Saturday, December 12, 2015

My Dynamic Body

Yesterday was the last day of our Dartfit class, the HIIT training class I took this term.  Of the 20 or so people who signed up for the class, only 6 showed up.  Another one took an earlier session, but nonetheless the class just felt so empty on the last day.

We did our usual warm up and gathered around the white board, which normally would spell out our end-of-class workout, that yesterday listed our entire class plan.  Instead of our usual 6-7 stations we would rotate in 2X blocks with cardio and water breaks in between, we had 3 large stations with 6 sub-station each.  We would do each sub-station for 35 seconds with 10-second breaks, and complete all 6 sub-stations 3 times before taking a water break and move on to the next big station.  Each station was themed: TRX straps, heavy ropes, and dumb bells.  All the sub-stations within each themed stations follow a similar flow: there was always a lunge, a sit-up, and a push up type of activity, and the other three were sort of unique to the instrument we were using.

So by the end of the class, I did these activities for 105 seconds of each:
Heavy rope jumping jacks
Heavy rope waves
Heavy rope side swipes
Dumb-bell squat lifts
Dumb-bell renegades
Dumb-bell sit-ups
Dumb-bell back lifts
Dumb-bell side lunges
Dumb-bell bear crawls
TRX rows
Medicine ball slams
TRX push-ups
Medicine ball forward and backward lunges
TRX pikes (we switched to fitness balls after the first round)
TRX skaters

It all seemed so daunting at the beginning.  We had done all of these activities before, some were fun, others were absolutely miserable to do.  I think it was the 3X part that scared me the most.  My friends joked that last day of class is like finals, you basically do everything you did and then some.  I joked that maybe that's why nobody showed up to class.

By the end of class all I realized was that, it just wasn't so bad.  It turned out that because there wasn't that much cardio involved (there was the burpee sub-station that was exhausting), so although by the end my arms were feeling like lead, overall I felt strong.  That afternoon, as one of 5 people who showed up to ride it to the end, I realized how much I had improved over the course of the term.  In less than 3 months I had improved on my muscle building and speed.  Not so sure about endurance since I still haven't managed to run a 5K in one shot on the treadmill.  And now I truly regret not signing up for the class for next term.

Registration for next term's class started earlier this week.  At the time I was so determined to not take this class again so I could recuperate and take everything slower and easier.  I thought about taking a morning yoga class with my friends to increase my flexibility, toyed with the idea of taking a fun dance class like hip hop so I could learn some cool routines, and ultimately chose beginners pilates thinking that it would be a milder form of exercise that still focused on muscle building and strength training.  I plan to continue indoor running and I thought pilates would be a nice anaerobic compliment.

The school offers three different pilates: beginners, intermediate, and advanced.  My main concern was whether beginner's class would be too easy, since although I've not taken a pilates class before, I'm not completely useless.  But time wise the beginners class was the only one I could comfortably fit into my schedule, and after watching a few beginners pilates videos online I thought maybe it will be a good challenge for me.

After I registered for my class a friend of mine decided to also take it with me.

Which makes the thought of backing out a bit more awkward to execute.

My current plan is to shop around for morning yoga, Dartfit, and pilates during the first week of class, and in the end decide which one(s) to take.  I don't think I will be doing Dartfit and pilates simultaneously, but if the morning yoga class is pleasant I might do that too.

If I don't like pilates it would be a better excuse to use to quit that class, and if I get injured again during Dartfit it might make me feel less bad about taking a break from it.  I am planning to take it again in the Spring regardless of how this upcoming Winter terms pans out.

On the running front, I did about half an hour on Thursday on the treadmill and managed to do about 2.5 miles, at speeds between 5.0-5.5 with slower speed during walking breaks.  The bottom of my right foot started to feel a bit stressed at 5.5 speed but overall I was quite comfortable running at this newer, faster pace.  Given my weight and prior injuries I'm pushing myself to achieve any certain unrealistic speed goals, but after taking Dartfit I could sustainably run at a speed I couldn't do before, and felt this rush I never had before that was a combination of adrenaline and a sense of accomplishment.  It just made me so happy that I had decided to take this Dartfit class after realizing how much I needed to build some muscle and strength, so  proud of myself that I didn't quit the class after that horrific first day (it did get easier, just like everyone had promised), so thrilled that the class worked, and that I was even injury free now.

All in all it has been a great 3 months.  In retrospect it's such a short period of time, but I think it has been the most dynamic, active, and empowering 3 months in a long time and I'm thankful for all the changes that my body went through.  My weight still has not changed, but that doesn't even bother me at this moment.  I know that if I keep doing what I learned I could push myself to do, I will achieve my health and exercise goals in a few more 3-month cycles.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Here's to another 100: Happy 101~~

Just realized that my last post was my 100th.  I was gonna talk about how I obsessively had to go to the gym today, and afterwards went to a restaurant alone and stuffed myself silly with a burger, fries, and carrot cake, but...

Well I guess I pretty much summarized what I wanted to say in one sentence.

Okay here are a few more details.  I got home later than I had planned and forgot to eat a pre-run snack (also my new scale arrived and I was playing around with that).  When I was running on the treadmill the TV was on and even though I couldn't hear what they were talking about, there were some very nice Christmas dinner themed dishes featured on the news program which ended with a delicious-looking pie, which made me very hungry.  After I got home I realized my need to have a good, fancy meal, and decided to go to a restaurant after my shower.  It's restaurant week in our town so a few places had put out special menus.  I picked one that opened late and for about an hour stuffed my face while reading Stephen Fry's newest autobiography, and came home with leftover fries and carrot cake.  I'm slightly disgusted at myself for eating more than I should, but at the same time feeling blissful.

But back to this artificially special post.  100 is such an arbitrary number and rationally should not really be a cause of any celebration.  It's been about 21 months since I started running and this blog, and overall I've written about my every workout and random thoughts I had during each workout.  Recently, I was ashamed and disappointed at myself for not running regularly in the summer and stopping writing for a few months, and after I started taking my Dartfit course I was just too overwhelmed with the class to really sit down and think about it.  Tomorrow is the last day of Dartfit and maybe I'll write something to reflect on this past school term.

I had also planned to write about all my cooking adventures (thus the "glutton" part of my blog title), but because I am too lazy to take pictures of my cooking, and recounting my cooking experience is too boring for me, I sort of stopped doing that after the first month.  I love to read blog posts where other people try out recipes and include pictorial instructions, but writing about them, especially right after the cooking experience, is extremely dull.

Plus I lost interest in cooking new things sometimes earlier this year and I haven't tried any new recipes in a long time.

Hm...  I really have nothing else to say.  Think I will be more thoughtful and reflective toward the end of December, maybe my later posts, while not landmark-y in number, will be somewhat more nutritious.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Another year, another Black Friday

Ever since I stopped going home for Thanksgiving the holiday to me just means sales and mindless online shopping.  This year is no different.  I spent the better part of my Thursday and Friday sitting in front of the computer, Amazon webpage opened, and watching the clock ticking as the next deal starts.

On Black Fridays I usually buy a lot of DVDs and other random stuff.  Nothing name brand or big/fancy, just random stuff I would normally be tempted to buy but not actually doing it.  But this year, apart from my usual DVD crazy buys, the majority of my other purchases definitely had an athletic theme to them.

My Black Friday shopping really started before Thanksgiving.  The one-ish day sale really awakened my inner shopping demon so I really let my credit card loose since the beginning of that week.  So over the course of the week, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I bought:

1 Fitbit Charge from eBay (which ended up to be cheaper than all of the Black Friday deals)

12-bottle monthly subscription of Soylent (my friend started it)

2 pairs of running pants from Dick's (I wanted something I can use in case I wanted to run outside during the winter, and I ended up returning one pair)

1 pair of Saucony Kinvara 5 in mint green from eBay (I realized that when the Kinvara 6 came out they just stopped making the 5, and therefore you can't really find the 5s anymore from major sellers.  Those who still sell them do not really sell them at a discount like I had hoped.  So I freaked out and got a pair on eBay just to hoard.  I thought about getting 2 pairs but that just seems a bit obsessive.  It's just that I have yet found another pair of shoes that I could run so comfortably in.  I haven't tried Kinvara 6 on yet, and I can't really afford new shoes at their full prices.)

1 pair of Gaiam yoga capris from Amazon.  They actually fit very comfortably and has this cool black-and-white pattern I liked but they make my butt look so huge now I feel self-conscious about wearing them.

1 pair of Adidas running capris.  Also fits nice and comfortably, but the material is such that I can really feel my legs rubbing against each other and I think I might have to apply some body cream on the fabric before I run?

1 pair of Calvin Kline performance capris which I later returned b/c they didn't fit.

1 Smartweighscales body scale that's supposed to be really fancy and can measure all kinds of random stuff like your body fat and your water weight or whatever.  But I don't know for sure since I had to return it for a replacement, as my first one turned out to be defective.  The scale uses these metal plates that measure some electrical current or body heat to generate these data, so after I received my scale I spent the better part of a very cold evening stepping on and off it in my bare feet, freezing myself to death before deciding that I cannot do this alone.  After I called the company the next morning and told them the situation (how the scale doesn't do anything but just telling me my weight and none of the other info shows up), the girl on the phone didn't say much except telling me to contact Amazon to ask for a replacement.  I'm slightly worried about the quality of their scales now since she was so nonchalant about my call.  Also a shame since I don't know what they are going to do with this scale.  I hope they don't just throw it away, it would be such a waste of resources. But my new scale should come in the next day or so and I'm excited about knowing info about myself that really don't mean anything to me.

