Archive for September, 2009

Yes, I cheated yesterday & I’m back up to 168lbs.  Yes, I am not makingaaa girly_girls_lift_weights_tshirt-p235039136489522999gsv1_325

 progress yet, but I’ll get to that in a moment.  So, I’m all excited about the running and then, wait. not so fast…

Here’s the deal with the Dr.  Seems I didn’t mess up my back last month – my back’s been messed up since birth.  Pars defect of spondylolisthesis.  This seems pretty crazy given the fact that my back has always been so strong.  But He’s got the fancy doctor’s office with the PA, nurse, waiting room & all, so I’ll have to acquiesce.

A genetic defect in my spine that I’ve had forever.  This was good & bad news, but mostly good.  Good – no spine fracture.  Bad – vertebrae slippage.  Good – treatment only requires at-home PT.  Bad – no more running.

aaa 0904_woman_with-weight_preview“No Running For You!”  From the exercise nazi.  ( a Seinfeld reference, yeah.)  Remembering I am in a positive place now, no hard feelings.  Deep relaxing breath.  I am so glad I didn’t blow that $165 on those running shoes.  Moving on from here I just need to figure out where to go instead.  I was excited about the running because it was making an impact on the weight loss.  But I think the impact on my spine in future years will be too high a price to pay.  Hmmm, what to do instead.

High repetition weight training.  Core work outs.  Notice how we intuitively gravitate towards what isaaa strength best for us?  My favorite form of exercise has always been weight-training.  Seems with the situation with my spine, this was probably the best, aside from maybe swimming. (I hate swimming in chlorine)  Now, back to the problem I was having a few months ago – why has it become so hard to go upstairs to the gym in my house and weight train?

Well, it seems for now, I have the PT exercising to do as I prepare for my long rides starting next week (OMG, so soon?)  That will keep me busy to begin.  Then I’ll just have to resort to forcing myself through the first few days.  Maybe I can do it like the cycling & give a beginner weight-training class.  Seems like when I have people show up for something, I seem to get the work done. 

IMG_2525-1 reversedMaybe I’ll get back to serious practice with the fire-spinning & belly-dancing. (yes, that’s me in the picture!!)  I guess I just worry that the calorie burn won’t be high enough.  To off-set it, I’ll have to dramatically increase my lean muscle mass.  I gotta tell you, it is hard to ‘feel-the-burn’ when doing hip-shimmy’s & belly-rolls.  Sorry this is such a whiny, boring post today.  Get this off my chest & tomorrow head in a new direction.


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spine picYesterday I weighed in at 165lbs.  I’m not weighing today, so there!  ; )  It has been an interesting & long week so far.  Today is the day – Neurologist Appointment!!  Finally.  I don’t know how much of what I am feeling is real & how much is imagined.  I have really cut back on riding, I’m not running at all.  Not losing.  Not training.  I honestly don’t know how I’m going to ride ‘as a ride marshall’ 65 miles on the 19th & 72 miles on Oct 3rd.  Keep playing the Dr statements through my mind, because they sound so weird.  Fractured spine… narrowing spinal cavity… arthritic lumbar spine… he can’t be talking about me, right?

So, the day will be interesting.  I hope the Dr can make sense of my ramblings.  My cervical spine is tight.  The thoracic section hurts during the day & makes a grinding noise when I twist left & right.  Tightness & pain in the lumbar area.  I’m such a baby…

And so I runWoman Runner 1 a

First, we’ll look at the science of training, then detail 2 types of endurance building exercises to incorporate into your running schedule to increase your strength, endurance & skill.  

Interval Training is repeated bouts of high intensity exercise with intermittant rest periods. Intermittant exercise allows a higher total volume of high intensity work. Interval training allows us to accumulate a greater volume of stress on the blood pumping capacity of the heart.

These exposures to additional ventricular stretch may help trigger ventricular remodeling (bigger ventricle volume).  A program employing relatively low volume but high intensity endurance type exercise will be very effective in increasing the VO2max of a previously untrained or (substantially detrained) person.

woman runner 4For the untrained, interval training is a way of accumulating minutes of exercise at a higher intensity than our skeletal muscles are initially adapted to tolerate. In the untrained, the heart is better conditioned to endurance performance than the skeletal muscles.

