Wednesday, July 30, 2008

0 Are Some People Just Crazy?! Debating The Merits of Running In Record High Temperatures & Humidity


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Today, when I was coming home from work, I saw more than 10 people running on the side of the road. It was around 6 pm & hot & humid as blazes. In fact, there was a high heat advisory today; temperatures reached 96 degrees, with humidity remaining at 99% for a good bit of the day. And, on top of that, there's also a thunderstorm advisory currently in effect. Why would you want to mess with Mother Nature like that?! Don't these people know it's dangerous to tangle with "the elements"?!

Judging from most of their facial expressions, many of these folks frankly looked like they were D.O.A. & not enjoying the high heat & humidity in the least bit. So, considering the obvious dangers & discomforts, my question then becomes, "Why do it?"

I mean, if you know it's going to be THAT hot, why not just run in the morning, or go indoors & run on a treadmill? Doh!

Now is it really necessary to run in crazy, unsafe weather? Really? C'mon. It's just common sense at that point.

I couldn't help but wonder: Are these people stupid, ill-informed, or just half-cracked or something?! ;-) I know some people enjoy flying in the face of danger & tempting fate, but when it comes to personal safety, I personally don't think it's worth it to risk one's health for something as un-thrilling as a thunder storm or high heat. If you've really are "jonesing" for some real danger, go climb K2 or Mount Everest. (Now that's not a serious inducement to do anything dangerous -- it's being said in jest, so I absolve myself of any liabilities!)

On second thought, if you are Erik, & happen to be reading this, I know that's your big fantasy expedition, but please don't do that. A postcard of Nepal will do just fine. ;-) I like my friends, family, & fiancé coming home in one piece -- & not in a body bag, thank you very much.

After all, just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.

Or, if you're just seeking to preserve the illusion of danger, (so you can brag to your friends about it later - LOL!), I have one word for you: Photoshop. Yes, go ahead & superimpose a headshot photo of yourself onto the body of a bungee jumper or a skydiver jumping out of a plane. ;-) Sure, why not!?! Have a field day, & a good laugh. And then just go back to doing something sensible. How about an ultramarathon instead?! ;-)

OK, so I'm not exactly the type to climb K2 or jump out of a plane window without first asking several questions, & you know what?! I'm perfectly OK with that. ;-)

That's not to say I don't love a challenge. But that challenge will probably take the form of marathons, possibly bi- & triathalons, or maybe even an ultra event one of these days. But that has no bearing on my strong adherence to the application of common sense principles. Given the option, I'd rather run smartly, & still be around to run another day.

1 Run 3, Week 7 (BOHR): An Early, Humid Run


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Stats:
Weather Conditions:
Temp: 70° FHumidity: 99%
Warm-up Walk:Start Time: 6:41 am
Distance: 0.26 miTime: 4:00 minAvg Pace: 15:21 min/miCalories Burned: 27
Run:
Start Time:
6:45 am
Distance: 4.31 miTime: 45:03 minAvg Pace: 10:26 min/miCalories Burned: 449
Cool-down walk:
Start Time: 7:30 amDistance: 0.49 mi
Time: 8:01 min
Avg Pace: 16:21 min/miCalories Burned: 51

I have to be at work in 15 minutes, so here goes, really fast: I had a decent run, but don't really have time to blog about it now or else I'll be late for work. Check back later this evening for an updated report; I'll also be doing my pushups workout tonight, so be on the lookout for that post as well. Have a good morning! Bye!

-C

Monday, July 28, 2008

4 Weigh-In: Oops, I Couldn't Help Myself! ;-)


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Tonight, before my pushups workout, I hopped on the scale -- and now this is the scary part -- without even thinking about it. Yes, I did it subconsciously, without even realizing what I'd done, until it was already too late; so blame my subconscious instead of me! Hahahaha! JUST kidding.

OK, so I clearly blew it. And the funny thing is that it's only been barely a day since I made that promise NOT to weigh myself! ;-) I just have to laugh about it, because it's just really silly. (I'm not one to make New Year's Resolutions, but somehow this "not-weighing-myself" thing seems like a similarly ill-conceived concept!)

OK, so does this mean that all bets are off, or should I give myself another chance? Well, I'm going to take the latter option, & if I blow it again, maybe I'll just scratch the whole idea & do whatever the heck I want. ;-)

Of course, the original intention behind this idea was to see what psychological benefits, if any, could be gained from not hopping on the scale. (Ladies, I think most of you know what I'm talking about here! ;-) )

Well, since the damage has already been done, it won't make any difference at this point if I share the results with you. ;-)

I again, gained weight but lost body fat. I gained 0.4 lbs, & lost 1.7% BF. I'm hoping the weight gain is muscle (Hahaha!) but it's too short-term of a period to make a determination one way or the other. I certainly don't feel like I've gained body fat; when I look in the mirror, I look & feel pretty lean.

(Now, I'm also going to take into account that I weighed myself at night, when I typically hop on the scale in the morning or early afternoon. So that can of course affect the numbers too.)

At any rate, the daily weighing still seems a bit excessive to me (i.e., you've really got to know me to understand exactly why that could be considered dangerous!), even if my subconscious doesn't agree with the rest of me. ;-) So, I'm still going to make a concerted effort to be conscious of this behavior, & see if I can not weigh myself until the following Monday.

Take two, here we go! ;-)

0 HPTP (Day 3, Week 2): Back-to-Back Pushups Workouts!


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Today's pushups workout called for intervals of 15, 15, 12, 12, & a max of atleast 15 pushups. Here's what I did: 15, 15, 12, 12, 25.

My arms didn't start feeling it until the 10th pushup of the 4th interval. After the resting period, I did 15 consecutive pushups with relative ease, but then struggled to finish off the last 10, which were done in sets of 5 with about 5 seconds rest in between. ;-) My arms were definitely shaking as I squeezed out those last 3 pushups. It's certainly getting harder & harder to squeeze out that max set of 25!

I normally give myself atleast a day's rest in between pushups workouts, but I'm trying to get back on schedule & do my pushups on the same days as my runs. [Last Thursday (7/24/08), the workouts got out of synch when I did a late-night run, & then postponed my pushups workouts until the next day. And then on Saturday (7/26/08), I was rushing to work & so, again, didn't do my pushups workout until the following day.]

So, the only way I was going to rectify that was by doing back-to-back pushups workouts. Yes, my arms are tired, but all in all, it was worth it to get my schedule back on track. Of course, I can say that now, because it's all done & over with, & I won't be using my arms for anything significant for the remainder of the night, save some minimal typing on the computer keyboard. ;-)

Have a great night!
-C

1 Run 2, Week 7 (BOHR): Yet Another Treadmill Workout


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Stats:

Start Time: 11:53 am (30 second warm-up walk began at approx. 11:52 am)
Temperature: 79 degrees (Fahrenheit) (N/A)
Humidity: 57% (N/A)
Distance: 3.71 mi (on the treadmill)
Time: 34:07 min
Pace: 9:11 min/mi
Calories Burned: 386
------------------------------

The good thing about treadmill workouts is that they're fast. And they're especially good for those days when you've only got an hour to workout, blog about it, & then rush into the shower & head off to work. ;-) So, needless to say, this post is going to be short!

Had a good workout. In the beginning I kept the speed between 6.2 & 6.5 for about the first 10 minutes or so (I was having one of those driven, "Yaah-yaah-yaah, I-feel-powerful" moments!), & then kept the speed at a steady 6.2 for another 5 minutes, before dropping the speed down to 6.0 for a bit. I was starting to tire a bit at this point, & another 5 minutes into the workout, had gotten a stitch in my side, (i.e., probably the effects of drinking water & a bit of OJ & then shoveling a few almonds down my gullet for some energy right before my workout!). In order to allow myself to recover from the stitch, I varied the speed in increments, going as low as 5.5 at one point & then back up to 6.0. For the last 10 minutes I was feeling a lot better, & regained my stamina, so I pumped the speed back up to 5.8 for about 2 minutes, then 6.0 for about 3 minutes, & then finally 6.5 for another 4 minutes, & then all the way up to 7.2 for the last minute. I felt totally exhausted for about the next minute (which also happened to be my practically non-existent cooldown walk, being that I was in a hurry to get back home!), but it was a great workout!

