Memorial Day 3 Miler With Photos

My daughter Tori and I went out for a walk on a new route for us, a great Memorial Day treat.  This 3 mile loop incorporates 1 mile of our normal river path with new 2 miles through one of the nicest neighborhoods in Rockford.  This was a recovery walk for me so we weren’t too worried about our pace.  I must say, I really enjoyed doing this route and we will be taking it again in the future.

Kristen & Tori Ready To Go!

We started out at the YMCA as usual meeting a ramp up to the bridge at .25 mile.  I had specifically gone clockwise on this loop so that we’d hit this hill in the beginning, putting the rest of the route subtly downhill.  I’ll have a ramp similar to this one at mile 10 of the Princess Half, so I’m keeping this spot in mind when I’m training at that distance, today the hill was a little fussy for me, by the time I race it will be my bitch.

Ramp Up To The Bridge

A Great View From The Top

As we walked across the bridge we discovered a lovely little treat.  People in Rockford are using this spot for “Love Locks” a tradition that’s thought to have originated in China with love locks on gates, but is most famously associated with Paris, France.   The folk magic tradition, a little bit of a love spell if you will, is performed by lovers who affix a padlock to a fence, gate, bridge and then as a symbol of their everlasting love, the keys are thrown into the river.  We found many love locks on the north side of the Whitman Street Bridge.

Love Locks on the Bridge

From the bridge we headed off into one of my favorite neighborhoods in town, Churchill’s Grove. We walked up Harlem Boulevard enjoying the historic architecture and beautiful gardens.  Big old oak trees shaded our path, and everyone we passed along the way smiled and said hello.  One of the houses that we came across had a staff in the yard with a hanger full of prayer flags (ribbons) hanging on it.  At the bottom of the staff was a little tub full of ribbons, and the small sign on the staff explained what what to do.  Tori and I happily added ribbons to the staff.  I added a pink ribbon for myself,  as I prayed that I would be able to finish the Princess Half Marathon.

This is a Great Neighborhood!

So Many Beautiful Gardens.

My Prayer to Finish the Princess Half!

Next we crossed back over the river at the Auburn Bridge and headed down the other side walking the river path that we’ve done a million times before.  It was quite crowded on the river path with families walk their dogs, biking, and generally enjoying a beautiful day.  If I had been worried about pace I wouldn’t have been too happy about how crowded it was, I watched several runners struggle to get around big families.  For Tori and I however, we were just having fun.  The last mile went pretty quickly, even though I had to slow down several times due to some tightness in my legs.  While I wasn’t having serious pain, I’m always a bit stiff on Mondays because its my first workout after my long run.

1 Mile Left To Go

 It was a really nice walk, and I’m happy to get to share pictures from along the way with you. I hope that everyone takes a few minutes today in the middle of their fun to remember those service men and women who have given their lives for our country.

Happy Memorial Day 

5 Mile Long Run/Walk/Run

This is a total bragging post because I am crazy proud of myself today.  It was my long run/walk/run day today and I went to the gym more than a little intimidated by the 5 mile distance on my training plan.  For some reason this distance seemed like a huge milestone to me.  I felt like everything before 5 miles was a good accomplishment, but that this was a real test.  In my head, if I could do this 5 miler then a 10K was going to be no problem.

IMG_5094

My plan was that it would take me about 2 hours to complete 5 miles based on the 2.5 mph times that my previous long runs have been.  I grabbed a bottle of water, some Watermelon Gu Chews, put on some 2017 Princess Half Marathon YouTube videos, and hopped on the treadmill.  My first hour seemed to fly by as I warmed up on the 2.7 mph setting.

5-miler-results

By the time I started my second hour, I felt limber and able to bump up my pace even more.  Overall it was a really excellent workout.  I got my heart rate up, did my 5 miles, felt great doing it, and even finished 10 minutes sooner than I thought I would. 5 miler – check!  And I’m feeling strong and confident to move forward.

Week 10-ish Wrap-up

Week 10 turned out to be sort of rough, and my weekend long day never happened due to travel.  I should have run at the hotel’s gym, I just didn’t and it really messed with my head to tell you the truth.

Here’s a few highlights from week 10!

