.

I realize that, even after people do this, there will still be some people who still do not "get" me or understand the exact meaning of what I'm trying to express here through my writings, & that misunderstandings are bound to happen. However, I'm not writing for the people who don't "get" me; I'm writing for the ones that do. I'm not trying to win a popularity contest here; the intent is to be real & blog honestly.

Since I've taken the time & effort to blog, & am being gutsy enough to put myself out here in the blogosphere & write honestly about my experiences (under my real name!), I'd really appreciate it if people who are just dropping in could take all of the above considerations I've mentioned into account.

Now I certainly don't mind explaining general concepts relating to exercise & training -- that's what this blog is supposed to be about, in part -- but I'm not here to explain myself as a person or justify or validate my own self-expressions or experiences to others, as it can certainly be exhausting to have to continually do that! Rather, I'm here to be honest & real in recounting my experiences & share my knowledge of running with others.

The nature & structure of a blog itself sometimes makes me think that I should be appending this content to every blog post I write!!!!!!! ;-)

Monday, April 14, 2008

10 My Workout, Take Two..... ;-)


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OK, well, as you can probably surmise from the lack of a final post yesterday, that run I talked about doing just didn't happen. Yes, I'll admit it, yesterday I was all talk & no action. And I'm honestly not like the majority of the time. If I say I'm going to do something, I usually do it. I'm not a person to make idle threats or promises. I make every effort to keep my word, ("My word is my bond!"), especially with regard to promises made to others, but it's clear that I obviously need to do a better job with myself where exercise is concerned ;-)

I could start in various explanations, "It was rainy & cold & blah, blah, blah," but I know better than to do that. I'm not going to even attempt an excuse. ;-) It's all my doing & I take 100% responsibility. But who cares, because it's not about that. It's about doing the runs, or atleast getting active again on some level.

I don't want to become one of those people who always says "I will," & then never follows through. So, suffice it to say that, instead of blogging about my intentions to do things, maybe it's better that I just do them or not do them, & then blog about it after the fact. It's certainly less embarrassing & probably ends up being much more effective too! ;-)

Also, I noticed that the build-up of expectation is actually part of the problem & not part of the solution. It puts extra stress on a person, & often leads to mental immobility & a general lack of action. So, that's why I'm scaling back my expectations so much. It's a mental game at this point. If I say to myself, "Well how about if I just lace up my sneakers & go for a walk," etc., etc., there's a better chance that once I'm outside that I might say, "Hey, this feels great," & then feel like running after all. Whatever gets you out the door, eh? ;-)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

0 Please Refresh Your Feed Readers


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For those of you who read this blog via an RSS feed, I'd like to recommend that you refresh your feed readers. I've finally posted some backdated posts & have also modified a lot of content here. You'll probably want to do a refresh to see the new & modified bits of content.

For those of you who subscribe to this feed via email, you probably won't be getting these updates via email. So, you might want to just drop by the live version of the page to see what you've missed. [I use Feedburner for the email subscription service, & from what I can tell, it doesn't appear to send modified content to (email) subscribers, but I could be wrong. Those of you subscribing via email are welcome to tell me whether or not this is otherwise. Thanks!]

Just thought you might like to know......

-C

0 It's Fifty Degrees Outside......


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The author, at an elevation of 14,000 ft. Now that's cold. Not fifty degrees! ;-)

OK, since I've already posted that I'm going out for a run today (it's now on public record!), there's no backing out of it now. ;-) Since it's 4 pm & fifty degrees, I better go soon. The longer I wait to run, the colder it's going to get. Geez, I feel like such a softie after my winter "will-run-in-anything" attitude. OK, out the door, NOW! (Yes, I'm actually talking to myself outloud on my blog. Shheeeesh, it's come to that. ;-) )

Will report back after my run......

Later,
-C

3 My Return to Exercise: It's Been Anything But Ho-Hum


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I've been doing some thinking lately about my return to the CT5K program, especially about how & why it's been so different for me the second (well, actually third!) time around. I know that it's mainly due to the following factors: My motivations are different (still trying to reduce my BF%, but am more focused on the fitness aspect now), my fitness level is different (it's actually much better than when I began the CT5K program the first time around -- Yay!), & the things going on in my life are much different (i.e., much more stress!).

