Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Running Playlists

The "Running Mix" playlist on my iPod has 22 songs that play on shuffle mode. Here are my top ten (in no particular order):

1. Circus, Britney Spears
2. Keeps Gettin' Better, Christina Aguilera
3. Bullet with Butterfly Wings, Smashing Pumpkins
4. 4 Minutes, Madonna w/Justin Timberlake
5. Over You, Daughtry
6. Sex Type Thing, Stone Temple Pilots
7. 7 Things, Miley Cyrus (I know, I know...she makes me want to vomit too. The song's damn catchy though.)
8. Best of You, Foo Fighters
9. Last Name, Carrie Underwood
10. Supermassive Black Hole, Muse (Twilight fans will recognize this one!)

And as a bonus: Favorite Cool Down Song - Gardenia, Mandy Moore (Mandy has become a completely different artist since her "Candy" days. Thank God.)

Really though, when I go on longer runs (3+ miles) I usually listen to podcasts. Right now my favorite is NPR's "Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!" That's where I found out about this gem:

Seriously?!?!? Have fun getting that out of your head.

You are what you eat

The phrase "you are what you eat" has always made me chuckle a little. It brings to mind Violet from Willy Wonka ("Violet! You're turning violet, Violet!") who turns into a blueberry after chewing Willy Wonka's experimental gum.

However, recently I have found that what I eat during the day (and especially right before a run) really affects how a feel during my runs--even the shorter runs. For example, yesterday afternoon I ate entirely too much leftover Christmas candy (hey, if you eat it all at least it's not in the house anymore). A couple of hours later I went running and I felt like I was shuffling through sludge for the entire two miles. Today I made an effort to eat less crap and more whole foods (I traded in the candy for a banana for my afternoon snack) and the entire 3.5 miles felt great.

Tomorrow is another two mile run, but the temperature is supposed to go back down into the low thirties. My plan is to brave the weather and run outside anyway. We'll see how it goes.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Fell Off the Wagon

I fell off the wagon over Christmas. I didn't run for an entire week and, while I started off tracking my points, once we left town to visit family, all bets were off, and I ate a LOT of crap.

I'm over it and moving on. Yesterday my husband and I took advantage of the nice weather (i.e. it was actually above 40 degrees) and went for a 3.5 mile run. This week I should be starting week 4 of the Half Marathon Training program, which means today is a day of rest. However, I am going to shake things up and go for a run today because the weather is supposed to be super nice out. (50 degree high, here we come!) I'll adjust accordingly. Plus, I didn't really do a long run yesterday so I don't think I actually need a day of rest.

Here's hoping everyone had a great Christmas:

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Freedom! (and food issues)

At last it is here, the sweet smell of freedom. Freedom from classes, note-taking, studying and tests...at least for the next two weeks.

I had my last final this morning. It was three and a half hours of pure torture. When I was finished my mind was a mush of purchase-money security interests, priorities, and foreclosure sales; my body was physically weak; and I just wanted to get really drunk and/or cry and/or sleep. I did none of those. Instead I went to the mall to finish my Christmas shopping. Not exactly relaxing, but it did get my mind off the test and on to other things.

That being said, I did not run today. I've mixed this week up a bit due to my crazy finals schedule and the snow/ice storm that came in early in the week. Yesterday I ran 3.5 miles. It was a "eh" run. Not spectacular, but not horrible either. Tomorrow is supposed to be a rest day, but since I "rested" today I'm going to do today's run tomorrow. I may end up doing this week over again, depending on how things go over the weekend. Whatever. I'm not in any particular rush.


Tomorrow (Friday) is my Weight Watchers meeting. Unless I have gained 3 pounds in the last week -- God I hope not -- I will be under my goal weight and become a lifetime member. Awesome!

Here's the problem. Ever since I made goal (145 lbs) I've had so much trouble staying motivated to track what I am eating. This is a problem for two reasons: (1) I would still like to lose 5-10 more pounds to have a "cushion" before I am over my goal weight and, most importantly, (2) I do not want to end up where I was before I started Weight Watchers last May. I'm afraid if I stop tracking I'll just slide down the slippery slope and back into my size 14 jeans. As it is I have gained (small amounts of) weight the last two weeks. I wouldn't be surprised if tomorrow is the same.

Tomorrow starts a fresh "Weight Watchers week" for me -- new points tracker, WPA turn over, etc. I AM going to track all next week, even during Christmas. I'll report back on my progress to keep myself honest. ;)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Forgive Me Father...

...but I have sinned. It has been two days since my last run.

Monday was an "stretch and strengthen" day, so no run.
This morning I got up, put on my gym clothes, packed up my study materials, and left the house. After slipping and sliding on the ice and snow on the ground and hearing on the radio that it was only supposed to get worse throughout the day, I turned my car back around and came home. While I was looking forward to the run, the weather was just too awful to chance an accident.

