Thursday, January 31, 2008

Crisp, Clear and COLD!

Yesterday's Total Calorie Intake: 2187
(Exercise Calories: 673)
Total Net Calories:  1514

This morning was a 3-mile easy run...I decided to run outside in the neighborhood instead of at the gym. It was a clear, crisp morning - the moon and stars were so bright when I stepped out of the house at 5:50am. But it was cold...the NOAA site said 22 degrees (and 15 degree wind chill - yuck!). Luckily, I was wearing my new Mizuno shirt underneath my windbreaker which kept me warm.

I ended up running well - another sub-11min/mile easy run (10:52/mile) with my average heart rate at 150 bpm.

I was still in a Rolling Stones mood after yesterday's run, so I listened to "Let It Bleed" this morning. At the tail end of my run, the last track "You Can't Always Get What You Want" started...I really wanted to listen to this song, so I walked around the block an extra time for a cool down :-)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Speedwork This Morning

Yesterday's Total Calorie Intake: 1792
(Exercise Calories: 393)
Total Net Calories: 1399

This morning's workout was a 5 mile run. I've decided to try to do speedwork with the middle run of each week, so today I ran a 5-interval Yasso 800 workout. I hit the gym instead of the track due to the was actually quite mild this morning (about 45 degrees) but with wind gusts up to 25 mph. I also have an issue with going to the track for speedwork when it is dark - my HRM does not have a backlight so I have no idea what my pace is or what my heart rate is until I'm standing under a light...pretty annoying!

My splits today were 4:25, 4:24, 4:24, 4:29, 4:26 - however, my heart rate kept climbing throughout the workout. At the end of the last interval my heart rate was at 181 - 97% of my max heart rate. So I probably ran these a bit faster than I should have. We'll see how it goes the next few weeks and if I can keep the same pace with my heart rate not spiking up so high.

I listened to The Rolling Stones "Exile on Main Street". This is a great rock-n-roll album, but the earbuds from my iPod did not give this music justice! Partly due to the background noise at the gym and partly due to the fact that the sound from the earbuds is not rich enough. When I came home I pumped up this album on my home stereo speakers during breakfast...much better!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Cold and Drizzle - Yuck!

Yesterday's Total Calorie Intake:  1554

This morning's run was in cold and drizzly conditions.  Not my favorite time to run :-(  Luckily, it was 36 degrees - not too cold - and not raining hard which would have been a lot worse.  You have to look at the bright side, right?

I did a pseudo-hill workout.  It was an out-and-back course where it was net down hill out and net uphill on the return.  There was an elevation climb of about 100 ft during the last 3/4 of a mile.  I did my best to "conquer the hills" and then do recovery jogs on the downhill and flat portions of the route.

This morning's music collection was The Beatles White Album.  Unfortunately, I can't link to iTunes as The Beatles are not in iTunes...yet.  I used to listen to this album a lot in High School and many of the songs brought back fond memories.

Monday, January 28, 2008

"I'm Not A Baby Anymore"

This is a non-running related story, but very cute, so I had to share!

After bathing my 2 year old son Matan this evening, I wrapped him up in a towel and started to rock him while singing "Rock a Bye Baby". He immediately said "No". I asked him "Why no?" His response was "I'm not a baby anymore". I couldn't hold back my laughter!!!

Now that I think about it more, however, I realize that I have officially crossed another milestone - there are no more babies in my house. Here's a photo of my "little boy" a few weeks ago as he's preparing to go to pre-school for the first time by himself.

Week 4 Weigh In - Success!

Wow!  I was quite surprised when I stepped on the scale this morning for the weigh in.  The scale said 165.0 - that's 1.5 pounds less than last week's weigh in!  And this week included my vacation "chow down" for a few days...unbelievable!

So far I have lost 6 pounds in 4 weeks.  Slow and steady - just like training for a marathon.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Weigh In Tomorrow...I Have No Idea How It Will Go!