Oh yeah, I almost left off one tiny thing. My attitude is different this time around. Gasp! Oh, the horror! But before any of you jump to conclusions that I've suddenly developed a bad attitude (Please no tidy & pat little lectures on how attitude is everything -- Blah, blah, blah!), please understand that that's not what I mean at all, nor is it quite so simple & black & white as all that. Let me explain:

Only months before, I couldn't wait to run, & now it's much more of a mental struggle to get back into it. I'm fine once I'm running, it's just the getting out the door part that's been difficult. I guess it's just a matter of making it a regular occurrence again, to the point where I don't even have to think about it. That should only take about a month or so. ;-)

Well, I'll keep you posted on how that little battle's going. ;-) But seriously, it typically does take about a month or so to get accustomed to the introduction of new behaviors, generally speaking.

But it's not just that. Lately, I feel like my attitude is like a caged tiger -- it's fierce & unruly & headstrong; and I've got the chair & the whip (i.e., atleast the sensible part of me does, anyhow ;-) ), & am trying to beat it back into submission. ;-) And sometimes it's been a struggle to avoid just sitting in that chair (LOL!) instead of moving my rear out the door. But thankfully, it's been easier with my friend around to help keep me on track. (Right now, we are keeping each other on track, & we both know it too!) The way I see it, once I light the fires of motivation (or rather relight it!), they will burn from within & won't need any relighting from outside sources. ;-) Ultimately, I know I'm doing this for myself, & am going to have to relocate & tap into that "inner fire" at a deeper & more sustainable level. I've done it before, so there's no reason why I can't find that profound source of energy & motivation again.

But lest anyone be tempted to reprove or admonish me with a potential lecture, please realize that the motivational "challenges" I'm facing are NOT occurring because I deep down don't want to move my body or loathe exercise; that couldn't be farther from the truth. Frankly, the lack of motivation is simply due to a bad habit (i.e., my previous prolonged period of inertia) & also sometimes a bit of stress (which ironically can be alleviated through exercise!). And it's that bad habit I'm now addressing & currently working on correcting.

The good news is that every time I go out the door & run, I win points for the "bodies-in-motion-stay-in-motion" team, but that doesn't mean that my struggles are over against the "bodies-at-rest-stay-at-rest-unless-an-external-force-is-applied" team. Sheesh, that's a long name for a team. ;-) Good thing these guys don't play baseball. The scoreboard wouldn't be able to hold all the letters. LOL.

So basically, what I'm saying is that the laws of physics work both ways, & it's up to us to supply the "external force" to undo those bad habits. Like a lot of other things in our lives, if we aren't conscious of something, after a while, it usually changes from a conscious effort to a learned, knee-jerk response. And, as they say, what can be learned can also be unlearned.

Of course, our breaking with the unconscious chains of habit also has to do with our willingness to change for the better. And in doing so, we also recognize the inevitable forward motion of our lives & the world around us. Nothing rarely ever stays the same, & life doesn't just sit around & wait for a person to catch up. A person's life rarely stays in the same static spot, whether or not they are ready to move along with it! ;-) Adding to this complex motion of our lives is the fact that, while our bodies naturally change with time & also by our own efforts, our minds can only change with our own express permission.

And I think that that is precisely is my main struggle right now: My body is ready, but my mind isn't always willing to accept this "fitness mission" that I've given myself. The mind, some levels, is still putting up a fight, because it senses that there are other parts of me that, at present, feel neglected. And that imbalance is wreaking havoc with every part of my life. My sleep schedule is off, my meals are irregular, & I'm just barely getting everything done. I can intellectualize it all, but that doesn't take away from how it all feels. And frankly, it feels rather painful at times. Yes, I already know it's useless to get caught up in the emotion of it all, (especially if one were to get stuck in such a phase), but I also realize that the emotions are also a signpost telling me that I need to pay attention the reality of what's going on around me, & that it's time to change course, and soon.

