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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.