Sink or Swim

What better way to start a Saturday morning than a 3.50 mile run before breakfast!?

I really love the weekends when I can get my run in early in the morning. (I’ve yet to be able to get up early enough to do that during the work week.) It gives me a burst of energy to power through the day, and I like having it done and over with so it’s not looming over my head all day like an unfinished chore.

Run Summary
Distance: 3.50 mi
Time: 46:39
Avg Pace: 13:20 min/mi
Elevation Gain: 115 ft
Calories: 285 C

Moving Time: 45:26
Elapsed Time: 46:39
Avg Pace: 13:20 min/mi
Avg Moving Pace:12:58 min/mi

It has become habit for me now on Saturday and Sunday mornings to hit the treadmill around 7 or 8:00 a.m. before I even make breakfast. It’s funny how at later times in the day, I need to time my workout well within a certain range after a meal or else I end up running out of fuel for the workout. Yet, first thing in the morning before eating anything I can power through just about any workout as long as I do it very soon after waking up (usually within 30 minutes of getting out of bed.) If I wait much longer than that, I start to get hungry and don’t have quite the energy-fuel my body needs for a good run.

My husband has often commented that he doesn’t know how I can work out first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. But this weekend he decided he wanted to give it a try, so we laced up around 8:00 a.m. and headed outside for a good run together. Today was my “long run” so I decided to go 3.5 miles, which so far is the longest I’ve ever run. And I actually RAN pretty much the whole way. I did allow myself a 1/4 mile brisk walking break after about 1-3/4 miles while I was heading up a big hill. And on the last mile there were a few uphill stretches that I walked. But for the most part I ran it!!

When we got home, Jim suggested we head to the pool to cool off. There is a nice pool at our condos, but we don’t typically use it much. Most of the time that I consider using the pool, it is either not open, or is filled with children. This morning we had the whole pool to ourselves and we did 30 minutes of laps.

The water felt so refreshing after that run! I really liked the idea of adding more workout to my day, while doing what actually felt like a cool-down to the run. It was nice and low-impact on my knees, yet was strenuous and challenging and I ended up burning almost as much calories swimming for 30 minutes as I burned on my 46 minute run!

To my surprise, within a few hours, I became very sore. I mean, really, really sore. My arm and chest muscles, basically my whole upper body, was screaming at me! I hadn’t fully considered what a strong upper body workout it was to swim laps and apparently the small amounts of strength training I’ve done in the last few weeks has not been enough to prepare me for swimming laps.

But, I was determined to be in full “beast-mode” today and I still stuck to my 25 minutes of strength training that I had planned for this evening. It was hard, but I felt very accomplished after completing it.

There is something that just feels so good about doing something physically challenging, especially when you don’t feel like you can do it. Getting it done feels like a big win!

My eating was a bit off the charts today, but I did use a certain amount of restraint. After all this running and swimming we cleaned up and headed out to see a movie at the theater that we’d been wanting to go see (the new Star Trek movie, was really good – I highly recommend it!) and we were both so hungry we knew we needed to grab lunch somewhere before the movie.

Opted for Panera Bread since it was on the way and they have fairly healthy options on the menu with several good choices for lower calorie meals. I got the “You Pick Two” deal where you get half of a cafe sandwich and half of a salad. I chose the Turkey Bacon Avocado sandwich (which is my absolute favorite!) and the Strawberry poppy-seed salad with chicken. The salad had so much good stuff in it! Strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, roasted chicken and pecans, it was fabulous! Lunch came in at about 425 calories and between all that fruit, the protein from the chicken and turkey, and the healthy fats in the avocado, I felt very good about the nutritional content of my choices. The worst part was the high sodium, even now several hours later my face is still flushed from the elevated sodium! (My weird physical reaction to high sodium meals is something I guess I’ll have to cover some day in another post.)

