To tell the truth . . .

I very nearly didn’t run at all today.  *hangs head*

Yes, it’s true.

I was plenty awake this morning when the alarm went off at 4:40 am and while yes, there was some sinus pressure and congestion going on, it really wasn’t anything I couldn’t have gone ahead and run with.  Of course since I make such a big freakin’ deal out of “sharing” all this and “being accountable” here, on Facebook, and Twitter I had to go on and say commit to running this evening instead.

I got off work early for an optometrist appointment and by the time we were headed home I had every reason excuse lined up not to run this evening.

  1. I was tired.
  2. It was hot.
  3. I really hadn’t rested well last night.
  4. I don’t actually owe my running to anybody else and if I choose not to run it’s nobody’s business but mine!
  5. I just didn’t feel like running!

There.  I had the perfect reason excuse!

Until I got home and realized that at the end of the day if I didn’t run *I* would know and *I* would have let myself down.

So we ran.

Boy did we run!

As I stated earlier on Facebook: I was bored with the route we had been running in our neighborhood so took it upon myself to come up with a new route. Rich told me there were more long inclines than I thought, but I was determined (stubborn much there Jules?!) that he was mistaken and that we could do this. It was less the pace we were running at than it was the fact that I just simply haven’t built up the endurance for all those hills.

And yes, Rich got to say “I told you so!”

For the record:
Tonight’s Run: 4.56 miles in 1 hour 10 minutes.
Five run 4 min/walk 2 min intervals completed.
Last two intervals were closer to three run 3/walk 2.
Tonight’s Lesson: I am NOT ready for a route with several long inclines.
Tonight’s Other Lesson: My husband knows a lot more about running than I do!  I should listen to him!

Week Seven: Still here! Still Running!

I am generally a lot more consistent with blogging, etc. however this past weekend was crazy busy for us!

did make time on Saturday morning and got in half a run.  By “half a run” I mean we ran half the number of 3:1 circuits I was supposed to do.  Friday-to-Saturday was the first time I’ve ever run two consecutive days and it actually went very well.  Thetwo consecutive days thing was actually not a factor in the abbreviation of our time/distance.  Just for the record.

Last night began what I think of as Real Running when we did seven circuits of run four minutes and walk two minutes.  Truth be told, I actually like running the longer time periods with the shorter recovery periods.  Next Monday is run four: walk one for the next two weeks and our Graduation 5K takes place September 17th!  And it is my intention to run the entire distance of the 5K regardless what my time is.  Although I think aiming for 45 minutes isn’t too unreasonable.

The one thing that isn’t going the way I had really hoped it would is weight loss.

I have had to simply to realize that the time has come to bite the bullet (no pun intended) and c-c-c-c-count c-c-c-c-calories.  *shudders*

I hate counting calories.

I have no problem monitoring my intake of saturated fat, sugar, or sodium.

I have not much of a problem being mindful of the type of carbs I ingest.

I read labels like a crazy woman seeking to avoid anything with hydrogenated oils, HFCS, “enriched” flour, and any form of artificial sweetener in it!

In fact, changing my diet entirely is exactly what I did starting at the end of March when I adopted a lacto-ovo-pescatarian diet.  (And I have never felt better!)

But I just simply despise counting calories!

I’ve always been of a mind that if what you are eating is clean, healthy, non-processed, as-close-to-nature-as-possible foods should be enough to insure weight loss when a body needs it and weight maintenance when loss isn’t needed.

But.

That simply isn’t the case, and particularly not when one has reached that “Woman Of A Certain Age” milestone.  (I’m forty-six – be forty-seven in February.)

And if there was any lack of certainty on my part, my girl Jillian Michaels brought that point home loud and clear in one of her podcasts I was listening to during my run Saturday morning.

To lose weight you have to create a calorie deficit between calories in and calories out.  And to do that: You.  Have.  To.  Count!

And so I am.

