Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Making The Cut Diary

Day 10 (March 24): I kind of made today a day off from the gym. After last night’s shin soreness I didn’t want to do anything to stress my legs before this Saturday’s race. They feel fine this morning, but I just took it easy at the gym. I rode the bike for 45 minutes (18 miles) while I caught up on blog and magazine reading. I also did a few minutes of planks, but nothing major.

I concocted a new breakfast protein shake that is awesome! ¾ cup skim milk (60 calories), ½ cup pumpkin (50 calories, no sugar added, buy the plain pumpkin, the cheap brand is fine), one serving vanilla protein powder (my BSN lean dessert is 120 calories), a sprinkle of cinnamon and 7-10 ice cubes. You could also throw in a few spoonfuls Greek yogurt for extra filler and protein. Blend on high for at least five minutes. It’s so creamy; it’s almost like a pudding! You could add some nutmeg or allspice during the fall, to give it a wintry taste. I can’t wait to try adding some coffee to it, a la Starbucks pumpkin latte/frappucino. I had my shake with a slice of raisin Ezekiel bread (80 calories, lots of fiber and protein) and two Morningstar veggie sausage links (60 calories).

Day 11 (March 25): First official day with absolutely no candy. I did make up for it by having a whole bunch of gluten free chips and half a can of Coke, though. Ah well. I shouldn’t have, but I took the day off from working out. I planned on doing the next Making the Cut circuit, but when I got home and read over it, I definitely needed to be at the gym for all of the weight lifting.

I’m definitely feeling a difference in my core. My abs and sides are much more muscular, which is surprising because MTC doesn’t focus so much on core work. There are a couple of planks every day, but nothing too major. My waist feels smaller, too, although I haven’t measured so I’m not sure if it’s official or just wishful thinking!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Zooma Half Marathon Race Recap

I went into this race with hopes that I could at least match my time from last year's Houston half marathon, but knowing full well that it wouldn't happen. I finished in 2:18:24 as compared to Houston's 2:16:06. I was disappointed in myself at first, but then I remembered how the last 5k of last year's race seemed impossible and I didn't know if I'd be able to finish; this year, the last three miles were definitely my strongest! I ran parts of it with the adorable Elle, and I was so happy for her finishing her first half marathon.

I should also probably add that in the past month before this race, the most I have ran, in total, is 9 miles. I have been working out at the gym for the past couple of weeks, but it's mostly weight training and light cardio. Running more long runs leading up to the race would have possibly helped my time some (although I'm not sure, since I wasn't able to hill train in the middle of Houston). I'm not making excuses, but in the past month, here is what has happened with me: traveled out of town for two weddings (arrived back too late to do long runs), got a light bout of food poisoning, had strep throat, had the flu (most likely the swine flu).

Zooma Support
Leading up to the race, Zooma did a lot to keep us excited and motivated. We received regular emails, and some of them had contests. I actually won an email contest and received in the mail a pink tech tee by New Balance, lots of the new Luna Chews, an eco grocery bag, and some other goodies. It definitely kept me excited and looking forward to my race.

Expo
The expo was the biggest disappointment of the weekend. The only expo I've had any experience with was Houston's and it was amazing, it took us hours to get through it, and we end up with bags of freebies (mostly food, sports drinks, supplements). I was really excited about Zooma's expo since the race had great sponsors and since I'd received so many fun things in the mail from Zooma.

I was really bummed when we arrived and the expo was set up in a really small room. They had samples of wine and samples of Luna protein bars, but the rest of the tables were just clothes, jewelry and shoes that you could buy. It really is just for packet pickup, not a real expo. We did get a nice (white) New Balance tech tee, which was nice. Lots of races only offer these for the actual finishers.

Race Course
Hills, hills, and more hills! No amount of hill training that could be done in Houston would have prepared me for this race. I knew it would be hilly, and there was really nothing I could do about it. The only hill in town for "hill training" is just about 100 feet long.