OK, got to rush to work now! See ya!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

4 HPTP (D2W2): Too Much Pride, Not Enough Strength!


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Today's pushups workout called for intervals of 16, 13, 11, 11, & a max of atleast 15 pushups. Here's what I did: 16, 13, 13, 11, 25.

Well, truthfully, the last set was more like 15 consecutive pushups, & then "struggle, struggle," arms collapsing, & then the rest of me lying prostrate like one of those rather unfortunate bears who end up as a decorate rug in someone's log cabin home. I paused in this position for about 5 seconds (in which there was a bit of light-headed wooziness, a bit of heavy breathing, & a slight sigh!), & then proceeded to do 5 more pushups , (which was again followed by another slight pause & more struggling), & then rather painfully eked out 5 final pushups, before collapsing into a warm & somewhat tingly, hurting heap.

Call it pride, or whatever you want, but today I just was not going to quit until I'd repeated my previous feat of 25 pushups as my max set. It didn't matter that I'd be doing a total of 9 more pushups for the first 4 intervals. And yes, I know that I really struggled to maintain my previous "record," but it was worth it. Yes, it's all about the bragging rights. Hahahahaha. JUST kidding.

Honestly, the real reason is that I just wouldn't be able to face myself had I not put in every last ounce of effort to meet this extrapolated goal which was fixed in my head like an immovable object. And I'd be somewhat ashamed to have to write about doing a workout in which I really just didn't give it my best effort.

Right now, I feel like pancake-thin roadkill that's been squashed into oblivion from one too many cars "ba-dump-dumping" over that same spot in the road. ;-)

Thank goodness that I've got another day off today! Time for chilling & resting the arms. Ahhhhh.

Yes, that little unrecognizable pile of jelly recovering in the corner would be me. ;-)

-C

2 Weighing In, Or NOT! ;-)


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OK, in an effort to reform my "wild & wicked" ways ;-), I promise not to weigh myself until a week from today. Now, let's see if I have the self-control to do it. ;-)

0 Weigh-In: Up in Weight, Down in Body Fat


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Erik's just told me that he's not going to even bother rolling his eyes around at me anymore, because it's only been two days since I last weighed myself & already I'm back on the scale again. ;-)

Some people might call this obsession, but it's actually not. I swear! I'd rather call it "eagerness to reach my (body fat percentage) goals." ;-)

But before you think I'm some obsessive weight-centric nut, I'd like to say that I really do not care a fig about number the scale reports when it comes to body weight. All I care about is the body fat measurement, thank you very much.

In fact, I've gained 0.6 lbs, but have lost 0.4 BF%. And I'm simply ecstatic! SO THERE! ;-)

Let me add that one of the reasons for this feeling of elation is that I also had a sizeable bowl of ice cream last night as a treat to beat the heat (whoah, I'm a triple threat rhymer! Who knew?! ;-) ) & it still didn't matter -- I dropped body fat.

So for all of those people who obsess over what they eat, this is just yet another illustration to show that just one bowl of ice cream isn't going to make you gain body fat. ;-) Of course, it what's you do over the long term that truly affects your health & your body fat percentage.

Next up, some more pushups.......

8 Papa's Got A Brand New Badge......


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My friend, Cymrusteve, is one very nice & thoughtful guy. And I'm happy for him that a lot of the good karma he gives to others is coming back to him tenfold! Whoever said that "Nice guys finish last" certainly doesn't know Steve! ;-)

As yet another thoughtful gesture, he just emailed me a spiffy, new "Hundred Pushups" badge, which is for those of us who're still working towards the hundred pushups. So here it is:



Hundred pushups challengers, feel free to post the badge on your site. And while you're at it, please spread the word about the Hundred Pushups program & be sure to give plenty of props to my pal, Cymrusteve.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

3 Run 1, Week 7 (BOHR): Arrrrgh, I Want My Weekends Back, @#*&$%!!!!


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Stats:

Weather Conditions:
Temp: 81° FHumidity: 56%
Warm-up Walk:Start Time: 9:46 am
Distance: 0.39 miTime: 6:26 minAvg Pace: 16:25 min/miCalories Burned: 40
Run:
Start Time:
10:17 pm
Distance: 3.14 miTime: 33:21 minAvg Pace: 10:35 min/miCalories Burned: 327
Cool-down walk:
Start Time: 10:51 pmDistance: 0.14 miTime: 2:59 min
Avg Pace: 20:36 min/miCalories Burned: 15

I left the house around 9:30 am this morning, carrying a few plastic bags of bread down to the lake to feed the ducks & geese, before the start of my run. On the way there, I encountered a friendly senior couple who were grinning very widely at me (i.e., picture the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland & you'll have a close approximation of their facial expressions!). Apparently, I was the source of much amusement to them. Whatever it was, I was clearly doing something incredibly funny, although, at first, I had no idea why. I thought maybe I'd unwittingly walked out of my house with a long train of toilet paper trailing behind me like a tail, possibly attached to my shoe or some other appendage. ;-)

Then, I'd suddenly became conscious of the fact that I was carrying 3 large loaves of bread. ;-)

It must've been a funny sight. I had a large clear plastic bag of hamburger buns, a large half loaf of sourdough (which I ended up discarding due to some large & previously heretofore unnoticed patches of encroaching mold - Yikes!), & some large slices of pita bread. (Clearly, the birds were in for an enormous feast of epic proportions!) Then the lady's smile got even wider as she said, "Feeding the ducks today, are we?!" They asked me a few more questions, so I stopped to chat with them for a brief while; the lady inquired if I'd seen the new duckling at the lake, ("Yes, I had, & it was very cute!", etc., etc. See this blog post to read my comments about that very same duckling....) & I commented upon their little white fluffy dog, who was clearly enjoying himself, as he was rolling in the grass. He was very attached to that grass (ahem, might I add, a little bit too attached, in fact!), & wasn't about to leave it anytime soon. The gentleman started talking about his dog some, & it was clear that they wanted to chat more. Normally, I would've talked longer, as it was a weekend (& most of the universe has weekends off!), but since I have to go into work today & was again pressed for time, I had to politely disengage & go about my way. I wished them a good afternoon, & quickly scuttled off to the lake. I felt badly about having to leave; it must've seen a tad bit abrupt, & it was not my intention to be rude. All the same, I didn't feel the need to explain my situation -- they were friendly strangers & I was in a hurry to complete my workout.

Most people aren't cognizant of other people's schedules that are different from their own. And most people also typically assume everyone else works the same schedule as they do, & they tend to forget about people who work alternate schedules. Now this couple was obviously retired, so they probably weren't thinking any thoughts about anyone's work schedules, whether they were (8 or) 9-5 Monday-Friday, or anything else for that matter! ;-)

Still, had I been working a typical schedule, I would've had the weekend off, & would've had plenty of leisure time to chat, feed the ducks (or do whatever!), & also complete my workout.

I absolutely hate feeling rushed. Sigh.

Anyhow, onto the run. I made sure I was well-hydrated before I'd left the house. I knew it was going to be hot outside today, so I drank about 1/2 a bottle of water before heading out the door. Er, it was a bit too much water. About 3/4 of a lap into my run around the lake, I had to make a pit-stop. ;-) So, of course I paused the Nike+iPod workout & headed to the nearest, open place of business en route. The only problem was when I returned to the trail, the Nike+iPod wouldn't let me resume the current workout, since apparently too much time had elapsed. I was very annoyed at the fact that the Nike+iPod wasn't allowing me to pick up where I left off. After that, I only had two options, "Cancel workout" & "delete workout." Clearly, not what I wanted to do. ;-)

After all, the "Pause workout" button doesn't specify exactly how many minutes can elapse before you need to un-pause it, in order for you to NOT lose your place & still be able to resume your workout.

I wasn't expecting the Nike+iPod to unintentionally end the workout! So that threw me off a bit. I figured at that point, I might as well walk the rest of the lap, & then stretch for a few minutes near the starting point, which is exactly what I did.