    1. I’ve stopped logging on DailyMile so I’m lacking their great charts and graphs, I had previously.  This is because I’ve switched over to the free version of RunKeeper.  The graphs there don’t quite do what I want them to, but as far as tracking goes it’s better.  I also keep a detailed spreadsheet of how each workout of mine has gone in my training plan spreadsheet.  You can see in the image from my training plan above, I’m currently in week 11 of my plan, and have another 40 weeks to go before my race.
    2. I’ve been very frustrated with the lack of real increase in my pace.  That 16 minute mile hangs over my head like a big dark cloud.  I had to go back to one of my first posts about how I would be measuring success during training.  There are 4 basic measures that I set up for myself – Faster, Farther, Longer, and Better.  I can honestly say that I am consistently going farther in distance, longer in duration, and better in recovery.  Every week I conquer the goals that I’ve set for myself in those three measures, I just wish that I would pick up some speed.
    3. I’ve added in a little running to my training routine using Jeff Galloway’s method.  I run/walk/run as best I can.  I can’t always go for very long, but I can see improvements in my endurance each time I try.  Adding in more running is very important to my training progress if I’m going to gain speed and meet my goals.  However, baby steps are what I’ve got going on so I remain at turtle pace.
    4. Since I added in running perhaps two weeks ago, I’ve been dealing with some serious foot pain.   Not when I’m out on the  trail or treadmill, but afterwords when I get home and am at rest.  The pain is across the strip of my foot where my metatarsals are, and they burn like fire.  It’s kept me up at night and there have even been a few days  that I resorted to narcotic pain killers to get it under control.  However – I think I may finally have it managed to a point I can live with.  I increased the frequency of one of my Fibromyalgia medications to my allotted 3 times a day.  I’ve been icing my feet after workouts, and at night I’m coating my feet in biofreeze.

Mind Monsters And Getting It Done

I didn’t want to go to the gym yesterday.   I was stressed out and anxious, I had a million things on my plate, and I simply couldn’t get motivated.  Make no mistake – working out is hard. Just because I’m doing it, doesn’t mean that I’m always enjoying it or that want to do it.  There are mind monsters lurking in the dark and shadowy places that continue to tell me how much I hate it all, how much I suck.  Maybe you can relate?  I try to tell myself that this is perfectly normal, and what makes it or breaks my success is I fight back.   So in case you battle your own mind monsters, read a little about how I fought back yesterday.

Fear and Doubt

The No Excuses Bag – Even though I wasn’t sure that I was going to go to the gym, I packed my gear bag and tossed it in the car when I left the house.  Everything I might need to work out is in that bag – water bottles, endurance fuel, ear buds, hair ties, shampoo/conditioner, and a padlock.

Training Buddy Text – I sent a message to the friend that I stay accountable to when it comes to training.  She’s doing the half marathon with me and also doesn’t always love working out.  “I don’t want to work out today.” I said.  “Just do 30 minutes.” she replied.  That sounded like something I might be able to handle.  “I’m supposed to do 60-90 minutes.” I told her.  She asked if I was feeling OK with that time.  She’s using a different training plan than I am and my shorter days are actually twice as long as hers are.  There are plenty of times I envy her 30 minutes twice a week as I trudge away towards an hour. “Do what you can. If it’s 60, great. If it’s 30, great. Short is better than nothing.”  I knew she was right so I drove to the gym and parked.

The Parking Pep Talk – I sat in the car, and sat, and sat.  Did I really want to work out?  No.  Could I make not working out fit into my training plan?  Not really.  I have learned that need to hit all my training days and can’t take more than one day off or I lose the endurance I have gained.  Should I run inside or outside?  Hrmmm… It was a beautiful day, but.  But !  I had to pee – an there it was.

Fight On and Win The Day

Once Inside – I slung my no excuses bag over my shoulder and headed into the Y to use the restroom.  The staff at the front desk greeted me – I groaned back and mumbled about how not into this I was.  Their cheerful retort was to cheer me on me for being at the Y anyway.  “Aww hell” I thought, I was inside now headed to the restroom a mere 12 feet away from the cardio room.  I might as well do this thing.

30 Minutes – I shoved my bag into a locker and grabbed some water and my head phones.  begrudgingly I texted my training buddy that I was going for it and I would send them an accountability picture afterwards.  I set the dreadmill to 30 minutes, pulled YouTube up on the screen and decided to watch RezRuns 2017 Star Wars – The Dark Side Half Marathon Weekend videos.  The next thing I knew the treadmill was switching me into cool down and 30 minutes had gone by.  I realized  that I felt good, I felt strong, and I had at least 30 more minutes left in me.