The eating went a bit downhill from here. At the theater I indulged a bit because, well…just because part of the “going out to the movies” experience is eating junk food! But I kept it in check for the most part, I got some water instead of soda (I don’t normally drink soda anyway, but it seems more tempting when I’m out somewhere like that), and I got a box of chocolate covered raisins (my favorite movie snack!). Before even opening the box I checked the nutrition facts label and sure enough they claimed there were 2.5 servings in the box! And each serving was 180 calories. So I was careful to only eat what I believe was about 1 serving and left the rest in the box. Said box of chocolate covered raisins is currently sitting on the desk next to me testing my resolve. I expect that box to land in the garbage soon before I am tempted to finish it off.

On our way home from the movie, we grabbed some sandwiches from Subway to have on hand for dinner. It really is nice every now and then to take an entire day off from cooking! And again I went for their Turkey Bacon Avocado sub on 9 grain whole wheat bread. I really love that combo of flavors, and I realize I could have saved substantial calories by skipping the bacon on both sandwiches but come on, every one loves bacon right!?

After dinner we were craving dessert, I did indulge but was careful on the portion sizes. I had 1/2 a Vitatop deep chocolate muffin top. (These things are seriously delicious, taste like a chocolate brownie, but they are PACKED with vitamins and nutrition and they are only 100 calories!) And we still had some ice cream left in the freezer that my mother in law had brought over when we celebrated Jim’s birthday a couple of weeks ago. So, I had 2/3 of a serving of the ice cream with it. So just by only having partial servings of each of those I shave off about 100 calories from dessert from the standard serving size. And considering most people typically serve themselves much more than what the product describes as a serving size, I think I did really well.

I’m only including all this detail about the food today because of my last post where I talked about my struggles with sweet treats. I’ve decided that if I really want it, I’ll let my self have it and I’ll enjoy it. BUT with that comes some responsibility on my part to closely monitor my serving sizes, and to make sure I am burning the necessary calories to balance it out. My normal daily calorie target is 1350 and today I ate 1708. However, I did so much exercise, that I burned over 600 calories. I closed out the day with a -197 calorie deficit, so I do not feel one ounce of guilt over today’s eating.

Tomorrow I will probably be very sore from that swimming. But I enjoyed it and I am so proud of myself for getting in so much activity today! Luckily I have an 80 minute massage scheduled in the morning, that should help quite a bit. Tomorrow is a 55 minute recuperative walk, I think I’ll try to get that in early so that after my massage I can completely relax for the rest of the day! 🙂

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I ran 5K, and no one was chasing me!

Saturday I ran the 5K race “Kona Run” in Northville! That’s right, I ran it!!
My official race time was 38:14 which is, by far, a personal best for me!

Getting ready to start the Kona Run 5K, June 8, 2013

Getting ready to start the Kona Run 5K, June 8, 2013

I am not a runner

If you’ve followed my monthly fitness stats at all, you’ll know that I am really not a “runner”. I’m more of a walker who sort of wishes she was a runner. But, my short little legs have a hard time building up too much speed (I am only 5’2″!). And I used to be an avid hiker. I have a knee injury from a hiking adventure many years ago which likes to flare up and cause me much grief when I push myself too hard trying to run.

Taking-in-the-view copy

Debb-NorthCountryTrail

Debb-holding-Molly copy

Somewhere around 8 or 9 years ago I did a 22 mile hike, in the woods (read: hills!), wearing a 30 lb. pack on my back, and with my dog – who loved the hike but tired out easily and repeatedly wanted to be carried! About 13 miles in, I injured a tendon behind my right knee and it became VERY painful to even walk. Every step was a new experience in pain. Unfortunately, I still had almost 10 miles to go to get out of the woods, there was no choice but to continue. My hiking partner also had a full pack and really wasn’t able to assist with my pack. I hiked in pain and in tears for hours!

My doctor diagnosed it as tendonitis and the problem with it is that while it heals up, it never really goes away. It is easy to trigger a flare up. About 6 years ago I had dabbled with running and found myself over and over fighting with flare ups in that knee.

