Sunday, June 29, 2008

1 A Fun Weekend Filled With Lots of Activity!


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This was weekend was great! I just came back from my hometown, where I attended the town's Fourth of July parade & my 20th high school reunion the previous afternoon & evening (respectively). It was a total blast.

It was really fun catching up with so many of my classmates at the reunion. Over half of out class showed up! Everyone was hugging everyone, laughing, & most people seemed to be having a really good time. In fact, we were having so much fun that they had to kick us out of the first facility (LOL!), & then we all headed over to a local pub to continue the fun there. At 1:30 am, the party was still going strong, & again, they had to flicker the lights several times to move us out! ;-)

To my total amazement, lots of my classmates told me they were reading my blogs & had also visited my online stores. Wow, that totally blew me away. The nice thing is that I didn't have to say much about what I was up to, because most of them already knew from reading my blogs! ;-)

However, it didn't save my vocal cords, because I spent most of the evening
asking people how & what they were doing, & exchanging hilarious stories & memories with friends. By the end of the night, I could barely speak, even after several glasses of water! ;-)

The next morning (i.e., this morning!) around 8:30 am, my sister & I went for a short walk (which lasted about a 1/2 hour or so). It was slightly overcast, but very pleasant. Since the weekend was a very short visit (we got in very late on Friday night & had to leave by the early afternoon today), it was nice to have the time to spend together with my sister. We had a lot of fun on our walk, & coincidentally, waved hello to some family friends of ours who were running on the opposite side of the road, whom we'd seen downtown at the Fourth of July parade just the previous afternoon! ;-)




Speaking of which, our town's Fourth of July parade is a fairly big spectacle, & is usually held a few days before Independence Day. People come from all over to see, & also be in, the parade. The last time I'd been to the town's Fourth of July parade was when I was a little girl. It's gotten a lot bigger since then, & is a truly fantastic event!




This year, the parade started off with a roaring B-25 bomber flying directly over the parade route; the plane flew so low that there was only a few feet between the tops of the buildings & the plane! There were marching bands from all over, fire trucks & police cars, parade floats & cars containing veterans, representatives from Congress & other political offices, & people from various organizations in the community. Of course, we knew a lot of people from the community who were in the parade, so it was great fun waving to everyone!



There were several people in the parade throwing candy & pennies, & of course little kids scrambling everywhere to collect it. By the parade's end, there were kids walking around with gigantic bags of "booty," stuffed to the hilt with almost every kind of candy imaginable. (That's a lot of post-parade hyperactivity. One can only imagine the fallout. Those poor parents! ;-) ) Even when it started to rain midway through the parade, that didn't stop the kids from unabashedly going after their precious candy as it was floating "down river"! One kid even squeezed the water out of the treats he'd scooped out the water & then put a few of them right in his mouth! (Yikes! I wonder where his parents were at that moment!)



My sister & I snapped lots of pictures of the parade; I'm going to post mine on Flickr soon....

Anyhow, it was a great weekend. It was truly enjoyable to spend time reconnecting with family & friends!

Friday, June 27, 2008

0 Run 2, Week 3 (BOHR): Running Fast,Then Not So Fast! ;-)


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Stats:

Start Time: 8:27 am (5-minute warm-up walk began at 8:21 am)
Temperature: 77 degrees (Fahrenheit) (With the humidity, it felt more like 87!)
Humidity: 63% (Yikes!)
Distance: 2.96 mi (4 laps around lake)
Time: 33:30 min
Pace: 11:19 minute-mile

Really got to get to work, so this post is going to be a quickie. I did the first two laps in about 15:48 min or so, or a 10:40:32 minute mile, stopped for about a minute or two to stretch, then kind of bit it in the heat on the last two laps. (I really have to start running earlier; otherwise, I'm going to turn into a dried husk!)

So by the powers of deduction, that means that I did the final two laps in 17:42 minutes, or about a 11:57:34 minute-mile. Yikes!

(Yes, I keep forgetting to hit the "lap" button on my stopwatch. ;-) )

At about three-quarters through lap 3, I became very dehydrated, & out of desperation for water, dipped my hands in the fountain & then also asked the gardeners to spray me as they were watering the flower beds. Hey, it was really hot & humid, OK?!

OK, got to hop in the shower & get to work pronto! Bye!

Hope you all have a nice weekend!

-C

Thursday, June 26, 2008

1 New Goal-Setting Metrics: Numbers, Graphs, & Pie-Charts, Oh My!


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In case you haven't noticed, I'm beginning to use metrics more & more. I might have to eat my words regarding an earlier claim of disliking numerical precision, because I'm finding the numbers to be so very useful in gauging/tracking my progress, that I can no longer deny their importance, especially now that I've adopted a different (i.e., a kinder, gentler, & less obsessive!) attitude towards them. Yes, as hard as it is for me to admit it, my numerical data & I have now become "happy companions." ;-)

Anyhow, one particular metric I like is the "percent to goal" figure. So much so, in fact, that I've decided to use it to track all of my quantifiable goals. In fact, I'll now be deferring to the numbers in a big way, & will primarily list my goals in terms of numerical data (number of weeks, percent to goal, etc.).

I actually like math a lot, (I never said or meant to imply that I didn't!), although I still could care less about calculating certain facts & figures -- Frankly, I don't give two hoots about how many kilowatts, amperes, or joules are being conducted through various pieces of electronic equipment, unless it directly impacts something relevant or important that I care about! ;-) I'm not some dweeb that dwells on insignificant, numerical "minutia." If I'm going to talk numbers in this blog, it's going to be in direct correlation to a salient, real-world application, thank you very much.

[OK, I do have to admit that I love the math behind theoretical physics, but then again, there's a point to it all. It's not being done as some useless pissing contest (i.e., "My hard drive is bigger than your hard drive," etc., etc.) to make oneself feel important. Ahem, not that I'm referring to any specific gender or profession, or of course, claim to have witnessed any conversations like this before in my life. -- LOL. But back to the subject....]

So, from now on, I vow to reform my ways: Instead of writing those big, long, (& yes, overblown!) analyses of my progress in various areas, I'm going to begin charting my progress numerically, & then simply just analyze the data.

As the saying goes, "The numbers rarely lie."

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So, for example, from now on, this is how I'll now chart my goals & progress:

SHORT-TERM GOALS (6/07/08-/17/08):

As of 6/26/08:

FITNESS:
(1) BOHR: 30 total workouts (in 10 wks.). 7 out of 30 workouts completed, or 23.3% to goal.
(2)
HPTP: 18 total workouts (in 6 wks.). 3 out of 18 workouts completed, or 16.7% to goal.

WEIGHT LOSS:
(1) 15 lbs. total to lose by 8/17/08, or 5 lbs. each month. Lost 1.8 lbs out of a total of 15, or 12% to goal.
(2) 10% BF to lose by 8/17/08. Lost 1.9% out of a possible 10% total, or 19% to goal.

GOAL SCHEDULE/TIMELINE:
At the current rate of completion, I'm on schedule for all of the above goals [target completion date (8/17/08)].


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So there it is: Simple, short, & sweet. Sometimes brevity can be a beautiful thing.

0 D3W1 (HPC): On A Roll!


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OK, I just did Day 3 of Week 1 of the Hundred Pushups Challenge (HPC). I really wanted to get them out of the way before the weekend, seeing as how I'm planning to run really early in the morning on Saturday, & will be busy for most of the weekend.

Day 3 is supposed to be 4, 8, & 10 pushups, although I ended up doing 5, 8, & 10 (girl-style) pushups. OK, so it's only one more pushup than the required amount, but atleast I should get some credit for putting in the extra effort & doing more than the requisite amount for each pushup workout this week.

Once again, my arms didn't start to fatigue until about pushup #8 of the last set. I think I'm on a roll.....

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

7 Weigh-In: The Downward Trend Continues


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As usual, I hopped on the scale after my run. I'm down another pound & have also lost another 0.8% body fat. My goal is to whittle off atleast a percentage point of body fat per week over the next few weeks. If I keep putting the same level of effort into my runs, I think I can definitely accomplish that goal.