Finishing Strong – In that first 30 minutes, that sucky 30 minutes, I had reached my warm up point.  As I’ve mentioned before, I love it after I’m warmed up.  I was at the point that I really wanted to make it worth my while, so not only did I keep going, but I went for the run/walk/run.  I ran for 15-20 seconds, and then walked the rest of each minute.  I was able to do about 6 sets and when I was experiencing  too much shin pain I took a walk break for awhile, before finishing the last 10 minutes with more run/walk/run sets.  For me – this was huge, and this is how I’m going to reach my goal.  It was absolutely the most time I have spent incorporating running into my training plan and I felt good about it.

So there you have it!  From struggling with every step to feeling great about how it turned out – I fought the mind monsters and won the day.  There will be more battles, more struggles and doubt, but as long as I keep moving forward I am sure I will succeed.

10 Things I’ve Learned About Working Out

I’ve been in my training plan for about 2 months now and I feel like I have really come far.  I’m still very much a novice, and I don’t expect that to go away any time soon.  I walk a lot more than I run, and I’m turtle slow.  However – I’ve learned a few  important things along the way that I wanted to share. 

  1. Make a goal. Make a lot of goals actually. While running a half marathon is my main goal, there are milestones all along the way that help me get. I celebrate every one and moving through the progress of them helps keep me going.
  2. Half the fight to get it done is all in your head. Give yourself pep talks throughout your workout. Simply believing that you can will carry you a long way.
  3. Work out hard, but smart. When those voices start telling you to stop, what you really need to do is reassess. Scale back for a couple of minutes without stopping, slow down, and mentally scan your body. If you’re just tired stay at the slower pace until you can ramp back up. However – if you feel like you’re injured or so tired that your motions are sloppy and dangerous it may be time to stop for the day.
  4. Trust the plan. Set up a solid training plan to reach your goal, and stick to it. Don’t rush your increases, that can cause injury, trust the plan and you’ll get to your goal.
  5. Do something, anything. On days that you don’t feel great or you are hurting more than normal you don’t have to completely give up on your work out, simply scale back. Getting a shorter, lighter work out in keeps your healthy habits going.
  6. It always sucks until you’re warmed up – and you can’t rush it for any reason. Just keep moving forward and eventually the early work out aches with fade and everything will get easier. Finish strong.
  7. Find a buddy. You may be excited about your workouts, but your family’s eyes will glaze over if that aren’t into fitness too. Have a designated buddy that you can talk about your training plan to, and be accountable to for your workouts.
  8. Use all the resources you can to stay on track. Not only do I have a training plan, but I’m seeing a physical therapist, massage therapist, and frequently looking up sports articles regarding nutrition, and sports psychology online. There’s more to fitness than just getting to the gym, do your research and train smart.
  9. Fuel the machine. If you are going to be out there for more than an hour, no matter if you’re running or walking, your body is going to need a little more than just water to keep you feeling good. Find the endurance fuel that you like best and work it in to your regular training schedule, it’s not just for races.
  10. No one at the gym cares what you are doing. Just go in and do your thing with confidence, because that’s what everyone else is doing. No one cares what you’re wearing, or what size you are. No one cares if you pause the treadmill so you can stretch a little more or tie your shoes. Be confident, and act like you belong – because you do.

Massage Therapy

I went in for my first round of massage therapy on my calves this morning. Though I was really unsure about giving it a try (my fibromyalgia can make touch quite uncomfortable), I’m hoping to see positive results.  The therapist (Rachel) said that she was able to work out a couple of the knots and get a little more movement in my legs.  Even though the work done today was fairly painful, I had gone in with a positive attitude, and feel like I tolerated it well.

While I can’t really tell if it helped or not, it was pretty relaxing even through the pain.  My long workout day is tomorrow and I’m hoping that my legs will be a little looser.  I made an appointment for another session in about 3 weeks.

P.s.  About 3 hours after my massage I started feeling some malaise and a tad nauseous.  This can happen after deep tissue work, and I’m muddling through.  I took some naproxen, elevated my legs for the night, and drank another bottle of water.  Fingers crossed it won’t get worse overnight and I’m still on for my long run/walk.

