Monday, December 31, 2007
This week I'll be focussing my workouts on endurance & strength. And actually, for the next several weeks those will be the goals of my workouts (i.e. I won't be doing much speed work, since I don't expect to race the OSCR, but rather to endure the mileage). For the strength training, I'll be working on my legs, of course, since they'll be doing the brunt of the work. But the upper body (especially the shoulders/delts and upper back) gets a good workout from skiing, too, so I'll be working those muscle groups on alternate days from the legs. And, of course, core strength is always important. Balance is key when you're cruising along on little sticks, so I'll be making sure my core is up to the challenge of stabilizing me as I wobble along for 25k.
In addition to making sure my body parts are up to the challenge, I also want to prep the heart and lungs for going strong for that long. So I'll be doing some longer skis and runs over the next few weeks, and will add in a few tempo runs (and maybe skis?)
So here's the plan for this week (Dec 31- Jan 6):
Monday: ski 6-8 miles at Lolo Pass (with Craig & OSCR-buddy Amy)
Tuesday: Power Yoga dvd, to stretch & strengthen all muscle groups
Wednesday: swim (endurance ladder-- 50, 100, 150, 200, 150, 100, 50; 1000 yd total, including warm-up and cool-down) plus Pushup Pyramid
Thursday: 30 min hill repeats on treadmill + 30 minute elliptical machine
Friday: 20 min easy run plus Power Pump class in am; short swim (500 yd) in afternoon
Saturday: long ski or long run
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Anyhow, it snowed several inches here in Frenchtown last night, and was pretty windy this morning, so I put off my run until just about the last minute (i.e. 4:15pm-- for it's now 5:30 and totally dark). I spent most of the day in the house doing chores and cooking (save for an hour of snow shoveling and then sledding down our tiny hill with my 2-year old neighbor). So by the time I headed out for my run, I was somewhat stoked to get out and get some fresh air, although my glutes and inner thighs were still incredible sore from the walking lunges we did in Power Pump class on Friday!
The roads have been plowed but were still snow-covered in most spots. I jogged along slowly at first, letting my muscles warm up and trying out the footing. The snow was great, actually. It wasn't icy at all, just nice and soft, like running on a nice dirt trail. The first half mile or so wasn't very fun, as I wasn't warmed up yet and the cool breeze felt like it was trying to push me back home. But once the blood got pumping, my face began to warm up, and I was ready to rock. Speaking of rock, the first song that came on my mp3 player as I was heading out to run was Billy Idol's "Dancing with Myself;" how can you not get excited to run when that one comes on?!
As I cruised along at a nice moderate pace, several other songs came on that made me think of different friends. Jimmy Buffet crooned about Solome playing the drums, and I imagined Dawn chillin' on a dock somewhere coastal, sipping a beer, and that I was runnign to join her. Then Jack Johnson's "Sitting, Waiting, Wishing," which always reminds me of Wendy, and I chuckled as memories of our snowy fieldwork adventures passed through my mind. A little later on 311 came on with "All Mixed Up" and I thought of Eva and some of my other high school friends. I wondered what some folks were up to-- if all of the cross-country folks were still running, if some of my old smoker buddies would ever think they'd see me out running through the snow!
I was digging listening to music and thinking about my friends. It was like they were all out there with me, that we were all dashing through the snow together.
I was having such a good time after a while that I decided to make this an impromtu tempo run. Since I was jazzed up and seemed to have the energy for it, why not?! For those who aren't familiar with "tempo run," here's an explanation:
"Tempo running improves a crucial physiological variable for running success: our metabolic fitness. "Most runners have trained their cardiovascular system to deliver oxygen to the muscles," says exercise scientist Bill Pierce, chair of the health and exercise science department at Furman University in South Carolina, "but they haven't trained their bodies to use that oxygen once it arrives. Tempo runs do just that by teaching the body to use oxygen for metabolism more efficiently." How? By increasing your lactate threshold (LT), or the point at which the body fatigues at a certain pace. During tempo runs, lactate and hydrogen ions--by-products of metabolism--are released into the muscles, says 2:46 marathoner Carwyn Sharp, Ph.D., an exercise scientist who works with NASA. The ions make the muscles acidic, eventually leading to fatigue. The better trained you become, the higher you push your "threshold," meaning your muscles become better at using these byproducts. The result is less-acidic muscles (that is, muscles that haven't reached their new "threshold"), so they keep on contracting, letting you run farther and faster." (link to entire article: http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-238-267--11909-1-1-2,00.html)
So after a 1.5 mile warm-up, I then did a 2 mile tempo run. I don't know for sure what my pace was, but I know that it was faster than comfortable, but not so fast that I had to slow down. It just felt like I was pushing, and every few minutes I had to remind myself to keep pushing. I felt great, actually, like I was just flying along, truly dashing over the snow-covered roads. I felt like a good runner!
