Sunday, February 21, 2010

Exercise & Menu Plan for week of 2/22/2010

Planning, planning, planning. It's all in the planning. And as far as menu plans, who has been doing that one lately? After looking over my budget deficit spending this week, it's time to come up with a good plan. So away we go......

D: Spicy Chicken (chicken in crock pot with taco seasoning and chicken broth)
WO: Swim (technique drills), Run 5 miles, bis & tris, volleyball

D: Sweet & Sour Meatballs
WO: Herrin Circuit, Legs

D: leftovers (Sorry, I am working day and night!)
WO: Treadmill intervals, chest & back

D: Sloppy Joes
WO: 4 miles at moderate pace, shoulders

D: Michelle's Signature Salmon
WO: Swim for endurance

D: dinner at brother and sister -in-laws
WO: 12 mile run, rock climbing

D: Oh who knows?

What is your plan for the week?

It's a funny thing to run 10 miles

My half marathon training plan called for a 10 mile run this weekend. Wow. 10 miles. Who would have thought a few years ago that I would have any interest in running that far? That long? I certainly couldn't imagine it. 

Back in 1999 and 2000, when I did the Memphis to Peoria St. Jude Run, I was assigned to motor home GOLD 1. The people in my  motor home were fantastic! BUT they were runners. I was there for the children of St. Jude. My roommates for the week tried to convince me that I needed to do some marathons with them and I thought, "No way! I am NOT a runner. People who run that much are INSANE!" Well, I guess I am getting close to insanity now.

Saturday was one of those days where I could have easily put my long run off until the next day...and then the next...and then the next. But I knew I would be VERY unhappy with myself if I gave into that twinge of laziness. So, I collected my X-Men: The Last Stand DVD and hit the treadmill. (After a little bit of slushy ice was dropped on us by Mother Nature, I didn't think a run outside was the best decision.)

10 miles...
Do I have to?
Take a deep breath.....GO!

I am not running this 10 miles to win a race. I was running for my physical fitness. For my health. For an additional year or 2 on my life. I set the speed at a relaxed 5.6, incline of1 and took off. I checked my time at 1 mile: That was a 10:45 pace. I was happy with that.

Believe it or not, the first mile or two seems to be the toughest. It takes time to get into a groove. By 2.5 miles, I felt pretty good. My pace was relaxed and I was clicking off the time. Now, I know you won't believe this, but I have a pretty good stride. I've been told by many people that I look very relaxed when I run. Have you ever watched someone run and thought they are working WAY too hard? It happens a lot! So even though I have pretty good form, I still end up with an ache in the back of my shoulder after 4 or 5 miles. I try to stretch it out throughout my run, but sometimes it just won't go away. If you had a video camera on me during my run, you would see me flapping my left arm around every once in a while and wonder, "What the heck is she doing?" Well, now you know.

As my run continues and my body is warmed, I am amazed that I am not having negative thoughts. 10 miles used to feel SOOOO overwhelming. Now? It's 10 miles. Just GETTER DONE!

I've discovered that I really like to watch action movies while I'm on the treadmill. I think it's the faster, more intense pace that keeps me going. I find myself reacting to the action being played out on the screen - and yes, I do worry that I am going to leap frog over my rival and fall right off the back of the treadmill!

Running takes some mind games to keep going. By the time I hit 6 miles, I was telling my daughter, "Mommy only has 4 miles to go!" which doesn't sound nearly as bad as, "Mommy still has to run on this stupid hamster wheel for about 45 more minutes!" UGH! Let's keep the positive energy flowing here!

At some point in the run, I find my legs, especially my hip flexors, go a little numb. Every once in a while I have to consciously tell my legs how to put one in front of the other. That's when it gets scary. Your brain shouldn't have to tell your body how to move, but luckily it only lasts for a few seconds and then your sub-conscious takes over again.

By mile 8, I am thinking to myself. I am almost done! WOW! That's when I start to get cocky and start thinking about racheting up the speed. Naw! I'm just a simple mom of 3 trying to get her athletic mojo back. At 9.5 miles, I step up the speed to 5.8 and at 9.8 miles up to 6. 

