Weekend Plans

In case you have been living under a rock… today is the Blackhawks Victory Parade and Rally. On my way into work, I saw tons of people already on their way to one or the other. For those who don’t know… I get to work by 6:30 at the very latest… Lately its been 5:45ish… as it was today. I was surprised to see so many people already making their way there that early. But its a wonderful accomplishment for a team that had an outstanding season

One Goal

Although… I could do without the horn/honking sound that has been going on outside my office window for the last 20 minutes or so… I don’t think it will go away until the day is done either… Hopefully my head phones will block it out…

Mom gets into town tonight. She will be spending the month in Chicago. Tomorrow we will get up and head to Ikea so I can get a new bed… which will be delivered at some point next week I am sure. She will also be dealing with the plumber for me on Monday. So Hopefully I will have a normal working shower by then. I always enjoy the month my mom is in town. I also spend a fortune… With access to a car I tend to stock up on things. It will be fun to spend the time with her. Really looking forward to it!

Sunday I will be heading over to the beach to play some Volleyball with friends. At some point I seriously need to do laundry… Maybe this evening or tomorrow evening after mom and I have finished running a ton of errands… Hmmm…

No race this weekend. Including the weekend I was sick (even though I DNS’d that race) I had 7 weekends in a row of racing. That’s a lot… and may have partially contributed to my getting sick… My next weekend race is not until August so it will be nice to have a break from weekend racing. I have two weekday races coming up on the 11th and 16th and a few baseball games as well so I will still have plenty to keep me busy.

Smile It's Friday

And I can still hear the horn/honking… Pretty sure it is a horn of some sort. Its really annoying…

Happy Friday! What are your plans for the weekend?

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Disease?

Not sure how many are aware of this but last week the American Medical Association (AMA) announced that Obesity is now a disease.

Obesity is defined by your height to weight ratio which is known as your Body Mass Index (BMI). If you have a BMI of 30 or higher, you are considered obese.

I am no stranger to this knowledge or the concept of obesity. In fact, I, myself, was technically obese. I talked about this here

I have never been sure what I truly weighed when I was at my heaviest. The heaviest number on the scale that I ever saw (compliments of a doctor’s visit at one point) was around 200 lbs… give or take a little. But I also know that when I was weighed was probably the middle of my “Heaviest period” so I very easily could have weighed a lot more before I started to lose weight. So my BMI was roughly 31ish… again, it could have been higher.

I remember when I did this calculation (out of curiosity at the time) and was shocked and rather humiliated that I was considered obese. But I also wasn’t foolish enough to think I was in any way healthy. I ate predominately junk food and definitely did not work out on a regular basis. It was rare for me to eat veggies. I almost never ate at home and if I did… it was probably a dinner of gummy bears or cookies. Not that I don’t do that anymore… but it’s more on occasion versus the norm now.

I recently did a new BMI Calculation (Should you feel so inclined, you can calculate yours with this handy calculator) and am happy to report that I am now in the middle of the “Normal Weight” Range.

There has been quite a bit of debate over the years about the limitations of the BMI Calculation. For one, it does not take muscle mass into consideration. Simply put, muscle weighs more than fat. So while your weight certainly plays a factor in your health, the number on the scale should not the main factor. It is also important to point out that size is not an indicator of a person’s health and/or fitness level. There are plenty of super skinny people who are not healthy and there are plenty of people who appear larger that are healthy.

Now – Why am I going on and on about this? Simply put – I don’t agree with Obesity being a disease at all. Epidemic? Yep. Problem? Absolutely! Disease? I don’t think so…

The reason I don’t think Obesity is a disease is because obesity is MOSTLY caused by lifestyle. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that genetics does play a part in this as well. But mostly… Lifestyle. I have observed that the issue of obesity seemed to become an issue once people started to look for quick fixes for meals. The introduction of the microwave dinner or the meal in a box… Just add whatever meat and throw in the oven. Boxed foods are LOADED with preservatives and chemicals and LOADS of sugar and salt to make them taste better and last longer.

I think everyone is trying to find a quick fix for this problem. I firmly believe that there is no magic pill that will work and that the old fashioned idea of diet and exercise is the only true solution.

