Archive for February, 2010

Finally out of the Gym!

I had a pretty slow workout week, but very busy week otherwise.  I didn’t manage to convince myself to do my planned runs Tuesday or Thursday.  I had reasonably good reasons, though.  Wednesday I had a Biochemistry exam, so Tuesday was spent taking care of things at home and studying till very late.  Thursdays, I have obedience training with Tara, so I have limited time for workouts after work.  What I need to do is start doing my workouts between my Thursday morning class and work.  I can use the gym on campus, but I will have to go get a student ID for that.  I did lift weights on Wednesday with my mom, so at least that was something!

This weekend the weather finally cooperated for some outdoor workouts!  I got to run outside both yesterday and today.  Yesterday was not a planned run day, but not having done any other running this week made me really motivated to take advantage of the good weather and relatively mild temperature.  I wore under armour leggings, a tank top, light long-sleeved jersey and a dry-fit pullover.  My hands were pretty cold, but otherwise I was comfortable.  Curtis and I ran and walked for about 60 minutes.  I have no idea what the mileage was, but I’d estimate we did about 3 miles of actual running.  We also had to walk a bit and had to make a stop because my stomach was acting up.  It did the same thing on our run today and we had to walk and stop to use the bathroom again.  It was really frustrating to have to stop, so that’s something I’m going to have to work on (sorry if TMI).  Today, we ran again outside.  I wore similar clothes- under armour leggings, under armour cold gear long-sleeved shirt and the same pullover.  I also added a pair of gloves and headband to keep my hands and head warm.  It was quite a bit windier today and slightly chillier, but I was comfortable with the amount of clothes until the very end of the run when I started to get cold.

It ended up being quite a bit more technical in some areas as many of the sidewalks were still covered, at least partially.  We almost turned back in the first snowy section to find another route, but decided to push through.  It turned out to be the right decision as most of the rest of the paths were uncovered.  Curtis and I ran together for about the first 6.5 miles and then we ran home and I grabbed Tara to finish the run with another 3.5 miles.  This was my first outdoor 10 miler!  It was so refreshing to run outside this weekend and not be stuck on a treadmill.  I never got bored and the time just flew by when I wasn’t constantly watching the clock.  The total time was slow, but I’m attributing that to the walking and breaks.  I felt great throughout and our pace seemed about right.  My legs are a bit sore now, but I don’t think it’ll be a lasting pain.  I am happy I am going to be well-prepared for the half-marathon in April!

Hopefully this week will go a bit better workout-wise than last week.  I have another test on Friday, but it shouldn’t require as much studying as the test last week.  I should be doing weights Monday and Wednesday and running Tuesday and Thursday.  I’m also planning to keep up with the calorie-counting through March (I have been keeping track, but not posting my calories for each day since I’ve not blogged much this week).  I just learned from Lori’s blog that it is National Nutrition Month.  So, I think it is only fitting to continue to focus on my nutrition for the next month.  I’ll be doing my goal check-in sometime this week also.  Hopefully I’ll be able to get it in tomorrow, but we’ll see how the day goes!


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Today ended up being an unplanned day off from working out, but a busy day otherwise!  I had both school and work today, and I had a haircut tonight, so I felt like I was constantly going from one thing to another.  Usually, I lift weights with my mom on Mondays, but we decided we’d do our workout on Wednesday instead.  It actually works out much better for me since I did a weight workout yesterday and should really have today off from lifting anyhow.  I also have an exam on Wednesday, so I’ve been busy studying for that as well.  Tomorrow night will be a nice short 5 mile run with some uphill work.  Unfortunately, I’m still going to be stuck indoors on the treadmill!  It’s probably going to be raining all day tomorrow, yuck!  I hopeful that the rain melts some more of the snow though.  We’re down to grass in some areas and the backyard only has about 4-6 inches left to go!  Of course, the huge mountains of snow on the sidewalks are going to take a bit longer, but ever littly bit helps.  I can’t wait for spring!