The first three miles was all incline, which was hard. During this time we ran through some little country farms. It was pretty but smelled like cow poop, which is really gross when you are breathing hard, it made me not want to breathe through my mouth at all. Finally, at about mile 3.5, we got to run on the highway, which was flat. Then we made our way back into the resort and started to decline a bit. At this point, I could just feel my shins hurting when my feet thomped onto the pavement running downhill. I did start to worry a bit that I would end up with horrible chin splints, but I didn't. Zooma says I ran my first 10k in 8:28 per mile, but by my watch they were 10:15. There's no way I did under 9 with all of those hills. Elle was definitely tracking and keeping a 10 minute/mile pace and I was behind her for these first miles.

Miles 5.5 through 9 were extremely boring, but flat. I hated that they were boring, but I was thankful for a flat course, finally. By this time I felt like my energy had been drained from the hills. I caught up with Elle and kept at 10:00 pace until around mile 10. I knew that from this point on had been my weak point in Houston, and I wanted to make sure that didn't happen again. I was still feeling great so I sped up ahead and just pushed myself to run the last 5k at a quicker pace.

The last 3 miles were through a freaking golf course - so disappointing. Disappointing because you could actually see the 500 people ahead of you, weaving around, and it seemed the sidewalk went on forever! When the end is in sight, I just want to see the end and get a straight shot there! Another thing, when we first entered the golf course, a bit of the run was on a trail. I actually stopped and walked part of this. The ground was uneven, after 10 miles of running, I was tired and I didn't fully trust my footing. Plus, at the end of this portion, several women were stopped cleaning out their shoes. They had gotten twigs, leaves and other stuff in their shoes from this part.

The golfing sidewalks were winding and the wind was really blowing against us, but I finally made it out of there and ran the last half mile or so back through the parking lot (I know!) and over the finish line. Like I said, I was disappointed in my time, but I did not face any hills or wind in Houston, so I guess my time was OK considering that and the fact that I didn't really train for this race.

Race Support
I was extremely happy that water was offered pretty much at every mile, starting with mile 2. Gatorade was offered frequently, and mile 8 had GU packets. There were race volunteers and paramedics on bikes for a lot of the way, especially the areas where cars were allowed to drive on the opposite side of the road from where we were running. I know some smaller races do not have as many drink stops, and I was really thankful this one did.

Crowd support was nothing like Houston, which had cheerleaders and bands along the entire 13.1 miles. Zooma had some spectators at the beginning and end, so I'm glad I had my ipod for the rest of the race. The course didn't really allow for spectators at any other points, though.

I'm really happy that David made it his job to make sure Elle and I had someone cheering for us
at pretty much every point. He was yelling for us at miles 2, 5.5, 10, 13 and 13.1, which are pretty much the crucial points when you need someone yelling for you! He said he caught a couple of shuttle buses (that were NOT related to the race!) to get from point to point quickly.

Organization
This race was so well organized! All parking (unless you were staying at the resort) was off campus and regular shuttle buses brought us in. There was one parking area near Austin, and one about 5 miles from the start line for people who live east of Austin. It was nice to be able to park close and not worry about getting there early to fight for a parking spot.

We didn't start in waves, but I think there were only around 2,000 participants, so this worked out OK. There was also definitely enough water stops and porta potties along the way.

After Party
Awesome and made up for the lame "expo". There were the usual bananas, oranges and bagels, as well as sports drink, water and protein bars and energy chews right at the finish. Actual hotel towels and portable sinks so we could clean our sweaty faces off was greatly appreciated (I love women's races for reasons like this!). Champagne, wine and beer flowed freely; baby cupcakes and samples of Luna protein bars were also available. We got a really great boxed brunch which included a mini wheat bagel, peanut butter, cheddar cheese, boiled egg and apple slices. I devoured all of mine, of course.

The only complaint, which Zooma couldn't help, is that New Balance was giving out towels to participants. I was chilly after the race was over and I really wanted one to help me warm up. I saw several women walking around with more than one...one woman had SIX! They were all out of towels when I went to get one (about 30 minutes after I finished). They either need to bring enough for all participants or limit the amount each person can pick up so we all might have one.