So running caprices were definitely on my mind when I was Black Friday shopping.  I also looked at other athletics stuff and weight loss stuff and ultimately decided that I liked my money too much to exchange it for the stuff.  Despite the fact that in many instances I liked my money more than the thing I thought about buying, I still spend a very large amount of money on a bunch of random things.  The holiday season is always a time for uncontrollable shopping but I'm also struggling to not increase the amount of "stuff" I own.  It's a hard balance, but so far I'm not thinking about anything else I want to return.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Stronger but not thinner

I'm kind of shocked that I have not updated my exercise progress since the end of July.  While I've been neglecting my blog on cyberspace, in reality I've been very active, especially after school started.  Now that the fall term is coming to an end, it's time to just update a few things that's happened since the summer.

I think I avoided writing about my exercising because I was disappointed and ashamed by my lack of progress over the summer.  After the July Instagram challenge ended I signed up for a few August ones that were yoga or plank related, but what had been so much fun in July had just turned into various excuses to take selfies every day and putting them on in the internet.  I felt no progress, and taking a picture of yourself in some tiring yoga pose is not a fun activity to do.  So gradually I've given that up.

(In fact, I've all but closed out my exercising-related account and switched it to a journaling account, documenting all my journaling adventures.  If interested, the new account name is techo_love).

Things were not great on the gym class front either.  Toward the end of August I had all but quit going to class.  The days were getting shorter, I never really developed into an early morning person (all I got was sleep deprivation), and I disliked my cycling class and wasn't comfortable with doing extraneous activities early in the morning.  By the end I realized one thing: I'm not an early morning person and there's no point in trying to change myself.

And running.  Oh boy.  At least last year I had plantar fasciitis as an excuse.  This past summer was just one lame excuse after another in lieu of any running at all.  I was getting fat and disgusted at myself.

Which is probably why I added some exercising regiments and abandoned any morning activities.  I enrolled in a monthly membership at my yoga studio, basically forcing myself to go to yoga class once a week, which apparently was not something I could even keep doing before.  I also registered for a gym class that met in the afternoons 3 times a week.  I had heard good things about the class, and traditionally it was a popular course that gets filled quickly.  It's called Dartfit, and essentially what it is is this really intensive HIIT course.  Somewhat similar to the HIIT course I took in the summer but way harder.

It turns out that I just wasn't pushing myself hard enough.

I had already known that doing anaerobic exercises like HIIT is better for fat burning, in that you burn more calories doing HIIT for an hour than running for the same amount of time.  Granted you can't do HIIT for hours and hours so if you run a lot they sort of even out.  But since I don't run a lot, I need all the other help I can get.

The class was brutal.  I went in pretty confident with myself since I had done HIIT in the summer and thought I could handle whatever that was coming for me.  Instead I thought I had died after the first class back in Sept.  I drank at least a liter of water during class and when I got home afterwards I sat on my chair for at least an hour before I could manage to do anything else, like showering or eating dinner.  I seriously considered quitting after that first class.  A friend who also signed up for the class left the gym half way through the class and never came back (he showed up to class sporadically afterwards but was going even less consistently than I was throughout the term).  I hated the feeling of running out of breath, and seeing how everyone else was faster and was having an easier time.  But I didn't end up quitting because I knew there was no other way I would ever work that hard if I just work out on my own.  And veteran students of the class kept telling me that it gets easier, it really gets easier.

And I really wanted a Dartfit T-shirt and be worthy of it.

So I stuck around.  I don't think I've ever gone for the full 3 times a week regiment.  Sometimes I just go once a week.  But the others were right.  It did get easier.  Sometimes I cheated.  Sometimes I focused so hard on my breathing I manage to beat it out without feeling like dying.  Sometimes the class was easy so we all felt like we were getting stronger.

I took it easy after realizing that I was getting shin splint on both of my legs from running around the indoor track.  It baffled me.  I thought if anything else I at least knew how to run.  So I learned some new stretching moves and took it easy at the beginning.  I still get shin splints some times, but I get it because I was running faster.  When I had to sprint I actually sprinted, sometimes faster than others in class.

I could feel that I was getting stronger, and I would never be able to do it if it wasn't for this class.

But with Dartfit and yoga, and badminton at the beginning of the term before I hurt my wrist, I didn't have time to run anymore.  I got lazy on the days I didn't have class.  I just couldn't get my butt to the gym when I didn't need to be there.  And when I finally was running again a few weeks ago I found that while I could run faster I couldn't run as long.  I struggled for 2 miles and gave up on doing a 5K, and more recently I've been afraid to do prolonged running in case my shin splint gets worse.  It's a constant struggle but at least I'm getting more cardio workouts in.

And today I had my best yoga class ever.

I had lost about 2 pounds recently and have been eating healthier and more sensibly.  I did not lose a significant amount of weight.  If anything I gained weight and I don't know why.  I assume I have more muscle mass now and the fat has not gone away, because I didn't feel heavier and my clothes still fit.  Anyways, I felt really good today.  I felt curvier and lighter, and when I was doing yoga I felt that I had more space around my body to work with.  Fat usually got in the way of the more badass moves.

But today I felt light and strong.  I was more flexible and I could twist more.  My upper body was flexible and my arms could handle push ups more easily.  I still sweated a bucket but I didn't struggle with any of the moves (except I still suck at balancing).

I can safely say that I've never felt so strong during a yoga class before.  And I felt really, really good.

I think most of it has to do with the Dartfit class I'm taking.  I'll definitely keep it up next term.  But more importantly I'm glad I decided to stick with the class and work though my struggles, knowing I'll be better and stronger if I can safely make it out on the other end.  I still dread at the thought of going to class, and I still feel like I'm dying sometimes during or after a class.  But at least I know now that if I do it for a while there is a real effect.  A good effect.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Broadcasting your workouts

Although it's not the last day of the month till tomorrow, today is the last day of the July Journey to Splits Blogilates challenge.  For 30 days we stretched various parts of our legs every day, and each day we do a new stretch in addition to the basic 5.  And theoretically by the end of the month we would be able to (or getting closer to) do a standing split.

Well, I did my last split stretch yesterday and I can confidently say that I still cannot do a standing split.  But my hips are much closer to the ground on my side splits and I can almost do a forward split, so the month-long work was not in vain.  And for the most part I was able to successfully do my stretches every day and managed to take a semi-respectable selfie of that day's new pose.  And after a month, looking back on my Instagram history, I have to say it was quite impressive.

This is the first time I did something this public.  It's one thing to blab random thoughts and report progress on this blog about my various running, yoga-ing, and other exercises, but it's quite another to take a picture of yourself doing some stretching pose, post on social media, everyday, for a month.  I had a lot of insecurities, about how I look, about how I look while stretching, about my surroundings (I have a very small and messy apartment), about what I wear, everything.  Initially I took pictures in public places like the gym, then I switched to fancy photoshopping apps and went on a PS diarrhea.  Then I just thought, you know what, screw it, and ended up doing a basic blurring of the background and called it a day.  Many pictures had my face in it, and in some of them I really didn't look very appealing.

But the feedback was amazing.  From the very first picture I posted accepting the challenge I got "likes" from many popsters (other people who also follow the blogilates workout).  I returned their kindness with my own likes of other random people on Instagram, and a few of us started following each other and my feed began to be flooded with other people's stretches and other workouts.  Every day after I post my pictures I will receive about 20-30 likes, which is not many compared to some other people but considering that I only opened an account for this occasion and only had three real life friends on Instragram (for this purpose) it was a pretty good response I think.  And I got slightly more traffic on this blog after putting the web address on my profile.  Occasionally I got comments and felt very flattered, but this form of quiet camaraderie and support is perfect for me.  It's partly what keeps me going forward and I'm very thankful for those who cared.

And now this month is coming to an end.  There's a short plank challenge for the beginning of next month that I think I will do but didn't seem very interested or very well put together.  But after this month, with the new gym classes I'm taking and this everyday goal I try to achieve, I think I've gotten into a good momentum to keeping going forward, doing workouts and stretches every day, just to keep myself moving if anything else.

Here's to another great month!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Exercise Diary: Random Thoughts

  • The spinning classroom in our school gym recently got new spinning bikes that made the old bikes (which are currently sitting sadly in the hallway outside of the room) look like yucky ancient dinosaurs.  The new bikes are shiny, slick, and got a nice touch of red color.  They are also equipped with a display monitor that shows you how long you have been spinning, rpm, watts, calories burned, and distance.  I was very sad to learn today that after 35 minutes of peddling I only burned 197 kcals.  Also I really hope the distance display is in miles and not kilometers.
  • This is the fourth week into my gym class and 2nd full week of 4-5 days/wk workouts.  Sadly my weight has not been dropping like I had hoped, and different parts of my body have been hurting everyday.  But I think I've got more arm muscles already, as I can already see a little bulge when I flexed my arms in front of the mirror today.  So that's kind of cool.  If I can build up some arm/upper body strength this summer I will be very happy.
  • One morning (could've been Tuesday) as we were leaving I saw a very old woman in the gym getting ready for her workout.  The whole time I was watching her she was just stretching and flexing her extremities, but she looked very lean and muscle-y, probably more fit than I am, and  looked as if she's in her 80s.  I really wish I could be like that when I'm her age.
  • This week I also saw a girl doing what I like to call "seizure crunches." She was doing crunches, and then bicycle crunches, but it was obvious from the way she worked that she valued speed more than anything else.  Her head and shoulders weren't lifted very high, which is totally fine since I think that's how I look when I'm doing crunches, but she was doing it so fast that she looked like a crazy person.  It was funny to watch if anything else.
  • Speaking of abs, crunches are very effective when they are done on an exercise ball.  I felt that I could lift my body up much more, and my feet are more grounded in order to be properly balanced on the ball.  And afterwards you can stretch and drape yourself over the ball with arms extended like nobody's watching.  It felt good.
  • I force myself to go to the gym and workout ridiculously early in the morning by paying and working out with people who are considerably older than me, but every time I go the gym is also well populated with other people and after a while you notice that it's always the same crowd.  And they are just there by themselves, working their heart out, apparently with only their self-motivation.  And my emotion switches between admiration and jealousy.  
  • The steps class that usually take place on Wednesdays has now been switched to spinning.  Which means that instead of getting to the gym 4 days a week I am now doing 5.  I actually really like this since even with 4 days a week I still manage to complete not follow my routine on my day offs.  And with the new spinning bikes I got a very nice workout today.  
  • I still don't know everyone's name in my class but they all seem to know mine.  Awkward.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Exercise Diary: Birthday Yoga~

I'm back!  I took about a week off from school life last week and went home for Independence Day/ my birthday.  Spent 2 blissful weekends shopping and eating and spending time with my parents and a whole week (about 3 days actually) wondering around in New York, saw 4 play/musicals and visited one museum.  All in all I was very productive fun-wise.

