Monday, February 27, 2017

Workouts, Steps, and What I Ate in a Day

Just for something completely different, I thought I'd share last week's movement/exercise/workouts and I also photographed what I ate on one day.  I always like seeing what other people eat and now that I've done it, I have to say I admire bloggers who document all their food this way!

It was 57 degrees outside and I'd been to brunch so I figured taking a nice walk couldn't hurt. Because this is technically a rest day for me, I didn't walk for speed or for distance, just went down to the beach and started walking.  Ended up doing 2.6 miles.  Total steps for Sunday: 10,023

Woke up at 4 a.m., got dressed to run and had a cup of coffee before heading out.  Lots of melting over the weekend plus the temperature not dropping to freezing meant I could try to run outside and run I did.  Had one of my best runs in recent memory - best for overall feel and a better pace as well. 3.09 miles done.  Total steps for Monday: 10,083

Hit the snooze too many times and didn't drag myself out of bed until 4:20.  Got dressed and had a cup of coffee.  It was only 26 degrees with a 24 windchill so I figure this would be a good day to start with some strength training/toning type exericses:

I did 2 sets of 15 of each exercise: Chest Press 15#; Seated Upright Row 15#; Lateral Side Raise 5# (I'm being very cautious with this exercise because my left arm still twinges from when I fell last September); Stability Ball Crunches (2x25); Standing Bicep Curl 12#; Tricep Kickbacks 10#; Doggy Leg Raises; Donkey Kicks; Outer Thigh Leg Raises; Inner Thigh Leg Raises, Squats, Raised Hamstring Bridges; Standing Calf Raises; Stability Ball Jackknife

That took me 25 minutes because you do them as supersets; then I took off and walked for 30 minutes.  Total Steps for Tuesday: 8584 - a perfect example of what happens when I run or walk shorter and end up sitting and/or standing still a lot at work, followed by not much movement when I get home.

Outside for a run as it was 40 degrees at 4:45.  Unfortunately, had a truck drive straight at me, yell at me to get off the road, and I had to jump into a snow bank.  People are stupid. BUT, you can see I stuck my landing lol! And I got 3 miles done even though I was shaken up.

After my regular job, I went to my part-time job where I stand the entire time but don't do much moving around. Total steps for Wednesday: 10,903

Had the usual 4 am wake up.  Gave myself a manicure and had coffee and finally got out the door just before 5.  It was weirdly super foggy but chilly (38 degrees).  My legs felt like they needed a break so I did 2 minutes of walking/1 minute of running for 45 minutes.  Work was its usual sedentary self, though I am making a conscious effort to stand 4-6 hours every day.  Thursday evening is when I try to do all my vacuuming and clean the wood floors, and dust throughout the house.  Total steps for Thursday: 11,172

No workout today - just needed a rest day. Stood for most of the day at work and also went to part time job for another 4 hours after work. This step count shows exactly how sedentary my work days are, even though I stand a lot. Total steps for Friday: 5,070

Finally got a longer run in - 5 miles.  Finished it off by doing 4 sets of 25 each of pushups, squats, lunges, stability ball jackknives, and stability ball crunches.  This was actually a more sedentary than usual Saturday for me - went to brunch, grocery shopped, then came home and sat around while watching TV and doing some laundry.  Total steps for Saturday: 14,074

What I Ate on Wednesday:

At 7:45, once I was settled at work, breakfast was a mushroom omelette topped with feta cheese and chopped tomatoes.

Around 10:45 I was wanting something so I ate some fruit:  1 banana and 1/2 cup of blueberries.  I'm super picky and weird with fruit, but I like this combo and it tasted delicious!

Lunch at 1:00 was leftover chicken and rice with some roasted broccoli. Normally I would have something like a salad or sandwich but didn't have time to put it together as I was running late.  This is when the individual freezer leftovers come in very handy - just grabbed this and added the broccoli, which was a fridge leftover.

7:30 dinner was sliced leftover rotisserie chicken breast on multigrain bread and a few Terra Vegetable Chips. I seriously would like to eat earlier (because I head to bed between 8-8:30) but it's hard on days I work my second job.  It's also hard when Mr. Helen is home.  He doesn't eat lunch until about 2 p.m. every day which means he's not hungry at 6-6:30.  Sometimes he's not even hungry at 7!  I'm hoping that changes when he retires.

After dinner I ate 2 pieces of candy from my Russell Stover Valentine Heart.  I probably didn't "need" this, but wanted a little something sweet.

As far as drinks go, I had two cups of coffee in the morning and then drank water the rest of the day, including with meals.

