A Little Less Of Me

My quest to become thinner and healthier

9/29 Workout: Couch to 5K Week 1, Run 2 30 September 2011

Filed under: Feel the Burn — lennonzgal @ 16:08
Tags: , , ,

Another barefoot run with a 1:00 run and 1:30 walk interval.  Once again, felt excellent.  During the run portions, I was averaging between 9:30-10:00/mile, which is awesome.  If I can keep that up, I’ll be tickled pink.  Hell, if I can keep it around 12:00/mile, I’d be thrilled to pieces.

Running barefoot (or at least, with the Vibram FiveFingers on my feet) is awesome.  I love the attention they get (my neighbors are still even noticing them and asking about them), and I love the way they make me run.  I’m totally upright, and I can feel that while my gait has shortened, my feet are moving much faster. 

I’ll say this – my calves were hella-sore yesterday from Tuesday’s run, and they’re pretty sore today, but its not an “oh, I shouldn’t have done that” sort, its more of a “cool – I had a good workout'” sore.  I have noticed that my right calf is sort of tightening as I run, so I’m paying close attention to that, though I don’t think it was the shoes … that started around mile 9 of the half two weeks ago, and I was wearing regular old sneakers for that.  I may hit the internet to see what the pain might be, but I’m a big baby, and if I see something like “could be cancer,” I’ll be pretty convinced that I’m dying.  Maybe I’ll just see if I can work it out on my own.

In the meantime, I’m really pleased with this first week of running barefoot.  I think that I can see myself running this way pretty permanently.  Its nice to be already excited for the next run – I felt like I had lost that during the last few weeks of my training recently.  I’m glad to have that feeling back – I like running just because I love to run.  I’m hoping to keep that up a little longer, and see if I can’t slowly get back up to maybe 6 miles on the weekends and keep it there for a little while.  I think that’s where I’ll be the most comfortable.


9/27 Workout: FiveFinger Run 28 September 2011

Filed under: Feel the Burn — lennonzgal @ 01:12
Tags: , , ,

Wow.  Just WOW.  I did my very first run in my Vibram FiveFingers, and woweee … I LOVED IT!  It was definitely a new experience.

If you recall, I’ve been reading Born To Run, which highlights the benefits of barefoot running (I’m actually almost done the book, so stay tuned for that too).  Imagine my surprise when they mention the FiveFingers shoes right in the book.  It made me even more excited to try them.  The book specifically calls out the benefits to barefoot running, such as the way your body forces you to run in the correct position – totally upright, feet under your hips, knees not entirely locked.  I figured there was going to be a bit of work involved, but I was willing to try it.

The FiveFingers come with instructions that explicitly tell you to not run more than 10% of your distance when you start running in the shoes, because they’re going to HURT.  To get around that, I decided to sort of reset myself by running the Couch to 5k program … again.  I did this right after I had Liam, and while I wasn’t able to keep on the schedule, it definitely helped me get back into the groove of running.  I’ve heard that people also use it to increase their speed as well, so added bonus.

Tonight, I decided to kick it off.  Its been over a week since the race, and its definitely time to get back to running.  I popped outside and started on my C25K program … This week’s run is 5 minute warm up, followed by a series of 1 minute runs with 1.5 minutes walks.  Those 1 minute runs were just enough to sort of get the hang of running, and again – WOW.  Running barefoot really does force your body into the right position.  Once or twice I had to avoid hitting heel-toe, but aside from that, it felt totally natural to run like that.  My runs were also around 10:00/mile, which I’d love to be able to keep going as my run time increases.

I also found out something very important: I CANNOT take a week off of exercising.  I have been SO stressed over the past week, and tonight I figured out why – I hadn’t been pounding the pavement. Run Like a Mother was right – I don’t just run for my health, I run so I don’t hurt people.  After just a 30 minute run, I felt WAY better.  I feel like I can survive work for the rest of the week, and I can survive Liam’s belated terrible twos tomorrow … not bad for a trial run of the FiveFingers, eh?


