Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Running intervals

One of my goals this year is to increase my running speed. I know I will never be a fast runner, and I'm fine with being a "back of the pack" runner. But I would like to run a Disney race someday, and the recommend a training pace of a 15 minute mile.  I would had to finally get to a Disney race and have this happen:
  • Runners unable to maintain the pace may be picked up at any point along the course and transported to the course pick-up tent.
 I've heard the best one to increase speed is to do intervals (alternating fast/slow). So the past week or so I've been experimenting with this. My "comfortable" running pace is about 3.5 MPH (about a 17 minute mile).

So far I have tired:

  • Run 4 MPH for 5 minutes. Recover with a 3.0 MPH walk for 5 minutes. Repeat.
  • Run 4 MPH for 10. Recover for 2 minutes, Run 4MPH for 8 minutes. Recover for 3 minutes. Run 4 MPH for 7 minutes. Recover for 3 minutes. Continue 10 minute cycle (6/4; 5/5, 6/4, etc).
  • Run at 3.5 MPH for 5 minutes. Run at 4.5 MPH for 1 minute. Repeat many times.
  • Start at 3.5 MPH. Add .1 MPH every minute until 4.1 MPH.  Then reduce by .1 MPH every minute. Repeat.

Each option has included a variety of speeds and an assortment of distances.  I'm not sure which one I like best. I guess I'll keep experimenting. I'm planning run a 10K at the end of the month. Hopefully the work will make difference.

This picture gave me a chuckle.  I often hear sirens while I'm running and have to wonder if someone thought I was dying!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

I can hear clearly now...

Not running or weight loss related, but life related!

I can hear!! 

All of my life I have struggled to hear. In my mid-30's I got my first hearing aid. Later I got a pair of hearing aids. But even with the hearing aids, I missed a lot of what was going on around me. 

I have a family history of hearing loss. My Daddy and his dad both were almost completely deaf by their 40's. About 15 years ago, we got a name for the hereditary hearing loss. My brother (3 years older) had a CT scan due to a concussion. The doctor told him he had otosclerosis.  I was told that I probably had otosclerosis.  In September, I went to an ENT surgeon who officially diagnosed me--and a CT confirmed it--with otosclerosis.


the formation of spongy bone in the capsule of the labyrinth of the ear, often causing the auditory ossicles to become fixedand less able to pass on vibrations when sound enters the ear. Approximately 10 per cent of adults have otosclerosis, but inonly 1 per cent does it affect the stapeswhich becomes fixed to the oval window and causes symptoms. adj., adj otosclerot´ic.

In December, I had a stapedotomy--where my stapes (stirrup) bone in my left ear was replaced by a prosthetic. After a week the packing came out, and I could suddenly hear things I had not heard before.

Here are some of the things I noticed/posted in the first couple of weeks:

  • Do "normal" people hear their footfall--every step?!?! 
  • Not only was I able to hear the speaker at the staff meeting--I was able to hear everyone--at the same time. Now I have a headache!
  •  I thought John had messed with the balance on the car radio (too much treble?). But when I muted the radio, it was still there. We get a lot of road noise in our car!
  •  I had to turn the car radio down several notches.
  • When my phone connected to the car radio, I had to quickly turn it down quite a bit--it hurt!
  •  In the 11 years I've used this office phone, I have always had to turn the volume up to the top. And sometimes I still couldn't hear. Today I turned it about halfway down.
  •  I heard a car drive by on the street. From my office. On the 6th floor. With no windows that open.
  • The open refrigerators at Albertsons (deli meats, cheeses, fresh meats) are REALLY loud!
  • It would have been okay if my newfound hearing had not extended to hearing every single bang of each of the eight hammers on each of the toolboxes the Webelos are making. Add the fact that the hall has a dome shape that echoes....
  •  I need to talk to my doctor about ADD! I hear all of the conversations around me now--at the same time!

Friday, January 22, 2016

New PR at the Back of the Pack

Two posts in one day?!?!? Well, technically it's after midnight, so not really!

One of my goals for the past year or two is to improve my running speed. Someday, I'd love to run a Disney race. Disney requires a 16 minute mile, and they recommend you train at a 15 minute mile. My very best mile has been between 15 and 16 miles--but I can't keep up that pace for long I generally average between 17 and 19 minutes per mile.

Today I decided to try to vary my speed to see help me improve my time.  Normally, I run between about 3.2 and 3.7 miles per hour. On the treadmill, I have never been able to run over 3.5 MPH for more than about a minute.

That changed tonight! I ran 4.0 for 10 minutes without a break. Then I ran at that speed for 5 minutes--twice!! And a finished with another 8 minutes at 4.0. I ran a total of 3.1 miles (5K). And my final time: 50:39--was 21 seconds faster than my fastest ever time.  It was also about 5 minutes faster than my average 5K.

At times it is a bit intimidating watching runners around me running much faster.  Tonight there was a young man in front of me who, at various times was running at 7.7, 8.1, and 12.0 MPH.  When he stopped--at exactly 3 miles--his total time was 21:54--about 40% of the time it took me to run the same distance.  But I was not discouraged.  

This week I found a new group on Facebook that I love! It's called Back of the Pack. It is for runners (and walkers) who usually finish races in the back third of the pack.  I have found kindred spirits.  People who understand what it is like to finish the race and find out that awards ceremony is already over. (I didn't expect to win for my age, but I thought I might win a door prize!) They encouraged me to enjoy my run and get my money's worth!