Although – Let’s examine that word diet for a moment. There are umpteen million diets out there… almost none of them teach a person how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. They take the meal out of the freezer and pop it in the microwave. How exactly is that healthy? And it can’t be maintained. Once you stop you gain the weight back. I would also venture a guess that you hit a weight loss plateau far sooner with this type of diet.

I am a firm believer in everything in moderation. Not only did I lose 70 pounds that way but I have kept it off… errr… with the exception of maybe 10/15 pounds I gained back last year when moderation became every day for me… and that every day lasted for several months.

I do not believe in diets but I do believe in lifestyle changes. Not only did mostly eliminate pre-packaged food from my home and therefore my body but I also make my meals from scratch. Eating out is a treat for me now instead of an everyday occurrence. Do I still indulge in pizza, candy, cookies, ice cream, etc? Yes, I definitely do. But I have limited how often I eat that stuff. In fact, I would say that Monday through Thursday what I eat is very healthy. I do occasionally have bad weeks but for the most part that is my lifestyle. I buy fresh food every weekend which I cook on Sunday and that is my lunch Monday through Thursday (Work buys the office lunch every Friday). Weekends I typically I have scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast. Lately I have had races so I have been eating pizza for dinners on the weekends a LOT lately.

My lifestyle change was to eat cleaner food… More veggies and fresh foods… items with a very short shelf life and less of the pre-packaged stuff.

Oh and do not even get my started on GMO’s and Monsanto…

I am sure this is a hot button topic but I just cannot agree with Obesity being called a disease. There is a cure for this and it’s called getting off your ass and working out and stop going through the drive through. Yes, it is difficult and working out hurts. And you damn well better believe I would rather eat pizza and French fries and cookies all the time. But guess what… if I still did that I would still be obese.

Do you think that obesity should be considered a disease?

Throwback Wednesday – A Wrench in the Plan

I may or may not have mentioned that my running week starts on Monday and ends on Sunday. As such, if a new year happens to not fall on a Monday then I start the following week.

So that first Monday of the year I was excited. After work I changed and was off to the gym where I did my shorter run on the treadmill and then did some strength training. Tuesday after work I geared up to run in the cold weather. I ran two miles north by all the high rises opting to avoid the path. The path is rather dark in the winter months and I am not comfortable running somewhere if I have difficulty seeing where I step. Anywho, the 4 mile run went well and then on Wednesday it was back to the gym.

Thursday I geared up for my run but about a mile in my knee was bothering me. It wasn’t really pain (at this point) but I could tell it was definitely tweaked somehow. Continue running and get to mile two… my turn around point. My knee is REALLY hurting me now. Full blown pain on the outside of my left knee. I wasn’t really sure what was going on. This is the knee that tends to flare up but this pain was totally different so I knew it couldn’t be a flare up.

Now I am faced with a decision. Running REALLY hurts but I am also two miles away from home. No cell phone and no bus pass and no money for a cab. I was dressed to RUN in cold weather… not walk. So I could walk home and freeze my tushy off or I could suck it up and run. I really had no other way to get home. So I ran. It was an excruciating 2 miles and by the time I got home I was limping my knee hurt so much.

I ice the knee regularly for about a week. It no longer hurts to walk so I decided to test my knee out with a run. I smartly choose to stay in the area and keep it short this time in case it starst to hurts to again.

A little over a mile into the run – Pain

I googled Knee pain and was bombarded by all these things about torn ligaments and that surgery would be needed. I am completely freaking out.

I am so beyond sad and disappointed. I met up with a friend that Friday evening to be cheered up. At one point he had both of his knees replaced and I had been telling him all of my symptoms. As soon as we met up he mentioned that he thought it was IT band and showed me “The Stick”

I had NO IDEA what an IT Band was. Never heard of it or the stick. He explained to me that it was not a serious injury and it could be managed… mostly with the stick.

I had already decided to make an appointment with a sports therapist. I choose a sports therapist off the bat because I knew the pain was caused from running. I had not fallen or been hit or even smacked my knee on anything. And I definitely didn’t do anything funny to it at the gym. So my conclusion was running was the cause of the injury. I also knew that I didn’t want to give up running. My past experience when I go to a doctor with knee pain always included the doctor telling me to no longer do X.

