Jan 31, 2011

From geek to athlete in an instant... just add ice

Posted by Jan on Monday, January 31, 2011 with 8 comments
On Saturday night, while exiting my apartment complex gym, I slipped on some black ice. Now, it could of been much, much worse. I could have slipped down the stairs. But instead I slipped down the ramp. Not ideal, but considering the alternative, I will take the ramp.

I caught myself, if you will, on the wrought iron railing. Left knee first and then my right leg got stretched in the most awkward and unnatural state. It was not graceful. And yes, people saw me. Did I say it wasn't graceful? Yeah, it was rather embarrassing. Then I heard a second thud against the wrought iron railing which was my purse.

Under normal circumstances, I would have freaked out about the second thud. That second thud would be my iPad in my purse being slapped around.

But a funny thing happened. The first thing that crossed my mind after the split: damn! I broke my ass even further (I am suffering from piriformis). The second thought was, ouch, that hurt my left knee. My final thought was the iPad. I have made the transition from geek to athlete! With all the high drama to boot! Granted, this wasn't how I envisioned this transition to occur, but it occurred, nonetheless! I cared more about my next run than the $800 piece of geek heaven in my purse.

The bruise on my knee isn't bad. I have had worse. But my right leg is in some severe pain. I did get on the treadmill yesterday for a quick 3 miler. I wasn't slow, I wasn't fast. And it did hurt for the first mile, but I got thru it.

Today I am finding all new stretches for the piriformis and I am looking forward to trying them out. The foam roller took care of the syndrome on my left side a week ago. But the right glute is really being stubborn. I am just hoping I can get past this.

The silver lining in all this? I realized that the iPad is replaceable. Me and my body parts are not!


PS The iPad survived...  ;-)

Jan 30, 2011

"The Leaf"

Posted by Jan on Sunday, January 30, 2011 with 4 comments
Meghan, a regular commenter on my blog, kindly pointed out to me that I haven't posted a pic of my "Leaf" after I said I would. Thank you for keeping me honest Meghan! :-) The Leaf is the object of all my attention while I am on the treadmill. So here it is. Not exciting at all!

It's amazing what the mind can do to tune out. Usually, when I am focused on The Leaf, I have a wide range of topics running through my head. It's like a microfilm machine. My mind scrolls through hundreds of things and in a flash, just one topic will catch my mind's eye and make me back up. Once I do, I can get lost for 5-7 minutes, if not longer.

Some of the time, it happens on a blog topic that I may want to post. I figure out how I feel about something, let it swish around for a while and then compose a whole post in my head. Unfortunately, I haven't got a mind recording machine so by the time it is time to post on the subject, most of it is lost. But the main idea is always presented in my blog.

One great example of this was when I decided to rename the blog this week. That whole idea came about while I was staring at the 1 dimensional Leaf on the wall. The "Just be your own" was the one thing I did remember when I stepped off the treadmill and blogged it. To me, it was the most important thing I wanted to convey and there was no way I was going to forget that principle!

I decided I had to give everyone an idea of where this Leaf is from the perspective of my view on the treadmill by the picture posted on the right. Dead center in the photo. Pretty crazy, huh? Like I have said, the gym is small, but it's free and you will never hear me complain about it.

The one thing I do know, if I didn't have my music, I don't think I could use the treadmill. My music is so incredibly important to me. I have read that it provides a distraction and I suppose that's true. For me though, it is like elevator music. I know it's there, it's soothing, but my main focus is on the thoughts of what I am processing whether it be work, my blog, my personal life, stuff I am emotionally working on, my running form, etc. And let me tell you, many of my "a-ha moments" have occurred on this treadmill!

So for all you dedicated treadmill runners, what do you do? Where is your focus? Music or no music? And what changes occur, if any, once you head back outside?

Jan 29, 2011


Posted by Jan on Saturday, January 29, 2011 with 2 comments
Kate, over at runwithkate, posted on an interesting and sensitive subject about the fine line between discipline and addiction when it comes to exercise.

I have often done a "check in" with my motivations and intentions in the past when it came to exercise (and monitoring caloric intake). I would say that I was more scared into exercising in the past than I am now. Let me explain why.