In 2011 I bought a treadmill and started walking. I decided I’d learned my lesson in the past with trying to run, and bringing on the pain, and this time I would just have to settle for being a walker.

2012 found me signing myself up for a 5K race. Not sure what really possessed me to do that, I knew I couldn’t run it. But my husband and I went, and I walked it as fast as I could, and occasionally jogged a little.

2012 Shamrock'n'Roll 5K Race

2012 Shamrock’n’Roll 5K Race

This was the 2012 Shamrock’n’Roll 5K race in Plymouth, MI. I finished the 5K in 48:22. I wasn’t overly proud of my time, but I was very proud of myself for signing up for it, going and doing it, and finishing it! 🙂 At the time of that race I probably weighed about 138 lbs. and it wasn’t long after that I started putting on more and more weight, leading up to the re-birth of my fitness journey in September.

I am not a runner…Or am I?

So now, I’ve been using my treadmill for the last 9 months or so. I started out walking very slowly the first month. After a couple of months I decided to try out just a LITTLE bit of jogging. I worked in three 1-minute jogging intervals in my 45 or 50 minute walks. My ‘jogging’ speed was 4.0 mph. Which, is really a very fast walking pace but for me at the time was more of a jog. Each month I would add 30 seconds to my intervals. By April I was doing three 3-minute intervals of jogging, sometimes 3.5 to 4 minutes, and I had increased the jog speed the tiniest bit to 4.1 mph. My knee seemed to be cooperating with this VERY small and slow addition of jogging to my workout.

When I got into the month of May, knowing that this race I’d signed up for was in the beginning of June, I decided to up the stakes a bit and see if maybe I could do more running than I thought I could. I started with a week of 5 minutes walking, 5 minutes jogging. The next week I tried 4 minutes walking, 6 minutes of jogging. Then the next week 3/7. Seven minutes of jogging at a time felt like it might kill me, but…my knee seemed to be holding out pretty strong! This gave me hope and determination! Maybe I could be a runner?

Running 3.1 miles makes me a runner, right?

June 8, 2013 finds me standing a the starting line of the Kona Run 5K race in Northville, MI. The race starts at Northville Downs, a horse racing track. We start out with a lap around the track then hit the streets from there. I start out jogging out of the starting gate because, really, who wants to be the one who is walking right from the start right? I am thinking to myself, maybe I could jog all the way around the track then walk as we break out onto the street.

We leave the horse track, out through the parking lot and onto the street. I am still jogging. And I’m feeling pretty strong. With my Garmin Forerunner 10 strapped to my wrist, I am constantly checking time, mileage, pace, etc. I decide, as I’m getting a bit winded, that I will walk for just a few seconds. We’ve gone just under a quarter-mile, my mileage reads 0.20. I decide to walk until I get to 0.25 just to catch my breath, it is only the span of a minute or so. Then I start jogging again.

We round the first corner and start to make our way uphill. The first 2 miles of this course are mostly uphill. But I keep jogging. My breathing is pretty steady, knee feels good, I keep going. Again approaching half a mile I slow down at 0.45 miles and walk until I get to the half mile. I decide at that point I AM GOING TO RUN THIS WHOLE RACE! The only reprieve I decided to allow myself was at every quarter-mile, just that distance of 0.05 mile to walk and catch my breath.

Mind you, I am not running fast, in fact while I look like I’m jogging I feel like I’m moving in slow motion, lol! But I am jogging it and it makes me feel so good, so proud of myself! Around the 1.50 mile mark there is a very steep hill. My husband swears it was Mt. Everest but I think it was not quite that steep 🙂 People around me are slowing down as we climb this hill, many are dropping off to a slow walk. I press on and RUN UP THE WHOLE HILL!!! (OK, so I did allow myself a few seconds of walking once I got to the TOP of the hill, lol!)

As I am closing in on the last mile I have to admit I was really winded, my legs were tired and I wasn’t sure if I could keep running. Luckily the course was downhill the rest of the way and I started picking up speed a bit without as much effort.

