Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Running on the road

As I write this, I'm currently just starting my six hour bus ride to Rochester for the first part of my trip. I've gotten good at this trip and am armed with all the essentials: food, drink, travel pillow, blanket, and several forms of entertainment.

In my suitcase are two sets of workout gear, and am armband for my iPhone. On this trip I plan on testing the imapmyrun app to see how well it can record a route.

Yesterday's run went alright, I upped my pace (and therefore distance) but not my time, so I ran for 20 minutes at 5.2 mph, for a distace total (with 5 min warm up and 5 min cool down) of 2.17 miles. After the run I felt horrible, tired, achey, and slightly sick to my stomach. I blame the humidity and it being my TOM.

I guess we'll see how well I do running on pavement this week!

Still out of touch on vacation

I just wanted to update to let everyone know I'm still around, just a tad out of touch while i'm at my parents. I'm still updating my twitter occasionally and I'll be back to posting regularly again soon.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Kicking, Punching, Running, and Sweating.

Since yesterday was an "off day" for running, I decided to try one of the videos that Jillian Michaels had available on Netflix. I did her "Cardio Kickbox" routine. I ended up with a strange mix of being very sweaty and feeling like I worked hard, and yet, after how exhausted I was after her 30 Day Shred videos, feeling like I didn't work hard enough. Either way it was an enjoyable routine, which I do believe will make it into my regular rotation. I may have to consider buying the DVD eventually.

I'm continuing along with my slightly modified diet plan. I wouldn't even call it a plan per se, more like a guideline at this point. It's very simple: eat mostly fruits and veggies. For instance yesterday, I had a smoothie for breakfast (homemade fruit smoothies are my morning staple), a Mozzarella tomato and basil sandwich with fresh baby carrots on the side for lunch, and Burning Baked Tomato Eggplant (a unique experimental dish me and the S.O. made up while trying to figure out what to do with the Eggplant in our refrigerator) for dinner. Mostly fruits and Veggies, but lunch when a little off the path, what with the cheese and bread and all.

The next couple of weeks will be difficult, diet wise, as we are traveling (once again) to go visit family. As awesome as it is spending a whole week in the finger lakes, one of the big traditions is family dinners. Each "family" gets a night to cook for everyone (there are like 10 or 15 people on this side of my S.O.'s family now, what with cousins and girlfriends and wives and such - and this is the *small* side) and everyone sits down and eats together for dinner each night. Really awesome, except that most of the food isn't always diet friendly (although they do try to keep it healthy.)

So I'm packing my running gear, and yes (gulp) my swimsuit, and I'm hoping to get enough exercise to make up for what will undoubtedly be a delicious week long feast. I am also planning on grabbing lots of fruits and veggies at the store to pack our fridge with (we're in individual cabins), and I'm going to try my hardest to eat sensibly at dinner (no fourth helpings! No matter how tasty it is!)

Hopefully this will be a successful experiment, but either way I'm looking forward to getting out of the hot sticky city and spending some quality time with some awesome people by a lake.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Conclusions and Decisions

My plans to continue the "Fruit and Veggie"/"Detox" diet for a whole week have crumbled. Once again, the weekend was my downfall, although it was more like stumbling than careening head first off a cliff. Both Saturday and Sunday dinner was something "not on the plan", as in, there was bread and cheese involved. I do love me some bread and cheese. All in all, it's been a success though, as the weight loss has resumed, so I'm going to slightly modify the plan, add in a few foods (namely whole grains and cheeses/yogurts) and continue on eating mostly fruits and veggies. I figure it's a healthy compromise.

Friday's workout went well. The run felt better than the last run, which is of course the point isn't it? After a 20 minute run I did just about every strength move in my plan. I did the full set of ab work, then moved on to arms, doing hammer curls/shoulder pres combos and french presses before moving to the machines for chest presses and sitting rows.

Then I made a decision. I will do my leg strength workouts on the days that I run I decided, and started doing squats. I did Prisoner squats to be precise, three sets of eight. Little enough to start with I felt. And they felt good when I was doing them. I felt strain but not too much.

Two days later, on Sunday, when we decided to go for a hike around Prospect Park in Brooklyn, I was still feeling those squats. I think this solves the mystery of why I keep having calf problems when running. My Quads are weak like little baby legs. So Prisoner squats and most likely some other leg exercises will now be a part of my running day routine.

Now I just have to figure out something for cross training days that will let my legs rest...suggestions?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Running and Weight Training, oh my!

Yesterday I stepped on the treadmill again, after spending what felt like too long letting my leg heal and doing alternate exercises. Boy did I feel the time off. I felt awkward and sluggish. I ran at a slower pace than I'm used to, and I had to stop after 20 minutes of running. It looks like I'm going to have to build myself back up again. I'm going to try not to over do it right out of the gate again, so next week I'll be dropping way back to week 6 on the C25k plan.

Diet wise I've been sticking faithfully to my (slightly modified) detox plan. I cut way back on the caffeine (resulting in a sluggish cranky Meg) and have managed to go two whole days eating only veggies, fruits and egg whites. Beans and Salsa are my friend. Only five more days to go!

