Archive for March 2014

4.22 miles in 30 min @ 1% – nice hard push – felt good and finished with lots of energy left. Awesome!

Definitely a strong push tonight.  Probably my fastest run since late January and I felt great after making me think I could have gone harder.  Good confidence booster at any rate.  I will have to build on this.

The run had no walk breaks and my speed alternated between 7.2 and 9 mph for 1 minute intervals – with every second 9 mph interval lasting 2 minutes in the first 10 minutes and then for the 2nd 10 minutes the second 9 mph interval would last 3 minutes.  The last 10 minutes I did 1 min at 7.2 for every 2 minutes at 9 mph ending with a 3 minute 9 mph interval.

Things definitely felt good and I had lots of energy.

I have started trying the spirulina algae similar to Energybits as an experiment – had some through the day and some right before the run.  I definitely had a good run tonight but it is too early to tell if the spirulina has anything to do with it at all but at least no negative impacts.  I will keep a watch on how things are going to see if it becomes part of my regular routine or not.

9 miles on the schedule tomorrow!

On my weight – goal setting and getting back on track

I haven’t talked about my weight on the blog in a while – mostly because I have been sitting kind of steady with my weight and there really hasn’t been anything to report one way or the other…but I want to get my weight coming down again for some upcoming races and posting about it here on the site seems to keep me honest and a bit more focused.  So grab a drink this is going to be a long post.

Some history – back in November and again in January I hit 215 pounds.  This point marks 42 pounds down from my official starting weight of 257 in September 2012.  My weight seems to keep fluctuating back up to around the 220-222 mark which is still pretty good but I want to get lower.  My running is still going well but I just can’t seem to get the weight to come down.  Most of the reason of this is diet frankly – I am pretty sure my consumed calories are now balanced out with my running calories and downward progress has stalled.  Throw in a fair bit of snacking and convenience food to go along with the cabin fever I have going on right now (this winter needs to end!!) and I can tell it is time to make some changes.

I want to get my weight moving again and would ideally like to hit 207 by the time I hit my birthday in mid-April – basically in around 4.5 weeks from the time of writing this.  This would mean being down 50 pounds from my start point – a significant number and an important milestone mentally.  Thirteen pounds in 4.5 weeks?  It is possible (have done it before) but it is going to take focus and some significant effort.

I have a fairly large bone and muscular structure and I think given that an ideal body weight for me will be around the 197 point (without losing too much muscle mass)…although 200 might be more realistic which should still have me in the 12-15% body fat range.  The lowest I can remember being after high school (many many moons ago) is 204 back in the summer of 2001 but I went heavily into weights at that point and put on additional muscle.  I was 215 when I ran my first half marathon in the summer of 2002 (still my PR at 1:45:11 although I got within 63 seconds of that back in October).  Now when I hit 215 in November and January I did not have the muscle that I did in 2002 at the same weight.  So I have definitely lost muscle mass and that needs to be taken into account when I try to figure out what my weight should be.

What does all that mean?  Not sure actually but what I think it is telling me is that I will right now set my goal weight to be 200 pounds and I will want to be there prior to the Manitoba Marathon on Father’s Day in June.  At that point I will re-evaluate again and figure out my body fat percentage to see what I need to do.

How do I get there?  There are few things I must do and a few things I am going to experiment with to see if they help or hinder.

What are the must dos?

  1. Really focus on my diet and cut down on the snacking.  To do this I have to make sure I get back to my high protein breakfasts – I used to make sure I had over 50 grams of protein with breakfast (protein shake, 2 hard-boiled eggs and some nuts usually) but I got kind of sick of the protein shakes I was using and slowly drifted away from this.  I think that is making me hungrier during the day and my work lunches aren’t lasting and then I end up snacking when I get home before supper is ready.  Not a good cycle, so I have found another protein shake that I like and will be trying that (and switching up the eggs as I am kind of tired of hard-boiled as well).  This starts tomorrow morning.
  2. Increase intensity of my running and keep pushing the long distance runs.  Have started doing this already with the new treadmill but I will continue the trend and I should very soon be able to get in some outdoor runs (which will help break the cabin fever).
  3. Reduce or eliminate Coke.  This is a tough one for me as this is my caffeine fix too.  I have tried to go cold turkey before and end up with wicked headaches so I will start by keeping a close watch on what I drink, do some portion control and slowly reduce my intake.
  4. Get more sleep!  This one has been tough this week as well after the time change but it is vital – not only is getting enough sleep important but if I stay up late I tend to hit snooze too often in the morning before work. I then run out of time to make my high protein breakfast and that blows my diet for the rest of the day as well.  And then I also need more Coke for caffeine.  The dietary issues compound if I don’t get enough sleep.
  5. Blog about my weight.  This is to keep myself honest and provides a layer of oversight if things go off the rails!

And some things I am going to experiment with:

  1. Spirulina algae – I have seen a lot of info about EnergyBits and I have been impressed…but they come at a premium and that makes it hard for me to justify as an experiment. Being from Canada and our dollar taking a nose dive the cost is more exaggerated for me as well putting it outside what I can justify until I am sure spirulina works for me.  So I am going to try out a brand of spirulina that I was able to get in caplet form here in Winnipeg that at least on paper looks like it is equivalent for a price I felt comfortable paying as an experiment.  If I find it helps me both in the snack control and endurance running then I will be taking the plunge on EnergyBits.
  2. Morning runs – double run days – doing a short run every weekday morning besides the nightly scheduled training runs.  I tried this back in the fall and I saw some significant improvements in my running but I was sooooo tired since I couldn’t get my sleep cycle sorted with getting up earlier.  If I can get that managed then this will be a great way for me to increase my daily mileage and get my metabolism rocking first thing in the morning.  Can’t do this one yet though – have to wait for the ice to be off my running trails!  Hopefully I can get rolling on this in early April.
  3. Having protein shakes at work during the day as a meal supplement.  I’m not going to go the route of using a protein shake as a meal replacement but I think if I can have a protein shake after lunch it should help keep me from wanting to snack through the afternoon. And hopefully will help reduce my urge to drink Coke.  Going to start this tomorrow as well.