I realized today as I was tracking my calories, that I haven’t talked about nutrition in awhile (if ever), and I think it’s about time that I do!  I’ve always considered myself a fairly healthy eater, but I’ve come to learn that I had very unhealthy eating habits, especially in college.  I hardly ever ate breakfast, unless it was the morning hangover breakfast at a local restaurant after a night of heavy drinking.  And more often than not, I would get through almost an entire day without having eaten anything.  I remember there being days when I would get home from class at 4:00PM without having had a single morsel of food all day.  By this time, I usually had a couple of diet Cokes and maybe a cup of coffee to tide me over.  Needless to say, I was usually starving by the time I got home and remembered to eat!  I would then proceed to binge on anything I had.  Luckily, I was a fairly health conscious shopper, so I usually had pretty healthy foods on hand.  Looking back, I’m not sure how I ever thought that that was ok!  By the time I had graduated, I was sick of eating like that all the time and vowed that with a more stable schedule, I’d be able to develop healthier eating habits.

Fast forward a couple years to now.  I can’t even imagine going through a day without breakfast!  And a morning snack. And lunch. And an afternoon snack. And dinner.  Plus the pre- and/or post-workout snacks when needed.  The first thing I added was eating breakfast regularly, usually oatmeal.  Soon after, I had my cholesterol levels tested and found out my levels were fantastic – all within normal limits after having been elevated the past few years.  By spacing out the calories I was consuming throughout the day and exercising regularly I lost about 5 lbs.  I do track calories on and off when I feel I need to re-evaluate or if I have noticed a weight change.  For the most part, though, I eat intuitively.  But, my biggest struggle in healthy eating habits is remembering that I don’t have to “clean my plate” when I am full.

I eat mostly whole foods, with my staples being oatmeal, nut butters, salads, and eggs.  I do use protein powders in shakes and to boost a meal’s protein levels if I feel like I’m lacking (most often in my oatmeal).  Dinners typically consist of some protein source (chicken, fish or beef and occasionally pork or buffalo), a veggie, and a starch (potato/rice/noodle/bread).  I LOVE bread, rice, and noodles and could eat any of them plain in mass quantities.  I’ve learned to manage that and restrain myself from overdoing (most of the time!).  I do drink wine regularly, but very little other alcohol on a regular basis.  I do not subscribe to “low-fat” or “low-carb” options typically, it’s a fine balance if I choose those options over full fat and full carb options of how many calories there are and what they did to it to make it low fat or low carb.  I don’t mind eating out, and I usually don’t restrict myself from ordering what I want and eating it too!  This even includes fast food (mmm Wendy’s spicy chicken sandwich combo!), and I don’t feel guilty about it afterward.  Although one of my biggest pet peeves is that fast food restaurants usually ask you if you want “medium” size and don’t give a choice of “small”, so you have to specifically say you want the “small”.  I nearly always am completely full from a small meal, so I have no temptation to get a larger size.  Especially since the “small” size of today is actually the “medium” that I remember from growing up.  But I digress…

I have mentioned that I like to shoot for 30/30/40 split of calories between protein/fat/carbs.  I actually find that my intuitive eating actually has me closer to 25/35/40, and maintaining my weight well.  However, I feel like I’ve stagnated in muscle growth a bit and want to address that, which is part of the reason I set calorie counting as a goal for this month.  I’d like to see those protein levels a little higher and the fat levels a little lower to see if it makes a difference in my body composition.  I am aiming for about 2000 calories on non-workout days and 2300 on workout days, give or take.  This is based off my calculated BMR (calories I need to just stay alive) according to height/weight/age and using the Harris Benedict Equation for the multiplier.  While these may not work for everyone, I find that they do a pretty good job of estimating my caloric needs.

I realize this post is somewhat disjointed and choppy, but it sums up my nutritional habits, background, and ideals for me pretty well, so thanks for sticking around if you’re still here!  Do you have a set nutrition plan that you follow? Or is it more ad hoc with some loose ideals?

Today’s Calorie Count

Breakfast: 310

Morning Snack: 125

Lunch (out to eat): 996

Afternoon Snack: 362

Dinner: 420

Total: 2213

Fat: 38%

Protein: 22%

Carbohydrate: 40%

My biggest struggle in healthy eating habits is remembering that I don’t have to “clean my plate” when I am full.

