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Friday, December 13, 2013

A good sore...

Last night it was time for Legs & Back. I was still a bit sore from the band moves from Back & Biceps on Tuesday, but it felt great to get into those moves again. It does, however, make me wonder what tomorrow will be like.

My flexibility still isn't all that great, but I think it's improving at least a little bit. I also noticed last night that my quads have a lot more definition when flexed. It's encouraging to be getting stronger and I'm quite certain this will only be a positive thing for my running.

I have today off, so I'm going to have to discipline myself to get to the gym tonight and get my last run of the week. Until then, hopefully I can stay busy and productive.

Have a great day, and thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Suh - WEET!

I hit the treadmill right after work last night and got busy with the Freeway to 10K, Week 5, Day 2. I had a great time, hitting all of my jogging intervals at 5.7 mph, my walks at 4.2 mph, and my warm-up and cooldown at 4.0 mph. I'm wondering if 5.7 mph is the right treadmill pace for me at this stage in my running career because it seemed super easy to maintain. In comparison, a little slower or faster both seem to mess with my stride or something because it's a lot more difficult. Guess I'll just have to play around with it. I'm still planning to do Friday's run at 5.8 mph, so we'll see what happens.

As the runs get longer, I'm also considering dropping the speed to 5.3 or 5.4 mph to decrease the intensity and perhaps drop some weight by burning a bit more fat. I haven't for sure made a decision there because I also know I haven't been tracking my food lately and it's possible my weight loss has stalled from eating too much junk and/or not enough calories overall.

My distance this time was 4.95 miles, so a little bump in speed next time should guarantee 5 miles or better. That's pretty exciting!

Next week the sessions will surpass 60 minutes for the remainder of the F210K program. That's pretty cool from looking at the progress I'm making, but it's also frustrating because the treadmills automatically go to a cooldown phase at 60 minutes. The speed can be bumped back up right away, but that momentary blip could mess things up if I'm not careful.

In other news, I found out tonight that P90X3 was just released. One thing that really grabbed my attention is that the workouts are all 30 minutes long (and there are 16 of them!). I think it's designed to be done 7 days/week instead of the 6 for P90X or 5 for P90X2. I wouldn't be using the program until next summer, so there's still plenty of time to do more research and, should I decide to buy it, save up the money I would need. I like variety in my strength training workouts, and I've been quite pleased with the original P90X on that point.

I hope you've been able to find time to get some exercise, too. Every little bit helps, and as I always know (even though I sometimes have to convince myself of the truth), staying active is one of the best ways to simply feel great. See you soon!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Did you wonder where I was?

So I've been a little lax with posting lately. I guess that's kinda okay since I was a little lax with exercising last week, too. I managed to get in two runs last week (4.79 and 4.87 miles), but that was it. Sometimes it's rough trying to get to the gym when I have a day off, which is why I didn't get my third run in.

This week, I got things started back up a little more the way I like it. Sunday night I did my Chest, Shoulders, & Triceps workout from P90X, and I think it's probably my least favorite upper body routine because of the various push-ups included (slow, fast and slow, one-arm, clapping/plyometric).

I got a run in Monday night, 4.88 miles, and was pretty tired at the end, so we'll see what happens tonight after work. Up until the last couple of runs, I'd been using 4.0 mph as my walking pace for warm-ups, cooldowns, and walking intervals. Now I've been using 4.2 mph as my interval speed, and I think that has helped my transitions. Tonight I'm going to try getting 5.7 mph on all of my runs (7 minutes each) and then 5.8 mph on Friday.

I was quite tired last night when I got home and opted to do P90X this morning. Today's routine was Back & Biceps, which I think is my absolute favorite upper body workout in the program. There was only one exercise I really didn't care for, the Superman, where you lie on your stomach with your arms stretched out, then you raise your arms and legs and hold for 10 seconds. I only got through it twice before the tweaking down my left leg got the better of me. Methinks it's time to get to the chiropractor again and see if I can get some of that taken care of.

So that's the news for now. Check back later this week for further updates.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Last run of the week...

Whoever thought exercising during the holiday season was a good idea is crazy. I mean, who would want to get out and move around when there are ten pies and fifteen other dishes on the table?

I guess that puts me into the field of crazy. I had to work yesterday (slightly frustrating because we're an hour away at my in-laws' for the rest of Thanksgiving), but it worked out well because otherwise I wouldn't have gotten in my Friday night run.

Since it was the third run of the week, I planned on running each interval with increasing speed. I made it through the first five intervals this way, but during the fifth one I was feeling pretty wasted at 6.0 mph. So, in order to be sure I'd get all the way through, I dropped back to 5.6 mph for the sixth interval and was able to finish the workout.

I racked up 4.4 miles in my 50 minutes. That comes out to an easy 5.3 mph average speed, which is the minimum I want to maintain during the half-marathon (that will yield a 2 hour, 30 minute time). I'll have to be sure to get some speed work into the mix once I start training specifically for the half, because it would be fantastic to get as close to 2 hours as possible.

Now it's time to get my son through a bath and head over to my wife's uncle's house for our actual Thanksgiving dinner (everyone was still arriving on Thursday). I'll be sure to consume in moderation.

See you soon with the start of a new week!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Beginning of Week 4

After a fun weekend with company (and still doing my fitness things), it was time tonight to get back to running. Week 4 of the Freeway to 10K series involves a 5-minute warm-up walk, six 6-minute jogs followed by 60-second walks, wrapped up with a 3-minute cooldown, all for a total of 50 minutes. By the end of the warm-up walk, I was a bit sore in the shins and expected the first couple of jogs would be tough, which they were. And a couple of times throughout I started thinking how nice it would be to just quit for the night and try again some other time. Thankfully I squelched that line of reasoning and powered through.

The end result kinda speaks for itself. I racked up 4.24 miles. That's still a far-cry from 13.1, but it's definitely progress. It's also encouraging to know that for the first few weeks of the half-marathon training my Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday runs will all take less than 50 minutes to complete.

I did a little research tonight on speed work and found a couple of interesting programs. I will try to remember to find the links again and share them here at some point, but here are the basics.

The first program has you figure out your 5K pace, then knock off 20 seconds. After an easy 5-minute warm-up jog you run 3 minutes at 20 seconds faster than your current race pace and then take it easy for a minute. Do that five times, then have an easy 5-minute cooldown, and do the routine twice a week.

The second is a pyramid plan. After the warm-up, run 1 minute at your race pace, then 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 4 minutes, 5 minutes, 4 minutes, 3 minutes, 2 minutes, and 1 minute (all with an easy 1-minute interval afterward).

I'm not sure when or how I will get speed work into my life, but I know I'm going to want and need it if I make plans to run faster.

Have a great day today, and be sure to find time to be a little active.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

All stretchy-stretchy...

I just spent an hour stretching. I've never put that much time in at once on flexibility, something for which I'm paying at this stage of my life. The issues with my back could have been prevented had I been focused on keeping my muscles loose over the years. Since I can't go back in time and emphasize flexibility and general fitness to myself, I'll just have to make up for it now.

The stretching session for P90X is pretty easy to do. There was one move that I couldn't really do at all, but I might see about getting Abi to help me with it the next time I go through this routine. A couple of other moves were difficult because I'm so inflexible, but I gave everything as solid of an effort as I could manage. Thankfully the anticipated soreness from yesterday's Legs & Back workout hasn't kicked in yet, and maybe I've even reduced what that will be like through tonight's session.

It's early, only 8:15 PM, but I'm glad to be done for the night. Hopefully after some supper and a little hanging out with my family and our company a somewhat early bedtime can be had.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A lot to catch up on here...

