Friday, February 27, 2015

Exercise Diary: Friday 3-miler

Dragged my butt to the gym today despite getting up super early this morning with very little sleep.  I had the wonderful plan this morning of getting home at 5pm, eat dinner, go to the gym, and go watch the CSSA Chinese New Year Celebration show.  Well, when I came home at 5:30 I felt nothing but exhaustion and just wanted to sleep and not wake up.  So being an antisocial soul after getting up at 8:20pm I decided to skip the celebration (I would've gone to both if the gym doesn't close early on Fridays).

The gym was nice and empty today, but my usual treadmill was still occupied.  I didn't mind it that much, but did find a treadmill that I am now determined to avoid.  It had crappy TV reception.  Did 3 miles, again while constantly staring at the monitor for time and distance elapsed.  It was very torturous.  My Nike+ was being weird again and had to be calibrated once more.  Watched an episode of CSI: Criminal Intent with the sexy Mr. Big Chris Noth.  Still don't really care about CI.

My feet didn't bother me the way I had feared.  I wore my sneakers outside yesterday in anticipation for a run that never happened, and I found that if I walk on concrete in them my left heel bone hurt, a lot.  Like a stress fracture if I ever know what a stress fracture would feel like.  And I was worried.  About my foot and about whether the shoes would be good enough when I will finally be running outside.  I love my Saucony shoes!  Oh well.

But today wasn't so bad.  When I sped up for my last mile my right foot again felt the pressure but otherwise I felt fine.  I think I should take better care of my knees and my left hip though, as I could feel them when I run.

Not sure if I'm going to run tomorrow.  Instincts tell me that I shouldn't, but my pride wants to put another run on my Nike+.  Perhaps I should finally have a date with the ellipticals like I said I would. For the past week I've been fond of artisan cheese and beer, and for two weeks before that had not been doing a lot of running.  And now my scale is telling me that I'm paying for my indulgence and lapse in exercise.  Going to Boston this weekend for some great Asian food so I doubt I will be refraining from excessive eating, but starting next week I'm going back to a light, more normal diet.  I'm thinking of making some sort of beer and beef stew, so I don't have to cook every day and have potatoes as a source of carb instead of rice.  All the beer stew recipes look similar so I'm just going to buy whatever I like and throw everything in the slow cooker with a bottle of whatever beer I have in my fridge.  Hey, it's veggies, beef, and beer right, I don't think much can go wrong with this combo.

Happy Weekend!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Exercise Diary: Monday Night 3-miler

The only thing easy about tonight's run was getting to the gym.  And even that was kind of hard.

Dozed off right before going but still made it there before Castle started.  We had a major temperature drop from yesterday's warm and sunny weather, and the night walk was kind of brutal.

My favorite treadmill was again taken but who cares anymore.  My Nike+ is more or less calibrated for distance but the speed it measures was a total lie.  I totally did not run at a high speed during mile 1 and slow down afterwards.  But I guess that doesn't matter either.

I've decided to push my training plan back by a week so this will just be a catch-up week.  I got a 3/4/3 on my plan for this week but I doubt I will get to them.  Yoga tomorrow and a show on Thursday that I promised to go with a friend, and a weekend in Boston so the only other definite running day is Friday.  I don't know if I can actually do a 4-miler.

Running on the treadmill is SO boring, and I think if anything Castle made it worse.  The suspense moments mess with my heart rate and that is very distracting.  I think I do better with a harmless show that does not require too much of my attention or emotional investment but at the same time can distract my mind from the run.  I found myself staring at the treadmill monitor, looking at  distance already covered, time lapsed, and thinking about how much longer I would have to run, how much longer I would have to run till my Nike+ registers the proper distance, and that really drives me crazy.  There was a very appropriate blog post a few days ago about treadmill running tips, which I found somewhat helpful, but not entirely useful. It's mostly about running with a positive attitude and make the run more interesting by playing with the speed and what not, and that makes sense.  I tried to distract myself.  I tried to tell myself that when I do my 25K (in less than 3 months, yikes!), 3 miles will just be 1/5 of what I will have to do.  That sort of set me in a calmer mood for about 1 minute before I gave up trying to talk myself out of how boring it is.