I used one of those groovy little BMR Calculators to determine my general calorie burn on both running and non-running days, and I am seeking to create a 3,000 calorie per week deficit.  I can’t reasonably (or healthfully) create a big deficit on non-running days since my BMR calorie burn is just under 1,500 calories and eating much less than 1,200 calories in a day is simply not healthy, but I will make the adjustment of getting the majority of my calories on those days from fruits and vegetables.

I’ve set up an Excel Spreadsheet to input the nutritional information for every single thing that passes between my lips and I will be inputting that information religiously until I begin to see results.  I figure within two weeks I’ll know what works for me.  Then, based on that information, I will “automate” breakfast and dinner and use lunch as my ‘wild card’ meal where I can have a little more variety.

In addition to calories (which I am monitoring most diligently) I am seeking to keep the sugar and saturated fat content in most of what I eat to 4 grams per serving or less; and I am keeping my sodium to the recommended allowance of 1,500 mg at most every day just because that’s healthy!

This weekend my husband and I are going out of town and it is my intention to stay on track with my running training.  I can get up and run Saturday morning before we hit the road, and again on Monday.  This will really be the first time we’ve been ‘out of pocket’ (as we Southerners are wont to say) since I started this little venture and I am dead-set and byGod determined to prove that this isn’t just some little ten week diversion but is a new lifestyle by continuing with my training schedule just like I have every week for the past six.

As I said yesterday after my weekly Running With Trainers: I have never, ever in my life stuck with any sort of exercise plan/program this consistently for this long!  And that thought really excites me!

So that’s what’s new in My World of Running this week!

Back to The Running Track

Where was I before I got sidetracked by national news?

That’s right!  I was running!

This morning we stepped out the door to absolutely perfect running weather.  It was maybe 70° with some of the lowest humidity we’ve had around here for months.  I was so excited to get the chance to run in something other than blistering heat or humidity that you can cut with a knife.

Things started out well enough.  The first three 3:1 (run:walk) circuits went well enough so I was feelin’ pretty good about things.  Circuit 4 went okay, but not as quick a pace as the first three, and so it continued until about 90 seconds into Circuit 8 I had to stop running and walk for eight to ten steps.  I started running again, lasted maybe another ten steps, and had to go back to walking.  Rich (whose knee is still recuperating) drove up beside me to see if I was okay.  I told him I was I’d just run out of steam.  I regrouped and managed to push out the last two running circuits.  But they were u-g-l-y.

And I couldn’t figure out what the problem was.  I got ample sleep last night.  I didn’t have any injuries.  And the weather was absolutely perfect!  I’ve had better runs with a 100º+ heat index during my first two weeks running than this one in perfect conditions six weeks into my training!

And then it dawned on me: I was literally running on empty.

Our alarm goes off at 4:40 am with the goal of being out the door and moving at 5.  This really doesn’t leave time for fueling the machine and frankly I’m lucky it took this long for that to catch up to me like this.

I know that for me running on a full stomach is a recipe for disaster.

I also know me well enough to know full well that I am not going to get up at 3:30 am to have enough lead time to eat something before running.  Besides I’m not one of those people who can go from pillow to plate in anything under an hour.

However a couple weeks ago I discovered what we refer to as Gatorade’s “pouches” which are actually called Gatorade Prime.  I was admittedly skeptical the first week.  I figured they were nothing more than brilliant marketing meets gullible public.  I was mistaken.  Downing one of those little bad boys really made a big difference during my Monday evening runs at the end of my work day when all I really want to do is get home and in my jammies, and on a couple days when the heat was nearly unbearable.  It dawned on me this morning that one of those might be just the thing I need.  Guess what I picked up at the store this evening on the way home to have tomorrow morning?

Timing being what it is an old friend from high school who has also recently become a runner pointed me to an article on Runner’s World’s website today addressing bad runs: Three Reasons to Feel Good About Bad Runs in which Coach Jenny says “We can learn much more from the runs that humble us than the ones that go so well we hardly take notice. Bad runs inspire us to evaluate what went wrong.”  I think she’s on to something!

As am I!