Assessing my weight loss & BF% goals in more specific & finite terms, I'm currently 12% to goal in my weight loss goal (i.e., as of 6/15/08, I've lost a total of 1.8 lbs. thus far out, of a possible 15 lbs.), & 19% to goal in my BF% loss goal (i.e., as of 6/15/08, I've lost a total of 1.9 BF% thus far, out of a possible 10%). Considering that 6/15/08 is only 10 days ago, or a week & a half ago, I'd say that I'm doing fairly well so far. Of course, I've still got my work cut out for me, especially if I want to reach these goals by 8/17/08. Or put another way, if I'm to reach my goals, I've got 13.8 lbs & 8.1 BF% points more to lose over the next 8 weeks.

I think I can, I think I can. I know I can, I know I can!

Classification Women (% fat) Men (% fat)
Essential Fat 10-12% 2-4%
Athletes 14-20% 6-13%
Fitness 21-24% 14-17%
Acceptable 25-31% 18-25%
Obese 32% plus 25% plus

0 D2W1 (HPC): Just Getting 'Em Done!


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OK, I just did Day 2 of Week 1 of the Hundred Pushups Challenge (HPC). Day 2 is supposed to be 2, 6, & 10 pushups, although I ended up doing 5, 6, & 10 (girl-style) pushups. Check! (✓)

My arms didn't start to fatigue until about pushup #8 of the last set. Well, let's see how tomorrow feels. ;-)

0 Run 1, Week 3 (BOHR): A Fast, Cool Evening Run


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Stats:

Start Time: 8:29 pm (11-minute warm-up walk began at 8:18 pm)
Temperature: 77 degrees (Fahrenheit)
Humidity: 43%
Distance: 2.96 mi (4 laps around lake)
Time: 31:54 min
Pace: 10:46:37 minute-mile

Well, today was my fastest pace yet this year (since 1/8/08, when I ran 2.96 miles in 32:31, or a 10:59 minute-mile pace). Who-hoooo!

Now, I am continuing to stretch for a minutes after the 2 lap marker (& also pause my stopwatch), which does allow for some recovery time, but still I'll take that new record! ;-)

Of course, the true test will be when I don't stop midway to stretch.

My current progress makes me really hopeful that I can keep whittling down my time even further. I can't wait until I crack 10:30 minute miles!

What I'd really love to do is to run 9-minute miles. And then run 26.2 of them. LOL. OK, one step at a time. ;-)

Now it's time for pushups......

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

0 Thank You!


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I have to say that it's been really wonderful to have such an extraordinary kinship with so many of you who frequent this blog on a regular basis. Since the inception of this blog almost a year ago, we've had some fantastic ongoing conversations about fitness, health, running, & life in general -- And it's been great hearing about all of your goals, hopes, & dreams!

Thank you for your comments, support, & friendship, & for so generously sharing your ideas, tips, & resources with all of us!

6 D1W1 (HPC): My Cat Thinks He's My Personal Trainer! ;-)


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This morning, first thing after popping out of bed, I did Day 1 of Week 1 of the Hundred Pushups Challenge (HPC). (Yes, I love making up abbreviations!)

Day 1 is supposed to be 2, 5, & 8 pushups, although I ended up doing 5, 5, & 8 (girl-style) pushups. (The plan allows up to 5 pushups for the first set/interval, so I decided to do them. After all, it was only 3 more pushups & I knew I could easily complete them.)

I have to say that the first day felt almost a bit too easy, but I know that I better appreciate today's workout, because from everything my runner-blogger pals are telling me (especially Eric G., Andrew, & Cymrusteve, etc.), it's going to get a lot harder from here on out! ;-)

One amusing little aside: When I was doing my pushups this morning, my Balinese cat, Java, decided that this would be a great time to rub up against my arms, right around the elbows! He started doing this during the last two interval sets, & it certainly made it more challenging to keep a good pushup formation. ;-) Thanks, Java, for adding in the extra challenge. ;-)

Java has also become Erik's morning stretching buddy too. ;-) It's rather hilarious to see them stretching on the floor together. Erik will lie down & stretch out on the floor, & Java mirrors him by rolling over on his back and stretching out his entire body. Of course, the only difference is that Erik goes out & runs afterward, while Java goes off to his usual corner & sleeps! ;-)

This behavior reminds me of Castaway's post (from earlier this year) about how, during his yoga workout, his dog would meet his "downward facing dog" with an "upward facing dog" & would then sniff his face! ;-)

It seems that chimps & humans aren't the only ones in the animal kingdom who mirror each other. ;-)


Our Balinese cat & "exercise buddy," Java, in one of his various "stretching" formations.

Java really seems to enjoy hanging out with both Erik & I whenever we do any sort of warm-ups or exercises around the house. He obviously wants to feel included & likes to be part of whatever's going on -- whatever the activity (!), & will often try to "help" or "participate," albeit in his own particular fashion.

Java's "sister," Cleo -- a traditional "applehead" Siamese -- will sometimes hang out from a safe distance (usually from underneath a piece of furniture!) & watch us stretch & workout, but unlike her "brother," she'll never join in. ;-) However, like a typical Siamese, she'll chime in every now & then to let us know what she thinks!


Our cat Cleo, just being her cute little self. Due to the multiple vocal "intonations" of her "conversational" style, Erik has dubbed her "three-tone Cle-tone." ;-)

Monday, June 23, 2008

1 RunningMap.com


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My sister recently discovered the site, RunningMap.com & mentioned it me, so I thought I'd likewise pass along the resource to all of you.

I was curious to see how the route mapping features differed from the existing site that I use, RunningAHEAD.com. After walking through the site's tutorial, I noticed that the mapping features are a tad bit more intuitive, with the added bonus that you can add pictures & notes to your route, & also print the map after you're done. You can also search against other people's routes for running route suggestions. Also, it appears that the routes you add are publicly accessible by default unless you register & login, & then select/toggle the "private" option.

So are any of you currently using this site? If so, what do you think of it?

0 Run 3, Week 2 (BOHR): Getting Faster!


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Stats:

Start Time: 8:22 am (5 1/2-minute warm-up walk began at 8:17 am)
Temperature: 70 degrees (Fahrenheit)
Humidity: 77%
Distance: 2.96 mi (4 laps around lake)
Time: 32:36 min (approximate time; I didn't stop the timer until about 8 seconds after finishing the run)
Pace: 11:00:48 minute-mile

This weekend's race has done wonders for my running confidence. I might have started out grumbling & feeling badly about myself, but nonetheless, ended up surprising myself with my race pace & then feeling pretty good about myself & my performance. By performance, I not only mean my pace data & other such metrics, but also the accomplishment of running/completing my first "real" race in a long time!) And that had a waterfall effect on my run this morning; I decided that, now that I knew I was capable of running faster, that I was going to really go for it today!

And, with that outlook, what a surprise, I ran faster! ;-) This is a positive example of an inner realization becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. Maybe I should try to have more of those. ;-)

I'm also noticing that my body is looking leaner, especially my legs. And this obvservation has only been over the last two weeks. Wow. If ever a person wanted to believe in the awesome transformative powers of running, all you have to do is look at me. I am living, walking (er, running!) proof of what running can do for a person. Of course, it's not all about the "magical wonders." It doesn't happen by itself: It's me who's actively putting in the effort & dedication. And it's about being passionate about doing something that I love.

Of course, the transformation isn't just physical or superficial. There's lots going on on the inside as well. And that's just as important.

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On a completely different subject, I'm beginning to recognize several "familiar strangers" around the lake during my morning runs. There are several middle-aged & elderly men & women, some who walk together & others who walk alone, whom I've seen several times around the lake. Then, there's also a young guy who always seems to be walking around the lake with his daughter. There's also a handful of men & women around my age or slightly older, who regularly run around the lake.

We've begun to smile at each other with that easy & relaxed kind of recognition that comes with the territory of "familiar stranger."

Today, I took it a bit further with some small pleasantries. I exchanged "Good mornings" with a middle-aged couple walking around the lake, whom I've pretty much seen every morning I've run there.

