January 2004 Archives

Monthly Report: January

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92.75 Miles ran/19 days
5hrs 50 min on the elliptical/7 days
10hrs 11min weight training/16 sessions
4 planned rest days
15,265 Presidential Challenge points earned

Just looking at the numbers, that's not a bad month of exercise. If I had been able to run like I'd wanted the last couple of days the numbers would look even better, but I guess that's ok. At least I have an indoor cardio alternative.

I hate winter

Shitty shitty run this morning.

I was so happy today because the windchill was in the minus teens, as opposed to the minus 30/40s, so I was going to be able to run outside for the first time since Monday. According to weather channel, it was -2 F (windchill -15), 6 mph wind. So I got all bundled up, and took off. My face was pretty cold for the first couple minutes, but after 4-5 minutes it was fine and the temperature felt okay to me.

Everything was great until I got to the bike path. Because of the wind, I wanted to run south which means running on the bike path. Well, the bike path was not only not cleared off of snow, but it has been used for snowmobiling. So the snow was kind of packed down, but not really. The footing was TERRIBLE. I swear, every 3-4 steps, my ankles turned due to the snow. It got worse near the overpass, as all the snow from the street had been thrown onto the bike path. So the snow was deeper there and the footing was even worse - my feet went every direction but straight and my ankles kept turning. I had intended to run 5-6 miles today, but I turned around at the 2.1 mile mark because of the footing. I doubted that it was much better ahead, especially since there was a bigger hill, and I'd still have to go back through what I had just come through. So 4.2 miles in 42:06 ... shitty shitty shitty.

So I'm kind of a strange mix of frustrated, pissed off and disappointed this morning. I'm now left with ONE direction that I can run (east), and since I have to take wind into account that really sucks. I had planned on running at least 100 miles this month - and because of this past week, I end up with 92.75. That's not a bad total for a winter month, but it's less than my goal. Why can't it be spring yet????

Even colder today

Well this week has been a total bust so far. Yesterday it was windy and the windchill was -30. Today the windchill is -46. Yeah ... not very good running conditions. So I've been inside on the elliptical. No, it isn't the same but at least it keeps my cardiovascular fitness up. I've plotted out Runner's World's Intermediate program, since it's 16 weeks long. So it doesn't start until February 9 ... which gives me a little leeway with training this week and next week. Maybe the weather will have improved by then. Probably not, but a girl can hope.

Job search is still going terribly. I haven't heard anything back about the positions I applied for a couple of weeks ago. I look in the paper every day, but there is either nothing I'm qualified to do or those "work at home" scam-type ads. Again, too bad I'm not an engineer or medical person ... then I'd have tons of job opportunities. Instead I have a degree that is totally worthless in this town. I even went to Target and Wal-Mart yesterday to apply - that is how bad the job situation is here. And that was a bust, too, since neither is hiring right now. God I hate this place.

Cold day

I hate the weather here so much - I can't believe people actually choose to live here. It was -4 when I woke up this morning with a windchill of -28. Currently, it's still -4, but the windchill is now -27. Ooooh, warm. It's going to be like this all day apparently. I am so pissed off. The wind is blowing in the one direction that I cannot go out into, which means if I do go out to run this morning I'll have to come back into the wind which you're not supposed to do. The wind is currently 18 mph, which will be pretty awful to run in since it's so cold. ARGH! I hate winter. The rest of the week is supposed to be this cold, too. IT SUCKS SO MUCH HERE!

I'm going to wait until 10 to see if the wind dies down any. Hopefully it will and I can attempt to go run. If not, I guess it'll be back downstairs for cross-training again. And let me tell you how happy that thought makes me. I've discovered that I can't watch TV if I want to do a heart rate program other than the cardio one, since they require me to pay too much attention to the heart rate display.

Oh, the echo came back normal and all cardiac valves are normal.


Since yesterday, we got a total of 8.5" of snow. Bleh. It's cold and windy today: currently it's 0 degrees, but the 16 mph wind and blowing snow make it feel like -20. It's supposed to get windier this morning, which also equals more cold. So I will be staying inside to cross-train today.

President's Challenge

Running in the snow

When I first went outside to run, I thought "awesome!" Can't explain it, but the thought of running with snow falling was appealing. That feeling didn't last too long. I always run on the shoulder of the road, but the snow made it really hard to tell where the ground was flat. There were a couple of spots where I almost lost my balance. The snow plow passed me twice - the first time I was kind of scared because the shoulder wasn't very wide at that point and the plow was pretty much throwing snow onto the side of the road. I got as far away from the road and stopped until it went past me. I didn't want to have a ton of snow thrown on me! While the plow did make the road nice (when there weren't any cars, I did run some parts on the road), it made the side suck. The snow that got thrown/pushed onto the shoulder made the footing even crappier. I'm probably going to end up with really strong calves, because they feel a lot more tired after running on the snow than they do from running on regular surfaces. Anyway, today: 3 miles, 27:45, 16 degrees, windchill 4 degrees, wind 10mph.

I also shoveled the driveway for 15 minutes. The snow is still falling, but it will be easier to shovel later with one layer gone.

Heading out ...

Today is the start of my official marathon training program. According to it, Mondays are always cross-training days. I'm deviating from that today, though since the weather is "decent" enough to run in. It's 15 degrees and snowing, but the wind is lower and the windchill is above 0. Tomorrow is supposed to be windy and cold. I think it's best for me to run when I get the chance and save the XT and R days for the bad weather days. And if that means I run 5 days in a row, so be it. That's pretty much what I had been doing anyway.

