Sunday, July 28, 2013

A New Challenge and some updates

On August 1st I am taking on this arm challenge.

It crossed my timeline on Facebook twice in one day so I decided to check it out. Then I posted it to Perkis People and invited my fitness buddies to join in. Needless to say, they did and that just makes it all the more fun. I know what you are thinking. "I wonder what her definition of "FUN" is?" Hey, whatever keeps us smiling and moving is fun in my book.

As I began to look at the challenge a little closer I began to think I must be crazy. But this is where the group comes in and keeps it 'fun'. Misery loves company (that's another group I know but the thought applies here). With others in the group doing the challenge we can laugh and applaud our attempts together. I've also challenged Carmen, Todd, Dave and the boys to join in to keep me going during our upcoming vacation. So far, Carmen is the only one to commit. I think we can drag the boys along simply by telling them they do not want Mom and Granpaula to do more than they do. :)

No one will be more surprised than me if I actually get to the full complement of push-ups, dips, curls and air punches by August 31st. But any number I accomplish is more than I'm doing now so it's still a win. And since I am not working out toward an event goal I've decided to add a squat and plank challenge to this calendar. Without the pressure of an event to train for, I can take the chance of straining something because I can afford to rest if that happens. Of course I don't want to do that so I'll be careful but I have nothing to lose for trying. :) With an event on the schedule I would have had an 'excuse' not to try.

An update on eating healthy:
Yesterday marked 8 weeks. The second 4 were much less strict than the first 4. Having said that I still did an excellent job of sticking with the concept of the plan - Protein, Veggies & Fruit with no grains or processed foods. I backed away from my plan to avoid the same food in the same day or for the same meal two days in a row. The primary reason is to avoid spoilage. I'm basically preparing menus for one. Dave is not a huge fruit and vegetable eater. He eats them but is not really on board to having them at every meal. So preparing for one in those areas becomes a real challenge if I want to maintain the variety level I initially committed too and avoid waste. I've had ice cream and M&M's over these 4 weeks too but sparingly. All in all, in 8 weeks I've come a long way of eliminating processed foods from my intake.

It was difficult to turn away from the Crème Brule French Toast that was on the menu at breakfast yesterday. A group of us went out after putting in some trail miles. I stuck to the omelet instead and truthfully it was very satisfying and filling. I was satisfied until diner. The French Toast delight would have left me wanting more in a few hours.

I'm looking forward now to finding out how this will work with running and biking and increasing my activity levels in general. One of the benefits of eating this way is having your body to use fat rather than sugar/carbs for fuel. This is very beneficial for endurance.

I did not eat breakfast before our group run yesterday and I felt fine. This result is not significant at this point though. I only went 4.4 miles and I've never run without having breakfast first so I have nothing to compare this too. I am curious to see how far I can go before feeling the need to fuel. Then I have to decide what to use for fuel on longer outings. One step at a time. ;)

Thanks for staying with me.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Getting Back To It

I ran twice this week. Both were around 4 miles and both felt great. My legs were fine for both. Tuesday was an evening workout and today's was a morning workout. The humidity was mostly the same for both but today the temp was 13 degrees cooler. I ran both solo although I started out with friends today.

I ran with my Garmin on both days but set it to only show my heart rate. I really want to get away from focusing on pace/time. I wanted to use HR to determine when I need to take walk breaks or slow down. If my HR went above 80% of max I would take a walk break or slow down. As my endurance improves I should be able to go farther/faster at the same heart rate. In theory this makes sense but .... .I don't know what the MAX is. I've never tested it and the formulas are way off. The formulas put me at somewhere around 167-171. I ran comfortable both days this week averaging 152 so my max is definitely more than the formulas predict.

I thought about backing into it. I know my resting heart rate is around 72. I tested it this week wearing my HRM to bed and checking first thing upon waking. BTW, sleeping with the HRM is not comfortable but I really wanted to find out. So using that and my average HR for this week and the next few runs I could probably back into the MAX. But that assumes that my perceived effort was in the fitness/aerobic zone. And if I knew that it was then I don't need the numbers.

So now I am bordering on taking the fun out of my return to running and biking. So PPPfffftttt (this is a G rated blog after all). I probably won't ditch the watch - it does help to know distance when the trail is not marked - but I'll use the data only after the fact to see where I'm at. I started distance running because I wanted to see how far I could go not how fast I could go. I can use the talk test to be sure I maintaining an appropriate effort.

I also biked once this week and hope to go out again tomorrow. I did not feel nearly as good on the bike as I did on my feet. I rode my bike probably every day as a kid. All over everywhere. I do not have any memory of  being bothered by hills. I continued to ride when the kids were small and carried them on the back of the bike. Even then,  I do not remember hills being as much of a problem as they are now. I see a hill while on the bike and I mentally fall apart. It's embarrassing, really. On my feet, eh - the hills are not my favorite part of the run but they are no big deal either. I guess the difference is walking my bike up the hill is much more embarrassing than walking myself up the hill. I have some work to do! :)

All in all I'm glad to be back with all options available to me. I'm very curious to see how my new eating habits will work with increased activity but I'll post my thoughts about that another time.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Long and Winding Road of a Weekend

Very little of what I expected actually happened this weekend. That is not a bad thing it's just a fact.

I had the day off work on Friday to go to the doctor for my treadmill test. That was planned and I'm happy to say all is well and doc was happy to clear me for any and all activity after that. I was so excited after that I accepted an invitation to join Misery Loves Company on a trail run on Saturday. I spent the rest of the day running errands and odd tasks "knowing" that after the trail run Saturday I would be wanting to lay low until my shift at Back on My Feet 20 in 24 with Tootsie from 9:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.

