Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Another Round of StrongLifts

I really enjoyed my StrongLifts program when I did it a couple of years ago. I mean, I love all the set programs I have done. But there were several things I liked about it that I think would fit with my current lifestyle.
  • It's only three days a week.
  • It very short.
  • You can gain a lot of strength from it. 
So I am going to start that again. I hope to do six weeks of it. Taking me somewhere to the end of January. In case you don't remember anything about it, because why would you memorize all my lifting plans? I told you about if here. And I recapped my experience with it here.

Here was my chart when I was all finished.

I am planning on running this program exactly as written. Except I am going to use the cable machine for rows (not a barbell) and last time we did seated Over Head Press and I am planning on doing standing presses this time around. I think it's better for my back. And I can use the smith machine. 

I am excited. And that's something I haven't said about weights in a while. Plus, I am well ahead of my 5k goal for December. So I can settle down on that a little. I like that Tracy wants to do two runs a week, and I like that I do one run a week to push myself alone. But this plan allows me to complete the weights in 30ish minutes. So I can tack it on to a run or bodycombat or even make it a quick in-and-out session. I do have Christmas things to get done!

Monday, December 11, 2017

My Week in Workouts

Ack! I am behind in my blog posting. I haven't been at a computer in days. And it really eats in to my time. But better late than never. Here is last week's workouts. I just don't make time for weight lifting and I think I am intimidated by leg day and the idea that I am going to be so sore afterward that I won't be able to run. Plus four days is too much to commit to. Even if I was spreading them out. But if four days takes me two weeks, how am I going to progress. So I am planning to switch gears next week. More on that later though.

Saturday I had to work, so it was my rest day for the week. One of them!

Sunday something big happened.  I have been chasing a 12:00 minute pace since I started running intervals. Today I made it. I tried a .25miles/90second intervals and it was just about perfect. I think I could take my walk times down to 70 seconds and see how that helps my overall pace. This was 5k number 2 for December! 

Monday I took another rest day.

Tuesday I ran with Tracy in the evening. It was dark and cold and she was on her last day of Whole 30. And I spent the entire time convincing her she could keep going. This was 5k number 3 for December.

Wednesday I finally made myself to do leg day. But my gym is under a remodel - also more on that later. And we were down to two squat bars. I just did the leg press machine instead. I get stressed out this time of year. There's so much to do and so little time. I need to remember that I don't need to spend hours at the gym. Five minute cardio warm up and legs. Done.

Thursday, I got off around 3:00 and even though it was really cold, I wanted to take advantage of the daylight to run alone. I tried something new: 8/2 intervals. And I really pushed myself. I came in just 35 seconds short of my all-time fastest. I am proud of those run speeds (remember; I haven't done eight straight minutes of running in a long time!) But look at those walk speeds. I must have been crawling along after pushing myself. (Side note: I had to run around someone during my second walk break, which makes it look not so bad!) I am so close I can taste it. 5k number 4!

Friday was my third rest day of the week. I had to work a 9 hour day and that about took it out of me.

But I am working on getting my 8 hours of sleep every night. And getting everything ready for Christmas. And trying to actually enjoy Christmas. So four workouts was satisfactory for me this week. Even if only one was weights. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Weigh-in Wednesday

Average Weight: 10.2

Though my weight did dip down to 9.6 this week, my average was still holding strong at that 10.2.

I am going to increase my calories for the next two weeks. Then maybe again for the next two weeks. Then I will plan to cut down again around the first of the year, when everyone is in a healthy eating mode.

But I might as well be eating as much as possible during this stressful time. So my new numbers will look like this:

2100 calories = 155p / 244c / 56f

I have been having quite a bit of trouble not going over my fat limit lately. I know I keep saying it, but I need to get my pantry stocked with fruit. I am never going to make it to that many carbs without exceeding my fats.

Monday, December 4, 2017

December 2017 Goals

My goals for the month of December fall into the same categories my goals always fall into: make good eating decisions, kick ass in the gym.