Today I got the flier for the Pecos Valley Stampede. I signed up for the 10K last year, but it got snowed out. (I still got the t-shirt).  I think I'm going to try for the 10K this year.  And I'm seriously thinking of training for a half marathon. I found the perfect one.  The Yosemite Half Marathon is on my 47th birthday (October 8th--don't forget!!). I grew up in less than 2 hours from Yosemite, and we haven't been back in so long. I miss the views at Yosemite! I'm not sure I could train well enough to be ready for a half marathon.  And I really don't think I could afford the trip.  But it's fun to dream. Feel free to send donations to my gofundme page.  Just kidding. Unless you really want to sponsor me. Then we'll talk. E-mail me.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Latest before and during

It's been a while (about a year!!) since I've pulled out these old clothes. The lighting is different (and we got new curtains!!).

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Scale is moving the right way!

I had my second visit with my nutritionist/diabetes educator. I am still wrapping my mind around the fact that I have diabetes.  I've been testing most days, and my numbers are good. (I think Plexus* is helping keep my numbers low). In the 10 days since I saw her last I lost 6 pounds (by her scale). She asked what I've been doing. 

  • I did get the chance to run twice (the past two Saturdays) for over an hour each. It has been 3 months since I had run.  

  • I have a new stress reduction/exercise program.  When I get frustrated, irritated, or bothered at work, rather than sit and stew, I've decided to start taking the stairs. For the first time in my life, I work in a multi-story building (10 floors). I'm on the 6th floor.  If things are really bad, I walk up to the 10th floor, down to the 1st, and back up to the 6th. I try to walk up at least half of the stairs on my way in in the morning. Here's my office.
  • I have not had a Diet Coke since Thanksgiving! I'm drinking a ton of water (except the last two days. They haven't been great.
  • I did a 10 day sugar fast (from Thanksgiving until my son's 18th birthday). I have been eating some sugar, but not going crazy. My sugar cravings are down quite a bit
The next couple of days, I will be enjoying some of the candies and sweets we have for Christmas.  And apparently we will be snowed in this weekend. (Reports are calling for 8-20 inches!!)  Hopefully it will clear up by Wednesday. We have a 3 hour drive for my ear surgery!! 

* Disclosure: I am a Plexus ambassador, and I would love to tell you more about the products. Plexus does not claim to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

I'm a Brand Ambassador!

I am so excited!!  I have shared some of My Favorite Things before.  I love my Brooks running shoes with my SuperFeet inserts and, my Hickies lace replacements. I've talked about my Active Faith t-shirts and my Hippie Runner headbands. One of my latest favorites is my FlipBelt that holds my keys and my phone when I run.

But there is one item that I literally could not run without. My Enell sports bra. I got my first Enell sports bra several years ago--long before I ever considered running. But when I started running 3 years ago, my Enell sports bra was there for me. It supported me through C25K (couch to 5K) when I thought I was going to die running for just 90 seconds, to my first 5K, and even a 10K (where I ran for an hour and 45 minutes without stopping!).

Today, I learned that I have been selected as an Enell brand ambassador, and I could not be more excited!  While I will receive some products in exchange for my service, I would not have applied if I did not believe in them! 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Long overdue update

I recently learned that I am diabetic. I am no longer "insulin resistant" or "pre-diabetic". This has taken some getting used to. I tried to outrun diabetes, but I didn't run fast enough (or soon enough). My sugars are under control, and I am meeting with the diabetes educator on Thursday.

I decided I needed to get started (again) on the path to health. Almost 3 years ago I started the journey, and I lost 60 pounds. I'm proud to say that I have maintained it.

  • Through the cancer diagnosis, hospice, and death of my father-in-law
  • Through 7/10 (almost 8/10) classes in my master's program
  • Through working full-time.
  • Through two office moves and a new supervisor (all at the same job).
  • Through homeschool a middle schooler and a high schooler.
But there are at least 60 more pounds that need to go. Lately, I've had a lot of compliments on my weight loss. People keep saying things like "You've lost a lot of weight!" and "You're losing weight again!"  The scale and the tape measure don't show it. But I am wearing size 18's for the first time in--I have no idea how many years? Maybe 25?

I have been working to kick the Diet Coke habit (again!--hopefully for good this time!). I haven't had a Diet Coke since Thanksgiving (12 days so far). I've been doing well drinking lots of water. I'm adding lemon or orange to the infuser basket in my water bottle. I'm not really missing it (too much).

I also did not eat any sugar from black Friday until yesterday. I had a small slice of Cameron's birthday cheese cake last night, as well as 3 small pieces of divinity over about 12 hours. Normally, I would have had 5 or 6 pieces in one sitting.

The amazing thing (to me) in all of this is that I have had access to sugar during this time. I made a large batch of Rocky Road candy for Thanksgiving (and I ate quite a few on Thanksgiving!) but there was a lot left, and I didn't snack on it. At work, I have a snack drawer with caramels, PopTarts, and other sweet snacks.  And I have a sealed 1 Liter bottle of Diet Coke.

One more update....I got a surgery date today. On December 30th, I will have a stapedectomy in my left ear to replace the fused stapes bone with a spring. I don't know how much hearing I will regain, but it should be significant. If it is successful, I will have another one in 3 months.