This was just not my week for training. My entire body is aching!
I didn't go as hard as I would have liked because of the blisters I got from ice skating. They weren't terrible, just big enough to be slightly irritating for Monday's run. But it turned out that blisters would be the least of my concerns this week.
Before this week, if I had been asked about my take on stretching, it would have sounded much like NBA basketball player Allen Iverson and his take on practice. Yeah, sure it's a good idea, but it isn't always necessary! And when I did stretch it was only for about a minute or two total. But my body has been screaming with aches and pains for my neglecting any sort of stretching this week.
On Friday morning, I woke up with very little desire to get out of bed. That was partly due to my aching lower body after some cross-training sessions with a trainer at my gym. He thought it would be a good idea to put me through a boot-camp style workout focused on resistance training. Who knew some giant rubber bands could inflict that much pain! I've found muscles that I never knew existed!
The other reason I didn't want to move from my pillow was the realization that I had symptoms of a head cold. My nose has done more running in 48 hours than I've done with my legs all week! I didn't want to neglect the schedule so I stuck with my Saturday run. But I was hesitant because I wasn't sure how to handle running with nasal congestion. Then I remembered that Mark Remy had the remedy for such a situation in his book, The Runner's Rule Book. The book is a humorous read on all the un-written rules about running. In rule 1.18, he describes the Farmer's Blow, a technique to clear mucus from the nostrils while on the run. This may be a little too graphic for some, but I thought it would be appropriate to share his technique:
1. Breathe in through your mouth, like your gasping.
2. Lay a forefinger against one nostril and compress firmly.
3. Purse your lips.
4. Turn your head slightly in the direction of the open nostril and exhale forcefully through your nose.
5. Repeat with other nostril, if needed.
Let's just say I didn't have beginner's luck on my first attempt at the Farmer's Blow. I didn't take into account that I was running into the wind!
If there was one thing that saved me on my runs this week, it was the purchase of the greatest product for those runners with thicker thighs. If you're like me, I would highly recommend an investment into an anti-chafing stick. When I was walking this week, I was a little slow because of stiff muscles. But thanks to this product, I was happy to not look like I just got off a horse!
Yesterday after my daughter finished a.m. kindergarten, I loaded up her little bike in the back of my car, and we drove to my favorite training spot, the wonderful South Trail (not to be confused with the non-existent and ever elusive North Trail). I love this trail because it is marked every 1/2 mile, and has benches every so often to rest. And its a very scenic trail.
My daughter was excited to be going with me! She recently brought home this flyer from school, and it was an "exercise log". For every 30 minutes of exercise the children do, they can mark off a square. When she has all 50 squares marked off, she can turn it in to the teacher, who mails it to the program sponsor, which happens to be an outdoor water park! Any child who submits the completed form, gets a free pass to the water park for this summer! This is a Win / Win ! Now she wants to exercise every day, and is a little reminder for me! "I need to exercise today Mommy! Could we go ride our bikes? YOU BET! So, now we have our daily bike rides together, and I love the quality time we are having (and the fact she is getting outdoors, and away from the television set!) And we started doing other activities as well. Silly as it may be, I am exercising like a 5 year old!!. We've been roller skating, we've been skipping, we've kicked a soccer ball around. We've even hula-hooped! Yes, I can actually fit in that thing! Although the old hips don't move like they used to! I used to be a champ at that thing, and could make it go round and round forever. Great was my embarrassment the first time I tried it again, and it dropped right to the ground! After a few try's, I got my groove back ( a little....)
So yesterday after school, I took my 5 year old with me to the South trail. I did a walk/jog while she rode her bike a little ahead of me. I wasn't sure if she could do the whole loop actually. It was 2.4 miles. She was fine for the first mile, then we sat on the bench to rest. Then we made it a little further, before another rest. Had to stop to walk her bike up the big hill. Then finally finished the loop. She was so proud of herself. "Was that 30 minutes mommy? "Can I color in another square?" YEP! It was actually a little over 30 minutes. I had brought a timer with me, and started/stopped when she was riding, or resting to make sure she was actually riding for the full 30 minutes She loves exercising now, and I love having "my little reminder" at my side.And I also know that when I take her to the water park this summer to celebrate her victory that I will look much better in my bathing suit!
Ok, I've got to be honest. I am still recovering from yesterday's fiasco. Getting on an unmarked " trail" that led me to the middle of nowhere, with out a coat, with out water, with out a cell phone. Pure stupidity on my part. And it was downright dangerous. What was I thinking!!! I guess I thought since I had done so great on the South Trail, I was ready to take on the world!
