Thursday, September 30, 2010

So much to say, so much to say

There has been so much going on! We’re in the last few warmer weeks of the year and I have been trying to milk it for all it’s worth.

The past few weeks of running have been going really well. I did 16 miles last week and am working on 19 this week. So far, my longest run has been six miles and it felt really good. I’m doing 8 this Sunday and I am hoping it goes just as smoothly.

My pace has slowly but surely been increasing. A few months ago, I was around a 10-minute mile pace. Now, I’ve worked myself down from anywhere between 8:50-9:20 mile. If I finish the big race with a 9-minute mile average, I would be extremely happy with that.

Up until recently, I have been doing all my runs at the gym on the treadmill. I’m really weird with numbers and loved watching my distance, time, and pace on the treadmill. It made time go by fast. However, soon enough I’ll be doing 10-12 mile runs and the thought of running up to 2 hours on a treadmill was not appealing to me. Also, I wanted to get my body used to running outdoors. After all, when I run the half, it won’t be on a treadmill.

So, I bought this toy. And, let me tell you, it is AMAZING! The watch has a GPS in it and is also a heart rate monitor. So, it tells me how far I’ve gone, calories burned, my mile pace, and so much more. It even beeps when I slow down to a certain pace that I set. I love it. The only down side is that it is a little large, but I got used to it very quickly.

I’ve been looking for a couple different cross training activities to do on my rest days from running. I did that elliptical workout and I still want to do it every once in a while, but I’m just not the biggest fan of ellipticals. I always see the spinning classes going on at the gym, but have never done one.

Until last Monday that is. And, I loved it! It was so fun. The instructor was so motivating and the loud music really made it a fun atmosphere to work out in. The hour breezed by. I definitely recommend spinning to anyone looking for a new workout. It was definitely challenging. I’ve never been happier to have a workout towel. I was definitely dripping.

As far as weight loss goes, it has kind of been on the back of my mind because running and training has become so important. I have been eating really well, but I think it’s me really wanting to give my body fuel for my runs. I dropped a pound this past week and I would be happy with this slow rate of loss for the next few weeks.

Along with making sure I get all my protein and potassium, I have also been drinking a ton of water, and I mean a ton! I can definitely feel the difference on a run when I’m hydrated and when I’m not. The only down side is that I pretty much have to pee every 45 minutes, which is really a pain at work. I work in an office environment and leaving my office every 45 minutes to run to the bathroom down the hall gets kind of old. Plus, pretty sure my coworkers in my neighboring offices think I have some sort of ADHD cause I’m moving around so much.

So, that’s pretty much where I’m at.

True confession: I have really started to love running. And, I mean love it. It really helps me de-stress and definitely gives me time to clear my head. At the beginning of this whole weight loss/get in shape journey, I could barely run for 10 minutes on a treadmill and I hated it. I hated doing cardio. Now, after slowly building up my endurance, I couldn’t imagine not having this in my daily routine anymore.

I used to think marathon runners were nuts, but now I really want to run be one. It’s definitely a challenge that I’d like to take on. Hopefully, next summer, instead of training for a half, I’ll be training for a full marathon.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Training update

Just wanted to give you all a quick update as to what I've been doing as far as running. I've successfully completed my first two weeks of training for my half. This is what I've done:

Week 1:
M - Rest
T - 3 miles
W - 3 miles
Th - Rest
F - 3 miles
Sa - Cross training workout on the eliptical (I'll tell you about it cause it kicked my a$$!)
Sun - 4 miles
Total mileage: 13

Week 2:
M - Rest
T - 3 miles
W - 4 miles
Th - Rest
F - 3 miles
Sa - Eliptical workout
Sun - 5 miles
Total mileage: 15

Yesterday, before the five mile run, I was slightly dreading it. But, as soon as my feet started moving, I was loving it and in the grove. I finished the five miles in 45 minutes and definitely could've gone a little more. I don't know what it is, but I've definitely caught the runner's bug. I do not dread the runs, I enjoy doing them each day. I'm still able to get up a few days a week before work and get to the gym, too. It's a great feeling.

Now, on to the eliptical workout.

Alright, if you don't like running and are more of an eliptical person, you have to try this workout. I got it from Jessica at How Sweet It Is. She's a certified personal trainer and also makes some delicious food. Her blog is a great mix of (mostly) healthy recipes and workouts. It's great!