While I kept at my July Journey to Split challenge and stretched (and took bad selfies) every day, other than that I barely did any real exercise.  On two days I did some glute work but that didn't really count toward anything.  Granted when I left the house I did serious walking in the city (and in the mall), and was poorly hydrated throughout, but given the amount of junk food I ate they all sort of cancelled themselves out.

The real gain was in the gears.  We got a big discount from Kohl's and I went crazy.  Got back home with two new sports bra (with trippy summer prints too) and a yoga top that was both practical and cute.

And I put that top into serious work today at yoga class.  Having missed a week of regular exercise (and after getting up at 5:30 for my other gym class), today's class was particularly difficult for me to sustain through.  I was serious hungry (beginning of my super-serious weight losing plan now) and I was thinking about what to have for dinner the whole time while getting super sweaty.  While the top (sleeve-less and barely any fabric covering my upper back) was very freeing and breathable, the lack of fabric meant I had to keep all that sweat either on my body or on my mat.  This was the first time I almost slipped during a down dog.

But I think my brief stint so far with my morning weight class paid off somewhat.  I was able to do side plank on my both sides today without too much trouble.  This may not seem like a big deal but before today I always cheated on my side planks, either keeping my bottom leg bent or using the other leg to help support myself, and my arms always shook so hard my body almost shakes with them.  But today, my arms didn't shake, my bottom leg was straight and my torso was off the ground and my upper leg was even in the air!  And I was able to keep this posture for as long as we did the pose.  Still can't do a half wheel bent but small victories.

At least for this term I have gym class 4 times a week at 6 am, but I don't know what to write about them.  We always to something slightly different every time, changing the workouts and I always end up sweating through my shirt and properly worked out.  But I usually don't have time in the morning to blog and I don't usually get any profound realizations after each class so writing about them would feel more like a chore.  And because of these classes, which were supposed to help me build muscles to become a better runner, has somewhat now taken over my running.  I haven't been running at all this month and it's already half-way over.  Not quite sure how to balance it all.  It's not like I'm still dead set on a race any time soon but I really don't want to neglect running.  As part of class today we ran around the track a few times and I was tired after just the first lap.  I used early morning as my excuse but I was extremely sad about this.  How is it that I now am a worse runner?  I think it's the lack of practice.  I just need to do it to keep up (plus it will probably burn a few more hundred calories every week).

Still a struggle.  But at least I managed to get up a 5:30 first day after coming back and that's a good start.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Exercise Diary: Morning Mumble Grumble

5am: beep beep beep, beep beep beep....


5:10 am: beep beep beep, beep beep beep...


5:20 am

Up, wash, chow down a banana, surf the web, change.  Oh look it's almost 5:50, time to go.

This has been my routine for the past 2 days.

So far so good.

So for the past 2 week I had been very afraid of running.  I get really tired in the afternoons, and although I bring all my running gears with me to work I end up lugging everything back at the end of the day unused.  I make excuses: I was hungry, I was sleepy, I was tired, I felt sluggish, it's too hot out.

I think I've been afraid.  Afraid of the out-of-breathness around mile 2, afraid of the return of my plantar fasciitis, afraid of being famished and exhausted after my runs and order take out instead of cooking, and the general sluggishness afterwards that usually make up my post-run evenings.

All in all I had not been running a lot for the past two weeks.  But I did do a bunch of other stuff.  There was a hiking trip over graduation weekend, regular weekly yoga classes, and last weekend I did a group yoga thing with two of my friends who sort of got into weight losing and fitness.  And now I'm taking these two gym classes this term that make me get up obscenely early in the morning and make me seriously sweat out some major toxins.

And it's been good.  My abs are protesting, my body felt looser.  Tonight while I was walking I could feel that my shoulders are not even, with the right one higher than the left.  So I consciously tilted my body while walking and surprisingly that felt good.  Maybe I should look up on proper posture and standing, and maybe that will cure my weird and problematic right foot.

I've also activated a new Instagram account to participate in this month's blogilates challenge of doing a split in 30 days.

Above are the stretches.  We do #1-5 everyday, and starting day 6 we add the pose corresponding to the number of the day in addition to 1-5.  The whole thing takes about 10 minutes to do every day and theoretically at the end of the month we will be able to do a split (don't know about the standing split, balance is a whole other issue for me).  And as proof of our commitment we are to upload a picture of ourselves everyday on Instagram for a chance to win stuff every week.  I have a feeling that while the stretches will only take 10 minutes, taking the perfect selfie (which will involve a lot of timed capture, perfect camera and body positioning, and a lot of pain in the tush) for Instagram will take maybe an hour and half.  So we will see.  I've already tried to do a selfie today and truth be told, while the stretches felt great I look stupid (and fat) when captured on camera.  Maybe some people are meant to exercise in secret and who who are not don't really need to exercise that much.

Anyway, any exercise is better than no exercise and if I can become more fit (and hopefully slimmer) by the end of summer I will be the happiest glutton in the world.  I also need to re-think about this whole running thing.  I told myself that all the yoga and strength training are done to make me a better runner, but now I'm not so sure.  The whole point of any exercise is to make me healthier.  Although I probably won't give up running altogether, maybe it will take second or third place at least for the time being.  Is that so bad?  Or am I just impulsively flaunting myself over something new and again not making a commitment in anything?  I don't know and I need to think about this.  In the mean time, I will be very disappointed if either the number on my scale does not drop or I don't lose a few pant sizes.  I'm not drowning myself in sweat at 6am for nothing.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Exercise Diary: Ups and Downs

An update on my workouts:

  • Thursday: 3 miles around the pond
  • Friday: ~40 minutes of spinning and 20 minutes of free weights, abs, and stretches 
  • Saturday: ~4 miles in the morning on my favorite Norwich loop
And if I had written before this morning's run, I would say that I'm finally getting comfortable with this running outside thing.  Last weekend I did the same Norwich loop and maintained the same pace throughout, while the 3 loops around the pond felt like nothing and I felt that I could run around that pond forever while listening to Neil Degrasse Tyson interviewing Chris Hadfield on the newest podcast episode of Startalk.  And I thought, okay, maybe it just takes about 2 months to get used to running on a surface that doesn't move, and now I get to improve my distance and maybe even speed instead of teaching myself how to run on concrete again.  

And then I went for a run this morning.  And I felt like shit.  

To be fair, I only felt terrible for the first 2 miles.  I was out of breath after the first mile, and my body felt like lead.  I slowed to a walk twice, and seriously questioned my decision to get up at 6am after a poorly rested night so I could run while no one's watching.  And that didn't even work; there were way too many runners (and their dogs) on the road, and other random people who just happen to be up ridiculously early on a Saturday morning.  Throw in the outside folks who gathered here for graduation weekend, who happened to be the only people who stared at my matching color outfit (other runners don't care), and the beastly sun who decided to come out strong before 9 am, I might as well run in the middle of the afternoon when everyone else is out.

Anyways, I had a hard time this morning because I was poorly rested, and that's that.  Still put damp on my nice running streak this week but oh well.  I started listening to audiobooks on my runs now, since I'm all caught up on my runnable podcasts.  Currently I'm listening to the dramatized version of Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book, which features Sir Derek Jacobi as the narrator, and Neil Gaiman, among other people, doing the voices for the different characters.  I can just listen to Derek Jacobi's voice forever.  I like it when his voice is outright gay, and I like it when it's less camp.  It's silky smooth and so endearing, and if I didn't care about the story I could just zone out and just bask in his voice.  But the story is interesting too, and since I don't really read fiction anymore this is really a good chance for me to immerse myself in a fantasy world.  

On Friday morning I went to a morning PE class offered by the college.  The instructor was kind enough to let me try a class before I officially sign up for the summer term.  I really did this so I don't have to pay $200 for a summer yoga pass that would give me nothing but extra pressure to schedule my summer around going as many classes as I can to get my money's worth.  So instead after much agonizing thinking I somehow convinced myself that getting up early 4 days a week to attend a 6am morning class that include spinning, free weights, and weight training is the best alternative.  There are many reasons that led to my decision but it still sound like a crack of an idea.  It's only for the summer and I think it will do me more good.

But what it boils down to is this: I'm running as much as I can now and I really love it.  I don't know if I will be running in the upcoming half-marathon in October, or exactly what my goal is, but I don't want to give it up.  And in order to run as best as I can, I need to improve on other areas of my fitness.  Flexibility is very important, and thankfully I do yoga regularly so I've got that covered.  But I also need to do weight lifting to strength my muscles and core and areas that are not directly affected by running, so I need to lift weights, or something along that line.  And since I have no self discipline and no ability to clear enough space out of my pigsty of an apartment to even roll out a yoga mat, I have to do it in the gym, and I don't know how.  And that's where the classes come in.