And while I realize that a "less-than-perfect" attitude can certainly be another bad habit as well, in my case, it's not so much the attitude that's the issue as the sheer amount of stress I'm dealing with right now. But I can tell that the more I am a physical being, the less I have to contend with that particular issue. But I'm not holding myself up for scrutiny on that count, as that's for me alone to deal with, without outside approbation from others. Usually, if I'm in stressed or am in a bad mood, I'm sensible enough to try very hard not to subject other people to it, unless of course they either just can't take a hint or deliberately come after me & won't let it rest. Most people who are smart know when to walk away. It rarely pays to antagonize someone when they want to be left alone. We all need space from time to time to "just work it out." Most of you know what I'm talking about here. ;-)

So, in some senses, the body moves but the mind is staying still. And I don't mean that in a quiet, contemplative sense of the word, but nor do I mean to suggest that my mind isn't growing. Rather, what I mean is that, with all of the balls I'm juggling up in the air at once, the only way I can deal with it all right now is by putting certain aspects of my life on hold for the moment. I don't want to put my fitness on hold, but at the same time, my mind isn't fully engaged in the challenge like it was before. There's a part of my mind that's just frozen, & I know that I've consciously frozen it too, just so I can keep moving forward on other fronts. It's purely a survival technique. Similar to how, when a cheetah's on the hunt but has gone without food for days, its non-essential bodily functions shut down to conserve energy. ;-)

Now, throughout all of this, I'd like to remind you that I'm still getting the workouts done, but of course they aren't being done with the same drive & focus behind them as they were before. I do what's required, the basics & such (i.e., my two runs a week with my friend), but don't really have the time, the desire, or the mental energy, to do much more than that right now. I've put the lifting weights & the sit-ups on indefinite hold, atleast until other parts of my life settle down a bit. Plus, it's not helpful for me to consider ten thousand things at once right now, which would probably cause me to stagger back in horror & immobility. ;-) LOL! I prefer to think of it this way: I'm reallocating my mental energy to where it is most useful right now. This is not a rationalization; it's the reality of my life. I'm doing what I can, ...without dropping all of the other balls I'm juggling. ;-)

Well, OK then..... ;-)

Also adding to the "running reentry" challenge is the fact that the newness & novelty of the CT5K program has clearly worn off by this point. Well, what can I say? Repeating the experiences of running the CT5K program & listening Robert Ullrey's CT5K podcast, both for the third time around, is less... er, well, interesting. Yes, the thrill has gone. I know that might sound jaded to some, but it's the truth.

And, as I've always maintained that I'm going to tell the truth & be true to my experiences here, I'd be a liar if I said otherwise. So, what'd'ya gonna do about it, huh?! ;-)

Maybe there are some other (free!) CT5K podcasts out there to keep the routine fresh, but so far I've yet to find any which are specifically tailored to the program's exact training intervals. (And I don't have the time or the interest right now to make one myself!)

While I'm making my dream wishlists here, let me add that I would certainly like to have the shortened & less blabby versions of the original podcasts right about now. (Sorry, Robert, but it's true.) I do appreciate Robert's efforts in creating the CT5K podcasts, although it'd certainly be great to have a version in which he didn't announce that we are supposed to run shortly, but then ramble on about it for a minute or two more before giving us the cue to start running. Arrrrrgh! Sometimes it's takes him forever to get around to just saying, "Ready, go!"

For heaven's sake, we're expecting to run next, so don't set us up for it & then make us wait around for it, Robert! ;-) Most of us who are in the beginning stages of a running program need to mentally prepare for the running interval itself before it starts & we're relying on you, Robert, to confidently & accurately take us to this point!