This is pretty much how I workout and eat day in and day out (with the exception that my salad game ramps up in the summer - sometimes I eat a salad for lunch and another for dinner). So, nothing special, no secrets, tips, or tricks, just grinding it out day after day in hopes of being healthy and staying active to keep the family aches, pains, and arthritis at bay.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Put It Out There

My weekend started off with me feeling a bit discombobulated but ended with a better outlook.

I got some discouraging news on Friday - my thyroid still is not where it should be, but "might be" getting better.  As you can imagine, that makes me want to lay down and put the covers over my head as I wonder if I'll ever catch a break.

Last week we had warmer than usual daytime temperatures, even though it was refreezing at night.  I haven't been able to run outside since we had the 3 snow storms in 4 days so I was quite excited to get up and run Saturday morning, in the daylight, because even if there was a bit of ice, I could see it and maybe get around it.

As it turned out, temps were above freezing but what I wasn't prepared for were the still unshoveled sidewalks and 6-foot tall mounds of snow at the end of sidewalks where the intersections began.  I had intended to go out and run 5 miles but was so discouraged that my run was turning into a frustrating crawl that I cut it short and came home at 3 miles.

WHYYYYYYYY?!!  Why can't my thyroid work and why can't I have a good run and why does everything have to feel so damn hard?

The temps went up to about 50 so there was more melting, which is a good thing though the piles are so deep that it's going to take some time to get rid of them.  If I was a good blogger I'd have gone out and taken some photos so you'd understand what I'm talking about. I still had a busy day and got quite a bit of movement in so I was happy about that since I didn't know what would happen on Sunday.

Sunday the forecast was for even warmer weather - exciting - but I had plans to meet my friend Em for brunch.  Though we keep in touch and live only an hour apart, it has literally been a year since I've seen her and her son, who is now 2.  We had a lovely brunch at Rooster Co., which while not quite farm-to-table, heavily sources ingredients from local farms.  They put a list of the day's farms up that you can see when you walk in.  I had the Eggs Benedict - worth every calorie and some of the best I've ever had.  Maybe it was the crispy pork belly in place of the Canadian bacon!

After brunch, when I got in my car to drive home, the thermometer said it was 64 degrees where I was.  Right then I knew I'd get home, change, and go for a walk even though the temp at home would probably be 10 degrees cooler, especially with the breeze.  It actually was 57 degrees!  On February 19th!

I drove down to my beach and believe it or not, the boardwalk had entire spots still covered in snow. I walked a bit then headed out out of the beach into the neighborhoods since I wanted to walk a couple miles.  While I walked, I listened to Runner's World podcast episode 41: Dreaming Big.

The episode is about Matt Llano who as a 28 year old runner who, after running a 1:01 at the Houston Half Marathon in 2014, boldly pronounced that he was going to transition to marathon running and would beat the record for a debut marathon (2:08).  It didn't happen but the following year he set his (so far) PR of 2:12 and continues to work at that 2:08 time.  The episode also features an installment on David Willey who is Runner's World Editor in Chief and has been trying for decade to qualify to run the Boston Marathon.  He has an opportunity to work with an elite team of trainers and is being poked, prodded and tested and being given a customized training plan.  He calls it his moonshot.

The whole point of the episode is that sometimes we just keep our dreams and goals to ourselves - afraid of failure, or rather having to admit failure.  Matt Llano says he feels when you put it out there it chemically changes your approach to how you're going to make that dream or goal come true. Besides, people are not looking at him and thinking he's stupid because he didn't make the 2:08 - in fact people are admiring that 2:12. He also believes if you don't make the goal right away, something inside you just keeps working at it because you've put it out there.  David Willey says the reason he's even talking about his moonshot is because he believes it will keep him on track. He now believes several of his past attempts were just half-hearted because only he knew, therefore he didn't work hard enough at it.

That really spoke to me.  As a type A personality, I often don't talk about my dreams or goals because I am afraid of failing and everyone knowing it. Of people talking about it.  I'm not sure why it bothers me so much because in general I could care less what people say or think.  They aren't walking in my shoes or living my life.

But, after listening to that podcast, I came home from that walk thinking I should share some of the things ruminating in my mind. Because honestly, just admitting this stuff is "dreaming big" for me.

  • I have 6 weeks until I run a quarter marathon (6.55 miles).  My only dream of this is to finish.  As I mentioned in my last post, all the indoor running (or outdoor with snow piles) this time of year makes it tough for me to even set a time goal.
  • But my other goal attached to that is that I want to weigh 8 pounds less than I do right now.
  • When I got home, I went online and signed up for a 10K on May 21st.  It's a fairly new local race that I have hesitated to run because I'm not the runner I used to be and I will know a lot of the runners there.  But guess what?  Now I don't care.  My dream for this race will be to run it at a faster mile per minute pace than I do the quarter marathon.  I'll let you know what that pace is once I've run the first one.
  • Also attached to that, and also due to the fact that shortly after the second race we will be going to St. Martin to celebrate our 25th anniversary, I want to lose an additional 20 pounds before we go.
It's out there.  Now let's see how I do.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Tuesday Ten: Things My Garmin Taught Me

1.  I am way more sedentary than I think I am, especially during the week.  If I have a day when I do not exercise, then go to work, I am lucky to have 2-3,000 total steps during the day.  Believe me when I say, in my head I'm much more active than that.