It just really sucks that all the available PE classes offered in the summer term happen during crappy time.  In order to attend most of them you either have to skip lunch or ditch work early, and I don't want to do either.  And that leaving late afternoons and early mornings.  Since none of the anaerobic classes are offered in the late afternoons, I'm forced to make the decision that I will just have to enjoy the summer mornings more and take a morning class.  And why take two classes so I'll have to be up early 4 days a week?  Because doing only 2 days will probably kill me since I will never develop a workable routine this way.  We still got 2 weeks before the classes start, but it's pretty much settled, and I want to get up early in the summer anyway.

I better look fabulous after this summer.

Plantar fasciitis is still bothering me after every run, and I ice my foot afterwards each time.  Because of this it hasn't set full on, but I really hope I can keep it at bay so I don't get cripple for another summer.  Stretch! Strengthen! I really don't need the inflammation and the pain thank you.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Exercise Diary: I'm back, it's back

Weekends are for long runs during times you would not normally be out.  And I'm glad that I took advantage of my weekend.  Yesterday morning I got up extra early and went to the next town over to do my favorite loop, and today I tried to do some fartlek around my usual pond.  I really need it too to burn of all the delicious I ate in the past week.

After many last minute yoga classes and pond runs, I spent 6 blissful days in New Orleans, where my lab mate and I attended this years American Society of Microbiology conference and did all the touristy things one would do in New Orleans.  There were 4 days of overwhelmingly vast choices of workshops and talks and vender and posters to attend and look at, we each presented a poster detailing our work, and got really excited about microbiology in general and our research specifically.

But perhaps more fun were the things we did outside of the conference.  We went up and down Bourbon way too many times since our hotel was right in the heart of the French Quarter and a block away from Bourbon, went to the French Market, visited many pubs and bars, looked around in many galleries and antique shops, and took many pictures.  But the reason for my runs, and the things that I was most akin to, were the southern food.  Surprisingly only very few meals I ate there consisted of fried food; somehow I managed to avoid that for the large part.  But I did make a point to eat as much seafood as possible, because why not?  So after these blissful days I managed to try beignets, alligator sausage, po-boys, gumbo (many many times, it's my favorite!!), étouffée (which tasted just like gumbo), oysters, catfish, and many other delicious things.  Not to mentions the cocktails and beers I tried every chance I got.  Unfortunately apart from the Hurricane we had on our first night there, none of the other cocktails (including a very expensive absinthe drink that was way overpriced) gave me any buzz.  At least now I know now how these traditional New Orleans drinks taste.

Both my lab mate and I were absolutely disgusted at ourselves by the end of the trip for how much we ate and how lavishly we ate.  I could feel that one of my shirts became noticeably tighter.  Surprisingly after I got home I found my weight stayed within a reasonable fluctuation of what I normally weigh, and after not eating any real meals for two days after coming back (there was no food in the apartment and I was too afraid to go shopping on an empty stomach, and I was abnormally exhausted after coming back), I actually lost a pound.  Perhaps I didn't eat as much junk food as I thought I had.  After all I did eat a lot of soup (gumbo).

But it was time to go back to regular exercising.  Although I brought my gym clothes and running shoes to New Orleans I didn't get any chance to go running.  The hotel gym closes at 11pm every night and apparently that just wasn't late enough for all the things we ended up doing every night.  On our second to last day I saw many people out running along the tram tracks that go through the middle of the road and those people made me happy.  For one, there are runners in New Orleans, and for another, none of them were very fast (though they all looked very fit).  It's probably the humidity that slowed those people down, or maybe where I am from people are just more into running as a whole.  Either way I was very happy to see them and if I had stayed for another week I would definitely join them.

Did 3.5 miles yesterday and honestly it wasn't as bad as I had thought.  I was going extra slow at first since I didn't want to burn out again after mile 1 with its steep downhill and grueling uphills, and surprisingly I managed to do the whole run without any walking.  Granted the entire thing was slow, and I wasn't really concentrating on my run since I went back to my podcast listening, but it was nice and cloudy and breezy, and I had a good time outside enjoying a beautiful town early in the morning. People were extra friendly too, every cyclist, runner, and other early risers who saw me waved or smiled at me, and I really appreciated the comradery.  On my way back I even saw one of my students running too.  Since they were taking their finals later that day I guess it's her way of de-stress.

Today I couldn't get up early enough for a run so I resorted to the pond in between my experiment.  I've long given up the idea of me lifting or doing HIIT exercises so I thought doing fartlek or interval running to increase fat burning would by my way to burn more fat.  But maybe I over did it today.  By the second lap I could feel a sharp pain surging from the bottom of my right foot and all I could think of it, oh no, my plantar fasciitis is back.  I'm not sure if it ever fully went away but I haven't had the cropping pain in a long time and my foot hasn't bothered me in a big way after my runs for a while.  Maybe given my weight at the moment and the pressure I put on my legs and feet when I try to run too fast is just not a good idea.  I will still do intervals but maybe I shouldn't push myself too hard.  I just hope today's little episode won't turn into something bigger.  I don't want to spend another summer not running and procrastinating on stretching out my plantar fasciitis.  Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Exercise Diary: Sweaty Summer

Went to yoga yesterday and the class was packed.  I guess since most of the classes were canceled yesterday on campus due to the holiday, people did most of their sunbathing during the day and decided it was time to go to yoga in the evening.

Worse, because of the holiday there was no public transportation.  So instead of rushing to finish my experiment (yes I still worked) so I could catch the bus, I had to speed walk to the studio only to find that the only empty spots in the classroom were way in the front.  So for the first time I did yoga in the front row and I guess it was okay.

Basically I was wet from before the class started to way after it was over.  I broke into a sweat walking to the studio, I soaked my shirt and my towel during the class, and after we were done it started to rain outside so I was wet again while walking home.

And for some reason I decided to do about 30 squats (got to have a booty to fit into nice shorts right?) while cooking dinner last night and my thighs today were hurting like I had never excised before yesterday.  So much so that I chickened out again today and only did two laps around the pond (2 miles).

I again decided not to bring my visor today and again it was a mistake.  The sun was beaming, and it was very very warm.  Nice breeze, but still very hot.  While running I could feel sweat dripping down my forehead and neck, but it wasn't until after my run while stretching that I realized the low back of my shirt was completely soaked.  So is my bra, and basically my whole upper body.  I think next time I need to bring a change of clothe so I don't walk home wet again.  Gross.

I feel like I've become weaker since I started running outside.  Today was probably because of my sore thighs, but I felt like I was ready to be done barely half way into my first-miler.  That was an ego crusher.  about 0.8 mile I decided to do a little fartlek and ran toward some arbitrary land mark before succumb to a walk.  And that was about 10 minutes of running so I guess I was sort of doing my 10K training maybe.  I did two more run-relatively-fast-then-jogged-for-a-bit-and-walk thing before deciding that 2 miles is good enough for today.

Listened to fast music again, all of them at least a few years old now but familiar and comforting.  I really don't understand, other than for safety reasons maybe, why many races don't allow the runners to wear headphones.  I don't find the music distracting from my running and breathing, rather I think it helped me to focus.  I sort of simultaneously tune into the music and zone out of it.  I could feel my breathing but couldn't hear how excruciating it sounds, which in truth is a discouraging distraction.

My coworker forwarded me an email today about a half-marathon in November.  I was tempted because of the swag, but I just don't think I can make a commitment right now.  And after today's run I really don't think I'm ready either.  While I know that I need a goal so I don't always run the crappy 2 miles when I get myself around that pond, I think a half-marathon (whether it's just finishing or finishing within its time limit) is a bit out of my reach.  It's a good goal theoretically, but I think in truth I would just be afraid of it and do what I always do when I'm afraid: procrastinate.  And that will not be helpful.  So we'll see.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Exercise Diary: So much for that 10K app

First day back at running.  Did 2.5 miles in my new Saucony Kinvara 5 (the awesome blue kind with trippy green shoe laces).  Not a good run but at least I made myself go around the pond 3 times.

Today I also tried the 10K app I recently downloaded.  It's developed by the same people who made the popular C25K app, so I thought it would be really helpful.  For the 10K app they essentially extended their methodology, and employed the same run-walk-run strategy.  And it theoretically made sense.  Since I could run a 5K if I really wanted to, I started from the week 9 program, which was run 10-minute walk 1-minute for about 4 times.

In reality it didn't work quite well.  With the new shoes and my recently opened body I went way to quickly in the first 10 minutes, which actually felt really great, until I got bored/tired around minute 8 and thought, oh no, this is not going to go well.  Although the 10K app is supposed to be compatible with Nike+ and a bunch of music apps like Spotify and Pandora, it didn't work too well with my non-traditional app, and instead of voice signaling my walking break, the music simply dimmed for 2 seconds.  You eventually get used to that, but it could be very confusing at first.  Naturally I missed my first break.

I tried to make it up by walking for about a minute and keep running, but it threw off my whole rhythm.  Plus the sudden stopping to walk really messed up my breathing.  The rest of my run consisted of pain in the diaphragm, irregularity in my heart beat, and a general decline in stamina and speed.

All in all the app didn't do anything to my advantage.

Not sure if I'm going to continue using this program.  I could theoretically do my own run-walk-run routine using landmarks on my route as signals, or I could just run the whole time for a long as I could.

The new shoes felt really good actually.  I had been very unhappy with them since I had a hard time making them fit, but after wearing them for a while and adjusting the lacing they became a natural extension to my feet which is nice.  My feet didn't really hurt that much during today's run, and although the size-9.5 shoes look really big they felt like a really good fit.  I think they are a keeper.