Oh, it may not sound all that fun to some, but I tell you it was. It was a good adrenaline pump to run at a quick tempo, and with the thoughts of lots of friends running with me, and with good music pumping in my ears, it made for a great afternoon... Now it's time for a hot bath!
Friday, December 28, 2007
“The best way to lose weight is to develop an orthodox belief in some religion that doesn't allow any fun”
- Gregory Nunn
Oh, am I glad the holidays are almost over. I feel like such a blob! This morning's trip to the scale wasn't too bad-- 144.6, up .4 from last week. That seems about right. I can definitely feel those few extra pounds, though-- in my belly, on my legs, in my face. It's crazy how gaining just a little bit can change your whole body image. A few weeks ago when I was on the losing end of the scale, I was feeling so fit and sexy. I wore my cute shorts and a tighter fitting tank top to work out in several days; now I feel like sweats and baggy t-shirts are all I need to be seen in.
Again, let me whine that it's totally unfair that I can't eat everything I want, whenever I want it, and still feel hot and have tons of energy to work out. Dammit. And (still in a whiny voice) why is it so much harder to find motivation to work out after not having done it for even a few days? I seriously had to drag myself to the gym yesterday. I had no enthusiasm for my workout. I didn't like the looks of myself in the mirror in the locker room. I felt like a first-timer my first few laps in the pool...
Luckily, it hadn't been too long since I last worked out (really just 4 days off), so things started coming back pretty quickly. By the end of my 750 yd swim I was feeling good. I had a positive body-image moment when I caught a glipse of my right upper arm/shoulder when I turned to breathe-- there was some good muscle definition there, not just a blob of fat.
Then on the way home, I debated stopping at Qdoba (a quick cali-mex place that makes the most amazing homemade salt/lime tortilla chips). The Bad Carly was taunting, "Oh, what the hell, you've already blown your diet for the week-- might as well continue til the end of the year, then start fresh after the 1st. Stop in for a bag of chips and queso." The Good Carly, however, reminded me, "Remember how good you felt a few weeks ago when you were eating well and losing weight... let's do that again! We can start tonight! Let's go home and make some healthy soup." Guess who won.
I made it home sans chips! Good Carly, 1. Bad Carly, 0. But the battle wasn't over. I reached in the freezer to take out some frozen chicken sausage for my soup, when I noticed a frozen pizza. "Yes, victory!" shouted the Bad Carly. So I turned the oven on to preheat it. "Are you kidding?!" the Good Carly torted. "I thought we just decided to be good to ourselves. Sure, the pizza might taste good. But you know you'll eat the whole thing, then feel like crap about it later and be sluggish at Power Pump tomorrow morning. Make the friggin' soup!"
Good Carly, 2. Bad Carly, 0. My soup had one medium potato, one link of chicken-basil sausage, 2 cups of low-sodium/no fat chicken broth and 2 cups of water, Italian seasoning, and 2 cups of torn spinach. I ate two-thrids of it, then packed a third for lunch today. I had a few crackers on the side, and finished with 1/4 of a dark chocolate bar. And I felt good about myself. But it was a struggle to get there. And it always is. Will it always be? Will I ever get to the point where making healthy eating decisions is second-nature, where Bad Carly doesn't lobby so hard on nearly every decision? Is it possible to do without devoting myself to some crazy No-Fun religion, as Mr. Nunn suggests?!
