Monday, November 26, 2012

C25K Week Three

I'm in my third week of the Couch to 5K program, and it's going surprisingly well.

Last week, I had 90 seconds of running followed by 90 seconds of walking, and I was really struggling to complete the full 90 seconds. In fact by the second run of the week I was feeling like I would probably need to repeat that week, which would put me off schedule a bit.

Somehow I completed that week, but feeling very dejected.

This week is week 3, so it was two rounds of 90 seconds running then 90 seconds walking, and then 3 minutes running followed by 3 minutes walking for two rounds.

When I woke up and put on my shoes, I just thought... there's no way. I struggled so much with the 90 seconds last week, that going up to 3 minutes would be just unheard of.

But I put in my headphones, grabbed my puppy, and out the door we went anyway. 5:30 AM was dark, lonely, and cold... but it was perfect. I really like going that early because no one sees me - so there's no one to pass judgement.

As I moved into my stride, I realized I really wasn't straining as hard as last week, and I wasn't struggling to breath so much. Before I knew it, my phone chimed at me - signaling the end of my run, and I hadn't even noticed the time go by.

I'm amazed at the rather quick improvement I am starting to see in my ability to run.

It also helps, that in the ongoing saga of my fight with shoes, that I found a pair of minimal shoes that fit rather nicely. My Zem's that I had purchased earlier this year bit the dust a ways back during my second Savage Race. I was running in my old Nike Frees again, and every time I came in after a run my feet hurt so bad I could barely stand up, let alone walk.

My feet were in agony. I don't know what it is about shoes, but running shoes just cause extreme pain and discomfort through the arches in my feet. The only way I've ever gotten away from it, is by running barefoot.

I can't very well run barefoot in a park in the dark though, because of the risk of glass and other nasty things that may be lurking.

I tried the Fila Skele-toes, but they seemed... very cheap. They were on sale for $39 this weekend, which is why I wanted to try them. But they were big, bulky, not very flexible.. and I was not very comfortable just standing in them. So I headed over to Fit Niche instead, and again decided to give the Vibrams another try, as they now carry a much larger variety than they used to.

I came across the Bikila LS. I'm really not sure what makes these fit better than other Vibrams I've tried, but with a little help from the store employee in helping me fit properly, and get my toes in the right pockets - I found that even my little toe was snug in it's own little compartment.

I walked around with them and was really surprised at how... good they felt. It was... almost as good as being barefoot. I walked out of the store in them, walked around the outdoor mall, then headed home.

After the first run in them, I was surprised at how much less pain in my feet there was. Since I'm already fairly adept at running barefoot, there was minimal learning curve in teaching myself to land lightly and not heel-strike, and I found I was just so much more comfortable.

Maybe that's the difference a good pair of shoes makes in your ability to run.

I've also made some slight adjustment with my Body Media Fit armband. Based on it's original settings, it had me burning 2990 calories a day, and eating 1990 for a deficit of 1000 calories. I had no issue eating the 1990, most of the time coming in a little under - but I had a VERY hard time burning the 2990 calories a day.

I think it's mostly my sedentary job - but if I'm not burning the right amount but still eating that much, if offset the deficit. I was hitting closer to 700 calorie difference, rather than the 1000.

So I went in and played with the settings, and found how to scale it down. I'm now aiming at 2700 calorie burn a day, with a 1700 calorie food goal. Move less = eat less.

We'll see how this plays out, but so far it looks like I'm hitting more consistently on the mark.

Monday, November 19, 2012


No really, run! There are zombies!
 Ever heard the phrase, some motivation needed? I think I had all the motivation I needed this past weekend at Run For Your Lives in Clermont! Run For Your Lives is a 5K Obstacle Course... involving zombies.
The obstacles it turns out, were a lot more tame than those I've experienced at Savage Race, but it feels like this one was considerably harder. I'm still not quite ready to tackle a 5K with non-stop running, although that is a work in progress, but I wasn't going to let that stop me from having fun.
I decided to go down to Goodwill and get some awesome clothes to wear for this event.

It was almost a pity to find such a cute dress. In my traditional fashion, I ran the race barefoot. I actually tried to wear shoes, but I was getting blisters just walking from my car to the start line - so I opted to go with out. It was a much more pleasant terrain than the last Savage Race, anyway. I also opted to wear all white to display the most about of mud!
This race also had a bonus - my husband! He elected to run this with me, and he also picked out a wonderful outfit from Goodwill.