I think the extra three quarters of a lap also sapped a bit of my energy, as I was planning on running 4 laps in 30-31 minutes, & had expended a bit of that energy prematurely running the "false starter" lap. ;-) I didn't go into the run with a bad attitude or anything, but all the same, I found that I was feeling rather sluggish through a good bit of the run. Of course, by the time I started up again, it was a bit later in the day, & thus, a bit hotter. However, the air wasn't humid & it was still very pleasant, even if the temperature had risen from 75 degrees to 81 degrees over the span of that hour. (The entire workout took an hour from start to finish, including the walks, stretching, the 33+ minute run, & the extra 3/4 lap).

Yeah, it was hot, it was a bit later than my usual running time, (& as a result I had an empty stomach for a bit too long - i.e., nourishment was needed for more energy!), but I was sufficiently hydrated & initially my energy level was pretty good. So imagine my surprise when I came in on the finish, barely eking out a 33 minute run, which is, in reality, closer to an 11 min/mi pace (!); I don't care what that Nike+iPod says. I've timed this distance before, & I know what the pace breakdowns are by both distance & time. Yes, that's how many times I've run around the lake. ;-)

And, as for the tail end of the workout, I'm going to pretty much ignore the stats for the cool-down walk, because I started walking immediately after the run & forgot to set the timer. By the time I'd remembered I was already several minutes into my walk, & had only timed a few minutes of the whole thing. Part of the reason the Nike+iPod records such slow times for the walk is that I ended up doing several flights of stairs to stretch my legs out even more. ;-)

Anyhow, that's it for today's post. I've got to go hop in the shower & get ready for work.

Have a great afternoon & enjoy the beautiful sunshine! (Hopefully, it's nice & sunny wherever you are. ;-) )

-C

P.S. And enjoy your weekends, you lucky ducks! (While most people surely look forward to the weekends, most people don't pine after them in the same way I currently do. I never really used to think about it off so much before, but now that weekends have become a rare & precious commodity -- I rarely have two days off in a row (let alone two weekend days in a row) -- and I miss them terribly! I want to go back to a normal schedule SO much. It's bugging me to no end. I need a regular schedule; I don't do well without one. Plus, I consider my time-off to be sacred. And when I have to go to work the next day after already working 7 days in a row, I'm frankly going to be a little crabby & resentful about it. Two consecutive days off in a row is so important to have. It's disruptive to have to go back to work the next day, & I typically get far less sleep & time to rest & relax as a result. Sure, we work to have money to live, but I never thought I'd crave weekends like they were chocolate. ;-)

Friday, July 25, 2008

2 Thank You For Your Comments, Emails, & Support


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Hi Everyone,
Just a word to say thank you for all of your comments, emails, & questions, & also to ask for your patience while you wait for me to get back to all of you. I am continually amazed by the sheer volume of emails & comments I've receive on a daily basis from so many of you, & also ask for your patience in waiting for my responses!

As I've mentioned before, due to the nature of my job, I now have a weird schedule & also no longer have access to a computer during the day, so there's less time all-around for blogging (i.e., hence all of the backdated posts!) & responding to electronic communications. In other words, sometimes stuff just falls through the cracks. So if I haven't yet responded to you, please don't take it personally. I really do want to respond to as many of you as possible; it's just that I don't have as much time on my hands as I used to have & frankly, am feeling a tad bit overwhelmed trying to juggle everything in my life right now.

Of course there has to be time for other life activities like eating, sleeping, exercising, running errands, & spending time with friends & family. ;-) Maybe I should tack on the bit, "when I can" to that last sentence. You see, my crazy schedule also means that I'm finding there's less face time spent with family & friends, which none of us are liking in the least bit. I'll be lucky if we can coordinate a phone call here & there these days, so it's mostly been a lot of back-&-forth emails, & not a whole lot of talking on the phone anymore.

Additionally, to complicate things even further, there are other significant activities on my plate right now that have to take precedence over probably every other activity except eating, sleeping, & exercising. These activities are related to the sentiments expressed in the previous paragraph. And that's all I'll say. ;-)

The amount of activities I squeeze into a day are simply mind-boggling, & lately I feel like I'm juggling a few too many. And of course, that means that a lot of balls get dropped in the process.

So please be patient & hang in there, because I'll most likely be hanging in there right along with you! ;-)

-C

2 D1W2 (HPC): La Dee Dah, Another Pushups Workout Checked Off My List


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Today's pushup workout called for intervals of 12, 12, 9, 7, & a max of atleast 10 pushups. Here's what I did: 12, 12, 9, 7, 25.

Right now my arms feel a bit like warm jelly. And that's perfectly OK, just as long as they don't look like it too! ;-) If I can just keep this up, I don't think I'll have to worry too much about that.

On that note, I'm going to ask Cymrusteve what he plans to do once he completes the hundred pushups program. He's nearing in on the finish, so I bet he's been thinking about his next strength training program..... Steve, if you happen to be reading this post, can you tell me: "What are you doing to do to maintain your arm strength?" I'm curious to know more about your next steps to maintain &/or improve your arm strength, & I'm sure others are as well.

Have a great morning!

-C

Thursday, July 24, 2008

0 Run 3, Week 6 (BOHR): A Perfect Night For A Run!


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Stats:
Weather Conditions:
Temp: 70° FHumidity: 65%
Warm-up Walk:Start Time: 10:39 pm
Distance: 0.40 miTime: 6:00 minAvg Pace: 14:45 min/miCalories Burned: 42
Run:
Start Time:
10:45 pm
Distance: 4.05 miTime: 41:02 minAvg Pace: 10:07 min/miCalories Burned: 421
Cool-down walk:
Start Time: 11:27 pmDistance: 0.57 miTime: 9:00 min
Avg Pace: 15:47 min/miCalories Burned: 59

I ran 5.25 laps tonight, or approximately 4 mi. According to my Nike+iPod stats, I ran the first mile at a pace of 9:52 min/mi, the second in 11:39 min/mi, the third in 9:40 min/mi, & the fourth in 10:09 min/mi, & the last little bit (i.e., 0.05 mi) in 9:56 min/mi. That means my usual distance of 2.96 miles, or 4 laps around the lake, was completed in roughly 31:00 min, or an average pace of 10:28 min/mi (according to my own calculations & not the Nike+iPos pedometer!).]

Although the Nike+iPod pedometer reported that I did an average pace of 10:07 min/mi, I'm continuing to doubt the accuracy of those figures, based on the fact that the math just doesn't add up: If I calculate my pace using the total time in minutes (as recorded by the Nike+iPod, i.e., the only figure that seems to be accurate!) divided by previously established distance measurements (as specified by the lake's property manager himself), which are fairly accurate (i.e., 1 lap = 0.74 mi; 4 laps = 2.96 mi.; 5.25 laps = 3.885 mi), I come up with a much slower average pace of 10:33:43 min/mi for those 5.25 laps. This is the figure I'd rather go with for now, as it looks like my previous data doesn't jive with reality. Common sense tells me that some of the numbers have got to be off. Looks like I'll be recalibrating my Nike+iPod in the near future!

Other observations: I felt really strong during tonight's run. My energy was high throughout the run: Even by the final lap, I still had lots of energy & put in a strong finish.

There were a few reasons why the run went so well: I was well-prepared (i.e., well-hydrated & nourished), it was nighttime & the temperature was perfect for running (temperate, cool, & breezy!), & my body is becoming better conditioned. ;-)

Before heading out for tonight's run, I took some advance precautions: In order to counter the mild initial physical hunger I was feeling, I nibbled on a few grape tomatoes for a natural sugar infusion. I hadn't eaten anything very significant since about 2 pm (aside from a small dried fruit strip around 5 pm!) & was feeling slightly peaked. That helped to boost my energy.

Also, since I didn't want to be weighed down by my Nathan hydration system tonight, I made a point of drinking a 1/2 liter bottle of water before walking out the door for my run. That took care of any potential hydration issues. Of course, on that note, it also helped a great deal that I was running at night, in much cooler temperatures. Night running in cooler temperatures means that there's a lot less water to drink! (A person can go through a lot of water running in the heat & humidity!) No need to load up on all that water like a swishing human water tank!

And finally, it also helped that the weather was perfect: Not only were the cooler temperatures more conducive to running, but they also really lifted my spirits tonight (not that they needed lifting!). It's just that I really enjoy night running in general (so much more so than early morning or early evening runs!), & even more so when the weather's this beautiful! What's not to like!

