Sunday, November 16, 2014
It has been almost a month since I last did my "weekly" blog.
I have a son in marching band, and for the past month we have been at regional rather than local competitions, which took up my Saturdays from about 5 am until often 1 or 2 am on Sunday. This morning we got home and to bed at 4 am. Yikes! A really fun season, and with my older son already off to college, I know i don't want to miss these last short, fast years. But ... It's turned my Sunday's (usually my long run and R &R days) into grocery shopping and housework days. And once I get a bit of sleep, Sunday's are so short, that I end up feeling behind as soon as I get going!
But at any rate, the season is now done ... a great finale yesterday ... And I am ready to get back on track. This week there are no weeknight practices, so I bought lots more fresh prep stuff for dinners. I did fairly well by turning to my crockpot or premade freezer meals during the week, but there were many traveling meals where we had to eat on the road. And I've noticed that when I am tired, I munch as a way to try to get some energy. Which doesn't work.
Also, I tried to keep up with my exercise as best I could, but some sessions got skipped. Between exercising less and eating less healthy, I gained about 3 pounds in the last month. Hard to say exactly because my weight fluctuates naturally throughout the month and I think I'm at my high point, but I feel tighter in the waist of my pants and think there is an extra "pooch" in my belly, so time to pay more attention and move it back down. For me the beat healthy eating aid seems to be focusing on fresh, "real" food. When I stay away from processed and prepared foods, I feel better and slim down easily. So ... Back to better menu planning and eating more meals at home.
I also plan to look for a race to sign up for. I've missed the fun races, and need to write out a training plan so I can get back in the groove. I mostly got at least one run in each week, but no longer than 3-4 miles, and I've missed my weekend long runs. I think the Gingerbread Pursuit and Ugly Sweater Run are coming up in December, so I will look them up and hopefully can sign up for one of them. Today was our first snow that stuck to the ground. Had hoped for a bit more fall weather to run in, feel like I missed it.
To all my Spark buds that I haven't been in touch with, I've been missing you! I will check out some blogs and hopefully be up to date with everyone soon.
Here is a picture of my last race, and a picture of my sons marching band.
Sunday, September 21, 2014
OOPS ... PHOTOS NOT LOADING ... WILL TRY TO ADD THEM LATER!
Wanted to add some diatance today, but am hoping to get a 10k race in next weekend (if the family schedule cooperates). So today I jogged just short of 7 miles, then hit pause. I took a rest stop, walked a little, drank some water, ate a couple gels, then started my watch as a new run for the way back and did another 3.5.
Since I meant to take it easy on the way back, I reset my interval timer to a 2 min jog/ 1 min walk ratio. To my surprise, I actually averaged a slightly faster average pace at this ratio than I had on the way out with my usual 4 min jog / 1 min walk ratio. Of course it was half the distance, but I only took a 15 break before starting up the second run. It also became cloudy quite suddenly with a wonderful stiff breeze on the way back, so the cooling was probably part of it, too. Still ... It is enough to convince me that I should experiment with some shorter run ratios. I find it a bit tedious to be switching so much back and forth, sort of prefer getting in a groove and holding it for a bit, but at least in short races, I guess the shorter, faster ratios would make sense.
Anyway, since I was "taking it easy" on the way back, I also made a few stops to take some photos. I hadn't been out on the bike trail for a while, and there is just a touch of fall color coming in. A pretty place to jog! (And yes, the faster pace was despite the photo stops.)
This is where I ended my first portion and started my second. My favorite turn-around or rest stop on a longer run. Flush toilet, sink with paper towels to scrub my sweaty face, drinking fountain, and plenty of shade, and today the start of a nice, cool breeze.
Love getting away from cars, roads and buildings, surrounded by color with the winding path ahead. Makes me want to run long when the path just keeps stretching on.
I love running over bridges! From the minute I see them on the path ahead, they seem to urge me up and over. Followed a little guy who obviously just learned to ride his big boy bike over this one.
A pretty ending spot, with room to stretch while I enjoy the view before my walk back to my house.
Realized at this point that I'd better hurry home! Storm blowing in! (Although turns out it blew past. We only had a few sprinkles.)
Ha! Look what the sweaty first half and wind-in-my-face second half did to my hair. Yikes! :-/
Sunday, September 14, 2014
The weather suddenly turned back to fall again for the past few days, and bam, I suddenly felt so much stronger and more energized on my runs!
Had a good run Thursday night after a few short and slow runs for the previous week. I know some of that was busy schedule and not enough sleep, but boy, the cooler weather was like flicking a switch on my pacing. Whew!
On Saturday I did a hilly 11k and was pleased to feel strong throughout. At the beginning I worried that I was starting out too fast, but by halfway I was still feeling good, and for the last couple of miles switched to 30 second walks rather than 1 minute (helped by the fact I was going down hill or flat when the breaks hit) and ran out the last break to the finish line. It was the first time in quite a while that I ran hard enough to feel it in my legs afterward. Not hurting, but feeling it. I guess in heat my energy gets zapped before my legs get tired.
My pace was still only about 10:45 per mile (including walks), but to my surprise i got second place in my age division. There were not so many participants in the 11k as the 5k, and I'm guessing not too many in my age bracket, but still it was fun to get a medal. :-)
Hoping my work schedule will begin to ease up over the next few weeks, but its still going to be pretty busy. Trying to plan meals ahead, schedule my exercise and stick to the plan once I've got it on paper. Fall is always really crazy. Busy at home due to my son's marching band, and work always seems to go crazy at the same time. But I am making it, as I always do. I just have to be careful to take care of myself, too.