Hopefully photos to come later...I'm not sure how they turned out yet!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Maybe I'm Not So Medium Maintenance

Much to David’s eye-rolling chagrin (and quite possibly the chagrin of several other folks…) I have always referred to myself as “medium maintenance.” I’m not low maintenance because there are certain places I refuse to eat, certain products that I require in my suitcase for any trip, and I won’t leave the house in a tshirt and yoga pants (unless I’m headed to yoga, obviously). But I’m certainly not high maintenance either – I can get ready for a black tie event in an hour (that includes shower and sometimes a face masque), I occasionally go camping, and I (no longer) get weekly manicures.

But every time I go to Starbucks (at least weekly, rather than daily, since I downgraded from “high” to “medium” maintenance), I really can’t help but feel just a teeny bit extremely-high-maintenance. My usual order is a tall non fat two Splenda latte. Today while waiting in line I decided I needed more sustenance than my usual drink provides. I practiced saying my new drink over and over in my head until it was my turn to order, just because the order is so long. (Does anyone else do that?) But good grief, I sounded like a real Miss Priss when the barista announced that my order was ready. I was a bit embarrassed to go pick it up from the counter, even in the land of triple no whip drinks.

I also hate being *that person* at business lunches so I typically order water. Earlier this week I needed some caffeine and the restaurant where we dined did not have the sugar/sweetener packets on the table. Unless I’m drinking a properly made sweet tea (sugar is added while the tea is hot) I prefer Splenda, the drink is gritty if plain sugar is added later. I quietly asked the waiter if Splenda was available, and he made some joke asking if that’s what I was having for lunch. Oh har, har, everyone laughed and made jokes about picky women. So I didn’t ask him to hold the bleu cheese and boiled egg yolks from my salad.
Venti-non-fat-iced-four-Splenda-latte, anyone? It’s my new embarrassingly long drink order

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Making the Cut Days 8 & 9

Day 8 (March 22): Eating was kind of on point today. Protein shake, Morningstar sausage link and raisin cinnamon Ezekiel bread for breakfast. Sesame seed crusted baked chicken, green beans and a few swigs of Mountain Dew for lunch. Hummus and carrots and more Ezekiel bread (I’m officially addicted) for a snack, baked fish and chips for dinner. And quite a few mini Reese’s for another snack. They are doing away with the free candy at work, I couldn’t be happier.

Today’s circuit is exactly the same as the one I completed last week in the gym. It went well, but I am not able to push myself as much as I should because I am “in between” weights. The weight I use is a little too light, but I’m not really able to lift at the next level of pounds. Maybe I should start doing a few more reps with the lighter weight until I work up to lifting heavier.

I also figured out how to make mountain climbers easy. Do them in the ab room, which is always full of people. You can’t stop before one minute is up if everyone is watching you.

I wore shorter shorts than usual and I did notice my legs in the locker room mirror. They look pretty darn good! I’m so glad I did the full 9 miles yesterday and now I’m really looking forward to my race!

Day 9 (March 23): Although the scale isn’t really moving, I am starting to see definition in my upper arms. I’ll never have guns or anything, but at least now my arms aren’t the same circumference from shoulder to elbow! Exciting!

Tonight was a new circuit that worked the shoulders quite a bit. I still can’t do a full set of real pushups, but now I can do more and even my girly pushups are stronger. Jillian has several variations, and pretty much each circuit calls for pushups. I had to do today’s scorpion pushups girlstyle and I don’t think I got much out of them. I did like the varied cardio, just one minute of jumping jacks or squat thrusts here and there. I didn’t have to go sprint around the block five times. I did do five minutes of sprints and I’m not sure that I should have. My shins were really hurting afterwards, probably not good for the race coming up this weekend.

In better notes, I have lost one inch from my waist and I can really tell a difference in the mirror when I look at my abs and legs. I just keep thinking how great my abs would be if I hadn’t been sneaking mini Reese’s every day! My thighs are slimmer and much more defined, but I’m not sure if that’s due to Making the Cut or the fact that I started running again.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Making the Cut Diary

Day 3 (March 17): Today is an official day off from working out, per the book Making the Cut. I still hit the gym for some very light cardio on the recumbent bike while I read a few magazines (35 minutes) and did about 3 minutes of ab work with the Pilates and weight balls afterward. I’m not sore from yesterday’s workout, just a little of that sore when it feels good, but not unbearable, around my butt cheeks and back of my underarms. Good muscles to have worked!