Fact versus Fiction 27 September 2011

Filed under: Musings — lennonzgal @ 11:36

I’ve spent my fair share of evenings in a Weight Watchers meeting.  It has both helped and hindered my weight loss, depending on my level of commitment at the time.  Mainly I go for the leader, not for the company.  Aside from the people I actually travel with (my mom and occasionally a few various and sundry aunts/uncles/friends of family will join us), the people at those meetings bug me.  One of the things that has always driven me nuts was the blanket statement that “junk food costs WAY less than healthy food.”  This is a fat person’s excuse to buy Oreos over apples, every time.  Are Oreos cheaper than their supposedly healthier counterpart, Snackwells?  Yep.  Are they cheaper than the stuff you’re supposed to be eating?  Nope.  That’s where it gets you.  We didn’t get fat having one or two Oreos every once in a while (which is what those sorts of snack foods are for), we got fat because we were eating them daily.  In handfuls.  As a replacement for healthy food.

People often mistake “low fat” or “reduced fat” for healthy.  Here’s the thing, people: a cookie is a cookie.  Never will a cookie replace a piece of fruit.  Ever.  I’m saying this because in some ways I’m struggling with it myself.  I know damn well that I should be eating more fruits and veggies, but I also know the temptation to put a baggie of Goldfish in my lunch rather than that baggie of strawberrries.  That said, I’ve always known that its better to eat fresh foods, foods cooked at home, and generally anything that doesn’t come in a pre-packaged manner.  I don’t always have time for it, but I at least know that its better for me.  And I think that’s why the statement that junk food is cheaper has always driven me nuts.  To me, its just someone’s way of rationalizing why they aren’t sticking to a diet. 

I’d been thinking about that very fact a lot when my friend Joy over at OysterEvangelist posted this blog entry about making an inexpensive meal.  I was doubly impressed when she did it with some of what I’d consider to be more expensive ingredients.  Just goes to show that even some of the most expensive items are STILL cheaper than buying crap.  And they’re WAY better for you.

Today, I saw this article via a dear friend on Facebook, and I say Bravo, NY Times.  You hit the nail on the head.  I hope the word starts to spread that this is the case … I know I’ll be passing the article along.  Maybe the more people that know about this and understand it, the fewer crap packaged goods we’ll see in the food stores someday.  A girl can hope, right?


Remember: The Turtle Won. 23 September 2011

Filed under: Musings — lennonzgal @ 17:43

Yeah, its been a while since I’ve been here.  Looks like its been at least three weeks, based on my last post; sorry about that!  I’ve been almost totally MIA from the online world in that time, neither reading nor posting blogs.  I’d like to say I’m back, but life is what it is and I’ll post when I can – when the choice comes between family or posting, I’ll pick family every time.

Over these past couple of weeks, I’ve had time to reflect on a lot of stuff – the race, my weight, my eating habits.  Lots of stuff.  Today though, I’m going to focus on the race, which was last weekend.

First, I want to commend the good people who organize the Rock-n-Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon.  6 years later, this is still by far the best-organized race I’ve ever attended.  This year, I went to the runner’s expo on Saturday with my friend Leslie, who would be running with Team in Training.  For those of you who don’t know, people who sign up with Team in Training run the same race that everyone else does, but they also raise money (Leslie raised over $1400!) for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  It’s a great cause, and a great way to have a sense of camaraderie as you train.  Having trained alone for the last two races,  I have to say that I was a little jealous.  I may consider training with them for my next one.

The expo, as always, was excellent.  I learned quickly that I can spend just as much money in a runner’s expo as I can in the same amount of time at the mall.  I ended up with a slew of gear with the race details on it (a little tee for Liam, plus a tech tee, a plain tee, a fleece, a tech hoodie, a pint glass, and a pin all for me), a couple of hats, a pair of cold-weather sleeves (basically, you add the sleeves to a short-sleeved t-shirt, and when it gets too warm as you heat up from running, you can just slide the sleeves off), a tee that says “If you see me collapse, pause my Garmin”, and a 13.1 mile magnet for my car.  I almost bought a tutu to wear to the race, because they had them in hot pink, but I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to run 13.1 like that.  Next time though, totally doing it.  I’m mad at myself for forgetting a medal hook, but that’s a goal for next time, unless I can find someone out there who specializes in medalworking, because I kind of have an idea of what I want, and I’m sure its something I’ll have to commission.

I left the expo with mixed feelings.  You can’t help but get all hyped up at an event like that – tons of runners of all shapes and sizes, the excitement of finally having your number and your time chip in your hands, and all of the wonderful gear, nutrition, and swag available to you from a number of superb vendors.  At the same time, I knew that my training had once again slacked off in the weeks running up to the race, and I wasn’t sure that I’d finish.  Still, I’d spent enough money in race-logo gear that I damn well better finish!  I wished Leslie luck and headed home, nervous and excited all at the same time.  Leslie was visibly feeling the same way, so at least I wasn’t alone.