Right after high school, I joined the military. For anyone who cares, that was 30 years ago. And for the next 25 years of my life I was constantly aware of how much I ate and worried about every little calorie I put into my mouth. To stay in the military, to advance and to succeed, there were strict guidelines for physical fitness and performance. Every 6 to 12 months you had to participate in the PRT or Physical Readiness Test. It entailed being tested in a timed 1.5 mile run, sit-ups and pushups. That part I never had a problem with because I did take working out seriously. I was borderline addicted. But the eating part-- I was obsessed with the caloric intake. Only because I had an incredible fear of being kicked out for being "overfat". For women the testing was a semi annual event and it scared the majority of us. It was a dark cloud that hung over our heads all year long. I watched a few of my friends get discharged from the military because they couldn't meet physical fitness requirements.

When the change of attitude of physical readiness with the military took place in the early 80s, the military failed to give us the knowledge needed for good nutritional intake and how to exercise safely and properly. By the early 90s that had changed. In fact, I became an ACE Certified Fitness Specialist in 1991. But the mindset, the paranoia and bad eating habits were instilled in both women and men alike and it took some time to undo that damage.

My borderline addiction to exercise helped me deal with the absolute fear of being "overfat". It was a horrible cycle for nearly half of my life. And one that, to this day, I really haven't totally let go. I am aware of its presence lurking deep inside of me.

But on that note, today is Saturday. A day where I usually loaf around. Sleep. Hot baths. Saunas. Hang out with family or friends. Go out to dinner and/or movies, that sort of thing. I have no plans for any treadmill time. In fact, tonight, I am gonna make my way over to Life Alive for a good wholesome Vegan dinner and come home to some sauna time and then some Netflix movies. No guilt. Just a day of nourishment and healing for my body and mind.

There's always tomorrow for the new PR on the treadmill  ;-)


Jan 28, 2011

Daily Mile

Posted by Jan on Friday, January 28, 2011 with 3 comments
About 4 weeks ago I signed up for a free account at DailyMile.com  It is sort of a social networking site for crazy fitness buffs like myself. And I love it.

Last year, I learned the best way to be accountable to myself was to record what I was doing/eating. I have an account with fatsecret.com and it helped me keep track of what I was eating and what I was lacking nutritionally. I haven't been using fatsecret over the last 4 months because the 3 or 4 months of recording and being mindful of what I ate disciplined me. I know my intake and I know when I need to tweak a few things. I can back this statement up by stepping on the scale. I haven't lost or gained a single pound since July of last year.

But what has happened now that I am back to serious exercising is that I have lost about 4-5% body fat since last summer. This is evident because my scale has the body fat percentage measurement capabilities. I am thrilled because that is my goal. I am not so much worried about weight as I am about taking the "flubby chub" off.

So getting back to the DailyMile site. I think it is great to meet like minded people, even if they are virtual. Their words of encouragement are genuine. I can't go mope to my co-workers or my family about missing a workout, seek advice about my shin splints or what to do about blackened toe nails. But I can on the DM! We get each other, and I like that. A lot!

The other great thing about DM is keeping track of your workouts. I have had a good month and I am particularly pleased with my running mileage this month. 56 miles running/67 miles walking so far. The walking mileage is a little skewed because I am counting the 2.5 miles I HAVE to do in my daily commute to work. So if I take that away, the actual purposeful walking on the treadmill is about 37 miles.

If you don't have a DM account, go get one. It's free and it's fun. And give a shout out to me. I will be happy to friend you!

Jan 27, 2011

A shout out to Meghan

Posted by Jan on Thursday, January 27, 2011 with 4 comments
Meghan, a follower here at BYOW and a member of the DailyMile networking site posted this addicting song/video on todays #dailymission.

I had heard the song in a commercial for Kia cars, but I didn't know who the artist was. And now thanks to Meghan, mystery has been solved and my iTunes library has one more great song!

Meghan, keep rockin'!!!! 

It's never easy

Posted by Jan on Thursday, January 27, 2011 with 4 comments
I few nights ago I found out that my sister-in-law (to be) and my brother had to put their dog down due to a tragic accident. The accident happened on the same day that I posted here on my blog, a pic of Beanie, the dog, being "one of my favorite things".

My brother, P, and LM are really hurting right now and my heart goes out to them. I hope they will consider a new pup soon. Here are a few of my favorite pics of Beanie

My brother and a restful Beanie
I hope someone drops a scrap!