The finish area was in a valley down a steep hill, and you had to follow this narrow sidewalk that was winding its way around this park to (presumably) a finish line…somewhere. The problem was it was winding in a circle and you couldn’t really see how far you were from the finish line. I really, really wanted to “finish strong” because this is a mantra that often rolls through my head as I’m working out – “FINISH STRONG!!” But I couldn’t help but start laughing a bit because it seemed like the finish line would never come into sight and I didn’t know how much more “finish strong” I had left in me, lol!

Finally, I am sprinting as fast as I can, the finish line is in sight, I hear the announcer call my name as my feet cross over the chip line. I stumble onto the grass at the end of the chute and drop to my knees, breathless and exhausted. I looked at my Garmin and see my time, 38:18 (I didn’t click the stop on the GPS right away so it recorded 3.14 miles, just a few seconds more than the official race time was recorded at.) Tears stung my eyes as I was overcome with joy.

I ran that! I ran that whole race! 3.1 miles, I did it!!

I am runner at last!

Crossing the finish line Kona 5K 2013

Crossing the finish line Kona 5K 2013

Then I looked up and saw my husband ahead of me in the crowd, smiling and waving at me. He finished 10 minutes ahead of me and also got a personal best time for him – 28:14! Hooray for us! 🙂

Debb_Jim_FinishLine_Kona2013

During my training, remember I was doing only very short intervals of jogging at 4.0 to 4.1 mph. My pace for this race ended up being an average of 4.9 mph!! It’s amazing sometimes, how much more we are capable of, compared to what we think we can do.

The difference a day can make

How often do you step on the scale? Once a week? Monthly? Every day?

There seems to be endless arguments for and against every option. I have a standing appointment with my scale at 6:10 a.m. each morning to review the previous days events and their impact on my body weight. We do not always see eye to eye, but our daily meetings help me to start my day accurately knowing if what I am doing is working or not so I can adjust as needed in the coming day.

What, too soon?

I’ve heard a lot of arguments against weighing in daily; with the key take-away being that people feel their weight fluctuates too much from one day to the next, and they don’t want to get discouraged as they are trying to lose weight. I agree it’s possible for there to be significant fluctuations in weight on a daily basis, however, I believe this is due largely to poor diet and inconsistent weight loss habits. We should use that as motivation to clean up our diets and build more consistency in how we take care of ourselves.

I am a strong advocate for daily weighing so you have the time to react right away if the numbers start moving in the wrong direction. These numbers are also a good evaluation of the quality of your diet, and can even be an indication of hidden health issues. I think that if you’re eating the right things, in the right amounts, your weight should be fairly consistent.

(yes, yes, ladies, I know the “that time of the month” argument, but I think that week goes without saying – stay off the scales for 7 days, you don’t want to see whatever it has to say!)

Slow and steady wins the race

In the past, I used to see my numbers swing up and down quite a bit. But that was back when I was making poor food choices and didn’t have a very strong approach to losing weight. Of course, I didn’t realize all of that at the time. I used to eat a lot of “junk” and at times would just try to eat less of it to lose weight.

    Junk is still junk no matter how much of it you’re eating and it will have the same results in your body either way.

For example, eating a lot of processed and packaged foods – these things are loaded with sodium which will easily cause your body to retain fluid and inflate your weigh in’s. This can cause a big difference on the scale from one day over the next. I’ve found that eating a lot of sugary and/or processed white products can also cause a lot of unwanted action on the scale. Eating a lot of sugar, white bread, pasta or rice seems to clog up the digestive system and add temporary weight until they finally make their way…..um… you know, out.

Over the last year I have slowly but surely made significant changes in not just how much I eat, but more importantly WHAT I eat. (More about that in another post to come!) I have been amazed at the consistency of my weight! Even during the process of losing weight, I was very consistent. Here is an example of what my daily numbers would look like:

Mon. – 125.0
Tues. – 125.2
Wed. – 124.8
Thur. – 124.6
Fri. – 125.0
Sat. – 124.6
Sun. – 124.4
Mon. – 124.6
Tues. – 124.2
Wed. – 124.8
Thur. – 124.0
Fri. – 124.2
Sat. – 123.8
Sun. – 124.0

So what I see is a swing back and forth of just a few tenths of a pound. Whatever whole number I am seeing most frequently is the weight that I will “claim” as my current weight.