Off to run in the snow!

4 miles with cold wind

I ran 4 miles this morning. The temperature wasn't terrible (15 degrees) but the wind was 20 mph which made it feel colder. But I didn't have any problems with the cold - it was all the wind. Running directly into that kind of wind is really hard for me. I couldn't bear the thought of running 2 miles out into it, so I turned off and went onto the trail again. The trees helped cut down the wind, which was nice. No one else was out this morning; I guess the cold/overcast sky kept everyone inside.

So my week total was 22.7 miles. A little bit of a stepdown from the 26 I've been doing, and from the 24 I'm supposed to do next week. Most training programs I've seen have advised a cutback week every so often anyway.

Weird body stuff

My body is so bizarre. This past week, I ran a little bit less (depending on how far I run today, it'll be around 3-7 miles less total) and I ate more, and yet I lost 1.8 pounds. How does that work? I guess that explains the shoulder vein the Engineer and I noticed last night. We were watching TV and after someone on TV flexed, I flexed my right arm as a joke. Apparently I flexed in a way that made the vein that runs along my right shoulder bulge out. We were both kind of grossed out. I'm not that muscle-y though, it's just that my upper body is really small. Any weight I lose comes off of it, as opposed to the lower half. It's kind of annoying, actually. My upper body really really doesn't need to be any smaller, while my lower body could lose a few inches. Too bad you can't spot-reduce.

Longer run

Today it is bright and sunny, so I took advantage of that and ran 6.5 miles. I ran from the house to the trail, which I haven't done in awhile. When I started running again regularly, I ran on the trail almost daily since the trees provided some shelter from the wind and I didn't have to deal with cars. Today, it looked like a lot of other people had had the same idea as me, because there were a lot of footprints in the snow. I passed a couple of people, too - I think today was one of the busiest days I've had out on the trail. I was very happy that the few dog walkers I passed were actually obeying the law and had their dogs on leashes. Anyway, most of the time I was out on the trail I was alone and it was pretty nice. Even though all the trees are bare, I thought the trail looked really pretty covered with snow. The only bad thing about the snow is that there is one section of the trail were the snow covers a sheet of ice. And the ice is the kind that formed from footprints, so the footing there was really uneven. But it wasn't so bad, and most of the trail was just regular packed snow. And regular packed snow is pretty easy to run on in terms of the footing, but it does make my calves more tired than running on regular pavement.

One really annoying thing about my run this morning was that my mittens were still wet from yesterday's run in the snow. I didn't want to start with wet mittens, so I put a pair of thin gloves underneath. The problem with that is then my hands got really warm. The temperature was just warm enough that the mittens alone would be too much, but just cold enough that gloves alone wouldn't cut it. I ended up taking the mittens off for short periods of time to let my hands breathe a little. My fleece pullover also did a really good job keeping me warm - good enough that I had to periodically unzip my jacket to let some air in so I wouldn't overheat. Eventually, I'll get the hang of dressing for the cold.

So 6.5 miles in 63 minutes; 8 degrees, -3 with wind. Hopefully the sun will be out tomorrow, too, so I can get another decent run in for the week.

4 miles

Daily running report: 4 miles (36:53); 16 degrees (2 w/windchill); light snow started during run. I should've worn a pair of pants over my tights because running into the wind made my legs kind of cold. (The skin was pink/red when I came inside). Other than the legs, I was dressed perfect. I love my mittens - I don't know why I resisted buying some for so long. I also love the fleece pullovers I got from Old Navy ($10) because they really do keep me warm. I kind of like running in the snow, for some reason. I don't like when it is coming down hard and hits me in the face, but I like being outside when it is lightly falling. People usually are more careful driving, too, which is nice - except for the idiots who don't turn their lights on. I don't get that.

Broomball is dumber than running

So I survived watching Broomball in the cold last night. Well, to be totally honest, I only was outside watching for the last 10 minutes of the game, because I went to the mall for most of the game. I had stuff to return, and sometimes I like to amuse myself with trying on clothes. I told the Engineer that he wins the "moron" title since I don't have frost form on my face when I run. He claims that the frost only forms on his facial hair, and if I had hair I'd also have frost. Whatever. I still think broomball is much sillier than running.

I don't know when it snowed, but I woke up and there is snow on the ground. Not a whole lot, and it isn't snowing right now. The Engineer IM'd me from work to let me know that the pavement isn't slick, but that there is a layer of snow everywhere. After 2 days of not running, I'm antsy to go run again.


I'm back from the echo. I didn't realize that it was such a long test (30-45 minutes). It wasn't that terrible, just kind of odd. One thing I like about my new doctor's office is that they give you a real gown to wear (school dr had paper ones), and they try to help keep you covered. When I had my EKG at school, I had to be bare on top and it was kind of awkward. The new office has you wear the gown so it opens in front, and they keep it closed as much as possible. It was kind of neat to see my heart from all the various angles. It'll be about a week before I hear anything. I'm not sure I really expect them to find anything though. The person performing the test did comment on my good heart rate (46) and low blood pressure (104/66).

Fun with Calculators

Frustrated yet again today. It is currently -7 degrees but the wind chill is -32. So today will be my rest day. Aside from the snow forecast, the rest of the week is supposed to be better. I can run in snow, I just slow down a little bit because of the footing. My frustration comes in part because I'm supposed to start officially training for the marathon on Monday. I have a okay base (last couple weeks' mileage: 23, 23, 26, 26, 26.05), which means the Intermediate-I problem shouldn't be a problem. And hey, it's a lot better than the "base" I had before Chicago '02 (aka zero). But I worry that the weather is going to give me problems getting the miles in that I need. I do have the Novice program planned out, too, so I can follow it if the weather isn't as cooperative.