Have a great night!
-C

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

4 D3W1 (HPC): Another Day, Another Challenge


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I have zero time to write this, so here it goes, really fast!

Today's pushup workout called for intervals of 15, 13, 10, 10, & a max of atleast 15 pushups. Here's what I did: 15, 13, 10, 10, 30.

I doubled the minimum max on the last set - Who-hoooo! I'm definitely getting stronger.

And before you say anything, yes I realize that I didn't post about yesterday's pushup workout. That's because I didn't do it until today. I got sidetracked by my day off. ;-)

Hope you're all having a great Wednesday! Bye!
-C

2 More Posts to Come.......


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I just finished up a short little backdated post, called "Is She Serious? If You Have To Ask....". Yes, it's all about humor & blogging, & oh yeah, there's nothing even remotely related to running in this post. Ooops. ;-)

Just for the heck of it, I'm going to dedicate that post to a very funny runner-blogger pal of mine, Dave G., who naturally cracks people up without even trying. 8-) This guy is funny!

More people need to discover his blog. Not only is he a highly entertaining writer, but there's a lot of interesting & useful information in his blog. So check it out!

(Next up: A current post about my latest pushups workout. ;-) )

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

0 Run 2, Week 6 (BOHR): Pretty Good Run (For Only An Hour's Sleep The Night Before!)


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Stats:
Weather Conditions:
Temp: 75° FHumidity: 70%
Warm-up Walk:Start Time: 7:49 am
Distance: 0.39 miTime: 6:14 minAvg Pace: 15:49 min/miCalories Burned: 41
Run:
Start Time:
7:56 am
Distance: 3.19 miTime: 33:08 minAvg Pace: 10:22 min/miCalories Burned: 332
Cool-down walk:
Start Time: 8:31 am (?)Distance: ?Time: ?
Avg Pace: ?Calories Burned: ?

Today's my day off, but I still have to be at a 9 am meeting at work (which doesn't really make it feel like a day off, since the meeting's often run until noon & I can't sleep in -- Hmmmph!), so this is going to be my shortest post ever. ;-)

It was fairly hot & humid this morning, despite the fact that I actually made it out the door before 8 am. ;-) However, it didn't feel so daunting, since I was armed with my Nathan hydration system, this time stocked with two 10 oz. bottles. ;-)

By the end of the run I emptied both bottles. I was a bit tired from blogging nonstop the other night. (Don't ask what got into me. It was one of those nights in which I just had to write, & apparently, it was more important than getting sleep. ;-) ) Of course, I had to go to work the next day, but was surprisingly awake. And then, the other "of course" is that I paid the price a bit this morning during my run (!) -- I ran a bit slower today, although it still was a pretty good run even if you remove the "lack of sleep" factor.

OK, got to get ready for the meeting. Will probably blog a bit more about the run later, & will also do my pushups after I get back from the meeting. More posts to come.

Have a good morning,
-C

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Update (added on Tuesday, 7/22/08 @9:54 am): As promised, I'm adding additional info that I didn't have time to add the first time around, since I was rushing off to a meeting, (which they didn't cancel until I'd already gotten to work -- No comment!!!).

So, I noticed some more familiar strangers today. There was a senior-aged guy there (with his wife -- they looked like they were in their mid-to-late sixties or possibly early seventies), who'd started off walking, ran a lap, & then rejoined his wife as she was making her way around the lake. During the fellow's lap of running around the lake, he smiled at me in recognition as we passed each other; I smiled at the wife, but she didn't see me; she was clearly in her own world, deep in thought.

The funny thing is that I think I might've seen this very same guy running the Twilighter earlier this week. Not 100% sure if it was him or not at the race, since I wasn't really paying attention when the person who looked sort of like him was crossing the finish line. (It was hard to get a good look at the fellow's face during the race; he'd whizzed by pretty fast!) The fellow at the lake had a very short running stride, but I can't recall if it was similar enough to the guy I'd seen finish the race.

I wanted to ask him if that'd been him I'd seen running in the race this weekend, but I'd stopped short of asking, since I was in a hurry to finish today's run. So, smiling at each other was pretty much the extent of our social exchange.

[Normally, I'm fairly outgoing (& when so inclined, can typically approach familiar strangers & even absolute strangers with relative ease), but today I was feeling a bit tired, & also, there wasn't really an opportunity to ask. By that point, I was running & he'd stopped to walk. Frankly, I'd have to have slowed down to get the question in & wait for the answer, & today wasn't the time for that, since I was already pressed for time. And anyhow, I was only mildly curious. ;-) ]

There's also a grey-haired man who always seems to be walking around the lake in the morning the same time I'm running around it. I'd gauge his age as somewhere in the late fifties or early sixties. He wears the same Oakley-esque sunglasses & typically wears a grey or light-colored shirt & white shorts. By this point, we are well aware of each other. ;-)

I didn't see the speedy gentleman (runner) with the curly greyish-brown hair & beard today, & haven't seen him very much at all lately at the lake, but that's because lately I've done more night & indoor treadmill runs. ;-)

As far as additional details about the run itself: Other than feeling slightly tired (you'd have thought it'd have been more than just slightly, but it wasn't!), my stomach wasn't cooperating. Of course, it was my own damned fault, since I'd downed the vitamins & glucosamine chondroitin shortly before heading out for my run. I tried to mitigate the nausea with a sip of milk (OK, I admit that since I was in a hurry, I drank from the carton -- Shhhh, don't tell anyone! ;-) ), to coat the stomach, but it didn't seem to help enough.

I felt rushed doing my walk this morning, & perhaps didn't have enough time to allow my stomach to settle. But it did get a lot better by the second lap. I ran what felt like a very moderate pace, & it was only until the final lap that I really turned on the turbo-charge. ;-)

Part of the reason that I didn't run my usual pace for the first three laps was certainly due to the lack of sleep, but the other part was that I felt fairly nauseous for about half of my run. When I sped up, my stomach revolted. ;-) My body usually sends me unmistakably direct signals, & has its own way of letting me know what it can handle. And it was clear that my stomach was giving me instructions to not go any faster, lest it take action & send me second-&-much-less-pleasant message. ;-) (I absolutely abhor throwing up; OK, certainly no one really likes it, but it's probably on my top-10 list of most un-favorite experiences. ;-) )

At any rate, the legs, heart, & lungs felt good though, even in the heat & high humidity, & I'm sure that under different circumstances, & with the cooperation of my stomach, that I could've done a lot better. But it is what it is, & I'm not going to get my knickers in a bunch over it. ;-)

I know I definitely motored the last lap. My stomach did surprisingly well on the final lap, so there wasn't too much nausea to contend with at that point.

All in all, it was a decent run. I think I'm going to make a point of going to bed early tonight.

OK, now it's time to do those pushups.......

0 Weigh-In: It's Good News All Around!


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I weighed myself this morning before my run & was pleasantly surprised to discover that I'd lost 1.8 lbs & 1.4% BF since 7/16/08. Now, I am only 6.6 lbs. aways from goal weight! I have a bit more to go on the BF% front, being about 22% to goal at this point. (I seem to have lost a tiny bit of ground on that front, slipping back 2%, from being 24% to goal just 8 days ago.)

And speaking of posts about weight-loss progress (i.e., weigh-ins!), I've completed yet another brief backdated post on this very topic, which you can view here. Enjoy!

Monday, July 21, 2008

1 HundredPushups.com Mentioned On Major Websites!


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I couldn't help but notice that my pal Cymrusteve's pushup website, HundredPushups.com, has been getting a great deal of notice lately on the internet. The number of people who've officially signed up for the pushup challenge itself (& who are also blogging about it!) is certainly awe-inspiring. And the amount of press this site is getting is simply staggering. Way to go, Steve!

Check out the following articles:

AppsScout.com article

Lifehacker.com article -- The Lifehacker.com article has 2711 Diggs! (on Digg.com)

There are even You Tube videos of people doing the hundred pushups program. ;-)

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So of course I had to congratulate Steve, in the form of an enthusiastic comment on his running blog:


Hi Steve,

I’m sure you’ve probably already seen this link, but congrats for getting lots of great press from Lifehacker.com for your Hundred Pushups website. That’s truly awesome! ;-)

As of today, the Lifehacker article has gotten 172,301 views & 119 comments - Wow! Talk about some great PR. ;-)

Looks like you’ve started a push-up revolution!