Jan 25, 2011

My love/hate relationship

Posted by Jan on Tuesday, January 25, 2011 with 2 comments
I think we all can relate somehow. That love/hate relationship in our lives. For instance, I could be talking about chocolate, winter, school, work, running, water, in-laws, computers. I will let you fill in your "blank".

Mine is consistently the first mile of my running workout. That dreaded first mile. The first mile that reminds me that may age is preventing me from healing as quickly as I used to. The first mile that my mind is questioning why the hell I am subjecting myself to this kind of abuse when I could be sitting on my couch, eating chips and watching Oprah. The first mile where I am asking myself why I stopped running for 8 years and now I am starting all over. The first mile where my mind argues with my body as to how many miles I will do. That's the Hate part.

The Love part of my first mile? The first mile of deep healing breaths of fresh air, filling my non-smoking lungs. The first mile where I feel the surge of blood circulating through me and easing the slight aches that come with age. The first mile that initiates my zone out process. The first mile in where my body starts gifting my mind in "me time". The first mile that produces the ever so slight mist on my skin. That's the Love part.

I read so many blogs where people mention the "dreadmill". In my first mile, that's what I am thinking too. But looking outside, where at least 18-24 inches of snow blankets the frozen tundra, I am happy to have my treadmill. I am happy that the chances of me twisting an ankle or slipping and breaking a _________ (fill in the blank) are greatly reduced. I am thankful that I don't need to worry if the driver behind me is going to "give me a lesson" on who owns the road in the dead of winter. I am thankful that I have quality treadmill available for free at the apartment complex that I live in (and I am thankful that it works!)

Yes, there are some disadvantages to the treadmill. The feeling of being on a hamster wheel comes to mind. But overall, in 54 days, spring will officially be here, and in that 54 days I will have put a lot of miles on that treadmill, just so I can enjoy those first days of running outside again.

I just finished up a great 5 mile run on the treadmill tonight... and I am bathing in the love part of the relationship...

  / >

Jan 24, 2011


Posted by Jan on Monday, January 24, 2011 with No comments
Jack LaLanne. 96 years old! Whew!

Even back then, people were preaching the same thing as today. Sooner or later, for those who will listen and adjust their lives appropriately, they will be the ones that will reap the benefits of healthy living. I am glad I finally listened...

Jan 23, 2011

Weekend wrap up

Posted by Jan on Sunday, January 23, 2011 with 5 comments
Overall, a two thumbs up kind of weekend. Physically, mentally and socially.

Had my two fastest pace runs this weekend. I feel really good about getting under the 10:00 minute per mile mark. Considering I just started running regularly for the first time in 8 or 9 years, I have shaved off about 90 seconds per mile since the Turkey Trot in November. Steady as she goes. Slowly increase speed, slowly increase distance. And if I really want to get all proud of myself, in Nov 2009, the best I could do was 12:24 pace. And nearly puked. So yes, all the hard work, my determination and my getting better with age attitude is working. It's all good.

Numerology: Friday's reading on the treadmill when I finished up: 40:40 time, 4 miles, 444 calories burned.

Gym "I am slamming the weights down because I need attention" rat was in my presence for my run tonight. Tuned him totally out. The leaf on the wallpaper got all my attention!

Two hours total in the sauna this weekend. Muscles feel like jello.

Went grocery shopping last night before the movies. With the freezing temperatures, I could leave all the food in the vehicle without worrying about it melting. Shhhh, don't tell anyone, but it also gave me an opportunity to fill my purse with healthy goodies before going into the theatre!

There is something virtuous at looking at a fridge full of food that is really good for you.

Socially, I made a ton of new DailyMile, Twitter and Facebook friends and landed a few new blog followers this weekend. Thanks everyone. I know I enjoy all your PRs on DM, the tweets on Twitter, the likes on Facebook and the comments on my blog. I only hope I can do the same for you.

By the way, I went and saw the "The King's Speech" last night. A beautiful story on trust, friendship, believing in what others can become and overcoming obstacles. Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush were fantastic. Highly recommend it.

One last thing: do you feel guilty/bad for testing one grape before buying a pound of them? Do you worry that the grocery police are gonna come after you if you do?