Anyway, she always raves about HIIT workouts, which stands for High Intensity Interval Training. Basically, short outbursts of giving it all you've got and then a little bit to rest before doing it again.

This is essentially what the workout is
- 5 minute warm up (I did it at 15 incline and 7 resistence).
- Then, 20 minutes of 20 seconds high intensity (15 incline, 15 resistence, and 155-165 strides per minute) and 40 seconds of rest (15 incline, 7 resistence, 115-120 strides per minute).
- 5 minute cool down

Jessica said she only gives this workout to clients who are really in shape cause it's really difficult. I was like, "Yeah, whatever. I can run for an hour, this should be a piece of cake."

I was sorely mistaken. I couldn't even get through all 20 minutes of the repetitions. She was not messing around. The hardest part is keeping your strides that fast when the resistence is up so high. I definitely recommend the workout to someone looking for something a little different in their regular routine.

My plan is to do this workout every Saturday as a cross training workout. Hopefully I can work up to doing all 20 minutes of the reps.

Because I've been running a lot more than usual, I'm confident my weight is down a few pounds this week. I'll be back Wednesday with an update and a few picks of what's been going on in my life.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Daily reminder

Whenever the topic of my weight loss comes up in conversation with people I've just met or people I rarely see, my proof is always my driver's license. The picture was taken a few years ago and shows my about 40 pounds heavier.

Then:


Now:

It is my daily reminder of what I've done and how hard I've worked.

Alas, it may be time to get a new picture taken. I had some trouble with it at airport security when I went to New York. Plus, it may be nice to change the weight on my license which currently says I weigh 135, but is 8 pounds off.

Had a weigh in yesterday and am down about a pound and a half coming in at 127.8. I'm so close to 125! It feels great.

This was also my first week of training for the half-marathon. One of my biggest struggles is going to be getting up before work on the days I won't have time to get a run in after work.

Today was one of those days. However, I successfully woke up and got to the gym beforehand. And, you know what, it really wasn't all that bad. The dog had a harder time getting up than I did.

And, I have felt great and energized all morning. So, I'm going to try and think about how great I felt after every time I don't want to get out of bed.

I got three miles in yesterday and another three this morning. I have three scheduled for Friday (I'm going to try and go before work again just so I have Friday night to do what I please.) and four for Sunday, for a total of 13 miles this week. It's really not much more than I usually do, so it won't be that difficult.

I'm also going to try and get to a yoga class on Saturday for a day of relaxation and I'm sure my body will love the stretching.

P.S. Did you know it's already Wednesday!?!?!? I heart four-day weeks!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Mystery solved

Long time. No post.

Sorry, not really a busy week, just a lazy one. Something about anticipating a three-day weekend that makes me really unmotivated.

If you noticed, I was in here Tuesday to post an updated weigh-in. I was down .2 pounds for the week, coming in at 129.2.

I'm happy with the very small loss, but I was curious as to what was going on. I worked out a bit. Ate well and tracked almost everything.

It occurred to me that since I started keeping track of my weight here, I haven't been doing it through Weight Watchers online. So, just before writing this post, I went over there, plugged in my weight, and sure enough, they are taking some of my beloved points away from me.

I now have 19 points a day and 33 flex points for the week. (I used to have 22 a day and 34 flex points for the week.) It's kind of a big change for me.

However, I'm almost excited for it. It's like the Weight Watchers honeymoon phase. It's a whole new challenge for me to conquer. Do I have the self-discipline to only have 19 points a day?

We will have to see. I'm definitely motivated now to try and find out.

It will mean some changes. I'm really going to have to make sure I track my food and points. I'm good at this during the week, but it's the weekends where I make mental notes of what I eat and inevitably end up forgetting how many points I ate.

Of course this happens right before a holiday weekend when I was looking forward to relaxing with a few beers and being all loosey-goosey with points.

This week I officially start training for the half marathon I'm planning on running in November. Here's a calender of my running schedule.

You can click on the schedule to see a larger version of it.

FYI: There's nothing important about Oct 14, it just happens to be where my clicker was when I took a screen shot of the Excel file. On Oct 9, I will be running an 8K road race. My company has a team and I joined. The race also has a walking group. I don't know of anyone from work running the race, so my friend Katie signed up and will be running it with me. It's just under half of a half marathon (half of a half, of a half, of a half), so it will be a good preview to running the half.


My first week doesn't look so bad. It's not really out of the norm from what I do now. So, I have a feeling week 1 will go off with a hitch.