Today's Total Calorie Intake:  1995
(Exercise Calories:  553)
Total Net Calories:  1442

I have no idea how tomorrow's weigh in will be tomorrow.  I had a pretty high-mileage running week (19 miles), and the past two days I have held my net calories under 1600.  However, during my vacation there were a few meals and desserts when I threw the calorie counting out the window.

It should be interesting tomorrow morning...

Getting Into a Sunday Morning Groove

Yesterday's Total Calorie Intake: 2556 
(Exercise Calories:  1079)
Total Net Calories:  1477

The past few Sunday mornings have worked out very well.  We all go to the gym as a family - I do my cross-training on the elliptical machine, Sherry runs on the treadmill and the kids go to the babysitting room and play / watch television.  Everyone is happy!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The New Gear Review

In my post yesterday, I mentioned that I had purchased a Mizuno Breath Thermo top and an Amphipod RunLite water belt that I would use on this morning's run.  I'm very happy with both purchases :-)

The Mizuno top kept me relatively warm - it was 23 degrees outside when I left the house, and I was wearing the Mizuno top and a New Balance windbreaker.  Within about 5 minutes into my run, my torso did not feel cold at all (my fingers started to get cold again after about an hour and fifteen minutes, so I may need to invest in a new pair of gloves...).

I'm very glad that I purchased the Amphipod as my water belt.  I started with the two water bottles on my back and eventually moved them more towards my sides instead.  Most other water belts have pre-determined locations for your water bottles and it was nice to be able to move these around when they felt uncomfortable.  BTW, towards the end of my run, the water droplets that were at the top of each of the water bottles started to freeze, so I had instant ice water.  That's how cold it was this morning :-)

Choo Choos, Suburban Sprawl and New Urbanism

This morning was my 9 mile long run - my longest to date during the training plan.  I charted a loop course from my neighborhood past NIST through Olde Towne Gaithersburg past the other side of NIST and back to my neighborhood (see below).

Running through Olde Towne Gaithersburg reminded me of a lecture in a history class I took at The University of Michigan.  Professor Achenbaum discussed how the growth of America during the Industrial Revolution was fueled by the "choo choo train".  Towns and cities along the railway path saw tremendous growth as they were able to get their manufactured goods and agriculture to the big cities a lot easier than before (and they were able to get goods from the big cities easier as well).  Olde Towne Gaithersburg still has many of the original buildings from the late 1800s / early 1900s in close proximity to the old railroad station.  It is neat to see first hand how the railroad had an impact on the development and growth of this once agricultural town.

Running past NIST, various strip malls and housing developments demonstrated how cars - and the Interstate Highway System - had a huge impact on how cities grew in the post World War II era.  With everyone having their own car, cities were able to grow in this "suburban sprawl" way, putting people further from their jobs, their shopping and further from each other.

Then it was back into my "new urbanism" neighborhood.  I believe that this will be the new trend for growth - families gathering in common areas instead of their individual backyards, and people being closer to shopping areas and restaurants.  Bridging the old and the new...but enough about my random thoughts from this morning's run :-)

This morning I listened to more Mike and Mike Podcasts.  Since I was on vacation, I did not follow many stories in the sports world - I didn't even realize that Tom Brady had tweaked his ankle and was wearing a protective boot (it seemed to be one of the biggest sports stories of the week).  One inspiring story from last week was that of Ron Hunter, the basketball coach at IUPUI who coached a game barefoot this week to raise awareness for children in need.  His goal was to send 40,000 pairs of shoes to children in Africa...quite a wonderful story.

Friday, January 25, 2008

New Gear For Tomorrow's Long Run!

Today's Total Calorie Intake:  1942

Tomorrow is a 9 mile long run - too long to really run inside on the treadmill, so I'm going to run outside.  However, I checked the weather report and it looks like it will be around 20 degrees in the morning when I go to run - Yikes!