-C

7 Ladies, Please Join Us to Become Lean, Mean "Hundred Pushups" Queens!


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I'd like to encourage more people to join us & participate in the Hundred Pushups Challenge. Well, what are you waiting for?! 8-)

Now, I know an awful lot of guys who are doing this program, but we also need the ladies to adequately represent here, OK?! It seems that there are only a scant few ladies doing the Hundred Pushups Challenge right now -- And among them are fellow runner-blogger, kch (i.e., Kristen) of Run Faster, who is one of the brave ladies currently taking the challenge along with me & a few others.

Why so few ladies? What's up with this?! Surely, there've got to be some gutsy, strong women out there who're just chomping at the bit for the opportunity to step up to the plate & go for it?!

So whom else amongst the ladies has the courage & the feistiness to join us?! Where's your pluck & your steely, almost-supernatural resolve? Ladies, it'd certainly be nice to have more (female) company here. So, c'mon & join us!

To spark a fire (or perhaps I should say, "light a fire under some derrières" ;-) ) & generate some fun, motivational impetus to encourage other women to join, I'm starting the "I Am A Lean, Mean, Hundred Pushups Queen" club, (or the "Hundred Pushups Queens" for short).

Here's how it works: Ladies, after you sign up for the Hundred Pushups challenge, please email me or drop me a comment to let me know that you've joined the Hundred Pushups Challenge participants list.

(Also, when you join, please don't forget to email Cymrusteve, so he can add your blog to his ever-growing list of Hundred Pushups participants.)

Once I've gotten confirmation that you've committed to the program, I will add you & your blog to the eponymously-named link list on the front page of my blog. In fact, you'll even get top billing, at the upper left sidebar of my blog.

I'd like to see this group grow to be a hundred strong! So how about it?!

And ladies, please, let's not make excuses or shortchange ourselves by giving into the stereotypical, old-school notion that we ladies "just have to accept that our arms just aren't very (naturally) strong." That's someone else's label from another era, & those outmoded notions just don't hold any water anymore. Why let other people's expectations & perceptions of our bodies determine how we see ourselves? So there, take that & stuff it in your front shirt pocket! (And if you are in fact, actually doing the Hundred Pushups Challenge, then that shirt pocket will be adjacent to some very well-toned arms! LOL.)

Speaking of which, if there are any ladies out there in the blogosphere who want to firm up their underarm muscles (& eliminate the dreaded "flabby underarm" syndrome which typically plagues so many women), let me tell you, pushups are a quick & highly effective way to do this!

Sure you could do kick-backs with free weights to achieve the same effect, but the really cool thing about doing pushups (instead) is that it doesn't just strength your triceps; it will also strength multiple muscle groups at once -- your triceps, pecs, abs, shoulder muscles, etc. It's like a fierce four-pronged attack! ;-) Just think of the amazing upper body definition you'll have after working your way through this program.....

Here are some other reasons to join: The triceps are a typically underused muscle for us ladies. Unless women are doing exercises specifically geared towards strengthening their triceps, chances are that this muscle group will typically be neglected. But of course, you can change all this, simply by doing pushups on a regular basis.

And guess what?! There's yet more impetus for the ladies to join the program: As a woman, you'll be able to honestly say that you're most likely stronger than the average female. ;-)

Then you can do your best Hans & Franz SNL impersonation & say things like, "Ja, I break you in two, like tiny little twig." ;-)



Goodnight! (Er, that'd be good morning now.... ;-) )
-C

0 D2W1 (HPC): The Pushups are Done; Can I Go To Sleep Now?! ;-)


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Got to get to bed soon, so this post's going to be super short: Today's pushup workout called for intervals of 12, 12, 10, 10, & a max of atleast 10 pushups. Here's what I did: 12, 12, 10, 10, 15. (And tonight, while I rested less than 90 seconds between the first three sets, I did, in fact, take the full 90 seconds of rest preceding the last 2 pushup intervals.)

Even though my arms started to shake around the 8th pushup of the 4th interval set, I was still determined to squeak out 15 pushups on my last set, in order to equal the max set I did on Day 1. Oh, were my arms feeling it on the last set. Ouch! Boy, am I happy that tonight's pushup workout is over.

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The one concern I have is that I'm only two days into the program, & already I feel fairly sore during the final two interval sets. At this rate, how am I going to make it through to Week 6?! Frankly, when I'm getting ready (i.e., mentally preparing) to do my pushups, I usually can't think past completing the next interval set of my current pushup workout!

So, is it normal to be so fatigued during the final max set so early into the program? Should my arms be ready to give out by the last 5 pushups of the last interval so early into the workout program?! Is that a good sign, because it means that I'm putting in the effort & really working my triceps to the max?! Or is it because, maybe after all, I should really be resting the full 90 seconds between all of the intervals?!

I also wonder, am I really doing enough pushups for the max set?! What's the norm for other ladies out there who're doing max sets? Also, I'm curious to know how many ladies are doing girl-style pushups & how many ladies are gutting it out with regular, full-on pushups?!

[Frankly, I've always thought of myself as a person with a great deal of arm strength -- This is honestly not said to brag, but I often find that I'm (naturally) much stronger than the majority of women I know/encounter. However, right now, my biceps are definitely stronger than my triceps -- i.e., one of the primary muscle groups used/exercised during a pushups workout. For the ladies who are doing this pushups program, how do you think you stack up against other women in terms of arm strength? Would you say that your arm strength is above-average, below-average, or just average?! How many pushups can do you do? And how many pounds can you typically lift above your head?! I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic.]

Anyone (in general) care to compare notes & voice their opinion about their own HPC experiences?! How are the rest of you finding this workout?! At what point in your interval sets do your arms usually start fatiguing?!

OK, hope you all have a good night!

-C

Sunday, July 20, 2008

0 Run 1, Week 6 (BOHR): A Faster Treadmill Run


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Stats:

Run:
Start Time:
10:25 pm
Distance: 3.20 mi
Time: 30:10 min
Average Pace: 9:25 min/mi
Calories Burned: 333
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It was raining quite furiously after I got home from work tonight, so I headed into the gym to do a treadmill run. I came in there with the full intention of doing my workout immediately upon my arrival & then leaving shortly thereafter. I would've finished my workout in about 40 minutes max. However, the only obstacle to this outcome was an unintentional & quite annoying social interaction that I don't feel like explaining -- Let's just say that I was on the receiving end of a very long, one-sided conversation (i.e., a never-ending monologue from an absolute stranger) that I really didn't want to be part of! (Cringe, cringe.)

I tried to disengage at several points during the never-ending monologue, but the person obviously wasn't getting the hint, nor did they seem to care much to whom they told their story. All he wanted to do was talk to someone -- anyone really -- nonstop. I might've just as well have been a tape recorder. ;-) In fact, I wish I could've just replaced myself with one of those cardboard-poster replicas of myself & made a run for the door. ;-) The poor fellow on the treadmill next to me had been the previous "victim"; I should've paid more attention to the fact that he'd completed his workout in a hurry & had scooted off in a mad dash, as if to escape from literally being kept as a "captive audience." About half-way through, I seriously contemplated walking out while the person (i.e., said source of my annoyance!) was in mid-sentence. This mind-blowingly selfish person obviously made it plain that they didn't care about me, so why should I be emotionally invested in such a person? I'm not typically a rude person, but this individual was serious pushing the limits of civil discourse & my patience! And he was seriously infringing upon my time.

We all (unfortunately!) know or have met people like this. They are negative, unhappy, self-centered, indiscreet, & only care about expressing their own thoughts & emotions at the expense of everybody else's.

This is yet another reason why I prefer running outdoors to indoor/gym workouts; unwanted social interactions can be kept to a minimum because you're not going to slow down to stop & talk! ;-) Plus, if you wear headphones, you can block out the rest of the noise around you & just focus on your workout. Either that, or you can always pretend like you don't hear the noise around you. ;-) (And since I usually don't run on the street & make a point of either running in well-populated areas or with others, the obvious safety issues & concerns surrounding the impact of running with headphones are kept to a minimum.)