Happy Saturday (or Sunday, in an hour and a half)! I've been busy the last couple of days, and it's time to share with you what I've been doing.

Thursday night after work I hit the treadmill to get in the second run of the week. I struggled a bit, but pushed through and successfully completed it, racking up 3.94 miles. I was able to leave work at 9 PM on Friday and hit the treadmill for my third run, a distance of 4.06 miles. That brought my total mileage this week to 11.89. Next week I jump up to six 6-minute jogging intervals with six 60-second walk for a total of 50 minutes each time. It even works out that I only have Thursday off for Thanksgiving, so I'll be able to run on schedule Monday, Wednesday, and Friday nights. I'm guessing I'll hit close to 4.25 miles each night, which is pretty exciting!

Today was the Ugly Sweater Run. Unfortunately the weather wasn't as nice as I'd hoped. It was about 10 degrees when we left home at 10:30 and the high was only 19 or so. Lukas thankfully fell asleep at one point so we were able to put the blanket over his head before we had to walk straight into a frigid north wind. The bright sunshine really didn't do anything to take the edge off, and I was glad to walk the six blocks or so to the indoor farmer's market where my in-laws had a booth to warm up before coming home.

Then, if all that wasn't enough, I just now finished Legs & Back and Ab Ripper X. I feel great, but I'm sure I'm going to pay for it, especially in the thighs, tomorrow and Monday. It's all good, though. Recovery just means getting stronger, and getting stronger in the legs equates to running faster. A couple of bonuses tonight: I was able to go considerably longer on the wall squats (probably my least favorite exercise in the entire Legs & Back routine) and I was able to do at least a few reps for all 11 of the Ab Ripper X moves.

I had the opportunity to exchange some text messages with a good friend of mine today, too, and found out that he is a month into the Insanity program. He said it's a lot like the Plyometrics workout from P90X, which is definitely the hardest workout for me. However, he's also dropped to a 34-inch waist, something I haven't seen since I was in high school. A bonus to Insanity, the workouts are only 40 minutes long, which would make them easier to complete in the morning here at home. I'm saving up for a Garmin GPS watch for my half-marathon training (actually, I have the funds now, but I don't want to wipe my fun money down to zero), and depending on what other funding I'm able to come across in the next few weeks, I might go ahead and order Insanity so it's here by the time I'm done with P90X and getting started on the half-marathon training. Since Insanity is only 60 days, I'm thinking I could start the program the same week I start training for the half-marathon and be done before the mileage gets super high. Since I want to drop at least 20 pounds (and ideally 40) by May, this could be a great way to get me there. I'll let you know if I decide to go this route, and of course you'll be getting updates throughout if that's my decision.

Tomorrow I'm going to do X Stretch and get started on using P90X Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday nights like I mentioned previously. It'll be great to have Saturday evenings off so I can get to bed earlier for church, not to mention getting a run in the night after Legs & Back to help loosen things up more quickly.

I hope you've been able to make good use of your day today. It'd be great if you can take tomorrow to rest and reflect on God and what He has done for you through Jesus Christ (if you haven't received Jesus as your Savior, it'd be even better to look into that). God bless, and I'll see you soon.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Don't you hate it when...

So last night after work I was all pumped up about going for a run. When I went to change into my workout clothes, though, I discovered that I'd forgotten to pack them in my gym bag. Boogers! Then, because it was slightly below 40 degrees, my car didn't want to start on the first try, so I didn't get home until almost 1 AM. After getting about five hours of sleep Tuesday night, I decided that sleep was a higher priority.

This morning, then, I did my Shoulders & Arms routine from P90X. I upped the weight on several exercises compared to last week and finally hit a groove where I felt the effort. Unfortunately I won't see this workout until 6 weeks from now. Oh well, I'm excited about what I'll be able to do next time.

Again, Ab Ripper X was too difficult for me to finish, but I believe I'm making progress. Just have to keep at it.

I've decided to adjust my P90X schedule a bit, too. Instead of Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday nights, I'm going to do Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday nights. This is a great time to switch because Saturday I should get in my Legs & Back session and next week I'm doing X Stretch (and maybe Yoga X, if I feel super ambitious). This will just make things easier because otherwise I'm hitting the treadmill Friday night after work and doing Legs & Back with maybe an 18-hour break. Plus, running within 24 hours of Legs & Back should go a long way to overall reducing any lasting soreness.

Check back tomorrow when I should have an update about my upcoming run tonight. Happy trails!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Two more for the price of one...

Hello, faithful readers!

So it seems I've developed the unfortunate habit of only posting every other day. It hasn't been intentional, but it is difficult to come home from the gym or finish a workout at home and pop onto the computer when it's really time to be getting to bed. Then, in the mornings, it's difficult to sit down and write with a little one crawling all over and wanting nothing more than to touch the keys on the laptop.

Monday night after work I hit the treadmill for F210K Week 3. This week the workout consists of six 5-minute jogs followed by 90-second walks. I found it easier to hit my stride this time around, and I noticed my thighs loosening up more quickly, too. I definitely want to capitalize on that and increase the flexibility in my legs; other exercises show me just how far I have to go in this respect. I covered 3.89 miles, and with my planned speed increases for the second and third workouts this week, I should be closing in on 12.25 or even 12.5 total miles. Add to that a planned 5K for Saturday, and we could be seeing a great week!

Last night I came home and got going on P90X Chest & Back. I can tell that there have been some improvements when I flex my arms, which is encouraging. However, I still need to get my nutrition more fully under control if I want to see the fat burned off and muscle built up. Ab Ripper X is still tough, and a lot of it is from too-tight hamstrings and lower back, it seems.

Hopefully I'll be reporting in the next day or two to let you know how things progress. Until then, stay active!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

One of these days...

Hi there, friends! I have to apologize yet again for doubling up on my blog post. When I got home Thursday night I was pretty wiped out and opted for going to bed instead of working out. It's probably good that I did because my son woke me up at 8 AM. I was able to sleep again from about 9:30-11:30 and did my Shoulders & Arms and Ab Ripper X routines at that point. Shoulders & Arms went very well (despite the scratched and skipping DVD requiring me to stop my workout and bring the laptop upstairs to watch my backup files) with increased weight on several moves and a plan to increase again next week. Ab Ripper X is still challenging because of some muscle tightness/tweakiness in my left leg. I will hopefully get in to see my chiropractor sometime next week to see if I can't get some of that under control.

Last night I hit the treadmill at work for the third run of the week. Like last Friday, I started my first interval at 5.6 mph and increased my speed by 0.1 mph for each subsequent interval. Doing so allowed me to rack up 3.48 miles, bringing my weekly total to 10.2 miles. Crazy to think that in a few months 10 miles will only cover my Saturday run!

Next week's runs (Week Three) will be six intervals of 5-minute jogs and 90-second walks, a total of 47 minutes after the warm-up and cooldown are added in. Weeks 7-10 will all be 68 minutes long...it's going to be interesting to see how those extra 20 minutes make me feel!

On the agenda for today: spend time with my wife and son, possibly do a little thrift store shopping (we need ugly Christmas sweaters for our 5K on November 23rd), watch the extended version of "The Hobbit," and get my Legs & Back routine in as well as another round of Ab Ripper X. I was so sore Monday from last Saturday's Legs & Back that I'm going to be sure to get a walk or something in on Sunday to keep things loosened up.

Enjoy your weekend, be sure to be a little active, but also take time to rest. Your body will thank you for it.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Catch-up post...