Other thoughts:

  • Up until I went out in my running gear it was cloudy all day.  So although I brought my new visor I decided not to use it.  And I immediately regretted that decision as soon as I stepped out.  The sun peered throughout the cloud and was very bright, and although there was a very nice breeze it was still very hot.  
  • The right side of my forehead and neck sweat more than my left side.  This is no longer a new discovery but it was more prominent today.  I hate the feeling of sweat dripping down my neck and I don't think it is something that can be rescued by a visor.  Would I look really stupid if I run with a towel in one hand?
  • Ran today with a playlist of upbeat music, which I've almost never done before.  I always run with a podcast or an audio book.  But I think the upbeat music works a lot better.  For one I don't really have to pay attention to it.  In fact sometimes I deliberately ignore it.  But the fast beat helps with the mood and my breathing, and is not as distracting from the actual running.  
  • I found it to be quite helpful if I focus a lot on my breathing during the run.  I guess it's kind of like yoga, you have to make sure you are breathing deeply no matter what you are doing.  Although that idea kind of failed toward the end, but I think overall if I focus on the actual running rather than actively trying to ignore it by engaging more in what I'm listening I would feel less tired too early on.

Exercise Diary: Saturday Fun

Went to yoga again today, this time with a new friend.  I told a bunch of people about the yoga studio I joined and while many expressed interested she was the only one who actually wanted to take a class.  We had to work around her schedule a bit but it's kind of touching that she still wants to do it given that she's leaving here in a short while so there won't be a chance of her becoming a regular member.

Which is why I went to a yoga class on Saturday, something I don't think I've ever done, and two days after my last class.

It was a nice class.  We had a substitute instructor which is always nice since new teachers bring their own style and series of poses and their own way of explaining how to do things.  We did a bunch of sun salutations but added in a bunch of balancing poses and side plank variations, which killed me.  But I really like the change in the style that I'm more familiar to.

I again sweated more that I have ever done.  My shirt was soaked all the way through and half way through the class I began to have sweat dripping down from my forehead down my face.  But I think my body is more used to the work now, I no long feel like I've regressed to the beginning of last year with my joints all tensed up and inflexible.

Afterwards for the first time I didn't immediately go back to my apartment and shower.  Instead my friend and I went to a small fair hosted by a bunch of asian societies on campus where they had free food and games.  We replenished all the calories we burned with bubble tea, aloe juice, strawberry mochi, and fruits.  I was way too full for kabob or rich balls, since I was still digesting the chicken I had two hours before my class.  With food we also played the board game go and the toy shuttlecock, and as we were leaving I felt a sense of happiness and slight nostalgia, this overall warm feeling that I haven't had in a long time.  It was very satisfying.  Maybe with the exception of having another round of go with a better player I didn't have the painful feeling of not wanting the whole thing to end, but it brought me back to a fantasy childhood that I could never go back to since it was nothing but a collection of chunky happy moments.  Anyway that combined with the endorphins released from the yoga exercise made my afternoon very very happy.

Things on my mind:

  • Going to New Orleans next weekend for a conference and I'm super excited now.  Feeling slightly guilty since I'm way more excited about the fun things I want to do in the city rather than the conference itself.  But I've never been to New Orleans and it will just be a shame if I miss the culture.  I anticipate being drunk and sleep deprived the whole time I'm there but if that's how i'm going to squeeze work and play in then I guess that'll have to do.
  • My new shoes arrived yesterday.  I'm now not so into Kinvara 5 anymore since the shoes don't seem to fit perfectly.  I returned my size 9 pair for 9.5 since the 9 were way too tight, and now I feel that the 9.5 may be too big.  I haven't run in them yet (will do tomorrow) but now I'm getting a bit tantrum-y because the shoes are being so difficult.  I think this will be the last time I invest a lot of my consciously deciding on what running shoes I'm going to buy.  My Saucony Cohesion cost $38 and I had never tried them on before buying and now I got almost 100 miles on them.  They were by far my most satisfactory purchase.  Go figures.  
  • It's still quite chilly here in New England but New Orleans will be hot hot hot!  Which reminded me again of how fat I still am and cannot really look good in any summer clothes and i hate that.  I really need to be harder on myself about losing weight with both exercise and diet.  I have way too much to lose and not enough will power to lose it all.  I don't think it will happen in time for my trip but I really hope that sometimes before the end of summer I will be able to go out feeling good and confident about how I look in summer clothes.  My birthday is coming up and I just don't want to wasted too many years felling shitty about my body before I get too old.  

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Exercise Diary: Yoga again

The past month and half has been hellish.  Even since I started TAing I had neither the time nor energy to do anything else.  It's not just the big time commitment that I all of a sudden had, it's also the physical exhaustion after doing all the extra work and the mental exhaustion that also tags along.  I had at least two teaching lab related dream (neither were nightmares but still 2 too much).

So as my actual research work falls behind, naturally my exercise routine also went out of wack.

I can see from my blogging history that I have not written anything for over a month now, but from my Nike record I have been running slightly more regularly.  None of the runs were particularly good, or fast, or anything worth writing anything down.  The only thing about my recent runs is that they are almost exclusively done outdoors, which means beautiful scenery.  I did take many pictures on the road, which also meant that I wasn't fully paying attention to the running.  None of the runs were good either.  They were slow, they were short, and none of them made me feel any better or stronger.  And since I decided to not run the half-marathon (which would be this weekend), I really had no specific milage goals for my runs either.

But TA is almost over (last lab finished this week, still a few more grading and things to be done before I'm finally liberated), and the mental pressure has significantly gone down.  Especially this week I found myself particularly free and eventless in the evenings and I have been sleeping a lot more.  I recently bought a new pair of running shoes (the much raved Saucony Kinvara 5) that will be arriving tomorrow and I'm really excited about it.  And I went to yoga today for the first time since beginning of April.

It's probably the weather, but one of the first things I noticed was that I had never sweated as much in a yoga class as today and that was kind of alarming.  I expected having my butt kicked, and I did, but having sweat dripping from my forehead was not one of my anticipations.  But it wasn't until more than half way through the class that I felt like someone who has had lots of yoga classes for the past year and half.  Toward the end I finally felt that I have properly opened my body and was rewarded with the familiar feeling of energy flowing through my body and actually feeling good after a particular series of moves.  And I hope this will be the beginning of a lot more regularly attended classes.  I made a yoga class date with a friend for Saturday, and I bought another 10-class pass, so yoga is so back on!

And running tomorrow.  I will run tomorrow.  I downloaded a 10K workout app that will give me about 5 weeks of regular running plans, and I will buy the half-marathon app after that.  I don't know if I will be ready to try this year's CHaD half marathon in October, but whether or not I'm actually running it I really need the goal to get real training.  So as summer approaches (finally!), as the spring school term ends, I will finally go back to a more regular exercise schedule, and hopefully, life.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Exercise Diary: Being afraid

Today was the first time I went back running after my first road run of the year.  That road run was hard, in that my legs were sore for days afterwards that made me feel like I had not done any running at all since I stopping running outside last year.

The weather never got warm enough to run outside again but I had not done any running otherwise.  Life happened and I used that as an excuse to not go.  I was sleep deprived so every day when I got home all I wanted to do was take a nap.  Last week I was overwhelmed with work stuff that I decided to focus on my diet instead of spending hours after work going to the gym.  I did manage to shake off a few stubborn pounds by eating very little in the evenings and very early.  I told myself that if I feel lighter I would have an easier time exercising.

My parens came 2 weeks ago and brought a bunch of stuff that I didn't get to take with me when I got back from my winter vacation.  With two more suitcases in my room I no longer had space to roll out my yoga mat so I didn't do any other exercises either besides running.

All of this was fueled by the fact that even when I had the time and energy to go to the gym and run a few miles, I was afraid that I would get tired, or that it was take up too much time before and after (like now; I got home before 10 and now it's 10:40 and I still haven't showered or changed).  It's not just putting on my gym clothes and go running.  It's making sure that I'm not too full or too hungry before I go, the stretching and doing other exercise videos after coming home, the writing of the blog, and the constant debate of whether I should eat something because on the one hand I feel that I deserve food after exercise but on the other hand I really don't deserve that much food.  It's not like I ran a marathon or something.

Life finally went back to normal for a bit.  On Friday we assembled the graded exams which took up a lot of my time last week.  I had a very relaxed and unproductive weekend which made me slightly guilty but at the same time absolutely happy.  I ate way too much over the weekend because of an awesome shopping trip to Trader Joe's, and all of these culminated to my determination and actual execution of going to the gym.  I wasn't very hard on myself and only did 2 miles.  I stopped because my legs were tired.  They felt tight and sore and I thought I would allow myself some time to get back into the load I was doing before.  After coming home I did Cassey Ho's new squat challenge video which was a very intense few minutes but felt absolute heaven.  I need to clear out my room so I could have enough space to do other videos later but hopefully today was a nice beginning of getting back into my old workout routine.  It's almost May and this month has gone so quickly in so many ways while being so slow in other, but I don't think I will see a significant change in my body shape when I'm ready to take a new picture of myself.  I'm not terribly worried, but I would like to change faster.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Exercise Diary: Something different

At some point last month I reached my one year runniversary.  It was toward the end of March, I was getting emails about a 5K to raise money for cystic fibrosis (this year it's a walk instead), my parents came to visit (they did again last weekend), and I just had this overwhelming urge to give this running thing one last try.

And here we are today.  Granted about 6 months within the last year I spent thinking about running and nursing an injury, and dreaming a lot about running marathons someday and buying fancy shoes and other gears.  I lost 10 lbs but am having trouble losing more.  It's still a struggle to balance everything but at least I'm moving.