By weighing daily, I can monitor if I am on a downward trend or an upward trend. If most of my numbers are going down a little, it’s OK if they jump back up a few tenths of a pound, usually they’ll go right back down the next day or so. Typically I don’t see fluctuations of a whole pound at a time. If I start to notice a plateau where I am bouncing back and forth with the same half pound and never going below it, (or the numbers are going up and not back down) I know it is time to review my food logs and make note of my daily calorie deficits. I will probably find that I’ve been eating just 100 or 200 calories more a day than I really should and that is keeping me in a holding pattern. Usually just a tweak or two in my daily diet will quickly correct the situation.

So, what brought all this up?

What made me think to write a post about this topic, was the way I ate last weekend and how it affected the scale. Last Saturday I attended a Bridal Shower for my best friend, Terri. I anticipated going over my daily calorie budget and I tried to offset it by doing a good treadmill run that morning before I left. However, after 2 glasses of wine, 2 cupcakes, a plate full of pasta salad and chicken salad and lots of other munchies (including M&M’s and jelly beans)….when I tried to tally everything up it came to around 2800 calories for the day. (Keep in mind, my normal daily target is 1350.)

Terri's bridal shower June 2013 - Casey (left), Terri (center), me (right)

Terri’s bridal shower June 2013 – Casey (left), Terri (center), me (right)

The best part of the bridal shower was when I first got there and saw Terri. She hadn’t seen me since we tried on dresses in November.

The first words out of her mouth were “Wow, look at you! You don’t even look like you! I’ve never seen you this tiny!”

And she’s right! She’s been my best friend for about the last 15 years and she never has seen me this thin! That felt really, really good to hear her say. 🙂

One thing I have learned is that it takes a calorie deficit of 3500 calories to lose a pound of weight. I simply cannot starve myself enough to lose a pound a week, my average is 1/2 lb per week by creating an average calorie deficit of -250 per day. Conversely, it seems that about 1250 extra calories in a day can add over 1 lb. of weight to my body. I’m not crazy about this mathematical double standard!

As if the eating frenzy on Saturday weren’t enough to set my scale on tilt…my husband’s 40th birthday was on Monday, so we had cake and ice cream on Sunday! He also had asked me if I would please, for his birthday, make “sour cream cookies” like his Grandma used to make. So I searched the internet, found what I thought to be the right recipe (I had never tasted or seen these cookies he was telling me about), and at 9:00 pm Saturday after being at that shower all day, I made him cookies. And they turned out so delicious that I snarfed down several of them! Unfortunately they were about 135 calories each!

But the cookies were worth it, they made my husband happy, and he said they were “just like Grandma’s”, which made me very happy!
If you’d like to try the recipe I used, you can find it here:
Sour Cream Cookies

I am no longer married to a man in his 30's.  No, I'm not leaving my husband!  He's turning 40!!  :)

I am no longer married to a man in his 30’s. No, I’m not leaving my husband! He’s turning 40!! 🙂

I weighed myself Saturday morning before all this eating of sugar, pasta and the likes, and came in at 123.4 lbs. Sunday morning it was 124.8. By Monday morning I was up to 125.4. I gained a pound per day last weekend! But at least I am aware of it, and now I can really buckle down this week to make sure I quickly counteract this.

And that, my friends, is the difference a day can make.

This observation has really helped me to reaffirm in my mind that even though I am in “maintenance mode” now, I cannot stop being relentless with counting the calories, working out to burn calories, and exercising discipline with my food choices every day. The math doesn’t lie, and neither does the bathroom scale.

    You have to keep it going, if you want to keep it gone!