Jan 21, 2011

Lil' bits

Posted by Jan on Friday, January 21, 2011 with 4 comments
So I was playing with the iPhone this morning. Took some pictures of my favorite things and looked at some photos that I forgot I took of my other favorites things. Here they are:

On the left are the ingredients of my super delish smoothie. This has been my breakfast for the last 9 months. Yes, 9 months. I never tire of it. In fact, I am still fine tuning it. Right now it consists of 1 cup of almond milk, 1/4 of cold water, 1 scoop of the whey protein, 1/4 cup of strawberries, 1/4 cup of blueberries, 1/2 frozen banana, 2 dates and a spoonful of flax seed. The secret is to stir first in the blender for about 1.5 minutes then puree it for about another 1.5 - 2 minutes. It comes out like a real milkshake (frappe for us New Englanders) and it seems to maintain its frothiness for a longer period of time. I use the original flavored almond milk and the Vanilla flavored Body Fortress Whey Protein. Of note: the Body Fortress whey protein is a good deal: $16.00 for 2 pounds. When all is said and done: about 300-350 calories for a fluffy 32 ounce serving.
Me enjoying my breakfast right after a good walking workout on the treadmill this morning. Still got the headphones on!

I don't know how I lived without my Rejuvenation foam roller! Yeah, I do... I was in constant pain! I can't believe how much of a difference it made and how immediate. If you don't have one, get one. Best $20 I have spent lately.

I love my Mizunos. I have a pair at work stashed under my desk and two pairs at home. I started experimenting with lacing techniques to stop the foot numbness that I experience and that seems to have worked on my "walking" pair, the blue ones (Wave Rider 13). I use the pink ones (Wave Rider 14) for running. I am debating on whether or not I will pick up a second pair of 14s in the spring since they are darker (gunmetal and purple). They won't show the grime of the spring thaw so much once I head outside and pound asphalt instead of the treadmill.

This my sister in laws baby, Beanie. Yeah, I am talking about the one on the right. This dog is spoiled, with a capital S, but then again, she's pretty old.  But despite her age, she is so much fun to be around... kind of like me!

I started running out of room in my dresser drawers for all my running and biking clothes, so I went on the hunt for some tasteful storage for just my athletic wear. Found this Closetmaid stackable cube at Tar-jay and the earth tone fabric drawers are right up my alley. Of course, I had to complete the ensemble with a Vizio 22" TV and an Apple TV to watch my NetFlix movies in bed. Oh the luxury!

Jan 20, 2011

No additional words needed

Posted by Jan on Thursday, January 20, 2011 with No comments

Jan 19, 2011

Tidbits and long runs

Posted by Jan on Wednesday, January 19, 2011 with 4 comments
Or I could rephrase my post title to "I got caught up in my ADHD and before I knew it, I was over 7 miles on the treadmill". Not necessarily a bad thing!

Yep, the mind was all over the map tonight on the treadmill. Mostly thinking about what goals I have for running, my grandma, my family and my friends.

I ran into a dear work friend of mine today. I mentioned her way back in a blog post last summer. I knew Ruth was a runner and she has always been inspirational to me for her stories on the races she has done, from 10Ks to marathons. She has tried to get me involved and has invited me along in the past, but life always seemed to get in the way. Well, we were talking today and I invited her to come to FL with me to do the Iron Girl. I know that if I had seen her a couple of weeks ago, she would have talked me into doing the 1/2 marathon instead of the 5K. But no matter. I can do the 5K and she can easily do the 1/2. We'll see. I think it would be a blast.

Is a 1/2 in the future for me
Then she said that she might do the Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon in December and that I should consider it. The full marathon is not on my radar, but the 1/2 could be. Actually doing any of the Rock 'n' Roll 1/2s could be a blast and fit nicely into that traveling around the US idea I had a few posts ago.

So all of this is rolling around in my head while I was just trodding along on the 'mill. Before I knew it, I missed the 5K marker, then the 5 mile marker, and then the 10K. I laughed when I saw the treadmill reading 6.5 miles and I decided to round it off to 7 miles tonight.

If I can figure out how to zone out like that on command, to find that cruise control rhythm, a half marathon could be pretty easy I think. Oh, and I would patent and market it. I would say I had enough gas in the tank for another mile or so tonight. But once I saw mile 7, my mind couldn't get back to that happy zone spot. Mainly because 7 miles is the best distance I have done yet and I got all excited! Granted, I wasn't fast, just at about 10:50 pace, but what the heck?!