Not only was that usually horrible and incorrect advice for me but I wasn’t going to give up the new hobby that I fell in love with.

I should point out that every time a doctor told me not to do X I never listened. Instead I would find a way to manage the pain. Not in a grin and bear it kind of way but in a how can the pain be prevented kind of way. Over the years I have figured out that Ice is the curer of all pain… at least for me anyway…

Moving on

So I had my doctor appointment the following Monday. I was nervous and I dreaded hearing that I wouldn’t be able to run anymore.

I was immediately impressed with the questions I was asked when I saw the doctor. Questions about my activity level – How often, how much, etc. Then Questions about what my goal is and if I still wanted to run. I performed a few “tests”… Meaning they took a look at the leg to determine the cause and how to fix it. I opted for an X-Ray as well because it had been several years since I got one and my father has arthritis and I wanted to make sure that I had no early signs of it. X-Ray came out all good and I was told it was my IT Band.

I have never been so happy to say “you were right” before… Once I left the appointment I text the friend that told me it was my IT Band that he was right. Then we joked about how happy I was to say “you were right” :-p

Not only did I have weak muscles but I also made a rookie mistake… Increased mileage too quickly. At the time, I thought I could essentially take two months off (Almost all of November and December) and still run 4 miles a day. WRONG!

Leave it to me to survive a year of training and running a half and get injured the SECOND YEAR.

So I did some physical therapy. It was only 5 sessions. Most of the exercises I already knew about but didn’t do that often. I had some muscle but I was definitely weaker on my left side. I also needed to do the advanced version of several of the exercises. My IT Band injury was predominately caused by increasing mileage too quickly. Grrrrr

I took a solid two weeks off from running while I focused more on strength training. When I started running again I started out VERY slow. Mostly, I was terrified of making my IT Band act up again. It was the beginning of March before I was able to run consistently without pain and for more than a mile. But at the same time, if I felt the slightest twinge I usually backed off and ended the run.

My trip to Texas for the RnR Dallas Half was coming up at the end of March and I had some decisions to make. I wanted to run the race but I knew it would be foolish. My longest run had been 4 miles and that was the week before the half. There was no way I could do this race without risking injury again.

I decided to still fly down to TX… after all I was also going to be able to visit my parents. My dad took me to the race expo so I could still get the T-shirt (which ended up being one expensive shirt) and to look around for a bit. I remember waking up race Morning itching to race. I was also bummed because I had been excited that both of my parents would be there to cheer me on. My parents support me but its rare that they are both in town for the same race.

This ended up being the first race that I ever bailed on…

I was disappointed that I couldn’t race but I knew it was the right decision. I still had plenty of other races on my schedule for the year. And I still had my goal of running the Marathon in October

 

Training June 17th – June 23rd

First thing is first – Congrats to the Blackhawks for winning the Stanley Cup! I also fully appreciate the lack of OT for this game :-p

Stanley Cup Champs

 

Now on to the training for last week

June 17 - 23

And here is the “Legend” For my short hand Strength Training Notes….

Gym Short Hand     At Home

Monday – At Home Strength Training

I opted to not run for several reasons. Top reason… I had a sun burn from playing Sand Volleyball the day before for too long without enough sunscreen…. ooops. It was too hot to wear a t-shirt outside too. So I decided to do some at home strength training and Laundry. It worked out well because I had everything before the Hawks game

Tuesday – 1.00 Mile Speed Work and Strength Training

Again with the sun burn… So I decided it would be a good day to get in a little speed work. It is no secret that I don’t like Speed work but when I choose to do it, I know that the treadmill is my best bet because it forces me to stay on pace. For the record I always set the incline to a min of 2 to make up for the lack of resistance. I did five and a half minutes of sprinting and the rest at a nice easy run pace. I was extremely pleased with the intervals. Could have pushed it a little more but didn’t want to overdo it since I knew I was planning to do my longer run for the week the following day. I then got in a killer upper body workout. I may have overdone it too because for the next two days I had a bit of a tweak in my right shoulder blade area. I know I did too much weight. Or rather – did too much weight while maintaining reps/sets. This is not uncommon for me but I probably should have taken it easy… it had been far too long since I really worked the back muscles.