And frankly, sometimes we don't even always get the "Ready, go!" cue to indicate that we're supposed to begin running. Sometimes he just starts saying stuff like "OK, well, it's time to run again," without following it with the expected verbal cue of "Ready, go!" This is especially inconsistent, unsettling, & confusing to listen to while you're running, because he began his initial podcasts by setting up the precedent of giving you both verbal cues -- i.e., the heads-up cue & the "start-running" cue. Try following along with the podcasts for several weeks, & you'll see what I mean. ;-) While the podcasts are certainly very useful as a whole, our CT5K podcast hero could've done a much better job setting up consistent verbal cues. 'Cause it's just not right to be messin' with our expectations like that. ;-)

I mean, I basically get WHEN I'm supposed to run most times, but when I'm gabbing with my friend & have got the podcast in one ear, it can be rather annoying, as I have to then tune back into the podcast to hear some rather uneven & softly-spoken cues, which aren't always straightforward & obvious. And well, OK, I'll admit that sometimes I'm just not that interested in paying attention to the various verbal cues on the podcast, as I've heard it all like, 500 times before. ;-)

It'd be great if he could just ring a bell (or how about a gong! Hahahahaha!) in his podcasts every time we were supposed to start running. Now why didn't he just think of something easy & straightforward like that?! ;-)

It's inevitable that if you listen to the same podcasts over & over again, they are going to get boring after a while. OK, there, I said it. If you listened to the same music & the same dude over & over again, I bet you'd find you'd get bored out of your gourd too. And most people would have even far less patience than I've shown.

Just think about how many times I've used the same podcast by now. That'd be three (3) times now, people, in less than a year. Count 'em. Three. There's once back in Summer 2007 when I first ran the program, another time later in that same year when I ran it again to help my friend, & yet another time with the same friend, as we're both starting the program from scratch, after several-week hiatus from running. Ugh.

Anyhow, I'm trying really hard not to get an attitude about this (yes, it is wise to accept what we cannot change & move on), but at the moment, am probably not succeeding in that endeavor. (It's called venting for a reason, people!!!!!! OK, deep breath. Sigh. OK, much better now. Anyhow, as I was saying.....)

The good thing is that I am actually enjoying the running itself, even though I wish that I could just fast-forward to the more interesting part where we're running for a consecutive period of time. But as a mature adult, I'd like to think that I've cultivated some measure of patience, so I'm holding back my horses & reminding myself that a person can't walk before they can run. Patience is a virtue, & all of that good stuff. Yeah, yeah. Lord help me, as I trudge through the podcast once more. Heheheheheh.

OK, well now that I've shed some light on all of the current challenges I face, there's nothing else left to do but face them. Not all at once of course, but gradually taking them on, one by one. That's the whole point of this little venting exercise -- to see what's going on by putting it all out there, & thus get some necessary distance from it (& release its hold on the mind!), & then of course, get down to the business of doing.

And on that note, I think I'll go out for a run. Hopefully I won't need a crane & a pitchfork to get me out the door. ;-)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

0 Run 2, Week 2 (CT5K): Couldn't Have Asked For Nicer Running Weather


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Did my second run of the week with my friend tonight. The weather was absolutely gorgeous. The kind I would've given my eyeteeth for during those earlier "character-building" winter runs. ;-) There was a slight breeze in the air, & it just couldn't have been more lovely & perfect.

Beauty abounded everywhere: There were flowers & flowering trees in bloom all around us. It was just pure joy being outside today. I don't know exactly what it is about that lake, but I swear that the cherry blossom canopies overhead felt like our own personal protectresses, giving us this pleasant feeling of comfort & ease. All of the bright, light, & happy sounds & colors really began to rub off on us as we began our warm-up walk. At several points during our run, both of us kept exclaiming how beautiful everything was around us as we ran around the lake. I found myself sighing a few times in expressions of pure bliss! It was sublime! I felt like shouting, "Spring is here! Spring is here!"

(I know all of this probably sounds really corny & sappy, but I don't care, as all of it is a genuine expression of how it felt to be outside today.)

And from the looks of it, everyone else around us was feeling the happy effects of Spring too. ;-) Man, was it crowded! People really were out & about around the lake, with entire families & groups of teenagers just milling about. Children were running (& sometimes screaming!), heading in various random directions -- Up to their usual antics. ;-)

Both of us marvelled at the sheer number of people around us. While the lake was packed with people strolling around it, the number of people running was surprisingly few. I mean, who wouldn't want to be running outside today in weather like this?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

0 Run 1, Week 2 (CT5K): Another Run In The Bag


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It was a rather chilly run tonight. My friend & I continued on with our joint CT5K running program. Another run down. More to go.