Next time, I'm going to walk into the gym with my headphones already on, in order to avoid these sorts of strange & unwelcome interactions! (I don't mind a little bit of light, friendly chat, but some people really need to learn the difference between a brief chat & bending someone's ear to point of almost snapping it off! :-) It's also highly inconsiderate behavior, since the other person was so self-absorbed that they obviously didn't care if I or anyone else in the gym that night finished their workout or not.)

I ended up walking for 45+ minutes instead, waiting for the gym to clear out (Hint, hint! ;-) ), & then doing my 30-minute workout. What a warm-up, eh?! ;-)

The cool-down walk was only a mere 6 minutes, which seemed like a drop in the bucket compared to all of the other time I spent (or rather, wasted!) in the gym tonight, (not counting the actual workout of course!).

(In hindsight, I should've just left the gym & worked out outside; the rain had stopped after about 20 minutes, & it would've been a much more pleasant & cooler experience on multiple levels. ;-) )

Anyhow, despite the above minor inconvenience, I had a great run. I really made a concerted effort to keep my heart rate up for the whole 30 minutes. I kept the speed on the treadmill above 6 for most of the workout, & even ran at 6.2 for about 10 minutes. I gave myself brief recovery periods of a few seconds here & there -- where I dropped the speed down to 5.8 & 5.9, -- however, then I soon pumped up the speed again, back to 6 & above.

OK, well it's now a minute past midnight & I still have yet to do my pushups. OK, here goes...... I'll posting another update very shortly.

Have a great night!
-C

Saturday, July 19, 2008

0 Is She Serious?! If You Have to Ask.....


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If you haven't gathered by now, one of the qualities I find completely irresistible in other people is a good sense of humor. I'll take a witty chap over a dull one any day of the week. ;-)

Intelligence, character, honesty, intellectual & emotional depth, & compassion obviously rank very high in my book, but if these qualities aren't tempered with humor, to me they seem to lose a bit of their luster. Or, put another way, wit is the spark that makes the other qualities sparkle. ;-)

It's also the salve that binds. Sorry to say it, kiddies, but that Mary Poppins chick got it all wrong. Humor is the "little bit of sugar that makes the medicine go down." ;-) (And anyhow, too much unrefined sugar can really do you in! LOL.) As Oscar Wilde once famously said, " If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you." ;-) And if those people are laughing, then just maybe they won't bludgeon you over the head for telling them what they need to hear. ;-)

Sure, the early bird might get the worm, & the tortoise often beats the hare, but the cheekiest little monkey acquires more than just another pile of bananas. ;-)

And frankly, if you find yourself taking life or yourself too seriously for too much of the time, you should probably be fined by the "Department of Humor Correction" for being entirely too un-fun, & then carted away to the Department of Humor Analysis at the Humor Research Center for "funny bone" testing. There, you'll be lined up against the wall by the "laugh riot" firing squad, & then be pelted mercilessly with rubber chickens. ;-)

Sure, I can be serious at times, but if you take me or every single one of my posts 100% literally at all times, then you are just missing out on a whole lot of fun. And no, I'm not going to be putting a "humor alert" label on the exact posts which are supposed to be funny, ironic, or tongue-in-cheek, so you'll just have to figure out which ones I'm talking about here. ;-)

Obviously a serious dissertation on nutrition or long-distance race training can still be sprinkled with some amusing anecdotes here & there. Maybe it's just safer to assume that there'll be underlying strain of humor which runs throughout the course of this blog.

There are times you might be wondering,"Is she serious?" If you have to ask, then we're probably not on the same page. Or possibly not even from the same planet. ;-0 My native country is Freedonia, & if you don't know where that is on a map, then I just can't help you, my friend. ;-)

We'll have to bring in the laugh doctor to make it all better.

Friday, July 18, 2008

1 Yet Another Backdated Post.....


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Coming up with ideas for posts isn't usually a problem for me. However, since I've got so many ideas swirling around in my head, the issue then becomes actually having enough time to write & finish all of them!

Truth be told, this blog has just way too many posts just sitting around in draft form; and since some of them can be finished more quickly than others, the ones that are going to get published first are the posts which are basically finished but just need a bit of final editing before they "go to press." ;-) I'm slowly-but-surely checking those draft posts off my list, one by one, whenever I can squeak a small block of writing & editing time in there, but it's still going to take some time to get them all finished. So please just bear with me as I continue to announce the arrival of more backdated posts. I am hoping to end this trend at some point, but for now, there are still a few more to come.....

So here's the latest arrival: A (Not So) Brief Update Before My Workout Begins (originally from 7/10/08). Enjoy!

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As for what's just around the corner in the continuing series of backdated posts, I've got some very exciting & useful posts in store for you: There'll be the report of my fairly recent shopping excursions to buy running shoes & apparel, including a review of the apparel & shoes I tried on that day, as well as a discussion of gait analysis & other useful insights regarding the purchase of running shoes. Also, coming soon will be an article on the website, RunYourCity.com, an overview of the World Hash House Harriers (WH3), a report on sugar-free replenishment/recovery supplements, & a special, heartfelt tribute to my little sister. ;-)

So stay tuned for all of these posts & more!

Have a good night!
-C

3 D1W1 (HPC): Starting From Scratch, & This Time Correctly!


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I have zero time to write this, so it's going to be quick. Today's pushup workout called for intervals of 10, 10, 8, 6, & a max of atleast 7 pushups. Here's what I did: 10, 10, 8, 6, 15.

Not bad. I doubled the minimum "max." ;-)

OK, now I've really got to get out of here. Bye!

0 Adventures in Skorting


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I just took my running skort for its very first test drive. And by test-drive, I don't mean that it was a drive-by skorting, or anything. ;-) (Mrs. Doubtfire reference, anyone?! ;-) )

And no, in case you were wondering, there weren't any dramatic scenes involving skorts being angrily chucked at some unsuspecting passerby's head, flying full-speed out the window of a moving car, like a launching "What Not To Wear" projectile! Hahahaha! (Well, they really do chuck bad fashion statements into the garbage can with a vengeance on that show!)

OK, so wearing the skort wasn't that maddening of an experience! ;-) No, not at all! In fact, it was surprisingly pleasant. And instead of chucking it out a fast-moving vehicle (!), I wisely decided that it'd be far more useful to wear on the running path this morning. LOL.

As someone who was incredibly skeptical at first -- I was expecting the bike tights underneath to "ride up" on me & other such mishaps (!), I have to say that my first experience was much better than I thought it was going to be.

And to address Tootie's concerns, I have to say that, while I've only run 3.56 miles in the thing thus far, that I still wasn't pulling it down every 5 seconds. ;-)

So, here are my comparative observations thus far:

Wearing the running skort is certainly a whole lot better than wearing bike tights by themselves, that's for sure! I'm mainly talking about those really short bike tights, which I detest wearing. Now those I'm forever pulling down while running, which is why I haven't worn them in ages.

(The longer bike tights that hit slightly above the knee, & the capri length ones provide way more coverage -- Now those I actually like!)

And wearing the running skort is also definitely better than wearing athletic shorts. Of course, women who are built like "pick-up sticks" (i.e., straight figure, no waist, no rear, with long skinny legs), or like swimmers or gymnasts (i.e., muscle-y, athletic build, with broad shoulders & a tiny waist & even tinier rear end!), are likely to disagree with me, but that's OK, because they probably look absolutely fine in shorts! ;-)

However, those of you ladies with a figure similar to mine probably already understand why I detest running shorts so much. ;-) (I'm sure many of you ladies are probably nodding your head right now, knowing what's coming next!) You see, I've got a hourglass shape, but also have got muscles. In other words, I don't exactly look like I'll be blowing over like a wilting lettuce leaf anytime soon. ;-) Now you might say, "Well, if you're trim & in shape, then why don't you like wearing shorts? Well, while my leg muscles might not be the issue, it's my rear end that wouldn't be thanking me any! LOL.