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NROLW and a shortened Run

I did my run as planned yesterday – a personal 5k on the treadmill.  I finished in a personal best of 28:42!  it made me wonder what my speed would have been in a real race outside.  I wonder whether my mental toughness is developed enough to push faster?  I definitely wasn’t completely worn out from the run, so I think I could have gone faster.  Only one way to find out!  Hopefully I’ll get to race in a 5k and 10k before the half-marathon this spring.

Today, I decided to do NROLW Stage 5, workout B.

A. Barbell Romanian deadlift/bent-over row – 3 sets of 4 reps @ 85 lbs, 120s RI

B1. Partial single-leg squat – 3 sets of 4 reps @ BW, 120s RI

B2. Wide grip lat pulldown – 3 sets of 4 reps @ 75/80/80 lbs, 120s RI

C1. Back extension – 3 sets of 4 @ 25 lbs, 120s RI

C2. YTWL – 3 sets of 4 @ 10 lbs, 120s RI

D1. Swiss ball crunch – 3 sets of 4 @ 20 lbs, 120s RI

D2. Hip flexion – 3 sets of 4 @ BW, 120s RI

D3. Lateral flexion – 3 sets of 4 @ BW, 120s RI

E. Prone Cobra – 3 sets of 120s @ BW, 120s RI

Then I did my 15 minutes HIIT on the treadmill and kept running till 4.25 miles.  I was supposed to run a full 6-8 miles, but I just wasn’t feeling it today.  I know that’s a terrible excuse, but so it goes.

I’m still planning to count calories this week.  And to hold me accountable, I’ll post them here for every day this week.  I aim for about 2300 calories per day with a 30/30/40 split of protein/fat/carbs.  Let’s see what I’m at, shall we?

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Recovery Week and Goals Check-In

Hi!  It was strange being back at work this week after working from home all last week!  I’ve got several projects that are keeping me pretty busy right now, so work has been slightly stressful.  Not so much that I’m losing sleep over anything though!  I had an easy week for run training this week, just 4 miles each on Tuesday and Thursday.  Tuesday also included four 2:00 aerobic intervals.  I felt pretty good for both runs, both were done at a slightly faster than 10 minute mile pace overall.  This weekend I have a personal 5k planned for tomorrow and 6-8 miles on Sunday.  The heart rate stats include warm-up and cool-down.

Tuesday Run Heart Rate:

Duration – 47:15

Average Heart Rate – 171

Maximum Heart Rate – 194

Calories – 520

Thursday Run Heart Rate:

Duration -55:45

Average Heart Rate – 161

Maximum Heart Rate – 182

Calories – 565

I was supposed to start NROLW Stage 5 on Monday, but it started to snow again Monday afternoon and I didn’t want to drive in case it accumulated.  So, I didn’t end up starting workout A until Tuesday.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get to finish it until today!  I did the A and B exercises on Tuesday and the rest today.  We had a very busy social life this week, and had friends over for dinner on Monday and Wednesday, and Curtis’s dad stayed with us on Tuesday night.  Then Thursday nights I have limited time because I have dog training with Tara.  Thank goodness I have off work on Fridays now!  I really need them to get things done!

This stage of NROLW is a repeat of an earlier stage, but with less repetitions and more sets.  Here’s the workout…

A. One-armed dumbbell snatch – 3 sets of 4 reps @ 20 lbs, 120s RI

B1. Dumbbell single-leg Romanian deadlift – 3 sets of 4 reps @ 30 lbs DBs, 120s RI

B2. Barbell bent over row – 3 sets of 4 reps @ 85 lbs, 120s RI

C1. Dumbbell single arm overhead squat – 3 sets of 4 reps (each arm) @ 12.5 lbs/15lbs and 25 lbs or 30 lbs DBs, 120s RI

C2. Dumbbell incline bench press – 3 sets of 4 reps @ 25 lbs DBs, 120s RI

D1. Plank – 3 sets of 120s, 120s RI

D2. Reverse Wood Chop – 3 sets of 4 reps @ plate 4, 120s RI

Body Weight Matrix (2 sets)

24 squats

12 lunges (each leg)

12 lunge jumps (each leg)

24 squat jumps

As always, that Body Weight Matrix business is tough.  I did the first set in 2:25, rested for 4:50 and then did the second set in 3:15.  I had to sit down for a bit after completing the second set.  Whew!  I need to increase weight almost across the board.  I think I can go up on A, C1, C2, and possibly D2.  Of course, since I split the workout in half, I’ll probably find that the weights I used to day are more than enough for next time.