This is Off The Running Path

A couple days ago I was considering posting some thoughts on my online journal (not a blog, sorry no links) but decided not to because any time I write or comment about this particular topic invariably somebody gets hurt/ offended/ angry/ defensive.  I was asked/encouraged by a number of people to go ahead and say what I wanted to say, and so I decided to go ahead and post what had been on my mind not just Wednesday morning but for several weeks now. But I couldn’t quite wrap my brain around how to start.
Until.
Until yesterday when I happened to see (but didn’t click on because I was in a hurry) a headline on CNN’s website something to the effect of “Half of Adults Obese by 2030 Study Reports”. Today I had more time, but for some reason couldn’t find that particular article. However I did find one on the Washington Post’s Website saying essentially the same thing.

Please, take the maybe two minutes required to read the article. It’s pretty short and to the point. I’ll wait right here until you return.

Below, with a couple edits and additions, is what I posted on my Facebook when I shared the article there:What bothers me more than this article is the number of people who will read it, laugh about it, and continue to follow the unhealthy eating and complete lack of exercise habits they always have all the while saying “How fat I am is nobody’s business but mine!” Or the people who will focus on the issue of “Government interference” while ignoring what this article is really telling us about ourselves.The fact is: Diseases linked to obesity are on the rise and they are HUGE (no pun intended) contributors to increased health care costs and rising insurance premiums. A tremendous percentage of people who are obese (and I’m talking beyond morbidly obese) are receiving some sort of subsidized health care (Medicare, etc.) and that statistic is only going to increase. So really, the government is already involved in this by providing medical care for health issues that, simply put, are self-induced and need not even exist in the first place. Funny how people don’t want the government to “interfere” unless or until that “interference” takes the form of something they want or need.

It is NOT “more expensive to eat healthy”! That is pure crap! Oh sure it requires a little more forethought and planning, and you might have to break out a pot or a pan instead of buzzing through a drive-thru; but people we are killing ourselves and more importantly: WE ARE KILLING OUR CHILDREN one freakin’ happy meal at a time!

We are members of one of the most educated generations ever with information about healthy eating and nutrition literally at our fingertips! There are ZERO excuses for this. None. Not one! Exercise doesn’t have to be complicated. Get off the couch and walk to the end of the block and back. Tomorrow do it twice. The next day go all the way around the block. Before you know it you’ll have made it up to a mile, you will feel better, heck you might even find yourself in a better mood!

What do you have to lose by opting for healthier choices?

Your stubborn commitment to “By God it’s my body and I’ll eat what I want!”? Really? Is that worth dying for? Because you are you know. At the very least you are living a life severely limited at the very least mobility wise.

For those who mount the argument “Well my grandparents ate like this and lived to be 102 years old!” there is a HUGE difference between the quality of the food your grandparents ate and the over-processed, genetically-modified, chemistry experiments that pass for food on most tables these days. They ate real food grown in real soil and real meat that came from animals who also ate real food – food they were intended to eat. Not cud-chewing cattle all but force fed processed, hormone laced, grain-esque mash. Tell me, have you ever in your life seen a cow in a rural setting mosey up to an ear of corn? No. No you have not. Cows eat grass and green plants. Not processed, hormone laced, ground up corn – cobs and all!  (I have since been corrected on this misapprehension and informed that cows in natural habitats do in fact like corn.  Today’s New Thing To Learn!)
And I seriously doubt your grandparents ate that Denny’s Grand Slam Breakfast then sat on their butts eight hours a day at work chugging down carbonated beverages like water (instead of water), then came home and plopped down in front of a television and did nothing until rolling into bed. Nope! I’m willing to bet that Grandma and Grandpa were up before the chickens and had already engaged in more physical activity in the first hour of their day than most of us do in a week. THEN they had that big ol’ country breakfast before going back out and busting their butts – and burning off those eggs and bacon and toast – on their feet all day long!

Yes. I feel beyod passionately about this.
We are, as a nation, committing geno-suicide one bite of crap food at a time!
One grain of bleached – yes I said bleached as in what you use in your washing machine with your socks and jock straps – grain at a time.
One genetically modified, infused with squid dna and god-knows-what-else piece of “fruit” at a time. (If fruit is even makes the menu.)
One high fat, high sugar, high sodium, processed to near unrecognizability box-o-What-Is-That at a time.
One Full-Day’s-Supply-of-Fat/Sugar/Sodium laden “convenient” drive-thru meal at a time. The drive-thru because God forbid we should actually get out of our vehicles and walk a few steps before sucking down a few thousand calories.

