That was the result of my official weigh-in this week.  Initially, I am a little bit perplexed.  I ate well all week long.  I had a great week of exercise:

Monday: Elliptical trainer -1 hour
Tuesday: Ran 5.5 miles @ 9:07 min/mile pace
Wednesday: Strength training – 1 hour
Thursday: Ran hill sprints (~ 15 second hill x 10 repeats)

Yet I gained a pound.

So, what do I do?  I move on.  Because I kept track of my calorie intake, and I worked hard this week I know that it is impossible to have gained a pound of fat in the past seven days (and that’s all I really care about when it comes to the scale).  We’ll see what the next week brings.

Related, here are two blog posts I recently came across that I thought were very good:

From, The Nutrition Data Blog, Weight fluctuations: How much is normal? Includes a link to a useful too for tracking weight loss

From, The Running Laminator (an awesome running blog on which I have “lurked” for some time), Running: Physiologically Speaking, Five Easy Steps to Better Nutrition. This post enumerates five steps to better nutrition. This is basic, but very good and necessary, information for anyone trying to improve their nutrition.

On Running News:
I have decided to sign up for the Unser Half-Marathon in Albuquerque on April 19, 2008.  The event also includes a 10K, a 5K, a Kids’ K.  People can also sign up for as a two-person 5k team or a three-person 1/2 Marathon team.  The course looks flat and fast, and it is along some familiar running routes for me.  I am optimistic about breaking 2 hours for the 13.1.

Happy Friday!


Taking a break from Food Week. The topic over at Runner’s Lounge today is “Only in Running.” I thought it’d be fun to jot down some of the quirky things that I do, or have contemplated doing, just because I love to run.

In no particular order:

Only in Running . . .

1.  Am I afraid of dogs (I love dogs, but not when they chase me down the road)

2.  Do I wear short shorts and tight tights

3.  Do I consider 40 degrees “shorts weather”

4.  Is the discovery of a product called “Body Glide” a momentous occasion

5.  Would I wonder if licking the salt off my own face is a good way to replenish electrolytes (I experimented with this on my first 20 mile run)

6.   Have I given considerable thought to the cause and effects of nipple chafing

7.  Do I look forward to getting a shirt with more advertisements than a stock car

8.  Does a trip to Boston become the dream of a lifetime

9.  Would I sample and critique various flavors of edible viscosity

10.  Has Daylight Savings become a celebratory holiday

TIART: Common mistakes and cardinal sins of running

That is this week’s theme over at the Runners’ Lounge for Take it and Run Thursday. This month I have celebrated my one year anniversary of running; from Couch to 5k to a marathon. I have learned a lot in the past year, mostly things about myself that I have been trying to share piecemeal on this blog. I do have some general running wisdom, though, that I can share.

To be consistent with the theme I offer you a “sin” of running: running without variety.

I recognize that there are those among us who do this, and have for many years. So, we’ll call this is a venial sin, not a mortal one. But every time I hear someone say “I run [X # of miles] everyday,” my first reaction is “why?” or “how?” And I have often noticed that there is a “used to” in this sentence, usually followed by an explanation of how the person’s knees are now too bad to run or how they got burned out with their running regimen.

Running, to me, needs variety: different distances, different routes, different intensities. Running the same distance everyday at the same intensity level limits progression. And, running everyday can lead to overuse injuries or burnout. A running plan that varies the distances and intensity levels helps keep running interesting, helps us become better runners and avoid injury or burnout.

Part of that variety also includes not running everyday (or even most days) for many of us. I suggest supplementing running with cross-training. My personal workouts include running, weight lifting, plyometrics, swimming, elliptical trainer, hiking, and biking. Cross-training helps build overall fitness and strength, and importantly prevents common muscle imbalances that come from just running and that can lead to injury.

I hope this post is helpful. There are countless “do’s and don’ts” of running, but I have enjoyed running more and have run injury free thanks largely to the collective wisdom of the running-blogging community.

Two days, sixteen hours, and forty-five minutes to go. . . . but who’s counting?

I have just finished training.  I got in one last (short) run to stetch my legs.  Now all that is left is to make it to the starting line.

I am not sure that I will again achieve the minimal amount of focus necessary to log on and write another post before the marathon. But, I wanted to wrap up these four long months of training with one thought:  THANK YOU!

A friend recently reminded me of the importance in remembering why we undertake difficult tasks.  For me running has been mostly selfish.  I run because I can, and because I enjoy the world of experiences that stem from this simple activity. But even in my selfish pursuit I have received invaluable support from friends, family, and complete strangers.

Thank you everyone. I cannot wait to sit down and write my next post and tell you how it went.

. . . That’s the phraseology Rebecca will use to describe my mental state over the next six days.  Despite its idomatic succintness, I will grudgingly admit that it is, at times, a fair and accurate description.  As the seconds tick by on the Austin Marathon countdown (which is at 5:18:07:02 as I write this), in spurts, I find that I deteriorate into a nervous, suspicious, misophobic personality.   I suddenly realized that my, unintentional, Valentines Day gift to Rebecca this year is give her a glimpse of what it would be like to be married to Howard Hughes, minus the vast fortune (love you Hon!).