Just To Be Clear, I Hate Fibromyalgia

My fibromyalgia has been flaring since last Friday and I am so over it.  I’ve spent most of my days alternating between trying to get daily tasks done and sleeping because those daily tasks are exhausting.  Because I run a low grade fever when I flare (due to the wide spread inflammation) I have been absolutely freezing, since Friday.  The constant pain is wearing on me both mentally and physically.  The stiffness makes me feel like I’m wearing a weighted sumo suit.  Let me be very clear, I hate this.

I hate this.   I will not be defined by this.  I will fight this every step of the way.  However – to beat Fibro I have learned that you have to give in a little and let it advance before you can beat it back another day.  That is what I’m doing right now.

My training schedule this week is going to be sort of pathetic.  I only got out for about 30 minutes each on Monday and Tuesday I  walked about 1.3 mile each day.  That’s all I had in me, but at least I gave my training what I had.  My flare is starting to subside, and I’m trying to stay as positive as possible.  Tomorrow is a recovery day.

 

Week 8 Wrap-up: Farther, Faster, Fibromyalgia

I kicked ass this week – until that is – my body kicked back.  I didn’t have much time or energy to post anything, but here’s my weekly wrap-up.

Highlights from my week!

  1. I finally had a training day where I broke the 20 minute a mile pace.  This is something that I’ve been striving for the past two months.  Tori and I walked the Museum Path on Thursday and we were at a 19:49 pace according to Runkeeper.  We went to Taco Betty’s afterwards to celebrate.
  2. Friday I had my long walk on the treadmill and took it slow and steady.  My head was absolutely not in it and the whole way was a struggle, but I went 4.11 miles in a little more than an hour and a half.
  3. On Saturday I hit “the zone” at the end of my workout and I even ran a little bit.  Not very far or very fast, but running it was.
  4. My new underwire sports bra from Torrid came in and I must say I love it.  I knew that my regular bras weren’t cutting it (that happens when you have DDD’s) but I didn’t realize just how much I had been bouncing around until I got that well fitting sport bra on and it stopped.  I can move so much more smoothly now that everything is being held in place.  It’s awesome.
  5. Sadly – after such a huge week my body decided to fight back.  After my 4 miler I came home and slept the rest of the day.  I started to run a low grade fever.  Still I went back to the gym on Saturday, only to sleep the rest of the day again.  By 5pm the pain had started, I was in a full blown Fibro Flare.  I’m not sure if it was the weather this week, the fact that I was a little dehydrated, moving to a 5 day a week training plan, or what, but my Fibromyalgia decided to show up and remind me that I can not handle doing all the things.  I hate having Fibromyalgia, it really sucks. Living with disability is something that I try not to focus on, but when I forget my limits my body always reminds me in the most painful way possible.   Today is Sunday and I am in crazy amounts of pain, my brain is fuzzy, and I am absolutely freezing.
  6. Because of the Fibro Flare I’m going to move back to a 4 day training schedule for the next couple of weeks at least.  I need to have a rest day before and after my long days.  I’m not happy about this, but I will figure it out.

Week 7 Wrap-up: Race Registration, Trust The Plan

Week 7 seemed like a big week to me.  I’m all registered for the Princess Half Marathon, I had a great (but exhausting) 4 miler on Saturday.  I’m feeling confident in my workouts, and even though progress isn’t coming as quickly as I want it to, it is measurable and I can see the numbers going in the appropriate direction.  I just need to not let negative voices in my head get in the way, and to trust in my training plan.  Trust the plan. 

Loving The Warm-up

 

The warm-up is something that all athletes know is an important part of training.  As a competitive swimmer in my youth, I was familiar with the concept. However – when people tell me that I should do a 5-minute warm-up I find it humorous, that does nothing for me, and my legs feel exactly the same after 5 minutes as they do when I start. As a walker, it takes me a long time to warm up, sometimes it takes me a mile, sometimes it’s more like a mile and a half.  For me (right now) that can be up to a good 30 minute walk.

Before I hit the trail, path, or treadmill I have a short stretching routine, but my physical therapist wants me to do most of my stretching work after my walks, not before. Because of this – I’ve been thinking of the first parts of my work out as my warm-up. I make sure that I don’t start off too fast, I don’t push my pace until I know that I’ve hit my warm-up point. How do I know when that is you may ask?  Because I can feel it, and you can too if you pay attention to your body.