Sorry I missed posting yesterday, gang! I had a bit of an adventure getting in my Tuesday night workout. With sleep-training my son and moving him into his big crib in the second bedroom, we've put him in what had been my exercising room. He was already in the crib and sleeping by the time I got home from work, so I didn't want to wake him. I started moving my gear downstairs and found out that my chin-up bar doesn't fit in the living room coat closet. Grr! So I moved everything back upstairs but into the master bedroom. Then the DVD player wouldn't play my DVD, so I gave up and went to bed.

Never fear! I did complete my Chest & Back workout, but I did it shortly after waking Wednesday morning. I was mercifully free of stiffness and soreness and really enjoyed the workout at least until almost the end when I started feeling sick, probably from not having had anything to eat for a good 12 hours. Reinforcement that I should be exercising after work when it's only been about 4 hours since I last ate.

I struggled during the ab routine and had to cut it way short because of some tweakiness in my left leg, and that was disappointing. There's still some muscle tightness to cope with there, hopefully I can get that taken care of sooner rather than later.

Last night, then, I hit the treadmill after work for the Week 2 Day 2 of the F210K program. It was a great run, with all of my jogging intervals taken at 5.6 mph. I logged 3.38 miles. I'm excited about Friday's run when I will do the incremental setup I did last Friday. Since there are six jogging intervals this week instead of five, I'll start at 5.6 mph and finish at 6.1 mph. Completing the workouts is more important than adding distance, but I'm pretty sure I should be able to clear 3.5 miles and I find that amazing!

Have a great day, and be sure to make time to be a little active yourself.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Run like the wind!

I was off yesterday because it was Veteran's Day. Add in my Legs & Back workout from Saturday and the ensuing soreness (a lot of squats!) and trying to sleep train my son, and Monday was an exhausting day. I had thought about getting up around 10 or 11 and heading to the gym at work, but there was just no way. But, after running a couple of errands and spending an evening with friends, I made it to the gym around 11 PM.

This week, the routine is six 4-minute jogs with 90-second walking intervals. The total workout time is 41 minutes. Getting started was kinda rough with sore muscles, but as I got going things loosened up. And what a blessing, the looseness has continued through the night.

Total distance last night, 3.34 miles. I'm looking forward to upping that as the week goes on.

See you tomorrow for an update on my strength training tonight.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Rippin' it up!

You might be thinking to yourself, "Whoa! Two blog posts on the same day? What is this madness?" No, I haven't gone crazy (just ask my psychiatrist). It's Saturday, and that means church in the morning. That also means I really don't want to be getting to bed at 2 AM like the rest of the week, so I put my strength-training workout in this evening.

Tonight's routine was Legs & Back and Ab Ripper X. Let's talk about Legs & Back a little bit. First, oh my goodness! Running in no way has prepared me for this particular session. Probably my least favorite exercises were the wall squat and single leg wall squat. I was never good at wall squats growing up, and they've come back to haunt me in new and terrible ways. I'm not going to give in, though. Eventually I will conquer the beasts and be able to maintain for the full time period.

Second, I'm glad this was modified after being put to the test group to include back exercises and give the legs a break. Granted, all of the back exercises were pull-ups in one form or another and I don't have the upper body strength to do the real deal, so I'm using the resistance band looped over the door-frame pull-up bar for now. I also don't have an ideal set-up for using this bar (it's currently in the closet door frame and I would have to be in the closet to use it). Pull-ups are something else I was never able to perform, so I'm looking forward to overcoming that someday. Strengthening my upper body and losing weight at the same time will go a very long way to accomplishing that goal.

Something you'll hear over and over throughout P90X is to set goals for yourself. Maybe today you only did 5 reps for one exercise; next time shoot for 6. Or maybe your goal was 10 and you only did 8. Don't beat yourself up over it and push to do better next time. I've put it to people this way: It took me 32 years to get my body into its current condition, so I can't expect it'll take a month to reverse my bad decisions. No matter your ultimate goal, be it reducing body fat, increasing muscle mass, seeing a specific strength gain, or what have you, you can't shortcut the process. Stick with it, have someone hold you accountable, pick yourself up when you fall down, and you'll see results.

That's it for my pep talk tonight. Have a great day tomorrow, and be sure to thank a Vet for his or her service to this great nation of ours.

One week of running down...

Once again I hit the treadmill after work last night. I had a great time going through the workout and am actually a little bummed to know I won't be running again until Monday. It's funny how even just a week working out after a few weeks off makes me realize how much I miss exercising when I'm being lazy. At least I've got the Legs & Back routine from P90X to look forward to later today (I won't be doing it after midnight like the other 5 workouts this week because I need to get up tomorrow morning for church).

I opted for the more intense of interval options I'd suggested in my post on Thursday, running the first interval at 5.6 mph and increasing by 0.1 for each subsequent jog. My total distance was 3.15 miles, a nice increase.

Next week will have six 4-minute jogging intervals and the walks will drop to 90 seconds for an overall time of 41 minutes. Looking beyond, the routines increase in length to 47, 50, 56, 62, and 68 minutes. Weeks 7-10 are all 68 minutes long, the difference being longer and fewer jogging intervals, Week 10 being two 29-minute jogs with a minute walk in between. I can't wait!

It's a gorgeous day here in Des Moines, so hopefully you all are having good weather, too. Get out and enjoy the day while you can!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Bring it!

What better way to cap off a shift at work than to come home and hit the Shoulders & Arms and Ab Ripper X workouts? Nothing else comes to mind. RAWR!

Since I'm only in the first week of hitting these weights and exercises, not to mention the length of the workouts, I'm experimenting with how much to lift. Therefore, tonight was a little light overall, though I did figure out that I was trying to lift too much for the shoulder fly exercises and will drop a couple pounds for next week.

Tonight's run through Ab Ripper X went much better than Monday. There are 11 total moves, and Monday I only put in reps on the first four. Tonight I worked through eight of them. They're doing 25 reps each on the DVD, and I'm managing 10 or so, but hey, progress is progress.

Overall, I am satisfied with tonight's routine. Next week I'll adjust my weights and feel a lot more burn. And who knows, I might even develop sculpted arms that don't require flexing to show off!

I hope you've taken or will take time to put in some exercise of your own. Your body will thank you for it.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Run run run run run run run!

Happy Thursday! I trust your day is off to a good start. If not, don't let circumstances get you down. There's a lot to be said for forcing a smile (advice I personally need to take more often). I'm quite satisfied at the moment, having just finished a late breakfast (well, you could call it lunch since it's now noon, but seeing as we don't get up until 10 or 10:30 most days, I don't define my meals so much by the time they are consumed).

Part of the delay was from needing to go to the store to pick up eggs. I love eggs for breakfast, and usually make them at least twice a week when we have them on hand. This morning I took a leftover Klement's Italian Sausage, which is the size of a brat, diced it and sauteed it with about 1/4 cup diced onion in 1 Tbsp coconut oil. Then I added in 6 scrambled eggs and cooked them long enough to be solid but still a bit moist. In another skillet I fried a diced baked potato in 1 Tbsp olive oil with a little bit of fresh rosemary and a dash of Real Salt (I had to do this twice because the pan wasn't big enough to hold two potatoes). I split the eggs between two plates so Abi could have a meal, too. It was all very tasty, and now Abi only needs to put together a very small lunch to be eaten around 2 before I go to work.