There were lots of other topics that I processed tonight. It was a good run for the mind, body and soul.

Jan 17, 2011

I was thinking....

Posted by Jan on Monday, January 17, 2011 with 4 comments
I was thinking about how I signed up for that race in FL in April. Believe it or not, the R/T flight from Boston, 6 nights in FL and a rental car is about $600. I think it is quite reasonable (considering I spent $144 in race registration fees in the last week, I think it's a bargain).  I am looking at another one in VA in May, though I haven't signed up for it yet.

But this could be fun. Little weekend getaways, perhaps all over the US, to keep me motivated. Everyone is talking about staying local and doing "stay-cations". Mine will be race vacations or "rac-ations". Visit somewhere new, get a race in, scope out some photographic opportunities and come back with a smile, photos and stories!

I am liking the idea. My grandmother would have told me to go for it. What do ya think?

Jan 16, 2011

Running Form

Posted by Jan on Sunday, January 16, 2011 with 2 comments
Earlier this week, I decided to start paying attention to my running form. I supinate severely and I know that the outside of my heals, on any type of shoe, are the first to wear down.

So I focused on forefoot running instead of heel strike. But this is when I noticed something. I am actually running more forefoot than heel strike! My running form is not bad at all and it occurred to me that I am walking heel strike.

I do a lot of walking. Upwards of 20+ miles a week. When I checked my walking shoes vice my running shoes, my running shoes did not have the classic heel wear down points of a heel strike runner. The shoe was worn at the fore foot. But my walking shoes? Let's just say they are pretty bad.

Which leads me to believe that the shoes I have been wearing for walking is causing the shin splint problems. I am going to try and pay more attention to my walking to see if I can reduce the heel strike. The severe heel strike style of walking is a bad habit I picked up about 30 years ago and it will be a challenge to snuff. But it's either that or put up with the shin splints. I am opting for quitting the bad habit!

One other thing: I was at my brothers house last night and I decided to give his new treadmill a whirl in bare feet. Let's just say that I will never be a barefoot or Vibram shoe runner. Way too painful!

The cycle of life

Posted by Jan on Sunday, January 16, 2011 with 3 comments
My grandma, sneaking sweets at 96 years old!
Two mornings ago, my grandmother, Olive, passed away peacefully in her sleep. I knew she hadn't been doing well. But my goodness, the woman was 98 years old, only 2 months away from her 99th, and she was tired.

For a woman her age, she was remarkably healthy. She lived by herself up until last year. I loved her free spirit and her stories of adventure. Some of my fondest childhood memories were from visiting her and my step grandfather in FL.

So in honor of her free spirit and adventurous soul, I signed up for the Iron Girl 5K in Clearwater, FL in April. There are numerous personal reasons why I have chosen the date and location, and the most glaring reasons will help my heart heal a bit. As I spend perhaps a week in FL, I will venture out and discover some places I haven't been, run my first race in FL and retrace some footsteps that need to be walked.

There are 2 other 5k's, a 4 miler and a 5 miler that I have signed up for, all local to MA and all coming up before mid-March. But the 5K in FL will have the biggest impact and the most freeing of emotions. Something I truly need and welcome.

Thank you, grandma, for teaching me to be a free and an adventurous spirit.

Jan 12, 2011

Morning after notes

Posted by Jan on Wednesday, January 12, 2011 with 4 comments
A few things:

I am not sore. At all. I have found a trick of taking some ibuprofen just before I head to bed. And I never wake up in pain. I do think I am on my way of having some issues with my toenails, but if that's the price to be paid, so be it. Nothing that hot pink nail polish won't cure!

As I was watching the Hood to Coast movie last night, I was having flashbacks of a 24 hour marathon run I did at Fort Devens in the early '90s. What a blast it was! If I remember correctly, we had 4 or 6 team members and we had to relay run for a constant 24 hours. Wow, what craziness at 3 o'clock in the morning! Your body and mind is just whacked.

Last but not least, we got walloped with a snow storm last night. I jumped out of bed to look out my window and it was crazy deep (really, if I was sore, there is no way I could have jumped out of bed like that). So I wandered in the snow for an hour this morning taking photos. This one is one of my favorites

Along the canal

Jan 11, 2011

We interrupt this broadcast...