I've been playing with some of the Runner's World calculators lately. The Best Run Calculator seemed like a neat idea, but I can't get it to work right. I used some of my high school PRs (1500m, 3000m, 3200m, 5k, 10k) and my marathon and half-marathon PRs. The calculator is supposed to convert the hours:minutes:seconds to seconds, but it messes up somewhere along the way since it has my marathon as being the fastest. My marathon time is a little over twice my half time, but in the calculator it comes out as being a third of it. Huh?

I've also played with the Race Time Calculator and the Training Pace Calculator. Since I want to use them to calculate stuff related to my marathon training, I need a recent race to use. I actually don't race that much anymore, which is kind of funny since I used to run road races for fun every weekend. I didn't run any races 1998-2000, and in 2001 and 2002 I only ran 2 each year (1/2M and M). Last year, I ran 1 whole race:

My brother JC and I decided to do a 5K on Thanksgiving. We had run a Turkey Trot years ago that was fun, and we thought it might be fun to do one again. JC had been working out to get ready for boot camp, but he was mainly focusing on weights. He had been doing a little running, but probably only 10-15 mi/week and not any kind of speedwork. I'd been running 22-25 mi/week, but I'd been focusing on consistency and endurance-building, and had done no speedwork. (My last real speedwork was in 1997). JC's last 5k was during cross country season in either 1997 or 1998. My last 5k was cross country in Dec '96. So neither of us had any high expectations for this race. We didn't bother with a warm-up, and we decided that our goal was to run 9 min/mile or faster and to not let anyone under 10 beat us.

I'm sure the people around us hated us, but we had a blast. We talked throughout the entire thing, which I guess means that we should've been working harder. We ended up running faster than we expected (24:46) and we ran negative splits which is awesome. Negative splitting is my favorite race strategy. JC and I figure that if I actually did some 5k training, I could probably easily run 22-23. I don't know if I could ever get back to my high school PR (20:43, cross country) but I think if I could get back into the 22-minute range I'd be happy (and competitive in my age group, possibly).

But back to the calculators. So I decided to see what that 24:46 translates to. It claims I could run a half in 1:53:55 and a marathon in 3:57:32. Those would both be awesome times to run. I know I can run a half under 2 hours if the conditions are right (aka I don't drink that damn green Powerade), but I'm not as confident about running the full under 4. I think I have it in me, but going sub-4 is a pretty big deal.

Using my 5k time for the Training Pace Calculator turned out some pretty interesting results. It says that I should be doing my easy runs at 10:04min/mi and my long runs at 10:04-11:21 min/mi. If I enter a 4 hour marathon, it says easy runs should be done at 10:15 min/mi and long runs at 10:15-11:33 min/mi. I'm not so sure about either of those calculations. Currently, everyday is an easy day and I run anywhere from 9:00-9:35 min/mi. My longer runs have been 9:31, 9:35 and 9:56 min/mi, and that 9:56 was because the roads were icy. I hate running slower than 10 minute miles. I didn't even run that slow during my marathon training (long runs averaged 9:45 min/mi). Maybe that's why I have such a high heart rate when I run, but I don't know about that. I just go out and run how I feel. Some days end up faster than others (maybe because it's cold and I want to get back home). But I rarely feel like I am actually pushing myself during my "easy" runs, and my legs and breathing feel fine. So I'm not sure how much I believe those calculations. I am willing to consider that I should maybe be doing my long runs slower, but I don't know about 11 minutes.

Miscellaneous things

I called the doctor's office and they said that I can exercise tomorrow morning without it being a problem for my echo. The woman I spoke to wanted to make sure I wouldn't have anything with caffeine in it tomorrow, though, because that can have an effect on the test. That so isn't a problem for me! Aside from the Lactaid I use in my cereal, the only thing I drink is plain water. I've never had coffee, I hate tea, and I don't drink soda. My protein bars have/are chocolate, though, which do contain some caffeine. If I do get to run tomorrow, I'll just make sure to have one that isn't chocolate, just to be safe.

I don't know if I will get to run tomorrow morning. According to the paper, the high tomorrow is going to be 2. Two degrees! The wind chill factor will be -33 at 8am and -24 at noon. That's a little cold. Weather Channel shows pretty similar temperatures. I'll have to see what the wind is like when I get up. If it isn't too windy and cold, I may still try to get a short run in. I don't know. The rest of the week is supposed to be warmer, but it's also supposed to snow.

In other fun cold news, I think I'm going to have to go watch the Engineer play broomball tomorrow night. (forecast: 4 degrees, wind chill -10F, snow starting around 8 PM). I was in town for one of his games last year, but didn't go, and I haven't gone to the 3 games so far. I have to start going because he has PSVT, and he's had episodes at the last 2 games. It's not safe for him to drive home when he's having one, and he refuses to call me to come get him or to get a ride home with someone. Luckily, I'm unemployed so it won't be a big deal if the game runs late. What fun it'll be if it turns out I also have a heart condition.

Frustration with weather; New protein bars

"You are 55 % of the way toward the goal of 40000 points for a Bronze Award. Only 18144 points to go!"