Then there's a bearded fellow with somewhat wild, curly brown hair with specks of grey -- I estimate he's probably in his late 40's to mid-50's -- who regularly runs around the lake. Wow, is he in good shape! He runs several laps at a fairly good clip. Of course, he laps me several times! ;-) Today he tossed off his shirt half-way through his run -- there were muscles everywhere! -- and I have to say that if I look that good at his age, I will be very happy indeed. ;-) He usually runs alone, but today was running with a new running partner, a much younger fellow who was tall & thin. Today, I made a point of smiling & saying "Hello" & "Good morning" to both of them, to which they replied in kind. On my next pass-by, I ran past the new fellow, who'd stopped to walk, & was looking exhausted & a tad bit discouraged. I cheered him on with a "You can do it!" to which he replied, "It's my first day running." And I said, "That's OK, just take it at your own pace." The third time around I passed the bearded fellow, & asked him, "What happened to your running buddy?" His rather vehement reply was, "He pooped out!" Apparently, his much younger buddy never resumed running after I'd passed him on the end of first lap or so. Judging by the facial expression of the bearded runner upon his response to that question, it doesn't seem likely that I'll be seeing the two of them running around the lake together in future! ;-) (In all fairness, it's a tad bit unrealistic to expect a brand new runner to keep pace with a seasoned one, whatever the age difference might be!)

I also said hello to a "new" lady running with her daughters, who didn't reply. She looked very preoccupied with keeping her brood together, so I don't think she even heard me. I didn't take it personally; if I see her there again, I'll probably give her another chance & extend the courtesy again. She gets one more chance to redeem herself. ;-) If she doesn't say anything a second time, then I'm not going to bother.

(OK, don't get me wrong, I'm not necessarily going to start saying hello to complete strangers in the City -- The significance of the "Don't-talk-to-strangers" refrain that we learn from our parents as small children is still generally considered to be good advice & is an excellent protective measure! However, I'm just going to test the waters with the "familiar strangers" crowd, as a little social experiment, & see how it goes. ;-) )

Even though I'm a city dweller & am used to people being unfriendly & not saying hello (i.e., in the City, people usually think you're a nut job if you say "hello" & they don't know you), I figure that I'd start a new trend & actually try smiling at people and sprinkling in a "hello" or "good morning" here & there, if only to exchange some basic pleasantries with some of those familiar faces around the lake. ;-) It's certainly would be a nice change from the usual act that the majority of people here generally follow, intentionally ignoring each other in complete numb silence. People are so Pavlovian about the disconnection; it's weird how over time, we become entirely inured to other people. The learned response eventually becomes an ingrained one, supplanting the original, natural response, & it actually becomes more of a typical response not to respond to people. But again, this response is learned. What can be learned can, of course, also be unlearned.

Exchanging pleasantries often seems to be a lost art amongst city dwellers. Unfortunately, rudeness & lack of acknowledgment or caring about others, even amongst city dwellers who know each other(!), seems to be more of the order of the day. If you acted that way in a small town or in a community where people know you, you'd be an instant outcast. But here, it seems to be normal, which is rather sad, if you ask me. I don't know about you, but I can't exist in a space where I feel ignored, insignificant, disrespected, or where people don't give two you-know-whats about anyone else other than themselves. I've been a city-dweller for many years, but that doesn't change the fact that I don't like cold environments. Wherever I am, I always manage to find other like-minded people -- friendly, warm, considerate people, i.e., people who give a crap! It really annoys me when people think it's "OK" to be uncivil & less than human.

I don't mind being the first one to break the mold & say hello or smile. People generally like to be smiled at & acknowledged; even the grumpy ones will often perk up when you smile at them. Think of how you felt when someone smiled at you, for no reason at all. Did you somehow feel better, just from that simple interaction? I bet it visibly improved your temperament. Of course, the converse of this is that no one likes to extend a pleasantry & not get any sort of response, but I figure that, in this particular case -- i.e., the "familiar stranger" scenario -- it was worth risking it. ;-)

Ever seen the movie, Pay It Forward? Being the first to smile & say "hello" is just a start, but you'd be surprised how powerful a simple gesture like this can be.

Do me a favor. Just try it. Smile at just one person today, & see what happens. See, just by doing something small like smiling at someone, you can have a positive effect on people!

No, I haven't suddenly morphed into some kind of cornball. But seriously, we often forget that something as simple as a smile can inject a bit more positivity & happiness into the world. And we all could certainly use more of that kind of energy.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

0 Updated Race Report: Run For The Roses 5K


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Hi All,
Just letting you know that I've since updated significant portions of my original Run For The Roses 5K race report, so please refresh your browsers & feedreaders. Or, if you subscribe via email, please visit this link to read the latest version of the post. Thanks! Have a great morning!
-C

0 Weigh-In: Down, Down, Down We Go! ;-)


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Yea! I'm down 0.8 lbs, & 1.1% body fat. OK, so I couldn't help weighing myself after the race to see if there was even more good news after yesterday's surprisingly decent finishing time. ;-)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

1 Race Day Photos: Run For The Roses 5K


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Yep, that's me on the left in the yellow singlet & black knee-length tights, looking down at the ground, intently focused on running. As you can tell, it was a very bright & sunny day out. Beautiful, in fact.

Erik took the photos, so don't ask me at which point of the race this was. I was just running the thing. ;-) Of course, he could tell you much better than I could.

This picture was taken far enough away that I'm OK with posting it. ;-)



Yes, the picture is blurry, but of course, again, that's actually a good thing, considering that I'm a bit camera shy. ;-) I think this picture was taken somewhere between mile 2 & 3. Or maybe I was approaching the finish line at this point. I have no idea. Ask Erik.

At any rate, it was definitely taken sometime during the final stretch of the race.....

OK, that's all the photos I feel like sharing. I wish there were more pictures of the course itself, because it was really scenic & beautiful! Next time, I think I'll ask Erik to take photos of the course & the grounds, & not just of the race itself..... ;-)

Yes, I think there'll be a next time for this race. I want to come back next year & do MUCH better. Next year, I'd like to shoot for a sub-30 minute finish for this race, if at all possible. I think that'll be my next long-term goal for the 5K distance. I'd love to run 9-minute miles, or even 8's, but right now I'd certainly take 10's! A 9-minute mile (for every mile!) would certainly be something to shoot for in the future......

0 Race Results: Run For The Roses 5K


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OK, I just got back home for my lunch break, & Erik told me that the official race results are now in. So, here they are:

Race Results: MCRRC Run for Roses 5K

[I see that there were actually slightly more runners than I originally guestimated -- 339 runners, to be exact -- in this race, & that the 9 year-old actually finished in 25:45, which is still pretty darned good! I finished 190th out of 339 runners overall (i.e., in the 56th percentile) & 29th out of 52 total runners in my age category (i.e., also in the 56th percentile). (Eek, now you know my age!)]

My personal stats are as follows:

Place Div/Tot  Num   Name          S  Net T  Gun T  Pace
190 29/52 142 Corey Irwin F 32:08 32:11 10:22

3 Initial Test (HPC): 20 Girl-Style Push-Ups -- It's A Start!


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I almost forgot to mention: Right after I got home from the race, I did 20 girl-style push-ups to verify that I really can do them, in preparation for the Hundred Pushups Challenge (HPC) strength-training plan. (Before I stated that I probably could do them; now, I had to test the theory to prove it was really true! ;-) )

The 20 pushups were part of the initial test portion, to gauge at what point in the plan I'll be starting. Depending on how many you can do, you'll do different push-up interval plans.