I am still sore. I ache all over. I even skipped out on my Zumba dance class today. I needed to recover both physically AND MENTALLY! Somebody/ Anybody- please re-iterate to me how ignorant that was for me to even THINK of doing something like that. Seriously. I am ready for your verbal bashings. I need it so that this really sinks in how stupid that was yesterday. See original post "search for the north trail" if you have no idea what I am talking about.
Hi Team Members, I am Farel Hruska, the National Fitness Director for Stroller Strides, guest Active blogger and a mom of 3 girls. I was asked to post on this week's theme of finding time to workout because, for everyone on this team, this can be one of the biggest hurdles! The best advice I can give you is to change your mindset from IF I will workout today to WHEN I will workout today. Your time to train needs to be treated as an appointment you would not break. Think of it as a very important person who has scheduled a meeting with you and you wouldn't dream of cancelling on them. YOU have to be that important! I am fully aware that when you haven't been active before, it is tough to suddenly change your way of thinking...it will be a day to day transition but stay focused. For my fellow moms on the Bye Bye Baby Weight Team, your commitment to your workouts is especially important. The main reason is for your sanity! Be a little "selfish" and treat the body that created your amazing children with care and love. Most of your day is spent caring for them but when did you put a fraction of the attention you give your children to yourself? If it changes your focus, think about how working outis for your kids...they get a more patient, relaxed and happier mom when you care for yourself!
Stay focused and driven, Active Teams! I am virtually cheering you on! If you ever want to email me directly, feel free: firstname.lastname@example.org
We are going to spice up the Who Wants to Get Active? program with a blogging contest. Starting today we will be monitoring the blogs for volume, inspiration and creativity. The contest runs through Sunday March 14 and awards will be handed out for:
Most inspirational post from March 2 to March 14
Most comments on other participants' posts from March 2 to March 14
Funniest post from March 2 to March 14
Post from March 2 to March 14 with the most views. For this one we encourage you to promote your post--share it with family and friends, post it on your facebook page, etc.
And in the team category:
Most posts from a single team from March 2 to March 14
We will have some great prizes including pedometers, $100 gift certificates to a sporting goods store and more!
Way to go in your training so far and keep up the great work!
With all the excitement of the Winter Olympics, I've been really excited about training. Yeah, I know a native Floridian of my age and ability has as much of a chance of one day making the Winter Olympics as a snowball's chance in he--, but it certainly helps to motivate when you see people living out their dreams on the world's biggest stage.
I've been running occassionally before the start of this program, but my first run under this program suprised me. I managed to run 2.5 miles in 20:42! I felt a ton of energy and even thought about going a little further. But with the understanding that there's a method to the madness of this training process, I held back.
On Tuesday, the wife treated me to an early birthday present. We went to the specialty running store and I got new shoes! The store experience was incredible. They took a blueprint of my foot to see where I put the most pressure and to look at my arch. Then they put me in a neutral shoe and had me run on the treadmill where they conducted a video-taped gait analysis. Up until now, I always went with the lightweight shoe. I thought that since I was already carrying more body weight than I needed to, the last thing I needed was to lace up with bricks on my feet. But from all the stuff they put me through, I found out that when I run, I pronate- meaning that when my foot lands, it does so on the outside of the foot and rolls inward. The solution was to put me in a shoe that provides stability when my foot strikes the ground.
Thinking that the community pool at my apartment complex was heated, I chose swimming for my cross training. NOT the best idea I've ever had! Turns out the pool isn't heated and central Florida was in the midst of a cold front. So I followed up my polar bear like training with a few minutes of relaxation in the hot tub!
On Wednesday, I learned just how old I am. It was a hectic day with lots of stuff going on. I almost forgot about my training. At 11:30 that night, I laced up my brand new shoes for the first time and headed out. I didn't want to mess with the training schedule in the first week. The results were nothing like the Monday run! I was running into the wind and trying to break in new shoes that weighed significantly more than I'm accustomed to. But at least, I looked good doing it. Near the end, my legs felt like twigs about to snap. Maybe it was the heavier shoe, or running into the wind, or that extra slice of birthday cake, but I was much slower with a time of 20:24 for a total of 2.25 miles.
On Friday, I went up to Tampa to check out the scene of a health and fitness expo for the Gasparilla Distance Classic- Tampa's biggest marathon event. I figured that if I'm going to do one of these one day, I wanted to see what all the excitement was about. I can only imagine what standing at the starting line in April is going to feel like, but if it's anything like the excitement surrounding the anticipation of the event this weekend, I can't wait!
As far as my dieting goes, I'm seeing some great results. A couple of weeks before, my wife and I started on the South Beach Diet. As I weighed in this morning, I am down 24 lbs. from what I weighed in at on New Year's Day!