Now – this may sound super weird – but not having ever been a runner, I wasn’t aware that my legs would actually warm up. When I was a teenage swimmer, I didn’t have the same level of awareness over my body as I do today. I thought that doing a warm-up was just a nice way to stretch out your body and get your head in the right place before hand.  That’s just a very small part of it though.

According to Active.com “Relaxed, sitting in your chair and reading this column produces a relatively low 15- to 20-percent of blood flow to your skeletal muscles. Most of the small blood vessels within those muscles are closed. After 10 to 12 minutes of total body exercise, blood flow to the skeletal muscles increases to some 70 to 75 percent.” That is HUGE!! And if you pay attention you can feel even it happen, because “with more blood flow comes an increase in muscle temperature.”

Raising the temperature in your muscles doesn’t just feel good either – it helps your blood release oxygen. “More blood going to the muscles, along with more oxygen available to the working muscles, means better performance.” That heat also contributes to better nerve transmission, which means faster muscle contraction and relaxation making for easier and more fluid movements.  Warming up is pretty awesome.

I hear many people say – the first part of my workouts suck!   Yea, I know what you mean buddy. That’s because the body isn’t yet properly warmed up. It’s always a pleasant surprise to me when I get that flush of heat running through my legs. Once it hits I feel so much better, the pain goes away, it’s easier to move, and I can increase my pace work to get the biggest benefits from my work out.

When I hit that point it’s the best part of my work out, I love how my legs feel once they’ve warmed up, and I know that I’m ready to crush it.

I think now that my workouts are getting longer and my distance farther I’ll be able to make strong improvements because I have more time where I’m in that warm receptive state that feels good. Today that meant I reached and sustained 20 minute a mile pace for about 5 minutes. I was really pleased with that.

I’m In! 2018 Princess Half Marathon Weekend Registration

It feels like something completely crazy, but I am actually registered for the 10th Anniversary Princess Half Marathon.  Yep – stuck that money where my mouth is and things are getting real.  This will be my first Half Marathon and it’s been on my bucket list for what feels like very, very long time.  I’m nervous and excited, things feel a bit surreal, but in a very good way.

I was lucky enough to be able to register a little early because I’m a Disney Vacation Club Member, this race usually sells out pretty quickly.  Registration opens to the general public next week -May 2, 2017 to be precise – and you can get more information on general registration at runDisney.com.  

Tuesdays Are Now My Pool Days

This week is my 7th week of training for the Princess Half Marathon, and I’m moving into a 5 day a week plan by adding in a bit of cross training.  That’s a little scary to think about, but take that all doubters, this fat girl is getting her mega butt to the gym five days a week.  And – I absolutely slay it in the water.  Tuesdays are now my pool days and it’s bliss.  On the schedule is a 60 minute or more cardio workout that will probably include both lap swimming and water walking/jogging, accompanied by a great deal of stretching my legs. It’s all about working on my endurance, getting some active recovery for my legs, and stretching out my shins and calves on a non-walk/run day.

I discovered that there is a 10:00am Water Walking Class at the Y that I enjoyed a lot yesterday.  I’m not sure that I will be able to make it to the gym by then every week, but I did this week.  It was a good workout, and I could feel it working my calves and shins.  We walked forwards, backwards, and sideways to some fun music, engaging all of the muscle groups in our legs.   We also did a little bit of arm work with some  foam barbells and a pool noodle.  When I got home I did a little bit of research to try and figure out what sort of calories it burns.  I’m having trouble figuring out exactly how to log the water walking into my apps but I think as long as I just consider it timed cardio activity it will be good enough.  I found a site called calorielab.com that helped me calculate what the workout would expend calorie wise. I don’t really care that much about the calories, but I like to have all the information I can.

The women in the class are friendly, though a little cliquish.  They did invite me to lunch with them, which was sweet.   I discovered that I need to get a new swimsuit though if I am going to keep doing this.  I wasn’t self conscious about the one that I was wearing but then someone said something because the back edge was kind of rolling down a little.  Then – I couldn’t stop tugging at it and thinking about it.  Every time I pulled it up, it rolled down again.  So – I came home and ordered a new swimsuit.  I went with a unitard design, and I’m hoping that it fits because it should take care of all my needs.

I’m pretty excited about this addition to my training plan.  Hopefully it will have benefits that I didn’t even imagine. 