Today I'm planning on some serious cross-training, I'm going to attend my first ever spinning class. I'm nervous, and I have the usual running dialogue in the back of my head ("what if I'm not wearing the right clothing?", "what if I can't keep up?", "what if I look like an idiot and everyone starts laughing?") But I've decided that the benefits of an hour long spinning class out weighs the risk of wearing the wrong type of shoes.

Strength training has been a tricky subject for me lately. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. (Miz? Kelly?) I know I need to build the muscles in my legs (especially my quads) to avoid problems when I start to up my millage running, but I don't want to over train, which I think was what led to my last bout of shin/calf splints. Originally my plan was to start doing my lower body strength moves on the same day as my runs, with my cross training day having my upper body strength in it. The problem I'm having with that plan is that my legs are dead tired by the end of the run, which makes it hard to keep good form when doing my strength moves (and also makes me feel like a little wuss when I can only eek out three sets of 8 squats before I have to sit down.) So what's a good plan?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

More small steps

Yesterday my workouts consisted of AM Yoga, and helping a friend move. That counts right? An hour or so of carrying slightly heavy objects up and down stairs? We celebrated the successful finish of the move with Take out Margaritas and Pizza while relaxing in the park. Which I suppose cancels out any workout I got from the move, but was definitely worth it.

Today I'm starting my "detox" diet: fruits, veggies and egg whites. I'm loosening the rules slightly to include minimal amounts of caffeine and milk. I'd like to still be functional enough to work out this week thankyouverymuch and without my morning coffee I am useless until after noon.

Another small change I'm making this week is to wake up a tad earlier. My schedule has been slowly slipping later and later, and I miss that feeling of waking up and getting stuff done. I end up feeling lazy and a tad stressed from not accomplishing enough when I let myself sleep in, so I'm starting to nudge my schedule slightly each day.

What about you? Are you an early bird or do you prefer to stay up late?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Pondering signing up for Class...I could use some more!

This week is a brand new week. I plan on starting slowly, with yoga, today. I'm going to ease back into the Couch to 5k, starting on Tuesday. I'm going to drop myself back a week to week 7. I'm also going to do week 7 for two weeks before trying again to move to week 8. Hopefully this will prevent a return of the shin and calf pains I've been plagued with this past week.

I'm also planning on doing what one of my friends refers to as a detox diet this week. Before you go and leave worried comments about things like the Master Cleanse, it's nothing like that. Basically for a week, all I eat are Fruits, Veggies, and egg whites for protein. So it's almost like being vegetarian for a week. It's a very hard challenge for me, lover of cheese and milk that I am, but the last time I managed to stick with it for a week, it did jump start my weight loss.

I'm also going to try to take this idea of "cross training" more seriously. I'm beginning to think that the elliptical machines are just a tad too close to running. So this week on my "off" days, I'm going to try to mix it up with some classes.

A big hurdle for me as far as taking classes goes, is that my gym requires you to sign up for some classes in advance, due to the popularity and small room sizes. This is a good idea, however, it leaves me anxious about committing to something I don't know if I'm 100% ready to do. What if I sign up for that spinning class at 5:30 on Wednesday, and then something happens and I can't make it? I'll have locked up one precious bike for nothing!

I also suffer from "performance anxiety" (he he) when it comes to actually going to the classes. What if I can't do it? What if everyone else is happily punching and kicking (or stretching) away, and I'm there in the back huffing and puffing and collapsing into a puddle of near heart attack?! I'll look ridiculous! Everyone will laugh! It's so much easier to just stick to the treadmill where I can go at my own pace and no one knows how slow I'm running or that I've only gone for ten minutes when I start gritting my teeth and looking like a marathon runner pushing up that last hill.

Do any of you out there suffer from "new class-itis"? How do you get past it?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Running Fail

Yesterday I wasn't feeling great, but talked myself into going to the gym for my C25K training session. I could feel the tiredness in my muscles as I did my warm up, but I figured it would work it's self out as I ran.

Then ten minutes into what should have been a 30 minute run shooting pains started in my lower legs. I slowed down to a walk for a minute and then tried to start running again, which caused the immediate return of the shooting pains. So I called it, turned off the treadmill and went to the mats to stretch.

I'm frustrated and angry at myself. It seems like every time I start in on a training program, or try to take my fitness a notch higher, my body gives out on me. I'm going to back off on the running today, I'm thinking of doing a spinning class to cross train a bit, and I'm going to repeat this week of the program. I'm also going to drop the leg exercises from my cross training days, and instead try to do them on my running days.

This is another minor setback. It's annoying and frustrating, but I'm trying to work around it, and not let it ruin my week.

How do you "work around the pain"?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sore but ready for another day

So far this training schedule is working, although my run today will be the real test. Yesterday I chilled out on the elliptical machine, doing easy intervals. Then I hit the strength training. I made it through all of my ab work, although the last few of the "sensei mark specials" were still brutal, then did some leg machines to give my shoulder a rest. Then out of a feeling of insecurity, I did the sitting row machine and the chest press, just to make sure I got some upper body in. My entire body is slightly sore this morning.