After 1 hour, 46 minutes and 42 seconds, and 1410 calories burned, my 10 miler was done. Again, I get to tell myself in wonderment, "I AM A RUNNER!"

Friday, February 19, 2010

Humpback Whales at the River Plex

Today has truly been MY kind of day. After dropping the kiddos off at school, I came home to do a little cleaning (very little), a load of laundry, and started my vegetable soup. Finally about 9:30, I was ready to head to the River Plex.

I got to the lap pool and horror of horror saw someone from Tremont there. I thought to myself, "Oh man! Now he is going to 1) see me in a bathing suit and 2) see my drown as I pretend to know how to swim."

Eh! Oh well. He saw my in my tri outfit last year. How much worse can this be?

I don't know what the staff is doing at the River Plex, but by golly, the water sure is cold when I get in. I don't remember it being this cold last year. Wow! It usually takes me a minute or two to get brave enough to submerge my entire body. Finally, my body was acclimated and my cap & goggles were ready and I was off!

I pushed off the wall and I heard a creepy voice in my head telling me I was cheating. What??? Where did that come from??? Oh thanks Fatty! The Fat Cyclist wrote an article recently about training for a triathlon and how pushing off the wall after each pool length. Yes, Fatty, I know, there aren't walls in the lake at Canton. Damn. No more pushing off for me. I'm ruined.

I started out with 2-50s for a warm-up. Nice and easy. Just get the blood pumping. I've read about some swimming workouts where the warm up is 500 yards. YAH! Right. That's about my goal for the day!

After my warm-up, I started focusing on technique. Dragging my fingertips through the water for 50. Pulling only (no kicking) for 50. Focus on keeping my elbow up high for 50. After a few 50s, I was feeling kind of lame because the Tremont boy was 2 lanes over and hadn't stopped yet.

"Guess I'd better show him with my endurance and do a whole 100!" And to kick it up a notch, I threw in flip turns! This is when I discovered the humpback whales at the River Plex. My first flip turn was a FLOP turn. I took off too far from the wall and didn't get a good push off. (Sorry, Fatty, it was all in the name of technique!) On my second turn, I waited a stroke later to start my turn and WHOALA! I flipped, turned and was off again in no time...and that's when I felt it.

The buoyancy had suddenly changed. I had a humpback. When I did my flip turn, I apparently pulled my butt up out of the water and now had an air bubble wedged in my.....well, it was wedged. I had one air bubble in my ear and another keeping my lower body afloat. Boy, was I embarrassed when I finished my 100 and there was Mt. St. Helen's erupting around me.

"No, honestly, Mr. Tremont boy. I did not just relieve myself through my lower blow hole."

I think that's when I scared him because he exited the pool a little while later. I did another 100. A few more 50s and then a whole 200!...and then a couple more 50s. All in all I did 1000 yards today. NOT CONTINUOUS, no, thank you very much, but I am still working on my technique. Come March 1st....I'm going for endurance. Although I must say, swimming is kind of boring. I've always been the independent fitness guru but staring at the trash at the bottom of the pool can get quite boring. I need something to distract me and I'm thinking I need to get an Interval Waterproof Headphone System. Dang, I wish Fatty would give one to me.

I finished my workout and stopped at Wal-Mart on the way home. Yes, I went to the grocery store starving. I'm sorry, but it needed to be done. I didn't buy a bunch of junk though. I'm pretty pleased about that. On the way home I was listening to the Meal Makeover Moms and discovered a recipe for Banana Brownie Waffles which I just HAVE to try out on my kids. My girls eat processed white bread gross waffles most days for breakfast. I'd love to make these. 1) They are healthier. 2) They are chocolate. They won't even have to KNOW that they are healthy....but of course, my kids know I don't normally cook anything UNLESS it's good for you.

BUT now it's time to be off for work and coaching volleyball.

How to keep motivated

First off, let me say that I think your motivation must be internal. It can't be something or someone external to yourself that decides you are really, truly going to make yourself a priority and get healthy. If you aren't convinced you are worth it - and you have to feel it DEEP down inside - you won't make yourself a priority.