Keep exercising, keep eating right, and get adequate sleep. Toward that end, I have packed my bag for yoga class tomorrow night, have chili in the crockpot for dinner afterward, have done as many little chores around the house as possible to make the week easier, and now it's time for bed.
Have a great week!
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
I have been absent from Spark People for a couple of weeks. Things are OK, just very busy.
I am trying to keep up on my health and fitness goals, but it is a struggle. Not getting enough exercise, not eating as well as I should, and not getting enough sleep. But I HAVE been jogging and doing yoga (just not as much as I should or would like), have been cooking as much as I can and/or making the healthiest choice possible if I have to pick up food or eat out, and I have been getting some extra zzzzz's in when I can. So ... I am making it work. It's hard to stay motivated when feeling rundown. Hopefully my schedule will settle over the next couple of weeks and I will be able to get back on track.
I am planning to run an 11k this Saturday, the Defenders Dash to benefit local police and firefighter organizations. Still thinking about another race on the 27th. A variety of distances are offered. I would love to tackle another half marathon distance, but not sure if this is a good idea since I haven't run anything over 7 miles since I did my first half on August 23. During the week I have been only getting in one or two short jogs of 2 or 3 miles. Is it a bad idea to try to jump back to a half marathon distance after not running very consistently for a month?
I don't want to risk getting hurt, but my only goal (again) would be to finish, so I wouldn't be pushing the pace. However, I wouldn't want to feel lousy through it. Maybe I should settle for a 10k???
In the meantime, I have not registered for the race because I can't decide on a distance. Hmmmm ...
Sunday, August 24, 2014
I made it! Our cool week of cool fall weather turned first into major rain storms on Friday and then into hot and humid weather by Saturday. So glad for that 6:30 am start!
Still it was tough. The hills were not as steep as those I've been training on, so for the first 5 miles I was plowing right through them feeling great, but by the second 5 miles I realized they were smaller but longer and my legs were starting to tire. The downhills were nice, but I started taking more walk breaks on the longer uphill grades. By the last few miles I was drenched from the humidity and walking more than I had intended to do, but I made it! Here I am at the end of the race with my finisher's medal.
It was a beautiful course. The morning was hazy with fog, and with my face sweating from the humidity, my glasses fogged over too. No point trying to wipe them when everything was so drippy!
Tour de La Porte is a three-day event with a variety of running and biking events. It benefits families of cancer patients at IU Cancer Center, helping with the cost of hotel rooms, meals, etc. I was so impressed with the huge number of volunteers, all so helpful, friendly and encouraging! They were cheering, singing and working bubble wands to entertain participants along the routes. And with the heat, they had plenty of support for those who needed first aid or transport.
My son came along to be my chauffeur. He always loves a road trip, and the event was two hours from home. Due to the Friday packet pickup and then 6:30 am start, we drove out Friday afternoon. Here are a couple of pics of my son during an evening walk we took after picking up my race bib and t-shirt.
I love the race shirt, with the motto "Stronger Together". It shows a biker and a runner,with footprints and tire tracks.
At 5:30 the next morning, I left my son asleep at the hotel (told him to set alarm so he'd be up in time for check out!) and headed over to the park for the race. It was already humid, so there was no more debating about my water bottle. I brought it, and was so glad I did. I was sipping water often between water stops. Refilled a couple of times at tables along the way, and therefore used the pit stop offered at the halfway point. That slowed me down quite a bit since there were three people waiting when I arrived, but my only goal was to finish, so I waited.
It was really fun to go without concentrating on pace or time. Have to admit that without my phone ap to keep an eye on my pace, I think I varied quite a bit, or those around me did. I had the opportunity to tag back and forth with many other joggers along the way, especially those who were also doing jog/walk intervals. It was fun to have brief chats as we met up, and then move along again when someone's beep sounded that it was time to jog again. Everyone was so friendly and encouraging!
Lessons learned: I knew I was going too fast when they called out the time on the first mile as I went by. Usually my first mile is my slowest as I warm up. But ... I was feeling good then and probably kept up a faster pace than I should have, especially given the heat. If I was really wanting to shoot for a time goal, running my phone ap to watch my pace would have been helpful. Instead I just adjusted later as my legs started tiring over the hills. I also probably should have adjusted my jog/walk ratio when I got tired. Instead I just added walk breaks randomly, usually taking a break on the hills or, as it heated up, when I hit a stretch of shade. It is hard to stay disciplined that way. Still, I was surprised at the end that I wasn't too far off my pace, and I think that was mainly caused by the rest stop break. Given the heat, humidity and hills, I was pretty happy with my time!
Here are a few pics I took as I was cooling off after the race.
I heard several people say they'd pay anyone to give them the ice bucket challenge right then!
After meeting up with my son, I took a cool off swim in the lake and we watched some of the bike time trials. One man who ran the half marathon on Saturday told me he was registered to do the 100 mile biking event on Sunday! Wow! They have a special award for anyone who does an event all three days, but there are many short options for kids, families and beginners. Really something for everyone, and for a great cause. It was such a fun weekend!
Here I am, cleaned up and feeling proud. I did it!
I would love to return again next year, and either bike or volunteer on the second day. In the meantime ... There is a local half marathon in October. Trying to decide if I want to keep up my distance training and do another half this fall, or give in to my busy schedule and do one of the shorter runs offered at that event.
Not going to decide just yet ...
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