I hope so, but I honestly don't think the temptation of Bad Carly will ever go away. But if we can just get her to simmer down a bit... Stay tuned. I have some new goals that I'll be revealing soon (they might somewhat resemble New Years Resolutions...) that'll give Bad Carly a run for her money... literally.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
By the way, according to FitDay.com, for a person my size/gender, one hour of cross-country skiing at a light effort ("ski walking" at ~2.5 mph) would burn 359 calories. If the intensity was kicked up to a moderate effort (4-5 mph), one hour = 419 calories.
So... where are we going this weekend?
PS- Have you been remembering to vote for Robyn? http://www.toyotaenginesofchange.com/Page805.aspx
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Since I last wrote, I did a 6-or-so-mile run on Saturday. Then that's it. Santy Clause blessed me with a Christmas cold (ugh!) that's had me feeling less-than-motivated to exercise the past few days. That plus all of the food and lounging that comes with the holidays. So I'm in a bit of an intertia crunch right now. But, maybe that's okay. All of the training plans say that rest days are an integral part of a workout regime. But I've also heard several folks lobby for rest weeks, or at least easier weeks thrown in every 4-6 weeks, to give the body a break from all of the tough training.
So I'm considering this a rest week-- letting my body fully recover from the tough workouts I've been putting it through, plus taking time to let myself get over this cold before pushing hard again, so that the cold doesn't try to linger too long.
To that effect, here's the plan:
Monday-- I did nothing, save for some light housework and some hefty fork-lifting (to get food into my mouth, that is)
Tuesday-- I did actually ride my horse easily and practiced roping cows-- not an aerobic exercise, but at least it involved some physical activity, including some strength and balance skills
Wednesday-- Still have a pesky cough, so I think I'll shoot for a 20-minute walk during lunchtime, but then go home to have some soup and get to bed early
Thursday-- Unless I'm feeling worse, I'll try an easy swim or perhaps some time on the elliptical machine
Friday-- I'll do the PowerPump class, but probably go with a little lighter weight than normal
Saturday/Sunday-- hopefully by the weekend I'll be up to snuff again, and would love to get at least one if not two longer cross-country skis in. Anyone interested in joining me?
Friggin’ scale. Ragga schmagga. Friggin’ body that can’t handle a couple of handfuls of fudge and a plateful of Lil’ Smokies.
What’s all this grumbling about, you may ask? Well, I did my Friday morning weigh-in again today, and wasn’t too impressed by the results. I hop on the scale every Friday just after my workout (that ensures that I will have emptied the bowels). I wear pretty much the same exact outfit every week, and drink about half a bottle of water during my workout. I account for all the variables possible, so that hopefully the scale will reflect my “true” weight… or at least be consistent for comparison from week-to-week.
Anyhow, the previous two weeks I had weight losses (whoo hoo!). For those weeks I was really watching my caloric intake, shooting for ~1,500 calories/day intake, and about 2,100 output**. It’s not too hard to hit that number… but it definitely doesn’t leave any room for indulgence! But this week, I definitely indulged some… of course I splurged on the weekend like I usually do, but not too terribly bad. Then throughout the week I’ve admittedly had at least 2 pieces of fudge every day this week, plus filled up my plate with probably more than 1,500 calories of tasty niblets at yesterday’s Christmas potluck at work. But, I’ve also been working out hard and burning extra calories each day (see this week’s workouts, which yes, I stuck to—plus an hour of difficult Ashtanga yoga on Thursday).
So this morning when I stepped on the scale and it read 144.2—3.2 lbs more than last week—I was perturbed. Then disappointed. Then pissed. Then finally humbled. Humbled by the reality that I, a 5’1” woman with a relatively sedentary job, cannot consume calories like a 6’2” male with an all-day-active lifestyle. No matter how hard I workout for those 2 hours a day, I still don’t burn enough to be able to handle the quantities of cookies, candied yams, or saucy meatballs that I’d like to eat.
Crap! Why does such tasty stuff have to have such negative consequences?! It just doesn’t seem fair.
** If you’re interested in seeing how much you intake and output, there are several helpful websites out there. The one I really like is www.FitDay.com. You can input your weight, gender, activity level, specific exercises, foods consumed, etc., and get good estimates of calories burned vs. calories eaten.