 

 

 

Changing My Diet, Changing My Tastes

For the past several months I’ve been trying to eat cleaner.  I’ve given up a lot of artificial foods, and I’m trying to stick with real, slow foods, with much less processing.  This means that I have a much healthier diet than I used to, even though I’m still eating fast food a few times a week.  I have a lot more chicken, interesting grains, fresh vegetables, and fruits are going into my body.  It’s been a subtle change, but one that has almost immediate results.  Within a week I started noticing myself getting fuller faster, and recognizing when I have reached that cut off point.  Diet soda doesn’t taste the same to me anymore, and I’m not craving those artificial sweeteners like I was.

I took my husband to dinner for his birthday last night.  We ate the most amazing beer battered cheese curds.  I felt like I needed some extra protein so I ordered a pulled pork sandwich for dinner.  Huge, huge mistake.  My stomach completely rebelled at all the grease I had consumed, and I couldn’t even finish my dinner.  It was just gross. I’m sure the food was good, it just wasn’t very good to me.  My tastes have changed.  I struggled with the heavy flavors and rich mouth feel of the pulled pork.  I was wishing that I had ordered the spring pea risotto, or a salad with some berries and chicken.

I didn’t set out to change my diet majorly, I wasn’t trying to reduce calories, or to eat smaller portions.  However since beginning to eat closer to the earth all of these things have happened. My body simply can’t handle the same sort of things that it could before, and honestly, I don’t want it to.  I’m happy eating cleaner, and as long as I’m getting the nutrients that I need that is good enough for me.  It will be interesting to see how this develops and if I continue to change my diet because my tastes are changing.

A Rough Workout In My Head

I had very little motivation today.  Tori had today out so I didn’t have a buddy, I couldn’t decided where I wanted to walk, or what sort of training I wanted to do.  Once I got in the treadmill my legs were feeling pretty tight even after my warm-up.  Not worth risking injury to push out intervals when I’m already in pain.  So I just walked, slow and steady.  I had 35 minutes on my training plan, but I did 45  (1.92 miles 24:05 average pace) including my cool down. I stretched out afterwards and then got the heck out of there.

It was a really rough day in my head though.  Race registration for the 2018 Princess Half Marathon is Thursday for me.  No – I can’t wait to register because it sells out pretty fast. I’ve got to put my money where my mouth is on Thursday.  The problem is that I’m no where near where I thought my starting point (20:00 pace) would even be yet.   Yes, I’ve done several 5K training days, and I’m working on the 10K training program right now.  BUT I’M SO FRICKING SLOW!!!  I’m registering, because I want to be able to do this.  And I’m training to do this, I’m just not sure that I can do this.

Disney has a 16 minute mile cut off – that means that I have to be able to drop about 6 more minutes a mile to just reach the cut off.  However I know of plenty of people who could do that pace but got swept from the course anyhow because they did something crazy during the race, like stop to pee. Disney suggests training for a 15 minute mile.  That’s 7 minutes faster than I am now.  I have to be able to drop 7 minutes a mile.  That just sounds so impossible to me.  It makes me want to cry.   If I’m going to take on this course, I really want to be able to finish the race.  I don’t care if I’m the a last person to finish, I want to finish.  I’m terrified of being swept.

I know that at some point I will have to work in running to accomplish my goal.  My physical therapist says  that now is not that time.  I have to be smart about getting to my goal, it’s just so discouraging to be so very far away from it.  SO VERY DISCOURAGING.  I’m trying to give myself every advantage, doing things slowly, using the support structure that I have.  It’s a struggle though, up hill all the way. 

Week 6 Wrap-up: Schedules, Physical Therapy, Recovery

The end of week 5 was rough, but I worked hard at getting back into the swing of things in week 6.  Bumps in the road will always happen, but as long as I don’t give up I’ll continue be successful.

 

Here are a few highlights of my week!