Yeah, it takes some serious balls to run the course dressed like this - but he did, and we had a blast.

The most difficult aspect of this race is that it isn't like a regular 5K where you set a pace and stick to it. This was race was littered with sprints of various distances, with very little time between them. One moment you could be walking, trying to catch your breath - and then ZOMBIES RUN! There was a lot of darting side to side, ducking, jumping - ANYTHING to avoid them.

You ran the race with a belt, featuring three flags. If you lose all three flags in the run you are dead. Both my husband and I survived the race with one flag each, and it was NOT easy! Those zombies weren't playing! They came in various speeds - from your barely moving hobbling zombies to your sprinters.

The weather was wonderful, we had a blast, and we survived to talk about it!

We just didn't look that fabulous afterwards. The race was also kind enough to let us have Gatorade for our free beverage, rather than beer. I don't like beer in the first place, and I'm always disappointed when I get to the end of a race to be given something so repulsive as a reward.
So this was really a blast, and definitely a race I want to run again someday. Our times weren't the best in the world, but they weren't the worst either. And besides that, who cares? We had fun, we got dirty, and we lived to tell about it! Turning everything in life into a competition is too stressful.
Overall, we finished 5212 and 5213 out of 5304. We had a time of 1:31:21, giving us a 29 minute mile. Of those who finished alive, we're 2808 and 2809 out of 2853. In our wave, we are 380 and 381 out of 386.
My ankle is still causing me a lot of trouble. It still hurts to walk for long periods of time, and it's still fairly swollen. While I know for certain it isn't broken, it seems like a nasty sprain that does not want to heal - and I can't seem to be still long enough for it to heal all the way.
I did give myself an extra day off, but it throws off my C25K training. I'll have to use Tues-Thurs-Sat interval this week, instead of the Mon-Wed-Fri but I can't let myself give up. It's important to me to run that 5K in January, and make it the whole way through. 

Monday, November 12, 2012


On January 13, I'm embarking on the Color Run. There is 10 weeks between then and now - JUST enough time to get through the Couch to 5K Program.

Basically, it's a program to help your body get used to running, gradually, by using interval trainings. This week, I'm doing a 5 minute warm up, then for 20 minutes I'm alternating 60 seconds of jogging and 2 minutes of walking. I will do this Wednesday and Friday as well.

The rest days are important, too. I will still get up and go for a walk (my dog needs it, and I don't want to break the habit) but I will not run. I need the rest for my body. At the end of the program, I should be able to run the 5K in about 30 minutes.

So this morning, I got up. I skipped the scale (It's shark week, and no need to stress out when I know my weight goes up during this), put on some running clothes, grabbed a hoodie, my phone, and my dog, and pulled out my old Nike Frees.

I have had a lot of issues with running shoes, but I'm not about to run around my neighborhood without shoes. I'm too worried about glass and at least the Frees are a fairly minimal shoe.

My husband was supposed to go with me, but he wouldn't get out of bed. I considered just sleeping in, but I dont' have time to waste. I have to get going.

So, I turned on Pandora to a dubstep station to get me pumped. I used the C25K app on my phone to give me all of the correct timers. I leashed the dog, and off we went. I followed the timers to the letter.

At first it wasn't so bad! One minute of jogging... I got this! Maybe after the third or fourth interval, however... my feet started to hurt from the shoes, and worse still - my ankle was giving me fits. It's still swollen from when I sprained it, and if I use it too much it starts to really protest. I don't want to over do it, but I did push through the rest of today. For future practices, I'm going to be wrapping it up tightly in some KT tape to help it heal, which I'm told could possibly be never - if the sprain was bad enough.

At the end of the 20 minutes of intervals, coming into the cool down, I was limping a bit - and exhausted. I was a sweaty mess, and even my dog was lagging behind me.

I think I've learned that I'm sufficiently lacking in cardio, and I have a long way to go.

I have a goal, I have a plan to get there, and I have a deadline.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Alcohol has a ton of calories.

Alcohol has a ton of calories. I mean, a ton.

I don't drink often. I will maybe have a bottle of wine every other weekend, I'm not much of a social drinker and I don't frequent bars - or even have alchohol with meals in resturants.