I also felt more pressure on my feet with this run.  I don't know if it's the longer distance, the short rest before my last run and this one, my greasy dinner (I will never ever eat another greasy dinner before a run ever again). the fact that I tried to increase my speed during the run (by only ever so slightly), or the fact that I gained a few pounds during my hiatus (which I didn't really feel until after my run when I looked at myself in the mirror), but I think I was putting more pressure on myself than I wanted.  I guess the few days of rest before my next run won't be so bad.

I know it's not even March yet, but I am really over with this winter and can't wait till I can run outside.  The hills in my neighborhood may make the runs tougher, but I think I would gladly trade the scenery for the stuffy indoor runs, even with the TV thrown in.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Exercise Diary: Back on the Treadmill, a very Betty White run

First time back to the gym after Monday's run.  Wasn't feeling well this week for a variety of reasons, and I wasn't even sure if I could make it to the gym this morning.  Went to bed late last night finishing up some stuff, and woke up this morning with a terrible headache.  I seriously played with the idea of getting up late today, go to lab, grocery shop, and hit the gym afterwards.  But I think if I gave myself this way out I would further make excuses to not go later.

So instead I got up, made coffee, had breakfast (banana, orange, and a bowl of grain powder mixed with water, so a kind of protein shake?).  I think it was too much liquid, since I kept wanting to pee while running.  But it definitely was enough to keep my energy up.

Arrived at the gym at ~9:30, and the gym was again packed.  Seriously, there is a big crowd of Sunday morning gym goers.  I did two miles, just to ease my way back into a week of more regular runs, but did some speed work, in that I speed up and slowed down gradually during the second mile.

But I was glad that I stumbled upon the Hallmark channel this morning.  I caught the last 2/3 of The Middle, which had Betty White in it playing the school librarian.  And right after that they showed an episode of The Golden Girls, and the main plot was Rose-centric.  There must be some sort of Betty White themed marathon going on, but I didn't stay long enough to figure that out for sure.  But still it was awesome!  I was grinning like an idiot from beginning to end.  Did I tell you how much I love Betty White?  No?  Well, the fact that I bought a Betty White calendar back in 2012, and the fact that I own the entire series of Golden Girls on DVD, 3 books written by her (and an audiobook of her second autobiography), entire series of Life with Elizabeth, and have watched almost all the available clips of her interviews and appearances on Youtube should tell you something.

Need to stretch more before running now, especially after such a long hiatus.  My shins are feeling really tight.  Nothing hurts too much, but I think I'll have to be careful.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Exercise Diary: Back on the treadmill

Last week had been hectic.  Had to make a poster for a departmental retreat.  Stressed over a meeting with my advisor that never happened.  Had to attend the said retreat.  And right afterwards I had my annual thesis committee meeting.  I was so exhausted afterwards, and upset that the stand-up performance I was supposed to go see on Valentine's Day in Boston was postponed because of the snow.  So instead of catching up on my exercising I cooped inside my apartment for the entire weekend and read Bared to you while the rest of the world went to see "50 shades of gray."  Having read 50 Shades before I have to day that while I saved my money and time with the movie, I still wished I haven't decided to read the other book.

So Monday rolls around and a new week of my half-marathon has begun and I'm behind with two runs from last week.  This week is supposed to be 3/2/4.  And I did my 2 today, which was a smart decision.  The run itself wouldn't be as bad, if I hadn't eaten only a banana for dinner tonight.  I knew I was in trouble before I even put on my gym clothes, but I wasn't feeling well before and didn't want to eat anything, or move at all.  So I had a banana, and hoped for the best.

I had trouble breathing during my run.  I could feel a shin splint coming on which seems to have nothing to do with lack of dinner.  The treadmill I was on had a very weak fan so I was sweating much more than usual but felt even hotter.  The cold water I drank from my water bottle gave me a stomachache.  For the first time in my runs I ran with a mantra: suck it up.  Suck it up, I told myself, don't breathe like you are about to fall off the treadmill.  Suck it up, I said, it's just a small stomachache.  Suck it up, I shouted, it's only 2 miles.

Surprisingly by the end of it I didn't feel so terrible anymore.  I thought about keeping it up and maybe make it to mile 3 but thought better of it.  I would probably make it to 2.3 and call it off.