I'm feeling frustrated today. The temperature is decent (20s this morning, 30 right now), but its really windy. Wind over 20 mph is hard for me to run in, and over 25 it about knocks me over. Running in those conditions becomes a chore, not a fun activity. So since it is windy (and there is another wind chill warning) I decided to stay inside. I'm frustrated because I had planned on tomorrow being a rest day (since I have to go for the echo) and I wanted my cross-training day to be over the weekend. Now I'll have to run Fri-Sat-Sun. I wanted to have a little bit more flexibility than that, in case the weather is crappy one of those days. I think I'll call the doctor this afternoon to see if I can still run tomorrow morning. I don't see why I couldn't run at 9:30am if my appointment isn't until 3.

I picked up some new protein bars on Sunday. I tried one of them out yesterday and this morning: Genisoy Fudge Cookies and Cream. It was kind of tasty and I'd buy it again. I also bought a Chocolate Fudge Brownie bar that sounded good, and 2 Zone bars and 2 Kashi bars. Target kind of pissed me off because they were out of all brands of 1% cottage cheese. I've never seen that happen before. But it turned out okay, since I bought the 2% and I think it tastes decent. I'm supposed to get more fat in my diet anyway. I was wary of the 2% because I hate 2% milk. Well, I hate real milk anyway, but even 2% Lactaid is just nasty to me.

Who's the moron?

Today: 4 miles in the snow.

So yesterday when I was telling my husband (aka The Engineer) about how proud I was of myself for not wussing out and running in the sub-zero cold, he had this reaction: "You're a moron." (Said with a smile, of course). I realized today the irony of him thinking it's stupid to run in the cold ... he plays broomball. [Broomball is like hockey, but with shoes instead of skates, a broomstick instead of a hockey stick, and a ball instead of a puck]. It is played outside on an ice rink. They play at night - when it is usually below zero and the windchill puts it in the negative teens or twenties. In other words, the temperature for broomball is much colder than the temperatures I go running in. Yet I'm the "moron."

Negative 23 windchill!

When I woke up it was -5F, and the windchill was -23F. It was supposed to get warmer, so I decided to wait until 10AM and see what the weather was like then. If it was still ucky, I'd either go weight lift and run in the afternoon or I'd cross-train and weight lift. Well at 10, it had "warmed up" to -1F/-9F. I decided that I should go ahead and run since that wasn't so bad (who would've though I'd ever say that???) and I did run in worse 2 weeks ago when I didn't have all the new stuff I do now.

I looked and felt like a big fat marshmellow once I was done getting dressed. I put on tights and a pair of pants. On top, I wore a long-line sportsbra, a long sleeve Dri-Fit shirt, a fleece pullover and my windbreaker. I also added a neck gaiter, an earband, a hat, a pair of light gloves, and mittens (I only wore the gloves because my mittens weren't completely dry from being washed last night). I should've taken a picture.

I only did 4.2 today, because I think this should be a "step-back" week due to my official marathon training program starting next week. I also mis-read the wind direction on weather channel and ran out with the wind, which meant I had to come back into it. Luckily the wind wasn't very strong today, but having it on my back in the beginning caused me to work up a nice sweat. Overall, I felt pretty good. My face was really only cold for the first couple of minutes and then it felt fine. I'm not sure if I liked the gaiter - breathing on it caused condensation to collect on it, which then caused it to kind of freeze. It also had a tag that poked me.

But I feel pretty good that I didn't wuss out and stay inside. I'm going to have a little lunch and then go do some weights.

Of course I usually can't have something good happen without something negative also occurring ... Hey, woman putting on lipstick in the black car at the intersection of 19/Big road? Fuck you. It was bad enough that you stopped in the crosswalk, but then you got so distracted with the lipstick that you started inching forward and almost hit me. And then you had the nerve to honk at me? What the hell? You had a red light, which means I, a pedestrian, had the legal right to cross in front of you. You're lucky you didn't hit me - don't think I wouldn't have made someone call the cops to give you a ticket AND I would've demanded to be taken to a doctor (at your expense). I have very little patience for people who don't yield to runners especially when I have a legal right to cross in front of you, and it's below zero and I'm trying to get back home! Thanks for starting off my day with some people hatred!

Wind chill advisory



Ugh. They are predicting that it will be 11 am before the temperature rises above 0. But the wind will keep the temperatures feeling like its sub-zero all day. I hate Minnesota in the winter!

More cold weather

Holy crap it is cold outside. I am so glad I ran yesterday as opposed to waiting for today. According to my trusty Desktop Weather Channel, it is -1F and with the wind it is -22F. Brrrrrrrr.

This past week's experiment with eating more food went well. I ate close to 1800 calories/day and today's weigh-in put me at 118. So no weight gain (yet). This is good. I think I'll stick around 1800 until my training increases and then take it from there. I'm okay with going back up to 120 (it was my original "goal" weight), but I'm not sure I want to go much lower than 118. Need to update my sidebar, I guess to reflect my goal better.

Good, bad, ugly run

The good: I ran 8.2 miles this morning and didn't fall on my ass
The bad: The wind changed directions mid-run so I ended up running back into the wind
The ugly: I broke one of the main Running Safety Commandments

Sometime last night, we got some precipitation. As a result, a lot of the pavement ended up with a slick layer of ice. Of course, the ice is the "invisible" kind where you don't see it until you start sliding. I chose to run this morning as opposed to tomorrow because the temperature was supposed to be better today. And with it being 30F when I woke up (w/wind 21F) it did seem like a good day for a long run. I didn't notice anything odd until I got outside and went to close my garage door with the keypad and started sliding down the driveway.