Heart Rate Stats for Tuesday weights (A-B2):

Duration – 34:16

Average Heart Rate – 151

Maximum Heart Rate – 180

Calories – 195

Heart Rate Stats for Thursday weights (C1-Body Weight Matrix and stretching):

Duration – 1:00:38

Average Heart Rate – 119

Maximum Heart Rate – 180

Calories – 336

I think it will be helpful for me to check-in throughout the month on my monthly goals.  I intended to do this at the end of last week, but clearly that didn’t happen!  Better late than never…here goes.

1. Run a total of 60 miles by the end of the month. (Exercise tracker should reach 110 miles). I am definitely on track to reach this goal.  Already at 94.9 miles and I’m confident I can finish another 15 miles by the end of the month.

2. Workout (weights/running/cross training) at least 4 times per week. Despite the snow, I actually think I met this one every week this month so far.  I did four workouts the first week, five the second week, and have done three so far this week, with 2 more planned this weekend.

3. Use bike trainer at least once! Done! I did this last week on Wednesday during the second snow storm.

4. Focus on nutrition this month by counting calories for one continuous week, starting 2/15/2010. I  haven’t done too well with counting calories this week, so I’m going to keep it up for next week.  Mostly, I can keep track during the day, but I found dinners to be difficult this week because we had company twice and ate out once.

5. Go on one of the running club runs or join the triathlon club. Nope, not done either or made an effort to do either…I need to work on this.

6. Blog more than once a week! I actually set this goal after the first week of the month was over.  Since then, I have met this goal on the second week.  I need to blog at least one more time this weekend to meet it for this week.  I should mention that my weeks run Monday-Sunday for training purposes.

There’s more snow in the forecast for Monday.  It’s not supposed to be too bad though.  I hope that’s true because I’m ready to be done with snow now!

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My first double-digit run done!  Woohoo!  I did the same warm-up as yesterday- half a mile at 4.0 mph speed on the treadmill, then cranked it up to 6.0 mph for the first 5 miles of my run.  Unfortunately, I did have to stop once after 3.5 miles to run to the bathroom, but I think it still counts for a 10 miler!  After I finished the first 5 miles, I turned the speed down to 5.5 for 2.5 miles and then 5.0 for the last 2.5 miles.  I must admit, my legs and feet were nice and sore after that!

The hardest thing about running 10 miles for the first time was the mental toughness needed.  There’s just something about running 10 miles that is harder than 8 or 9.  It was helpful that I was able to watch the Olympics during my run.  Not only did it keep my mind off the amounts and time going by, but it kept me from getting overwhelmingly bored on the treadmill.  Normally, I don’t have a problem with boredom while running, but lately it’s been getting to me.  I can’t wait till spring to be able to run outside again! (<- common theme lately!).


Stuck on the Treadmill

When is this crazy weather going to end?  I don’t think the mid-Atlantic has ever seen this much snow in one year before!  Now that we’ve gotten past the two storms last week, forecasters are calling for more snow on Monday.  Granted, it’s not going to be nearly as much.  I’ve heard forecasters calling for 2-4 inches and 6 inches, so we’ll see what happens.  I did pretty well getting my workouts in last week, despite the snow on the ground.  After being stuck in the house all day Wednesday and taking an easy day on the trainer, I did manage to make it to the gym on Thursday.  The plan called for 6 miles including 4 x 2:00 aerobic intervals plus 6 gentle pickups.  And believe it or not, I actually completed the workout as written!  Including my warm-up and cool-down and the walking rests for the pickups, I did a total of 7.63 miles in 90 minutes (11:47 pace including the walking).  I wore my heart rate monitor chest strap, but forgot my watch, so I don’t have anything other than average heart rate of 140 bpm, which I think is wrong.  There were a few times when my heart rate seemed quite off.