2. Even on days when I run or walk only a couple miles, I struggle to get my step count anywhere near 10,000 steps, which I guess is what is recommended as a minimum. (Who came up with that anyway?)

3. When I have a sedentary day (i.e., under 5,000 steps), my TOTAL calorie burn is somewhere in the neighborhood of 1900 calories

4. On busy weekend days, even on days I do not exercise, I easily make 9-10,000 steps and with added exercise I easily make 16,000.

5. On active weekend days my calorie burn is somewhere in the neighborhood of 3,900!

6. Sunday during our third snow storm in four days, I made myself go outside and walk on my treadmill for 3 miles because I knew I'd be stuck in the house all day.  Because I was just hanging around my house cooking and sitting and watching TV, I ended up with only 7,800 steps. I can only imagine what it would have been had I not walked.

7. Interesting resting heart rate info.: as the week goes on and I exercise more, my resting heart rate goes up, which indicates that I probably do need a rest day each week.  But how restful do I need to be?

8. While not every day has be a high intensity exercise day, on most days, because of my super sedentary job, I really do need to try to move in some way for 30 minutes, which means I'm going to have to suck it up and get out after work if I plan on using my morning exercise time to do some body weight and strength training workouts, which are important too.

9. I definitely need to utilize my stand-up desk at work and not sit so much.  I think standing builds in some natural moving around that just doesn't happen if I'm sitting for hours.

10. The biggest thing I've realized is how easy it is to maintain and/or gain weight if sedentary.  I mean, I knew this in my head, but these stats are driving it home.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Keep Walking

I spent most of January sick as could be with a short reprieve towards the end of the month - only to have it come roaring back.  By Thursday of last week I was so sick I decided to stay home on Friday.  My job offers the call-in doctor service Teladoc so at 5:30 a.m. on Friday I called.  The doctor I spoke with said he would call in a prescription for me but told me if I felt any worse at all I should go to my primary care physician.  I went back to bed with the intention of getting up later to pick up said prescription, but when I woke up, I felt like my chest was compressing my lungs and as if I was going to choke. So I called my regular doctor and they told me to come in at 1:30 and they'd fit me in. The verdict was mycoplasma infection aka walking pneumonia.  So, I did get antibiotics after all, just not the ones the Teladoc doctor prescribed.  I'm still pretty bronchial but feeling a bit better every day.

By Monday, my brain was in full on rebellion because it had been7 days since I did any sort of exercise.  It was 40 degrees and sunny when I got out of work so I went for a walk; just an easy walk, to see how my breathing would go.  It felt beyond good to move and I slept like a log that night. This morning, I decided to get up and go back out as the temp was still 37 and the forecast for Wednesday and Thursday was showing rain and snow.  I walked as fast as I could and threw in some jogging, which immediately brought on coughing spasms.  So yeah, not quite ready to run it out but again it felt good to get out there.

What was fascinating about both those outings were the Garmin stats.  VO2 Max is a measure of your maximum oxygen intake and output.  The higher it is, generally the faster you are and the more endurance you have as a runner - elite runners have VO2 Max levels that other runners dream of. Mine is usually just average.  Sometimes if I have to use my inhaler because I'm worried about the cold causing some asthma, it goes to the higher end of average but it never goes high.

On both those outings my VO2 Max was below normal - not surprised - but my heart rate actually got as high as when I run.  So, even though I was much slower, I was actually working just as hard as running.  This explain why coaches will often tell someone who is in recovery to work at a "perceived exertion" rate:  depending on what is going on with your body, a walk can be just as hard as a run.

This week, I should be starting my 8-week training plan for the quarter marathon I'm running April 2nd but I haven't run since last Tuesday.  Too sick to run is pretty sick for me but I do know when to say when.  

Of course the timing of all this also reminded me exactly why I prefer not to train in winter for races - even though it's hot and humid, I'm rarely sick in the summer.  Besides, the cold conditions and all the clothing I have to put on in winter just make it feel cumbersome.

Thankfully as an experienced runner I know I can modify said plan and honestly, if push comes to shove, I could probably walk the thing in about 1:40 or so and looking at past race results, it seems there may be plenty of folks who have done just that.