Since there are absolutely no cookies or pizza in sight to tempt me, was mostly able to stay on track with eating today. Breakfast was another protein shake, but I had to make it with water because our milk smelled funny. To make up for the calories, I microwaved a couple slices of Jimmy Dean’s Turkey Sausage. Gross, gross, gross! Or maybe I just wasn’t hungry enough. They taste fatty and watery. Lunch was leftover California Chicken (chicken breast simmered in a broth/wine/mushroom/scallion sauce then a bit of sour cream toward the end) and avocado and tomatoes. Dinner was the last of the California Chicken, and I later had an unplanned snack of some cheese and a whole bunch of almonds.

Day 4 (March 18): Today was another official day off, and boy did I take the day off. I would have like to gone for a run, but my Junior League meeting ran later than expected so it was too late by the time I got home.

My day of eating was OK until about 3 pm when I decided that three mini Reese’s cups would be a good idea. I grabbed dinner at our meeting, which was held at Little Big’s. I had a chicken slider. And an order of greasy fries dipped in their special creamy sauce. And a lemonade. I really should have done without the fries. Oh well, tomorrow is another day!

Day 5 (March 19): Oh sweet Friday! How you usually start the downfall of my healthy habits and the upward swing of the scale! Miraculously (or not) I was not hungry for breakfast at all. I guess my body is still living of the 20,000 calories worth of fries and sauce from last night. I weigh more this morning than I did at the beginning of the week. Yikes!

I ate pretty healthfully all day, and actually managed to not have a drink when I met some friends out for drinks. I just drank my Crystal Light. Speaking of Crystal Light…a couple of months ago when I decided to give up cokes (for the most part – I still have one on weekends or when we go out to eat, I just try not to drink them at home) I traded one addiction for another. Cokes for Crystal Light! I love the pomegranate cherry and raspberry lemonade. I even tried the strawberry energy version (tastes blah, never got a burst of energy). CL is so versatile. You can mix it with water or with club soda. On weekends before we go out, I mix one third vodka, one third Crystal Light and one third diet Sprite for a fizzy, sweet drink. The only calories involved are the vodka.

I did a Making the Cut circuit at like 9 p.m. It felt much easier than the same circuit completed earlier in the week. The sprints are killing me, though! I did slow down a bit on the mountain climbers and was able to complete a minute of them going more slowly.

Day 6 (March 20): I didn’t work out today. I was planning on doing a long run or some kind of cardio video. I ran errands all day, a lot of them in the suburbs, and by the time I got home and took a quick nap, it was time for my date with David.

I ate at Sweet Tomatoes for lunch (probably overate) and Tacos-A-Go-Go for dinner (definitely overate, but not as much as I really wanted to). I also had a mimosa and three vodka tonics. Definitely not planning on hopping onto the scale until Monday morning!

Day 7 (March 21): We had a big brunch at Backstreet with our friends Ashley and Mike, where Ashley and I shared a pitcher of fresh berry mimosas. I didn’t go all out 100% at lunch, and I kept the rest of my eating light for the day (baked chicken and green beans for dinner, a handful of pecans for snack).

I didn’t do a Making the Cut workout today. Instead, I ran 9 miles to prepare for the half marathon I am running next Friday. It was so windy and at about mile 7.5, I didn’t think I could run any more. I didn’t really track my time, but I am pretty sure it took me over 2 hours to run 9 miles. I managed to finish, but really, that serves me right for not running in over a month. The race should be pretty interesting…

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Making The Cut Diary

I have been in such a rut lately with my workouts and eating. I was on a great healthy kick from January through the end of April, and then a bout of strep throat and the flu got me off track. I have lots of workout DVDs that I could do, and I’m running a half marathon in two weeks, but honestly I am bored to tears with running. I bought “Making the Cut” by Jillian Michaels and read it all on the first day. Although I won’t be following her diet plan, I am going to attempt to balance my carbs, protein and fat as she suggests for “balanced oxidizers” in the book (I took the quiz). I am also going to keep my calories at the level she suggests, which for my height/weight/age/etc. is 1200-1300. Obviously, I will up those calories if I’m unable to make it through workouts.