May 2013 – Monthly Fitness Stats

Ok so as I’m posting my stats for May, this will finally bring me up to speed and I’ll have all my months progress reports on here from the time I started getting back into shape up until now. After this I can start putting out some posts of other stuff that’s been on my mind! 🙂

When May started I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do with the month, training-wise. This was sort of another “last chance workout” month for me, as the last weekend in May I had an appointment to take my bridesmaid dress in for fitting. That meant that if I was going to lose any more weight, I needed to do it now, because once the pins go in the dress I go into maintenance mode until the wedding in July.

What I ended up doing throughout the month was a complete hodge-podge of various things.

BASIC STATS:

Speed: 2.4 mph starting speed, Max walking speed 3.2 mph. Run interval speed 4.1 mph

This was another 0.20 mph increase over April for starting speed. I am reaching my full speed much quicker now which helps to increase my overall mileage and calorie burn. As with other months, increase speed by 0.20 mph every minute until reaching ‘max’ speed. First set of weight reps during this warmup. Max walking speed stayed the same as last month.

Duration: Aimed for 50 minutes.

Because I did some different things this month, my timing was different all the time, but if I didn’t have a specific plan in mind I just set my sights on basic intervals for 50 minutes.

Weights: 1 to 2 sets, 12 reps

This is the first time in many months that I started to drop off on the weight sets while walking on the treadmill. There were a couple of reasons for this. First, I did more workouts that were other types of strength training and didn’t feel as much need to work upper body during my walks. Secondly, I was doing more speed intervals, outdoor runs and 5K test runs where the weights were just too much distraction.

Incline: 5

Worked on getting consistent with incline at 5, but found this to be very challenging. Found I could do my walking at 5 but tended to drop it down to 4 during run intervals. Also, as the month went on and I started doing more focused goals on my runs I used less and less incline.

Average Burn: 300

I feel the need to comment here, that it bums me out the more weight I lose, the harder I have to work to get my burn! What used to be over 300 calorie burn workouts for me now are often just a little over 200 calorie burns. No fair that I work just as hard, if not harder and now I have to start eating less to maintain because I’m not burning as much as I did when I weighed more!

Ending Weight: 123.6

This is 2-1/2 pound loss from last month. I have now lost almost 27 lbs. YAY ME!! 🙂

At this point I will be moving into maintenance mode, although my “goal weight” was actually 120 lbs. But I need to maintain this size now until after Terri’s wedding in July so the dress I just had sized will still fit me!

OK – so I’ve mentioned a few times here that I was doing some “different things” this month. Here is a run-down of what that looked like.

Cross Training:

There is a workout that my husband found on an On-Demand video by a trainer whose name is Declan. He was following this video doing this workout for some time before our cruise, and when it was about to be taken off the On-Demand menu he wrote it all down so he could keep doing it. This month I started doing this cross training workout with him. I need to start building strength and muscle in my body in areas other than my legs!

This workout is a collection of things like push ups, jumping jacks, planks, high knee lifts, lunges, squats, side-punches, crunches and a bunch of other stuff. It takes us about 40 minutes to do 2 sets of everything and by the end of that 40 minutes I am sweating like I ran a 5K twice! And the next two days my gluts and hamstrings are so sore I can barely walk! I think that means it’s working 🙂

I added this about twice per week and over all cut down my treadmill time to about 3 times per week instead of 4. So, I was actually working out about 5 days a week most of this month.

Strength Training:

I had recently been reading a book called “The Salt Solution” which talks about the epidemic of high sodium diets in this nation and all of the health issues this causes. The author of the book offers up a solution to lowering sodium intake, and outlines a program for eating to break the salt habit. I am not at this point following that program, although I am going to be putting some of the recipes into use.

What I liked in this book was there was an accompanying 6 week workout plan that had a 6 day walking/running plan combined with a weekly strength training plan. I’ve been thinking about following some sort of set plan for a while just to go into auto-pilot and not have to think too much about what I want to do for my workouts and decided I wanted to try this plan. However, I am scheduled to run a 5K race on June 8th ( www.konarun.com ) so I was also wanting to push my training more this month in preparation for the race.