  1. I went to Physical Therapy this week..  My trip to the physical therapist bolstered my confidence as she said that my shoes are great, and that it sounds like I’m doing everything right.  She gave me some more exercises to work on and I’ll see her again in next month.
  2.  Rearranging my training schedule.   I’m moving to a 5 days a week training schedule.  This will allow Tori and I to walk outside for my short days, and to add in a day for cross training of some sort.  I swam on Saturday and it was absolutely blissful.   I’m going to try and work more swimming into the schedule on Tuesdays, and possibly some yoga on Wednesdays.  Though adding in the yoga would take me to 6 days a week at the gym and I’m not sure I am mentally prepared for that right now,
  3. Aggressive Recovery.  I’m moving to more active and aggressive recovery techniques.  Just taking a day off isn’t working because my muscles just seem to tighten up and make it harder for my next training day.  I scheduled a massage at the wellness center for my tight calves, I am stretching every day, and I’m using the TENS unit to reduce pain and relax my muscles.  I needed to call in for a prescription muscle relaxer as well.  Hopefully soon my legs will relax a bit and the muscles with get a little more stretch into them, that will really help me to increase my distance.
  4. Naps!  My long days really wipe me out, naps have become a regular  thing.
  5. I was SUPER happy that on one of my walks outside I was able to do 1.5 miles at a 21:48 minute pace.  My times are dropping, not as fast as I want them to, but they are dropping and that makes me happy.

April Physical Therapy Check-in

I went to see my physical therapist today, her name is Bernie and she’s just awesome.  We’ve used her for various injuries for several years now and I just adore her, she’s nice, and funny, and really doesn’t judge at all.  Anyhow – I’m off track.  I decided that if I was going to meet my training goal and actually be able to have a chance with this Half Marathon next year I needed to get in for a visit and some training tips.

My legs have been working fairly well, my ankle seems strong, however I just haven’t been able to shake this lingering tightness in my feet, calves, and shins.  I’ve been doing some shin split exercises at home but I wanted professional help so I had my doctor write me a prescription for some physical therapy.  Many people get a physical therapy allotment on their health insurance and never use it because they aren’t injured in a way that would warrant a trip to PT.   The thing is, people like me (out of shape couch potatoes) who have just started working out can really use a trip to the Physical Therapist to help identify the kinks in their training plans and come up with solutions to problem areas.  For me, a visit with Bernie a solid way to help me reach my goals and get the most out of my healthcare system.

Bernie was thrilled that I’m doing well since my accident last year and saw that I’m pretty strong, she helped me identify two problem points that have been keeping me from reaching my fullest potential when I’m out walking.  1) My feet are about as flat as they can possible get, and 2) I have no stretch in my calves.

Adding the Soleus Stretch to my routine.

It was also good that I got in with Bernie because as we discussed my training plan she warned me against making some small changes that I was going to start next week.  She advised that until I could get my calves to lengthen a bit I should stick to the treadmill for my long walks.  The treadmill will help to absorb some of the shock on the long days and not put too much strain on my legs.  She also didn’t want me to start adding in running yet, even a little.  She knows me so well, and how much I push myself, she saw it all when I was relearning how to walk.  Bernie gave me a gentle reminder  that becoming injured from pushing myself too much on the front end of this journey wouldn’t help me cross the finish line. 

I’ve got some new exercises and a new goal for stretching every day.  I’ve got a long way to go, my legs need to work correctly to get me there. 

Fighting Inertia With Walks Outside

No, I haven’t given up already.  I just hit a couple of training snags – I’m blaming Easter.  I took two days off from training over last weekend and, well, inertia.  I was a complete blob last Saturday and Sunday.  No training, no watching my diet, no blogging.  I wasn’t a complete blob, I actually worked 11 hours on Saturday, but my physical fitness simply wasn’t.   But Monday came and I got back to it!

Now that the weather is nicer my daughter Tori has become my Monday training buddy. We walk really well together, but she says that she is sure she does not want to run the Princess with me next year.

We’ve been walking outside on one of our favorite paths near a local living history museum. It’s about a mile and a half loop around a field that’s being replanted with prairie plants, and a small woods.  I like it because there are gentle hills that give me some elevation to work with.  I know that everyone claims Disney has a flat run, but between mile 4-5 alone there is a jaunt beneath a lake and back up the other side, and then about 30 foot slow rise up Main Street USA. The gentle elevations on this loop do a pretty fair job of getting me used to those light elevation changes.

I went walking outside without her today and I was very happy to make a 21:48 pace!  I’m getting closer to that 20:00 minute pace goal I wanted to start out at.  I think it will take me 2 months to finally get there.  That is super frustrating for me, but it is what it is.

