Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Need for Change

When I was a child, I had a pretty severe speech impediment.  I could not say Rs. I lived in a small town and the school system actually provided no-cost speech weekly speech therapy at the school. I don’t know and somehow doubt that this type of thing still exists in public schools.  There were no other kids at my school who couldn’t say Rs and the kids who couldn’t say Ws and I didn’t get along in the class so I had one-on-one work.  For many years I was not really aware of how severe my impediment was.  I only usually interacted with my family and friends and they were used to me and I avoided words with Rs in the middle or end.  Words that had Rs in the beginning allowed me "get a running start" at them and weren’t a big problem for that reason. 
But once my therapist tape recorded me.  I remember that it was right after Mother’s day and I had made my mom scrambled eggs but I didn’t know that you scramble them in the pan and not just in the bowl so they came out “rubbery.”  I talked about the day and my efforts at cooking and I specifically remember the words rubbery and scrambled.  After 3-5 minutes, the speech therapist played it back for me.  I broke down.  It was completely unintelligible.  I didn’t know I sounded like that. I couldn’t imagine how people ever knew what I was saying.  That was not what my words sounded like in my head.  I cried and cried and eventually the principal called my home and the housekeeper came and got me and took me home. 
I feel like I had the same sort of experience a few days ago.  My weight has been very steady and consistent for years.  I don’t particularly try to lose weight. I just workout and try to eat healthy and I fit into my clothes.  I am aware that if I lost weight I would probably run faster but I haven’t really been motivated to make that happen.  I’ll also admit that I feel like there’s some variable I’m not aware of.  When I go through periods of calorie counting, I always am under my recommended counts but don’t lose pounds. 
Whenever you run a race, there are race photographers and they snap thousands of pictures and then for weeks (months, more months) after the race they send you e-mails with links to let you buy the pictures.  I have never bought any because I’ve never thought I had a particularly good picture.  But this time I got an e-mail that there were 9 pictures of me from this race. I clicked through and just sat there in horror as I thumbed through the pictures.  I looked terrible.  Fat.  I looked like I was barely moving.  You know those shirts that say “In my mind, I’m a Kenyan” or something like that? In my head I am running well. I’m not fast and I know that but I love the feeling of moving and I feel like I look good when doing it.  And that I look ok in my running outfit.  But I looked terrible in these pictures.  My black shorts looked too tight. Or I was too big for them.  My long sleeve shirt was unisex so not fitted and my sports bra gave me a uniboob so from the waist up – yuck. 
I can’t look like that.  I can’t go on looking like that.  For the first time in my life I’m tempted to put that picture on the frig or door to the pantry or someplace that I see it all the time.  But I don’t want to do that because I don’t want to embarrass or shame myself.  I just want to look different.  And move differently. 

So Noom is my current plan.  I'm going to eat more healthy.  And less.  And I'm going to go from weighing close to 170 pounds to 155 or less. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Workouts 11/19 - 11/25

Considering that #1 it was Thanksgiving week and #2 I've still been fighting the cough, I had a pretty good workout week last week. 

Monday - 3.77 walking.  This was the day that I was worried I might actually be GETTING SICK.  I decided that running was unwise but I strapped on my backpack and walked to the store, bought some groceries, and walked home.  It felt really wonderful and I didn't start coughing until I got home.

Tuesday - 3.4 miles in 43 minutes (12:38) plus walking warm-up.  80 degrees out 2 days before Thanksgiving.  Still not feeling great but I just enjoyed the heat and the feeling of cooking that cough out of my chest. 

I really thought we would get Wednesday afternoon off work and that I would ride my bike but alas. 

Saturday - 30 minutes. Pre-dawn runner's core workout. I've been doing the pre-dawn routine but mixing in some ball crunches as well.  I'm really excited because I can now do the unilateral bird-dogs.  

Saturday - 20.2 mile bike ride in 1:38 (12.4 mph).  It was really gorgeous out and I really wanted to take a long workout and burn some calories.   Runkeeper was announcing every 5 minutes so every time it did, I pedaled hard for 50 strokes to make it a little more challenging.  This was the farthest I've ever ridden or run.

Sunday - 5.7 miles in 1:16 (13:19) plus walking warm up/down.  I considered this a LSR and did 2:00/1:00 then 1:00/1:00.  I didn't even check the Runkeeper cues, just ran and enjoyed it. 

Water:  I have been doing a good job of drinking water. I think I drank 64 oz or more every day that I tracked it (I didn't track while out of town). 

Snacking: Reduced but not eliminated. 

Noom: I'm using Noom for my calorie tracking pretty consistently. 