On to the exercising. Last night I hit the treadmill after work, continuing on with the F210K program. In my 38 minute session I managed to squeak out 3.04 miles (an extra 0.01 mile compared to Monday night). It felt great to be moving, and I'm looking forward to Friday night's run. This week's program consists of five intervals of 4 minutes jogging and 2 minutes walking. I've been using 5.5 mph as my jogging speed and 4.0 mph as my walking speed. For Friday, I've got a couple of ideas in mind. I will either do the first four jogs at 5.6 mph and hit the last one at 6.0 mph, or I will do a progression of 5.6, 5.7, 5.8, 5.9, and 6.0 mph. Each Friday I will try to push harder than the other two workouts of the week.

Thanks for checking in with me today. Stop by tomorrow to find out how tonight's strength training session went.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Pumping up...

I got home from work last night and was surprised to see my little one waiting for me. Once in a while he does this, and fun as it is to see him awake and interactive as soon as I get home, it also usually means a somewhat later night. He finally conked out around 1:45 and slept until about 11, though he apparently woke several times throughout the night.

A little before 1 AM I put him in the crib to which we hope to have him transitioned soon and started the first strength training session of P90X, the Chest & Back regimen. It had been a couple of months since I last did any strength training, so I made sure to keep my weights low. Tomorrow I will probably feel the effects of the workout, but this morning I feel great. I'm looking forward to seeing how the combination of this strength training series, running, and better nutrition affects my body composition. From past experience I know that I could see some rapid results (2-3 weeks), particularly in dropped pounds and a tightened midsection.

The ab routine is the hardest for me and probably will continue to be so for a while. My core is one of the weakest areas of my body. I managed 10 reps in the first four exercises and decided to stop there. Part of this is because of tightness in various areas of my legs and back and some extra discomfort in trying to do the moves (past experience also tells me that I will increase flexibility if I keep up with everything).

A side-note for those of you who run outdoors. Have you heard of Road ID? It's a laser-engraved metal plate that you wear on your wrist, shoe, or a chain around your neck that includes your emergency contact information should you be injured and unable to communicate while on a run. I haven't needed mine, thankfully, but I'm glad to have it just in case. There's a sale going on at their website until midnight or so on Thursday, November 7th, up to 75% off on select products. I heartily recommend their products! You can purchase them through this link http://RoadID.com/invite/3HMD9 (note, this is a referral link and I will receive a $10 credit for every order placed through it).

That's all for me today. Get out, get active, and I'll see you tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A journey of a thousand miles...

Well, check me off for the first day of my "Freeway to 10K" (or F210K) program. I'm very excited about the build-up, and it feels fantastic to have started on a new regimen. The goal behind using this training program is to be in shape for the half-marathon training (I'm looking at Hal Higdon's Novice 2 program, hereafter refered to as "HHHM"). Since I want to do the strength training aspect of P90X (which takes 13 weeks), I will do Week 10 of F210K three extra times before starting HHHM. That will leave four weeks and a day before my half-marathon in May.

Something I've decided is that I'm going to have to totally give up pop and most or all coffee and other caffeinated beverages if I'm going to be successful. I already dealt this weekend with the withdrawl headache, so I should be clear in that respect. This won't be such an issue at home, but I'll have to be disciplined at work where coffee drinking is a social activity if nothing else. I've noticed, though, that if I'm drinking things other than water, I tend to drink very little water, sometimes not having any at all through the course of a day, and that's just begging to cause problems with the physical stresses I'm planning to place on my body. Yesterday I started logging food on MyFitnessPal.com again, and this will also be instrumental in my success.

I'm sure I've said it before, but having a plan is of great importance. It's difficult if not impossible to achieve something, especially in the long-run, if you don't have a plan in place.

And now, for those of you who are interested in the numbers and such, here are the stats from my late-night run (Note: I was using the Podrunner Intervals MP3s from www.djsteveboy.com). I gerbil-belted 3.03 miles in 38 minutes. This first week has five jogging intervals of 4 minutes each with 2-minute walks, plus a 5-minute warm-up and 3-minute cooldown. It feels slow, but building up is good and necessary, especially considering that I haven't really done any running for over a month. Don't worry, the amount of walking compared to the amount of running will quickly drop and my times and distances will look a lot better.

If you didn't manage to get out and do anything yesterday, today is a brand new day, and there's plenty of time to work something in. Have fun with it, and I'll see you tomorrow!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Hello friends!

Well, it wasn't planned, but October was kind of a bust for exercise. I could blame it on being stiff and sore in the mornings or on my week-long vacation at the beginning of the month, but in reality it all boils down to laziness. Yes, it's hard to believe, but even I am afflicted with this malady.

Yesterday was my first official 5K, and my lack of training during the past month made itself known. I was unable to run the entire distance, taking probably three walking breaks, and completing the course in 34 minutes, 47 seconds. On one hand, it's disappointing, but on the other hand, it's motivating. Knowing that I could have finished the race at least a couple of minutes earlier if I had been consistent with my training, I've got a bit of an extra mental push to keep at it.

Taken in my apartment after the race as my family couldn't make it to the race with me.

Tonight after work I will be starting the "Freeway to 10K" training program. Now that we're in November and the weather isn't going to necessarily be cooperative during the day, I've decided to move all of my training to the treadmill after my Monday, Wednesday, and Friday shifts at work.

In addition, I've decided that after work on Tuesdays and Thursdays and sometime in the evening on Saturdays I will go through the strength-training sessions of P90X. I'm going to start with lighter weights, probably in the 7.5-12.5 pound range, in order to acclimate myself to 50-60 minutes of strength exercises. I'm hoping to see improvement in my overall muscle growth and development, but my primary focus is to drop some weight, especially around my belly. I weighed 221.4 pounds yesterday, and getting down below 200 would really help take pressure off of my lower back as well as allow me to run faster since I won't have to cart around so many pounds. I'm looking at this especially for the half-marathon I signed up to run in May, the Med City Half-Marathon in Rochester, MN.

Are you struggling to maintain a fitness schedule and proper nutrition? You're not alone! Let's keep each other accountable, eh? If you're blogging about this sort of thing, too, feel free to share the link to your blog in the comments.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

An evening run...

Ah, Saturday. I had such plans laid out, and none of them worked liked I'd anticipated. First on my agenda was a nice morning run at the park. Then lunch, perhaps a little shopping with my family, then picking up a free TV offered by someone in the area.

We got going quite late today, glad for a bit of rest after the long week. I ended up making lunch around 1, got tired after eating, then started feeling sick to my stomach. I laid down for a while, that didn't help too much. Lukas took a nap, too, so going out for the afternoon was out of the picture. Then I found out that the TV was too big to fit into my car and the person getting rid of it was gracious enough to put it in his car and bring it over. We got it into the apartment, and now Abi and I are trying to figure out how to rearrange things so we can actually put it into a usable location. It will likely require eliminating one piece of furniture in our bedroom, and we're working on consolidating and tossing clothes to make this all possible. Then we'll have to have someone come over and help me move the TV upstairs because Abi and I won't be able to do it.

Finally, though, we made it to Gray's Lake for an evening run (well, she walked, pushing Lukas in the stroller). It took longer than I expected (we didn't leave until 8:30), and it was getting quite dark by the time we finished.

Tonight I decided to use the GPS only for the running portion of my workout. Wow, what a difference that made in my pace! I covered 2.97 miles in 27:50, which comes out to a 9:22 pace. It also means I've surpassed my goal of running a 5K in less than 30 minutes. One of my New Year's Resolutions this year was to run a 5K in less than 28 minutes, and gosh if I might not achieve it!

I have to say, this is incredibly exciting news...and kind of a shock. I had no idea I would be able to run this well at this point in time. Now I'm more motivated than ever to keep going with this.

