Sunday, September 08, 2013

Neglecting Again

It has been an interesting two weeks getting back into running. I have been doing a good deal of research on nutrition, and at the same time have continued my quest to rid myself of my caffeine dependency. I had two cups of coffee on Saturday and it actually had me feeling jittery, where once upon a time I would have had two cups just to get things started for the day. I would have followed it with an energy drink or two, a few diet sodas, and little to no water. I have been drinking lots of water, and only occasional diet caffeine free soda. A glass of wine here or there, and I splurged this weekend and had a full bottle on Friday night as well as a beer on Saturday with my dad followed by another glass of wine that night. I feel like I paid for it. My number on the scale tonight was 198.1 which was less than satisfying. Alex has continued to run with me in the mornings, and he got a huge ego boost at the Milton 5K this afternoon, where he placed second in his age group. There were only 14 total participants, and he ran/walked the race in over 40 minutes, but it doesn't matter - he did a great job and it was reassuring to him to know that he was able to perform well. He's started soccer, which means we will have to lay back on the running a bit. I don't want to lose any ground so I have been doing a few sessions on the treadmill, between my sessions with him. Things are progressing along. I am going to keep working on dialing in the diet, and I am still contemplating a cleanse at some point in the coming weeks. I got an interesting book last week on Bruce Lee, and it is amazing how (or maybe not so amazing, since I am zeroing in more and more on core nutritional principles) much his diet was similar in nature to many of the other books I am reading. Merrie is reading the Paleo diet right now, and we are adjusting to a diet of fewer refined foods and sugars. We are still eating grains, but I have been trying to steer clear of dairy and I have been eating probiotic yogurt. Some Paleo and non-Paleo eating choices, but still no beer and still weaning off the caffeine.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Tapering

The caffeine taper continues. Starting today, I will be limiting my caffeine intake to one cup per day. A few days of this, and I will move to having one cup of half-caf. Alex got up with me at 5:45 this morning with no complaints. We did Week 1 of the 8 week plan, and it went really well. The run intervals were only one minute, but I could see that as we were progressing through the intervals, he was having an easier time with the running and his speed was picking up. That is a promising sign. I started taking the Strattera last night, and I'm not sure if it was just a reaction to the medicine but I had a heck of a time sleeping last night. I feel foggy today, but the last thing I want to do is pump myself full of caffeine and wreck my taper. That's something I have become more aware of through this process - backsliding can create a negative loop, and it needs to be avoided at all costs. It will take around two weeks to get the dosage under control for the Strattera, and in the meantime my plan is to be done with caffeine by the end of that time. I think I can keep everything on track. It will make for some tired days, but as long as I can keep working out through the process, I will come out the other side all the better off. Alex enjoyed the run this morning and he is committed as well. I feel good about this because it isn't just about me. It is about making him a healthier kid, and getting him into a good routine. By chipping away at the plan it gives him a sense of accomplishment, and I think it will benefit him mentally as well. If he is healthier, he is going to be more focused.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Cleanses

This past spring and early summer I did some reading about the potential health benefits of cleanses and fasting. I liked some of the health benefits, and I recently read another article reprint from a Shape magazine article in which the benefits of fasting were mentioned again. The last cleanse I tried was the Master Cleanse, and I was happy with the results. I have been doing a good job of cutting back on caffeine, and after my doctor's appointment yesterday I decided it is time to cut caffeine out entirely. Once I am completely off caffeine, I am going to look at doing another Master Cleanse. In the meantime, I am trying to cut back on snacking and just look at eating healthier. I need to make small changes. The last time I tried anything, it was fairly drastic and I tried to address everything all at once. This time around, calculation will make a difference. I'm scaling things around exercise as well, so I don't want to do any sort of cleanse if I'm doing a significant amount of volume of running. I feel like I have a good plan for creating a base and really getting myself on track.

