Monday, August 30, 2010

Legs - 2

Awhile back I posted leg pics and you haven't seen them since! It's because I'm poky with getting the camera and internet together sometimes. Here they are from 2 weeks ago.

I can see a difference from the last time. My knees definitely show more shape and there's some toning going on. To see all my leg pics, just click on the "legs" tag at the bottom of this post.

From now on, I'm only going to post them at the beginning of each month.

And Then I Woke Up

Last night I dreamt that I was walking along and all of a sudden, just started running. It was smooth and easy, like flying. The path turned into a tunnel and I needed to bend and run while part of my body was sideways. But it was beautiful!

And then I woke up.

Had to take the dog out to do his duty (which involved avoiding the step that broke last night on the deck, setting the dog down and watching helplessly as he slipped off and fell on the rocks [he's just fine] and feeling a little traumatized being half awake and it seeming all a dream).

By the time I hit the pavement, I had a head ache and was grumpy. I had routed a new way which took me alongside the highway. There is a strip of ground along the highway that is dirt so I thought it would be good to have a softer ground to run on. There were a lot of cars and I felt very self-conscious. But I did run about 90 seconds along the busy road. I had decided to do 6 minutes of running, so I was pacing myself.

On a stretch of road that goes by Darrel's, I started a driveway in and ran the whole thing! About 2 minutes of running, my longest of the day. Each run was a struggle at about 30-60 seconds in and then I'd play mind games and try to think of something else. I know that I'm building endurance and muscle, it's just a slower process than I originally thought it would be.

Now I'm grumpy and tired and am craving caffeine. Pass the endorphins, please!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

I'm Like Electricity (it's not what you think)

When I was in middle school, we built a light of sorts, that would connect to a battery. One of the lessons that the teacher taught was that electricity is like a lazy old man. It will take the shortest path home, so don't cross the wires between the battery and the bulb or it won't work. She was right.

Yesterday, I was like electricity. I wish I could say that I was energized or hot, or fast or something like that. But in reality, I was like the lazy old man. The whole run was a struggle again and since my shins were a little sore from the last run, I took it easier; and the shortest path home. I did manage to go about 1.1 miles and run about 5 minutes before the lazy old man took over.

I'm getting a little bored with my route and need to map out something new. Or maybe I need to have something to think about and do some mind games while running. Either way, I'll try to put something new into practice tomorrow morning.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Kidney Anniversary

One year ago, Tuesday was the kidney anniversary. What a year it's been! We took the donor and his wife out to eat at Kobe in Plymouth for Hibachi. We caught up a little and reflected some about the last year. The donor said he'd do it again if he could, no regrets. His wife echoed the no regrets. What a wonderful gift to have been given and so willingly.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

120 Seconds

As I walked for my warm up this morning, I shivered. A woman sitting on her porch was bundled up in a warm looking wrap and here I was in shorts and t-shirt. Am I crazy? Should I put something else on? But 35 minutes later when I got home, I was quite warm.

The whole run seemed to be a struggle to push myself. I thought maybe the cool weather would help, but my body just did not want to move. Since this is my middle week run, it was the one that I pushed myself on.

Walk - 6 minutes
Run - 60 sec
Walk - 2 min
Run - 90 sec
Walk - 2 min
Run - 75 sec (wimped out)
Walk - 3 min
Run - 75 sec (made up for my time)
Walk - 2 min
Run - 2 min!!!
Walked the rest of the way home. I may have walked a little more between runs, but don't remember now. It was about 35 min out of the house.

On my last run, I got to the place where I was to start my 90 sec and there comes the garbage truck coming toward me. (And another reason not to run on Thurs is it's garbage day and it's not pleasant to run by.) I thought great, I can't wait until it goes by because it stops every few meters and I like this mostly flat place to get in a longer run. So I started off and committed to not looking at my watch until I ran past the truck. It was 75 seconds. I pushed myself past the road construction sign, 90 seconds. My legs started to complain, "hey, remember us? We're still going here. Are we done yet?" The next driveway...hey, only 15 sec to go until 2 minutes. Done!