Friday was a true day off, as planned.  Today, I had a 5-6 miler on the schedule, so Curtis and I headed to the gym after a lazy morning.  I hopped on a treadmill while he went off for a swim.  I’ve been realizing lately how important a good warm-up is to the success of my run.  Often I’ll be in a hurry to get the miles in and be more likely to just hop on and start running at a slow pace (relative).  This doesn’t really lend itself to strong runs though, and I nearly always end up feeling winded early on and being unable to sustain the pace I’d like to (10-minute miles or faster).  Today, I did a half mile warm up of a quick walk (4.0 mph), which seemed to really do the trick.  I managed to run 3 miles at 10 minute mile pace (6.0 mph) and then turned it up to 6.2 mph and 6.5 mph for the 4th and 5th miles.  I felt fantastic!  Heart rate stats (running only, no warm-up or cool-down):

Duration: 48:47 (9:45 pace)

Average Heart Rate: 156

Maximum Heart Rate: 192

Calories: 466

I’m really excited for my 10 miler tomorrow (except the treadmill part)!  I would love to knock it out at a 10 minute mile pace and finish in under 2 hours, but I really should just worry about completing the miles.  I must admit, going into it with a fantastic run today under my belt has done great things for my motivation.  I’ve been feeling really blah about running lately being stuck on the treadmill.  I can’t wait for the snow to melt so I can get back on the trails!  Right now, they’re almost clear enough to run – my town is fantastic about plowing all the trails (usually before the roads even get done!), but the have just enough ice to make me nervous. Look out for an update on my first double-digit run tomorrow!


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Back in the Saddle

I did it!  I actually got on my bike trainer today!  But let’s back up a little…we woke up to steadily falling snow today with quite a bit of wind.  Needless to say, I was not venturing out of the house since school was canceled, and I could work from home (as I have every other day this week).  I had a productive morning working till noon, then after a bit of lunch and digestion, I decided to hop on my bike.  Wowza, I am out of shape on that thing.  I did 30 minutes, which is what I planned, but it was much more mentally difficult than I thought it would be.  Physically, I felt ok, except my saddle hurt a bit.  I think I really need to start making trainer time a regular part of my training routine so I remember how to ride a bike when the snow finally melts.

Here are my heart rate stats for the bike ride…

Duration – 30:38

Maximum Heart Rate – 163

Average Heart Rate – 153

Calories – 281

After my trainer ride, I took some time to do some BW core work (leg lifts, sit-ups, reverse crunches), some push-ups, and some stretching to round out my work out.

Heart rate stats:

Duration – 16:55

Maximum heart rate – 141

Average Heart Rate – 106

Calories – 71


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Blog Award :)

Wow!  I got my first ever blog award from Ginesa over at Destination : Athlete.  Thanks, Ginesa!  The rules for the award are:

1. Copy the image and display it on your blog.

2. List 10 things that make you happy.

3. Try to do at least one of them today.

4. Pass on the award to 10 bloggers who brighten your day.

Ten things that make me happy are:

1. My husband, Curtis – he’s my best friend!

2. My pets, Suli (cat) and Tara (dog) – they never cease to amuse me with their crazy antics.

3. Finishing a race – the feeling of elation will never get old.

4. Cooking for friends – sharing a meal with others always makes me happy.

5. Running in the springtime – early morning, cool breezes and new spring flowers!

6. Weight training – it’s such an exhilarating feeling to be strong!

7. Swimming in open water – a challenge, but always a pleasure.

8. My friends – no drama during wedding planning- ’nuff said.

9. Bloggers! – for the constant motivation and encouragement.

10. Athletic gear – can’t be a triathlete without a little love for my bike, etc!

I’m only passing it along to 4 bloggers, though (I hope the blog-award police don’t come after me!):

1. Amy

2. Donna at Ride (or Tri!) Like a Girl!

3. Beth at Life after 40

4. Tricia at Endurance Isn’t Only Physical

Now, back to my regularly scheduled training for the day.  I had on my plan to do 3 miles, 2 x [2:00, 3:00, 4:00] aerobic intervals, 2 miles today.  I did most of it…6.2 miles running total – 3 miles, 2 x [2:00, 3:00, 4:00], 0.5 mile.  My excuses for not doing the run are that I was incredibly bored on the treadmill today- watching constant snow storm coverage just wasn’t doing it for me!  It was also nearly 6:00PM and I wanted to shower and get home soon since the 2nd major snow storm of the week was rolling in.  Anyways, total duration on the treadmill was 81 minutes (including warm-up and cool down).  I did wear my heart rate monitor today, so I have stats, which I will update at a later date (my HRM is downstairs and I am already upstairs and in bed).