Posted by Jan on Tuesday, January 11, 2011 with 2 comments
...For an important announcement:

I did it.

I. Did. A. 10K.

6.2 miles.

First time ever in my life. And I feel terrific. Not wicked fast. Not terrible at a 10:43 pace. Two 15 second water breaks and that was it.

I am so damn tenacious but I am sure I will feel it tomorrow. It's worth it though. It was a goal and now I can start building on the next goal.

I know to some it's no big deal. That's okay, I will get back to ya when I do my 1/2 marathon!

As my reward, I treated myself to a movie at the theater. Not an ordinary movie either. I saw "Hood to Coast" a documentary about the 197 mile running road relay race in Oregon. It was only showing tonight (1-11-11) across the US. It was great, inspirational, touching (yes, I had a few tears) and some parts were wicked funny. Only fellow runners in the audience, so that was fun!

Hood To Coast Movie Trailer from HoodToCoastMovie on Vimeo.

Looks like Mother Nature is gonna kiss New England with 20+ inches of snow. Time for more snow pics so I can update my other blog!

Today was a great day!

Why I do what I do...

Posted by Jan on Tuesday, January 11, 2011 with 1 comment
Last night, I had someone close and influential to me ask me why I am running. My knee jerk and truthful answer was because I can't cycle on my beloved "Frequent Flyer" during the winter. I miss cycling dearly and I look forward to getting the trainer in the next few weeks.

But here is what gave me pause: I am not sure I am going to curtail the running once I get the trainer! Running is a totally different mindset for me. I have been jogging/running since high school. So jogging/running has been a necessary part of my life for over 30 years, albeit not religiously. And even though I have been doing it for a long time, I am not crazy about it. Why? Because it is hard. It is monotonous. It can be painful. It is mentally challenging.

I prefer biking. I have since I was a kid (and the scars to show for it). But the last time I was serious about biking was in the mid 80s for about a year. It's only in the last year or so that I have regained a very strong interest in it. I suppose that's because I had the money to buy a decent road bike and I had the perfect bike path to ride it safely on. Hence the 700 miles I put on the Trek last summer.

Biking, for me, is easy because I love it. I love the mechanics of the bicycle. I love the speed and the wind whipping by me. I love the burn in my quads. I love the constant need for balance and the dangerous edge of really hurting myself (sick, I know). Because of that love, I feel like it is cheating. Running is hard, physically and mentally. I can't "cheat" because I don't have the same type of passion for it.

What I do get from running that I don't get from biking is a sense of accomplishment. Because running is difficult, I feel I have accomplished something on every run, whether I am on a treadmill or darting between the cars in the streets of Lowell. I have signed up for 4 races between now and mid-March which gives me goals to successfully get through the winter without jeopardizing the weight loss and to maintain the "I am an ex-smoker" commitment to myself. If the race proceeds are going to a good cause, all the better! I am not fast so I don't have any of these grand illusions of placing in a race, but I have that incredible craving to accomplish something hard. And the esprit-de-corp at a road race is unbelievable and addicting. I cannot help but think that most people at a finish line are there for the same thing: to do something good for themselves, to challenge themselves and to participate in fund raising for the "Cause" races.

As for biking, I have absolutely no desire to race. Or at least I don't right now! If anything, I want to get better and faster so I can go on the bike further before the sun sets at night!

There is something I would like to add. I live on the Merrimack River. Do not be surprised if you catch me blogging about rowing on the river this summer. Rowing is right up there with biking in terms of enjoyment. Yes, I love cross training. It's in my blood (well, to be truthful, it's probably because of my ADHD!)

Like anything major in my life, crossing that finish line is my goal.

What are your goals and what drives you?

Jan 9, 2011


Posted by Jan on Sunday, January 09, 2011 with No comments
You know, going through my blog posts, when I talk about any one of my workouts, it's usually somewhat positive.

Well, not tonight. Blah! Blech! Pitooey!

Simple 5K was all I could do tonight. Slowly. Shins burned tonight. Really not sure why which makes it maddening to me trying to figure out what not to do next time.

No energy, no motivation. Plus there was a gym rat who insisted on slamming the weights down after each of his sets. Once he made his loud "I'm here, look at my muscles" announcement, he would take his hulking body to the water fountain, take a slurp, and grunt back to the weight machine and repeat. Well, the gym is small, very small, so he was about a foot in front of the treadmill every time he did this. All I could think of is that he resembled a caged animal. Back and fourth in front of the treadmill for 30 minutes and it was really distracting for me. He was a complete zone killer.