We are Facebooking, YouTubing, and Must-See-Tv-ing our bodies into padded, barely mobile caricatures of what the miracle of the human body is supposed to resemble.
I’m not saying hop up and run a full-blown marathon right now.
Just stand up, put one foot in front of the other, and take a walk. Go to the corner and back today. Go to the next corner and back tomorrow. Maybe get crazy and go around the block on Sunday. Just move! Do one more movement every day and I promise you in six months you won’t recognize the person looking back at you in the mirror.

Not sure how to eat healthy or exercise? Here, let me provide you with a few (absolutely free) resources.

Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Michael Rozien provide the basics of their YOU On A Diet book at RealAge.com absolutely free.

Two words: Prevention Magazine. You will find everything there. Fitness, Weight Loss, Nutrition. Absolutely free of charge!

Eat Better America From what I can see it is completely free.

Fave Diets does a great job making traditional recipes healthier and has a free newsletter that generally has at least twenty recipes daily.

Check out this article from Fit Watch’s Website about 10 ways you can exercise at home without equipment. (Imagine my shock when “Walking” was at the top of the list!)

Are you going to see an immediate difference over night? Nope. Sorry. Doesn’t work like that. I’ve been busting my tail running three times a week for the past six weeks and I’ve barely lost five pounds on the scale.
But!
My body moves better.
My clothes are starting to fit looser.
I sleep better.
I just feel better.

And who doesn’t want to feel better?
To be able to walk up a flight of stairs without gasping for air.
To be able to stand up without your lower back, knees, and ankles letting you know about it.
To eat a meal and not have to unbutton your pants or feel like you have a brick in your stomach.

And yes, it really is Just. That. Simple!

P.S. If your blood is boiling and you’re ready to throttle me ask yourself a couple questions before you utterly blast me (not that I really expect people reading my Running Blog to do that…):
WHY am I angry?
When that happens to me and I take that little minute to step back and ask that question I almost always find the answer to be that I am angry because there is some truth I don’t want to face in what I have read.Maybe that’s just me…

Setting my own pace.

This morning I was running alone.

Not in some fatalistic, angsty, “Man/Woman alone in the universe” kind of  way.   That’s not really much ‘me’ from a belief/faith perspective anyway.  I digress.

No this morning I was literally running without the company of another living, breathing, also-running human being.  My husband is rehabilitating a knee that started twinging a bit but devolved into full-blown pain last week so running is off the table for him right now.  He did drive along behind me to help keep time, and because our subdivision has zero streetlights and it is dark at 5 am and I’m funny about seeing where I’m going.  (When he runs with me he carries a small flashlight along with manning the stopwatch.)  So without another set of footfalls to gauge by I was on my own pacewise.

On Monday nights when I’m running with the thirty or so trainers and couple hundred other Beginning Runners it is actually fairly easy to set and maintain my own pace.  I am completely comfortable in the “middle of the pack”.  There are women who are going to pass me every single week.  They are younger, and many of them clearly not beginners like I am A Beginner.  (Remember: Until July the last time I ran Jimmy and Rosalyn were still inhabiting 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue!)  By the same token, there are women I am pretty much assured of passing every week.  Of course I’d be lying if I said “Oh no, I don’t get a rush of enjoyment when I pass slower runners!”  HA!  Of course I do.  It’s less of an “I’m better than she is!” thing than it is a “I’m doing better than I did last week!” thing.

When Rich and I run together I intentionally pace myself to be just a little slower than he is simply because he has run more recently than the aforementioned Carter Administration; and when we were running side-by-side on treadmills on a regular basis I got a pretty good idea how much faster his running pace is.