Now I have it on good authority from Cymrusteve that it's perfectly OK to do the girl-style pushups, so that's what I'll be doing. I could barely eek out 3 regular-style pushups, so that's certainly welcome news! ;-)

So, based on the initial test, it looks like I'm ranked a Level 3 (out of 7 levels), & accordingly, will be following the Level 3 plan, which is as follows:

Week 1:
Day 1: 2, 5, 8 (rest 60 seconds between each level, longer if required)
Day 2: 2, 6, 10 (rest 90 seconds between each level, longer if required)
Day 3: 4, 8, 10 (rest 120 seconds between each level, longer if required)

Week 2:
Day 1: 3, 6, 9 (rest 60 seconds between each level, longer if required)
Day 2: 3, 7, 11 (rest 90 seconds between each level, longer if required)
Day 3: 4, 8, 12 (rest 120 seconds between each level, longer if required)

Week 3:
Day 1: 12, 15, 17 (rest 60 seconds between each level, longer if required)
Day 2: 14, 17, 19 (rest 90 seconds between each level, longer if required)
Day 3: 15, 19, 22 (rest 120 seconds between each level, longer if required)

Week 4:
Day 1: 13, 16, 20 (rest 60 seconds between each level, longer if required)
Day 2: 14, 17, 21 (rest 90 seconds between each level, longer if required)
Day 3: 15, 19, 22 (rest 120 seconds between each level, longer if required)

Week 5:
Day 1: 22, 25, 30 (rest 60 seconds between each level, longer if required)
Day 2: 14, 16, 18 (rest 45 seconds between each level, longer if required)
Day 3: 12, 14, 16 (rest 30 seconds between each level, longer if required)

Week 6:
Day 1: 32, 36, 42 (rest 60 seconds between each level, longer if required)
Day 2: 20, 22, 25 (rest 45 seconds between each level, longer if required)
Day 3: 17, 20, 23 (rest 30 seconds between each level, longer if required)

1 Race Report: Run For The Roses 5K [Run 2, Week 2 (BOHR)]


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I don't have much time this morning to blog about the race, (I have to go to work in a few hours), so I'm just going to briefly summarize my observations & impressions of the race. Maybe I'll add more detail later. Or not. ;-)

Although the official results for Run for the Roses 5K have yet to be posted, (or atleast the last time I checked, which was at 10:14 am this morning), I more or less remember my finishing time & splits. I finished the race in 32:08, or a 10:21:56 minute-mile pace. My splits were as follows: Mile 1 = 9:14, Mile 2 = 20:46 (?), and Mile 3 = 32:08. Considering that I've been running well over an 11-minute mile during the last few weeks, it's a respectable finishing time.

This race is part of the women's distance running festival & is a USATF sanctioned race. There were about 200+ runners or so, (or maybe more?!), & the winner finished in about 19 minutes or so. There was a nine year-old girl who finished in a little over 20 minutes. Or that's what Erik had told me after the race.

But here's what I remember about the race, from start to finish:

When we first pulled into the parking lot this morning, it was a bit after 7:40 am, & still needed to stretch & grab my race packet. Erik & I walked out of the lot, towards the registration area, & then I ran around on the grass to loosen up. During this time, there was a lady with a bullhorn shouting out various bits of information about the race, including a request for someone to move their car!

Erik had the digital camera with him, & snapped a few pre-race pictures for posterity's sake. And then I walked to the registration table & got my race number.

I was hoping against hope that I'd be allowed to run with my iPod, but of course one of the race volunteers at the registration table quickly dashed those hopes when she told me I wasn't allowed to use it, because it could be dangerous to both other runners & myself. I guess I more or less expected to hear this, (as this is the typical road race policy), but was hopeful anyhow, as the music often helps to keep my energy & spirits high! ;-)

The realization that I couldn't use music as a natural stimulant wasn't that big of a deal to me, as I've run without music before. The fact that it was going to be a short race was actually somewhat comforting & a fairly big mental boost. Plus, I knew that based on past racing performances, that I could rely on myself to keep going & gut it out at the end. That wasn't really the issue.

However, about 10 minutes before the race, I began to get slightly nervous (in a slow, percolating, just-underneath-the-surface kind of way) & -- OK, I'll admit it -- began to have some rather unproductive thoughts & feelings about the race & my racing abilities.

It all began when I started to look around at the other runners. I sort of got a bit psyched out upon seeing tall, long-legged "amazons" who looked like they were 10 years younger than me, & in 10-times better shape, with team T-shirts that said things like "Joe's Girls," etc. Looking around me, at that very moment, I just didn't feel like I belonged.

At one point, I even said out loud to Erik, "Wow, all of these ladies look like they're in such great shape. There are some serious athletes here. They really look like runners. And I just feel like a fat, out-of-shape runner, standing next to all of them!"

(OK, so I was working myself into a frenzy. There was no point in making myself feel bad, but nonetheless, I kept going. Whatever. None of us are perfect, or in a perfect state of mind 24/7.)

I continued, telling him, "...I bet I'll finish last. The last time I ran this race, I remember having a lousy finish & just don't want to be the last one bringing up the rear!"

Of course, Erik said nice, supportive things like "You won't finish last. At your pace, you're not going to finish last. There are always people who do 14 & 15 minute miles, so don't worry about it," etc., etc.

OK, I know that's probably not what you expected to hear me to say, but honestly, I was feeling a bit deflated before the start of the race. Thoughts like "Why on earth did I sign up for this?!," & "What am I doing here?!" certainly crossed my mind briefly, as I lined up with the rest of the runners at the starting line.

And even just seconds before the race, I remember thinking thoughts like, "I can't believe I'm doing this, I haven't seriously raced in years! What was I thinking?!" & "Oh no, I really don't want to do this!" (A bit too late for that one, eh!?! ;-) )

Yes, even I, who am typically so upbeat, do have my moments like this. What can I say!

Of course, it all had to do with lack of preparation for the race, & the uneasiness I felt about it. As the readers of this blog well know, I don't like to enter situations unprepared. And now I felt like I was just going to have to "wing it."

Of course, in reality, I wasn't totally winging it, as I'd run near enough to this distance in my weekly runs over the last several weeks, & had also completed another 5K just two weeks ago, but nonetheless, I couldn't shake that nagging feeling that somehow I didn't have "my house in order." Regardless, what I was really dealing with was that feeling a person gets when they step outside of their comfort zone. The first few steps outside that zone are often very challenging, & it usually forces one to step up one's game, both mentally & physically. And frankly, I felt like I'd been battling myself a bit in the beginning. And plus, the adrenaline hadn't kicked in yet. ;-)

Then the realization hit me that this was it, (this wasn't a dress rehearsal!), & that the starting gun was going to go off any moment!

Thankfully, before I lined up with the other runners, I had a moment of clarity (!), & very simply & calmly declared to Erik, "You know what, I've just got to put all of that nonsense aside & get my head in gear to run this thing. I'm just going to do it! I might not be the fastest or the slowest runner out there, but it's time to go out there & do the best that I can do."

Also helpful was being able to step outside of my frenzied head & chat with the other ladies in line. I realized that they were probably also feeling a tad bit nervous & excited, & probably might've even been thinking similar thoughts at one point of another. I'd asked several ladies if they'd done the course before, with varying responses. Some people were from out-of-town, some were local. Others had run this course before, & for some, it was their very first time. For some people it was their very first race, ...ever. Lots of people said it was a really pretty course, very scenic. Good, that's something to look forward to seeing along the way!

Of course, we also chatted about the course. I made mental notes as the ladies informed me about what to expect: Dirt trail at certain points. Watch your footing & be careful not to trip on that section. OK, check. Fairly flat & fast course, with only a few rolling hills for the uphill portions. OK, good. Phew. Water stations & people calling out times at each mile marker..... Great. Here we go..... Time to race!

I stood at the mid-front part of the pack, about a few yards from the starting line. The starting gun went off & we took off!

The first part of the course was shady & flat. Several people passed me. And then several more. And then several more! (At this point, in the back of my head somewhere, I remember thinking something like, "Gee, am I really that slow?!!!" (This was obviously another unrealistic thought, as I'd started towards the beginning of the pack; after all, what could I really expect to happen at my pace?!) Reflexively, I turned back to see where I was in the pack. OK, middle of the pack. "That's OK," I assured myself, & continued to keep my own pace.

I was really surprised when the guy at the first mile marker sounded off, "9:14!" and I remember thinking, "Holy *&$%!" I couldn't believe that I'd started out that fast. Whoah. Not like me. Just way too fast. An amateur mistake! That just wasn't like me to do that!"

Of course, psychologically speaking, that made me want to slow down a bit to pace myself. I looked around. Still lots of people passing me. "OK, don't worry about it. Just do your own thing."

And then: "Hmmm, it's pretty here. Beautiful trees. Cute little houses." I remember observing the house numbers, the roofing, the mailboxes, and a kid's bike parked outside of one of the houses.

Then a bit later we crossed over a small wooden bridge, & there was a small rolling uphill section of the path. It was shaded for the most part, but then as we got closer to Brookside Gardens, it became hotter & sunnier in portions. The Gardens themselves were beautiful, or rather what I could see of them from several yards away (!). I remember seeing some sort of rock garden & an outdoor area which appeared to be a Japanese garden. (Mental note to self: Got to go back & visit/tour the gardens at some point!)