But I am not blaming him, mind you. But I realize how important it is for me to visually zone out. I stare at this particular part of the wallpaper for my entire workout, hardly ever looking down at the treadmill stats. For the longest time, I thought my music was the most important, but that may not be the case.

The silver lining? His behavior almost made me stop thinking of my burning shins... And perhaps I can use his behavior to build up my mental toughness.


Jan 8, 2011

A little slow but right in the thick of it

Posted by Jan on Saturday, January 08, 2011 with 1 comment
So I ran across an interesting blog of a fellow runner girl challenging her readers to run at least a race (any distance) per month in 2011. I'm like, oh yeah, I am all in! Granted, I am a week late, but I am sure I can be added to the challenge.

So I emailed Sherry and she officially and graciously added me to the challenge.

And I loved the blog name:  Run for the BLING of it!!!

Of course, I have already got January covered with the 1st Run here in Lowell.

February is covered by two races (a 5K and a 3 miler) and as well as March with a 4 miler and a 5 miler.

As for April, I am really thinking of doing something totally crazy and that is drive or fly out to Cincinnati to do the Flying Pig 5 or 10K. I just love the name of the race. I have never been to Cinci, but I hear they have got a great zoo, so I could be a tourist while I am there! If that doesn't work out, there is a 5k in Andover in the beginning of April that I will enter.

Way off in the distance, I am looking at a half marathon in St Petersburg in November. Yep, I said it, a 1/2. Not sure if it is realistic. But I do know I moved pretty quickly from a 5k to just short of a 10K (probably will be doing 10K's by the beginning of April). And geez, having a goal of FL in November would be awesome.

It's not that I can't do the distance. I am really not tired with the 5 miles I am doing every other day right now. Endurance is not an issue now that I have quit smoking and I am still losing weight. In fact, I will be adding about 50-65 miles of biking per week once I get the trainer. My issue is I just get so bored! But perhaps that comes with the territory with treadmills.

All of this could be pipe dreams.  I have set some lofty goals for 2011. But what the heck? Isn't that the whole purpose of a new year? I am up for any challenge, or at least I have the positive attitude for any challenge!

Jan 6, 2011

Arrrggghhh's and Ooooooooo's

Posted by Jan on Thursday, January 06, 2011 with 1 comment
Okay, I have used my blog to rave about various things I own and use. For instance,  I love my Trek 1.2 WSD (aka "Frequent Flyer"). I love my Mizuno Wave Riders. I loved P90X when I had the time.

Other things I love? All my iPods! I don't know what I would do without my music. I love the Mizuno Maverick Split shorts that I run in. I love the Pearl Izumis shorts that bike in.

But here is my rant: I hate the Sportline Solo 915 Heart Rate watch I have. I bought this to monitor my heart rate and calories burned.

The description: Women's heart rate watch with Any-Touch technology responds to a single touch anywhere on the stainless-steel case. Delivers accurate ECG heart readings in mere seconds.

Mere BS. It just does not work. If you are chugging along running, it takes at least 7-10 seconds of your finger on the steel case to get a heart rate. That's not totally easy to do because you have to watch the small watch face to make sure that it picked up the heart rate. 9 times out of 10, it doesn't hold the heart rate and just resets. After a workout, most of the time, it registers that I have burned 85-110 calories after a full hour on the treadmill. Again, BS! Tonight it went haywire and the calorie count was just cycling from 0 - 90.

Time for the garbage can. Kind of pissed that I spent $60 just 6 months ago on it. Buyer beware.

So because I have been battling this watch, I have been looking for a replacement. The GPS ones are totally cool (I am a geek, what can I say). The Garmin 405CX is on my wishlist. It does a lot of sporty, geeky things! Everything is wireless from what I understand. Using their ANT+ technology you can wirelessly send workout results to your computer. You can share workouts with other 405 users. It has a heart rate monitor and calorie counter. And it also has an optional cadence counter for the cyclist in me and a foot pod monitor for those times on the treadmill or when GPS is unavailable. Nice!

But of course, I have a dilemma. Nike.