So, I thought I'd talk about some of the tools that I use to stay motivated:

  1. Spark People - Awesome sight full of information on exercise and nutrition. Use it to track your calories and stay on track
  2. Motivation to Move - CMO (Chief Motivational Officer) Scott Smith with his wife, Joi, have created an excellent site to read articles, get recipes and share with a community all of your successes & failures.
This is one area that I talk about A LOT, but people usually give me this deer in the headlights kind of look. Podcasts are usually free on iTunes and are basically "talk radio". I subscribe to a number of podcasts from genealogy, Harry Potter, a volleyball podcast, Disney and Jane Austen. (I know - what strange mix of interests, but that's me!)

To find podcasts, open Itunes, on the left hand side click on Podcasts and once that opens, click on Podcast Directory on the bottom right of your screen. You can enter any search subject and you will probably find a podcast out there for it.
  1. Motivation to Move Fitness Boost - Scott Smith has recently changed the format of his podcast. It used to be an hour long free podcast. Now, free subscribers only get a once a week 15 minutes podcast, but it's still worth listening to.
  2. The Biggest Loser Fan Podcast - Based on the hit NBC TV show, Cliff Ravenscraft & Father Roderick (yes, a Catholic priest) review the show each week, but talk about the insights they have gathered from the show. 
  3. KFI AM- Sunday - Jillian Michaels is no longer putting out this podcast, but let me tell you IT'S WORTH IT. She breaks down the science of physical fitness as well as the affect of the processed foods in our bodies. Makes you think!
  4. Cooking with the Moms - Listen each week as cookbook authors, dietitians, and busy moms, Janice Newell Bissex and Liz Weiss -- AKA The Meal Makeover Moms -- share their latest fast and healthy recipe creations and mealtime tips, all designed to get families, even the pickiest eaters, back to the table.
Some of the blogs that I read are kind of specific, but I thought I'd share them anyway.
Steve in a Speedo? Gross! - Hilarious and insightful
Fat Cyclist - A man and his bike and his struggle with life after losing his wife to cancer
Fit Yummy Mummy Blog - full of short workout videos
Goals for the Week! - A smart woman who sets weekly goals for various aspects of her life

I actually read many, many more, but those are some of my favorites. 

Thursday, February 18, 2010

6 weeks to a 5k

I saved this running plan a few years back before I started running. I don't know if you've ever considered doing a 5k, but it's certainly a good plan.

Running | Beginner Training Plan: 6 Weeks to a 5K
Even if you’ve never run a step, this program will get you running for 30 minutes straight in just six weeks, says Zika Palmer, an elite marathoner, exercise physiologist, and cofounder of ZAP Fitness in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. If you can run for 30 uninterrupted minutes, you should be ready to tackle a 5K (3.1-mile) race. On your training runs, aim for a rate of perceived exertion (RPE) that feels like a 5 or 6 on a scale of 1 to 10 so you don’t burn out too soon.

Walk briskly for 1 mile.
Run 2 min. every half mile until you reach 3.5 total miles. Walk 0.5 mile.

Walk 3-5 miles.
Walk 1 Mile. Run 3 min. every half mile until you reach 3.5 miles. Walk 0.5 mile.

Walk 3-5 miles, including 10
run/walk intervals (run 30 sec., walk 1 min.) in the last mile.


Walk 1.5 miles. Run 5 min., walk 5 min.; do 3 times. Walk 1-2 miles.

Walk 3-5 miles
Walk 1 mile. Run 3 min. every half mile until you reach 3.5 miles. Walk 0.5 mile.

Walk 1.5 miles. Run 5 min., walk 5 min.; do 3 times. Walk 1-2 miles.

18-20 miles
Walk 1.5 miles. Run 10 min., walk 5-7 min.,
run 10 min., walk 5-7 min.

Walk 3-5 miles.
Walk 3-5 miles.
Walk 1.5 miles. Run 10 min., walk 5 min., run 5 min., walk 5 min., run 10 min., walk 5-10 min.


Walk 1 mile. Run 3 min.,
walk 2 min.; do that 5-min. sequence a total of 10 times. Walk 5 min.

Walk 1 mile. Run 15 min., walk 5 min., run 15 min.,
walk 5 min.