On to Biggest Loser...(spoiler alert)!

Vicky lost!! Wooo Hooo!! (Notice I don't particularly care who won, as long as it wasn't her. )
As she was walking out on stage, I said to my husband, "I hope she falls." Lo and behold, she just about bit it. Hilarious! (I know I am really bad person. I'm over it.)

I was upset that Heba won the $100,000. I was really hoping that Amy would take it. They both looked amazing. BUT, who let Heba out in that dress that clearly did not allow for a bra?!?! Goo! Once she came out in her weigh-in outfit the problem was remedied (probably because she was wearing a bra), thank God.

I was happy to hear that another season of the Biggest Loser is starting up again relatively soon. I'll be sure to watch...as long as it doesn't conflict with Lost, which is also starting up soon. Yay!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Hot, Hot, Hot

Okay, hot might be too strong of a word, but yesterday felt (almost) like summer (er, fall?) here. I woke up around 8:30, let my dogs outside and noticed that I was not freezing my ass off. It was 50 degrees outside!

I quickly woke my husband up and begged him to go out on the trail with me. The thought of running outdoors with scenery and fresh air was so alluring that he actually got out of bed and agreed to go! It was a great 4 miles and afterwards we went to one of my favorite cafes for breakfast.


Then I went to the library...and studied...and studied some more. By the time I left, the temperature had dropped to 18 degrees and there was an ice storm rolling in. The ice made for a great adventure this morning as I struggled to get to my 8:30 am final.

Tomorrow I finally start increasing my mileage. Unfortunately, it will have to be on the treadmill, as the ice only supposed to get worse tonight. Bleh.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Another day...

After my horrible run on Tuesday I took Wednesday off. Partially because I was feeling lazy and tired from hours and hours of reading all about secured transactions, but mostly because I was worried that I am getting sick.

About two months ago, I started coughing a lot. All the time. People were glaring at me in the library. About a week after the coughing started, I went to the doctor. She told me I had pneumonia and gave me some antibiotics. The antibiotics made me sick to my stomach. So I spent several more days coughing and vomiting. Great fun. I got the nausea under control and started to feel better. After I had been feeling better for about a week, I tried to run. Bad idea. The coughing came back with a vengeance, and my doctor made me swear off running until I was completely better. Getting completely better took two and a half more weeks.

So I really just started back running shortly before starting this blog, after having been sidelined for about a month. In the past week or so I have been coughing a little more than usual and have been extremely tired. Maybe it's just the stress of finals, but I am trying to take it easy just in case.

Yesterday I was feeling up to things, so I ran 3 miles. Compared to Tuesday it was a breeze. My heart rate was a little higher than I would have liked, but other than that it was a good run. Today is a day of rest, so I won't be hitting the gym. Instead I will be holed up in the library with my textbooks. Super.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Gym Pet Peeves

As I am spending more time in the gym, I notice more things that get under my skin.

Today's annoyance: people who hold on to the top of the treadmill with a death grip so they can run/walk faster or at a higher incline. If you are going so fast that you cannot keep yourself on the treadmill without holding on, you are going too fast. It's okay to slow down. You are not getting a full workout and you are putting your body at risk for injury.

Next week's annoyance: hairballs in the shower. Vomit.


Bleh. Bleh. Bleh.

That pretty much sums up my run today. It was awful. Terrible. Painful even.

Today I was set to run 3 miles. The entire run my heart rate was way too high, even though I slowed down and made an effort to slow down my breathing, and I was just waiting for the run to end. Usually by mile 2 I am feeling pretty good and have the mind set of only one mile left! Woo hoo! And then I kick up my speed at the end. Today, my mind was saying "Oh my God. I still have a whole mile to go."

So, I gave up. I figured that if things weren't getting better 2 miles in, it wasn't worth it. I hit the shower and spent the afternoon studying for finals. Tomorrow is just a 2 miler, so hopefully it will be easy and a nice boost to my confidence.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Where Have I Been?

Locked in the library, studying for finals. That's where.

Here's a brief run down of the last couple of days:

Friday: rest. Actually it wasn't that restful because we had a company Christmas party to attend. Always nice to watch a bunch of your husband's coworkers get drunk and try to dance.

Saturday: 30 minutes cross-training. I tried our gym's new Expresso bikes. They're sort of like a cross between Wii Fit and Spinning Class. It was a lot of fun and I think I will try it out again on another cross-training day.