I went to my local Fleet Feet running store to get a water belt since this run will be longer than any of my previous training runs have been and I will need to stay hydrated.  I ended up purchasing the Amphipod RunLite belt with three bottles and a pouch.  This system is modular - you can take bottles off or add ones on later, and you can change the placement and direction of the bottles (bottles can be set horizontally or vertically on the belt).

While I was trying the belts on, I was discussing how I'm not looking forward to running in the cold tomorrow and the saleswoman told me about the Mizuno tops that warm up when you sweat.  They had one left in the store and I took it.  The ironic thing is that I'm now actually looking forward to tomorrow's run in the 20 degree weather to see if the shirt actually works!

Vacation is OVER!

Yesterday's Total Calorie Intake:  ????? (the last time!)

I am home now - vacation was fun (and tiring - remember, I'm traveling with a 5 year old and 2 year old), but the weight loss plan took a back seat while I was away.

Not that it was totally thrown out the window, however.  It seems that on most days I was fine until dinner time - I ran in the morning and did not overeat for breakfast, lunch and snacks.  Dinner - and dessert time - were the killers, though.  It was a vacation, so I wasn't going to deprive myself.

Now it's back to reality - and closely counting my calories...

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Spirit of the Marathon

Tonight is the screening of "The Spirit of the Marathon".  This movie was scheduled for a one-night release only, and I was pretty psyched to go see it.  However, since I'm traveling back from Florida today, I did not purchase a ticket...I was going to first ensure that I would get back home in time (you never know with flying in the winter) and then go.

Yesterday, I found out that the movie is sold out at the two theaters closest to me.  Yikes!  Perhaps I should have bought a ticket ahead of time.

Luckily, I was informed this morning that there will be an Encore showing on February 21.  I will definitely be purchasing advance tickets for that one :-)  Let me know if you want to see it with me!

Pseudo Speedwork

Yesterday's Total Calorie Intake:  ????  again!

This morning I was scheduled for a 3 mile run - two loops around my parents community again.  Since I had not done any speedwork this week, I decided to do a pseudo tempo run.  I jogged for the first half mile, then did a full loop (1.4 miles) at a quick pace and then slowed it down again.

Although the full run was at a 10 min/mile pace, I felt quite sluggish again this morning, just like yesterday morning.  A lot had to do with the late night eating/drinking on previous nights.  I'm not sure if it is the sugar overload or the alcohol - I may have to experiment a bit in the coming weeks to figure out just what is slowing me down ;-)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Jogging on Jog Road

For this morning's run, I hit the main streets around the perimeter of my parent's development.  One of the streets is Jog Road...I found it very appropriate to be jogging up Jog Road :-)

One big change that I noticed on my run (besides the fact that the weather is much warmer, of course!) is in the types of birds that were flying over head.  This morning, I saw a few small herons, and lots of gulls (there was also a flock of some type of white birds with a long skinny beak - I don't think they were great egrets, but they resembled them).  My neighborhood in Maryland has a lot of nice birds - and one great blue heron that stops by every so often - but seeing the different birds today were really a treat.

I listened to some Harel Skaat and Harel Moyal on my run today.  These artists were the runner-up and winner (respectively) in Israel's version of "American Idol" - called Kochav Nolad - a few years ago.

The Family Garbage Disposal

Yesterday's Total Calorie Intake:  ??????

One behavior that counting calories has helped me avoid is being the "family garbage disposal".  Basically, I would eat whatever food was left on the plates of my wife and kids after they had finished eating.  This had pretty much stopped over the past three weeks, but I relapsed yesterday at Ben's Deli.