Walk 1 mile. Run 5 min., walk 2 min.; do that 7-min. sequence 5 times. Walk 5 minutes.

Walk 1 mile. Run 10 min.,
walk 5 min.; do that 15-min. sequence 3 times.

17.5 miles
Walk 1 mile. Run 3 min.,
walk 2 min.; do that 5-min. sequence a total of 10 times. Walk 5 min.

Walk 1 mile. Run 20 min., walk 5 min., run 20 min.,
walk 5 min.

Walk 1 mile. Run 5 min., walk 2 min.; do that 7-min. sequence 5 times. Walk 5 minutes.

Walk 1 mile. Run 15 min.,
walk 5 min.; do that 20-min. sequence 3 times.

20 miles
Walk 1 mile. Run 3 min.,
walk 2 min.; do that 5-min. sequence a total of 10 times. Walk 5 min.

Walk 1 mile. Run 25 min., walk 5 min., run 25 min.,
walk 5 min.

Walk 1 mile. Run 5 min., walk 2 min.; do that 7-min. sequence 5 times. Walk 5 minutes.

Walk 1 mile. Run 20 min.,
walk 5 min.; do that 25-min. sequence 3 times.

22 miles

You’ll run for a total of 60 minutes (with two 5-minute breaks) during the week 6 Saturday workout, and you should be able to run for 30 uninterrupted minutes without difficulty by the time you’ve completed this program. -- Originally published in FITNESS magazine, October 2006.


Have I ever mention that I love my job? I love my job. Not only do I get to create activities and programs for the awesome community that I live in, but it's also a chance for me to see some people that I don't get to in my normal activities.

Yesterday I had a friend stop by the office to register her boys for summer baseball. She mentioned she had lost 25 pounds so far and was still working toward her goal. Now, I have to say I am the least observant person I know. I don't notice when you get a new hair cut. I don't notice when you buy some new clothes and I CERTAINLY don't notice when you lose weight. I don't know why. It's just not in my nature. You would think I would notice these things. I am definitely an observer of the body. I observe body mechanics. But I don't watch to see how small or big your butt is.

As I talked to my friend, I was amazed at how similar our stories where.

  1. For years, I've followed the advice of weight loss experts and shouted my goals from the rooftops so that someone would hold me accountable. That didn't work. When I finally got the "click", I silently just started making changes in my life which made the difference in my weight loss and fitness level.
  2. I put myself on the shelf. I became a mom and I put everyone else in front of me. Oh don't get me wrong. I still had my selfish moments, but I let my health drop in my priority list.  
  3. I stopped being true to myself. My friend said it best. It was as if I had suddenly grown up and wasn't allowed to do the things I enjoyed. I had to grow up and that meant all work and no play.
  4. I denied my true nature. All of my life I've striven to be the best. I was the 8th child of 9 and I was going to prove to everyone out there that I could do everything they could do even if they were at least 7 years older than I was. My cousin could do a back handspring. I did 7 - and a back air. But suddenly being competitive (said with a sneer) was no longer a positive thing. I heard "Carla's so competitive" a few too many times and suddenly I wasn't proud of my achievements. I just wanted to blend in with every other woman out there.
My talk with my friend made me realize that whether we have 10 pounds to lose or 50 we all have demons to strike down and conquer. And while the details may be slightly different, our stories are similar and we need to support and motivate each other as much as possible. After all, we are all sisters in this game of life.

World's Worst Blogger Award!

OK, maybe I'm not the World's Worst Blogger because let's be honest. There are probably lots of bad bloggers out there. Unfortunately, I like to read the blogs of people who actually post what is going on in their lives - even if it is about their cat, Nippy, who ignores them when they come into the house. So, I'm still trying to get into a routine. To journal my plans, my successes and of course, my failures. So, here it goes.

Over the last two weeks, Jeff & I have each 1 week of our weight loss challenge. Last week, he lost 2.5 lbs. (??? HOW DID THAT HAPPEN??) Actually, I can tell you what happened. He finally started exercising. I lost 1 lb which I still very happy with. I'm not expecting to drop a ton of weight each week. So, Jeff won week 2. $10 back to Jeff.