Didn’t sleep a wink that night.  Thankfully, there was recently an article in Runner’s World (which I currently cannot find) that spoke about the fact that the REAL time to get sleep is two nights before the race – good.  I slept like a rock that night.  Anyway, was up around 5am and headed down to the Art Museum to get myself ready to go.  I had spent enough money at the expo that I was able to use the VIP potties available (a slightly higher-class port-a-potty – they have more of an airline feel to them, meaning they sort of flush, and you actually get soap), so that was a nice touch.  Especially since I have to use the thing like 4 times before the race because I’m panicked about having to pee during.

I’ve learned something about myself over these past few years running, and most recently over this year as I’ve  trained for the two halves: I S-U-C-K at pacing.  I started out with the first mile running around 12:00/mile.  I finished the first 5k in 42:55, which was around 13:45-ish/mile.  I finished the race at 3:10:04, which was just around 14:30/mile.  Now, I’ve been reading a lot about running over the years.  Between the books I’ve gotten recently, and the Runner’s World that I’ve been buying for several years, I know that you’re not supposed to start off like a shot, but shoot out I do.  And of course, I slow down immensely toward the end.  By the last maybe mile and a half, I was walking a LOT.  Still, I had a ball.  I spoke to a few people who were running the whole thing in their Vibram FiveFingers, and every one of them couldn’t have been more excited to talk about them and tell me how much they loved them.  I’m very excited to start running in mine.

Around 12.75 miles, I could see Will with Liam on his shoulders – talk about a sight for sore eyes!  As he did in May, Liam ran the end of the race in with me.  They gave him his own medal, and we had our photo taken together once again.  I’ll post it as soon as I get a copy of it myself.

All in all, I’m proud of myself.  It wasn’t my best time, but it wasn’t my worst either.  I know that I’ve got some stuff I need to work on, like pacing myself, and my overall speed.  But I can do that.  For now, I think I’m going to cut back to 5k’s again and start working on that speed.  I’ve got a 5k race in October (please join if you can, it’s for a wonderful cause … a little girl who lost her life to brain cancer … look for Get Well Gabby here), so that’ll be a good time to see how I’m improving … it’s a little less than a month away.  I’ve also learned that two halves, at least two as far apart as these two were, is not good for me.  The first one was fine; the training for the second one was forced.  Maybe if they had been a month apart, it would’ve been okay, but having the number of months in between, I feel like I’ve been training all damn year, and that’s just too long.  Sometimes, its okay to just go out and run for the love of running.  I’m going to use this fall to get back into that.  5k’s, maybe the occasional 10k, but that’s it – no hardcore training involved – just going out there and running because it’s fun.

I took the week off to recover, and I’m itching to get back out there … I start my barefoot running campaign sometime between this weekend and next week … I’m very excited for it!  The 5k will be my first barefoot race, which is just as exciting!  I’m happy to get  back into shorter, hopefully more meaningful runs … doing it because I love it, not because I have to.  Here’s to a lovely fall full of choice running weather!


Just 3 More Weekends. 4 September 2011

Filed under: Feel the Burn — lennonzgal @ 10:44

I’ve come to the conclusion that one half-marathon a year is probably my limit – that, or at least two halves that are sort of close together (like in 2006, when I ran the Distance Run in September, and then followed it up with the Philly Half in November … just a month between races).  Having run the ODDyssey in May, and training through the summer for the Distance Run again in a couple of weeks is really draining me – not physically, just mentally.  Mostly, I’m tired of missing out on hours of fun time at home.  I’d rather be going out for a “quick” 6 mile run on the weekends and backing that up with a couple of 3-4 milers during the week.  That sounds more my style over the long haul.

So, I just keep telling myself 3 more weekends – I have a 12 miler today (which is why I’m up at the crack of dawn on Labor Day weekend), and then a short probably 5-6 miler next weekend, and then … the half!  I’m sure I’ll be just as proud of finishing this one as I was of finishing the one in May, but I’ll also be glad to get back to a more realistic running schedule.  Training for distance races like this cause me to miss out on a lot of family time, and I’m not so into that.