The last week of May, I did start adding this strength training in twice a week. But it is just a short, 20 minute workout. I’m using small weights, they are not more than 5 lbs. each, but they have metal plates that can screw onto the ends to increase the weight as I get stronger. The program is just 7 different exercises and is pretty easy to follow. It doesn’t burn a ton of calories, but I like having something fairly easy some nights that is still helping me build my muscles and upper body strength.

The walking/running schedule part of the program I will wait until June to begin, after the 5K race.

5K Race Training:

Did a few “test runs” this month to work on my time for the 5K race.
Last year, I did my first 5K and I walked most of it. At the time it felt like I was walking as fast as I possibly could, I jogged a little of it (a very little bit of it), and my time was 47:11. Not a great time to more experienced folks I understand, but to me, I was so happy to just have done it, and to have finished it!

Mid-month I did a 5K on the treadmill and attempted to do as much of it as I could at my normal ‘run’ pace of 4.1 mph. I did it in 42:00!! I couldn’t believe I could do that! I was hoping maybe I could come in under 45 minutes this year.

Later in the month, my husband and I bought ourselves Garmin Forerunner 10 watches so we could start hitting the pavement to be free of the treadmill and still be able to track mileage, pace, calories, etc. This has been fun, and challenging too. Heat/humidity fatigue, hills and wind resistance – these are all new challenges to a girl who is used to always being on the treadmill!

We did a 5K training run outside and to my SHOCK I was able to do it in just a few seconds over 40 minutes!! So now, I can’t wait to see what I can do in that race!

Run Intervals:

On my standard treadmill workouts…I had been (very) slowly working in run intervals. I think I started out with 1 minute intervals every 10 minutes a few months ago and have steadily added 30 seconds to that each month. Last month I was doing three intervals of jogging for 3-1/2 minutes throughout my 50 minute walks. So I was on pace this month to go up to 6 minute walking/4 minute running intervals.

Well, the first week of the month I decided to take that up a notch further and did 5 on/5 off. I amazed myself I was able to jog for 5 minute intervals! The next week I went to 4 minutes walking/6 minutes running and at this point I dropped my incline down to 3. (Yes, I was actually doing the 5 on/5 off at an incline of 4!)
The following week I did 3 minutes walking/7 minutes running. However, when trying to do this outside I found it really hard to keep up the run that long, as my pace seems to increase significantly when the treadmill is not pacing me, so I tire myself out quickly! The last week of May I worked on 2 minutes walk/8 minutes run and I have to say, it was hard for me. Really hard.

I’d like to think I could attempt to “run” this whole 5K race, but I’m not sure my stamina will hold out. We’ll see.

Stay tuned next month for June’s stats – I’ll be trying to follow that Salt Solution workout guide through the month after the race so I’ll give a full report on that next time.

Healthy Eating Habits

Just thinking about some of the habits I’ve developed over the last year or so that have really enabled me to be successful in eating healthier and reducing my calorie intake:

– Stock the freezer with steam-in-the-microwave vegetable side dishes for dinner.
These are ready in about 5 minutes, pack a ton of nutrition, are tasty and very low in calories.

– Stock the freezer with frozen fish.
Preferably the unbreaded or very lightly breaded kind. Keep a variety like salmon, tilapia, cod. Pop these in the oven for around 30 minutes after work, couple with a steamfresh veggie side and you’ve got a filling, nutritious, yummy dinner for 300 calories or less! Take it a step further, skip the tartar sauce and instead keep fresh lemons on hand and squeeze fresh lemon juice onto your fish.

– Stock the fridge with fresh veggies, buy organic & local – they will last longer.
We use a local organic produce delivery service. www.doortodoororganics.com For the same cost we would spend at the grocer each week, we get a box of fresh, local organic produce delivered to our doorstep. Our box arrives on Friday, I cut everything up on Sunday and by the end of the week the veggies are still fresh!