Monday I brought my iPod to listen to while I was running.  Our coaches signal time to switch from running to walking by blowing a whistle and simultaneously raising both arms above their heads, which signals all the runners to raise our arms above our heads and make the switch from run to walk, or walk to run whichever it’s time to do.  (And every single time we do this I have to giggle a little because being here on The Buckle of The Bible Belt I just have to believe that somebody driving down the major thoroughfare our running path runs parallel to is thinking “Oh look Marge!  It’s some kind of tent-less tent revival!”  Okay, it’s funny in my oxygen deprived brain at the time…  I’m digressing again… )  Anyway, without having to rely on an audible play call, I decided to see if having some sort of aural distraction might help keep me from literally counting my steps as I ran, thereby making the whole thing feel somehow forced and torturous.

I knew good and well that listening to music was not going to work for me.  Finding The Perfect Songs with The Perfect Rhythm to maintain a good running pace just wasn’t going to happen.  I’d either pick something way too fast and end up prostrate on the ground, or I’d pick something too slow and end up aggravated.  So.  I opted to listen to Jillian Michaels podcasts.  Think what you will about the woman’s approach as a trainer/coach, she is chock full of fantastic information.  Personally, I like her style and would love nothing more on this earth than to get to spend a day with her!  But that’s just me.

And.  It.  Worked!

Having Jillian in my ears served two purposes: 1) My running pace just fell into a perfect rhythm; and B) It is virtually impossible to lose motivation with that woman’s voice in your head!

And I’m learning along the way too.

So twice this week I’ve run ten complete circuits of run 3 minutes / walk 1 minute.

And twice this week I was upright and coherent at the end of the run.

By Jove!  I think I’m getting this!

Week Six – Night One: Vini. Vidi. Curcurri baybee!

In case your Latin is a little rusty that post title up there translates to: I came.  I saw.  I ran baybee!  (All research points to “baybee” being a fairly universal thing that translates itself no matter the language.)

Tonight we began Week Six which entails running three minutes then walking one minute for a total of forty minutes.  That’s ten circuits.

And I ran ALL TEN CIRCUITS!!

Going into it I found the prospect of only having one minute to recover between runs a bit daunting.  Truth be told, I didn’t think I could do it.

But I DID!!!

During the third run circuit an interesting thing happened: It actually felt good and I realized “I am enjoying this!”
I’m talkin’ Finding A Great Pair of Bandolino Pumps for 80% Off enjoying.

Dulce de Leche Häägen Dazs Straight Out of the Container Standing Over the Sink enjoying.
Pedicu . . . Let’s don’t get crazy.
But it felt good nonetheless.

As I said on Facebook: And I know where The Zone is! I ran around the perimeter of it. I wasn’t in it, but I’ve seen where it is!

The other Big News of the day: As of this writing I have Three Subscribers!!
Getting those emails absolutely made my day!!  Seriously.  No, I don’t get out a lot. 

For now it’s time to see the inside of my eyelids.

Tomorrow is an Off Day since there is no way a ten hour turn-around between runs is going to be anything close to enough. 

Welcome to The Run!

This is not my first effort at a blog to follow my running adventure.  My original blog is HERE.  I’m migrating over here for a a number of reasons not the least of which are: A) Difficulty some of my friends have had posting comments over there; and B) I wanted to have a simpler, more to the point URL to be able to point people to.  If you would like to read the (brief and so far unspectacular) history of my little middle-aged running adventure I’m more than willing to wait while you meander back through the posts over there.  If nothing else, please read the first one since it explains what I’m doing here.  Now defunct.

There, that wasn’t too painful.

As soon as I get this post “published” (that seems like such a strong word) I’m going to post one last one there directing people here.

The most important things to remember are this:

I have no clue what I’m doing as a runner, but I’ve got some really great trainers and coaches guiding me along the way.

I have no clue what I’m doing as a blogger, and I have absolutely no trainers or coaches providing guidance on this part.  Sorry.  You’re on my own with this part.

And finally, I know there’s going to be a whole lot more going on than just running and writing about running.  This is my Mid-Life Awakening and all I know is that wherever this goes, it’s gonna be a blast!

But for now, I have a kitchen to clean.