The improvement in lactate threshold, or the percentage of VO2 max that can be maintained without significant lactic acid accumulation.  Changes in the lactate threshold occur over a longer time-course than the improvement in maximal oxygen consumption, even if we train regularly.  And remember that our diet can strongly affect our lactate threshold.  Give consideration to removing refined carbs & sugar from your diet when training to raise the threshold level.  (Make it take longer for your body to start producing lactic acid.)

Speed Workoutswoman runner 3


These are short intervals that are performed at faster than your normal training speed. We are going to begin with introductory level speed workouts and moderately improve speed and performance for a 5K race. Base these workouts on your current 5K race time.

If you have not completed a race or do not know your current 5K race time, here is a way to figure it out:

There are 2 levels of time trial measuring. If you are very new to running, run a full half mile & time yourself. Rest for 3 minutes in between, then run another full half mile. Add these 2 times together and multiply by 3.25. That will give you a good starting point for training purposes.

woman runner 5a aIf you are slightly more advanced, try this: Go to a 400 meter track (most high school tracks are 400 meters) and run three 1600 meter repeats with one minute of rest between the three repeats. There are 1609 meters in 1 mile. Run the repeats at a pace that you can maintain for the entire workout. Make sure you choose a challenging speed that still allows you to complete the three workouts. Calculate your average pace per mile for the three repeats. Multiply this pace by 3.125. That will give you a fairly accurate estimate of your 5K race finishing time.

Hill Repeat Workouts


Hill repeat workouts will help build strength and speed. These workouts are short, repeated runs up a hill of small, moderate or high grade, depending on your experience with running and your fitness level. Remember, if you’ve never run hill repeats before, start a little easy & gradually increase the distance and the intensity.woman runner 6

Newer runners can do shorter sections up the hill, then jog or walk down, increasing the uphill run distance regularly until you are running all the way up & down. Start by finding a hill with the grade you want to train on. Run up it at race pace or faster, then jog or walk down for recovery. The grade should be steep enough to test you, but not so steep that your form suffers.

Run or walk a warm-up before you begin. At least 5 minures of running or walking. As you hit the incline, lean forward with your back tall. Lift your knees and focus more on vertical, rather than forward, motion. Lift through your hip flexors and push down with your glutes and calves. Keep your shoulders relaxed and low as you pump your arms.

Shorten your stride. Stay on your toes. Think baby steps. Depending on the hill and your current conditioning, do 3 to 10 repeats, totaling 20 to 40 minutes of hill repeats. Vary the intensity; short and very steep, longer and not-so-steep, fast/faster/fastest. In combination with a regular running routine, run hill repeats once a week. Always finish your workout with 10 to 15 minutes of easy running or walking to help the body cool down.

Now, just go do it

There you have it.  Running 101, 102, 103.  Everything you need to know to be a healthy, strong runner, start-to-finish line!!

woman runner 2a

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aa pizza TRAP GOODLet me preface today’s post by explaining the purpose of the blog & the exercise & the dieting is to lose weight, while learning a healthier lifestyle that will lead to choices that enable me to maintain a healthy weight & fitness level so that as I get older, my quality of life will be good.  So, it’s not all about the weight.  It’s not all about the countdown.  (22 days to surf day)  While I would have liked to have lost the weight in 3 months, we have to consider the bigger picture.  If I lost the weight, but didn’t find healthy habits, I’d be doomed to regain almost immediately.  That may be why people feel dieting doesn’t work.  April, let me modify what you said.  “It’s not you that failed, but the method of application of knowledge”.  The Biggest Loser shows ‘hyper-weight-loss’.  It’s not realistic.  You can’t take those methods into real life and make them work.  And you can’t lose weight quickly.  It just isn’t possible.  But dieting does work.  I just don’t think it works as fast as we want it to.  And I’m noticing a narrow margin for error (cheating).  So, for me it’s taking longer, however, instead of getting discouraged, I am seeking out information, feedback, methods that increase my ability to succeed in healthy weight management.

Weigh-in 168lbs.  Oye, consistency.  Last week I stumbled upon a great motivation blog.  In one post, Luc discusses & explains Feedback Loops.  See it Here.  Take the time to read it, as you will gain insight into why things you tried to accomplish in the past may not have been as successful as you desired.  He is an excellent writer.  From it you will see some great steps to modify what you do & increase your success reaching your goals.  Be it weight-loss, work goals, finance management or whatever. 