Tomorrow is Sunday, my day off from working out, and I hope to use it to full advantage. May you, too, find rest. God bless!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A messed up schedule...

As I've mentioned before, I'm a wimp when it comes to working out in the heat. After several days in the 60s and 70s, yesterday had a high of 90 and it was nearly 80 by the time I was ready to even consider heading out for my run. I decided to wait and hit my run on the treadmill after work, instead.

It was a great run, don't get me wrong, but I overslept today, not usually a major problem, but today it won't allow me to get in my strength routine because I have to go pick up one of our cars from the shop and make a stop on my way to getting to work early. So, weights tomorrow.

I put in 3.38 miles in my 38 minutes last night, which is an 11:14 pace. I'm glad to be holding pretty steady with my pacing and am planning to see what I can do with it outside on Saturday.

Sorry for the short post, but I have to get on to other things. Until tomorrow, happy fitnessing!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Days like this--chilly, rainy, cloudy--make me want to sleep in. I love being able to snuggle down in the blankets and be cozy. Unfortunately, there's this little thing called "life" that doesn't want to give me the satisfaction. So I drag myself out of bed and get ready for the new day.

It's a good thing I get up, however. If I didn't, I wouldn't have the satisfaction of spending half an hour throwing around some weights and working up a sweat. Yes, today was a strength training day, and even though I'm still a little tired and would gladly crawl back into bed, I've done a good bit of work this morning and should be able to survive my shift tonight.

Some days the best start you can hope for is a forced entry into your schedule. It's not always pleasant at first, and tackling it with the right attitude is important. Usually after the first few minutes of moving around on a day like today I'm ready to finish what I've started and even end up enjoying myself.

So, one item is off my list for today. Now I will feel free to pursue those other things that probably shouldn't be at the top of my list. Yay me! If you're having a "blah" day, I encourage you to get a little active and see how that turns things around.

See you tomorrow!

Monday, September 16, 2013

One foot, two foot, red foot, blue foot...

Welcome to Monday and the start of a new week. As I mentioned Saturday, I decided to pull out the bike for a little warm-up before stretching and going for my run. It's amazing how much the hills around my apartment adversely affected my ability to ride compared to Saturday. I made about a 1-mile circuit and was pretty much wiped out for biking. Looks like something else to work on. I think I'm up for it, though. I've heard the biking and swimming are two excellent exercises to help a runner improve, and heaven knows I want to be a better runner!

I popped over to Gray's Lake for my run today and enjoyed the breeze, overcast sky, and almost chilly temperature (it's 62 in Des Moines as I type this at 1 PM). There weren't very many people out today, which was okay, though people-watching while I run is a fun diversion.

My total distance today was 3.39 miles, covered in 38 minutes. This works out to an 11:12 pace. I had managed 3.1 miles in just about 33 minutes, I know I should have no trouble maintaining that goal come race day.

It's hard to believe that, even with skipping two weeks, this is the second-to-last week of the C25K program. Only 5 more runs and the program is finished, then it's speed and endurance work to prepare for the race. Once that's over, I plan to start working on the 8K trainer, then the 10K trainer, depending on how much time that would leave to prepare for a half-marathon. My friends and I don't have a date in mind for next year, so far as I know, so I'm going to have to be flexible in my training schedule.

Have a fantastic day! I look forward to sharing my exploits tomorrow.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

A change of pace and scenery...

This morning I loaded up my bicycle and headed to Gray's Lake for a ride with several people from church. Two years ago while we were still living in Rochester I started riding my bike to work and did so several times. The distance by bike was maybe 2 miles, so not a lot of time spent on the bike nor was there a need to build up my...um...seat muscles. I hadn't ridden since then, and today I found out just how much work those muscles need. It was a fun ride, but the 10 miles have left me a little sore. However, I'm going to figure out a way to incorporate biking into my regular routine, maybe as a warm-up to my runs and/or strength training workouts.

Unfortunately, because of how early I needed to be out the door for the bike ride, I was short on sleep and ended up taking almost a four-hour nap this afternoon. Combined with getting supper ready and watching Lukas while Abi took a shower, I've run out of time for my strength routine today. It would have been great to accomplish both, but at the same time, a little break isn't going to kill me and might actually do me some good. Monday morning I'll be back into the swing of things with a nice run at the park, assuming the weather holds.

Have you found different activities to keep you motivated and interested in exercising? What strategies do you employ to keep from fizzling out?

Friday, September 13, 2013

Two runs for the price of one...

It was a short day yesterday between the time I got up and the time I had to leave for work, so I apologize for not posting. I offer this post in recompense. I trust it will meet with your satisfaction.

Wednesday night/Thursday morning after work, I hit the treadmill again to log my second run of the week. I'm grateful for the access because it was still too warm outside on Wednesday for me to feel comfortable getting out for a run. I went 3.07 miles in 35 minutes this time, dropping 2 seconds off of my pace for 11:24. Improvements are improvements, no matter how small. Plus, I felt considerably better after this run than my run Monday night/Tuesday morning.

Because I would normally run tomorrow and because I'm going on a bike ride with some people from church, I opted to get outside and run today instead. What a beautiful day for it, too! Not a cloud in the sky, and 67 degrees by the time I finished a little before noon. I'd take days like this every day!

I wasn't sure how my run would go, but I grit my teeth and got through it. Imagine my surprise when I finished and discovered I'd covered 3.15 miles in 35 minutes. That's a pace of 11:06, and considering 10 of those minutes were walking at roughly 4.0 mph (bringing my average speed down and increasing my per-mile pace), if I can maintain my running pace for the entire 5K distance I will easily break 33 minutes. It looks like I might need to up my goal for November to finishing the race in less than 30 minutes now.

I haven't fully decided on doing my Power 90 routine tomorrow afternoon or evening, though I certainly would like to. You should be hearing from me in any case, so keep an eye out for my post. In the meantime, I encourage you to do something active.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Midweek movement...

Ah, it's Wednesday, the halfway point of the week. What better way to get the day started than lifting a few weights after completing a daily Bible reading? None that I can think of!

I've gotten to the point that I can go through the entire circuit without taking extra breaks to rest, something that seemed almost unattainable when I first got started. I'm also ready to add more weight to some of the exercises again. I'm not sure when I will get to the next session because of this weekend's bike ride, but it will probably be sometime Saturday afternoon/evening. That'll make Saturday quite the calorie burner!

I'll be running after work tonight, and again Friday morning (outside, as the temp is supposed to be less than 80). Next week I hope to run outside on all of my running days, but we'll see what happens.

I hope you're having a good day wherever you are and whatever you are doing. If you're stressed over things that have happened, take time to sweat a little...it'll help considerably!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Runnin'...after midnight...

Hello friends! I trust your day is off to a good start. Even if it's not, try to have a good attitude about it and you'll notice a remarkable difference in how you approach the obstacles you face. Oh, and breakfast is the most important meal of the day (I just finished mine, and it was oh-so-delicious!).

Last night's post-work run went very well. This week all of my actual runs are 25 minutes long, so the time and distance are creeping up. It's funny how just a few weeks ago I probably couldn't have kept up any jogging pace for this amount of time and now I'm anxious to add to it. That'll come, of course, so no need to rush it.

With warm-up and cooldown walks included, the total time on the treadmill was 35 minutes. I cranked out 3.06 miles, yielding a pace of 11:26. The distance I actually ran was 2.39 miles if I did my math correctly, so I'm getting closer and closer to running a full-out 5K. That's pretty exciting! I'm encouraged in any case that there should be absolutely no trouble in completing the November race in less than 36 minutes, though I definitely want to knock it down to at least 33.