My Half-marathon training plan for the Livestrong officially starts Tuesday (11/27).  I've settled on the Hal Higdon Novice 2 plan but I'll be adding in core work and possibly some strength work. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Workouts 11/12 - 11/18

This was the best workout week I've had in a while. 

Monday - 1.86 miles in 30 minutes (16:07) I went for a walk at lunch time during my work day.  I used RunKeeper to track my miles and speed and sometimes it told me I was walking 13.xx or 14.xx minute miles which is sometimes faster than I run.  Days like that make me consider giving up running and just walking and walking and walking. 
Tuesday - 12.2 in 1 hour biking.  I just took it easy and stretched out my knee.  I know that 12 mph is not a fast bike ride but right now it is sort of my benchmark (faster than 12 mph).  I was telling a co-worker that my biking is hampered by my fears.  I am simply afraid of riding fast or downhill or downhill fast. I'm the sort of person who brakes down hills and makes my wife drive the car on hills.  Perhaps I will become more used to it in time.
Wednesday - 4.0 miles in 50 minutes (12:30 mm) plus the walking warm-up down.  This was my first run since my 10 mile race and feeling any knee twinge. The knee felt very good with only slight twinge so I stopped at that point.  The entire run was in zone 2 and I ran "between the beeps."  On a related note, I finally got my new HRM strap which means I have a working HRM again!
Friday - 12.25 miles in 1 hour biking.  I got to work from home Friday so I was able to head out for a ride right after hours.  ChocolateWife and ChocolateDaughter have had a cold/virus for 2 weeks and I've been getting a cough but I'm very determined to fight it off.  I put on tiger balm and wore a longer sleeve shirt for the ride and felt good sweating it out. 
Saturday - Did Pre-dawn runner's core routine with some ball crunches sprinkled throughout. Really excited. Did all the #plankadays for the full minute and also was able to do the unilateral bird dog without modification - first time ever. Locust pose gave me a little trouble, partially because it is always hard and partially because the puppy licked my face, then bit my fingertips for the full minute.
Saturday - 3.8 miles in 56 minutes (14:44) Trail run.   Again felt very little knee pain or discomfort in spite of running on the trail.  My chest was a bit worse and coughing more but glad I got out and sweat a bit. 

Drinking water - I did a much better job drinking water this week. I don't know that I achieved 64 oz every day but I bet I drank more than 60 oz every single day and well over 64 quite a few days.
Noom - I began using Noom again to track what I eat every day.  I've used it before and ChocolateWife lost quite a bit of weight using it.  It's an app that takes you through a bunch of questions like what do you weigh now and what do you want to weight and how fast do you want to lose weight and how often do you exercise and then gives you a calorie allowance (mine is 1510).  Then you track your food intake by classifying food as green, yellow, red and trying to have 50% of calories green, 35% yellow, 15% red.  The program has some algorithm for increasing your daily allowance according to your workouts.  In the old version I think it raised your daily allowance based on your average workouts the previous 7 days or something but in the current is seems to give you 1/2 of the additional calories burned that day which I think is a pretty good approach generally. 
Weigh-in - I keep forgetting to weigh!
Plan - I've decided to use the Hal Higdon Novice 2 Plan but with the addition of core work and substituting bike rides for scheduled weekday runs some days (not more than 1x a week).  Officially that starts next Tuesday (11/27). 

All in all things are good.  Hopefully CW and CD are getting better and hopefully I will not get actually sick.  I've been trying to pick up a lot of household slack since CW has been sick and of course we have Thanksgiving this week.  But given that, things are fantastic!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Workout 11/05 - 11/11

Yes. That says workout, not workouts. 

I rode my bike on Saturday for an hour (about 12 miles).  It was a nice easy ride in beautiful weather and didn't seem to put any strain on my knee. 

Other than that I didn't get any workouts in.  I was still recovering with my knee and 1/2 the family is very sick with a bad cough and cold so I hate to then leave the house when I'm gone at work so much.  It doesn't seem fair.  I hope to start back to running on a schedule this week. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Training Plan for the Livestrong Half-Marathon

The Austin Livestrong Half-Marathon is February 17, 2013.  I'm finished with my paid training program and working with the coach, done with the Run for the Water 10 miler, and done with obsessing over the presidential election. 

It's time for me to think about my training plan.  Typically they last 12 to 16 weeks.  I've been looking at various plans with thoughts about tweaking them based on what I've learned from my work with the coach. 