Went for a run on Sunday (after my parents left) and a run yesterday.  Both were hard for different reasons.  I had trouble getting through 5 miles on Sunday, and I wasn't able to, leaving the gym 5 minutes before closing and not getting the run I needed.  I kept stopping to walk, and changing the channels.  There was nothing on TV that would keep me calm and occupied for the hour, and I had trouble keeping myself entertained.

Yesterday I did my first road run.  The weather forecast reported low 70s and I thought, finally~  I didn't go far; I had to do 3 miles and I ended up running around the pond next to our building 3 times since it's close by, the laps are easier to remember, and if something goes wrong I could easily stop and go back.  I had prepared to bring my shoes (with the Nike+ sensor), bra and  pants to change, Garmin Forerunner 10, my cap and my SPI belt.  I actually brought everything but the shoes...  I put them in a bag and forgot about them.  Luckily I was wearing sneakers that day anyway and I had run in them so they are somewhat safe.  I did manage to loop the pond 3 times, the watch worked fine, the podcast was interesting, the weather accommodating (windy and cloudy but not too hot or cold), and plenty of people who had the same idea as me looping the pond in both directions.

It was only then I realized that my runs on the treadmill was getting me very, very complacent.  I was struggling toward the end of first mile, received a mild shock at the concept of hills, had to stop and walk toward the end of mile 2, and my legs (thighs, butt, calves, and surprisingly only a little of the feet) are still hurting quite a bit this morning.  I had to readjust my running pose to something more comfortable for road running where I actually had to push myself more to move ahead on immobile ground (so I had to lean forward more), I was painfully aware of how hard my feet were pounding the ground and legs not raised much.  My cap was absorbing most of my sweat but I was still stuffy.  But my eyes had so much more to see: the people, the scenery, the incoming cars...  I think I will stick to the pond for a bit more until I get used to outdoor running before moving to somewhere more hilly and farther from home.  I also need to start bringing a water bottle.

On the flip side, I spent way too much time yesterday (during work and after) struggling with modern technology, everything from a stupid printer to my various sports devices and music players.  By the end, I connected my computer to another printer, decided that Nike+ on any Android device (maybe with the exception of Samsung, which I don't use) is just useless, wrote to Nike+ support so they can deal with another issue I was trying to resolve, updated my computer, bought myself a new (refurbished) iPod Touch (just for the heck of it, and at 2 am when I was extremely exhausted), and am still behind on work.

And I'm exhausted this morning, catching up on blogging.

I really hope the rest of the week is going to be better.  It's been a long week and it's only Tuesday.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Exercise Diary: Need more data~

A friend of mine defended this thesis today and officially became a Ph.D.  Juxtaposing that with the fact that I have not been doing a lot of lab work due to my TA schedule and my inability to compartmentalize my mind and focus on things in front of me, made me feel on the one hand extremely proud him and on the other hand slightly worried for myself.

Anyhoo, in order to go celebrate his successful defense I skipped yoga today, had some champaign which was for some reason much stronger than I anticipated (probably because I was drinking on an empty stomach), and then ingested an obscene amount of cake, chips and salsa, and veggies with yummy ranch dressing.  I got home with a headache and was absolutely exhausted.  Took a nap and really struggled to go to the gym afterwards.

I did only 2.5 miles today, just to save the long run for the weekend.  Given how tired I was when I got up and how much junk food I had in my stomach I did not anticipate that I would have an excellent run.  But it just felt... really easy.  My foot didn't bother me, I felt energetic, and I felt really comfortable going up to higher speeds.  I was pleasantly surprised how short my run felt, and I had a blast watching a documentary on wildlife in Russia on the Animal Planet channel.

And I can't really figure out why.  I had assumed that because of the stress, the slacking of fluid intake, the lack of sleep, and my general decline in running ability had contributed to my recent struggle every time I get on the treadmill.  Maybe I was mentally less tired today since I knew it was going to be a short run (but I was still afraid of it)?  I can't quite figure out what was different about me today.  I got about 6.5 hours of sleep last night, plus another 1.5 or so hours before going.  I ate oatmeals for breakfast, a vegetarian lunch, and about 2.5 L of water before the cake and snack fiasco.  I took my daily vitamins right after I got home.  I don't consider that a wild stray from my normal daily routine.

I don't know what made today so easy.

After I got home I did two Ballet Beautiful videos: swam arms and butt series 1.  I wasn't in the mood of trying anything new today, and both were a struggle but after many pauses and stretches and coconut water I managed thru them both.  I wanted to do another abs video from blogilates but I was tired, and it was getting late.  So maybe tomorrow. I think since tomorrow is not a running day I will do legs and abs and something else.

Wednesday morning I tried to do a video before leaving for school.  It was a new video too and that wasn't very smart.  I forgot why I decided to do it, probably to make up for not doing anything on Tuesday (granted I didn't leave lab until 10:30 for TA stuff and had to get up for the 8:45 am the next day).  I didn't get through the entire video due to time and lack of strength, but yesterday was also a long day and I felt much more energetic.  I was hungrier faster, but I wasn't tired, and I think the morning exercise may have something to do with it.  I just couldn't get up this morning to try again, but I will repeat this experiment someday.

It's almost the weekend!  My parents are coming to visit so I will have to plan my time carefully, but they will bring me yummy food, and we are going to see ballet together and all of us are very much looking forward to it.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Exercise Diary: Setbacks

What I did today:

  • 4 miles on the treadmill
    • The only thing I was proud of was that I stayed on the treadmill till I hit the 4-mile mark.  I walked twice in between, and I was just really tired the while time.  My foot was hurting by mile 2, and that made me wary of going any faster.  I'm not sure what it was, I can only attribute it to a general decline in fitness.
  • first half of the Ballet Beautiful swam arms series
    • I thought it makes a lot of sense that on running days I would also work on my arms so my legs don't suffer too much.  But I neglected the fact that I did the same video yesterday and I was feeling its effect all day today.  I managed to work through the first half of the video before calling it a day.  I could go on if I wanted, but I didn't want to.  I would probably feel very sorry tomorrow if I did.
  • Ballet Beautiful Out Thigh
    • To make up for the incomplete of the first video I decided to look for another BB workout to make up for it.  I picked this one since it was short and the targeted outer thigh didn't seem too bad.  And it wasn't.  I mean, my legs were feeling both like lead and on fire when I worked on each, and I needed prolonged stretching after each set so I don't cramp, but after the workout I don't feel my legs so much anymore.  It's not like I can't walk or anything. 
  • Blogilates Quick Ab workout
    • After all that I felt that I really should work on my abs for a bit since I've been neglecting this area.  Mostly because it's hard and I can't do crunches or whatever you do for very long.  There are so many ab videos on Blogilates that I ended up just picking a random one, which despite being a 10 minute video was actually very short, since it only had two moves and worked to a 3:14-long song.  I still couldn't do it the whole way through and had to take breaks in between and didn't even bother to pause the video.  I'm feeling my abs and I think that's enough for the day.
About this time last month I stood in front of my full-length mirror in my gym clothes and took a picture of myself.  I had great ambition and hope that in one month, combining running and doing Blogilates workout and a modified diet I would change my weight and body shape somewhat, and I would document my progress.  I didn't expect to be all lean and skinny after just one month, but I did the same thing in front of the mirror today (not the same gym clothes though), and I don't think I saw any changes.  If anything I think I may look even bigger and wider than last month.  I don't think my weight had changed.  I would like to think that I had lost a pound or two but it's not very noticeable.  I think given some more time the changes will become more apparent, but this has been a very disappointing month.  I'm still adjusting.  And I feel there was progress.  But there's no proof.  Oh well.  I guess it's a good thing that winters are so long here; I still have some time before I no longer have my jacket to cover up my body of shame.  

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Exercise Diary: Making it up as I go along

I'm still feeling the effect of my butt workout from yesterday.  The glute muscles themselves weren't really effected as much as I would have liked, but the leg muscles around my butt are very sore.  And because I'm a sucker for quick results, I'm thinking maybe I should incorporate some of this Ballet Beautiful workout into my routine as well, since they provide a longer, more gradual workout that make you feel really tired at the end but does not make you want to kill yourself (not as much) during the process.  It's just long and repetitive, like a slow long run day.  But mostly I'm tempted by the quick and really obvious results that everyone raving about.  Since there are only about 5 or 6 videos available online (each targeting a different area of the body) I feel that I could incorporate them into my routine, rather than completely having them replacing my old stuff.

That, of course, has its own dangers.  One of the things I like about Blogilates is that Cassey gives you a calendar at the beginning of each month, charting out what you need to do every day.  Or in my case, a beginner's workout calendar.  Not that I had successfully followed it for an entire month, nor have I done everything it asked for, but at least it gave me an objective list of workout that I should be able to complete and often time that pushes me to a limit I would not otherwise go.  That's my point.  If I start making my own list I would either become too complacent, or too ambitious, and neither is really good.

But that's what we are going to do anyway.  Today I had no specific plan as to what videos I should do.  It's not a running day, and I've given up the hope to get my butt to the gym for an elliptical session since it's never enough motivation to get up dressed up and head out of the door.  So instead I just started with a video, and another, until I was properly sweating, and a reasonable amount of time has gone by.  In this case, about 40 minutes.  If I spend 40 minutes on the treadmill I would probably run 2.8 miles.  And I think that's pretty good for my first improv workout day.