Seriously, though, I have entered that period of time before a big event after  all the preparation is complete but before that preparation has been ultimately tested.  Though I do freak out a little bit, I try and keep my sanity by focusing on those things that are within my control.  In this case, my options are pretty simple. I can either accept what I have done in training and go to the race ready and willing to test myself; or I can stay home and sleep in next Sunday morning.

Everything I have learned about facing challenges compels me to toe the line next Sunday.  I accept that my in executing my training plan I was not perfect, and I accept that there are countless occurrences that could stop me before reaching the finish line.  In accepting those things, however, I choose to bring my whole self to the starting line without complaint or excuses.  And, if I do that, I cannot truly fail.

So, I will say “Let the madness begin.” Because when it comes time to race, I will run with patience.

I posted a while ago about my hits and misses regarding my 2008 100-day fitness challenge goals.  One disappointing miss was that I did not have a chance to run a 10k for a Personal Record.  This Sunday I belatedly reached this goal.  I ran the Superbowl 10k in 51:32.02.

However, the 10k was just one part of a day full of running goodness.  I had a total running mileage of 18+ miles. First, I woke up early to warm-up with a 2.5 mile easy run.  Everything seemed to go well, except I was experiencing some soreness in my ankles and shins.  Usually I wouldn’t give these minor aches much thought, but I was looking ahead to the rest of the day and wondering what I was getting myself into.

Next was the Superbowl 10k.  Runners’ Wolrd’s training calculator predicts a 4 hour marathon time if you can run a 10k in about 52 minutes. That was my goal.  I have found that with any race longer than a 5k planning and strategy are near necessities (see, e.g., my first 10k’s explosive vomiting finish).  I planned to run at about 8:22 min/mi and stayed right on that pace and was even able to push it a little in the last mile.  My next 10k goal will be to finish under 50 minutes (yikes!).

Oh and there’s more:  On advice of a friend and local running expert I took a couple of hours to recover from the 10k, then headed out for 10 extra miles.  I knew this last stretch would be tough, so for the first time, my I Pod accompanied me on a long run.  I had fun listening to music, and given that the USATF recently lifted the ban on headphones at most road races, I briefly thought of putting together a marathon mix for Austin.   On second thought, however, I still enjoy listening to my own rhythm and focusing on what is happening both inside my body (though often unpleasant in the extreme) and in my surroundings.  At some point, I may decide to run a race with music blasting, but not any time soon.

Speaking of the Austin Marathon:  Sunday begins the one-week countdown of madness and tapering!  Wish me luck.

I’m not sure of the etiquette involved in discussing the New Year two-weeks after New Year’s day, but I figure the New Year is a fair conversation topic until Martin Luther King’s Birthday.  After that it is as  hip as wearing white after labor day.  In short, I am within the deadline to be allowed to talk about the old year and the new year in the same post.

Old Year, Old Goals

Concluding my part in the 100-day fitness challenge with which we launched this blog, below are a restatement of my goals and an assessment of success (or lack of).

Get down to 200So close . . . I got down to 220, which gave me a net loss of over fifty-pounds for the 2008 calendar year.  Most importantly I learned what it takes to lose weight and get healthy, and the elusive 200 lb mark is well within my sights.

Run a 5k in under 30 minutes. Done, done, and done.  I beat this goal three times during the last 100 days of 2008.  I ran 28:05 at the El Dorado Fun Run; 25:54 at the 2008 Turkey Trek on Thanksgiving; and 25:15 at the Farolito 5k.

Run a 10K under 1:05:30. Bad planning on this one.  The fatal flaw here was that there were no more 10k races I could enter in order to meet this goal.  I have met this goal in training and my 10k split at the Duke City Half-Marathon was under one-hour, but until I satisfy this goal in an official 10k race I count it unaccomplished.  As a side note I will try and break an hour for the 10k at the Superbowl Sunday 10k in Albuquerque on February 2nd.

Run a Half-Marathon. Done.  This is perhaps my most memorable achievement of 2008.  I finished the Half-Marathon (my first) in 2:05:16!

– Do 100-pushups without stopping. This remains a goal of mine.  I stopped the 100-pushup challenge because I started a more comprehensive weight training routine that did not permit me to focus on just pushups.  I will meet this goal this year, though!

Swim a mile without stopping. This goal fell victim to winter marathon training.  Both Rebecca and I got very far in this goal and have become excellent swimmers.  However, I have put the swimming on hold until after the marathon in February.

Keep a food journal. I am coloring this one green, but my success at food journaling is on again off again.  I say it is a successful goal because I have achieved great weight-loss success when I have managed to keep a diligent food journal.  Really, I think this is the #1 thing someone can do for successful weight loss and nutrition regimens.

That’s it. I am not disappointment in my unmet challenges because there is a whole year ahead to meet these goals and set some new ones.  Which brings me to . . .

New Year, New Goals

I have one goal right now.  Run the Austin Marathon.

In true lawyerly fashion, however, my goal has three tiers:

  • 3.  Finish the Marathon
  • 2. Finish the Marathon in under five hours
  • 1. Finish the Marathon in under four hours

My training suggest that I am very close to the fitness level required to run a four-hour marathon.  However, I don’t know what to expect and what factors will help or hinder me.  So, I am hoping for the best but preparing myself physically and mentally for the worst.  In that way my approach is well stated in this quote from Dean Karnazes:

run if you can,walk when you have to,crawl if you must; just never give up.”

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