In fact, I'd venture to say that most athletic shorts do horrible things to a woman's rear end. (Now, I'm not talking about you "stick-people." You probably can wear a big "X-marks-the-spot" on your rear end & still look good! ;-) )

But if you've got an hourglass shape, & either have a muscle-y rear-end or have the slightest bit of flab anywhere in the lower half of your body, athletic shorts can be merciless! They are way too short & usually puff out like a balloon in the front -- creating the appearance of an "extra stomach" that really isn't there ("Moo!" -- one stomach is enough for me, thank you very much!), & on the back end, they have the effect of making one's rear-end look like it's been compressed into sausage-casing, which is not a good thing, in case you were wondering. ;-)

OK, I know this post wasn't supposed to be about shorts, but I just couldn't contain myself. The shorts comments just had to be said. ;-0

And thus having gotten that out of my system, let's now return to our discussion on running skorts, shall we?!

Since I was just talking about fit & flattery, I'd also like to point out that running skirts are a lot more flattering to the bod than shorts or bike tights. I'd have to agree with Blaine's female runner friends on that one!

Also, there's one small detail which has greatly influenced my opinion of the running skirt/skort: My current body image.

I have to admit that I probably wouldn't have had the guts to attempt a look like this around the same time last year. And it's not just from the perspective of body image alone: My legs weren't as trim as they are now, & frankly, it just wouldn't have been as comfortable! I will not elaborate on the reasons why, but if you'll remember my earlier references about chafing..... Ahem. And that's all I'll say on the subject. ;-)

While I tested out the skort earlier in the morning, with the express purpose of avoiding creepy dudes that like to stare at women in skirts (!), I still got one or two cringe-worthy stares. One stare was from an older dude who waited until he thought I couldn't see him & then turned around & just stared! I felt like I should've been suited up with one of those protective X-ray pads that you wear in the dentist's office when they take an X-ray of your teeth or something. LOL. But if he thinks I didn't notice him staring from the corner of my eye, he was dead wrong: I clearly saw him turn around & stare. Ick, he was probably twice my age, & old enough to know better. Anyhow, the other dude was a gardener in his late twenties or early thirties, & made absolutely NO bones about concealing the fact that he was looking: He was staring me up & down like I was the sports section of a newspaper. ;-) I was not really that comfortable with either of these looks, but also realized that, had I been running in an area specifically designated for sports (like a few of the other lake & parks where I like to run), I might've felt a lot more comfortable being "in my element." And I very likely would not have been the only one there running in a running skirt/skort.

The other thing is that I could also get up even earlier to run, which would probably put me in the company of many more runners & thus, make me feel a lot more comfortable! ;-)

At any rate, one or two creepy stares are not going to stop me from wearing my skort; most people behaved themselves at the lake, & overall, it wasn't a huge deal.

On this subject, I often find that a lot of men are actually very sheepish about looking at women; of course how you decide to respond to it depends upon the particular guy & the situation. Of course, I'm talking about the kind of guy who's not just staring at a lady in order to admire her from afar; I'm talking about the other kind of male staring. Ladies & gents, you know what I'm talking about here. In the latter situations I described, I find that sometimes, if you stare right back at them, they will often back down & stop staring out of sheer embarrassment. (Some of them will be so shocked that you've got to moxy to stare right back at them, that it'll end the interaction almost immediately.) Either that, or you can ignore their stares altogether. Again, how the situation should be handled depends on the guy in question & the interaction itself (i.e., how passive or aggressive he is in his staring, verbalizations, or other manifestations). In any event, it's not about getting angry or aggressive, or having hostile confrontations with a complete stranger. (Of course, that could potentially be quite dangerous, & I'd never recommend that course of action.) However sometimes, it is about having the guts to stand your ground & assert yourself if the situation merits it. And asserting yourself can be simple as not letting these men intimidate you with their stares. ;-) After all, that's what most of these dudes want; they want to make you squirm & feel uncomfortable as they dissect your body with their eyes. It's less about physical attraction & more about power -- they obviously want to lord power over someone else, & unfortunately, in more cases than not, that means wanting to specifically lord their power over women. I'm guessing that these men were probably damaged by an unhealthy interaction with women at some point in their life, but that doesn't have to become your problem!

Like a Hitchcock movie, it's all about the "control of the gaze." And you can take that control back by not letting anyone intimidate you with their eyes.

[Explanation of the above reference: If you've ever watched a Hitchcock film, note how the women of his films typically start out wearing glasses, with their hair in a bun. The ones that aren't killed off typically end up with a "Hitchcockian makeover" -- all of a sudden, they "lose the glasses" ("Can they still see anything?! One wonders!.... Vertigo, indeed! Contacts or lasiks anyone?!" ;-) ) & that tight bun in their hair is gone. The loss of the glasses & the "letting down of one's hair" is, of course, highly symbolic. This "softening" of their look is not accidental: It almost always coincides with them no longer being in the driver's seat of their own destinies. It's all about control, baby! (Self-control, control over others, etc., etc.) Think "Marnie," "Rear Window," "Vertigo," "Psycho," "The Birds," "Shadow of A Doubt," "The Thirty Nine Steps," etc. Need I go on?! It's Hitchcock's ultimate fantasy: Women submitting to his will. ;-) Note the camera angles when women are on screen as opposed to the men. Hmmmm, what am I getting at here?! ;-)]

Personally, I don't like getting into situations with men that involve powerplay; it's usually more about them & their emotional needs, than it is about you. If you keep that in mind, then it really puts things in perspective. So sometimes, it's just smarter to ignore such attempts to demean you & walk away. Not engaging them at all in the first place is probably a whole lot safer. After all, you never know who these people are.

Anyhow, this wasn't meant to be a dissertation on sexual politics, but alas, for some reason, I keep getting distracted.

Well, on some levels, the running skort is a statement which does involve sexual politics, & I guess that is unavoidable on some levels. However, on a cheerier note, a lot of women report that, while wearing their running skirts, they feel both very powerful and feminine at the same time. And having run just one day in mine, I can see why they feel like that. The running skort is very liberating, both literally & figuratively speaking. ;-)

Also, just because there are men out there who have "Back-to-the-Stone-Age" sensibilities about women wearing running skirts or other flattering-but-tastefully-body-conscious apparel doesn't mean that we women should feel boxed in by these attitudes. I think that there are also plenty of guys who don't act like complete Neanderthals, & we women need to cheer more for men like this! I for one am very lucky to be with a forward-thinking guy who isn't threatened by female strength & intelligence! (And just so you know, that doesn't come at the expense of his own strength & intelligence!) So yay, Erik! 8-)

On this note, I'd just like to say that in our crazy, modern world, it's apparent that we need to bring healing to the men & women who feel wronged by each other & bridge the "vast divide" between the sexes. And that will only happen when both sides quit sparring with one another in the so-called "Battle of the Sexes," & instead see the beauty & validity of each other's existence. When we stop making overgeneralizations about "Mars & Venus," & instead see each person individually for who they are. OK, that it for today's treatise on "Sexual Politics & The Emergence of the Running Skirt in Popular Culture." I will now stop being serious, & go back to being the unintentional comedienne that you all know & love. ;-) ("Daaaaahlink, what would people think if I suddenly started to take myself & others too seriously?! If I start behaving myself now, it'd absolutely ruin my reputation!" ;-) )

OK, whoa, another tangent. I'm on a roll today. ;-)

So what else can I tell you about my running skirt experience? Aside from the experience turning into a deep exploration into the psyche of men & women ;-), sexual politics, & a foray into Fashion 101, I will have to give a surprising "thumbs up" to the experience as a whole.

Even though the skort was fairly short, I didn't find the coverage to be immodest. Now that doesn't mean I'll be wearing it into a Middle Eastern restaurant any time soon, but under the right circumstances & in the right environment, I would certainly feel comfortable wearing it again.

So, while it took me a while to accept the concept, I can now say that I've now warmed to the idea & have wholeheartedly enjoyed the experience of wearing my running skort. So it looks like I'll be buying a few more. ;-)

0 Run 3, Week 5 (BOHR): I'm Officially Half-way Thru The Program Now!


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Stats:
Weather Conditions:
Temp: 83° FHumidity: 57%
Warm-up Walk:Start Time: 8:36 am
Distance: 0.39 miTime: 6:01 minAvg Pace: 15:20 min/miCalories Burned: 40
Run:
Start Time:
8:43 am
Distance: 3.56 miTime: 38:02 minAvg Pace: 10:39 min/miCalories Burned: 371
Cool-down walk:
Start Time: 9:23 amDistance: 0.36 miTime: 6:01 min
Avg Pace: 16:36 min/miCalories Burned: 37

Whoah, it was a scorcher today. I knew I was in trouble when I got a late start this morning. All I had to do was look outside the window at the very bright sun, & I just knew it was going to be hot outside for this morning's run.