So those are my thoughts at least.  Hopefully they have an impact and I am able to get my weight moving in the right direction.  I will continue to evaluate to see where I stand and see if I am hitting my goals and make adjustments.  I have obviously found a good spot for maintaining and now it is going to take some work to bust through this plateau!

Thanks for reading!

Total of 13.1 miles in 1:52:31 – 4.4 outside and rest on treadmill – bloody snow and ice made outdoors a bit unsafe

Got a late start on the run today – didn’t run in the morning and with several hours driving around shopping I didn’t get running until after 4 pm.  Bit of a storm rolling in but I figured I could beat it and the storm was actually bringing warmer temps so I thought I should give outdoors a try.

Wow – that is a lot of ice out there – all the paths I run on were either polished sheet ice or uneven areas where people had walked through slush that then refroze and got slippery.  The wind was wicked too and when the snow did start it got nasty.  -18C (0F) with the wind gusting to 66 kph (41mph) and visibility down to 0.25 miles.  The first bit of snow was more ice crystals and with the high wind it was actually hurting my eyes (should have brought my sunglasses).  The light snow layer then started to hide the worst of the ice.  I almost fell 3 times but luckily caught myself.

On a positive note my Nike Element Shield Max jacket did an awesome job – kept me nice and warm in the wind and the cold – in fact was a bit sweaty when I got back inside.

So in the end I did one of my standard 4.35 – 4.4 mile outdoor laps (instead of the 3 I planned) in 43:06.  Not awful considering the ice really slowed me down.  Even though the weather was not good it still felt good to get outside for a while.

Came back in the house – lost a few layers of clothes and got on the treadmill to finish out the run.  Did 8.7 miles on the treadmill at 1% incline in 69:25.  Again, not fast but not too bad considering my legs were a bit tight after how I had to run outside to avoid a ice dive.

Total of 13.1 miles in 1:52:31 not counting the transition time between outdoors and in.

Fun note – once I got off the treadmill the weather had gotten even worse – down to 0 visibility for a while.  I also just took the garbage out and at least 3 inches of snow has fallen and the wind is still going crazy.  I’m glad I came inside when I did!

Also looking back and considering I was running on ice and into crazy head winds the time for 1 lap was not too bad.  I have had that same loop take over 45 minutes even much better weather.  Hey! Maybe I’m getting better at this running thing!?

Split run today – total of 9 miles and 69:28 – both am and pm runs felt great

Got up too late this morning to get my full 9 mile run in this morning before my wife took our son to his curling practice.  I did manage to get in a solid 5 miles though and then had to break to get groceries and do a bunch of running around.  Finished up another 4 miles tonight after I got the kids to bed.

AM run was 5 miles in 36:32 @ 1% incline – no walking and alternated 7 and 9 mph minutes – felt great.  After my lunacy of forgetting to level the new treadmill properly and running against a wicked incline for most of the week this run seemed almost easy.  Awesome!!

Then lots of running around today with having to grab groceries and look after the kids while my wife is in a curling bonspiel.  Took the kids to watch her for a bit and then had to head out.  In the running around I succumbed to McDonalds and the need for a shamrock shake.  Felt that the rest of the day and ended up falling asleep on the couch for a half hour in the afternoon.

Then after the wife headed out for another curling game and I got the kids to bed, I got back on the treadmill to get my last 4 miles in.  I took it easy and tried to run a solid, smooth pace without any intervals.  I ran at 7.2 mph for 31 minutes and then finished out the remainder of the 4 miles at 9 mph for a finish time of 32:56 @ 1% incline. This run felt very solid as well.

Excellent – looks like adjusting the treadmill and getting some sleep has gotten me out of my crash loop earlier in the week.

On an odd side note – I got off the treadmill and headed upstairs to have a shower and I heard some weird noises coming our of our daughter’s (5) room.  Checked on her and she had her blinds open howling at the near full moon…not sure what to say there except that I really wasn’t all that surprised…

Well that was dumb – note to self – when you get a new treadmill don’t just level side to side, do back to front too.

After I wrote my nightly run post I started wondering why it has been so hard to run this week.

My diet is a bit off normal and I’m not getting enough sleep since the time change but even combining those two things it really didn’t seem to explain why I have been having such a hard time on the treadmill.  So I started thinking about other things it might be.

And it clicked that I was running on a new treadmill.  It could be that the old treadmill was out of calibration and I wasn’t as fast as it was telling me I was…but the few outdoor runs I have got in in the past couple months would seem to say it was ok.  So maybe the new treadmill is calibrated wrong and giving too slow a reading?  Seems unlikely though.

I knew I had leveled the treadmill when I got it but I got to thinking that maybe I only leveled side to side and didn’t check front to back…I put it where the old one was so there shouldn’t have been an issue…but maybe I should double check.

Duh.

The new treadmill has a longer deck so its back end is at a different spot compared to where the old treadmill was….leading to about 3/4 inch difference off level front to back (with the back being lower). So basically I was running against an incline that I hadn’t expected.  After some playing around I figured out that this looks like around 2.5 to 3% incline more than what the display was telling me.  No wonder it was hard to get moving.

While I feel a bit dumb for not checking that I feel a heck of a lot better about my running again…

Sigh.

On a positive note that means the speed work I did at up to 10 mph was a lot more impressive than I thought…