Today will be the real test of this plan however. I've never tried running for this length of time consistently, and never while sore. I'm thinking I may have to reward myself with time in the steam room tonight if I make it through the run. I'm also back to putting stars on my calendar for motivation, and right now boy do all those stars look pretty.

My next step, once I finish this C25K plan, is to start getting myself to run outside. I have this unreasoning fear of running outside. I think of it as harder than running on a treadmill, and when I have run outside in the past the results have been near catastrophic.

Any advice on transitioning from the treadmill to the real world?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Retooling the schedule

This seems like something I am constantly doing...nudging my schedule here and there trying to make it fit everything I want it to fit. After another week of not being able to fit the gym into my weekend, I've decided I can no longer take Monday's off from the gym. So I hit the gym this morning to start on week eight of the C25k.


I did it. I managed to run for 27 minutes after a five minute warm up. The last two minutes were brutal. I really had to push to keep myself running, and not drop my speed down.

My new plan is as follows, C25K workouts M-W-F, cross training/strength training T-Th, try to get exercise on the weekends whenever possible. I'm still going to be working on upping my ab strength on the T-Th strength days, and I'm going to try to add a Saturday or Sunday to that, at least for the ab work.

How often do you switch up your schedule? Is change a motivator for you or do you subscribe to consistency being the key?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Checking off another day in the plan

Yesterday was day two of sticking to the C25K plan. It's hard for me to make myself warm up for a full five minutes before starting the jog. At the end of the 25 minute jog I was feeling like I could go for a while longer, so I sped up for the last two minutes to tire myself out. I didn't want to run for longer than the plan dictates, but I do think I could have kept running at the pace I was jogging at for another five minutes.

My abs are still sore from Tuesday, making my core work hard. I struggled through the second set of my rotation, ending up falling 10 short on the "Sensei Mark Specials".

I got a few of the gear splurges that I had ordered in the mail recently, although I'm still waiting on a few more things. I ran with the New Balance Color Block Socks for the first time yesterday, and I did feel a surprising difference. I was amazed at what a difference socks could make during a run.

I also now am the proud owner of a pair of Champion Mesh Running Shorts, although I have yet to run in them. You see, I have this fear of them bunching up slowly and riding up till it looks like I'm running in scrunchy underwear. I guess the only way to get over it is to just wear them and hope for the best ^_^

Any suggestions on good cheap running gear?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Starting the Plan

One day of the C25K training under my belt. I threw caution to the wind and jumped in at week 7. Walk 5 minutes, Jog 25, Walk 5. This seems to be the point where I'm stuck at right now. It felt like a good solid run, and I was tired by the end of it.

I did however do a bad thing, and did 30 minutes of elliptical intervals. It was supposed to be an easy warm up while I killed time waiting for my S.O. to show up, but leave it to me to feel embarrassed about not working hard enough. So my easy warm up turned into a full on session of intervals, not quite H.I.I.T. levels, but close.

I also decided, whim like, to set a target for my ab work, I upped the number of each set to 25 reps. Right now I've got four different styles of crunches (well three but one is done on each side, so I count it as two - is that cheating?), and I'm aiming to do three sets of each exercise. I did two sets yesterday, and I'm feeling it today.

Any advice on cross training I can do on my days off on the C25K plan?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Looking forward to the week

This week is going to be a good one. I just got my copy of Hungry Girls 200 under 200 Cookbook, and I'm excited to try out a bunch of new healthy recipies. I've already tried a slightly modified version of one of the recipes and it even got the S.O.'s stamp of approval.

I am also going to try the Couch-to-5-K training plan. I'm jumping into the plan at week four. I'm a little nervous about the plan, even though everyone has nothing but good things to say about it. Reading the plan, it doesn't seem like I'll be doing enough work. It is, after all, only three days a week. I'm trying to come up with other cross training to do on the other days. Are elliptical machines are too close to running to be cross training?

I hope everyone out there had a great holiday weekend, or just a normal weekend for those not in the states. What are you planning this week to refresh your exercise routine?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Back on the Starting Block

Yesterday was my first day back in the gym after my vacation. It didn't go as well as I'd hoped, but I suppose I have to give myself time to work my way back up. My S.O.'s hip is still bothering him, so we opted to stick to the elliptical machines yesterday. I did arm exercises, and my full rotation of ab exercises.

Everything felt...sluggish. It was a struggle to get through each exercise, and yet I didn't feel like I was working my muscles hard enough. I'm not sore today, but I would have been hard pressed to lift any more yesterday. While on the elliptical machine, I struggled through my intervals, and yet my heart rate was never higher than 170 (it usually climbs towards 180 during that last few intervals.)

I'm going to chalk it up to working off the rust from the past two weeks. This week will be a "recovery" week, in which I attempt to get myself back up to the workouts I was doing before the vacation. I hope to put up a few miles running at some point, and I'm still toying with the idea of training for a 5k, and that Couch-to-5k plan is looking better and better.

Anyone out there doing the C25K? You like it? If not, Do you have a training plan (running or otherwise) that you swear by?

Tracking Transformation: Where I stand now