I sprung out of bed at 8 am (I'd forgotten to set my alarm clock the night before, having accidentally fallen asleep on the family room couch), but didn't get moving (i.e., wasn't very functional!) until about 8:15 am. [In my defense, I got home from work around 10:30 pm, so needless to say, I was a bit tired in the AM, & so, was not too eager to drag my carcass out of bed this morning. Let me add that I don't (ever) wake up with any caffeinated stimuli to get me going either. ;-)]

So I didn't get out of the door for my run until 8:30 am. (Ideally, I like to get on the running trail before 8 am.) By that time, the mercury had already risen to 83°F, & it was still well away from mid-afternoon, when the sun's usually the hottest, i.e., at its highest point in the sky. And, on top of that, the temperature is still climbing as I speak; it's supposed to reach 95°F by this afternoon. Uh-oh. It didn't look good.

Plus, admittedly, I was a bit, er, shall we say "less than enthusiastic"?!, about running this morning. ;-) Of course, I grumbled to Erik about not wanting to run this morning, but hey, give me some credit, I did it anyway! ;-)

Well, I dug my heels in & decided that, if it was going to be a hot one today, that I'd be adequately prepared for it. So, I pulled out the brand new running skort that I'd gotten at "Tar-jay," (i.e., the rather mocking, phony French pronunciation that everyone seems to use when referring to "Target." Of course, Target started the whole trend of high-brow designers creating chic-but-affordable items for the masses. OK, so they are basically a much hipper version of places like KMart & Kohl's. But enough fashion analysis, back to the running report..... ;-) ).

I'd originally slapped on my new black Adidas capris, (which I bought at R N J's & absolutely adore!) but then thought, "Well, I really should try the running skort; it'd probably be much cooler than the capris in this weather." Plus, I needed to get some first-hand experience wearing the skort, in order to write my review of it, since, as most of you know, I'd recently posted some very skeptical first impressions about the darned thing; also, I was curious to see if my experience of actually wearing the skort would differ any from those initial ideas.

Would I be a running skort convert?! Well, stay tuned to find out. [You can read my review of the thing as soon as I get the chance to write it (!). I've got to get ready for work soon -- it'll be another late one tonight -- so I don't know when I'll be able to post the review. Hopefully, I'll have time to post it over the next day or two.....]
I also tried out some other new running gear today -- the Nathan Speed 4 Energy Belt that I'd purchased on my previous trip to R N J Sports. The unit has 4 10-oz. flasks; for today's run, I removed all but one bottle in the front. In hindsight, that was probably a mistake, as there wasn't really enough water in that one bottle to get through a hot day like today. By the end of the second lap, I'd realized my error, after becoming exceptionally thirsty & then looking down rather dishearteningly at my 10 oz. bottle that was about three quarters full. However, I decided to sip moderately & conserve water for the remaining two laps still to come. Of course, I made the water last throughout the entire run, so I'd have just enough for the recovery afterwards, but it certainly wasn't enough. Not in the least. I really was craving another bottle by the third & fourth laps!

Since it was my first experience using the thing, I'm sure I'll get better at judging whether it's going to be a 1, 2, 3, or 4 bottle run. ;-) (I know there's also a formula for figuring out that sort of thing; was it on Runner's World or some site like that?! I know I saw it, but just can't remember where. Anyone know the link?! I'll probably look it up later. Anyhow......)

My initial thought when I'd stepped out the door this morning was that I didn't want to be weighed down by too much water. I was worried that the unit was going to jiggle & that the combined effect of the jiggling & the weight of the water would offset my balance. It did take some getting used to the thing, but then after a while it was fine. I've never worn the waist-belt hydration systems before, except for a small ungainly "fanny-pack-esque" kind with a single bottle, that wasn't really designed for running in the first place. (I'd worn that horrible unit out of desperation on a scorching hot day for one of my previous runs, but decided to never repeat the experience after feeling the water bottle bounce excessively as I was running. I must say, it was quite a jolting experience. ;-) After that, it was going to be a waist-belt hydration system, or nothing at all!)

At some point, I'll also post a review of the Nathan unit I bought as well. (On this subject, I'm also curious to try out the Amphipod hydration system, which I don't recall seeing at any of the running shops I visited, but seems to get consistently good reviews. I like Amphipod's bottle release mechanism & the easy way the water spout can be accessed, as well as the way the water valve mechanism can be securely turned on & off. I didn't bother with the Fuel Belt unit, because I didn't like the way it was constructed; the water units looked like they'd be much harder to put back in their stretch-strap holsters, which don't have any structure to them, unlike my current unit.)
Anyhow, I've really got to wrap up this post, do my pushups, & then hop in the shower.

So just a few final quick notes about the run itself: I did fairly well under the circumstances -- I was able to quickly readjust my attitude once I got on the road, & focus, as well as mitigate the effects of the heat by drinking a bottle of water before the run & another 10 oz. bottle during the run itself.

Don't get me wrong, it was still hot as Hades outside. I was of course, very thankful for the shady portions of the lake, which didn't seem to come around nearly as quickly (or as often!) as I would've liked.

There were a few other runners this morning -- or should I say, "masochists"! Hahahaha! I don't count myself among them, because my late start was unintentional; running in this kind of heat is certainly NOT something I seek out, nor do willingly by choice. ;-) ) None of the runners did anywhere near as many laps as me: The most that any of them did -- and it was only one guy -- was two laps; I did about 4 1/2 laps around the lake, so THERE! ;-) So I wasn't going to feel badly at all about any of them passing me. ;-)

On my first lap, there was a cute little, fuzzy white baby duckling by the lake, waddling around near its parents. By the third lap, the duckling was sleeping in a rather cute but awkward pose, as only new ducklings who are just getting used to their limbs can do! Of course, when I first saw the precious little duckling, my first thought was that I wished I'd have brought my mobile phone or digital camera along with me, because I'd have loved to have snapped some photos of the adorable little creature & its "duck family." But my second thought shortly thereafter was, "Wait, if I'd brought along those gadgets, that'd be another few ounces in weight...." And, on a hot day like today, the hydration system was just about all I could manage! ;-)

Of course, the "mama" & "papa" duck were very protective of their offspring, & one of them, most likely the mother duck, hissed at me the first time I passed by. I waved them off, as if to say, "Hiss all you want, it doesn't matter to me." It's not like I was going to get offended by something like that. ;-) Of course, I was more concerned with skirting around the minefield that was their droppings, which was like its own very challenging obstacle course. ;-)

Speaking of amusing observations & oddities, I also noticed something rather unintentionally funny. One of the gardeners was holding the water hose in between his legs as he was watering the flowers this morning. From far away, it looked like... well you get the idea. ;-) (It was like that scene from the third Austin Powers movie.... Those of you who've seen the last one know exactly which scene I'm talking about. ;-) ) I wondered if that gardener realized what (possibly alarming!) effect that might've had on some of the passerbys. ;-)

OK, so I didn't really talk that much about the run itself. ;-) There's not much to say about it except that I definitely felt the heat, but tried to make the best of it & keep pace as best I could. By the final lap, I'd picked up the pace somewhat -- mostly because I thought I should be able to finish atleast 4 1/2 laps around the lake in those 38 minutes. And I didn't want to just melt away into nothing. Plus, I had too much pride to just give up or give in at the end. I was still going to give it my all, even if I was melting in the process. ;-)

Also, one more detail of note: Since July 4th, I've stopped stretching at the half-way point of my runs. Instead, I've used my warm-up & cool-down walks as the stretches, & so far, I've felt perfectly OK. (I do walk a heck of a lot at work, so perhaps that's why I'm typically OK with minimal stretching.) This way, I also get a better sense of my "true" pace for the entire, uninterrupted distance. When I start doing longer distances, then maybe I'll make a point of doing a warm-stretch segment at the half-way point again.

OK, I've really got to hussle out of here, so that's it for today. Yikes, it's already 11:30 am now. Not sure if I'll have time for those pushups or the subsequent post. We'll see......

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