So it's been a rough start of this running week but at least it's starting again.  After the crazy week and the lazy weekend I really need to get my shit together, and cook and eat and exercise better.  Not sure about yoga tomorrow since I still feel weird and I think I'm getting my period soon, but if not I'll still do something at home, or maybe even go to the gym.  I've heard good things about this new show Fresh Off of the Boat.  So we'll see.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Exercise Diary: Beginning-of-the-week long run

3.5 miles Done~

My favorite treadmill was taken again, by a friend of a friend no less.  But the one I got on worked fine enough.  This week's Castle is about its recurring plot line of the 3XK killer, which is kind of dull but still engaging enough.

I don't think I've ever done a real 3.5-miler on the treadmill before.  My Nike+ record may say otherwise, but it usually over calculates my distance.  Today it was off by almost 0.4 miles, which, after the slight ego boost, just seemed too much.  I've calibrated it before uploading the data so it's actually actuate.

The first 3.2 miles were fine.  Started to get bored by mile 2.5 but at least my body could still keep going.  But by 3.2 I was just tired and couldn't go on.  I still ran the whole thing but reduced the speed by quite a bit for the last stretch.  I hope it won't be as bad when I move the runs outside (but given the incessant snow we are getting that's not going to happen any time soon.  But on the treadmill I could manage a steady speed and I think that's important.

Tonight I felt pain on both of my heel bones.  More serious on the left, but I could feel them both.  I don't think it's the running that did it.  I think it's all the walking in my snow boots that really upset my foot.  I got these boots that go up to my calf and when I lift my foot I feel my ankle is being dragged up, and I think with the big cushioning on the side I underestimate how hard I step down with my feet, thus the added pressure.  Although I'm having a busy week ahead I'm not going to run tomorrow, so to give my feet some rest.  But I hope it won't turn into some sort of stress fracture or something terrible.  I still got a plan to stick to and a 25K to run and marathons to finish in the future.

So there.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Exercise Diary: Church goers, fitness fanatics

Week 2 of my half-marathon training completed!

I tried to start some HIIT routine yesterday, and I think I seriously did something bad to my knees by attempting to do some air squats.  I think given my weight and my general lack of exercise and muscle strength I shouldn't do anything too strenuous, especially to my knees.  The thing is, the day before yesterday I tried to do my core exercise again, and the next day my abs were sore like crazy so I figured I shouldn't repeat what I did, and instead tried to find some other moves.

So screw HIIT, I'm going to try some bridge variation next.

Anyhoo, I got up before 8 this moring, cooked some rice with salmon so I have protein, healthy fat, and plenty of carb before exercising, waiting half an hour, and did my two miles.

I have to say, even after arriving almost 30 minutes before last week's workout, the gym was still full of people.  They must've waited outside for the gym to open or something.  All the cubbies were full, and half of the people there aren't even students.  I'm really starting to think that of all the people who get up early on Sundays, half of them dress up to go to the church, and the other half lace up their sneakers for the gym.

Couldn't get my usual treadmill again, but this time the TV worked on my alternative.  To my delight the 2 miles went a lot easier this time.  I had to look at the time and milage about 7 minutes in and wonder why it's taking so long, but after about a mile in I no longer had that feeling.  My insoles arrived yesterday so I switched them in, and although now I wish I have more arch support my feet were a lot happier.  Could feel stress on my knees but that went away after a while (it's coming back now so I have to be extra careful).

Given how I had a terrible night of sleep (with tiring dreams) I think last week was bad because I didn't have a good and full breakfast.  And maybe I didn't give myself enough time to wake up.  But it's definitely improved.  Coffee helped too I think.  But carb and protein, and enough of them, I think is the key.

Anyway, running late now, gotta go.  3/2/3.5 next week.  It's gonna be tough since I will be having a busy week and I'm going to Boston and staying the night over the weekend.  But we'll manage.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Exercise Diary: 2 mi semi speed workout

Second run of week 2 of training done~

The run was fine.  More than fine actually.  My insoles bothered me even less.  The Big Bang Theory was on.  It was only 2 miles.  I tried some speed work and today my legs felt fine (which is more than I can say about them after the last time I tried to run faster than I normally do).