Honestly, looking back on the race, there were large segments of the race that, visually speaking, are just a complete blur to me, mostly because I was so focused on just pacing myself, breathing (!), & just getting through it! ;-) Erik told me later that he saw me running with my head down -- He's even got the photos to prove it! -- I was focusing very intently on the running itself, so everything else around me just narrowed to a small pin! This probably explains the moments of "blur." ;-)

So, to skip ahead a bit: The guy at the 2nd mile marker, called out something like "20:46." Honestly, I don't remember exactly, because after the first water station, I kind of choked back the gatorade & then shortly thereafter, the extra liquid sloshing around in me started to not feel so good. I know I slowed down because of it, but didn't stop altogether. The goal was to keep running no matter what. I'd be damned if I was going to walk it at any portion!

The way I feel about racing is that I never want to give up & walk. I'm not saying there's any shame in walking, but for me, I just have to keep running. It's purely psychological. I just know that the minute I start walking, it's going to be harder to start running again. But that's just me. It's not that I couldn't start running again, but a little piece of me would be disappointed in myself for not trying harder. After all, it's only a 5K, & unless I was physically ill or injured, you'll find me running every race I do. We'll see if I can sustain that philosophy through longer distances, like the marathon; I actually think I'll be able to do that, especially if I train properly for those longer distance races. When I do my first marathon, I want to be able to run the entire thing. Yes, you heard me correctly. I'm going to train until I know I can finish the distance.

"Never say die (or in my case, stop & walk!)" probably would be my motto if I had one. I just don't want to give up. My dad always used to say that I'm not a quitter, & it's true. Challenges & difficulties will certainly come our way in running & in life, but I'm not going to be one to just lay down & quit.

Anyhow, back to the race report: After around the second mile marker, there was a woman who kept running & then stopped to walk. We were tag-teaming each other for a while. She'd walk, then run ahead of me, then fall back, while I more or less kept a steady pace. Towards the end she stopped & walked a very long portion. I shouted out to her, "You can do it. Keep going!" She started to run again for a bit, but then stopped & walked. I'm not sure if she ran the rest of the way to the finish, because by that point, it was nearing the end of the race, & I'd shot off ahead to the finish line.

I could go on about the race, but since it's 12:13 pm & I still need to shower & get ready for work, let me just wrap it up by saying that I began to struggle after about mile 2. Between mile 2 & 3, I slowed considerably.

There was one person somewhere after mile 2 who shouted, "You're almost there! Less than a mile left to go!' And then another person a few hundred yards later yelled the same thing, to which I replied, "Another person just said that a short while back, so how much further exactly?!" He answered, "About a seventh of a mile! Only a few more hairpin turns & you're done!" I thanked him & picked up the pace slightly.

Of course, that was exactly what I wanted to hear! It was at that point that I knew I could kick it up a notch. After all, 0.7 miles was almost the exact length of one lap around the lake. I knew I could do that. No sweat! Although my energy was flagging slightly, I was determined to keep going & pick up the pace as much as possible. This part really felt like an eternity, mostly because I'd heard the crowds cheering around 0.7 miles & thought I was much closer than I actually was, that is, until this last guy announced the distance!

During the final stretch, I could hear the noise of the crowds cheering, & that really motivated me to pick it up. It looked like it was another 0.4 miles or so through the trees.

At around the last 0.2 miles, I could see the finish line. And that was when I really started to pick up the pace & just broke out into a full-blown dash! I could see the numbers on the counter from a distance. I saw that the counter read "31 minutes" and some odd-seconds, & I sped up in an effort to see if I could make it under 32. As I ran past the finish line, I noted that the counter read "32:08." OK, not bad for my first "real" race in a while. And you know what? I didn't finish last. Far from it, in fact. ;-)

They handed out race certificates & roses to all of the participants. I got a yellow rose. We took off around 8:45 am or so & headed back home.

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As I mentioned before, I'd run this race before, but it'd been in May (not June), sometime between 1993 & 1997 or so; also, it'd been on a different course (around Kensington, on paved trails near Beach Drive).

I actually kept the race "Certificate of Completion" (or possibly just the flyer from the race itself) from this earlier race -- it's around my house somewhere, possibly in a file drawer or scrapbook (!); I'll have to dig it out to find out the exact details.
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OK, as usual, my summary turned into a full-blown report, (more or less!). Yikes! I've really got to go. It's now 12:28 pm! I've got to be at work very soon!
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I think I'm going to break my earlier rule about posting race day pictures. Oh what the hell. I'm feeling good about finishing the race & want to share pictures of the day. Maybe just one or two photos, preferably ones where I don't look like I'm huffing & puffing too much. LOL. I'm still not "ready for my closeup, Mr. De Mille." Come to think of it, maybe some blurry photos would be better. ;-)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

0 To Run Or Not To Run, That Is the Question


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I'd love to run today, to fit in one more run before this Saturday's race, but my knee has been a tad bit sore (some dull throbbing in my left knee, etc.). So, I'm going to just skip my run to let the knee rest, so as not to aggravate it further. After all, I do want to be able to run this weekend's race. ;-)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

6 Hundred Pushups Challenge (HPC): Drop & Give Me A Hundred..... Or How About We Re-negotiate & Settle Upon Twenty Girl-Style Push-ups Instead?! ;-)


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OK, so I've just signed up to do Cymrusteve's Hundred Pushups Challenge (HPC) training plan.

Yes, I know it sounds insane, especially considering that I can probably barely do 20 consecutive girl-style push-ups, but it's true -- I've committed to stepping up & taking the challenge. (Maybe someone should have me committed me instead! Hahahaha! JUST kidding.)

Oh, what have I gotten myself into?!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

0 I Know, I Know! There are Some "Missing" Posts......


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Yes, there are a few "missing" posts, i.e., ones still in draft form about the race & a few other runs I haven't yet posted. After I post these backdated posts, be sure to refresh your browsers & feed readers to pick up the "missing" posts. ;-)

We won't even start about the "missing" post about my review of Spirit of the Marathon. LOL. Most of you have probably already long forgot about that one anyhow. Oops, now I've just reminded you. Oh darn it. Heheheheh. That'll eventually be posted, or maybe not at this point, since it's about several months too late. Hahahahaha.

We'll see how much time I've got to work on that! Frankly, not a big priority right now, but you should see the race report & the other running posts appear sometime in the next several days......

2 Weigh-In: Baby Steps & An Idea....


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It seems like a better idea to weigh myself after my early morning runs instead of first thing in the morning. The body fat reading is just oh-so-much nicer. ;-)

So, while I've gained 1.2 pounds since the last weigh-in on 5/23/08, I nonetheless lost 1.6% body fat, which is the more important number of the two, & the only number I really care about anyhow. I still have a ways to go, but the downward BF% trend is certainly progress in the right direction, & that's what matters.

0 Run 1, Week 2 (BOHR): Sleeprunning!


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Stats:

Start Time: 7:40 am (5-minute warm-up walk began at 7:35 am)
Temperature: 65 degrees (Fahrenheit)
Humidity: 92%
Distance: 2.96 mi (4 laps around lake)
Time: 33:49 min
Pace: 11:25 minute-mile

I had a slow start this morning & didn't pile out of bed until 7:15 am. First I found myself "sleepwalking" & then "sleeprunning" ;-) during this morning's warm-up walk & run. ;-) Today's run brought home the meaning of Cymrusteve's earlier comment (on Friday's post) about the pace of morning runs feeling like they're faster than they actually are due to being half-asleep while running!

The really good news is that I shaved off almost a minute off my pace from this Friday's run. That's a significant improvement! Yea!!!!!!

I think it had a lot to do with today's weather & my feisty morning attitude. It was overcast & there was a cool breeze, which felt like heaven, especially on the side of the lake where it tends to be very sunny & hot.

One half of the lake (next to the shops & restaurants) is unshaded & tends to be very hot & sunny in the summer, but it's a welcome relief in the winter. And of course, the reverse is true of the shaded side of the lake: It feels great in the summer, but is a bit chilly in the winter. So, it turns out to be a bit of a mental game; I have to steel myself in the sun & repeat positive internal messages to myself about being strong & feeling good, etc., etc., & redirect my mind to my running mantra to take the focus off the humidity & hot, beating sun.