With all of the temptations and distractions, this week, it's been hard to find consistency with my schedule and diet. I'm sure that over time I will find ways to handle these issues a little better. With that being said, it's hard to find a reason to complain, because the results I've seen so far have been incredible.
I am Farel Hruska and I have been a coach in previous "Bye, Bye Baby Weight" Teams. I am thrilled to be a motivator for this 2010 team, as well. I get that making change is hard, if it was easy everyone would be doing it! However, commiting to this process could be the step you all need. Stay positive and focused. You will make amazing changes and break-throughs!
Stroller Strides National Fitness Director & Mom of 3 girls
The start of something new is always filled with excitement. Your first day of school, first car and let's not forget that first date. But that is a very different blog. The good news is you can harness the power of that excitement and use it to ease into your training program to create healthy new habits in your lifestyle. The key is to start that first walk, run or run-walk at an effort level (pace) where at the end of the session, you could go a little farther and still feel strong. Less is more. That is a mantra I will repeat over and over again. Going at the right effort level (pace) has a domino effect in leading to maintaining the excitement to the second session, and third, and so on. I realize the title of this program has an "It Off" theme, but in order to keep "It Off," you've got to first create the healthy habits you can maintain for a lifetime.
Weight loss for a lifetime happens when you balance your "In vs. Out Inventory". That is, balancing what goes in your body with how many calories you expend each day. Although there is a population of people that struggle with metabolic disorders, the vast majority of us mortals can lose weight and keep it off by making a few lifestyle changes and sticking with them. Think small, and begin to remove your trigger foods from sight. If you can see it, you can eat it. If you lose control when you're around chocolate, now is the time to remove it from easy access.
Your homework for the week focuses on creating an In Vs. Out Inventory
Keep a log of the foods you eat on a daily basis for the next three weeks. There are a number of free online logs like Fitday.com where you can track your calories in and review the breakdown of fat, protein and carbohydrates. It's a little like being in debt financially and taking a long, hard look into your finances to begin to pay off the debt. The only way to truly make a plan of action is to take an honest look at what you're taking in. In many cases, this results in tweaking portions of salad dressing, sugary drinks and other calorically high, nutritionally low foods.
The most effective way to reduce your caloric debt (weight), is to burn about 250-300 calories per day in exercise and reduce your caloric intake (food) by 250-300 calories per day. That way, the combined total of 500-600 calories contributes to paying off your total caloric debt resulting in weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week. Keep track of your calories in and your activity every day. This is a fantastic way to get a jump start on your program and stay motivated to get out of debt!
Replace two trigger foods this week with two healthy alternatives. For example, replacing chips and dip with hummus and pita chips or veggies like carrots. Set a goal to replace 1-2 trigger foods every week with healthier choices.
I recently saw a bumper sticker proclaiming that "running is cheaper than therapy." And therapy is something I could really use these days. This past year has been a roller coaster of ups and downs as I experience some major life changes.
In April of last year, I lost my dream job. Every little boy dreams of playing professional sports. My dream job was a little more unconventional. It still involved professional sports. But I had the privilege for three years to fulfill my dream and portray the team mascot. . When I would tell people what I did for a living, one of their first comments was usually, "You must lose a lot of weight with all that sweating." In the course of a game I would typically lose about 6-8 pounds, but it was all water weight. And it didn't take long for me to gain the weight back. I would often join my coworkers at the bar for a post-game celebration, or as was usually the case with my team, we would drown our disappointments in another frustrating loss and stare into the bottom of our frosty mugs. With that said, it was a great job and I had a lot of really great times because of it. But professional mascot jobs are few and far between. So I've been applying for jobs trying to transition into a more conventional career path in marketing. But there aren't a lot of companies out there that want to hire a guy who used to dress up in a furry costume and make a fool of himself to get people's attention for a living. So now that that dream job is over, I'll continue searching for a new job opportunity and meanwhile I've come up with a new dream that isn't necessarily career-minded.
And I'm going to fulfill this new dream with the support of my new bride. I got married to my incredible wife, Kristen, back in July. Marriage has been a wonderful experience thus far and she is an awesome support system for me. Back in December, we were overjoyed to learn that Kristen was pregnant. We had a great time over the holidays telling our closest family and friends about our news. As I began to think about my future as a father, I knew that I wanted to be an example for my child and not follow the "Do as I say, not as I do" philosophy. So I began to think about my fitness level. And visiting my sister was a "big" (pun intended) clue that something needed to change. As I stood next to my pregnant sister ( who is due in March) I noticed that my belly was farther along than her pregnant one.