What I learned is that if I don't push myself, my legs will get lazy and stop when they could have kept going.

In other news, I notice that my belly fat is getting floppier and kind of gross looking. I used to be somewhat glad that my fat has always been firm so I didn't have that puckered cottage cheese look. But now it's all sagging and there's a new crease near my waist. Reminds me of a balloon that you slowly let the air out of. I sure hope that the fat is being let out of my body.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Heart of the Matter

As I progress, I'm adding bits of things to help along the way. If I added them all at once, I'd get overwhelmed and most likely be paralyzed and paranoid about how I run. However, I think what would be important to know, would be if I'm in my target heart rate zone when out running around. This may be the key to having my training sessions be more effective and thusly, better results. So I googled.

Discovery Health - 93 to 138
American Heart Association - 93–157, Max 185
The Walking Site - referred to the karvonen formula found here. It requires some planning ahead and seems like the most sensible way to figure it out. The Walking Site also has a percentage range for your heart rate.
fitsugar - 93-157, max 185 (echo)
Fitwatch - calculates from resting hear rate - 184 (must be the running around with the puppy I just did) - 92-100

Talk about getting a complex, when all I want to do is find my target heart rate! If I do the averages though, it should be about 93 - 147. I guess that I'll probably stick to the low to middle end for now and see how it goes.

105 Seconds

Took a 2 hour nap and there went my running time.

Tuesday morning, 7am
"I think I'll run later today," I said to her husband." He smile/laughed.

"You already delayed your run by a day," said a little voice."

"Hrmpphhh," I said as I rolled out of bed.

And so, I found myself, groggy, with a pair of running shoes on (and clothes of course), stumbling around the neighborhood. I usually try to smile or not to grimace when cars go by so that people don't think I'm in pain, or that they think exercise is bad. I couldn't muster more than an un-frown that morning.

On the first run, I decided to see if I could push myself past my Twilight Zone of 90 seconds. So I shuffle ran, sometimes not going faster than walking. At 90 seconds my legs said, "done!" But I told them to keep going, and so they grumbled along for another 15 seconds until I relented.

I did it!

But I didn't do it again then. The first run of the week I'm making an easier run, so I let my other runs be easy. I maybe ran for about 5 minutes during the 25 min workout. By the time I got home, I was awake and almost able to smile.

I'm so tagging this as Progress, because I need all I can get.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Resetting the Clocks

This really stinks. I finally decided not to be obsessive about weighing myself, and am only going to weigh in on Sundays. And what does the scale say? It says I'm back up to my starting weight! I felt like stomping on the stupid thing and looked around to see if anything had their thumb on it. You know, like how people used to cheat people by putting their thumb on the scale so it looks like they got more than they did.

This last week was a good week for my running and I planned better meals as well. I should have at the very least, been down near my lowest weight.

My friend, Cris, tried to encourage me that I'm building muscle. But at this rate, I'm going to be 200+ of muscle and nothing else. Shouldn't things be looking better?

I'm also trying to tell Myself that what I'm doing is actually worth it in the long run. But myself isn't buying it much lately. In fact, Myself forgot to reset the alarm and so didn't get me up this morning to run. Myself may or may not help me run this afternoon or evening.

Anyway, I did have a good run on Friday, I went around the neighborhood for about 45 minutes and did about 6-7 min of running off and on during that. The weird thing is, I'm still in the Twilight Zone of 90 sec runs. I think I need to push myself into at the very least, 1.75 - 2 minute runs. Perhaps my body's time clock is saying that 90 seconds is all I can do, so stop it already! I need to reset that clock (just like my alarm clock).

I am SO tagging this entry as "Regress."

Thursday, August 19, 2010

"I Should Be Doing What You're Doing"

My first pair of running shoes - Saucony Women's ProGrid Ride 3

As promised, I went out for a run yesterday after work. I had mapped out a new route, one that went north of our home. This one is flatter with only slight hills so I felt it was a little easier. The first run, I went for 90 sec without tiring and checking my watch. I continued to do mostly 90 sec runs with a 30 sec speed run. It felt good to break out of my slow shuffle run to a greater range of motion.