I was already in my running clothes, so I decided to start running and see how bad the roads were. And at the beginning it wasn't so bad, because I was on the streets which still had a bunch of sand/dirt on them. I ran along the dirty sections and had pretty good traction. It got bad once I got out to the "big road" and got on the bike path. (We have a series of bike paths that go all over town. They run alongside major roads, usually only on one side of the road. They are really wide and decent for running). The bike path had no sand/dirt so I had no traction. After I started sliding around, I decided to run alongside the path, in the grass. Well this sucked because the grass was uneven and the footing was bad.

But I continued along because the temperature wasn't that bad and I wanted to get a good run in. I switched between the bike path and the grass and everything was fine until I came to a stoplight. As I tried to stop (to wait for my pedestrian light), I started skidding. It was scary for a second because I was worried I wouldn't stop and would fall into the street. But I stopped before that happened, and I didn't fall down. The run was then kind of uneventful for a little bit until I got to the big hill before the turnaround point. As I started up the hill, I started to slide back down. So I had to run on the grass again. Well the grass was annoying, so I decided to run along the shoulder of the road.

The shoulder at this section of road is really wide, and had tons of sand/dirt. So I ran against traffic on the shoulder and made my way up and down the hill to my turnaround point. The turnaround point is where I broke the Running Safety commandment (Thou shalt run against traffic). I tried to run on the bike path but it was too slick. Since the shoulder was really wide and there weren't many cars out, I decided to just run on the shoulder, even though it was with traffic. I wasn't breaking the "rule" for that long because once I got back up and down the hill I had to cross the road to get onto the bike path. (The bike path along the "big road" is damn annoying. It starts on the east side, then crosses to the west side, and then crosses to the east side again).

I got to actually run on the bike path for awhile, as it wasn't too icy. I passed a guy on the hill who warned me that there was a big patch of ice at the top. I thought that was pretty nice of him to take the time to warn me about that - a lot of people wouldn't have said anything. So I moved over to the grass, which was actually kind of flat. The rest of the run was a combination of pavement and grass, as portions of the pavement were dry enough to run on. The thing that sucked about coming back is that the wind had changed direction (and increased) so that I was running into it. My gloves had gotten damp (I guess my hands had warmed up on the way out), and as I ran back my hands started getting really cold. I couldn't even feel them when I got home - my husband had to come untie my shoes for me because my hands were so numb.

So that was my run this morning ... a fun combination of dodging ice and running on odd terrain. I'm glad I went out and did it, though, as I bet tomorrow is worse (weather-wise) and overall it wasn't so bad. I could've done without the numb hands, though.

Orange sale

I hate wind. Depending on the distance, my run back is 1-2 minutes faster than my run out. Today wasn't that cold, but the wind was annoying. I decided to only do 4 miles because running directly into the wind was kind of tiring.

Bought almost 14 pounds of oranges yesterday. I went to the store on Monday and bought around 9 pounds of oranges ... between my husband and me there are only 2 left from that bunch. We eat a crazy amount of oranges, apparently. HyVee is running a citrus sale right now so that oranges are $0.39/pound, which seems like a pretty good deal. I'll definitely be going back for more before that sale ends.


Well I was wrong about being thawed, as I got downstairs and had to put on another shirt and a pair of pants over my tights. The downstairs is maybe 5-10 degrees cooler than the upstairs so I usually wear a second layer when I go down there to work out. After a couple of minutes I get warmed up enough to shed a layer. It took me half of my (short) workout to warm up enough to remove the outer layer. I hate winter.

Played with the colors and fonts on the page ... not sure if I like them yet.


Found some interesting articles in my surfing yesterday. The first is the Female Exercise Map. It's awesome. You click on a body part and it has a list of exercises for that part. One of the best things about it is that it lists them by equipment needed (barbell, dumbbell) so that I can actually find exercises I can do with what I have. My favorite part, however, is that they have a little animated picture/video that shows you what the exercise should look like. That is really helpful for me ... I've found a lot of sites with lists of lifts and descriptions, but I need to actually see something to understand.

The second article talks about running in the cold. I'm proud to say I do most of the things listed. Something not mentioned there, but in a different article is this: "In extreme cold, a thin layer of Vaseline on your cheek bones will keep them a little warmer." I've been doing that, and while it does help while outside, my skin looks like CRAP. I'm used to the redness and dryness around my nose, but I'm starting to get breakouts along my jawline and cheeks that I'm sure are due to that damn vaseline. I do wash it off as soon I get inside and have thawed a bit, but it doesn't seem to make a difference. Guess I'll just have to get used to it, too. Oh well.

Here's another winter clothing article from Runner's World and a running safety article from RRCA.

The new shoes felt good this morning. I tried to run along the sides of the bike path, and on the dirty/sandy areas so that the shoes would dirty up faster. I hate bright white running shoes. I remember back in cross country, whenever someone would get a new pair of shoes we'd look for a mud puddle for them to run through so that their shoes would look like they were used for running. Aside from the fact that it hasn't been wet here for awhile, it's too cold for that to be an option so it might take awhile for my shoes to look like "real" running shoes.

I think I've thawed enough, so I'm going downstairs to weight lift.

Weights before cardio?

