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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!