I forgot to mention earlier that for the last few runs I've been taking a very quick 3-5 minute stretching break at the half-way point of my runs. I stretch a bit in the beginning, but it feels much better to do the majority of my stretching once the body's warmed up. This is actually a recommended way to stretch as the body is less prone to injury when you do what's called a "warm stretch." Today's stretch was "warm" in more ways than one, as I'd stopped to stretch in a rather sunny spot. 8-) It also usually helps to revitalize my second half of the run, although today after I'd stopped to stretch, I frankly didn't want to pick up the second half of run & finish it out. But of course, I quickly dismissed that unproductive thought & got back on the trail to pound out the second half & focus on the trail. My body did feel refreshed, even if my mind was putting up some initial resistance! ;-)

One last comment & then I've got to get ready for work: I'm sure you've probably noticed the addition of the "stats" section at the beginning of my runs, which I began on Friday, 6/13/08. Who says good things can't start on Friday the 13th?! ;-) My pace was the only "curse" that day! Hahahahaha.

But seriously, this should also help condense the content of posts documenting weekly runs. Hopefully this will also mean more time spent running & less time spent blabbing about it! LOL.

Hope you like this new addition....

Peace out, boyz & grrlz. ;-)

-C

Saturday, June 14, 2008

2 This Saturday's "Run for the Roses 5K"


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Well, it's official. I just registered this morning for the Run for the Roses 5K, which is this Saturday. Yes, I know I've barely trained for the race, but at the bare minimum, atleast I know I can complete the distance, as I just did it last weekend (i.e., The National Race for the Cure 5K! ;-)

And of course, I've been running 30+ minutes (or 2.96 miles), 2-3 times a week over the past few weeks, which is close enough to the 5K (or 3.1 mile) distance. Even so, my running's been rather spotty, especially from mid-May until mid-June. Of course it'd be great if I could say that I ran 30 minutes, 3 times a day for several consecutive weeks on end, but then that just wouldn't be remotely accurate or true! ;-)

So, bearing the above factors in mind, I'm not going to worry about pace (or my finishing time) too much, & will instead focus on just completing the distance & running the best that I can at my current physical shape! More important is just getting back into habit of racing & re-developing the race-training mentality. And the first step is just signing up & running for races.

Ideally, I like to enter races after having completed about twice the racing distance, mostly for stamina reasons. Also ideal would be the lovely idea of being able to run the race at (or close to) "goal pace," whatever that means at this point! ;-)

But seriously, it'd be great if I could 10:30 minute-miles, but since I'm currently running between 11 & 12 minute miles at the same time of day & temperature, it's probably an unrealistic expectation at this point. Of course, it'd be different if I'd been running consistent distance over several months.

Anyhow, enough focusing on this. OK, it seems this "not focusing on pace" thing might be a bit harder in practice. ;-) When it comes to metrics, I'm very competitive, even if it's only myself that I'm trying to beat. And OK, I also do have to admit that I try to keep other runners at bay upon sensing their footfalls in back of me. But if you've been faithfully following this blog all along, then you already know all about that. ;-)

So what if I'm not currently running my best pace right now & am not perfectly trained for the upcoming race?! It's not like I'm an elite runner or a serious contender for cash prizes. LOL. My finishing time will probably be a blip on the radar of human existence. In the end, no one but me, & of course some friends & family, will probably even care (!). So what if I get a bit nervous or hesitant when I begin to think about race day?! If I didn't, it'd probably be slightly abnormal. Adrenaline can do that to a person. ;-)

And again, I can't use any of these reasons as an excuse not to enter races. I can't hold myself back with excuses or fears; it's just about doing it & going for it. It'd be different if I wasn't physically able to cover the distance, but since I already know I can, the only thing that would be holding me back from racing 5Ks at this point would be ...myself. And that'd just be ridiculous, shameful, & wussy. Yeah, that's right. I "ain't no sissy," & am not afraid to say it. I might not be the faster runner out there, but I've got heart & guts, & a fighting spirit, & am certainly not going to give up that easily. So, time to put my money where my er, feet are. ;-) Hey Abi, are you taking all of this in?! ;-) Of course, I'm saying this to spur you on to run that 8K! ;-O

But anyhow, back to the race itself. I ran it once before a few years ago (can't remember exactly when!) & remember enjoying the course, which is really scenic & beautiful. Have any of you done this race before? I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on it.....

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Looking ahead: At this point, it's probably a tad bit unrealistic for me to do the Rockville Twilighter 8K on July 19th, which is 5 weeks away. Now, of course, I physically could cover the distance & run the race, since an 8K isn't that much more than an 5K, but in principle, it'd completely go against my overall training philosophy of gradual distance building, tempered with common sense & moderation. And anyhow, I'm honestly not in the kind of shape right now where I could be ready to run 5 miles (decently!) in 5 weeks.

Plus, if I continue with the BOHR program at the current rate/schedule, by the week of the race (on July 19th), I'll only be in Week 6 of the program, which are comprised of 30, 33, and 41 minute runs. And if you think that I'll be covering 5 miles in any of those times, you've got another thing coming. ;-) It won't even be close, not by any stretch of the imagination.

But that's OK. The Twilighter will be something to look forward to doing... next year. ;-) My friend Janice loves to talk about how much fun this race is, so if any of my running pals decide to enter this year, chances are I'll be showing up regardless to lend my support. Speaking of which, if any of these friends happen to be checking in here & reading this blog, please email me & let me know what your plans are! ;-)

So now I just need to find another 5K race in a few months time, to have something to gauge my racing progress. Anyone got any suggestions for good 5K races in the Northeast & Midatlantic?

4 New Couch-to-5K Site


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Just thought I'd mention to those of you who're interested that there's a new Couch-to-5K running site, http://c25k.com. It's a centralized resource for everything, CT5K/C25K. ;-) (It includes the original CT5k/C25K link from the Cool Running website, as well as several other resources (podcasts, CT5K running forums, post-CT5K running plans, etc.). IMHO, the only thing they're missing is a link to a CT5K blog directory! [And of course that list should include Abi's blog & my own. ;-) ]

For those of you who aren't familiar with this running plan, it's a gradual progression of interval training that literally takes you from "couch" to "5K" in 9 weeks.

I've personally used the program to get back into running (a few times in fact!), although you don't have to have any previous running experience to do the program. You can start off as a newbie runner who's never so much as run a lap & still be able to complete the program.

The great thing about the program is that it's moderate & gradual. I honestly didn't feel sore after any of the workouts, & that's the whole point. And for that reason alone, it's the ideal way to introduce or reintroduce yourself to running!

I highly recommend the program! (Of course, as a legal disclaimer, please be sure to seek the advice of a physician before beginning any workout program.)

Friday, June 13, 2008

3 Run 3, Week 1 (BOHR): Early Morning Run!


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Stats:

Start Time: 7:31 am (10 minute warm-up walk began at 7:16 am)
Temperature: 75 degrees (Fahrenheit)
Distance: 2.96 mi (4 laps around lake)
Time: 36:00 min
Pace: 12:09 minute-mile

OK, so I can see why people run in the morning. The peace & quiet, & total absence of activity (other than the scant few runners & walkers on the trail) make it complete & utter bliss. Almost NO people, NO noise, NO pollution or smokers, and NO bad smells. (I've got a very sensitive nose; my sister jokes that I should've worked at a perfume factory as a "nose" -- or le nez, as they call it.) And on my runner's "list of bliss" for that's "Check, check, check, & check." ;-)

While I right popped out of bed at 5 am this morning (having fallen asleep on the couch at around 10 pm!), I honestly still can't claim to be a morning person just yet; the numbers today certainly reflect that (!) & also probably some ongoing gastrointestinal disturbances (no details, I promise!), continued overheating issues, & a slightly puffy right knee (due to all the walking I've been doing in my new job; new comfortable-&-supportive-but-yet-professional-looking shoes are on my "to buy" list!).

I estimate that it's going to take me about 2 weeks to acclimate to morning running & the heat/humidity factor.

Today I didn't pay attention at all to my stopwatch & had a decidedly "internal run." It felt great, although I know I probably shouldn't do this all the time, or I'm going to continue to run the pace of a snail. ;-) But right now, I'm giving myself some leeway, due to the many new factors that've recently been added into my life & workout routine.

I figure that this is my time & space to let my mind wander freely, as my job requires my complete concentration & undivided attention for 8-10+ hours straight per day; the job takes a lot of physical & mental energy -- I have to be "on" all day, & am not really allowed any down-time, save my lunch/dinner break. Also, everything about the new job is very regimented, which I'm frankly not used to at all. I have to be on time, to the minute, which is again, something I'm not used to doing.