It was windy this morning (30 mph) so I stayed inside. I decided to try something a little different - doing my weights before my cardio. On one of the boards I read, the people there were going on and on about how you shouldn't do cardio first. I've always done my cardio first, since I mainly run and running is more important to me than weights. But since I was going to do the elliptical I thought I'd give it a shot. Eh. I think I'll be doing things my normal way from now on. I like doing my weights afterwards because I'm already warmed up. I also like doing my cardio first because I don't get hungry that way. I also didn't like how my abs got tight during the cardio because I'd worked them already. So while I understand some of the reasons the women advocate doing things that way, I don't think it's right for me.

A trip to the running store

Got my new shoes today. I was tempted by a pair of New Balance shoes, but they were over $20 more and I can't justify spending that much right now. I had a 20% off coupon, but still. Oh, you know what the best part about living in Minnesota is? No sales tax on clothes and shoes. When it comes to running shoes that can be a $5-10 savings. While not a lot of money, it adds up quickly.

The store was nice, except for the fact that it took me almost 80 minutes to get there. They had one of the nicest women's apparel sections I've seen in a running store. I didn't look around too much because I would see too much stuff that I would want. They had a ton of jackets - before next winter, I think I'm going to invest in a real winter running jacket. I really wish we had a store like that in town. With this one being so far away, I'm not going to be able to go in as much as I'd like.

I need new shoes

Last night and this morning, I plotted out some of the marathon training programs on a calendar. Distance-wise, I really think I can do the Intermediate-I. The first couple of weeks aren't that much off of what I have been doing, actually. So as long as the weather holds up, I shouldn't have a problem running that program. I think the increased mileage of the Intermediate program will help my confidence. My last marathon was just such an overall disappointment - I really want to run a good one.

I ran 3.25 miles this morning. I wanted to do 4, but it was pretty windy and I had no choice but to run out with the wind and back against it. Running back against the wind really sucks - I prefer to run out against it, but since I can only go N, E, or S I often don't get any other option. My legs felt pretty tired again - I think it is time for new shoes. Hopefully I can go to the running store today ... I wish it weren't an hour away. What a pain in the ass. I haven't seen a running shoe guy since last Feb (and since then I completely stopped wearing my old, worn-out orthotics) so I really need to have a professional take a look at my feet and shoes.

I bought bagels last night. I haven't had a bagel in so long, even though I used to eat them all the time. I'm trying to find small ways to increase my caloric intake, so I decided I should get some bagels. I got Brownberry Health Nut bagels because they have 10g protein. They aren't too bad, although they could be a little softer. I used to get the Thomas New York style bagels, but when I started cutting/counting calories they had to go because they were too high in calories. I've made a lot of progress with eating better over the last couple of months. When I started using FitDay, carbs made up around 70% of my food for the day, I was eating <60g of protein and I rarely ate fruits. I'm currently eating around 54% carbs, close to 100g of protein and 2-3 pieces of fruit. There's still room for improvement, but I know very few people who don't have room for improvement.


BMI and body fat are not the same thing. BMI is the relationship between your height and weight - those are the only measurements it takes into account. BMI is not a percent. BMI does not indicate how much fat you have - 2 people with the same BMIs can have very different body compositions. I keep seeing people confuse these 2 numbers and it drives me nuts.

Elevated Heart Rate

I ran in the afternoon today (5.3 mi) because I went to the doctor this morning. Before Thanksgiving, and when I was away for Christmas, I had this pain in my hip while running. At first, it only hurt while running but then it started hurting even when I wasn't running. My brother told me to check out sportsinjuryclinic.net (or something like that) and that site said that it could be a stress fracture or a bursitis. Now I doubted that it was something that serious, but I don't like to screw around when it comes to my feet and legs. Better safe than sorry is my motto. So I called to make an appointment and today was the first day my doctor could see me. And of course, the pain went away between then and now.

I still went because I just wanted to clarify that I shouldn't worry about it and because I wanted to ask about my heart rate. Training with a heart rate monitor has become one of the newest "things" in running, and I've read all kinds of glowing reports about how training based on heart rate has improved peoples' running. And a lot of it does make sense - especially the part where if you run too hard on your easy days you aren't allowing your body proper recovery. So while I was home for Thanksgiving, I checked out a heart rate transmitter from the gym and wore it while I was on the treadmill. No matter what speed I ran at, my heart rate was above 160. I didn't think too much of it because I hadn't read anything at that point as to what my target heart rate should be.

My mom found an Omcron heart rate monitor for $11 at Ulta, and she let me borrow it when I came back to Minnesota. I was curious to see if there was a difference between indoor and outdoor running. I thought maybe my heart rate would be lower outside since I'd have air to cool me down (I overheat when running on the treadmill). I also wanted to see if I even liked running with the chest strap (the transmitter is on a chest strap). I did do some reading online, and based upon various formulas, I found that my heart rate should be between 125-144 (65-75%) for an easy run. Well my heart rate was above 160, even when I slowed down to a point where I felt much too slow. (And I would never train that slow as I'd feel like I was running "junk miles"). I continued playing with the heart rate monitor when I went back to IL (and the treadmill). I finally stopped wearing it because seeing the 160s and 170s was stressing me out (which I'm sure raised it, too). I was running easy by all other measurements - my legs felt fine and I wasn't breathing hard at all. So why the high heart rate?

So I told my doctor about that to see what she thought. I asked if it was possible that my maximum heart rate is higher than the formulas predict and maybe that was why it was so high. She said that was possible, but that she would think that with as long as I've been running and being in good condition, that I would have a lower heart rate when running. (I do have a low resting heart rate (45), which is usually the sign of someone in good condition). She listened to my heart and didn't hear anything funky. Since my mom has an arrhythmia (brought on by the chemo) and her mom had one (that she died from), the doctor decided we should do an EKG and an echocardiogram. I have to go back for the echo, but they did the EKG in the office. And it apparently showed an abnormality.