Looking forward to getting back into shape!

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As you may've noticed, I've decided to keep the latest batch of posts (about my CT5K runs) rather short.

And here's the reason why: Right now, I'm focusing on being practical about my time & maintaining accountability for my running via my running reports on this blog. Also, am trying to reduce the number of distractions in my life & get back to a point in my life where my daily schedule was a bit simpler. Have been doing a lot of writing & consulting over the past few weeks, & my sleep schedule & everything else has really been off-kilter. So am also trying to get my life back into balance too!

So, the point is to get these posts done & out of the way, just like my runs! ;-)

I know that doesn't sound very good, but frankly, it's being done to save time & lower the barrier of resistance to both running & blogging about running, as I haven't done much of either over the past few months! ;-)

So, for now, I'm going to keep things short & sweet, & try to post more regularly.

And, in case you were wondering: Yes, that sudden & unusual appearance of posts with older dates wasn't due to a problem with your feed readers. That little blast of backdated blogging was actually done today, by yours truly. ;-)

Yes, I'd JUST gotten around to posting almost 2 weeks of running. Disgraceful, I know.

But as I promised that I'd blog after every run, I felt it necessary to still post those old things, even far after the actual dates of the runs had passed. What can I say. Life gets busy sometimes. Stuff happens. And life goes on. ;-)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

0 Run 2, Week 1 (CT5K): Maybe A Bit Too Easy.....


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Well my friend & I went running again tonight. That makes 2 runs in one week, after a long period of non-running. Felt good to be running again, but honestly, the run itself felt far too easy. My friend thought so too, so we've decided to skip ahead to Week 2 for next week's runs. (We'd be there anyway next week, regardless of whether or not we do the third & final run of the week -- i.e., the weekend run -- on our own.)

The soreness in my right hip muscle is of course gone by now & thankfully hasn't returned after this most recent run. Other than that, not too much to report. Hope you're all having a good week of running &/or whatever else you've been up to lately! Later, dudes & dudettes. ;-)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

2 Run 1, Week 1 (CT5K): Starting Over Again (Or, CT5K, Take Two! Action!)


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Extremely short post today: Ran around 6:30 pm. Did my "first" CT5K workout with my usual running buddy. Was around 72 degrees. Perfect weather for a run!

Took vitamins & glucosamine chondroitin beforehand. After the run, noticed the return of a slight soreness in my right hip muscle, but think it was due to me being out-of-shape & also to my posture during my run; I kept turning toward my friend to talk to her, (she likes to run on the left side ;-) ), & had to keep shifting my body to a slightly contorted & off-balance position as a result. You think it'd be my left side that'd be bothering me or that my neck would also be sore (!), but that wasn't the case. Only my right hip muscle was affected. Very weird.

Having only one earpiece in my right ear so I can hear the CT5K podcasts (& all the while keeping my left ear free to hear my friend), isn't helping my balance & body position much either. (A person's ears actually have a lot to do with their balance!) It's very disorienting listening to my friend in one ear & the podcast in another. Can't wait until she & I get to the 30 minutes of consecutive running, so I don't have to use it anymore. It's fine to use when I'm solo, but since she's not listening to the podcast herself & is relying on me to get her interval cues, it's a bit challenging to have such a divided focus.

I do like running (& chatting!) with her, so I'm going to make a concerted effort to work past this little barrier for the next several weeks. The 30 minute runs can't come fast enough! (However, I know my friend probably won't agree with that. ;-) )

1 Who-hoooo! It's Going To Be 72 Degrees!!!!!!


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OK, I'm getting excited to run tonight. It's supposed to be an incredible 72 degrees outside!!!!!

I swear, if it wasn't for my run with my buddy tonight, that I might be out there right this moment running. Well, maybe I'll just poke my head out outside for a bit..... ;-)

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