1. I am currently eating 2000 calories. And it is glorious. For a brief day my weight fell to 9.4 pounds but as of most of this week, it's been in the 10.2-10.4 area. I am going to give these numbers another week, and if I am still hovering around ten, I will bump them up again. Might as well be eating lots of food for December.

2. My running goal for December is Twelve 5k's of Christmas. That's twelve 5ks I need to run. My New Years resolution was a 35 minute 5k. That's probably not going to happen. But with twelve practice runs before the end of the year, you never know!

3. I have a weight program I am supposed to be doing. It's not going to lift itself.

4. I also really want to work on getting eight hours of sleep per night. I already failed on this last night. On the days I am not running in the morning, this should not be that hard. My alarm goes off at 7:15. That means I need to have my lights out by 11:00 and be asleep by 11:15 to get eight straight hours. That's not even early! That's my goal.

It's not a secret that December stresses me out. Growing up the holidays were awful and I would always end up depressed, crying and then get sick. But in years past, I have made my health a priority during December (both mental and physical) and it has definitely paid off.

Nothing would make for a better December than waking up well rested, eating all the food, and setting running records!

Well, besides world peace, less family drama, and people being kind to each other!

Friday, December 1, 2017

My Week in Workouts

I finished out this month strong. I already mentioned that I hit my fifty miles and now I even did an extra run after that. I didn't do a lot of weights this week, that's how I have it set up: to space it out however I need to. But I only got one weight session in. And with the way my work week is, that puts an entire week between Day A and Day B. I'll be better at this. I did too much running this week.

Saturday I started the weekend out with a BodyCombat class and then finished up with Shoulders. My whole body was so sore last week from doing four days of weights. I needed a few days off. Probably not seven. But some.

Sunday I did my last five mile run. And I set a PR and was feeling really good about it. I am torn between trying to run five more in the month of December. Or taking it back to 3.1 and just work on getting faster. 

Monday I had the day off and used it to run my last 3.1 miles taking me up to 50 for the month . I pushed myself pretty hard, trying to hit some arbitrary 12:20 pace. I was disappointed I didn't hit that. Inner, but looking back, this is the fasted three miles I've gone in intervals. I did it a bit faster last April, when I ran the whole thing. And it's not at al close to the 35:00 goal I set for 2017. But it's something. 

I needed a rest day on Tuesday. My body was tired and I hadn't rested for a week. 

Then Tracy wanted to run on Wednesday evening. I wish I could count that run for my December goals. She is 24 days in to the Whole 30. She still has no energy and I had to push her through the whole cold run. 

I meant to hit the gym Thursday night, but I had too many Christmas things to do. I refuse to get stressed out by both Christmas and workout obligations. So I took the night off to run some errands and get some things crossed off of my list. 

Friday morning Tracy and I met up to run again. I've been wanting to make the transition from timed intervals to distance intervals (this rewards you for running faster!) We used my Tracy's app to try .25/.10 intervals. She hated it. I told her we'd try again when she's allowed to eat chocolate. I didn't mind it and would like to do it again, but my app doesn't program like that, so I'd have to hold my phone!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Fifty Mile November

I made a lofty goal to run fifty miles in the month of November. I had run 40 in October, so that was quite a jump. Especially, since the time change happened during the first weekend in November (the 5th) and suddenly it was dark every minute I wasn't at work. So I made the one caveat that I could count miles I ran in the gym. Which seems obviously looking back, because honestly, the treadmill miles are so much harder than the outdoor miles.

And I killed my goal!

I ran 53.1 miles. I mean, maybe that's not the definition of killing. But I ran more than I needed to. And I had a several days to spare (that I could have run ever more if I needed) and I was able to hit a lofty goal that I was scared of at the beginning of the month.

In that month:

  • I ran five miles three times. I got faster every time. And hit a new Five Mile PR of: 1:04:21. A 12:57 pace per mile. 
  • I ran with Tracy 7 times, for a total of 22.6 miles
  • I ran 9.3 miles on the treadmill. Most of the time, I ran one mile at a time. I've tried to use those treadmill runs to work on speed. I hated them a lot.
  • I ran two 5ks by myself. My fastest one was 38:53, which isn't super speed of anything. But pretty fast for me at this point. 
I am pretty proud of this goal. Fifty miles seemed like so many when I started. I am excited that I can just go out and do five miles on Sunday. I am excited that Tracy is willing to do evening runs with me. I even sort of like the treadmill to work on my pace. It seems a lot harder, but it's good to see how fast I am actually going. 