The kids barely ate their meals and since we don't get to eat a kosher meat meal in a restaurant too often I "went to town"!  I have no idea what the final calorie count would be, but after I finished my half of the Roumanian steak with sauteed onions and my half of a kasha knish (Sherry and I split our entree and side), I ate half a hot dog, a healthy amount of a potato latka and a few chicken tenders.  Luckily, I started out with a clean slate today!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Warm and Breezy

Yesterday's Total Calorie Intake:  1922
(Exercise Calories:  200)
Total Net Calories:  1722

This morning's run it was warm - about 72 degrees - and breezy.  I ran around the loop of my parents neighborhood down's about 1.4 miles around and about .1 of a mile from their house to the loop...twice around is pretty close to the 3 miles that I was scheduled for!

When I returned from my run and checked the actual temperature, I saw the weather back home - snow, sleet, freezing rain and temperatures in the 30s.  It's nice to be in Florida :-)

As for calories, I'm trying to careful but not sticking to my guns as it is vacation.  My net calories could have been higher, but Sherry and I decided to go Israeli dancing last night to get out of the house and get some exercise.  Tonight, we are eating at Ben's Kosher Deli, so it will be tough to get an accurate sense of how many calories I'm consuming.  My plan is to split the Roumanian Steak smothered with sauteed onions - I ordered this on my own last time and it was way too much food...luckily Sherry also loved this entree so we'll be able to split it (and perhaps get a knish too??)

Monday, January 21, 2008

Rest Day?

The training plan that I'm using calls for a rest day today.  I took a day off from running, but airline travel with a 5 year old and 2 year old is nothing but restful!

I'll be in Boynton Beach for the next few days and have already charted out my runs this week - tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday (3, 4 and 3 miles respectively).

Week 3 Weigh In

Yesterday's Total Calorie Intake:  1740
(Exercise Calories:  612)
Total Net Calories:  1128

Good news for the Week 3 weigh in.  I lost another pound - I'm down to 166.5.  That's 4.5 pounds in 3 weeks!

We woke up really early this morning (I was up at 4:30am) to catch a 7:30am flight down to Florida.  We're visiting my parent in Boynton Beach this week.  There'll be no excuses for me not to run outside :-)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

iPod Found!!!

I went to the gym this morning for cross training on the elliptical machine.  I noticed that the manager was there although I was previously told that he works M-F from 11am to 7pm.  So I stopped him and asked about the iPod shuffle and gave him the description.  He went to the lost and found cubby at the front and...."ta-da" he had my iPod!!!

Boy, was I lucky!

One thing that I realized is that I should really have a log of serial numbers for all of my gadgets that may get lost (iPod, Palm Pilots, cellphones, laptop computers, etc).  This way would be the most convincing way to claim a device if lost or try to retrieve it if it was ever stolen.

Lunch Bunch

Yesterday's Total Calorie Intake:  2476
(Exercise Calories:  643)
Total Net Calories:  1833

One Shabbat (Saturday) afternoon per month, we get together with three other families who go to our synagogue for what we call "Lunch Bunch".  All four families have similar Shabbat observance - we all go to synagogue almost every Saturday morning and use the day for rest, relaxation, recreation and "family time" - and we all have kids 6 years old or under.  The kids all play nicely together and the adults can actually have adult conversations (most of the time).  Of course, the hosts usually prepare a great meal - and this week was no exception!  It was great to feast on pulled-beef brisket sandwiches...YUM!  (as you can see, my total calorie intake was a bit high yesterday...)

The only problem I had was that since this was my "stepback" week, I only ran 5 miles that morning - so I could only have one sandwich.  The next few month's lunch bunches I'll be deep into my training plan so I'll be able to really eat like a king :-)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Where Is My iPod????

Last night I was preparing for my run and put together my playlist in iTunes.  I went to get my iPod shuffle to sync it up and...uh oh - I could not find it!

I looked in every conceivable place that I may have put it after working out on Thursday morning and still could not locate it.

I called Bally's and the person at the desk mentioned that they think they saw the manager placing a blue iPod in the safe the other day.  However, only the manager can open the safe...and he only works M-F 11am to 7pm.  She told me I should come in during those hours and ask for the manager.