Wednesday – 4.04 Miles

I went out for this run with pretty low expectations. I knew I needed at least 3 miles, should have stuck to 3.50 miles but REALLY wanted the 4 miles. Since I was feeling good I thought it was safe to push for 4 miles. Overall I was pleased with the run. I was happy and surprised at my pace. Definitely took full advantage of the water fountains and only swallowed 2 gnats (that I know of). So not that bad

Thursday – 1.43 Miles

I still wanted to take it easy this week because I didn’t do much running the week before. I also knew that because I got in 4 miles and I still had a 5K on Sunday that the mileage shouldn’t go too much higher since the previous week was so low. So I decided that since I was going for a shorter run it might be ok to push the pace. It was not my original intent but once I started running I knew I was running on the faster side so I decided to just go with it. The original plan was hit the gym after but that did not happen and I did laundry instead.

Friday – Gym Strength Training

I was super productive after work on Friday. Went to get my race packet, then to the grocery store and then I managed to drag my butt to the gym. I really didn’t want to go but knew I wouldn’t regret going so I just said hell with it and went. I did the lower body but didn’t want to totally kill the legs since I would need them to get me through a race on Sunday. I took it easy but still made myself work. I considered spending some time on the stair stepper or bike but just didn’t feel like it. I was tired and it had been a long week.

Saturday – Rest

I rested Saturday but was still productive in other ways. I vacuumed, cleaned my bathroom and finally put stuff away in my kitchen that have been sitting out for far too long. Also took all my recycling out. I read outside for an hour then made myself a frozen pizza and watched the Hawks win.

Sunday – Chicago Women’s Half & 5K Race plus Volleyball

I already posted about the race. It was not pretty but oh well… It was HOT. I had promised a friend to go to Volleyball after and the original plan was to go home, shower, take a nap and then go to VBall but I thought it might be better to just keep going and then just crash later. So after determining that it would be foolish to shower after the race then go play volleyball where I would only need to shower again, I promised Courtney I would put on more deodorant and then meet her for breakfast. After we ate and chatted we headed to volleyball. I knew that I would be tired and wouldn’t play but decided that an hour of play wouldn’t hurt. It was fun and I am glad I went but boy was I tired after. Once I got home I showered and then made my breakfast for the week. I knew if I sat on my couch I would take a nap and wouldn’t want to do anything after that.

It was a good week – Could have been better but could have been worse too.

This week I need to do a longer run of 4.50 miles and would like all of my other runs to be at least 2 miles. I should probably suck it up and run in the heat to get my body acclimated but with the possibility of sever storms, it might be better to suck it up on the treadmill and do speed work instead. I would still like to keep the runs at two miles even if I do hit the treadmill… But I really hate the treadmill. So it will be more of a matter of how stubborn I choose to be. I also intend to play volleyball on Sunday again. Supposed to be a LOT cooler this weekend so it should be the perfect day for it. I also intend to buy new sunscreen. Mine expired so I tossed it.

I am enjoying the fact that I don’t have another race until July 11th – It will be nice to have more relaxing weekends until my next weekend race in August.

And the best news of the week – Mommy gets here on Friday!

Happy Tuesday everyone

The Heat is On…

I know I am not the only person whose running suffers in the heat. In fact, it was so bad at one race that I almost ended up in the ER due to sever dehydration.

I now know that my body cannot handle significant distance in heat. For me it has little to do with training and a LOT to do with genetics. I had multiple experiences when I was in High School dealing with heat so I have known all the warning signs for many years. My HS experiences were no where near the degree I experienced at my first half but then again Marching Band (I was in colorguard/winterguard throughout HS) is not quite the same degree of intensity as running a half marathon. But none-the-less, I learned the warning signs day one of band camp (please no references to American Pie… I have heard them before and they stopped being funny at least 9 years ago… though probably more like 13 years ago).