Food Journaling With MyNetDiary

When I went to the doctor last month to get cleared to start training for the 2018 Princess Half Marathon, I also mentioned that I would like to lose 40 pounds. It was my hope that by seriously training, I would have the happy side effect of losing the weight. But other than that I wasn’t going to worry about it much.   She told me that she wanted me to start keeping a food diary so that I would be aware of what I was putting in my mouth all day.

I was not really happy with that, and left the office with absolutely no intention of keeping said food diary. I had already started changing my diet more healthy “clean” foods, but this wasn’t one of those things that I really want to worry about. My goal is to be healthier and more active than I was, in no way is it all about weight and I felt like recording my food was going to lead to her putting me on a diet. I wasn’t going there.

Flash forward two weeks and I decide that I need to know what my basal metabolic rate is so that I know how many calories I need to eat a day just to keep going. My best friend told me that she was using MyNetDiary  to track her food to manage a health condition. I bristled and complained – I wasn’t going to go there – and then about a week ago I downloaded the damn app for myself.  I love it.

 

What It Is

MyNetDiary is a friendly, simple to use, website and mobile application for iPhone, iPad, and Android that helps people maintain optimal health by tracking their food intake. Users have several different options as far as membership, each with increased levels of service. Members can join for free (what I’m using right now), download the “Pro” app for a set fee, or pay a monthly fee for the full service MyNetDiary Maximum. In addition, there are also special modules for running, and tracking your critical information if you are diabetic.

At its simplest, MyNetDiary is an electronic diet log service. It offers users a place to “write everything down” so you know what you’re eating each day. But stepping off rom that simple concept MyNetDiary has gone much much father.

With its simple and cheerful interface, MyNetDiary allows you to track exercise, steps, and water intake, along side the calories you consume for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. As users input information into the diary a bright green apple fills with color the closer you get to your caloric goal for the day. If you go over that goal the apple turns red, but unlike some the app never chides you for having a bad day.   One of my favorite parts is that when you input your exercise (mine automatically inputs from my gym app) it calculates your bonus calories! Bonus calories are those extra calories you can consume even beyond your daily intake because you worked them. I love that this app allows me to see exactly what sort of caloric impact working out has on my diet. Being armed with this information really encourages me not only to work out more – but makes me feel better when I leave the gym starving and feeling like I need to eat.

 

Food Tracking

755,000 foods along with their dietary information are already in the MyNetDiary database, in addition, users have the opportunity to create custom food listings. This means you don’t have to guess when it comes to your nutrition, it also means that by using the custom options, you can recreate those family recipes and still track the nutrition. Users simply search for a food and tap it to add it to their diary for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack. As you add the foods, the app counts the calories and records them on your dashboard apple.

Recording your food does take more time than not recording it, especially when you are creating your own custom options. However the app really does go to great lengths to make it as easy with possible for users. In addition to the search function, and manually entering everything, you also have the option to scan the bar code on the back of the food container and it will instantly input the information you need all you have to do is tell it how much of it you are eating. I just scan everything while I’m cooking so by the time I am done I can get down to eating.

 

Goal Tracking

By answering a few simple personal questions, MyNetDiary will do all the calculations for you to figure out how many calories you should be eating each day for your lifestyle. But this is more than simply knowing what your basal metabolic rate is, because MyNetDiary will allow you to set weight goals whether you want to lose, gain, or stay the same. When you create a goal date and MyNetDiary then calculates how many calories you need to eat each day within that time to reach that goal. I know I’m a dork, but I love the little animation that it uses of different fun vehicles rolling down a hill.

Summing It Up

Overall I am REALLY enjoying the free version of MyNetDiary, and think that if I’m still doing well with it in another month I may buy the Pro version. Being armed with the knowledge of how many calories are in things has actually freed me in a way because on some days I can eat more than I thought I could. Also, I find that I’m making better choices – which means I’m not having to starve myself because foods that are better for you tend to have fewer calories and you can take bigger portions.

For instance, pizza is my great downfall. It’s my favorite food and more is always better IMHO. I’ve discovered that I can eat 3X as much of my favorite thin crust pizza than I can my favorite hand tossed pan pizza. I would pretty much always rather eat 3 pieces of pizza than 1 piece of pizza, so this app helped me figure out how to eat more pizza!

I’m sure that I’ll write more about this app in the future, but for now I give it skeptic starter seal of approval.   Go ahead – give it a try!