I discovered a little trick last night that seemed to help the run go better. I took off my glasses so the digital display on the treadmill wasn't in sharp focus, nor was the environment around me. I found it was easier to ignore the numbers on the machine and imagine myself in a different location. I'm pretty sure I won't need to take such measures outside since the scenery constantly changes, but for my indoor runs I'm hoping this gives me a little edge. Also, it kept sweat from dripping onto my glasses, one of my pet peeves when it comes to exercising. I've been using a strip from an old T-shirt as a sweatband when doing my strength training circuit at home, so I might find another and tuck it into my gym bag.

Well, that's all for me today. Stay tuned for my circuit post tomorrow!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Welcome to a new week!

Hey there! It's Monday, the start of a new week of fitness. Did you enjoy your weekend? We did here. Abi was still recovering from her cold, and none of us got much sleep Saturday night, so I made a solo trip to church Sunday morning, even making it to Sunday school before the service. Unfortunately, I was a lot more tired than I realized and found it extremely difficult to stay awake during the sermon (this had nothing to do with the presentation style as I really enjoy the pastor). When I got home, I found out that Abi and Lukas had gotten some more sleep while I was gone, and then Lukas and I both had naps during the afternoon. Lukas and Abi both had naps during the evening, and we all got a more sleep last night, so this week is off to a good start.

One little side-note, I discovered my church pants fit even better yesterday than last week, so even though the image in the mirror doesn't look drastically different, I know things are going in the right direction.

This morning I hit the weights for another half-hour with Tony Horton. I had a couple of spots where I wanted to stop short of my rep goal, but I pushed through and successfully completed the entire workout.

I'm taking the family on a trip to Cincinnati in 3 1/2 weeks, and I will have finished the C25K program in 2 1/2 weeks. I'm planning to push as hard as I can that last week before we leave and use the week we are gone as a bit of a recovery week (though I will continue to run at the very least). When we get back, I think I will bump up to the Power 90 Level 3-4 strength training circuit. This will carry me through for a couple of months in preparation for the P90X strength training workouts once I get onto the day shift at work (I will figure out a way to incorporate these workouts even if I don't get on days, but working days will make everything a little simpler since I can do all of my workouts at the same time every day).

Of course, "The best-laid plans of mice and men..." as they say, so I know I have to remain flexible no matter what my goals.

Have a great day, and be sure to do something active!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

A Friday and Saturday post all rolled into one...

I got going a bit later than normal yesterday and ran out of time to put up a post before going to work. Then, while I was at work, I had time and forgot to do it. Oh well. Here I am, making up for what I'm sure was a depressing no-post day for you.

As I mentioned on Wednesday, I increased the weight for some of my exercises yesterday. I was able to go through the routine much more smoothly than I expected with this change, so I'm guessing after using the same weights next week it will be time to make some further increases. I'm really enjoying the feeling of already being stronger and able to do more.

Because today's high was predicted to be almost 100 degrees, I chose to run at work after my shift last night. Right now, at 11 AM, it's only 85, so I could have run at the park. However, I had no way of knowing what the temp would be at a specific time, so I'm glad I got my run in at all. The highs are supposed to be in the upper 90s for the first half of next week, so I think I will run at work Monday and Wednesday nights and try to hit the park Friday morning (currently with a high of 77!).

I ran 2.77 miles in 32 minutes last night, which is a pace of 11:33. Coupled with my half-mile pre-stretch warm-up walk, I logged a total of 3.27 miles in 40 minutes, 8 seconds.

Next week is Week 7 of the C25K program. Every week from now on will consist of three identical workouts with the overall running time increased each week. Week 7 is a 25-minute run with 5-minute walks on both ends. The extra three minutes of running should get me very close to 3.1 miles, and if I'm not hitting that distance in a single workout next week, the weeks after I should be surpassing it. It's hard to believe that I only have three weeks left of the program, even with having skipped the first two weeks. And that November race keeps getting closer!

A friend of mine wants to run at least a 10K and maybe a half-marathon with me next year, and I've been wondering what I will do in preparation. Increasing muscle mass and decreasing fat mass is a goal of mine, and I think I've come up with a plan for the winter months. There is a promotion opportunity coming up at work that would put me on the day shift. I think this would be extremely beneficial for working out as I could do something right after work every day, then have supper and at least a couple of hours of pure family time. I'll want to keep running during the winter, so the treadmill is going to be important when it's too cold and/or snowy to be outdoors. I think I will expand my strength training routine on my non-running days and use the strength training workouts from P90X. Doubling my weight lifting time should be of significant aid in burning body fat and dropping my overall weight, which should make it easier to run for longer distances. Things could always change as the need arises, but it feels good to have a plan in mind.

The weekend is upon us, and Abi and I are looking forward to having a quiet day at home. We've both dealt with colds this past week, though hers hit a lot harder and has lasted longer than mine. In any case, it feels good to not have anything we need to rush around and do (August was a very busy month in this respect). Enjoy your own weekend, and I'll see you back here on Monday.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

It's a warm one!

I got up and on my way early today, unfortunately having to leave Abi and Lukas at home. It's a good thing I did, though, because even at 10:30 when I got started it was 82 degrees, and it hit 86 by the time I was done. With a high of 97 for Saturday, I'm not sure what my plan of action is going to be. I'm either going to have to get up super early or head to work and use the treadmill.

One thing I've noticed about running outside rather than inside is that I'm picking up a bit of color. Or, rather, I'm making my arms appear more even in tone. Since I have to spend at least 20 minutes driving to work each day and I generally do all of the driving when we're out as a family, my left arm tends to tan while my right stays pretty much my regular skin tone. There is still a difference, but it's not as noticeable now.

And I forgot to do my ab exercises on Tuesday but remembered today. This time I was able to go through all ten moves and hit ten reps each. Part of it may have been having time to recover a bit from the run on my drive home from the park. Whatever the reason, I'm glad I was able to do the routine and look forward to keeping it a part of my regular regimen.

I hit 2.63 miles in 32 minutes today, which is a 12:10 pace and a bit of an improvement over Tuesday's run. Assuming I can get outside Saturday, I'll get a good feel for how I'm improving overall.

Next week's schedule might be a bit different. Our church is planning a bike ride for Saturday, 9/14, which would normally be a running day. The ride is scheduled to start at 9 AM, which will be a stretch for my family to make it there in time (Abi won't be riding as she doesn't have a bike, so it would be nice if there were at least one or two people there to chat with, unless she does laps around the lake while we're gone). My options are to hit two days in a row next week (Tuesday/Wednesday or Thursday/Friday), move my entire schedule to M/W/F (giving me only one day off between this week and next), or hitting the treadmill after work on Friday and getting a short night of sleep to get out for the ride in time. I'll let you know what I decide once I've made a decision.

Until then, keep at it!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Can't keep me down!

I woke up yesterday with a drippy nose that has now become what appears to be a full-blown cold. Lovely! This morning I woke up after a reasonable night of rest wanting nothing more than to go back to bed. Unfortunately, life doesn't always give us such options (I considered calling in sick, but with low staffing levels at work, I figured I could tough it out).

Abi and Lukas both had an appointment with the chiropractor today, so I drove them there. By the time we got back, I still wasn't sure I wanted to do my exercises, but with a little nudging from Abi and a little psyching up from me, I got in and got it done.

I managed much better than I thought I would, and I'm glad I didn't skip the workout now. A post I saw yesterday from Nerd Fitness spoke to this same kind of issue, basically saying that some days you have to dig in and just do what you need to do. Sure, you might need to adapt a bit to your situation (like running on a treadmill indoors when it's 105), but with each day you skip a workout, it's easier to skip the next until you're not doing anything at all.