So to make the run more fun basically what I did was upping the speed by 0.1 mph every minute, until I got to 5.2 (which is still slow, I know, but bear with me here), and came down at the same speed and rate.  I actually felt really good running at a faster speed.  Had to breathe a lot harder but you would expect that of course, and the one minute increment made it feel less torturous.

But I realize that I still need to work on my posture while running at a faster speed.  I was too focused on my breathing that I did not realize that my upper body was very tense.  My shoulders were hunched up and my torso was very tight.  I tried to relax, and I felt that I was relaxed as much as possible, but it still felt really tense.  I need to work on that.

No running tonight, but I'm hoping to still get to the gym and do some elliptical work as cross training.  Mainly I want to burn more calories and lose a few pounds so running could feel easier.  Also want to do core work, but we'll see.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Exercise Diary/Food Diary: the Yoga-doing hungry hippo

Yay for actually going to yoga today~  Every time I go I always feel reluctant beforehand, exhausted during class, and euphoric afterwards, until hunger sets in for real and I just want to eat everything under the (already set) sun.

Today's class went really well.  I felt that my legs and core became stronger.  I could hold out for most of the standing poses, and the core stuff we did (~10 secs of plank and ~25 crunches) was a piece of cake.  But there was one part, where we went from the chair pose to a chair twist and back, made my thighs sweat at an incredible speed that the area of my yoga capris became drenched instantly.  And the crescent lunge-- knee lunge-- worrier III pose killed my thighs even more.  But other than that (or maybe because of it) it was a very good class.

Despite eating lunch at almost 2pm, I began fantasizing about food about 15 minutes before class.  I think it went from fried chicken to Thai noodles to burgers to the actual dinner I was going to make to cake and some other random stuff.  I think chocolate made an appearance at some point.  The fact that I had to go back to lab for a bit after class really killed me.  I was ravished to the point of going crazy when I got home, but still somehow made myself do all the dished I left behind in the morning, and cooking rice and another dish.

I ended up cooking rice with a few new ingredients: tomato, corn, and salted beef (or is it pork?  I couldn't tell and didn't care).  It was a bizarre recipe that was circulating on Chinese social media for quite a bit a few months back, and I had been procrastinating on trying it out.  It's amusingly named "whole tomato rice," and the most basic version is adding an entire (uncut) tomato, along with salt and pepper, to a pot of washed rice and cook in a rice cooker as if you are justing cooking regular rice, and the result was supposed to be heavenly good.  I took the liberty of adding the extra stuff.

And it ended up looking like this:

Which is a lot of rice.  I think I over did it.  I had to add more hot water in afterwards and let it sit in "warm" for another while to ensure that all the rice is fully cooked.  But it tasted great!  Not too sour as I had feared, and the rice is softer and mushier than regular rice.  Very filling too.  I couldn't eat too much of it, which is good since I always over eat after exercising.

Also stir fried some broccoli tips.  Don't remember if I've ever had them before but it's certainly the first time I cook them myself.  Slightly bitter, but good nonetheless.

Happy Tuesday~~

Exercise Diary: Week 2's Long-ish Run

So last night I did what I had planned to do with this week's training, and did my 3-mile run on the treadmill while watching Castle.  I didn't even finish the episode since my 3 miles were up and walking seemed boring, but I didn't want to continue running in case I screw up my legs and what not.  Besides, as much as I still love Castle the plot is getting more and more predictable, more so than it is acceptable I think.

Anyway, the run went fine, much to my surprise, and at the same time I wasn't really surprised at all.   I knew I could run 3 miles without stopping or too much struggling.  Granted I was going at a pretty slow pace, and had to slow down a bit (but not walking) about twice in the middle, before gradually upping the speed again.  I hovered my pace at ~4.8 mi/hr, which is probably extremely slow, but I figured since I was covering a long-ish distance at the beginning I shouldn't push myself too much.

I had a normal sized dinner about 1.5 hrs before I went, I even took a small nap before I left for the gym.  My only warm-up was the walk to gym (in deep snow).  It was like every other night runs, and although I had to slow down during the run I didn't struggle too much, physically or mentally, to finish.  Also, knowing that I had to watch an hour-long TV episode as well as running 3 miles made the first 2.5 miles seem extremely.  It was only after that I started to get anxious and my mind kept wondering to the finish.  Maybe the solution is to trick myself into thinking that I was actually doing a much longer run?