As I was running by a house, a woman, who looked to be at least 50#'s up on me, waved and said, "I should be doing what you're doing!" I hope she does. 1 1/2 months ago, I couldn't run 60 seconds without being exhausted. Now, I can easily do 90 sec and run/walk a route of 1 1/2 miles (going on 2). The process is slow but it is the right direction.

Sometimes I feel discouraged when I can't run as well or as much as I want to. Or when I don't lose the weight or when it comes back on. But is there any other option? I'm going forward, in the right direction. Slow changes, but lasting ones.

I timed my training and route and figured out an estimate on how long it will take me to do the 5k. If I ran/walked a 5K tomorrow, I could finish in -

(Drumroll please)

52 minutes!

A bit longer than I was hoping, but it's under an hour. Then again, having such a high estimate means that there is a lot of room for improvement.

My new training plan is off the training plan. For now, I'm going to do more fartlek runs; run until I pant heavily, walk until I catch my breath. I know that I could right now, get through a 5K slowly with running and walking. So now all I need to do is improve my time. I also realize that I will most likely end up walking some of my 5k. I didn't want to do this, but it's my reality. There will always be more 5K's to run in. Most important to me is that I enjoy running and that I keep the injuries down.

Monday - easy run/walk
Wednesday - more intense run/walk try to improve times, push myself farther
Friday - easy/intense run, depending on soreness level

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


This morning I heard my radio alarm go off and they were promoing a few interesting stories. So I thought I'd listen to those stories and then get up. Next thing I know, it's 45 minutes later and I missed my chance to run. I was so disappointed! Was looking forward to running. I'll have to go right after work or after my meeting tonight.

Another interesting thing to note, I got the book, Joan Samuelson's Running for Women from the library. The book hasn't appealed to me, with a pic of Joan on the cover, sweaty and on a track. And who is this Joan person, anyway?

So I had a few moments yesterday and went to youtube, looking for Kathrine Switzer videos. There was a link to the 1984 Olympics 1st women's marathon. I played it and wow, it was like a spiritual moment. Watching Joan Benoit just fly through the run and making history for women's running, choked me up a little. At the end I thought hey, that image looks familiar! Sure enough, on the cover of Joan Samuelson's book, there was Joan Benoit (can you see that the light bulb is about to go off?).

I thought well, maybe this Samuelson woman used Benoit's picture...hey wait, the full name of the author is Joan Benoit Samuelson!


Needless to say, I'm excited about reading the book now.

Here's a link to the video, I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. Keep in mind:

Years of struggle went into this. In the 70's, women weren't allowed to run marathons in the US. Many women gave up their time, their own marathon running and resources so that a women's marathon could be added to the Olympics. This is history right here, in our time.

The First Gold


Doug was cleared to be able to have pets about a month ago. So we were looking around at puppies. Last Thursday, on our 15th Anniversary, we picked up a 1/2 lab, 1/2 ?? and named him Escher.

I suspect that the 1/2 is a Springer Spaniel which would make him a Labridinger. Hopefully that's the case as that would make an excellent smart dog and also good for hunting.

He's already adjusting well and only wakes us up at night once to go outside. His favorite toys arent' the ones we bought him, but an empty paper towel roll and a rag that was tied in knots. Now, we just need to get the potty training thing down.

Monday, August 16, 2010

No Sweat

Maybe it was the new shoes.

Maybe, the hour body massage.

Perhaps it could've been the 4 day muscle rest.

Or then again, maybe it was the beautiful, cool breezy morning.

In any case, this morning's workout rocked.

I came out of the house feeling good this morning and my brisk walk was truly brisk. I love cool mornings like this, probably was in the 60's-70's range because when the breeze blew by I got shivers. It only took about 9 minutes to walk around and up the hill to start the run.