I'm not freaking out about this yet. If I do have an arrhythmia, my doctor said it can be treated with medications. The medications aren't a necessity, though; it's mainly just important to have it noted in medical records so it can be kept track of. She didn't say I'd have to stop running, and that's probably the thing that would get me to be upset because that would mean it's serious.

DHBC - Thumbs Down!

It's a good thing I had never planned on going to the in-store weigh-in for the Discovery Body Challenge. I've seen a couple of reports from people so far that have said that by the time they got to their mall this morning, there were already 2,000 people in line. Some malls were apparently letting people in at midnight so they could line up. One of the reports said that there were a lot of "fit, athletic people" in line and when asked, they said they just wanted the free gym membership. If I had a Bally's here in town, I would have wanted to go to the in-store weigh-in so I could get that. So it's no surprise to me that the big draw is the 3 month free membership to Bally's. I'd bet that at the locations with 2,000+ people in line, over half of the people had no interest in the actual challenge and were just there for the free Bally's.

I've officially given up on the DHBC. The meal plan is kind of gross, and requires too much work to be of use to me. It kept including meat-based meals in my plan, and I would have to go through and search for a new meal. And most of the options were really unappealing. I'm on a couple of different lists, and it seems most people are ignoring the meal plan. But since the exercise section of the challenge is also useless to me (3 days cardio/3 days weights is a big step down for me), I'd be ignoring the whole program. And if I'm not using any of the program, I'm not sure how I could consider myself taking part in the challenge. I'm still going to stay on at least one of the lists, because the people are really interesting and informative. One of the ladies posted a link to a Runners World training program that sounds interesting. From the looks of it, they actually let you customize your meal plan (if you choose that option) to exclude foods you don't eat. And it's running-based, so the fitness portion would actually be useful to me. There is a 10-day free trial, so I might try it out sometime.

"A Vegetarian Diet is Low in Protein"

I've eaten 114 grams of protein today. And people think that a vegetarian diet is low in protein. It's not if you pay attention to what you buy, and then eating a ton of protein requires no thought at all.

Running alone

I miss runners. I love to talk about running with people, but I don't know anyone in real life that runs. (I don't really know anyone here anyway, regardless of running status). A few message boards I frequent have running topics, but that's not the same. On most boards, I'm one of the few (or the only) long distance runner, most people are either occasional runners or just getting started. So talking about the running I do (or want to do) is kind of out-of-place. I'm on a few mailing lists, but that's not a good substitute either.

I train alone, and in a lot of ways I prefer it that way. I've never been the "fast runner," but I have been the "slow runner," and it sucks. I hated the feeling that I was slowing other people down or that I couldn't keep up. I also used to hate training with my HS team sometimes because of the pressure to keep up with the other girls. It wasn't that I couldn't keep up with them - I didn't want to. Some of them would turn an easy training run into almost a race, and I thought that was stupid. I believe in keeping my easy days easy, and that is not what they were doing. So I don't miss that at all. In some ways, running alone is pretty nice. I can run however fast or slow I want, I can run however far I want, and I can use the time to think. But I miss having people to talk to about blisters, toenails, mileage, clothing for cold weather, races, etc - stuff that most non-runners aren't interested in. Once it gets warmer, I think I might try to make more of an effort to do stuff with the track club. I think most of the members are older than me, but it would be good for me to meet some local runners.

I ran 7.2 miles this morning. It was an okay run, but I felt really tired afterwards. I actually laid down for about an hour, and I never do that. I skipped weights today, too, because my arms just felt tired after running. I'm not sure what's going on there, but maybe some rest will be good.

5 miles

Today was even warmer than yesterday (16F/4F with wind). Ran 5 miles ... my right side was really tight and I'm not sure I can figure out why. It was like that yesterday, too. It's not really a cramp, but I guess it could be called a side stitch maybe. Whatever it was, it was annoying. I found out the one good thing about the cold - road kill doesn't smell when it's cold.

I'm tired today, so I skipped weight-lifting. I can always change my mind and lift tonight. But right now, I don't feel like it. I felt sluggish yesterday and a little bit today, so maybe it's best to not do lower body weights.

"Warm" Day

Today was "warm" (10 degrees, felt like 0 degrees, low wind) so I got to test out some of my new running gear. I feel like a big dork wearing my hat with ear flaps, but it kept me fairly warm. I think if it were windier out, I might have to add the earband, though. My new mittens were a big success, though. I've been reading for years that I should run with mittens instead of gloves, but I always thought that sounded funny. At SportMart the other night, I saw a pair of polar fleece ones for $10 and thought maybe they would be worth a shot. I liked that they had spots for your fingers to slide into. Well, my hands were nice and toasty during my run today. Maybe a little too warm, actually, since they felt warm within 5 minutes of leaving the house. According to articles I've read, you should be a little cold for the first mile and then you should warm up. Getting warm too early can lead to sweating too early which can make you cold as you continue running. Anyway, I ran 5.3 miles today. I felt a little sluggish, but I wanted to take advantage of the nice(r) weather to get some mid-distance in.

New Winter Gear

My trip to SportMart went well. Hats, gloves and other warm things are easy to find, so that isn't really a surprise. I pretty much just grabbed anything and everything I saw and brought it home to sort out. Most of it is going back, but I found 2 hats (one with ear-covers), a neck gaiter and a pair of mittens.