Since I'm traveling to Florida this week, I guess I won't be listening to music on my runs :-(

Running on Prednisone

I am on a steroid called Prednisone to help clear up some ear pain.  I've taken this before and it peps me up and makes me a bit jumpy, so I figured my run this morning would be a breeze.

I laced up and put my HRM on, and noticed that my resting heart rate was quite elevated this morning.  DUH!  There's a reason I'm peppy and jumpy!

So, although this morning's run felt good - it was a struggle to keep my heart rate down to where it should be on a long run.  Luckily it was my step back week and I only had a 5 miler this morning.

No music this morning...details about that in my next post.

Friday, January 18, 2008

More On Losing Weight...

Today's Total Calorie Intake:  1932

I mentioned earlier that four years ago I had lost a little over 20 pounds.  20 pounds doesn't seem like too much weight, but it was definitely a visible change.  Here's a picture with me when my first son, Doron, was born before I lost weight:

Here's a picture with my younger son, Matan, after I lost weight:

Carrying around less weight also helps a lot with running.  I ran my first 10K when Sherry was pregnant with Doron and my knees would start aching after about 5 miles.  Now a 5 mile run is a very comfortable distance for me.

Ear Pain :-(

Yesterday's Total Calorie Intake: 2196
(Exercise Calories: 600)
Total Net Calories: 1596

The past few days I have had some ear pressure and pain, and it got really worse last night. This happens to me every year - usually in November or December. My ears and sinuses have been horrible ever since I was a child...I had tubes put in my ears when I was 5 years old due to frequent ear infections (the doctor who did the procedure in 1976 is still a practicing ENT doctor!) and my sinuses get stuffy and/or runny on a seasonal basis.

The issue with my ears is that the Eustachian tubes get blocked due to a party going on in my sinuses, which creates pressure in my ears which in turn irritates them. Luckily, it is not a full-blown ear infection (although I have had general practitioners diagnose it as such due to the amount of redness in the ear canal), however, it is still painful. Last year, my ENT suggested I use a saline nasal spray when the weather gets colder which would hopefully keep the tubes from being blocked. I was following this recommendation and it was working...November and December passed with NO ear pressure! I thought I had dodged the bullet...until this week :-(

Today, the ENT put me on prednisone which is a steroid. Luckily it is only for 4 days, since this drug usually makes me a bit jumpy and jittery. However, my long run tomorrow may be a bit faster than normal :-)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Intervals Again

Yesterday's Total Calorie Intake:  1877
(Exercise Calories:  400)
Total Net Calories:  1477

This morning was a 4 mile speedwork workout.  I did Yasso 800s again - this time 4 of them instead of 3.  I went a bit slower this week than last week since my body still hasn't fully recovered from the blood donation on 800 splits were 4:28, 39, 39, 35.

I'm now starting to recognize complete strangers at the gym - heaven help me!

Last night, I was thinking about a particular CD which was not in my iTunes (and therefore I have not listed to in a while since I listen to most of my music on my iPod now).  When I went to get it and rip it into iTunes, I saw the Indigo Girls "Swamp Ophelia" which also never made it into my iTunes somehow.  I love the harmonies on this album!  It was great to listen to it this morning.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Back On Track

Yesterday's Total Calorie Intake: 1837

This morning was my first run after giving blood on Monday. I decided it would be at the gym on the treadmill (I checked the weather last night and it said low of 23 degrees with a light wind - I whimped out on the cold again...).

When I put my HRM on while getting ready, my resting heart rate was in the high 70s, so I knew that it was going to be a slower day. Luckily, I did not feel sluggish - I just couldn't run as fast at the same heart rate. My pace was a full minute per mile slower than Monday's run (11:50 per mile today vs 10:50 per mile on Monday) but I kept my average heart rate under 150 and felt good.

I had thrown a mix of Israeli tunes in my iPod including songs by David D'or, Danny Robas, Gidi Gov, Sarit Hadad and Harel Moyal.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Another Local May Marathon

So...I was looking at the Marathon Calendar in this month's Runner's World, and saw that there is another local marathon on May 4.

