Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Future Speed Demon!

I'm really trying to finish my next 5K in less than 30 minutes and not 31 and some seconds.  This is my first year ever running, like for real running, and I'm really getting in to this for the long run (no pun intended).  I just started running to lose the tummy (still not gone), but it's so many other benefits I've noticed.  I'll save that for a different post though.  

Yesterday I completed my first speed training. It consisted of a 1-mile warm-up or 10 minutes, whichever came first.  I finished in 10 minutes and a few seconds.  Two 400 meter sprints at race pace, two 200 meter sprints at 90%, and two 100 meter sprints at 100%.  Hopefully I have the lingo correct, but this was my very first time doing something like this.  The entire workout lasted almost an hour including stretching and water breaks.  It was a nice change, this morning I could feel it in my abs.

Fast forward today, my first distance run for this week, I ran 3.22 miles.  I'm not sure how quick you're supposed to tell a difference in your pace after speed training, but judging by my time tonight it was immediate.  I literally shaved a minute off of what my pace has been for the past few weeks!  One thing I think did differently today that may or may not have made a difference, but I had complex carbs (whole wheat spaghetti) a couple of hours before running.  I guess that really increased my energy level.

I don't want to be too hard on myself, but I can't decide whether or not I want to increase my speed or endurance first.  Can't you do both at the same time?  I ran 5 miles the other day, so I know 6 shouldn't be that hard.  My next 5K isn't until October, but I have a feeling I should do fine since I'm getting used to enduring longer runs.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Truth Dot Com

The truth shall set you free right?  Well, I met my 60lb weight loss goal back in April.  Since then, I've gained 7-9 lbs (I fluctuate).  7+ lbs is a lot to a calorie counter.  I thought I would do well on my new increased calorie budget, which was around 1900 a day.  I took full advantage of it too.  I lost the last 10lbs by reducing my meat intake. Once I started back eating meat, that's when I started to gain back the weight.  I finally mustered the courage to log it on Lose It! yesterday.  So many people have kind of "admired" me on there for finally meeting my goal, so I kinda, slightly felt like I would be letting them down.  Anyhoo, I've logged it and now am re-tracking to lose these few pounds again.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not totally obsessed with counting calories (at least I don't think so), but I'm trying to be strict on my diet in order to lose the tummy.  I know that "abs are made in the kitchen" and I'm trying to do just that!  I don't think I can continue to eat the amount of calories I'm "allowed" to eat in maintenance mode and try to get a flat stomach at the same time.  Reducing them will definitely make me pay more attention to what I'm putting in my mouth as well as how much.

Sunday is always a rest day for me. So tomorrow I'm picking back up with Week 3 of Insanity, the Fit Test, and I will do a speed workout.  The rest of the week will be dedicated to building my endurance to run 5 miles easily (I had a wonderful 5 mile run Saturday morning) using no particular training plan.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Couch to 5K Review: How My Running Journey Began

Once I met my first weight loss goal, which was to lose 50lbs, I set another goal to lose 10 more lbs.  Fast forward from December to the end of February, those 10lbs just wouldn't seem to vanish, so I decided to try something new (as I've always done when hitting any plateau in the past).  I've always admired the runners physique, was impressed by their endurance, running has a lower start up cost, and I still wasn't interested in joining a gym for classes yet, so I chose running.  I actually thought I'd be embarassed because I looked like a newbie, but that feeling didn't last long.  I was determined.

I had never run track or anything outside of running around with my cousins outside, so I definitely needed a structured routine I could follow so I'd be more likely to stick with it.  I heard about C25k from many users in the forums on Lose It!, so I purchased the app and started using it 2/28/11 (I found out later there are many free podcast, but I don't mind).  Couch to 5k is an app designed to help you achieve running a 5k in 30 minutes or less.
Do we share any of the same apps?
There's two versions of C25k in iTunes, this is the one I chose to go with. Both versions are pretty much the same program-wise, but based on the other versions interface, it was pretty busy on the eyes.  I wanted something simple to quickly refer to since I'd be using this for the next 9 or so weeks.

I'm not really comfortable running on the treadmill for long periods, plus the ones at my "old school" gym were horrible anyway, so I took advantage of the trails in my neighborhood to start.  I was conditioned to the elliptical and power walking, which were my primary sources of cardio until I started running.  SN: Running outside in the beginning is SO difficult very different. Now, I bet I could easily run 10 miles on the treadmill today if I wanted, only kidding :)

Week 1 wasn't so bad, with only having to jog for 60 seconds at a time. I still sweat profusely and my reoccurring knee problems (I think I did something to it as a child, and it had a tendency to ache every now and then, plus I officially sprained it in '09 as well) came back, which is why I thought I was getting this major workout.  I forgot about all of my other resistance training and was so focused on running every other day instead.  Big mistake, 'cause that still didn't help me drop anymore weight.