While we were visiting my family, I came across an article that promoted a website where I could take an in-depth questionnaire to find out my life expectancy based on my current lifestyle. I took the quiz and found out that at the age of 30 (soon to be 31) I should be in the midst of a mid-life crisis. I thought I had another decade before that happened, but this quiz told me that I would live to the age of 66.3, if I continued to keep up this lifestyle. Ultimately, this led me to decide that a drastic change was needed. So I came up with this new dream.
That dream is to one day complete an ultramarathon. I realize that this might seem to be a lofty goal for a fat guy. But I don't do things on a small scale (see my belly for that proof!). When I say ultramarathon, I'm not talking in terms of Forrest Gump-like distances, but with my track record, that isn't something that is out of the question. As a kid, I was a scrawny little punk that could run up and down the soccer field all day. But a knee injury as a pre-teen slowed me down to the point where I would rather lounge in front of the TV then get out and run around with friends. So now that I've come to the realization that that wasn't the best decision, I chose running to get back into shape. I made this decision because I really enjoyed the freedom of running, I experienced as a kid.
Shortly into the new year, I ran into my first hurdle. Just as Kristen and I were planning for our new arrival, we experienced a miscarriage. After this unfortunate event, it was hard to think about running at all. But as time has passed, and with the idea that running is cheap therapy, I realized that chasing my dream and going for a run is much better than lounging on the couch and constantly asking "Why?". Besides, as slow as I am, it gives me a lot of time to think.
By being a part of this training program, it is my hope that I gain the knowledge and the necessary tools to help me as I begin the pursuit of my ultimate dream to complete an ultramarathon.
Welcome to Who Wants to Get Active 2010! My name is Coach Jenny Hadfield and I will be your guide and coach along the way. This program is close to my heart because I stumbled into racing along my journey and it changed my life. I was 35 pounds overweight, out of shape and unable to even make it down my block. My co-workers challenged me to train for and participate in a local 5K. At first I told them they were nuts -- but little by little we trained together at lunch and my body and mind began to adapt. Soon I was able to tackle 3 miles without whining! I drummed up the courage to participate in that 5K and reached the finish line! It didn't even matter that I was almost last and beaten by a 72-year old man (and they announced it over the microphone). Crossing that finish line changed my life forever. I fell in love with the process of training with a group and reaching for challenging goals.
Training to run and walk it off with a social network is a fun, and highly effective strategy for learning to get active and stay active. The key to making it part of your lifestyle is to integrate the program into your lifestyle. That begins by starting with a program that closely matches your activity level. That is why we have three teams (Run It Off, Walk It Off, Bye, Bye Baby Weight) and programs to get you to that finish line. Getting to where you want to go is a lot easier when you make small changes on the route to reaching the finish line. Research has shown consistently that major lifestyle changes are difficult to maintain and don't last. The destination is to lose weight, however the journey is to make activity a part of your every day lifestyle. Because when you do so, everything else falls into place.
Review your training program and let me know if you have questions along the way. We can all learn from one another, even if we are on competing teams! Every training program includes 3-4 run, run-walk or walking workouts every week. You'll also notice, every week includes rest days and cross-training days as well. We grow stronger when we rest in response to the demands (stress) of running and walking. Cross-training activities like cycling, swimming and rock climbing are wonderful compliments to your training regimen and allow your muscles a break from the impact of running and walking. Cross-training also keeps your program fresh and you're never doing the same workout every day!
The programs gradually progress throughout the next two months and prepare you to tackle the race distance this spring. Remember, the key to getting where you want to go is by starting with where you are. The goal of the first few weeks is to perform just enough activity so when you finish, you have a smile on your face and you look forward to the next session. That means keeping the intensity at a conversational effort and one where you can talk while you are moving. Find your happy pace and you'll find the key to reaching your goals.
Make time for the workouts by planning them ahead of schedule. The great thing about training for an event is you know what you need to do now for the next tow months. Plug it into the most convenient time of day and stick with it. Every workout is a piece of the puzzle that will prepare you for race day.
Although you will have to take every step on your own, you have a team and a coach every step of the way to support you. Over the next few weeks I'll provide you tips and tools needed for reaching your goals to run it off, walk it off and say goodbye to the baby weight. You'll learn how to go farther and faster, how to eat to lose weight and perform stronger, tips for staying motivated and ways to prevent getting hurt. I will share with you my three golden rules for racing and how to stay active for a lifetime.
I'll be posting notes for each team in my weekly blog, but if you have any additional, specific or general questions, don't be shy. Take this week to plug your training days into your lifestyle and let your body and mind adapt to the rhythm of training. There's something magical about training for a race. Every workout is purposeful and milestones are reached almost weekly. It's a very exciting journey and I'm excited to be your guide. Giddy up!