Every month I think, that's it, now I am going to take a little break from running. Just the other day, I looked up when it gets light enough after work that I can run outside on my own: Mid-March. But now, I am thinking I should try some other lofty goal. Maybe The 12 5ks of Christmas.  Could I run twelve 5ks in the next 25 days? Hmmm.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Weigh-In Wednesday

Current Weight: 10.0

This was a crazy week, and I really only had two days (last Wednesday and yesterday) where I was eating on plan. After the Thanksgiving weekend, my weight was up to 12 pounds. That was a little scary, but I knew it was the added carbs.

And this morning, I was back down to 10 pounds from my goal. Which is actually a little lower than I have been the entire month of November.

I am excited that a little bit more food (especially carbs) will give me some added energy and start my metabolism revving again. And maybe, just maybe, I can end the month in the single digits again.

I am going to stick with my step one plan, which was: 2000 calories: 147p/233c/53f. It is hard to eat that many calories with that few of fat grams. But it has forced me to fill my calories with fruit. I love that, because I should have been eating that way all along. However, I run out of bananas after a few days and then need to go back to the store. I guess I will need to stock up on more berries and such. Or even frozen fruit!

I would say I am proud to have made it through Thanksgiving week and actually lose .2 pounds. I think it helps that I am used to eating (metabolizing) so much food right now.

I need to start taking some averages of my weight though. I haven't been writing it down, because it has been so constant. But hopefully that isn't the case for long.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Thanksgiving Weekend

I had the longest five-day weekend for Thanksgiving. I didn't have that many plans, but the days flew by and I never even got a nap. The weather was downright beautiful (60s and even one day of 70!) and I soaked up every minute of what remains of fall.

We spent our actual Thanksgiving in Columbus with my dad. We love to eat at the Truck Stop. They have food everybody loves and we can each order our own thing. None of us miss the traditional turkey. I did have mashed potatoes because that's the only thing I really like about home-cooking.

It was nice to spend some time with him. He felt special because we actually came and saw him on a holiday, instead of making him last priority. I just wish I could get him to come to visit me instead.

We listened to Christmas music the entire drive. It made my little Grinchy-heart so happy.

Then we stopped in at my mom's after dinner to look through the black Friday ads and plan our shopping adventures. My mom got a new laptop late Thursday night. And I did all my shopping on the Internet. It's a glorious thing.

Steve invites Dan and I along to his families' Thanksgiving dinner, which he always celebrates on Saturday. So we get our turkey fix, even if we weren't missing it.

Sunday I spent some quality time with Sammie and Sadie. Sadie still doesn't miss me, but she enjoys me when I am around enough. She wants to participate in whatever the "big kids" are doing. We did a bunch of jumping on the trampoline. Some exploring. Some game playing. And eating. And taking selfies. Obvs.

Monday I had the day off. I used it to do a lot of Christmas shopping. Plus some yard work. It was 70 degrees. A record for late November. I ran outside. And still got no nap. I also bought a lot of things for myself. Merry Christmas!

I did not stick to my eating plan at all this weekend. I tried to track loosely, but I ate most of my meals away from home. I stayed close to my calorie limit, but was often over on fat and carbs, and never came close to my protein. It helps to know eating too much fat will lead to belly pain. It is not comfortable. Even after watching what I ate at Steve's celebration, I was in a bit of pain. I just don't know how much fat is in a serving of stuffing or green bean casserole. Lesson learned. Just eat rolls!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

My Week in Workouts

I had a super-full workout week. Six days. Weights. Combat. Running. A perfect mix. That left we warn out and sore. And more importantly: proud.