Contenders and thoughts on them:
Galloway to goal plan - I've done this plan before.  It features 3 runs a week plus an easy walk day. The week day runs are basically timed runs and the weekend ones alternate between an LSR and 800 repeats.  This would be the easiest plan to do and easiest to supplement (more on that).  The plan would officially start 11/13 with a 30 minute run and a 5 mile run on Sunday.
Runner's World Smart Coach plan - The Runner's World site allows the user to enter some specific information such as a recent race time, race date, how hard you want to work, and race distance and it spits out a pretty detailed plan.  Start date could vary depending on when I'm ready to make the program spit out a plan.  Upside is that every run has very specific purpose and pace listed.  Downside is that all the Thursday runs (speedwork or tempo) require a 6 mile run which is (for me) a pretty high expectation and time investment for a week day run.  The other thing about the plan is that the LSRs start with a 10 mile run the first week and with the exception of a few recovery weeks all the LSRs are 10-14 miles. 
Hal Higdon - I've never done a Hal Higdon TP but I've heard good things about them.  The Novice 2 plan basically calls for 4 days of running a week.  T-W-Th are a 3 mile, 3-5 mile, and 3 mile run.  The Wednesday run alternates between a race pace run and a normal run.  The LSRs build from 4-12 miles with a week dedicated to running a 5K and another a 10K race.  The plan is 12 weeks long so it would start the week of 11/26.  So the difference between this and the Galloway is basically running T-W-Th rather than running T-Th/walk F and speedwork is every other W rather than every other Sunday.
No Meat Athelete - The No Meat athelete has an entire program called the Half-Marathon roadmap with workbooks and sheets and cds or maybe DVDs and a book and etc.  The book portion is available on Kindle for just 2.99 so I may buy it and see what it has to say.  I'm not sure that I'm going to find anything in a plan that differs significantly from the others listed above but it might be interesting to see what he says will be different for someone "running on plants." 

I'd like to make some decisions and settle on a plan in the next week.  Partially the choice depends on my knee.  Although I've never had any problems with my knee, it has been hurting since the morning after my 10 mile race. I will probably try to put on a brace and run this weekend and see how that goes.  In the meantime, I'm taking NSAIDs pretty regularly and resting it. 

Some factors that will influence my plan and my carrying it out include the fact that the training plan period will include both my childrens' birthdays and parties (or party if they share as they keep saying they will do), my niece's Bat Mitzvah, my niece's Bat Mitzvah project fundraiser softball game, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and the start of the Legislative Session. 

Whatever plan I choose I want to also:
Become more fit (which is a more positive way to speak possibility into reality than saying lose weight).  That said, I'd like to settle at a healthy weight about 8-10 pounds lighter than I am now.  I also believe this would improve my running speed.  Two changes that should be simple but hopefully make a big difference are:
  • Making sure I drink 64 oz of water EVERY day by using the water tracking app.  I believe that I average about 40-50 oz of water and 20 oz of iced tea per day. I need to increase my water consumption and be consistent about it.
  • Not snacking after 8:00.  ChocolateWife and I have a pattern of watching TV, crafting, and having a snack in the evening.  I need to ... not (to put it simply).  Yes to TV. Yes to time with ChocolateWife. Yes to crafting.  But no snacking.  Or perhaps 1 evening snack a week on the day of the long run.
I will also supplement the plan with at least 2 and possibly 3 core workouts a week.  And if I can get an arms/shoulders or chest/back workout in as well that would be ideal but I'll concentrate on running. 

And I may substitute the occasional bike ride for a run or walk day.  I really enjoyed the bike rides in my plan with the coach and it seems like a good cardio workout but a change of pace that was refreshing. 

I need to make some choices (and need my knee to feel better). I've enjoyed my week+ of rest and I'm ready to get back to a plan!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Workouts 10/29 - 11/04 and Knee Pain

My workouts for last week are pretty paltry. 

Monday - Stretching & foam rolling.  45 minutes. 

My coach laid out a lovely recovery week program for me in spite of the fact that my 16 weeks were completed last week.  Unfortunately I didn't do any of the recovery week work with the exception of the day of stretching and foam rolling.  I woke up Monday with pain in my right knee.  I'm pretty bummed about it because I've never had any significant injury or pain from running nor in my knee.  When I was 11 or 12 I got my knee kicked out of place playing softball but that was a traumatic injury and I used crutches, did PT, and strengthened it.  So this feels very out of the blue.  My knee feels better than it did a few days ago but not as good as I'd like.  I need to continue taking a few more days of NSAIDs and hopefully by the weekend I will be ready for some light activity. 

I've been thinking about my HM training program and will probably be posting my plan this week sometime. I'm thinking of using a combination of the Runner's World Smart Coach plan, adding some core work, and doing the workouts with run/walk.