Running Induction Plan

It has been quite a while since I have had any sort of regimented plan for working out and building up a base. I'm going to be starting back this week with the 8 week induction plan I wrote out a few years ago. This is a plan that I have shared with many family members and friends, and they've all had various levels of success with the plan. This is the first time I will be trying it with Alex. I approached him a few weeks ago about possibly doing a regular running routine, and he said he was interested. Starting today (no time like the present) we will be starting the plan. We will do the runs outside, so instead of running the 3 mile loop we have established around the house, we will just do an out and back run. We will focus on the intervals, and we won't specifically pace the runs. We'll take it easy, and I think this will be a great way of easing back into running for me, and at the same time providing Alex with a way to get into running by chipping away at distance and adding a bit of run time each week. In the past I have been over eager, and this has led to injury. I am starting now because I don't want that sort of thing to become a problem as I move through the winter. I want to start now on building up a base level of fitness, plan a few weeks in the winter for active recovery, ramp up training a bit in early spring, then have a few more weeks of active recovery later in the spring before really focusing on specialized distance training for Timberman. Recovery is a thing I have not afforded myself enough in the past, and I have consistently paid the price in ending up injured by the end of the season.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Road to Timberman

While I was watching Merrie run this year's Timberman Sprint Triathlon, I made the decision to run the 70.3 in 2014.  My weight has slipped, and my health just isn't where it should be.  I had a doctor's appointment today, and I have gained 30 pounds back since my last appointment.  Granted, the last appointment I had was a number of years ago, but essentially I have gained back most of the weight I lost.  I am frustrated with my lack of progress, and frankly I am concerned about my yo yo-ing back and forth between losing weight and gaining weight and the effect this has on my long-term health and well-being.

I am going to try to change a number of things, but I want to make these things permanent changes.  I have done well in terms of alcohol consumption, and I need to focus on cutting caffeine entirely out of my diet.  I also need to start taking multivitamins regularly, and I need to be able to get a decent night's sleep each night.  I need to work out more.

I know what I need to do.  Now I have a timeline I need to abide by in order to make it happen.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Organization

Another thing I seem to struggle with regularly is to do lists. I love to make lists. I just can't seem to find a way to keep them organized and synchronized across all the devices I use. This afternoon I started a notebook in Evernote. I think I'll give that a try. I have used planners before, and I live and die by my Outlook calendar. The problem is, I just can't settle on a format for a master task list. I'll start using a system, then I will just lose track. I figure if I start moving things to a more cloud-based format, they will be available on whatever device I happen to use. Everything plays well with Evernote, so I'm going to give it a try. I've started a "To Do" notebook into which I can put all the different to do lists I have. I can break down things by long term and short term, and I've got a lot of organization options. I think this is going to work.

Productivity

I'm feeling very productive today. I find that the more I have to do simultaneously, the better I am at reaching goals. It has become evident to me today as I multitask that this is the way my brain works. I can accommodate a lot of work at the same time, but if I have a limited number of things to do I find myself becoming sedentary. Better that I have too much than not enough. I was able to go to the gym on Monday but haven't gone since. Exercise helps me stay focused as well, and if I could just get over my sleeplessness I think I'd be good to go. I feel tired right now, but I feel like I still have focus. Maintaining focus is the challenge.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