Based on how I felt during my workout today, I've already planned an increase in weight for a few of the exercises. Not much, only 2.5 pounds, but it should be enough to make a difference in how the workout goes.

Have fun doing whatever it is that you're doing today!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Glad to be back outside!

With cooler temps prevailing again, it was a tremendous blessing to be able to run outdoors today. As I write this at almost 2 PM, after having just got back from my run, it isn't even quite 80 degrees. There are a few low- to mid-90 degree days predicted over the next week, but I'm pretty sure I can get my runs taken care of without that interfering too much.

It is a little inconvenient to drive to the park to do my running, one of the complaints I still hold about Des Moines in comparison with Rochester, but I'm grateful there are trail systems at all, and nice ones at that. I'd certainly be glad to live within walking distance of the trails, but having access to them at all is a good thing...it's so much nicer than running the streets around my neighborhood!

On to the numbers for those of you who are interested. My workout today was a total of 32 minutes (18 of those were running) and I covered 2.58 miles. According to my GPS, my average moving speed was 4.8 mph and my DailyMile profile calculated a 12:24 pace. I'm holding steady, which I definitely prefer over losing ground. This was the start of the 6th week of the C25K program, so I only have about 3 1/2 weeks to go before the end. At that point, speed work and endurance will be my two main goals. I will have to do a little research and go through some trial-and-error to find a combination of speed and distance workouts that will allow me to decrease my time and still increase the miles I put in each week.

No further words of wisdom from me today, though. Now that it's after 2, I have to have a quick lunch and shower before heading out the door for work. Happy fitness to you, and I'll see you back here tomorrow!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Starting another week!

Happy Labor Day to you all! Many of you likely have the day off today, and especially if you've been good all week, I encourage you to splurge a little and have a treat. We did that yesterday in my family. The first Sunday of the month our church has a potluck after the morning service, followed by an afternoon service (rather than one in the evening). It would have been difficult to track calories there, so I limited myself to one plateful and a cupcake for dessert. Then, because I drive by Hardee's every day for work and I've been seeing their latest special advertised on the sign (a Buffalo Blue Cheese Thickburger), we ended up having supper from there. I know the burger was around 800 calories and loaded with fat, and the half of a small order of fries was over 150 calories, but it was very tasty. Once in a while isn't a huge thing, and I definitely haven't lost my taste for less-than-healthy food yet!

Surprisingly, I weighed myself this morning and I was down 1.2 pounds from Friday, putting me at a total of 6 pounds lost since August 22nd. I'm not sure how much longer the rapid weight loss will last. Last summer I lost a good deal of weight over about four months, but all I was doing was running and counting calories. With strength training thrown into the mix, I could possibly sustain this quick loss for a few more weeks. I'm going to be careful to not starve myself for the sake of seeing the numbers drop, though it is exciting to see some good initial progress. My wife even told me this morning that I looked a bit trimmer already, and I noticed my dress pants fit better yesterday than they did even last week.

As I write this (at 1 PM), it is 75 degrees here in Des Moines, with a predicted high of 80. We turned off the A/C yesterday afternoon and it was a wonderful temperature in the spare room with a fan in the window blowing in as I exercised. Tomorrow is supposed to be 85, then the prediction is for low- to mid-90s through next Monday. I was kinda hoping the highs would stay around 85, but oh well. The plan is to get to one of the local parks and do my running outside this week, which I have permission to leave my family behind if I need to get going before they can in the mornings.

I opted to stay with the 15-pound dumbbells today, and I think I'll do the same on Wednesday, saving any weight increases for Friday so I have the weekend to recover. I've found that on a three-times-a-week schedule for whatever routine I'm doing, using the third day as my "Push-it" day is usually the best option.

Tomorrow's running workout looks incredibly easy after my run from Saturday, and I'm excited to see what a difference running outside will make. This coming Saturday will be the real comparison, so stay tuned!

Have a blessed day, and I'll see you again tomorrow!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

One small step for man...

...and many steps to cross the finish line.

Happy Saturday! I survived my night at work, breaking down and having a single cup of coffee (with sugar and cream, I have to confess). I don't feel super bad because coffee is something I enjoy, but I also don't want to be in a habit of desperately needing it every day. Anywho, work went quite well, as overnights tend to do for me. Somehow I end up getting super quiet nights almost every time I work overnight by myself. You sure won't hear me complaining about that!

I must admit, I was tempted to just go home after my shift was over. Thankfully I'd opened my mouth in front of a couple of coworkers about hitting the fitness center so there was some accountability/guilt-tripping going on. I'm glad I got down to the gym (like I always am once it's over), and now I can sleep well knowing I put in a good effort.

Today was the big day, my longest run of the year. For those of you who have been running for a while, 20 minutes doesn't sound like much, but for me it's a spectacular milestone. I wasn't sure how my body was going to take it, so I went at 5.5 mph with the knowledge that I could always adjust the speed if necessary. I don't know if I could have gone much faster and sustained it for the entire time, but during the last two minutes I increased the speed and handled that fine. This gives me hope for speed drills in the future.

I nabbed 2.35 miles in 28 minutes, which comes out to an 11:54 pace. Keep that up and I've got my less than 36-minute 5K in the bag! Woo-hoo!

I also did a few ab exercises, but after the fourth move I got a pretty good stitch and decided I'd better ease up for now. There's plenty of time to build up to more moves and more reps.

The temps are supposed to drop significantly by Monday, when the high is supposed to be 79 (it topped out at 102 yesterday), so I might be headed back to Gray's Lake for my runs.

Have a great weekend and be safe, whatever you're doing. And try to work in some exercise while you're at it.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Ten little monkeys jumping on the bed...

Happy Friday! (Insert Rebecca Black song) By the time most of you see this you will be done or close to done with work for the week. I have to say I'm jealous. Due to one of my coworkers being on vacation, I will be working the overnight shift tonight. It's 2:30 PM now, and after a bit of lunch and a little grocery shopping I will have to try and get a nap so I can at least survive the night. Since I'm trying to avoid caffeine, particularly because of its dehydrating properties, I'm not wanting to have any coffee while I'm at work, but we'll see how the night goes.

Today was my day for strength training, and it went remarkably well. I didn't sweat nearly as much as last time, probably because I've had the A/C set cooler, but it has to also be due in part because I'm adapting to the weight I'm using. It looks like sometime next week I will have to increase the weight for at least some of the exercises to continue my growth. That's exciting, though, because it means I'm making progress.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow with my long run coming up. I've also figured out that after my runs would be a great time to go through a short ab routine. The Power 90 program has a set of 10 ab exercises and it only takes about 10 minutes to go through them all. Obviously I'm not going to put forth a six-pack simply by doing crunches and stuff, but my core muscles could use some specific targeting to get them stronger.

There's lots of time left today for you to get something exercisey done, and with a long weekend ahead for most, ample opportunities abound. Good luck, and I'll see you tomorrow!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Two for one special...

I ran out of time to put up a post yesterday, so you're going to get two days at once now.

I did my strength training routine via Power 90 yesterday and felt great throughout and afterward. Push-ups, squats, lunges, and chair dips are getting a bit easier to perform. Lack of flexibility and/or strength in my upper back and shoulders are preventing me from doing very deep push-ups and chair dips, but there is improvement. I'm only using the Level 1-2 workout right now and have been debating going up to Level 3-4 as it would add an extra circuit to the mix.