My insoles were still bothering me, to the point that I really wanted to stop about 1.5 miles in, and that's where I think I slowed down for the first time.  It wasn't as bad as the day before, but still uncomfortable.  Can't wait till my new insoles arrive.  In the mean time I think I will switch to another pair of shoes.

This was also the first time I didn't finish an entire episode of Castle.  I left before the murderer was even revealed.  I couldn't quite figure out why that is, whether the show got boring, or I was anxious to move on to the next thing (going to lab for a quick set-up and go home to sleep), or I have finally pushed through the treadmill boredom and no longer need a good distraction to keep me going.  The other day I happily watched part of an episode on PBS where Hugh Bonneville was talking about "Midsummer Night's Dream, " and found it extremely interesting.  On Sunday I watched/listened to part of a documentary about fake Egyptian artifacts and the beginning of some show where an Archbishop was interviewed about his life experience.  Either I've become more curious or I no longer need a good distraction.  I've also started to pay more attention to my stride and breathing and posture.  For the past two days that was inevitable since my feet were hurting, and last night I felt slight pain in my right knee at the beginning of my run.  Hopefully that will not happen as often when I space out my runs again.  I think I'm going to yoga tonight, but if not, I think I will try and do some elliptical work at the gym, or something else that's not as stressful on the knees.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Exercise Diary: First week of HM training completed

And yesterday's 2-miler was hard.

I'm not sure why that is, but I'm glad I discovered this so early in the training, since the actual race is going to be in the early morning.  If I can't get used to running in the morning then I will be fucked.

I have run in early mornings before, when it was nice and warm out and I used to get up early on weekends and do my long runs in the morning sun.  And I used to like it a lot.  I had all the time in the world, I explored new routes, and I didn't have to worry about wondering too far away and lose the sun.

And I ate breakfast.  Not a large one, but one after which I didn't feel hungry.  It was health too: I finished the last of my homemade chia pudding (just add coconut milk to chia seed and let time do the rest).  And I drank water before I left.  Maybe it wasn't enough but I didn't want to wait too long for a big breakfast to digest before going out of the door.

I slept a reasonable amount too.  About 8 hours.  Granted I slept very little the night before and had a long day Saturday, but when I got up on Sunday morning I didn't feel like I had to be dragged out of the bed.

Apart from the fact that the TV shows were kind of dull and the gym was more crowded than usual (with more people going for the treadmill so I couldn't get my usual spot), I couldn't think of how yesterday morning was different from all the other nights.  My shoes were acting weird too.  The insoles, which normally feel fine, were particularly uncomfortable yesterday.  The arch support was way too high and I felt weird pain all over the bottom of my feet.  Not sharp pain that indicate some sort of acute injury, but annoying dull pain that made me slow down and want to stop.

I also felt tired.  Making it to the 2-mile mark felt particularly long and difficult.  I don't know if it was the psychology of having to be there and do two miles at a time I no longer regularly run, or if it was just the physical fatigue that seeped into my psyche, but it was just hard.  I blamed most of it on my lack of a better breakfast, since it's the easiest thing to fix for next time I guess, and I ordered a new pair of insoles as soon as I got home, but I think it's going to take more than those, and more trial and error to fully adjust to a better morning run.

Which also scares me, since weekends are supposed to be my long-run days.  How am I supposed to do that if it's the one day I'm mostly out of shape?  I could very feasibly switch my long run days to another night, like tonight when I have to be there for an hour anyway (for the newest episode of Castle), but I don't like this idea as much since the actual race day is on a weekend morning.  But temporarily it could be a solution, until I get my weekend morning routine set up and going.

If I'm doing this then I'll have to pretend that last week was all short runs (which they kind of were) and today is the first long run of the first week of training, or I'm simply switching the order of this week's run.  I'm not sure how much difference it will make to my body, but for someone who likes to follow a good plan it is slightly disorienting.

So 3 miles tonight then.  Which is still not that big of a deal but still good to get me into the routine.

Happy Running!