Taking this wonderful new information and applying it to weight-loss should bring about greater success for me.  Now, acknowledging I did not accomplish any weight loss in the past week,  I am supposed to observe my lack of progress.  I see that on Sunday (my long ride), I did not ride due to hurting my back at a performance on Saturday.  Monday I was so far behind at work that I had to use my ride time to catch up, so no ride.  Wednesday, The Guy had a problem at work, and because we work as a team in everything, we needed to fix his problem.  Hence, no ride.  I did ride as usual Saturday & Tuesday.aafructose container

Still allowing the fructose overdose on 8/21 to justify crazy eating, my calorie intake was as high as 2000 on several days over the last 2 weeks.  (it was weird, having that fructose sent me into a weird depressed funk that I am still pulling out of)  Also, my food choices were not what I needed to be eating.  Sugar, wheat & starch in several meals.  Also, having trouble concentrating caused a slowdown with work, so I fell off my every two hour meals causing me to eat either too much or too little through-out the day.  It was odd, during the week immediately after the fructose test,  twice I found  myself at the end of the day with no appetite & having only consumed 800 calories.  Way too low.  Now, I am supposed to reflect on what could have been different.

aa calmscene 1Aside from not picking up that damn box, I don’t think I could have done anything to ride on Sunday.  That cost about 2500 calories.  I could have fought through the depressed funk harder to keep on top of my work.  That would have given me the ride on Monday.  I was in denial as it was happening.  Oh, no, I’m not depressed, just stupid.  Whine, whine, whine.  Why is it so hard to remember how to do my work.  Blah, blah, blah.  That was so productive.  Wednesday night needing my attention could not be avoided.  The Guy is so wonderful, & as his wife,  I owe it to be available to him in a crisis.

On to food.  I need to gain a replacement action for when I hit stressful times.  Two distinct triggers came up in the last few weeks.  Doctor appointments make me very stressed out.  I have a high-maintenance client that stresses me out.  And meeting with new clients stresses me out.  I know many of you don’t believe how shy I am.  Doing things like showing up to lead rides or doing a riding clinic makes me extremely nervous.  Working with new clients has made me nervous for 22 years, it never got easier.  Fire performing in front of anyone, even people that I know terrifies me.  But I have a very full & active life.  Feel the fear & do it anyway.  I think I perfected this.  The Guy tells me he has a hard time knowing when I’m fearful of these situations.  He says I always look so calm & confident. aa calm water cloud  Let me assure you I am not!!

I am going to make sure to schedule all Dr appts so I have time to eat eggs before I go.  That always works to curb my appetite.  Racing to the store to get some emergency dark chocolate is not bringing me closer to my goals of being healthy.  Along with eating eggs before my meetings, I’m going to spend a little prep time before new client appointments to prepare for my nervousness.  I always focus my prep on the appointment itself.  I want to see if giving thought & taking notes on the nervousness will help ease the stress.

The stress from the high-maintenance client?  Hmmm, I need a way to restore the energy they suck out of me.  I’ll have to give this one some thought.  All this sounds just great, doesn’t it.  I have to be mindful of why these solutions did not work in the past.  The Guy & I live at a million miles an hour.  This is my life, I love it & wouldn’t change it for anything.  But I know I struggle implementing new actions because they require me: 1. to slow down, which stops my momentum & 2. change, doing new things always takes up extra energy.  So how do I move forward with changes that will bring different outcomes?

List some specific actions that will bring about desired change.  Let’s see what that means.

Hard, strict action of eating before leaving for a stressful situation.  Must -Eat- Eggs.  Make sure I leave enough time for eating.  Reacquaint myself with (yuck) hard boiled eggs.

Schedule in time before client meetings to think about why they make me so nervous.  Remind myself that I really am good at what I do.  I am intelligent, articulate, and occasionally charming.  I work hard for my clients and do a great job.  I am ok.

Spend the next week preparing for things a tiny bit slower.  Resist the urge to race from one task to another.  Breathe occasionally.

So, this is one part of an on-going experiment with feedback loops.  We’ll see next week how it goes.aa peacefully mine

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