No, really. Could I really have consumed enough extra calories to have gained >3 lbs in a week? I crunched a few numbers (being the science geek that I am): One pound of body weight equates to 3,500 calories. So, for instance, to lose one pound in a week, a person needs to burn an extra 500 calories/day for 7 days. So to gain 3.2 lbs in a week, I would have needed to consume 11,200 calories more than what I burned.
What did I burn? Well, from different figure that I’ve found, a female of my size and age has a basal metabolic rate of about 1,400 calories/day (this assumes no activity, i.e. bedrest). On any given day, the efforts made just walking around the office, climbing up the stairs to my apartment, etc., add on at least 200 extra calories. Then I did the other aforementioned workouts throughout the week (all of which burned approx. 300-500 calories). So let’s be conservative and say that I burned an average of 2,000 calories/day for the 7 days.
Thus, I must’ve consumed 25,200 calories (using an average 2,000 burned a day plus the 11,200 extra). Now, to put this in perspective, an average meal at McDonald’s, consisting of a quarter-pounder with cheese, large fries, and a small chocolate shake, would equal 1,520 calories. So I could have had 16.6 of said meals in order to make up the 25,200 calories. Or, one piece (1 square inch) of chocolate fudge with nuts has approximately 100 calories. Ooh, so I could’ve had 2520 pieces of fudge. Or a crockpot of Lil’ Smokies with sauce has 2491 calories… okay, you get the point.
Uh, what was my point? I guess it’s that all of these fatty holiday-time foods are so good. But so bad. They pack a lot of extra calories, mostly in the form of fat (which, per gram, has 9 calories, versus the 4 calories you get from protein and carbohydrates). But I also am very skeptical about the scale’s version of what I did for the week, or with the math that says 1lb=3,500 calories. I mean, in order to gain those 3.2 lbs that the scale reported this morning, I would’ve had to have consumed 2,100 calories a day IN ADDITION to my normal 1,500 calories that I was eating last week (sample menu: berry/yogurt/protein smoothie for breakfast, apple for snack, spinach salad with boiled egg and fat-free dressing and a cup of butternut squash soup for lunch, handful of pretzels for snack, broiled halibut filet with wild rice and steamed broccoli for dinner, one quarter of a dark chocolate bar for dessert). So in addition to that, I could’ve had most of a crock-pot of Lil’ Smokies, or 2lbs of pork ribs, or the McD’s meal with a LARGE chocolate shake. Sorry, folks, but even though I pigged out some in the past few days, I really don’t think I did that much.
Which brings me to my final thesis… The Scale Isn’t The Best Gauge of Weight Loss or Fitness. There are so many more factors that go into a weight: water retention, what’s in my intestines, muscle mass, etc. I guess I’ll just have to keep weighing in weekly, but not worry so much about what the scale says. Now, if the pants start getting a little tight…
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
As many of you know, my sister and I dedicated our 2007 triathlon seasons to raising awareness about homelessness and raising funds for Genesis Home- a housing and supportive services program for homeless families in Durham, NC. With your help, our Tri to End Homelessness campaign has been a phenomenal success! We raised nearly $6,000 to support Genesis Home’s programs and successfully raced our first Olympic distance triathlon.
After such a life changing year, I’m thrilled to announce that Toyota has selected Tri to End Homelessness as a finalist in their Engines of Change Power of Sport contest! Over 350 folks from across the nation submitted applications and we've been selected as one of the top 10! Your votes will determine the winner.
Here’s where I need your help:
Please vote for me by visiting:
http://www.toyotaenginesofchange.com/Page805.aspx From this link you can read my profile, click on VOTE NOW, and vote once per day until December 31.
Winning any one of the top prizes would, of course, be wonderful - BUT the national exposure for the issue of homelessness and power individuals have to make difference would be even more valuable.