By Week 4, I guess my knee seemed to have gotten stronger because I no longer had pain.  I warmed up and stretched properly during every workout, so I'm thinking that helped.  I was still pretty happy with the program.  Looking at Week 4 from Week 1 seemed intimidating at first, but you never know what you can until you do it.  It was a real struggle to run 5 minutes straight.  I would be so relieved at the voice prompts telling me to, "walk now". Day 1 of Week 4 went well, but for some reason Day 2 and 3 I couldn't get through, so I decided to repeat Week 4.

Week 6 and Week 8 were two more tough weeks for me.  I can't remember which I started over, but it was definitely all mental.  By the end of Week 8 and 9, I had linked up with a running group and no longer relied on the app, even for days I ran alone.  
Here I am today, three 5k races later, up to running 4.5 miles at a time, trying to race once a month, and thinking about registering for my first 10k in November.  

Now, about that 10lbs, I started running thinking the 10lbs would just melt off, but I did have to commence resistance training (i.e. circuit training, weights, Pilates) once again and most importantly strict diet changes for a few weeks for that to actually happen.

How did you lose your last 10lbs? How did you get into running?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Quest to Rid of this PUDGE!

Last Friday I went bathing suit shopping for the first time in 5 years.  It's our 3-year anniversary on the 15th, so we decided to go on a quick getaway.  I don't know how to swim and just sitting splashing in the water becomes boring after a while, so I had no real reason to buy one.  Oh, and having zero body confidence at the time played a major role as well.  I was pretty nervous about how things would turn out and whether this would be an ALL day thing.  Fortunately, I found what I needed in store #2.  It's the end of the season, so Target had a few pieces I was surprisingly happy with on the clearance rack.  (My confidence is SO much higher now, I can just tell).  I really went looking for a nice one-piece because my stomach is no where near where I'd like for it to be, but I decided to get the two-piece anyway because I could always a) hold my pudge in (haha) or b) wear a tank over it.  
I will admit when trying it on, I was still pretty proud. I didn't look horrendous and I really felt like all of my hard work over the past 2 years has paid off, I just need to keep pushing it if I ever want to lose the gut.  We ended up not going to our original destination, Florida, due to a rain forecast (& I don't even think it rained down there) and the hotel we did stay in didn't have the Jacuzzi we hoped for, so I didn't even get to wear it.  Not to fret though, I just have more time to get it right!  

I opted in YumYucky's Finish What You Started Challenge to tame the pudge, but it's going on 3 weeks and I still don't have the motivation.  Last week I scored 22 points.  My exercise was on point, but my eating habits fell by the wayside.  Week 2 was worst. I scored 13 points. I'm so ashamed to say that all I've eaten for my dinners since Thursday night has been fast food. *hangs head in shame*.

Now, going into week 3, I have a new plan.  I need something new. After months of watching others, contemplating, and nagging the husband (lol), I got Insanity.  I get bored, and I think this will get me out of the rut.  I'm still in pretty good shape (check my last 5k time lol), so this is why I decided on Insanity versus P90X.  I hear that Insanity is for those that are already in shape.  I need SOMETHING that will get rid of this belly! I know abs are made in the kitchen, but I feel like adding this extra intensity to my running routine instead of the circuit trainings (sorry, Jillian, but anytime you start to memorize the script of a workout DVD, it might be time to let it go lol) as well as not allowing slip-ups on my "diet" so much will make it better.

Enjoy a few pictures from the beautiful Appalachian Mountains...

I may be prissy, but I still like nature "stuff" lol
I was obviously not dressed for a hike, but this was a spur of the moment, walk and talk kinda thing. The exercise nerd in me, turned on my iMapMyRun app so it was a little over a 1 mile 'hike" around this state park.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Race Recap: ATL's Finest 5K

Feeling a little nervous on the way to the race
This past Saturday I ran my third 5K AND I made a PR! It wasn't the time I was shooting for, but I'll take it and be proud about it!  I finished at 31:18.  I feel like once I get past that speed goal of finishing under 30 minutes, I can shoot for my first 10K (if there's any left to register for this year).  Just like I used the c25K app back in February to help me get started running, I'm going to use either the Bridge to 10K or Couch to 10K program to increase my distance (start date is pending). 