In those 40 minutes I completed:
Ballet Beautiful: Ab workout for a slim waistline
  Since I worked quite a bit on my butt yesterday, and I am doing the April arms challenge, I thought a nice ab workout would be nice.  And it was only 7 minutes, so I had hoped that it would be short but intense.  Well, it was short.  And I don't know if I'm just not doing the moves right, or whatever, I didn't really feel my abs burning.  Rather my upper thighs got a heavy dose and were hurting by the end.  Not a very satisfying workout; I didn't even break a sweat or lost control with my breathing.  Maybe I'll stick with Blogilates for the abs, but I'll wait and see how intense the legs and hips video is.  Those are usually pretty intense.
Ballet Beautiful: Strong&Sexy Swan Arms Workout
  I broke my own taboo and did an arm video next.  I already did my arms challenge for today and really didn't feel a thing.  I knew this video was going to be good since my friend had done it before and said it was brutal.  It's long too, about 17 minutes.  And she filled the entire 17 minutes with endless swan arms and its variations.  It was brutal.  My arms felt like lead by the end of the workout and I assume I will feel them quite acutely tomorrow.  But it's about an hour after I did the arms video and my arms no longer feel like lead.  I can feel every muscles, as all of them got a proper workout, but so far no horrific sore like that Blogilates video I did last week (1 minute of half cobra push-up + 1 minute of triangle push-up can make the back of your arms hurt for a week and I'm not kidding).  But overall very satisfying and will definitely do it again, maybe on running days.
Blogilates 10 min butt lift challenge
  Broke my taboo again.  This is part of the April 1 workout, which was all about butts and hips.  I thought, why not.  It's evident that I'm not going to follow everything on the calendar, and I might as well start with 4/1 again even though it's already 4/5 (how time flies already).  This video was made a few months back as part of the 30-day butt challenge, and therefore I was familiar with all the moves.  It was intense, especially after the workout I already had yesterday.  I was able to do most of the video except the very end when Cassey totally surprised me after the bridge pose and added the single leg bridges.  If I wasn't tired out I would attempt to make it to the end, but I just couldn't.  So I didn't.  For me it was more like a 9 minute butt lift challenge.  But whatever.
Blogiates Hips Butt&Thighs Super Shaper Workout
  It's also part of the 4/1 list.  There were two other bubble butt workout but I just couldn't.  This one had some other components that the workout targeted so I thought why not.  And it did.  Lots of leg circles and lifts and tapping the front and back and doing side planks (which I cannot do).  Also some back leg lift for butt.  Nothing to difficult to do (except the side planks) and my butt is seriously hurting now.  I was going to go for the full hour but after this I thought it was enough for a day.

The shower afterwards was really nice.

So that wasn't too bad.  I think using time instead of sets and reps and things to-do works much better, and I really should have known since it was applicable to running as well.  We'll just have to see how it will go during the weekend when shit again hits the fan and life spins into crazy mode.

Exercise Diary: Running Behind

I'm running behind on everything in life at the moment.  Running schedule, workout exercises, research, preparing for lab that I'm supposed to TA next week, filing my taxes, doing stuff for mom, laundry, writing this blog after each time I run or exercise, and even leisure books I wanted to read.  In fact the only things that I'm not behind are TA things or research things (or going to the movies) that require me to be at a certain place at a certain time.  Because there are consequences if I don't show up on time.  And even when I'm physically there I'm not always prepared to do whatever I'm supposed to be doing.  When I don't have to be somewhere I waste my time just relaxing, being tired, and procrastinating in general.

I did manage to get two runs in this week, neither of which I have recorded, since I had to be somewhere right afterwards so I didn't have the luxury of sitting around, writing a blog post, shower, eat, and sitting around some more.  I ran on Thursday, and had an hour to come home and shower before going to lab again to set up some stuff for one of the undergrads in our lab.  And today I went running again, only to have the same time crunch afterwards so I could make to the 4pm movie of "Paddington" which I really wanted to see (and it was totally worth the $5).

And I didn't even have enough time to do all my running.  I was supposed to do 3 miles on Thursday and only did about 2.8 before I had to go.  And I was supposed to run 4 miles but only had time to do 3.2.  Today was a combination of being really tired and being short on time.  I again timed my lunch wrongly so I was sort of running on a full stomach and felt heavy and tired.  Neither run felt very satisfying or accomplished.  My only accomplishment this week is dragging my butt to the gym twice.  What I ended up doing in there was nothing to brag about.

So today I made the decision of starting last week over again in terms of my training schedule.  Even since I knew for sure that I'm not doing a half marathon in May I could feel a slight but definite drop in motivation (albeit masked by my suddenly busy schedule), and I think not going running on Monday was a very telling sign.  I want to keep adhering to my training plan, even though I have no race at the end, but I just want to be constantly preparing for something in case a race shows up, and I just really need the discipline.  Otherwise I will just be randomly running for some undetermined distance at some leisure speed, and I would be running for month without real progress.  I really need the structure and something to guide me.  I just hope I will stick to it now that there is no consequence at the end of the plan.  When I reach the end I will just start a new plan, one that probably will prepare me for something hypothetical marathon I may or may not be running in December.  But I want to keep it up.  It's important to me.

Today I also did a Ballet Beautiful butt workout, courtesy of a friend who's been doing that series of videos for a while now.  Apparently it's very good at getting rid of inches and sculpting good arm and leg shapes in a very short period of time.  I still don't understand the science behind "getting rid of inches" and what is actually going on behind that, but I can only assume that the workout burns a lot more calories since they are very intense.  A lot of the moves in this video were not unfamiliar to me, but of course there are always ways to make them more difficult given enough time.  I definitely felt my legs and glute muscles after the workout, but I don't think I benefitted as much as I could by following the instructor at her speed.  She was able to do all the moves so quickly and effortlessly, and it was sort of implied that we the students should really take our own time with the reps and the stretching in between, but since it was my first time I was determined to follow all her lead, and found that in order to keep up with her speed I couldn't carry out all the moves and reps fully.  Next time if I ever will repeat this video I will definitely do the reps at my own pace.  But I did end up taking a second shower of the day after this video and was walking a little more carefully, so it's definitely working, regardless of how carelessly I was doing all the moves.

I'm still in the process of reassessing my life for this term, how to balance the sudden intrusion of my time, ensuring a proper and healthy diet (I've already eaten more junky meals than I liked), and keep a reasonable workout schedule, since I think that's very important to my sanity as well.  I need to suck it up and just do everything.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Exercise Diary: Yoga and Life

Yoga Tuesday again.  This will be the last Tuesday of this term that I will be going to yoga classes.  Starting next week I will have lab sessions to TA every Tuesday night.  We've agreed to move our yoga day to Thursday, but we'll see how that goes.  I foresee a lot of missed classes ahead.

And for once in a long time I actually skipped running yesterday.  I even planned to go run.  The gym  is now in full spring term hours, which means that it opens until 10 pm.  And because of that I had planned to be in lab until after 7 so I would have time for everything.

Time I did have, energy I did not.  I was exhausted by the time I left lab, I just could muster the energy to run.  Plus my calves and ankles were sore ( much better now, it really was just muscle soreness), and my plantar fasciitis is getting quite bad ( my foot is hurting right now).  I considered it very wise to have skipped gym yesterday.  But it also means that my schedule is again completely screwed up and I will probably postpone the training plan by another week.

Not that it matters anymore.  Yesterday my friend had confirmed that she will not be running the half marathon we had planned to do.  Although she said she would be happy to go with me, I quickly called off the plan too.  It's a week before I had to leave for a conference, and right in the middle of the last third of my TA.  And I just don't think I could have the time and energy to worry about it.  I thought that the cancellation of my running goal would not affect my routine, but apparently it has.

I don't think it's the only reason though.  Although I had anticipated that I will all of a sudden become very busy because I'm TAing again this term, I had not factored in how mentally and physically exhausted I would be.  And this is ridiculous: it's only the second day of the term and I had not taught any students, graded any papers, or dealt with any problems.  So far all I did was attend a TA meeting, a lecture, and a lab prep training session, and I'm already constantly exhausted and overwhelmed.  I think part of it was that because time is all of a sudden a commodity I was also trying to squeeze more experiments into certain days as others are increasing becoming unavailable.  That combined with the fact that I just don't do well if I have to get up early in the morning, is making me a very unhappy person.

And because of it I fear that my workout routine also has to change to accommodate my new (but temporary) life.  I will have to come to terms with not running as much or work out as much.  I will also have to be more efficient.  If it takes me an hour to run a certain distance, I will just have to shave off time for before and after I go so working out doesn't take up 3 hours of my life that I don't have.  And I also need to be careful of my diet since I tend to over eat and eat unhealthily when I'm tired or stressed, and to moderate my fluid intake so I will still drink a lot of water every day but will not have to go pee every 5 minutes when I'm supposed to be doing TA stuff.  The peeing part worked pretty well today, but the fluid intake part did not.  I couldn't have drunk more than 1.5 liter today, and I already feel dry.

Before I started this week I was already overwhelmed with all the things I will have to do this term, and my response to myself was to just "suck it up."  There is just simply no other way.  And the motto remains, but I have to figure our how to suck it up smartly or I will completely fall apart in probably every way of my life.  I haven't worked out how to do it yet, but I will definitely keeping trying.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Exercise Diary: Sunday Restorative Yoga

It's not the first time I've gone to yoga classes on Sunday, but today is the first day I tried what they called the Flow and Restore yoga.  I went because my friend had a free birthday class she could either use herself or give it to a friend, and since she has the unlamented monthly pass, I got to be the lucky friend (and finally found out when her birthday was).

Since I always go to the same yoga classes on Tuesday afternoons, and rarely pick classes based on their names, I went in without really realizing how this class may be different than the other ones I always take.  But Flow and Restore was true to its name.  We went through a couple of rounds of downward dogs, did some warriors, and then spent much of the class in a bunch of restorative poses stretching or lying still.  We also got to use all the props they have in the studio, and this included the usual blocks, but also a big pillow called the bolster, and giant blankets (2 per person).  I did sweat, but in terms of a real workout I think I got none.