Until next week, enjoy your Labor Day!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Mom. Dad. I'm Gaelic.

Been super busy lately. Both at work and at home.

This past weekend was Irish Fest. I had an old friend staying with me for a few days and we went down to Irish Fest all day Saturday and Sunday. Listened to some excellent music. Danced our butts off. Drank too much Jameson. Ate too many reuben rolls.


Me with my mother and father at Irish Fest. My dad has volunteer bartended for the fest for 29 years! The festival has been around for the 30 years! He's made it to all of them except the first year. Pretty amazing.


At the fest with my friend's Lauren, Brianna, and Rowan. Rowan comes all the way from St. Joesph, Michigan each year for the fest. It's that awesome.

I had a great time. Irish Fest is always a big event for my family and friends. If you want to hear some amazing music, check out my awesome friend's band called Rising Gael. They are amazing. My friend, Katie, is the fiddler. And, not only does she fiddle, she dances too. She's my hero.

I did get to the gym on both Saturday AND Sunday!! That's right, Sunday morning, after getting down with the Jamo on Saturday night, I made it to the gym and yes, I did run. My poor dehydrated body hated me, but after about 15 minutes of cramping, it got over it.

I didn't track my miles this week. I can't really use being busy as an excuse as to why I didn't do it. I mean, it only takes 30 seconds. So, I have no excuse. It just didn't get done.

Also, it's official. I'm taking the plunge.

November 14th I will be running a half-marathon in Pensacola, Florida. I'm putting together a training schedule and I'll share it with you shortly. I'm actually really looking forward to it. As I've mentioned before, I have a friend that lives there. It's an excuse to go visit her. Plus, the course is along the beach. In Wisconsin, the last place I want to be in November is on a beach. It will be awesome to get some warm weather before Old Man Winter really hits.

I'll be back with a weigh-in in a couple of days. It's that time of the month for me (sorry for the TMI) and I'd like to weigh myself after that. It's looking good though. Other than Saturday, I tracked all my points and came in for that day's worth.

Happy Tuesday!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The damage

So, here's the damage from my few days of poor, poor eating at the State Fair and a few other events. I came in at the gym yesterday at 130.2, which is actually a little less than what I expected. I was thinking about a three pound gain, but am definitely fine with just the two.

Now, I am completely re-focused and ready to get to business.

Yesterday, before I went to the gym, I was really not feeling it. I did not want to go and was just completely lethargic. But, then I sucked it up and went, and immediately felt better after and don't feel nearly as tired today as I did on Monday and Tuesday, even though I got a little less sleep last night than the previous two.

It just goes to show how much exercise really does help your body. After having the few days off from the gym, I felt lazy and tired. But, after the run and the next day I just feel great.

Everytime I complain about not wanting to go to the gym, please direct me to this post.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Facing the music

Alright, here I am. Back on track.

Hope everyone enjoyed their weekend. I had fabulous time on my long weekend. Went to a Brewer’s game, had a blast at the fair, and headed up north for a few days to check out a small Oktoberfest festival in my mom’s hometown.

Here's Matt and I with our friends, Cari and Ryan testing out Wisconsin's best wine at the state fair. It was so hot and humid all day. We spent as much time inside as we could.

Here's Matt and I at the Oktoberfest. Can't you tell how excited he was to take this picture? I loved it.

Not gonna lie. I did not eat well at all this weekend. I was going to go to the gym last night, get a run in, and survey the damage. But, instead I decided to watch like 4 hours of Intervention.

I know. Wrong decision. But, it felt so good at the time.

Anyway, I’ll be back at the gym tonight and will have a weigh in for you tomorrow. I’m expecting a gain. Just hoping it’s not too much.

I did get some running in too. Here are my miles for last week:
Mon: 4.31
Tues: 2.03
Wed: 4.31
Fri: 3.36
For a total of 14.01 miles for the week.

As you can see, I definitely did not run Saturday or Sunday. I was too busy laying in the sun and stuffing my face. ☺ Sorry, it’s the truth.

My miles are going to be down this week. I skipped my usual run yesterday and I don’t think I’ll get one in tomorrow, Thursday, or Friday because I have a super busy week of work. I’m planning on getting to the gym Saturday and Sunday, along with tonight. So, I’m going to set a goal of 12 miles this week. Hopefully, next week I will have more time and can shoot for 20 miles.

I’ll be back tomorrow with the weigh in. Think light thoughts for me.