This weekend though, I wanted to try this lager I found. A blueberry beer! It sounded like it might be good, and it was! I've always hated beer, I just can't get used to the taste. This blueberry beer had just enough sweet blueberry flavor to mask the beer, and I really found I enjoyed it.

I did not enjoy adding 240 calories for a drink.

Then I had also picked a Pink Moscato by Bella Bolle', which I just adore. a few days ago I wanted to try, so Saturday night I drank that. That bottle ended up being about 620 calories - a meal in a bottle!

I'm still going to maintain that wine every now and then won't hurt you, and a lot of sources agree that red wine is just fine. However, I've never logged my alcohol before. I had no idea it contained THAT many calories in a bottle (and I'm sure some wines are considerably worse).

As a result, I actually went over my calories for the day, which really skewed my overall progress. I put back on .2 lbs (likely salt, among other things, as I had some pizza too!), but I'm not going to stress over that right now.

Instead, I'm back on track, and I'll have to be sure to keep my wine consumption down to just a glass, rather than a bottle.

I've been doing some other things to help me as well. Anything that makes me feel pretty, I'm going to do it. Jewelry, pretty cardigans, nice fitting jeans, shirts with lots of cleavage, straighteing my hair. It's not for anyone else, it's for me. I am making a point of finding clothes that flatter my body, and I'm going to just try to like myself the way I am. I have clothes that I *know* flatter my shape (I'm fortunate that I'm built hourglassy, because I don't always look as heavy as I am) that I will force myself to wear on 'fat' days.

I'm a bit vain about my hair, so I'm taking the time to take better care of it. Wearing it down more often, using better quality products.

I've found skin care products I adore - like sugar scrubs. They just make me feel good about myself. I feel like I'm being pampered.

I still refuse to wear make up. I have good complexion, and medium-dark skin. I don't feel I need make up, I never have - and I maintain that women are more beautiful without it. I admit that I also frequently have acne, and make up makes it worse.

I'll keep on with my armband, because it's helping. It's motivating me to keep going. I've actually logged my food consistently since I've had it, where as previously, I'd fail to do that on the weekends. My armband makes me feel the need to be more honest.

I'm going to be on this journey for a long time, and losing weight won't happen over night. I don't have to be skinny to be pretty, so I'm going to take better care of myself now. If I die today, there's no reason for my last day to have been spent feeling ugly.

In short, today, I feel pretty.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Amusement parks are good for you!

Wednesday was a bad day for me with food. There was a potluck at work - and I like try to try a little of everything. I did however, get small portions of everything.. but I'm pretty sure my calories were pretty high. Even then, I didn't keep the best track of everything - so I guessed, and entered '1000' calories for the meal. Maybe it was high, maybe it was low... but... I don't care. I enjoyed the potluck!

I also went to Universal's Halloween Horror Nights that evening... and ate Arby's along the way. Not the best choices, I know.

But at the end of the week? I'm still down 1.3 lbs. That would be, 2.6 lbs total since I started using the armband.

I actually find that I like eating more. (Who doesn't?!) It's much, much less stressful. As long as I maintain the correct deficit between calories consumed and calories burned... the weight still comes off.

Which is why... I'm STILL loving this armband. Before, I would guess. I guessed that 1500 calories a day was right for me. It seemed right. And maybe it is right... on some days. But on days when I'm incredibly active, it's not. On days when I'm incredibly sedentary, it's not. This led me to often eating too much or too little.

The armband calculates, quite accurately, my real calorie burn. Even though Wednesday I went a little above normal in food - I came in WAY over in calories burned because amusement parks are good for you. You know, as long as you avoid the food.

I'm averaging a deficit of 875 calories a day - I've always been told that you need a deficit of 500 to lose weight. My armband wants me to shoot for 1000 a week, and I'm working on perfecting it still. Slowly but surely, I'm seeing progress.

Not just the scale, but in all the data collected. I can see myself being more active each day as I try to reach the suggested calorie burn. I'm more conscious of not just calories, but what makes up my calories as I strive for the ideal distribution of my macro nutrients. And somehow, it's easier.

The report from October 31.

You know what else I've learned with my armband? That I sleepwalk. Apparently, it's a thing where I get up somewhere between 2 and 3 AM, and take between 100-300 steps. I always wake up in bed, so I was never aware of this before. I should set up a camera to see what I do!