I didn't run this morning, though. The wind has been between 20-30 mph this morning. A few months ago, I went running when it was 24 mph and it was really hard. Add cold temperatures to that ... no thank you. So I went downstairs and used the elliptical, lifted weights and watched Jake 2.0 and Las Vegas. I like working out with the TV.

I hate Minnesota winter!

Ugh. I hate Minnesota.

This morning it was -2 degrees, but the windchill made it feel like -23 degrees. I went running anyway. I've gotten some advice from other MN runners, and tried to follow it. I wore 3 layers on top, a pair of tights and pants, 2 pairs of gloves and a hat. I slathered vaseline all over my face. Well, the first part of my run wasn't so bad, but that is because I was running with the wind. As soon as I turned into the wind, my run turned into hell. My right eye started watering and then kind of froze so I couldn't see out of that eye very well. My hat wasn't tight enough, so the wind reached my ears and they started to hurt. My legs were cold. I started seeing frost on my gloves. My nose ran non-stop. The left side of my face got really tight. It was terrible. I got home, and almost everywhere was bright red. I've been inside a little over an hour now, and most of that has gone away and I've warmed up. I do still have red patches under my eyes and on my nose.

I'm so frustrated. My husband was of little help or sympathy - "do other stuff when it's like this." Yeah, easy for the non-runner to say. I don't want to not run. Once you stop running, it is way too easy to not start again. My past running logs are proof of that. I wish this stupid town had a running store!! I am going to go out to SportMart later today to see if I can find a neck gaiter. One of the guys on MN-DRS suggested one from REI, but I don't think I can wait for one to be shipped. (And there is no REI in town). SportMart has a North Face one on their website, so I have some hope that there will be one in the store. I think having that would help a lot, especially since I could pull it up over my nose. I also need to look for a real running-type hat that will cover my head and protect my ears. I don't want to give up!

Found a new forum today, and I actually registered using my real name as opposed to a nick name. I have 3 different names I use on forums, and I didn't feel like picking between them. I also chose my real name in part because other people were using theirs, but because if I do start linking this thing to my posts, people will see my real name anyway.

Excel Running Log

Thinnmann.com has a really nice Excel running log. I used it last year, too, and once I change some fields it's really great. I still keep a paper log, but I like having a backup of my data somewhere. The Excel version is good for calculating min/mile, and tracking shoe mileage.

Running Plans; Discovery Health Body Challenge

Ok, it looks like I got this thing working. I'm not sure how much I'll use this, but at least I have a space if I want it.

I found a fun thing on Runners World the other day. It's called Dress the Runner, and it is supposed to tell you what to wear depending on weather. I've been trying to read a lot about clothing and weather lately, since the Minnesota weather is so much different from the IL and MO winters I'm used to. Luckily, this past week wasn't so terribly cold (who would have ever thought I'd call the 20s "not so bad"??) and I was able to get outside the 5 days that I wanted. It was snowing a little during my run on Monday, but it wasn't sticking and the ground wasn't icy. I do need to get a hat, as opposed to the headband I've been wearing. My shoes have about 50 miles left on them, so I'm hoping to get up to a running store soon where I can also check out the running clothes and accessories.

I've been trying to plan out my year, with regards to running. I'm pretty disappointed with 2003, especially with the lack of races. It's not like I ran a lot of races in 2001 or 2002, but the lack of a marathon is a huge disappointment. I really want to do 2 this year, but I'm not sure if that will be able to happen. A lot will depend on the quality of my training this month and next month. With the cold (and ice), I'm not sure if I'll be able to get in the miles I need for a May marathon. (Although I did look through my old training logs today, and the first 6 weeks of my previous marathon training efforts were really crappy). I'm overall optimistic about my chances of doing Med-City, and I've plotted out Hal Higdon's 18 week program. In addition to the marathon(s), I'd also like to run some distance races. There is a 20k in Rochester in April that I could do, but there is also a 25k trail race that month that kind of appeals to me. I want to do the Half-Marathon in August, and not have it suck. I want 2004 to be the year that I actually feel like a runner. I haven't focused enough on it over the last couple of years - I'll be good for a couple of months and then stuff happens and I don't run for awhile. I want to look back at my running log in 01/2005 and see weeks of consistent, quality running.

In non-running things, I signed up for the Discovery Health Body Challenge. It was free, and I'm such a sucker that I will try out almost anything online for free at least once. The DHBC really appealed to me, though, because it was going to offer me a customized meal plan. When I saw the nutritionist last month, she said that I eat pretty well but that I need to start cooking more as opposed to making stuff from boxes. I agree, but even with all the cookbooks I own and have checked out from the library, it's still really hard. I'm not good at making my own meal plans, but I'm good at following them. So the DHBC was going to plan meals for me, and when I signed up they even had a spot for me to customize that foods that would be included. That got me kind of excited for this - as a vegetarian, I'm left out of almost every program that comes with meal plans. To my great disappointment, almost all of the meals that the DHBC has planned for me have included meat. I've had to go in and replace all of them with something else, which takes away from the convenience I thought I'd signed up for. They've also included fast food, donuts, soda and candy bars. I can't even remember the last time I had soda, it was so long ago (I only drink water and lactose free milk). I also don't consider fast food, donuts and candy bars part of a daily meal plan - those are items I rarely consume, and if I do it's a small amount as a "treat." Those are not meal options to me. It could be worse, though. I could've been told to drink beer for breakfast, like one woman I know of.