Nike just announced that they teamed up with TomTom and are coming out with their GPS enabled watch in April. And it's way up there on the way cool looking scale

Darn. I might just fall for this one. I especially like the easy to read watch face. I already have a Nike+ account. I have two foot pods.

And I am gonna admit to something totally dumb, but what can I say, it's who I am: I love neon colors (especially lime).  How much do I love the neon colors? I still remember my beloved Nike Air Pegasus running shoes from 23 years ago... mainly because of the neon green swoosh. I felt fast in 'em (I actually was back then evidenced by me placing in some of the local races!)

Anyway, we'll see. I have heard the price will be between $199 and $299. The Garmin 405CX is about $350, so the Nike is looking pretty good right now.

I am such a geek!

Jan 4, 2011

Emotions and finish lines

Posted by Jan on Tuesday, January 04, 2011 with 1 comment
Tonight I decided to do some HIIT on the treadmill. There is nothing like having a crappy day at work and just taking it out on the treadmill. Did very well with a 10 minute warm up, 20 minutes of HIIT and then 20 minutes of a slow run.

There is something to be said for HIIT training. I feel weird for admitting that I love it. Maybe I am not alone. But I feel cleansed after an intense work out. My body feels cleansed as the sweat evaporates on my skin, but my mind feels even better. Maybe things are finally breaking through for me. There is a particular song on my iPod that was playing as I was crossing the finish line of the 5K race on Saturday. And I quite literally broke down crying and I had to disappear behind the Elks building to regain my composure. I was overwhelmed with a flood of really good emotion. That this year, somehow, is gonna be an awesome year. Nothing like how hard and incredibly crappy 2010 was. That the power lies within me. I just need to trust that first step.

Well, tonight, as I was passing the 5K mark on the treadmill, witnessing my best 5K time yet, that song played again on the iPod. And the tears welled up again. But I learned that tears and running are really hard to do combined...so I did what I thought was best and kept running! I am sure there are some people that would argue that running wasn't the best thing to keep doing...sorry, I can't give up the chance of a shot of intense endorphins. Whatever is going on, I welcome it. It must mean that things are starting to get easier. I may be alone, but I am strong enough for me. Yes, I have an incredible group of friends, co-workers, family and a great therapist, but in the end, it's me carrying myself over the barriers, goals and finish lines. The support system around me may provide me water, cheer me on, clear a safe path, etc, but it is me that decides to bring each foot around to get me one step closer to the goal. I haven't given up on that next step, that next beat to my rhythm.

All this chugged away in my mind as I passed the 5 mile mark... I know a 10K is totally within my reach by the spring. I could do it today, I know it. But I want to complete a quality 10K. For now I will continue to build up speeds for a decent 5K.

Jan 1, 2011

Happy New Year to me

Posted by Jan on Saturday, January 01, 2011 with 4 comments
Seeing that last night was New Year's Eve and my birthday, you would figure I would cut loose a bit. Well, I behaved. A few glasses of wine and a glass of champagne to bring in the new year and that was about it! After all, I had a 5k to run in the morning!

Yep, I started out my new year with the 2nd annual 1st Run here in Lowell. What a fun and well organized race! I had signed up in November, so I wasn't one of those folks that signed up last minute after they saw the weather forecast of 50 degrees. In fact, because I had no idea what the weather was gonna be like, but I had an idea of what the weather should have been like, I purchased $125 worth of cold weather gear. All of that stayed home today!

I did wind up over dressing. What a weird feeling to be wiping the sweat off your brow on the 1st of January in the middle of New England, but that was what happened. I should just wore a t-shirt and shorts, but live and learn. Despite being too hot, I still had my best time yet! In fact, I took over a whole minute per mile off my pace from the Thanksgiving Day Trot. So the treadmill is paying off. No pain what-so-ever. Everything felt good even though I knew I was doing a faster pace than my treadmill speeds.

My day was topped off with going to the movies with friends. And not just any friends, mind you! These are the ones that know how to make kick ass peanut butter fudge and share it amongst their friends. Not one sliver of guilt was felt as I caved to that first piece of fudge! Thanks E and K for great company and a wonderful Christmas present treat!

Yes, it's been a good day. And a great way to start out 2011! Time to also think of doing something even more challenging, like a 10K. Thank goodness I have all year to think about it!

Now if I can figure out who left me the most adorable voice text message last night, my day would be perfect! Time to google this one out.