– Preparation is key!
I spend an hour on Sunday cutting up veggies and storing mixed varieties in tupperware-type bowls to take to work through the week. Pre-portion healthy dip into covered to-go containers as well, I recommend Hommus. Measure out snack crackers like Triscuits into baggies to go as well. Play with the serving size: if 6 crackers is 120 calories but you’d like your snack to be a little less, then only pack 4 or 5 crackers.

– Keep the pantry stocked with low-calorie, nutritious snacks.
Keep a basket full of quick, portable snacks like Kashi soft baked bars or chewy granola bars. Fill the pantry with options that are under 200 calories per snack. Bananas work great for this too. Before they get overly ripe, peel them, cut into pieces and pop them into the freezer in a bag to be used later in protein shakes.

– Keep a variety of low-calorie snacks to suit your tastes at different times.
We subscribe to Nature Box – they ship a box once a month filled with delicious snacks, different stuff each month – and it is all organic or non-gmo, all-natural and yummy!

– Switch to smaller dishes!
Stock your cupboards with 4 oz glasses to easily portion out juice, milk, etc into amounts of fewer calories than a standard 8 oz serving. Use dessert-sized plates for your main entrée. You can take smaller portions and still have the visual sensation of eating a full plate of food.

– Invest in good measuring tools for your kitchen.
You can never have enough measuring cups, stainless steel measuring spoons, and even serving spoons that are 1/2 cup size to help portion control from the pan to the plate.

February 2013 – Last Chance Workout Month

“Last chance workout” month before leaving for our cruise!

We went on an 8 night Caribbean cruise, it was fantastic! We planned all of our excursions to include a lot of walking and calorie-burning activities. And for the first time ever, we used the fitness center on the ship! So while we certainly did indulge in food (and adult beverages) we really kept the damage to a minimum. Most of the time we each gain almost 10 lbs on a week-long cruise. This time I only gained 5 and I think Jim gained 6 lbs. And we were both able to drop those pounds really quick within a week or so after coming home.

runningonship

shipshapefitness

treadmillonship

February Stats:

Speed: 2.0 mph start, increase .2 per minute to max of 3.0 mph

While working out on the ship I started increasing my max speed to 3.2 mph. This seemed pretty comfortable, so I kept it going the rest of the month.

Duration: 45 – 50 minutes

Started trying to push duration out a little further, the month was a mix of about every other workout between 45 to 50 minutes.

Weights: 3 sets, 12 reps

Frequency: 4 times per week

Run intervals: 2 to 2-1/2 minutes

Had one day on the ship that I just felt so full of energy, I pushed out my run intervals to about 5 minutes and couldn’t believe I could do it!!

Incline: 3 to 4, variable

Aero Pilates: once per week, 30 minutes

Average Burn: 269

Ending Weight: 130 lbs (yay! intermediate goal weight!)
I actually got to this weight right before we left for the cruise. Then I gained 5 lbs while on the cruise, then lost it again within about a week of coming home, so closed out the month at this weight still, yay me!! 🙂

January 2013 Monthly Fitness Stats

Keeping pace with December, kicked a couple of things up a notch like starting speed, run intervals and incline.

Me, my husband (Jim) and our daughter (Cecilia) in January 2013

Me, my husband (Jim) and our daughter (Cecilia) in January 2013

This photo is me and my family in January 2013. Looking a bit thinner here, down about 17 lbs from my most recent “fat” weight – although kind of hard to tell with the bulky winter clothes!

Treadmill stats:

Speed: 1.8 mph starting speed, increase .2 mph per minute to max speed of 3.0 mph

Duration: 45 minutes

Frequency: 4 times per week

Weights: 3 sets, 12 reps

Run intervals: 4.0 mph 2 minute intervals, average 3 sets

Incline: 3

Aero Pilates: once per week, 12 reps of all, duration about 30 minutes

Average Burn: 240

Ending Weight: 133.4 lbs