Saturday I did 45 minutes of BodyCombat. It was a good class, full of lots of old tracks. Luckily, not too lower-body heavy. Then I started my Wendler 5/3/1 program. Week one is all 5 reps, 5 reps, and then as many reps as possible. I wasn't sure where to start since I haven't done overhead press in a long time. But I went down 5 pounds from where I started the program last time (1.5 years ago) and it felt just fine. There is a lot of room for growth in that program, so I am not too worried about starting low.

Sunday I ran five miles. I had a great run. I set a (recent) 5 mile PR. That sort of thing is easier to do when you have only run five miles four times. But still, getting faster!

Monday I made it to the gym for two miles and Leg Day. I don't think I've used a squat bar since February when the Physical Therapist told me to take a break. I guess I have rest enough! But I started super-dooper easy. Because I need to be able to walk. Then when 45 pounds (the bar) was too easy, I increase ten pounds each time rather than just five. I might take the whole first round easy. I really want to focus on using my glute muscles and not just my quad muscles. That's what caused all my hamstring trouble last winter. So I'm going to take it nice and easy to ensure I am using perfect form.

Tuesday was my rest day.

Wednesday I hit the gym for two miles plus Chest and Tricep day. For most of my beginning weights, I have held way back. But I feel pretty strong with my chest muscles, so I only decreased slightly (five pounds?) and was impressed by how strong I still was in that area. That didn't mean I could do 25 push-ups on my toes. I have a lot of building up to do there.

Thursday was Thanksgiving. And I wanted to do a Turkey Trot. Not like a pay-money and run with strangers race. But a run on my own. I haven't done 3.1 alone in quite a while and I was hoping that with all the longer runs I have been doing, three would be so short, I could do it fast. But it wasn't that good. It was only 36 but absolutely zero wind. I wore a sweatshirt and had to take it off and tie it around my waste. Plus I didn't need my earmuff and I had to carry it most of the run. I started off really fast (10 minute miles) and when my average wasn't down at 12:00-12:30 by the second mile, I was defeated and slowed down a bit. Will I ever get faster?

Friday I finished up week one of Wendler at the gym I did two miles and then deadlift day. Again, I went really light and increased faster than scheduled. But my hamstrings are super-tight and prone to injury. So I want to take it easy and perfect my form.

It was a good week. It helped to have two days off for Thanksgiving. I got all four of my Wendler sessions in this week. And I am feeling good with my lifting. I am ready to finish up my running in November and really buckle down on gaining muscles.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Weigh-In Wednesday

Average Weight: 10.2 pounds
Constant Weight: 10.2 pounds
Weight for the last month: 10.2 pounds


Except that day after the wedding, when I had eaten some salty popcorn and it was up to 10.8. But back to 10.2 the very next day. And then just briefly this morning, I saw a 9.6 but it was just teasing and jumped on up to 10.2.

Almost like it's broken. It's a bit ridiculous. How can anyone's weight be so incredibly stable?

My plan was to increase macros on Friday. But that didn't actually happen. I haven't been hungry enough to eat that much right now. But it might actually be that I didn't increase my fat grams enough (thanks to my faulty gallbladder!) but it's hard to eat just carbs and protein. So I fill up my fat grams and then I just want to be done eating.

My average intake for the week was 1725 calories - 109p/203c/54f.

So actually under what I was eating before. And before I wasn't consistently eating 1900 anyway. So I am just still maintaining. And I guess that's the point.

I just wish that constant weight could be more around five pounds from my goal.

But I am feeling strong. I am glad to be back to lifting. My running is on schedule for my fifty mile goal. It is cold here, but I haven't just curled up in a ball and given up for winter. So my spirits are high.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I have good out-to-eat plans. I plan to stay on track, enjoy the weekend, and relax. I am looking forward to Christmas and decorating and celebrating. That's pretty bizzare for me. Usually I am dreading the holiday season ahead.

More food makes you happier!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Thankful for Audiobooks

Recently, I have been listening to audio books as I run. And I really think that is what has helped the most with my "long-distance" running plan. Running for over an hour really has a mental barrier. But when I tell myself that I'm just going out to listen to my book for an hour, it seems more manageable.