The Potomac River Run starts in Belle Haven Park - just south of Alexandria, VA. The website states that this is a "shady, paved course through forest alongside Potomac River and George Washington Memorial Parkway" which sounds great! However, when I looked at the course map I see that the marathon is an "out-and-back-and-out-and-back" course (i.e. a half marathon "out-and-back" course that you do twice)

Psychologically, when I get back to the start of the course after the first 13.1 miles, I'm not sure I'm going to want to turn around and do it again...

Has anyone run this race? Should I go for this one or stick with Frederick?

Giving Blood and Running

Yesterday's Total Calorie Intake: 2045
(Exercise Calories: 422)
Total Net Calories: 1623

I gave blood yesterday. It is something I have been doing regularly now for a little over a year. I have an uncommon blood type - AB+ - so I believe it is an important thing to do to ensure that there is ample supply of blood for this type (even though it is a "universal recipient" blood type...)

The problem with giving blood and training, however, is that your body takes a few days to recover and get back to its normal aerobic capacity. I learned this the hard way :-)

On Thanksgiving Day, I ran the Bethesda Turkey Chase. I had given blood that Monday during my lunch break, and on Tuesday morning I went out for a final 3 mile run before the 10K on Thursday. I laced up my shoes, put on my HRM, and whoa! my HRM was giving me a "resting HR" of 93 (it is normally in the 60s). I knew right then it would be a tough, slow run. I felt really sluggish, my pace was about 1:20 per mile slower than the week before and my HR was averaging in the 160s. I went back to see if this happened before after giving blood. I had been smart NOT to run the day after giving blood, however, I did run a 5K that July - TWO DAYS after giving blood. I remember feeling sluggish at that race and blamed the hilly course and the heat and humidity. Then I realized that I did not account for giving blood earlier that week.

That is why I moved my schedule around this week to rest today, do an easy run tomorrow and hopefully do an interval workout on Thursday (depending on my resting HR).

Monday, January 14, 2008

Improving Aerobic Fitness

It's great when you can see your aerobic fitness levels improve - both in the feeling when you are running and in the data that is collected.

My run this morning was on the treadmill (it's cold and rainy outside...a combination I do not like!)...a 3 mile "easy" run.  Exactly two weeks ago, doing the same 3 miles on the treadmill, my pace was 11:35 min/mile with an average heart rate of 150 bpm.  This morning, my pace was 10:51 min/mile with an average heart rate of 145 bpm!!  Woohoo!  Also, it was my first sub-11 min mile pace training run of this program (with the exception of the interval training).  I'll have to look back in my log to see how far into my 1/2 marathon programs it took me to get to this fitness level, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't two weeks in.  The extra day of running is most likely helping me.

This morning's music was brought to you by Lenny Kravitz...his debut album "Let Love Rule".  The track "Mr. Cab Driver" is about racial prejudice...this got me wondering whether enough progress has been made in the 19 years since this album was released (wow!  unbelievable it has been 19 years...) such that Barak Obama will actually have a chance to be elected president.

This morning was also my week 2 weigh in.  I stayed the same as last week at 167.5 lbs.  I'm not getting discouraged, though, as I can already start to feel my pants fitting better (there are still a few pairs that are too tight, but it's only been two weeks).  Also, with losing over 3 pounds last week, this now puts my average weight loss per week between 1-2 pounds which is where it should be.  No worries...

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Week 3 - My First "Stepback" Week

Today's Total Calorie Intake:  1975
(Exercise Calories:  637)
Total Net Calories:  1238

The training plan I'm using has "stepback" weeks every third week.  Most weeks, the long run increases by at least a mile, but on stepback weeks the mileage is reduced.  This week's long run will go down to 5 miles...the week after I'm up to 9 miles!