And I'm okay with that.  Originally I was supposed to run 5 miles today and I even had enough time before yoga to go to the gym if I wanted.  But Since Thursday's run my ankles and calves stayed sore even today.  Granted I tried to run barefoot on a treadmill when I stayed over at a friend's house, which didn't turn out too well since his treadmill was weird and kept stopping.  But however little I ran I did using just the front of my feet, and that combined with no support from shoes made my feet unhappy.  And I think that also contributed with the extra soreness of the calves.  I've only felt such pain once before, and that was after my first time ever of hiking, which took 6 hours and was way too hard for me.  That time I lost 5 pounds just from that one experience, and spend the next week having trouble going down stairs.  And now I feel the same way.  There is a step between the floor of my room and the bathroom, and I basically crash down that step every time I get out of the bathroom.  So I gladly decided to postpone the run (to next week) and decided I would do yoga, stretch, and relax.

Not sure if yoga helped with the soreness, but it certainly didn't hurt.  If I received no real injuries from I-don't-even-know-what-this-pain-means I should feel fine in a few days and will be fine.  Will still be running and whatnot, but don't want to  be too hard on my body.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Exercise Diary: what a day

Spring is finally here!  Need proof? Mud.  I actually stole the last bit off of a board somewhere on campus.  But it's true.  It's been raining all day today and we've moved on to snowy to muddy.  Not my favorite part of spring but I did go to the gym today with no heavy jacket or outer pants so...

So much happened today in terms of everything fitness.  So far today I've drunk about 3 liters of fluids (coffee and water) and still counting (I'll try to get down 3 14-oz mugs of tea before bedtime), which I've been doing all week but today I actually rigorously counted and timed my fluid intake.  My diet, however, fell short by about a mile since I ate nothing but spaghettios  all day (breakfast and lunch).  They are homemade and they were make this morning so at least there was no preservatives and they are fresh, but in terms of nutrition... well, telling yourself it's got protein from milk and cheese and veggie from the tomato sauce can only go so far.  Plus I way over ate and basically spent the whole working day today doing everything I could, short of self-induced vomiting, to get all this carb and fat out.  This included standing all day, walking around as much as possible, drinking a lot of water afterwards, and even doing squats while I was in the dark room developing some film for my experiments.

The good news is, I did manage to get some of it out before going to the gym.  I wasn't worried about feeling bloated or full while I run, but I just don't want to carry any extra weight if I can.

I also found these fat burning pills I bought way back when, that if you take them about an hour before your workout, they help increasing the amount of fat you burn.  They got good reviews when I bought them who-knows-when, and I figured that since I had some left I might as well take them before I go running.

I think part of its mechanism is to induce water loss right before your workout, and somehow quench your thirst during the workout, and I still haven't figured out if it does anything to you afterwards.  I don't feel that my belly or thighs getting extra warm or anything so I don't know if there are more fat being burnt, but the whole water loss at the beginning was unsettling.  I had thought I just drank too much water during the day and therefore I had to go to the bathroom more but what happened before I had to leave for the gym was unsettling.  I was afraid that I wouldn't last even a mile on the treadmill before I had to go again but thankfully somehow by the time I got on the treadmill my body went into no-i-don't-need-anymore-water-but-i-also-don't-need-to-get-rid-of-any mode.

So that was all weird, but my run today was fantastic.  I still weighed more than I did yesterday when I got on the treadmill (still lots of people today and the cardio machines were dangerously full but there was one for me and that was all it mattered), but my 4-mile run felt great.  The speed I usually run at felt easy and effortless, and I could just go on and on.  The only thing that bothered me was my right foot as I sped up, but I managed to stay at 5 mph for about 10 minutes before I forced myself to slow down as my run was approaching an end.  I really think I am getting better.

Watched an entire episode of Makers series on PBS on the women's movement.  It was the first of a two-parter (I think, there may be more than 2 parts so who knows), and it ended gloomily as the Equal Rights Amendment failed to be passed in the 70s and abortion clinics suffered severe harassment till today, but the show was narrated by Meryl Streep and ended on a promising note.  The second part advertised things like gay women's rights (featuring Ellen Degeneres) and some other exciting but now-forgotten topic I can't recall, so I think I'll actually go search for it on the PBS website and finish watching the two-parter.  But it was a remarkable show and at various points I found myself to be very emotional and almost cried, all while running of course.  It was weird.  But I guess after all the LOLs while watching various cop shows and sit-coms it's time for some opposite emotions.

After I got home I buckled down and did the Day 10 beginners pop pilates workout from Blogilates.  It consisted of some ab workout, bubble butt workout (which I also did on my own on Tuesday and was still feeling it), and a stretching video.  I also added a new arm workout that was part of new video Monday.  That video only had five moves and 1 minute each for each move, so it seemed easy (and short), but by the time I finished doing the arm circles and arm spears (which were too bad) and triangle and cobra push-ups (really really bad) I had absolutely no strength for alternating plank push-ups, as my arms started to involuntarily crashing down onto the floor.  So it was only a 4-minute workout for me.  My arms still hurt a lot and I had trouble pointing and clicking the right window on my computer screen afterwards.

Now I'm done.  Yay and it felt really good too.  Plus I'm feeling hungry as much carb-heavy lunch has finally passed through my colon.  No carbs tonight.  Okay maybe a little but definitely no spaghettios and no heavy dairy stuff mixed in.  Maybe some soba noodles.  Mmm.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Exercise Diary: tight and tired

Day 2 of pre-8pm gym adventure.  The gym was again packed.  And I somehow ended up running next to the same old man as yesterday, although I wasn't on the same treadmill.  In fact, I was on the treadmill next to the one I was on yesterday, which incidentally was the treadmill the old man was using yesterday.  I realized today that even though he ran intervals, he ran way harder and longer than I could ever do since his intervals were for 1 mile and he did like a bizillian of them.

Sadly, the only reason why I was on the treadmill next to the one I used yesterday was because yesterday's treadmill was broken.  I don't think I'm the one who broke it, but it's still sad and weird to know that just a day ago I was using it and it was fine.  Incidentally the now-broken treadmill also used to be my favorite, until I kept not able to use it and subsequently realized that all the treadmills, except for the really bad ones, are pretty much the same.

One of the result of running next to a broken treadmill was that I got to watch countless number of people getting on it, trying to start it, failing, and moving on to another treadmill or another piece of machinery.  It's kind of funny that neither I nor the girl on the other side of the broken treadmill bothered to warn them, and as far as I know no one had reported it broken to the front desk.  I didn't bother since I couldn't really talk, and also since I had been one of those people who jabbed the touch pad without success, I thought it would be fun to watch other people doing it too.

Watched almost an entire episode of Rizzoli and Isles during my run today.  Too bad I didn't get to find out what happened in the end.  But since I don't even remember what the episode was about now I guess it wasn't a great big loss.

Oh, and I also somehow had the belief that I had to do 3 miles instead of the planned 2.5, that I struggled the last half-mile for no reason.

I don't know how it happened.  Somehow during mile 1.5 I told myself that I was half way done and never realized until after I was done how silly I had been.  My Nike+ was also being bitchy.  Somehow now it thinks I'm running slower than before, after countless times I had to re-calibrate it for over-calculating my speed.  I think it may have to do with the way I moved my legs.  I tried to slow and lengthen my stride as I got faster to control the number of time my feet had to hit the ground, and since my Nike+ iPod uses a sensor on my foot that measures the speed and length of one's stride, I guess I could appear to be going slower than usual.  Except I think the sensor should be smarter than that.  I don't know, I hope I don't have to get a new sensor before switching to an iPhone.  Not that an iPhone would be great to use on a treadmill, but evidently the Nike+running app on iPhone allows you to input your workouts manually, so you will still have a record of your runs on Nike without having the app doing any work.  I wonder if I could do that on the webpage when I move on to my GPS watch.  So far I haven't figured out how.

Anyhoo, today's run was... brutal.  I had a banana before going and I didn't feel hungry or anything during the run, and it was a short run, but I just felt so tired and it was such a struggle.  I should not run the day after a long run, even if the long run was only 5 miles.  My legs were tight from the very beginning.  In fact they were tight all day today, and I could feel the muscles as I walked up and down the stairs.  They weren't sore, they were just tight, and you are aware of them.  Now they are sore, even after stretching and all that.  And the thighs are particularly bad since I think I used my thighs a lot to pull my feet up since the run today really ruined my right foot.  The plantar fasciitis was really acting up, right after I slowed down after my speedier pulses.  It got even worse during my cool down walk, and I really hope I can still walk tomorrow.  I also wanted to use more of my upper body to take some of the pressure away from the legs, but I didn't know how.  I tried to breathe from the core, and all it did was made me spit a lot.  I tried to tighten the core and lift my torso a bit but all that did was giving me tight shoulders.  I know strong abs help with running, but since I still don't have strong abs what am I supposed to do?

But somehow I still manage to finish my run, half a mile more than planned no less.  I didn't stop to walk or anything, and I really hope I either burned more fat than usual or strengthen my thigh muscles some what.  I went home and did two blogilates videos, one on the glute and the other on the arms.  I also resumed my thigh and butt challenge moves, Day 13 of the 30-day workout, on the 25th of this month.  Oh well, better start again some time.  It's really starting to get warmer out (I went to the gym today in my capris, a fleece and a wind breaker, it was that warm), and before I know it I will be running outside with my t-shirt and capris, and I really need to get serious about this weight loss thing.  I realize that now I'm not really trying to use running as a way to lose weight, but rather I'm trying to lose weight so I can run better.  Not just to lose weight, but also to build my muscles.  I like running, and I like to run long and far.  It would be great if I can actually be good at it.  I have marathon goals, goddammit.