My first run surprised me. Normally, I huff and puff and just try to make it to the next mailbox. I was going along and all of a sudden - hey! There's the end of the street! How'd that get there so fast? And so it went. I walked until my calves felt untight and then ran again. No timing or even listening to an interval podcast, just pure outside running and walking.

And so I turned or corner and realized that I was running out of road, I was near my home. I did one last 1 min run so that I could have enough time to walk it off. And voila, it was done.

I entered the house cheerfully and felt great. I wasn't soggy sweating, maybe due to the cool breeze. But on the other hand, I didn't push myself to long runs because I did have brand new shoes on and I also didn't want to strain my calves in case they weren't fully recovered.

If all runs could be this fun, then I'd do this twice a day if I could.


On another note, I spent the weekend being lazy and journeyed through the last 40 years or so of women's marathon running. We got a puppy who will be a future running partner. But for now, I sit with him and wait for him to have to pee and read Marathon Woman by Kathrine Switzer.

I devoured this book. It was well written, compelling and inspiring. I am so thankful that Kathrine was there at that time - a driven woman who had a true love of running. Where would the sport be now for people like me? Intimidating up the wazoo, that's where.

When I was in high school, my sister had gone before me and had been on the track team. There had been no question of IF a woman could be on the team, only if she wanted to take the time to do it. So in 8th grade, I joined up as a spinter. My track team stint was short lived because:

1. My shoes were stolen after the 2nd practice and we had no money for more
2. I joined a little late and was not as in shape for the practices. Can you believe that all they did was run back and forth? Gah.
3. I have a habit of starting things and not driven enough to finish. Until now, of course.

Anyway, the point is, there has never been a thought in my mind that women could not run when, where (at least in the US) and however they pleased. In fact, one of the best long distance runners on the team was a girl. It really floors me that about the time I was learning to walk and maybe run, women were just gaining ground in long distance running.

We've really come a long way, baby!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Mental Wall

This last week I've been feeling as if I've been training all along, and I'm still struggling to do week 3. I've let too much of life get in the way. Do I start over? I have time. I could start at week 3 and just go from here. Or, I could find another program and try that out for size.

I've been looking around the net and I found something interesting on the C25k site:

The fact of the matter is though that if history repeats itself, most of you will drop out somewhere around week 4 or 5.

This is where I'm at. I've been repeating week 3 for the last 3 weeks! And I still have not licked it. Do I just press on and go with week 4? I know that I have my weight against me. Starting at over 200 pounds is not easy to run around with. I also have not gotten real running shoes yet, I plan to rectify that soon.

I think my mind is becoming clearer as I write. I'll finish off this week on week 3, and that's it! I'm going onto week 4 whether I'm mentally and physically ready. I'm just not going to stress over whatever length of run I need to do, I'm just going to do it. And I'll get over this hump and move on.

Because I still have time to do 2 weeks of every week of the 8 week program, plus one. Thankfully, I gave myself plenty of time. I can still do this! I will do this. I've now told others, so I can't fail.

Good things:
  • I'm still ahead of many Americans who don't run regularly.
  • When we hiked .1 of a mile up a steep hill, instead of looking at it as a mistake, I looked at it as a good workout.
  • I'm going to buy running shoes hopefully, this weekend. Which I believe will help me to run better.
Weds - run
Thurs - cross train
Fri - run
Sat - cross train
Sun - buy shoes!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Limping Toward Home

Well, this morning I got in a combined run of....(drumroll please)...2 1/2 minutes! My all time low yet. What happened, you ask? Well, I started to feel almost a burning pain in my feet and my arches. The only thing different thing I did was to have different socks on - I put together 2 pairs of thinner sports socks. However, I wonder if running on the streets after the treadmill runs are just harder on my feet. I may have to rethink the treadmill runs.

Tomorrow I'm going to run again, because my workout couldn't really be considered a true run. But this time I'm going to run on our treadmill and do a barefoot run again. Why not?

I had a really neat thing happen last night - someone called to say that I had inspired them to run a 5K. I won't go into it here (but that person is welcome to post here if they wish). It was just neat to know that I, in all my failings could inspire someone by doing and asking.