It's Been a While

I just happened to notice that it has been nearly two years since I last posted. I think I need to get better about that. I started a doctoral program at Plymouth State University, and for sanity's sake I'm going to start blogging again. Maybe if I start writing regularly it will get me back in the swing of things. I have had a hard time acclimating once again to the concept of writing, and having any free time for writing fiction is absolutely out of the question. Life in general has been challenging, but it has gotten me thinking about why I do things. Ultimately, my goal in life is to be able to provide for my family and to set a good example for my children. The more successful I am, the better role model I feel I am to them. The problem is, motivation becomes an issue. I have shifted perspective, and in doing so I've found that I have become more focused on how to get things done than on why they have to be done in the first place. We tend to take things for granted sometimes, because we lose perspective. Stress is a relative thing. We have stress because we bring it on ourselves. We create stressful situations, without realizing that if we just take a step back and look at WHY these situations exist, there's a good chance that we're just bringing it on ourselves. It is a tough place to be in, feeling stuck in a given place. In my case, I am stuck because I can't move forward in my job without having a doctorate. So that covers the WHY, and the HOW simply becomes an assessment of what I need to change in life in order to accommodate it. What I need to do, though, is manage my time better in all respects. I need to focus on productivity and output. I have become sedentary in so many ways. I was keeping a handwritten journal for a while, but realized when I went back and read through some of the entries that I haven't changed much in the past ten years. Things have happened and I have become a different person, but my problems haven't gone away. I guess my main goal in writing again is to try to figure out my problems. Get them down on paper, then figure out how to make them go away. At the same time, it will be fun to just write again. I'm not anticipating much at first, but hopefully the magic that writing once held for me will return.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Last post in March?

Ouch. It's been a while.

I've been neglecting to document training and life in general through this blog because I've been doing a ton of audio recording. I toyed with the idea of putting a podcast together but, like most other people who are currently producing podcasts, I would just be rehashing formats that already exist. I would still be adding new content, so to speak, because everyone has different lives and different training plans. But still... I just couldn't manage to get a show format together that I liked. That, and there's a lot that goes into it time-wise (editing, posting, formatting content, etc.) and I've already got time management issues.

So I've been recording audio on the way in each day to work as a means of documenting what I've been doing. I'll try to start writing more on the blog so it is in a published format, because that tends to be much more accessible than wading through hours of nonsensical recordings. Here's the summary so far, since I haven't posted since March:

Big Lake half went well. Finished in 1:51. Room for improvement, but a good start. Ran out of money buying new tri-bikes, so didn't do any triathlons this year. Merrie just finished Timberman in 7 hours or so, but that didn't include a second run loop because they had to shut down the race due to weather. I'm getting ready for VT50 and have about 4 weeks to nail everything down before the race. For next year, looking to focus again on 70.3 distance and get my time down from my current PR of 6:55. Yuck.

I'm still dropping weight, but I've stalled out around 160. Merrie is interested in dropping a lot of weight too, so during the off season we'll be focusing on that. Endurance training is nice, but we've found that it doesn't really burn all the fat that you'd think it would!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Hydration Transportation

I take a lot of long runs that are single loops or 'out and back' runs, depending on the route. I have to carry whatever hydration and nutrition I need on me and tote it through the course of the run. There's a fine line between packing adequately and weighing yourself down with needless crap. I used to pack a lot more than I do now. If I'm doing anything under a half-marathon distance, I will take one bottle of Gatorade. 20 ounces or so. I might take 1 GU, but other than that, it will just be the sports drink. For longer runs, I'll pack more.

There are a couple of options for carrying your hydration and nutrition. I've got a Nathan waist pack bottle holder that I've finally gotten adjusted correctly over the course of about 3 or 4 runs. The pack holds a standard size bike bottle (it came with a bottle as well) and a gel flask. It has a zippered pocket for more fuel, car keys or a cellphone. I've got a Fuelbelt with 4 x 8 ounce bottles and a pouch. I've also got a Camelbak-style pack that holds 2 liters of fluid and has all kinds of pockets. I'm going to give it a try on the next run and see how much it moves around. It might be the pack I use in Vermont this year.

The other thing I've done is just carry a bottle in my hand. I'll swap it back and forth over the course of the run. Summary - there are all kinds of options out there for carrying crap while you're running. The trick is to be comfortable with whatever you're using because if you're not, it will be a slice of hell over the course of a run because your pack will start bothering you and there's not much you can do about it! If you're trying something new, start with a short run and see how it goes. Move up to a longer run once you get things tweaked. A final word of advice - NEVER make alterations to the equipment you are using right before a big race. Stick with what you're used to training with.