Heart Rate stats:

Duration: 1:13:44 (this is slightly less than the treadmill time listed above because I forgot to start my watch at the beginning of my workout)

Maximum heart rate: 193

Average heart rate: 174

Calories: 856

Overall, I did not feel great on this run.  I’m getting really tired of running on the treadmill and really annoyed with the snow.  Virginia doesn’t usually get more than one major snowstorm per year (at the most!) and we’re having our 3rd as I type.  It’s crazy how much snow we’ve gotten this year.  The running trails are somewhat passable, but I just know I slip and fall on the ice and probably do more harm than good trying to run outside.  Can’t wait for spring!

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Goals, goals, goals

Obviously, I haven’t posted anything since before we went skiing last weekend.  I haven’t been that busy, but clearly haven’t made the time for blogging.  I’m finding I don’t have as much free time as I thought I would with my part-time class/part-time work schedule.  Granted, I do like the 3-day weekends from work, but I haven’t gotten to take advantage of them too much so far.  With snow and other things going on, I’ve stayed busy.  Not to worry, though!  I’m still training and keeping up with my training plan as much as I can.  This weekend was a bit of a bust because of the 2 feet of snow we got, so I had to skip my 9 mile run on Sunday and I am not inclined to be driving around too much right now so I doubt I’ll get my weights in tonight.  But if all goes as planned, I’m thinking this coming weekend is going to be my first 10 mile run ever!  Of course, it’s entirely dependent on the weather.  This snow situation is crazy!

I’m a little late on my goal check-in and updates for February, but better late than never, right?

Yearly goals:

1. Set monthly goals on the first of every month and check-in on progress on the last day of every month. Oops…already off to a bad start.  I’m over a week late.
2. Complete a half-Ironman triathlon (signed up for Ironman 70.3 Timberman on August 22, 2010). Registered and reserved a room.  Training to begin in April.
3. Complete 2 sprint or Olympic distance triathlons as part of the Virginia Triathlon Series. Probably going to do Smith Mountain Lake Sprint and unsure what the other will be.
4. Do a half-marathon (signed up for the Charlottesville half-Marathon on April 17, 2010). Registered and in-training!
5. Complete one training run of 20 miles. Not close yet, 10 miles is my first milestone to hopefully happen on Feb. 14.
6. Try one new workout class at the gym for a month. Not yet, would like to try spin or a yoga class.

January goals:

1. Run a total of 80 miles by the end of the month. Nope, not even close.  Only made it to ~50 miles.
2. Run 3-4 times per week, no more and no less. Nope, there were many weeks of only 2 runs.
3. Use my new bike trainer at least twice. Not this one either, I didn’t even use it once!
4. Join a local running or triathlon club, or both. Nope.

Clearly, major fail last month on goals!  I guess I need to re-think for February and maybe take a step back.  The weather has not been helping much at all, that’s for sure.  So, I’m going to follow the same themes as last month, but modify these goals a bit so that they are actually attainable.  It’s kind of disappointing to have not met even one goal!  So without further adieu…

February goals:

1. Run a total of 60 miles by the end of the month. (Exercise tracker should reach 110 miles).

2. Workout (weights/running/cross training) at least 4 times per week.

3. Use bike trainer atast once!

4. Focus on nutrition this month by counting calories for one continuous week, starting 2/15/2010.

5. Go on one of the running club runs or join the triathlon club.

6. Blog more than once a week!

I really could have joined the running club or tri club last month.  For some reason, it’s seems so far out of my comfort zone, even though it shouldn’t be.