Just don't tell her and the others that my secret, secret for us all to run the Disney Princess 1/2 Marathon (or ok, the 5k is good too) in 2012.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Pushing Forward

Last night I was up until 1:30am, not on purpose, really! I thought that maybe I wouldn't run in the morning and let my body rest. But then I found myself up at 7:15am so I just up and went.

I ran around the neighborhood for about a half hour. Total combined run time was 7 minutes. On Thursday I'm going to push forward to 8 minutes. If I push myself to do another 30 seconds to a minute more each time, then I can see myself running the 5k easily.

I feel that doing the treadmill training really set me back. It's harder now to run outside, and I am 1-2 weeks behind in the training. Luckily, I plotted at least 2 weeks to do every 1 week so it's all good still. From now on, it's outside unless there's no other way.

And, I've dropped the training calendar for awhile, until I can get back on track. What I'm doing, is running as much as I can, wait until I can catch my breath, repeat. The first couple times I did this, I was surprised at how much less I ran. I know though, that when I push myself, I can do more. Thusly, I am counting the run minutes and pushing them forward.

Yeah, I always end up having to do things my way, whether it's a recipe, knitting pattern, whatnot. But there really is no cookie cutter method for everyone. I think the point is, to have a good guideline and try it, and take what works for you - drop what doesn't.

Scale was down another pound, I'm one pound away from being back down 6#'s like last week.

I've finished reading another running book. Seems like that's all I want to read lately! Yay for libraries.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Pilgrim's Progress/Regress

Progress: The scale said I'm back down 4# from original weight.

Regress: But not down to my lowest weight from last week.

Progress: A friend told me that I was looking more toned around the middle and my face showed it too.

Regress: I looked at the pics of my legs, and they do not look like how I think they really look like.

Progress: Getting up in the morning is becoming a little easier.

Regress: I was trying on a pair of pants that I wore last spring. They didn't fit around the middle! Everything seemed mushy. Kind of weird because my middle, though ample, used to be more firm. My theory: The firm fat is leaving...the squishy floppy fat remains and thusly, it's harder to fit into some clothes.

Progress: I went to the Running Room last weekend and felt a connection to more runners.

Regress: I was the largest one there, and I bet they couldn't have picked me out from the group we were in that I was the runner.

Progress: I invited my sisters-in-law and my mother-in-law to run in a 5K with me next year.

Regress: I was feeling down on Sunday, like what I was doing really isnt' doing anything.

I wonder if this back and forth thing is the same with others like me who start running? I am hoping that the Regresses become less as the Progresses become more.

Here's my legs from yesterday. I'm going to continue to take weekly pics to see how they change.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


Yesterday was our annual Norman Women's retreat. We spent the day walking up and down Grand Ave in St. Paul and eating a lot. I ate too much of course! Add on that with the fact that I had only done 2 runs last week and one was weak (ran outside and it was a lot different than the treadmill).

The scale told the sad news - back up a few pounds. Ground lost!

Luckily, I had woken up early enough to do a run before church. I mapped out a new route, west of our home. Little did I know that half of that length was a slow slog up hill. My total running time was probably 5-6 minutes, the rest was climbing. However, I did get a good workout because of the walking uphills.

I realized this week:
  • I run slower on the treadmill which combined with the even path, makes it easier
  • When I go outside after being on the treadmill a few days, I try to run to fast
  • I will to pace myself better outside
  • I will be nixing the treadmill unless absolutely necessary; 90+ weather, severe thunderstorm, somethng like that.
  • I will be getting up in the mornings for my runs.
  • I will keep whole grain bread on hand for a pre-run snack with butter and fresh local honey.
  • I will learn something new about nutrition this week
  • I will be taking pics of my legs each week. That's where I'm seeing so much change!
Note: I went back and deleted all the "I need to" phrases to "I will."

Back into the groove again. Tomorrow the scale should be more friendly.

ETA: before yesterday, I had been down another pound - 6#'s lost! I'm hoping my weight will drop back to that in the next couple of days.