I plan to do my weekly runs on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday this week.  I'm donating blood during my lunch break on Monday, so I'm not going to run on Tuesday.  I'll most likely do an interval or tempo run on Thursday if I do OK on Wednesday...otherwise I'll skip the speedwork this week.

Long Run Days

Yesterday's Total Calorie Intake: 2606
(Exercise Calories: 985)
Total Net Calories: 1621

Yesterday was my second long run day. I was a bit sore towards the end of the day, but I feel really good this morning (ready to hit the gym for some cross training). I was a little worried yesterday since it was only a little over 7 miles that I ran - what's going to happen when I start running 10, 15 or 20 miles? I think the main thing I'll need to do on my long runs is slow it down a heart rate was a bit too high on yesterday's run.

One other observation on long run days - I burn so many calories that I'm going to be able to eat pretty much whatever I want! It was great to sit down in front of the game last night have some beer and chips and know that my body will burn right through those extra calories (hopefully...we'll see tomorrow morning when I weigh in!).

Off to the gym to hit either the stationary bike or elliptical machine!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

No Clopper Lake :-(

When I walked outside this morning I saw my lawn was still a bit muddy, so I chose not to run at Clopper Lake.  I have taken a spill on the trail there a few times when it was dry - tripping on rocks or tree roots - and I didn't want to take a chance with mud and wet leaves.  So, I hit the streets again!

Again, the chilly temperatures - and getting lost in the music - sped me up to faster than I should have been for a long run.  My average heart rate was 159 should be closer to 150 bpm.  I'll need to slow it down next week.  I kept a 11:10 min/mile pace over the 7.3 miles...not bad for a long run.

This time I listened to a random music mix on my iPod Shuflle.  I started off with REM's "Me In Honey", it ended with Bruce Springsteens "Worlds Apart"  and had a bunch of tunes from across different time periods and genres in between (Green Day, Jimi Hendrix, Billy Joel, Sheryl Crow, J-Lo, Shai Gabso, etc.)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Shabbat Shalom!

Today's Calorie Intake:  2087

So...perhaps it's not such a great idea that Friday is my rest day.

Every week Sherry prepares a wonderful Erev Shabbat meal (Sabbath Eve) complete with homemade challah bread, chicken, a few sides and dessert.  It is always delicious.  However, it is also my biggest meal of the week.

On one hand, it's probably good to have this meal the night before my long run so I know that my body will have fuel to burn.  However, on the calorie counting side, it would be best if this meal came on an exercise day :-)

On the bright side, my calorie intake today was at the level it should be if I was looking to maintain my weight.  So, I'm not worried that I went over the 1600-1700 calorie range for one day.

Tomorrow's Long Run

Tomorrow I'm scheduled to run 7 miles. One of my favorite routes is running to, around and back from Clopper Lake at Seneca Creek Park which is a little over 7.5 miles. However, it has rained here for the past 36 hours and the trail is most likely going to be slick and muddy.

I've been looking forward to doing this run all week, but I may have to find an alternate route :-(

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Another Rest Day

Today's Total Calorie Intake:  2362
(Exercise Calories:  630)
Total Net Calories:  1732

It just so happens that the training plan I'm using has a rest day on Friday - as I'm preparing for Shabbat (the Jewish Sabbath/day of rest).  I'll need the rest after this morning's speed workout.

"Yasso 800s" Workout

Yesterday's Total Calorie Intake: 1770
(Exercise Calories: 200)
Total Net Calories: 1570

I've read that the most important workout in preparing for the marathon is the long run. This workout will build up endurance and get the body used to hours of pounding the pavement. However, a second important workout is speedwork - either interval runs or tempo/pace runs - which improves aerobic fitness.

One interval workout which is supposedly good for marathon training is the Yasso 800s workout. These are half-mile speed intervals (approx 800 meters) that you aim to complete at the pace in min:sec that you will race your marathon in hrs:min. For example, if I'm going to try an complete a marathon in 4 hours and 30 seconds, I'll want to run my half mile intervals in 4 min and 30 sec (a 9 min mile pace).