I used to think I needed the songs to break up my run. But I found myself playing even more mind games with counting the songs, or telling myself that I just had to run until the end of the song. Honestly, with a good book, I can just concentrate on the voice and listen to the story and suddenly my RunKeeper app is breaking in with a cue to walk now!

Here are some books I have really enjoyed running to lately:

Cover image for 4 3 2 1

I am currently reading this one, but it got me through a PR setting 5 miler this weekend. I love a book with a good 'catch' and this has a great one. Each chapter has four parts. Four different lives the main character could have lived. How each decision changes the outcome.

Cover image for All the missing girls : a novel

This was one of my favorites this year. Its a pretty average psyhcological thriller. A girl in a small town goes missing and all the usual sespects are questioned. But even stranger: another girl went missing ten years ago and never turned up. And the two have a lot of similarities. But the real catch in this one is that it's told in reverse. It starts out 15 days after she disappears and reveals the story back to the day she goes missing. 

Cover image for Be Frank with me

This is my favorite book of the year. It's about Frank... who is a bit different. He lives with his mother, a reclusive author who is out of money and needs to write her next great novel. Alice, is sent from the publishing company to help Alice with her book. But ends up babysitting Frank more than anything. Their relationship is perfect. I love Frank and even after I finished the book, found myself wondering what he was up to today. 

Cover image for Ill will : a novel

I found Dan Chaon this year and I am glad I did. This was the second book I read by him this year, and I am eager to read more. I would classify this is Psychological Thriller. Like Gone Girl, it's not a mystery exactly, but it's fast pace and makes you think. I don't even remember what this one was about, but I couldn't put it down. 

Cover image for The tea girl of Hummingbird Lane

On a completely different note: The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane is a great read about a Chinese woman who is forced to give her daughter up for adoption and the tea that keeps them connected.

*Librarian side note: I copied these book covers off of our library catalog. I have no rights to them. But I hope you get a good suggestion!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Dance the Night Away

Saturday we had a wedding for one of our friends/co-workers at another branch. It was a very traditional wedding that lasted all day. You know the kind: church at 2:00, reception to follow, wait around for the bridal party to show up two hours later, eat snacks, they arrive, eat dinner, watch video, watch them do 25 dances with certain people.

But then the fun comes: the dance party!

And I happen to have some pretty fun dance-party librarians in my crew. Plus I married one. You know librarians really get a bad rap for being boring and lame.

But we danced for hours.

It was an entire second workout for my day. In a dress. With my hair down.

And the next morning I woke up and my body hurt so much. I don't know it was the dancing or the BodyCombat class or the weights I had done for the first time in forever.

But even my feet muscles hurt. And I wore very sensible shoes. But it almost felt like I pulled my arch muscle,

No worries, I powered through and was able to accomplish my Five-Mile Sunday run. With a PR, none the less.

I am fueled by dancing. That's for sure.

Friday, November 17, 2017

My Week in Workouts

I had a pretty good week. I got five workouts in. Only three of them were running. I am right where I should be with miles.

Saturday I made it to BodyCombat class. It was a great class, I stayed through until the end and did abs and everything. There was one tough leg track, but it left my legs very sore. For four days. Actually maybe six. They're still sore!

Sundays in November are for my "long runs"! Don't I sound so much like a runner when I say that. My goal is to do a five mile run each Sunday. It seemed like great weather for a run and I tried to pick a trail that was more uphill to start, but it was just a tough run all around. I didn't love my pace. I didn't love how difficult it was. But I do love that I can just go out and do five miles. That is an amazing feeling. 

Monday I worked at night and had planned to run three on my own after Dan went to work. But it was so cold and damp, and I didn't want to get out of bed at all. But I talked myself into the gym instead of a run. My legs were so tired (from BodyCombat) that I didn't even run on the treadmill. Just some slow walking and some arm weights. It felt good to lift. That workout - and wandering around with no plan - what made me commit to Wendler again. 

Wednesday after work, Tracy met me for a dark run. It wasn't too cold. But she was still dragging for her Whole 30 efforts. So we just did three miles and we kept to 3/2 intervals. When I have to do all the talking, it is quite a bit harder, and the three minutes seem to drag on and on. But I am glad to have her along. 