This week I felt those hormones start to kick in and holy cow! I was convinced there was no way I was going to lose anything. BUT lady luck was on my side. I lost 0.5 lbs and Jeff.....well, Jeff stayed the same. Aww..$10 back in my pocket. It's kind of funny though. We are just storing that $10 to hand back and forth each week. I'm sure next week I'll be giving it right back to Jeff. Of course, he said he's fine with this. He just wants to win the $150 at the end. Mmmmm. Does he NOT know me? Does he really think I am going to let him win like that? If we each lose 10 lbs, I WIN cause I weigh less than him!

I'm not a hare. I'm a tortoise. Slow and steady wins the race.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Workout Plan for the week

I am making my plan, as usual; however, this time I am fully aware that in all probability it will change due to some illness going around our home. I have modified the plan already. So, here's hoping I can stick to it. BUT a plan I must make and a plan I must try to follow:

Monday - 5 mile easy run, TBL Last Chance Workout, volleyball ==> Gosh, I love Mondays.
Tuesday - TBL Cardio Max, ABS
Wednesday - Run 3 miles hard, swim
Thursday - TBL Last Chance Workouts
Friday - Run 8, swim
Saturday - TBL Cardio Max, ABS
Sunday - REST

Here's to a good week!

Menu Plan Monday

Because my Diva Princess is still running a fever, I stayed home from the Super Bowl party tonight. It's all good. Probably for the best. I didn't need to go to a tempting food feast to sit there and pretend that I care about a football game where I probably couldn't name one of the players on either team.  So, instead I put my "free" time to good use. I made my world famous olive oil dressing.  HA HA! OK, maybe not, but I love it and made it anyway. I also made Apple-licious Oatmeal Bake which is in the oven right now. Oh my word! It smells so good. I am salivating. I was actually looking for some healthy muffins to make for breakfast in the morning, but found this recipe instead. I know my kiddos probably won't love it, but it smells delicious and I think Jeff & I have our breakfast set for the next few days. (I REALLY wish you could smell the cinnamon, apples and oatmeal through your computer screen.) 

So, here is my plan for the week. Who knows if it will get followed exactly. Maybe since it looks like I'll be home tomorrow with Princess, I can get some food prepped and freeze some meals. Here is the plan anyway:

Monday – Taco Soup
Wed – vegetable barley soup

What's your plan for the week?

DVD-Rev: The Biggest Loser Last Chance Workout

I can't believe I have written about this DVD yet. It is definitely a favorite of mine. DONE. Now you can stop reading.

The Last Chance Workout led by Jillian Michaels has 5 segments to chose from: warm-up, LC workout, Upper Body Strengthening, Lower Body Strengthening and cool down. I haven't done this workout very much in the last few weeks, but found myself trying to avoid the pool on Friday and decided to give it a try.

The actual workout segment itself is made of HIIT: High intensity interval training: 30 second cardio segments followed by 30 seconds of strength training. The cardio segments are fairly simple...variations of jumping jacks, running in place, butt kicks, etc. The strength training segments vary based on muscle groups. With a total of 7 segments, I find myself cursing Jillian about segment 6 or 7.  The upper body & lower body segments are nice complimentary pieces to the whole workout. Since I haven't done much strength training lately, I definitely felt all of those achy muscles on Saturday morning, but it was an ache that made me smile!

Weekly Wrap-up

It's Sunday...a day for rest and I am more than ready to take it. It's been a good week all in all. Good things have happened this week. I have finally caught up at work. Year-end taxes are done at IMC. I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

On top of that, my youngest, aka Diva Princess, came home sick from school on Friday and no matter what you do that brings every other "priority" to a screeching HALT! Snuggling on the couch with an 8-year old is just what the doctor ordered.

In reflecting back on this week, I have loved my workouts. I altered my plan slightly, but still felt good about the week as a whole.