Please pass this on to folks in your network - and, as always, Thank you for your ongoing support,
Robyn Schryer Fehrman
P.S. If you haven’t already, you can read all about the Tri to End Homelessness journey at www.tritoendhomelessness.blogspot.com - and stay up to date about my plans for 2008.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Chop up and sautee the following in a soup pot with nonstick spray: 1 carrot, 1 piece celery, 1/2 onion. Sprinkle in garlic powder (~1/2 tsp, more if you like), and ~1 tsp oregano. Cook til veggies start to get soft, then add in ~3 cups of broth (vegetable or beef) and one can of black beans (drained). Bring to a simmer, add 1/2 cup orange juice, 2 tsp lime juice, some cilantro if you have it, and some red peppers or hot sauce to taste. Turn to low, go chill out for about 15 minutes, then come back and taste it to see if it needs anything else. If so, toss it in. Otherwise, take about half of the soup and put it in a blender; blend on low speed for ~10 seconds, then return to pot. Stir it all up. Serve hot, with a dallop of fat-free plain yogurt on top. Voila!
Tuesday: Swim, focussing on technique (lots of drills, isolating the different components of the swimming movement), for a total of 700 yd; I'll polish it off with Rose's Pushup Pyramid (see below)
Wednesday: Run! I'll warm up with an easy 15-20 minute jog thru the neighborhood near my gym, then head inside to the track to do some speed intervals (6x400m at 2:07); followed by easy yoga
Thursday: Endurance swim (which, at this point in my swimming career, is pretty lame! I'll do a ladder: 50yd, then 100 yd, then 150 yd, then 100 yd, then 50 yd (with ~30 second recovery breaks in between, plus warm-ups and cool-downs, of course); total of 650 yd
Friday: Short easy run (20-25 min on treadmill), followed by Power Pump class (weight training... at 6am!)
Saturday: Long run (6 miles, in Frenchtown)
Sunday: Rest and recover!!!
Monday, December 17, 2007
I couldn't help thinking that going skiing with the group was such a better way to hang out with friends and to spend time together than it is to go to a restaurant or bar. Not only does exercising together tend to have more positive health benefits, but it also helps you to build experiences together, to share memories. So thanks, everyone, for going along. Let's do it again!
Friday, December 14, 2007
I do have some issues with the show, though. Because it's a one-hour (only!) prime-time tv slot, they have to jam one week's worth of diet and exercise programs into about 45 minutes. And since they're going for the big-hit drama, they spotlight the toughest of the tough workouts. So the at-home audience gets to see about 5 minutes worth of snippets from the contestant's hardest workouts, where they're really grinding and slaving away. It's impressive, it's dramatic, it's cool to see a 300-lb man doing pushups with his trainer on his back. But, this tiny glimpse into what it takes to get fit is a bit misleading, and I hate the thought that many viewers come away with the thought that successful fitness has to come from such grueling experiences.
In Real Reality, only about 10% of your weekly workouts should be at that I'm-Going-To-Die intensity. Another 20% or so should be at the I'm-Really-Working-Here intensity, and the remaining parts of the workout should be at the I-Could-Keep-This-Up-Forever(but thankfully I don't have to!) intensity. Basically, the lower intensity work helps to develop endurance and burn fat. If weight loss and overall fitness are your main goals, you can spend the majority of your time here in this zone. If you're just starting out with an exercise program, staying here in this zone for several weeks or months may be all you need. Better to stay here longer than to jump ahead and risk injury. Once you build a good base and are able to handle longer stints in the base zone, you can start working into higher intensities. WOrking in that middle range will help you improve your aerobic capacity and improve your performance. Finally, to really start training your muscles to handle lactic acid and transform your body from a Buick to a Ferrari, you need a little high intensity work. But not too much-- it's really easy to overdo it here. There's lots of info out there about wroking out at different intensities. I'm definitely no expert, so I'll stop here and refer you to Google where you can surf for hours (believe me) to find differing opinions and workout plans about heart rate and effort intensity, builing fitness programs to meet whatever goals you have, etc.
But please, if you take only one point away from the day, let it be that NOT every workout needs to be like the ones they show on the Biggest Loser!!! I don't know for a fact, but I'd be willing to wager that those folks spend most of their exercise time at a brisk walk or similar-intensity workout. So don't let the tv-glossies dissuade you-- you can achieve a better level of fitness without grunting and grueling. Start with a good brisk walking plan for a few months. Chances are, your body will tell you when it's ready to grunt and grind a little more!