I went running after work last night. That went remarkably well. My routine this time was a 5-minute walk, 8-minute jog, 5-minute walk, 8-minute jog, with a 3-minute cooldown at the end. I added a little extra speed for the last 1 1/2 minutes, resulting in a total distance of 2.29 miles, which is a 12:39 pace. Saturday morning will be my first major test of endurance with a solid 20-minute jog. I might have to drop from 5.5 mph to 5.0 mph to get through the whole thing, but that decision will rest on how I feel that morning.

I also weighed myself today and came in at 227.4 pounds. That's 4.2 pounds lost in the last 2 1/2 weeks. I've definitely been helped along by keeping a food diary. I don't look all that different just yet, though I noticed on Sunday that my dress pants fit a tiny bit better than the previous week and my work shirts feel a little tighter in the shoulders and chest, so it seems something is happening. I'd be glad to be closer to 210 or 215 by the race in November just so I'm not trying to carry as much weight on the course, but at the same time, as I've said previously, the actual number on the scale isn't as important to me as the composition of the pounds. If I ultimately weighed over 200 and was below 18% body fat, that would be far better than weighing 180 and being closer to 30% body fat. In any case, hopefully in a few weeks I'll have picture updates that are worth posting.

I trust you're doing what you can to improve your own fitness. Remember, don't be discouraged by setbacks, but focus on how to improve tomorrow. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Cruisin'...on an early Tuesday morning...

Last night after work I trudged over to the fitness center at work to get in my first running workout of the week. Okay, maybe "trudged" isn't the right word as I was reasonably awake. It had cooled off some by the time my shift was over, though it was still hotter than I would have preferred for outdoor running (I know, I'm such a wimp!).

This is my third week running, but I'm working on the 5th week of the C25K program. This week, each session is different. Next week all three workouts will be different, too. I'll be moving more quickly to endurance building as two weeks from now all of my running sessions will be long and uninterrupted.

Continuing with my friend's suggestion, I did a quick half-mile warm-up before stretching, and I think that really helped. I don't have any soreness yet today, and that's even after doing a strength training routine yesterday, too. Pretty exciting! It also means I'm probably going to need to up the intensity in my workouts soon or else I will start hitting a plateau.

The routine last night started with a 5-minute walk, followed by three 5-minute jogs with 3-minute walks in between, wrapping up with a 3-minute cooldown. I managed to cover 2.25 miles in 29 minutes, which is a 13:20 pace. It was a bit disappointing to see my time increase like that, but as I didn't want to push too hard at first and burn myself out, I eased off a bit compared to Saturday. At the same time, though, it seems I have to put in a lot more effort to maintain the speed the treadmill says I'm going compared to running outside, so it's entirely possible that had I been running outside I would have covered more distance. The treadmill should be consistent with itself, however, so as long as I'm using it I can at least compare my workouts.

September 27th or 28th will be my last workout of the C25K program, leaving me with 5 weeks to add miles and do speed drills before the race on November 3rd. Even though my pace last night came out as close to a 40-minute 5K, I'm sure I can easily get less than 35 minutes come race day.

Hopefully you've got some goals of your own that you are working on. Try to stick with them, and try not to set them unrealistically high. Also, be sure to set little daily goals as well as big picture ones, and if you don't meet them, pick yourself up and go again tomorrow.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Heat wave!

We're supposed to be hitting temps near 100 degrees most of this week. Even inside with the A/C running, I feel a little warm. That is partly because I just finished my strength training workout for the day.

Today's routine went quite well. I could probably increase the weight for a few of the exercises, but I'm going to hold off to make sure I don't injure myself.

Short post today as I need to eat and get ready for work. Look for another one tomorrow!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Stronger and faster...

I'm bringing you a joint post today. With my working overnights this weekend, I was thoroughly exhausted when I got home yesterday morning and needed sleep more than exercise. When I woke up, I didn't feel the absolute greatest and needed at least some water before even thinking about working out, and even still I almost didn't get a session in. However, Abi and I were able to eat supper much earlier than we might have normally with this schedule, and by about 10:15 PM I had the Power 90 workout up and running.

I was worried about residual soreness from Wednesday's workout, which was still bugging me when I got home Friday morning, but after sleeping all day most of it had gone away and it didn't bother me at all. Better still, the workout seemed to go much smoother than Wednesday. I left the weight where it had been (15 pounds for all of the exercises) and it was a good deal easier to go through everything. Hopefully I stretched everything out sufficiently afterwards to prevent a lot of aches and pains from building back up. One blessing is that I won't be hitting the weights until Monday.

Today, then, I hopped on the treadmill in the fitness center at work after my shift was over because of the heat and humidity (with a high of 96 predicted, it's not surprising it felt so warm outside even at 8 AM). At the suggestion of a friend of mine, I started out with a brisk half-mile walk before stretching to loosen everything up. I think it really made a difference in my ability to run as well as the recovery.

I stayed pretty consistent with the rest of this week, logging 2.38 miles in 30 minutes, a 12:36 pace. I started out hitting my jogging intervals at 6.1 mph, and managed to get through the first 3- and 5-minute intervals at this speed. During the second 3-minute jog I had to back off a bit after a minute or two, and for the second 5-minute jog I started at 5 mph, with a little burst of speed during the last minute. With the temps predicted to be hovering around 100 degrees this coming week, I'm going to use the treadmill at work when my shift is over. I'll have to experiment, but I think if I start at 5.5 mph I can maintain it throughout.

Next week I'm using the 5th week schedule from C25K, which means every day will be a different workout, culminating in a solid 20-minute run on the last day. Definitely exciting!

I am blessed with a fitness center at work I can use as well as a set of adjustable dumbbells here at home, but don't feel like you need fancy equipment or a gym membership to get healthy yourself. Milk jugs filled with water, sand, concrete, or whatever you can add to give them some weight can be used for strength training purposes, and there are many exercises you can do with simply your body. Diet is also a major portion of weight loss, if that's your goal, and keeping a food diary is a huge element in that regard. MyFitnessPal is a great website for this, though you can log everything by hand if you'd prefer. Keeping a food diary forces me to evaluate 1) if I'm really hungry, and 2) if the snack/meal I'm considering is really worth the hit to my daily calorie goal.

Have a great weekend, and I look forward to seeing you next week!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Breathe in...breath out...

With clouds in the sky and temps hovering right around 80 degrees, I got to the park much later than planned today (it was after 1 PM by the time I got started on my run). I wasn't sure how I would feel after yesterday's strength training workout as I was quite sore in many places by the time I got home from work last night. Thankfully the worst of it went away overnight and a little bit of stretching worked out a lot of the rest. Some more stretching, lunch, and possibly an Epsom salt bath will finish out my day. I'm working the overnight shift tonight and tomorrow night, which means today is pretty much going to be worthless. Thankfully, I shouldn't have to pull all-nighters anymore after this weekend and my overnight shift next Friday night/Saturday morning.

One funny thing I've noticed about myself when it comes to running is that usually in the last 10 minutes my muscles all really loosen up and my stride evens out. I suppose this could mean I should be doing more warming up before I get started. Something to consider, at least.

On to the stats, for those of you who care about such things. I got a total distance of 2.45 miles in 30 minutes, which is a 12:14 pace and is making my goal of running a 35-minute 5K in November look perhaps a little too easy. Time will tell, of course, as I'm still a couple weeks from sustained running. What I found especially fun today is that I hit the same distance as last time (2.34 miles) in 28 minutes flat--that's 2 whole minutes faster!

I'm looking forward to sharing what I go through over the next weeks and months. I hope you enjoy this glimpse into my life.