I want to get in really great shape for our trip to Italy and keep track of my thoughts and progress along the way. I’ve found going back and reading through everything is great motivation when I’m in a rut in the future. Today starts my diary for the next two months. We are taking a trip to L.A. & Palm Springs in April, so I will not workout, diet or journal during those four days.

I don’t mean to turn this blog into a fitness or diet blog, but since it is my personal blog and I enjoy going back and reading my progress or failure, I’ll be keeping a journal daily an d posting it every week or so, depending on the length of the entries.

Day 1 (March 15): First off…the eating. Where most of my trouble has been lately. I find it difficult to take my workouts seriously if my diet is off. And even though I’ve been working out consistently the past couple of weeks, my eating is what’s holding me back. Anyway, I pretty much stayed on track today. And by pretty much I mean that I followed my planned eating with the addition of six Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies. Considering that we have free cokes and candy at work, this is a pretty good feat for me. I also drank five bottles of water and had no caffeine. The no caffeine thing isn’t part of this new plan….just by the time I decided I needed some it was too late in the day to have it.

I had read through Day 1 of the workout and it didn’t look like it would be all that difficult. It’s five circuits of weights (mostly using your own body weight, a few were on a ball with hand weights) and each circuit has one minute of cardio added on the end. You don’t rest at all during the circuits, but you get 30 or 45 seconds of rest after each bout of cardio.

I sweated like I haven’t sweated in months! The circuits were so hard to get through, but I felt SO good (in a kind of bad way) when I was finished. I really liked the “dive press” on ball but I think my form was pretty bad since my ball wasn’t aired up enough. Fifty fast squats were hard, and I had to do girl-style pushups for most of the pushups. Hopefully that will improve over time! My workout took around 45minutes. Jillian says you can do it twice through, but that won’t happen on a weekday for me.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s workout. I have to do it at the gym since it requires a treadmill and a couple of weight machines. I’m just going to write down my exercises on an index card and carry it around.

Day 2 (March 16): I got up early this morning so I could get to the office early and head to the gym by 5:30. I lost almost one pound since yesterday morning’s weigh in. I’m sure that is a detox from all the nasty stuff I’ve been eating lately, as well as some water weight from all the sweating during my workout! My body fat percentage is still the same. Even when I’m not working out, I typically weigh every day. I rarely use the body fat function on my scales, but I’m thinking now I may check it once every week. I took my measurements before starting, and I’ll wait 30 days to take them again. I’m not sore from yesterday’s workout.

Today’s breakfast was typical of what I have pretty much every day: BSN Lean Dessert Protein Powder with tons of ice and ½ cup milk, plus two strips of Morningstar bacon. It keeps me full until lunch. This was my first time to have the fake bacon. I love Morningstar’s sausage links. The bacon, not so much. I even managed to burn it in the microwave, so it had that authentic “crispy” taste!

Lunch was an Amy’s organic bean burrito, while snacks consisted of organic muesli mixed with yogurt (mix it in the morning so it’s soggy by the time you snack in the afternoon) and tangerines. Oh yeah. And a lot of Girl Scout cookies. Like 10. At least they are the Thin Mints. Regardless, I threw the rest of the box away so I wouldn’t be tempted tomorrow. And I couldn’t resist a slice of pizza that was in our kitchenette at work. Ugh!

Dinner was a Dream Dinners meal, California Chicken, which consisted of sautéed chicken breasts in a low fat walnut cream sauce. I had half an avocado and a tomato with lime juice for a side. It was tasty and I didn’t get hungry later on in the evening. Probably due to the pizza and cookies, though

I hit the gym for Day 2 Circuit right after work. I wish I could remember to bring my heart rate monitor so I could track how many calories I burned, maybe that would make up for the stupid cookies and pizza. Anyway, today’s circuit looked a lot more difficult than yesterday’s since it used more weights, but I ended up thinking it was easier and it went by more quickly. I really do have a problem with finishing one full minute of mountain climbers, though! I guess I am so used to doing really long runs that I can’t really do sprint type cardio anymore. Again, today’s circuit took almost exactly 45 minutes.