In my previous jobs (obviously not counting my previous period of full-time self-employment!), I had a bit more latitude & didn't have an exact time I had to show up at work; not only was there was an acceptable range for my start time, but it was of my own choosing. ;-)

However, the nature of my work requires this kind of exact promptness. At first, I honestly felt somewhat rebellious towards this limitation, even though I of course complied with it, (there are strict penalties for noncompliance). (Yes, I already know that just based on my dislike of regimentation & anal-retentive precision, I wouldn't be a good candidate for the military!!!! ;-) ). I'm an independent soul at heart; it's not that I purposely seek to "buck the system," but rather just have my own way of doing things. ;-) I cringe when people attempt to impose external limitations or obligations on me -- I detest feeling "squeezed"! -- & hope to goodness that no one from work is reading this blog. ;-) But seriously, I realize it's just something I have to overcome. I know that deep down the time-limitations, fast pace, & regimentation are actually GOOD for me (Geez, I hate to admit that!), as I have a tendency to approach certain activities (like my writing!) with a certain limitless abandon. While I'm fairly good at time-management in terms of my career, I like to be more open-ended when it comes to the activities in my personal life. (Again, it comes back to the not wanting to feel "squeezed" thing.) However, I also realize that maybe it'd be better to put time limits on these activities, as it'd certainly allow me to get even more done!

Also, on a related note, I need to work on summarization & concision (Wow, that's nakedly honest! ;-) ); as the readers of this blog surely already know (!), it's never been my strong suit. [If I had my way & could have an unending amount of time to write or speak, I'd prefer to spin long & winding fantastical tales, instead of rat-a-tat-tat-ing points like some kind of machine gun, Yes, I love to tell a good story & could (& would like to!) write a book at some point. ;-) My writings have been published before, but not a full-length novel. That's next on the to-do list. ;-)]

I think my new job will help me get to the point faster, & reduce the amount of time it takes for the thoughts to crystallize in my mind. With writing, one typically has more time to reflect upon "the end product," but with speaking, of course, one doesn't always have this same luxury. While I always fancied myself a good communicator, I think that there are still "areas of opportunity" in which to further improve in both of these areas. The way I look at it, I can only grow & improve from the experience. Where there is a challenge, there is room for growth. And in circumstances of uncertainty, all is possible.

OK, enough ruminating & internal reflection for now. And speaking of time management, I need to go & get ready for work! Bye!

0 Short-Term Goal Review: Moving Ahead...... So What's Next?


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It's that time again. Time to think about what comes next. To reassess where I am & where I'm going, & in all likelihood, "move the goal posts" & also set new training goals.

Right now, I'm just going to concentrate on short-term (i.e., 3 months & under) goals:

Current assessment: So, given the fact that I'm now well past CT5K -- in terms of my fitness level & overall conditioning, I'm now officially going to move onto the BOHR training program (yes, once again!) & will count the 5K race I ran on 6/7/08 & the last 2 30-minute runs (i.e., from this past Wednesday, 6/11/08, & today!) towards the first week of runs.

Like my pal, Abi, I'm going to continue challenging myself & facing my fears head on by entering (Gasp!) more road races! The National Race for the Cure was my first road road in a long while, & it kicked off my desire to get back into racing. I didn't think I was mentally (or physically!) ready, but when the opportunity presented itself, I went for it & was very glad I did. (So Abi, there's some more motivation for you to do your upcoming race! ;-) )

OK, so here are my next set of goals:

SHORT-TERM GOALS (6/07/08-8/17/08):
--Complete BOHR by 8/17/08.
--Lose 15 lbs. by 8/17/08. (That's 5 lbs. a month, which is very realistic, particularly because it allows for fluctuations & plateaus. Not sure what that'd be in terms of BF%, but it'd be nice if I could lose 5-10% BF. Cymrusteve had a great formula for calculating this. Will have to ask him again about it.....)
-- Register & train for 2 races: Run For the Roses 5K (6/21/08, 8:00 am) & Rockville Twilighter 8K (7/19/08, 8:45 pm).(Not sure how ready I'll be for the second one, given the training time line.)

Becoming A One-Hour Runner (BOHR) (6/07-8/17/08) (✓):
Wk 1-3: 30 min x 3. (90 min.)
Wk 4: 30, 29, 35. (94 min.)
Wk 5: 30, 32, 38. (100 min.)
Wk 6: 30, 33, 41. (104 min.)
Wk 7: 30, 34, 45. (109 min.)
Wk 8: 30, 36, 49. (115 min.)
Wk 9: 30, 38, 54. (122 min.)
Wk 10: 30, 40, 60. (130 min.)

Tips (from Kathrine Switzer): "When you are trying to increase your distance, some days feel good and others feel awful. Listen to your body. Be willing to back off. There is no hurry. These schedules are designed for the best possible circumstances, and sometimes you just need more time to adapt. Never move on to the next higher distance until you feel totally comfortable with the one you did today."

Thursday, June 12, 2008

0 Getting In the Right Headspace to Race


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Check out this great article on the importance of overcoming one's fear of failure as it applies to running & sports. I think it's also highly useful article for those newbie runners who'd like to start racing, but who might be a tad bit apprehensive about beginning the process. ;-)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

3 Run 2, Week 1 (BOHR): A 30-Minute Run in the Sun!


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Today's run, which began at 8:52 am, was more of a "slow, wet limp" than a run. It wasn't that my legs were giving me problems; rather, the rest of me felt like I was going to melt into the pavement! I had started with a normal level of energy, but about mid-way through my run, began to feel like the sun was just "beating" it right out of me. It wasn't even that hot by the usual weather standards of this area -- only a mild 72 degrees, but it was really humid outside & the sun felt blazing hot!

My finishing time reflected my "melting" too! I ran 4 laps (2.96 mi.) in 36:32, or at a 12:20 pace. That's a few minutes shy of a walking pace, & is almost a minute & a half slower than the pace I've been running over the last few weeks! Oh well.

In my defense, I'm not used to running in the morning (this was only my second morning run, my first being The Race for The Cure last Saturday), or in tremendously humid (or hot!) weather. Plus, it's been the first run since last Saturday's race. Mind you, these aren't excuses; just an explanation of why I possibly ran slower today.

Even though I've lived in this area for years, my body still just can't seem to get adjusted to running (or doing anything!) in this area's heat & humidity, which can start as early as May and can sometimes continue well into early September. It never has. It's mostly my lungs that have problems with the muggy air. But I also get overheated very quickly; I'm hoping that when I lose more BF%, it'll help solve my internal "coolant" system issues. ;-) I'm not technically overweight by standard height & weight charts, but I am slightly "overfat" in terms of my BF%. A while back I read a health & fitness article about how losing body fat can help improve overheating issues; the idea makes logical sense -- body fat loss improves circulation &, so let's hope it'll really help!

I can tell you that the "melting" wasn't due to dehydration either: I drank almost 1 & a 1/2 (1/2 liter) bottles of water before running, but still felt sapped in the heat & humidity.

Speaking of which, I just found this article on this very subject, & it looks like I'm already following many of these suggestions; it looks like I probably just need to eat something salty beforehand, & also carry sports gel packs & water with me on my run. (The only catch with the gel packs is that I just need to find ones that don't contain refined sugars; wish me luck!) Also, I forgot to put on waterproof sunscreen with SPF, so that's something I've got to remember for next time as well.

Also, it didn't help that I got a late start this morning: Although I'd originally planned to run by 8 am this morning, I didn't get out the door until almost 45 minutes later! So much for my attempts this morning to run early & thereby reduce the heat & humidity quotient!

(Part of the reason for the delay was that I absolutely needed to refresh the tunes on my iPod -- it was time! -- & plus, Erik had just bought some great new albums that I just had to hear. OK, so maybe it wasn't the most opportune time to swap out tunes, but I just couldn't take listening to the same old songs any longer!)

By the time I'd started my five-minute warm-up walk, it was about 8:42 am; this five-minute warm-up walk soon turned into 10-12+ minutes, as I decided to do an entire lap around the lake in an effort to overcome an upset stomach. (The nausea set in after I took vitamins & a glucosamine chondroitin on an empty stomach! I certainly won't do that again!)