I don't know why, but I've become kinda obsessed about finishing in under 30 minutes.  I haven't done any "official" type of speed work, I've been more focused on the endurance part. IDK. I'm still a beginner in my eyes, so I'm trying to really figure out where to start with it.  I've done it before, just not during a race. I completed 3.1 miles on a flat trail at 29:37-something seconds.  But anyway, back to Saturday's race...

Doing my leg swings

I got there later than I should have. I'm not that much of a wake-up-at-5:30-a.m. type of person. So I hit snooze until the very last minute. My clothes and everything else were already layed out, so I got dressed, grabbed half a banana and was out the door. I arrived at the race with maybe 5 minutes to spare. I had to take advantage of the little walk from the train station to the bib pick-up tables for part of my warm-up.

I looked down at my Nike+GPS app and saw I was already at 30 minutes, so I started sprinting towards the finish!

A proud girl representing an awesome running group
I knew what to expect with the route since I had practiced it with my running group the week before, but those hills maaan, I let 'em get to me.  During Saturday's practice run, I trotted up the first and kept it going, trotted up the second and walked for a few seconds. During the actual race, I stopped to walk in the middle of both.  I think I started off too fast in the beginning and it affected my overall pace. Either way, I'm still learning from my mistakes and will keep it moving. I'm still proud of myself :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

So Versatile, So Convenient, So Quick...It's the Chicken Wrap...Again!

I'm notorious for not having enough of this and being out of that.  Since there were no leftovers from last nights grilled chicken caesar salad, I concocted this instead...

I had never purchased this pre-cooked grilled chicken breasts before.  I usually have to go through the motions of cleaning, seasoning, and grilling the chicken myself.  I noticed two of the ingredients were some type of corn syrup and corn starch, so I don't think this will necessarily become a staple. Though it's tempting.

Altogether, the wrap was about 216 calories

And of course on the side, one of my favorite snacks, baby carrots. 

Did you know baby carrots has it's own Twitter? @babycarrots

Review: I Used Lose It! to Lose It!

I found the Lose It! app for iPhone's while randomly browsing iTunes one day.  I had no intentions on counting calories at the start of my weight loss journey, but this colorful, easy to use app caught my interest.  It just looked fun to use.  It wasn't like keeping a written food journal in a diary.  This app does most of the work for you.  You  just have to log it.  That was May 2009.  Three weeks later into June 2009, I had lost the first 15lbs.

I was one of the early Lose It! app users before they developed the website into what it is now.  Now you don't have to have an iPhone and a recent Android version has been released.  

When you first set up your account.  It will ask you to enter the standard info (i.e. Today's Weight, Goal Weight,  Height, and how much weight would you like to lose a week) that assists in determining your daily calorie budget.  My current calorie budget for maintenance mode (to maintain my current weight) is 1,964 calories a day.  If you're trying to lose weight, of course yours will  be lower, depending on your stats of course.  Once you've entered this info in, you can start logging your food and exercise calories.

The food database has been updated several times, so it includes almost every food and/or restaurant you can think of for every meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack).  If not, you can enter the item in manually.  The same goes for exercises (especially if you use a HRM which may give a more accurate calories burned count).

I eat so many carbs and not enough protein - working on that!

I like the Report feature (the full version-visible only via the website) which shows an analysis of your calorie trends including nutrient information. I'm able to see a breakdown of My Nutrients.  I particularly like to keep up with my Fat-Carb-Protein (& Fiber) percentages now that I am in maintenance mode.  Whereas, when I was just trying to lose weight and thought all of that was overwhelming, I just wanted to burn more than I ate.  Today's Fat-Carb-Protein percentages weren't that great.  I like being able to see this because its a quicker way of assessing what I am doing "wrong"; I like the extra control it gives me over my diet.

There's other extras like the ability to add friends so you can motivate each other, participate in the forums for additional help/resources, graphs showing your progress, and badges congratulating you for different achievements and milestones.  My most recent badge was one for "Smooth Sailing".  Earning the "Smooth Sailing" badge means I'm doing a great job of maintaining my weight.

I have heard of the other calorie counters like My Fitness Pal. I've never given that site a try, but I liked the convenience of the Lose It! iPhone app upfront.  I'm always on my phone anyway, so... this made it 10x more likely that I'd continue its use.  Two years later and 60lbs lighter, all using this app to track my calories, is proof!

Do you keep a food journal? Did you find it tedious or helpful?