Sunday (today): 4 mile run. Note to self: do not down a 20 oz Mountain Dew and a bag of Reese's Pieces an hour before your long run. It does not matter that you can barely keep your eyes open to study for your finals. You will not feel more awake and your stomach will hurt during your run. Despite feeling horrible the entire time, I made it through the 4 miles in about 42 minutes. (I had to stop and walk for a couple of minutes to make sure my Reese's didn't come back up all over the treadmill.)

While I was running, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was on the TV right in front of me. I got so into to watching that when the Whomping Willow started hitting Harry and Hermione I ducked...and almost fell off the treadmill. If anyone noticed, they weren't laughing too hard at me, so it's all good.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Another 3 miles down!

Today was a three mile run + strength day, so I hopped on the treadmill for about 35 minutes and got in my three miles. I still haven't done the strength part, but I think I will save that for my Wii Fit this evening.

On my last couple of runs, I have been making a real effort to clear my mind and to only focus on my breathing. Sort of like meditation or yoga mixed with running. It has (at least) two great benefits: (1) I'm not checking the stats on the treadmill or my Nike Plus every 2 minutes out of boredom and (2) I feel mentally refreshed, which is great because finals are quickly approaching and I need all the brain power I can muster. I also found a free video on iTunes U called "The Zen of Running" which explores "the relationship between physical activity and thought." I've downloaded it and am interested to see what it says.

In other news, Weight Watchers is unveiling a new plan called the "Momentum Plan." I'm not exactly sure what it entails, but, as far as I can tell, it is similar to the Flex Plan (which I have been doing since May of this year) with more of an emphasis on whole, natural foods. It sounds good, but I am wary of change, especially since I am just a couple of weeks away from making lifetime. We'll see. Hopefully we will be talking about it at my meeting tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Quick Two Miles

This morning I did a quick and easy two miles on the treadmill. I was in and out of the gym in 25 minutes (2 ten minute miles and a few minutes for warm-up and cool down).

There was a time, not so long ago, that the idea of running for two straight miles made me ill. Heck, about 5 months ago I couldn't even run for 8 minutes at a time. Crazy.

I downloaded the title track to the new Britney Spears album last night, "Circus." (Yes, Brit Brit is one of my guilty pleasures.) Best. Running. Song. Ever.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Biggest Loser

If you despise Vicky as much as I do, click here. Beautiful.

3 Miles

Well, D2/W1 was a success...mostly.

Since I had a big day on the career/school front, I knew I would have to get my run in early this morning. BUT, when my alarm clock began chirping at me at 6:30 this morning I apparently hit snooze twice, because when I finally got out of bed I was running behind.

I lugged my suit and gym bag and book bag across campus in the freezing cold, threw on my gym shorts and running shoes and hit the treadmill . (I already had a shirt on, don't worry.) My plan was to do a relatively slow, easy jog since I haven't been running as much in the last couple of weeks. So, I set the speed for 5.5 mph. Oh. My. God. I felt like I was going to die, and my heart rate (per my Polar Heart Rate Monitor) was up around 185.

After about half a mile I slowed down to 5 mph. Then, a bit later, to 4.7 mph. That was bearable. About a mile in I glanced at the treadmill next to me. Even though my speed was set at 4.7 mph, I was running quite a bit faster than the girl running next to me, who had her speed set at 6.0 mph.

Frustrated, I hopped off my treadmill and on to another. I set the speed for 5.5 and cruised through the last two miles. Tomorrow's 2 miler should be a breeze.

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Contest

Roni's Weigh is one of my must-read blogs. Today she announced an exciting, new contest. Check it out below.

I entered the Mary Lou's Weigh Platform Giveaway!

Check out Roni’s Weight Loss Blog for more information.

First Post!


About six months ago I decided I was tired of being fat. Mind you, I was not morbidly obese, but at 5'6" tall and 170 lbs. I definitely fit into the "overweight" category. So, in May of 2008 I walked into my first Weight Watchers meeting. Six months later I am still walking into Weight Watchers meetings every week, but now I walk in 25 pounds lighter

I've now met my Weight Watchers goal weight of 145 lbs., but would like to lose about 10 more pounds. More importantly, I've begun setting new, non-weight related goals for myself. In September I ran my first 5k race after doing the Couch to 5k Program and in October I ran another 5k. I've decided to push myself to train for a half-marathon using Hal Higdon's Half Marathon Training Program.

So...follow along as I attempt to run 13.1 miles and stay focused on a healthy lifestyle.

Today, day 1/week 1 (D1W1), was a "stretch and strengthen" day. When I got to the gym this morning the crowd at the weight machines was insane. (Everyone must be attempting to work off all of the turkey they ate for Thanksgiving.) As a result, I stretched but did not strengthen. Instead, I did 25 minutes on the elliptical machine. I think that in the future I might spend "stretch and strengthen" days at home with a strength training DVD. We'll see.