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Note to self: Make sure you follow all of the above suggestions & also get on the trail by or before 8 am!

It's clear that if I want to run in the morning that I'm going to have to get up much earlier to avoid "melting." I'm not typically a "morning runner," nor am I typically a "morning person," although out of pure necessity, my new job is turning me into both. ;-)

Due to the irregular hours of my work schedule (i.e., no two days are the same!), I've also decided that I'm either going have to run super early in the morning or in the evenings (i.e., from 5 pm on). Ideally, I'd prefer to run in the morning, since the air quality is better & the sun is usually not so hot. Sometimes this isn't always going to be possible, but I'm going to do my best to fit in my runs & the rest of my life around my new schedule.

And since I'm not a coffee-drinker (I don't believe in drinking the stuff -- it does horrible things to my blood sugar, metabolism, & stomach, & makes me really irritable!), these early AM runs are going to become my "morning coffee" equivalent. ;-)

Saturday, June 7, 2008

2 Race For The Cure: Thank You For Your Support & Donations!


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Thank you so much to everyone who donated money for The Race For The Cure! When I get the chance, I'll be following up with a race report & some other updates. (I've still got a few backdated posts in draft form that I haven't had time to post. Been really busy lately & have had barely had time to blog & respond to email, etc....)

The race is over but you're still welcome to donate to the cause. I'm still $20 shy of meeting my fundraising goal. Anyone want to chip in the $20?! ;-) Donations are handled securely via PayPal, & go directly to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. You don't even need a PayPal account to donate. PayPal will accept credit cards as well. Your donation will fund breast cancer research to help find the cure!


Click Here to Donate

0 Race Report: National Race For The Cure [Run 1, Week 1 (BOHR)]


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As many of you already know, I'd originally planned to run the National Race for the Cure from the outset, but then later changed my mind after the captain of our corporate team encouraged me to walk the race instead, as almost everyone from our group was walking it (save one person, who on race day was apparently either a no-show or had also changed her mind about running!) & it was also a good opportunity to get to know people better from work.

However, the funny thing is that, I actually ended up running it (rather unexpectedly!) with 2 other runners from our corporate team!

Here's how it happened: The day began with all of us waiting around for the rest of the corporate team to arrive at our designated meeting spot. While we were waiting, of course, all of us began, quite naturally, to introduce ourselves to each other. And, as it happened, through the course of conversation about the obvious events of the day, the runners of the group had found each other & begun chatting about their training. And then, only moments later, we all began walking in one big procession towards the start line, (joining the existing crowds of people moving towards & converging upon the National Mall), but then somehow got separated from the rest of the group. Our group broke into 3 segments -- There was one bunch of people from our corporate team ahead of us, & another behind us. Amidst the noise & confusion, we looked around everywhere for the rest of our teammates & tried to catch up to the first gaggle of people, but since our group didn't have a banner, or an exact, pre-determined location in which to gather once we'd walked from our meeting place to the National Mall, & we also weren't given our corporate race-day T-shirts before the start of the race, it was nearly impossible to find the rest of the group in the massive throngs of people congregating on or near the starting line.

After the three of us runners turned around to find ourselves separated from the rest of the pack, we decided collectively at the last minute, "Oh what-the-heck, let's just run this thing!" I initially entered as a runner anyhow, so it was probably Fate giving me an unexpected-but-fortuitous present. ;-) Just from looking at the facial expressions of my other teammates who were running the race with me, it was clear that I wasn't the only one who really wanted to run the race from the outset but then had acquiesced to the idea of walking in order to bond with the group. ;-) Regardless, I was happy to be running it with teammates from our group after all.

At that point, my only potential concern with this last-minute switch-a-roo was that I hadn't really prepared to run the race, because I'd of course been expecting to walk it instead! I hadn't really run that many times in the preceding two weeks, nor had I done any serious race-training. Also, it was also deadly hot & humid outside (98 degree + 100% humidity!), & I wasn't sure how my body was going to handle the combination of heat + humidity + zero race-training! ;-)

But thankfully, all turned out well in the end: There were several water stations along the route, which were certainly a welcome relief in the 98 degree temperature, & the two teammates with whom I ran the race were very supportive & nice.

There were moments towards the second half of the race when my face began to get really flushed & hot, & the rest of my body felt like it was burning up from the heat & humidity, but after all was said & done, I made it to the finish line & felt surprisingly good after it was all over. Considering the heat & humidity -- not to mention the potential for some serious dehydration (!), I was very thankful to have recovered so quickly afterwards!

The other two runners I ran with were extremely nice & thoughtful, & it was really a pleasure to run with them. Both of them were tall, long-legged, physically-fit men in their late twenties & early thirties (respectively) who ran a much faster pace, so it was definitely a challenge to keep up with them throughout the race. However, they did slow down for me, & kept looking back several times to make sure we were all together, which was very thoughtful of them to do. In fact, we all looked out for each other at various points during the race, which was a really wonderful feeling. We got refreshments for each other at the water stations, & gave each other extra bananas & waters at the end of the race. These kind & thoughtful behaviors definitely contributed to the feeling of team-spirit, not just of our own team, but of the larger mass of people participating in the race that day. That feeling of unity, that we were all in it together for the same purpose, was definitely the big theme of the day & pervaded the atmosphere everywhere we went on the (National) Mall.

Speaking of which, throughout the day, there were a few groups performing to psych up the crowds. In fact, after the race was over, I was on my way back, walking in the direction of the metro, when I heard some music that made me turn my head & stop right in my tracks. The music was really great -- very exciting (!), & so of course I just had to go & check it out! I walked over & saw some people dancing in formation. When I got closer, I saw it was this amazing hip-hop dance troupe performing to music being pumped out of a loud-speaker -- I think they were DC high school students. It was fantastic! A lot of people in the audience (myself included) were dancing. It was very hard to sit still.

I don't know exactly why but all of a sudden, during their performance, a few post-race tears ran down my cheeks. Thankfully I was wearing shades, so no one could witness the tears; I didn't want to be mistaken for being upset about something, because I really wasn't. You know how that can be, when people start to assume things from the expression on your face, but it's totally wrong & you don't feel like explaining yourself. ;-) I was just feeling moved; that's all.

Either I was very moved by the words & sentiment of the performers & the audience's participation & reactions, or it was part of the anti-climatic feeling of finishing my first race in a long while. Probably a little of both.

It was one of those in-the-moment, you-just-had-to-be-there, sort of things.

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The race was so crowded that the sheer number of race entrants made it virtually impossible to run faster in certain portions. (Frankly, this is why I hadn't run this particular race in a very long while. Truth be told, after the first time I ran it, I vowed to never run it again, because I ended up walking large portions of the race, but certainly not by choice! I couldn't maneuver past the large crowds! Back then I was a much faster runner, & was also a heck of a lot more competitive about my running. I also didn't realize at the time that I wouldn't be able to run it the whole way through. In any case, The Race for the Cure is definitely not a race you run to get a PR! The only reason I did it again this year was because it was a team event done for charity, & so I wasn't really concerned with my finishing time. This time around, I knew what to expect, & anyhow, the event in general isn't really about one's finishing time. It's about raising money for a good cause & participating in the infectious, positive energy of the day.)

This year, I have to say that I was secretly thankful for the crowds while we were running the race, as there were several points in the race in which the pack ahead of us would slow & literally block the way, which prevented us from moving faster. I used those moments to recover my breath!

While I was struggling at times to keep pace with my two teammates during the actual race, I nonetheless was really glad to have done the race.

And while it would've been nice to chat more extensively with the rest of our group during the actual racing event itself, I did get to know 2 people from the team a whole lot better, through our pre- & post-race discussions, & of course through the race itself. We exchanged email addresses, & it looks like we might even enter/run more races together in future.... (Hopefully, I'll get a lot faster the next time the three of us decide to enter a road race together as a team; I don't want to be the slowpoke holding the rest of the team back!)

Not only was it great to meet & chat with my teammates, but it was also a very illuminating experience on many different levels.

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My previous perfectionist mentality of wanting to wait until everything was perfect (& I was perfectly trained!) had kept me from entering races in the past, but I've obviously chucked that old attitude in the bin, where it rightly belongs!

As the saying goes, "Life is what happens when we're waiting for it to begin."

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