Because of this limitation that I really have little control over, it is not likely I will ever sign up for a half marathon in the months of May through October and will stick to the winter months should I take on this challenge again.

That said – There are certainly numerous runners who want and do take on the half marathon in the summer months. As such, I thought it might be a good idea to pose some questions as well as my own two cents for running the heat.

The best advice I can give any runner… new or old… is to LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. If you are running and training for a half marathon, you have certainly logged some miles. Some of those miles were probably awesome and some… not so much. Its those runs that are terrible that should be analyzed as much (if not more) than the good ones. You can learn a LOT from a terrible run. No one likes a terrible run but we all have them so its a good idea to learn form them. These terrible runs can teach you how your body reacts in heat, if you need water more often, if you need some sort of sports drink or gel and it can teach you the warning signs of dehydration. You can learn a whole host of other things too but thats a different post :-p

There are several warning signs of dehydration and the way a particular person experiences dehydration may vary but the overall warning signs are: Headache (think hangover), Dizziness, Thirst, Rapid onset of fatigue and increase in heart rate. For me personally – Dizziness and Headache are my red flags.

I would also like to point out that if you are properly hydrated that your urine should be a very pale yellow – the darker it is the more dehydrated you are.

Obviously, you should be drinking lots of water. But there is also a key balance of salt to water in your body. Over-hydrating can throw this out of whack causing other severe issues.

I am not a doctor, so I will stop there. Everything I have just mentioned I have read/heard from various sources over the years. And the bulk of the information has not changed.

I guess my main point here is that it is important to note what your first sign of dehydration is (Headache followed by dizziness for me). I am also not advising that someone go out there and try to dehydrate themselves to find out. If you are like me and get dehydrated easily then you probably already know. If you are one of the lucky ones who doesn’t then you may go even a step further on the luck scale and you may never know.

What I would like to hear from my fellow runners are how they deal with the heat. I have a friend who will be running her first half at RnR Chicago in July and asked me about dehydration (sorry it has taken me so long to post this A)

How do you survive the long run in the heat? (Keeping in mind that race times cannot be changed so suggesting to run at X time or X time is not the best advice for the purpose of this post)

What gels/goo/electrolyte tabs/etc. do you recommend and why?

Do you find that your diet has any effect on how easily you get dehydrated? If yes, what foods make this worse and/or better?

Any other good pieces of advice for running in the heat?

 

 

 

 

Chicago Women’s Half & 5K Race Re-Cap

Sunday I ran the 5K portion of this race. I doubt I will ever sign up for a half marathon for a month where there is even the slightest possibility for overly hot and humid weather. If I do another half it will be in November – March months… Buts that’s a whole other chat…

Onto the race stuff…

Packet Pick-up was a breeze. In and out in probably less than 5 minutes. Love the Fleet Feet packet pick-ups

1 Chicago Women's 6-23-13

I was excited about this race. I found it last year and actually really wanted to do the race last year but since I already had a race heavy schedule I opted to not do it. I was also very excited to get a headband along with a shirt this race… something new

I knew going into the weekend that it was going to be HOT on Sunday. I do NOT run well in heat at all. And this to less than stellar morning running as well and staying up later than I normally would have to watch the Blackhawks win (thankfully in regulation) and I had a few things stacked against me.

Woke up bright and early Sunday morning after a night of not sleeping well… It was too warm (for my liking) in my place. I wanted to meet up with the fellow bloggers at 6am but a delayed bus that I waited 15 minutes for then went at a snails pace made that difficult. I did end up seeing Maggie and one other blogger (whose name I have forgotten… I am HORRIBLE with names) before doing gear check and heading off to watch the Half Marathoner’s start the race.

Watched all the Half-Marathoner’s start their race. Happy to see so many women excited to run. At the back of the half-marathon pack I saw two guys dressed in full on cheerleading outfits. I didn’t have my phone out so I wasn’t able to snap a picture which was a bummer.

I opted to run with water for this race because they only had one water station on the course for the 5Ker’s and I didn’t think that would be enough for me. I lined up and we were off. About half a mile in I wanted water… Yep smart to run with water. I walked, took a sip and started to run again. About a half mile later I heard people around me talking about how they wanted water. It was VERY hot out already. I did see two guys in this race. It looked like one was running with his GF and the other appeared to be running with his two young daughters (they were maybe 10).