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Jog 4 laps
Repeat Each Round 3 Times before moving on to the next round:
One-legged jumps-- 12 per leg
Shuffle 1/4 lap
Sprint 1/4 lap
Squats with weights-- 1st set standard, then feet together, then plie-- 2 down/2 up for 8, then
3 down, 1 up for 8, then 8 singles
Kick-backs with Jump-- 16 of them (bend down and put hands in push-up position, jump feet
back into plank, jump feet back between hands, then jump up in the air... that's one)
Bear Crawl (similar to walking lunge, but with no pause between legs, and swing your opposite arm up and over with each step)
Power Skip 1/4 lap (big arms!)
Pushups-- 2 down/2 up for 8, then 8 singles
Ski-jumps-- 24 (start on left side of line on track, jump forward and across the line with both
feet, then back to the left-- that's one)
Jog the remaining 1/2 lap
Lunges with Weights-- 24 (2 down/2 up for 8, 3 down, 1 up for 8, 8 singles): do 24 on each leg for first set, then diagonal lunges one leg each for the next sets
Mountain Climbers-- 24 (start in plank position, jump right foot up into lunge, then switch legs-- that's one)
Grapevine for 1/4 lap
Walking lunges for 1/4 lap
Arms: Bicep curls, Tricep kickbacks, Military Presses (each set do 24 with the same cadence listed above for lunges)
One lap around track with weights, doing 16 walking lunges, then walking 32 strides, and repeating until done
Walk 2 laps, stretch like a mofo
Anyhow, my first instinct was to take this cruddy day and make it un-cruddier with a big burrito and a bag of chips (or some other over-sized food bandaid) and an evening of sitting in my recliner watching worthless tv shows.
Luckily, I was able to resist that urge, and instead decided to channel my crud into a workout that would be hard enough to make all the rest of the day's tribulations seem pathetic. So, I scribbled down a Rose-like workout to do, and headed to the gym.
My workout was goofy looking, I know. Basically, I was alternating between weird jumping moves, bizarre travels around the track, and grunt-eliciting weight lifting sessions-- all out where "normal" track users could see me. Most of the folks were just having fun, getting a little exercise in, e.g. the husband-wife duo that was walking laps and talking about their day; the skimpy-shorted high school girls that were alternating between short jogs and sessions of hanging out around the guys in the free-weights area. Then there was one guy that was running laps for nearly an hour at a pretty darn quick pace-- the Real Runner, I dubbed him (to myself). He was obviously working hard-- training, not just exercising. Anyhow, doing this kind of a funky interval session isn't too bad when done in a class with several other people who are looking equally dorky and equally challenged. Doing it solo was a different story.
The workout was tough, both physically (my legs were wobbling!) and mentally (to push myself that hard, and to look like such a dork in public). I definitely didn't enjoy it as much as when I do Rose's class. She usually has on some fun music that elicits a smile now and then (think Ice-Ice-Baby, oh yeah!), plus the comeraderie of other empathetic exercisers helps a lot. Plus I was still under the influence of downers from earlier in the day. So even though I went through the motions during my workout, I didn't have the same pep or kick in my step as I usually do-- it seemed a bit more like a chore.
Until my last set. I was doing walking lunges around the track when the Real Runner hollered "Good job!" to me as he sped by. Suddenly, I got a big smile, and I swear a new-found strength in my legs. That atta-girl gave me the boost I needed to finish the set. I even add on a few more lunges than intended, and did some unplanned ab work at the end.
You know, sometimes that's all we need, is for some stranger to give us an encouraging shout, a thumbs up, or even just an understanding smile. It seems that a lot of athletes really understand that. At races I've seen folks cheering their hearts out for folks they've never seen before, or giving each other High-Fives as they pass each other on a turn-around. While the nature of the sport is competitive, a lot of us are mostly just competing with ourselves. So cheers from fellow athletes are a way to recognize each other's accomplishments and help cheer each other on to beat ourselves.
Who knows what the Real Runner was thinking for sure. But I imagine that he recognized that I was working hard, pushing myself, trying to improve myself. And while most of the other track-users were giving me quizical or even intimidated-type looks, the Real Runner recognized my efforts and applauded them. Thanks, RR! I'll try to pass on the love.