Monday - ran 4 miles, swam 800 yards and played volleyball for 3 hours
Tuesday - I was so achey from yesterday and my slacker of a week last week that I took the day off. Probably not a good decision since I was so tense setting up the nets at the school for our travel volleyball game.
Wednesday - only 2.08 miles on the treadmill. Not a lot of time in the morning since I had to be at work by 9....but that will change soon! 
Thursday - 4.2 miles on treadmill
Friday - The Biggest Loser Last Chance Workout.....ahhhhh, feel those muscles ache
Saturday - 6 miles on the treadmill in 62:09 minues....ahhh, yah, goal accomplished for the week

Grand total of: 16.29 miles
I woke up this morning with the temptation to get on the scale, but thought that was not a wise choice. I figured if I stepped on the scale now I'd be happy with my weight loss and then I wouldn't monitor my eating tonight at the Super Bowl party I'm hoping to attend (if Princess is feeling better). Why does the scale have such a psychological impact on me? I should see the good results from all of my hard work and feel justified in saying "NO" to all of those tempting treats, but I don't. I let all of my hard work go out the door with one extra handful of chips or a slushy margarita. So, I chose to stay off the scale, living in ignorant bliss hoping my self monitoring will stay in place.

Have a good week everyone! I hope your week was successful.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Favs for the week

It's Friday....Time to reflect and think about my favorite moments and accomplishments of the week.

  1. Running 4 miles, swim 800 yards & playing 3 hours of volleyball all in one day...Feel the burn, baby!
  2. Simplifying my life by resigning at job #2
  3. Finding time to squeeze in a short workout on Wednesday even though the day was jam packed
  4. Snuggling with my Diva Princess this afternoon when she came home sick from school
  5. Getting caught up at job #1 so I don't feel like I am drowning any more. Whew!
It may not seem like much, but it is my life. And it is the simplest things that can make me happy.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Round 1 goes to......

Well, it's been a tough week. Stepping on the scale, I was REALLY nervous. I mean I went to Chicago for the weekend. I ate out for all of my meals. I drank alcohol which is not normally in my day at all. And while I didn't get the best exercise, I did still get up Friday & Saturday morning to exercise in the Les Mills sampler classes which were really fun. BUT come Sunday, I buckled down. I watched my calories. I worked out....kind of. Sunday was still a rest day. Monday I ran 4 miles, swam 800 yards and played volleyball that night. With my lower calorie allowance, I felt my energy completely leave me about 8:40 Monday night. Tuesday was a rest whole body was aching with the sudden surge of exercise yesterday and Wednesday I only managed to get 2.08 miles done on the treadmill. But I got it done.

(Drumroll please)......I lost 1.5 pounds this week for a 3.2% weight loss. Jeff lost 0.5 pounds this week for a 0.2778% weight loss. I WIN! I WIN! I WIN!

Did I mention I'm a bit competitive?
Week 1 is done. How did you do in achieving your weight loss goals this week? What's your plan for next week? Let me hear you!

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Plan in the Month of Love

So, what's my plan? How am I going to kick my dear hubby's hiney each week in our weekly weigh ins? Here it is. I am going to 1580 calories on days where I am working out. When I do not work out, I am going to drop my calories to 1300.

Workouts -
Mondays - Running, Swimming & Volleyball
Tuesdays - Herrin Circuit, Chest & Back
Wednesdays - Treadmill intervals (I'll post info on that one later), legs
Thursdays - Running, Biceps & Triceps
Friday - Swimming, Chest & Back
Saturday - LONG RUNS
Sunday - REST

In addition, I am reading Jillian Michaels' book "Master Your Metabolism". I am sure that I will need to make some major changes in my diet and environment. I'm only on page 23 and already it's a fascinating book.

Anyone know a good endocrinologist?

Herrin Circuit

This is a circuit designed by our retired physical education teacher and local marathon running guru, Mike Herrin. Start this circuit after a light 3 minute warm-up:

  1. Run 10 lengths on gym floor, or about 5 minutes on treadmill at a easy to moderate pace
  2. Holding 10 lb medicine ball or weights do 30 squats
  3. Run up and down a flight of stairs 5 times
  4. Holding 10-15 lb weight in each hand, do 10 step ups (12 inches high) on each leg
  5. Jump rope 15 times
  6. 10 pushups
  7. BONUS: Swim 600 yards