HA! Goes to show what I 'know'. On Friday afternoon we received messages that BoMF and the City decided it was best to cancel Saturday and make the event a 12 hour run on Sunday only from 7 am to 7 pm. The weather was awful all week and was expected to peak on Saturday with severe thunderstorms rolling through in the evening. I think it was a wise decision but there are some comments floating around FB that there is more to this than what is being said since this event has always taken place in hot, humid weather. It's summer in July after all. I don't recall the severe thunderstorm, high wind threat in past year though. As it turned out the storms did roll through around 10 or so shutting down the Electric Run 5k and delaying the start of the Taylor Swift concert at the Linc.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Making a Difference

I'm generally not one to hero worship. There are people that I respect and trust in my life. There are people I know personally and from afar that I admire. But I never identified anyone as a 'hero'. Today it occurred to me that if asked "Who would you like to spend a day with and why" my answer would be Anne Mahlum.

Anne founded "Back on My Feet" (BoMF)in Philadelphia in 2007. My initial attraction to Back on My Feet was it's mission - to use running to help those experiencing homelessness build their self esteem and self sufficiency so they can become employed again and move on with their lives. If you are a runner - or a regular walker or exerciser - you know the effect consistent application of these activities can have on your psyche. Before long you start to feel better (even when you don't realize you needed to) about a lot of things and can see the world a lot more clearly and positively.

The simplicity of the BoMF concept blew me away from the first time I heard about it. I was initially proud that it started in our city. But it didn't start by itself. BoMF was Anne Mahlum's vision. She's since been recognized by multiple groups including CNN Heroes and ABC News Person of the Week. Awards don't really impress me though.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Ramblings mostly about fitness without a purpose

Ok so there is always a purpose to fitness. If one defines fitness as minding your overall health, physical & mental well-being. My title, of course, refers to not having a goal event on the horizon. For me, the net effect has been positive. As I stated in an earlier post I can pretty much do what I want when I want and how I want. My only “goal” right now is to exercise regularly but I have no need to do any specific things. Still, there are some very odd disconnected emotions floating around as well.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the battle over whether or not to give up a workout. Without an event to plan for, I’d have thought the decision would be easier. I’m struggling with that today. It’s hot and humid. There are air quality and excessive heat warnings posted all up and down the I-95 corridor. I’m tired and I have a minor sore throat. Yet, I’m fighting with myself about whether to go for an after work bike ride. Well not really fighting it anymore. I’ve already decided not to but I’m still suffering from the internal battle as to whether it was a proper decision or a wimpy one. I guess I should take comfort in knowing that I don’t have to have an event goal to make exercise a valued part of my life. J

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Swimming in Smedley Park

With 74% humidity it felt like swimming anyway. I missed the Misery Loves Company (MLC) group this morning. I had trouble getting to sleep last night and when it got to 1:30 I knew I was never going to get up at 5:30 to meet them at 7:00. So I turned off the alarm.

I woke up just after 7 had breakfast and decided to go out on my own to Smedley Park. It's not the far from home (in fact I passed over it on my Independence Day walk on Thursday). I've only ever been there to get on to the Leiper Smedley trail.

The humidity is socked in now and we are under a heat advisory until Sunday or Monday. It was cooler among the trees but still a little like moving through soup. Within seconds I was covered in sweat which by itself wasn't so bad but it made all the cobwebs and bugs stick to me. YUCK! I had fun though exploring the trails and there are still some left I think so I'll go back. You might be interested to see THIS is the official trail map for the park and THIS is the Garmin track of my travels. I saw a few people walking their dogs and two mountain bikers while I was out.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Celebrating Independence Day 2013

July 4th, 2013 - I went for a walk from our house in Media to Independence Hall. The first question is probably - why? My initial answer is why not? It was kinda cool to do something just because I can on the day we celebrate freedom.

I am a softball widow frequently on the July 4th holiday. There is almost always a tournament of some kind and Dave is almost always umpiring one of them. This year he is in Quakertown at the TNT tournament. We do lots of things together but long distance walking or running is not one of them so being a softball widow from time to time works for both of us.

I got it in my head to do a lengthy hike of some kind and somehow tie it to a 4th of July theme. I thought about mapping a route on that would look like "July Fourth" or " 1776" but that would only work if I confined myself to Media borough where the streets more or less are in a grid. That did not sound like fun. And it wouldn't take very long either. I've done Valley Forge a lot plus I plan to be at the MLC meetup there on Saturday so I ruled that out.

On a whim I asked Google Maps to map a walking route from our house to Independence Hall.

Monday, July 1, 2013

What's Next?

Once again conjuring up my inner "Josiah Bartlett". :) (Miss that show!)

In 2013 I planned to complete a spring marathon, a century ride and a half marathon. The last two in the same weekend. HA! Life sure has a way of humbling a person doesn't it? It's all good. I learned a lot about me and my body in these past two months; and I'm not done.

So the marathon didn't happen. The bike ride won't either. I toyed very briefly with the idea of doing a shorter distance but bagged that pretty quickly. I haven't put in any significant bike miles in over three months so I have no idea where I'm starting from. I notified the MS folks yesterday and will volunteer for the ride instead. :)

I've also decided that I won't be doing the Ocean City half either. I'll be in Ocean City on September 29th, I'm just not running. I love OC and the race. I'll cheer on my friends and a few hundred random strangers instead. A good time will be had by all!

I've decided instead to take full advantage of this opportunity I've been given to reboot.