Friday morning was downright balmy. Fifty-five degrees. I overdressed with a light jacket and ended up taking that off midway through. It was also damp. Humid I guess. I was soaked with sweat by the end. As much as I hate waking up to run, I like getting this workout out of the way while the rest of the world sleeps. 

I am excited to start my weight lifting plan next week. I am 28.8 miles into my 50. After this weekend I could be at 35. I am feeling good about that. Here's to another good week. And eating more food!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Weigh-In Wednesday

Lowest Weight: 10.2
Weight all week: 10.2


Fifteen days of pretty much perfect macros. A few days where my protein was too low. A few days with some estimating. But at least 12 perfect days. And my weight has been 10.2 all week. I mean, almost comical that it will not budge. I've tried the "hold the shampoo bottle to make it go up a couple pounds" trick. It does. Then it returns to 10.2. To mock me.

So the question is: if I am going to weigh 10.2 pounds for the rest of my life, do I try to eat more food? It would help me build muscles with my new weight-lifting plan. It would be more enjoyable over the holiday season. All in all, why wouldn't you want to eat more food? And even better, what if I actually got the scale to move by increasing my intake?

So assuming my scale doesn't budge Thursday or Friday morning, I am going to start a little reverse diet on Saturday. The same day I start my new lifting program. I'm going to start small... and possibly stay there a long time. For now, I am only committing to step one of this process:

Current Macros: 1900 - 140p/222c/50f
Step One: 2000 - 147p/233c /53f
Step Two: 2100 - 153p/244c/57f
Maintenance Macros: 2200 - 160p/255c/60f

It doesn't seem like that much. But one hundred calories really isn't. We'll see if anything happens. Plus, I should probably get away from just staying under my carbs and protein, and try to actually hit them every day. Time to buy more lowfat milk and fruit!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Never Any Time: a new plan

I need a new lifting plan. I can't just go in there and do a few arm weights one day and a few chest weights a week later. But the problem is: there's just never enough time. I'm doing all this running. Some of my planning has to be around Tracy's schedule. Plus I like to have two rest days. I love BodyCombat too much to skip it permanently. 

But excuses won't fix these problem. So I might have to make some different arrangements. Rest less. Do two things in one day. Get up earlier. 

There are three great programs I have done before: Simply Shredded, Stronglifts 5x5 and Wendler 5/3/1. Simply shredded is a great beginner program. And probably where I am again. But it is a four day program, and if I am pressed for time at the gym, that's probably not the best fit. I loved Stronglifts. It's short and only three times a week. Which might be a perfect fit. But it has you squatting every single day. And that's going to leave my legs dead for all the running. I very much enjoyed Wendler and the mathematical equations that tell you how much to lift each week. But again, that is a four day a week program, which I just can't commit to.

This is what I can commit to right now:

But what if I didn't think of the week as seven days. I am not sure if there's anything scientific about getting all four weight-lifting days in during seven days. What if it took me eight. As long as I keep the pattern going. 

So for the first week I'd do:
Saturday - shoulders
Monday - squats
Wednesday - chest

And the next week I'd do:
Saturday - deadlift
Monday - shoulders
Wednesday - squats


So I think I will start this Saturday. And we'll see if I can commit to a plan. And if I can get my muscles started back up again. I think this will be my starting point:

Shoulder Press 25x5 / 30x5 / 35x5+
-- DB press 5x10
-- upright row 5x10
-- side raise 5x10
-- rear delt machine 5x10 

Squats 45x5 / 50x5 / 55x5+
-- leg curl 5x10
-- leg ext 5x10
-- single leg press 5x10
-- sumo squats 5x10

Bench Press 55x5 / 60x5 / 65x5+
-- push-up 5x5
-- pec machine 5x10
-- cable tricep press 5x10
-- tricep extention 5x10

Deadlifts 45x5 / 50x5 / 55x5+
-- pull-ups 5x10
-- lat pulls 5x10
-- bicep curls 5x10
-- single cable curl 5x10