When I got to the first water station I skipped it knowing that I had water in my hand. The whole run I just felt a tad lethargic. It was hot and humid and I hated being in the sun. I occasionally slowed to a walk to take a sip of water but overall I ran the whole thing.

That is until I was done with my water bottle but didn’t want to ditch it unless it was into a trash can. I found one right before the turn to the finish line and took a short detour to throw out the water bottle.

I think I sprinted into the finish line but I am not sure because I never looked at my watch – I just wanted to finish the race.

Through the course I noticed that the mile markers were off by about 0.20 miles. When I got to the finish line I checked my time and mileage – My watch said 3.33 miles. Hmmmm…

My official time

Chicago Women's Half & 5K Results 2013

34:04 for a 10:59 Pace – NOT happy with that time (although my watch said I had a 10:14 pace which made me feel a little better… but the run will go down in history with the official pace time).

I didn’t go into the race expecting a stellar time. I knew I had several factors not in my favor so I really didn’t expect a good time. But I had hoped for around 32 minutes… or at least be in the 33 minute range… but nope…

After the race I headed to the bus and Text my friend, Courtney, She and I were planning to head to VBall and she asked if I wanted to go to breakfast with her. I figured I wouldn’t be able to shower if I did that… then thought… wait… What the hell is the point of showering if I am going to play sand VBall which I will need to shower after. I promised her to put on more deodorant then meet her to head out for food. After eating we heading over to the beach to play. I was tired and had already spent far too much time in the heat but stuck around for a little over an hour before calling a day. I was glad I went (both to breakfast and volleyball) but I was definitely ready for a nap. Forced myself to make my lunch for the week before laying on my couch and promptly falling asleep for an hour and a half.

All in all I thought it was a good race. Decent course and I really liked the headband with the t-shirt. Only thing I would fault them for is not having enough water stations. I heard several people running the 5K wishing for more than one water station and I have heard some complaints about not enough water on the half marathon course as well. Given how hot this race was… they definitely should have provided more. But all in all good and I would do the race again.

 

Weekend Plans

Happy Friday!

I have quite a bit I need to do, should do and want to do this weekend. Here is my overall plan…

 

After Work Today

-Get Race Packet for Chicago Women’s Half & 5K on Sunday (I am running the 5K)

-Go to the Grocery Store

-Go to the gym

-Do Laundry

 

Saturday

-Do Laundry (I have a lot so it will take more than one day)

-Clean Bathroom

-Clean Kitchen

-Vacuum

-Relax/Read outside by the pool (First Summer living in this building and I have YET to enjoy the pool)

-Watch Blackhawks win

-Pizza for Dinner…More than likely frozen… meh (Pre-Race Ritual)

 

Sunday

-5K Race

-Sand Volleyball

-Nap

-Make Lunch for the Week

 

Now – In reality I will only do half of this. Laundry REALLY needs to get done at some point along with the cleaning. Bathroom and Vacuum will most certainly get done. As for cleaning my Kitchen… Ehhh… I will probably just get around to putting stuff away that I have been leaving out. I am also not entirely sure I will make it to Volleyball. I really want to play on Sunday but I just don’t know if it will happen. The Race is EARLY on Sunday and though I am no stranger to a 4:30 am alarm clock (its the time I get up for work), I only run in the morning if I have race (for the most part). It will be HOT out there on Sunday and heat definitely takes it out of me. For some reason – I am always exhausted after a morning race… Not entirely sure why but it probably has something to do with the fact that typically I run and then a few hours later I go to bed so running tells my body to get ready for sleep soon. Well… that is my theory anyway…

As for getting to the gym tonight… I really WANT to but it will depend greatly on when I get home from Grocery shopping.

And if I am being truly honest with myself… Laundry is likely to not happen tonight. I will probably do some tomorrow and then again one day after work next week.

My overall plan is to stick around at home tomorrow and just relax/enjoy the day but still be sorta productive…