During my intervals this morning, I was not watching the pace, but rather my HRM and trying to stay below 170bpm. Here were my splits for the three intervals I did today: 4:24, 4:25 and 4:27. Pretty consistent (OK, I was on a treadmill, so it's not too hard to keep your pace consistent!). Based on the McMillan Running Calculator, my marathon time should be somewhere between a 4:16 and 4:46, so it looks like the pace for my Yasso 800s is spot on!

I took a break from music today and listened to the ESPN Mike and Mike Podcast. Since I don't have a commute to work, I sometimes miss sports talk radio and have to get my fix every so often.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Running Gear

Currently, I run with the following "gear":
- Brooks Glycerin 5 Shoes
- Polar S120 HRM
- RoadID w/shoe pouch
- iPod Shuffle (I used to run with my 3rd generation iPod, but switched to the lighter, flash based player)

I know that as I increase my mileage, I'll need to carry water with me. Any recommendations for a "water belt"? Or should I just run loop courses near my house and leave water on the porch?

Are there any other recommendations for gear that I have to try???

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Rest Day

Today's Total Calorie Intake:  2129
(Exercise Calories:  434)
Total Net Calories:  1695

Tomorrow is a non-running day.  I'll still get exercise at Yesodot rehearsal (the Israeli Dance troupe that I co-direct)...but no running.

Avoiding The Nighttime Snack Binge...

One thing that counting calories helps me avoid is the "Nighttime Snack Binge".

Last night would have been disastrous if I were not counting calories. I had run in the morning - so my body was ready to burn as much fuel as I would have given it (and believe was wanting more fuel!) and I was watching a football game (it was the so-called College Football "National Championship Game"...they really need a playoff system - how can a 2-loss team be crowned the National Champs when there are 1-loss teams out there?).

I normally would have kept going back for snacks throughout the entire game and perhaps had a beer or two. Instead, I took two servings of tortilla chips out of the bag (about 30 chips / about 300 calories) and poured some salsa in a dish. When it was gone, I was finished snacking.

Perhaps that's another reason why I did so well on my run this morning...I didn't have all of that extra food weighing me down!

Reversing Direction...and Speeding Up?

Yesterday's Total Calorie Intake:  2059
(Exercise Calories:  446)
Total Net Calories:  1613

Another beautiful morning - 52 degrees when I stepped outside a little before 6am.  I ran the same route this morning as yesterday - but in reverse...and I ran it about a minute faster!  (16 seconds per mile faster).  I'm not sure why today was a faster day than yesterday - it could be due to the uphills being towards the beginning of the route today instead of at the end of the route yesterday, it could be because I wore shorts instead of tights (yesterday was a bit too warm for the tights, but I did not realize it until I was outside and running away) and it could just be that my body is getting used to this idea of running more frequently.

Since I may be running in the Frederick Marathon, I decided it was a good time to practice my "farmer's blow" (I apologize to any blog readers who are farmers or are rural enough to take offense at the term - or those who are easily grossed out).  But seriously, during the winter months when I run outside my nose tends to run a bit.  Normally, I'm wearing my running jacket since it's cold outside and I carry tissues with me...but since today it was so warm I did not have my jacket on (and thus no tissues).  Perhaps I need to take something to clear those nasal passages before I run...

I also finally listened to some music from this century :-)  "Ben Kweller".  Although not a "beat pumping" album to run to, the tracks "Run" and "I Gotta Move" keep me upbeat and moving.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Oh What a Beautiful Morning!

It was 50 degrees outside when I went for my morning run.  How wonderful!

My favorite 3 mile loop from my house goes around one of the Kentlands lakes, but I'm a bit nervous to run it in darkness due to the fact that there are definitely foxes in the forests there (not relatives of mine!) and coyotes have been spotted in other parts of the county nearby.

So, I stuck to the streets :-(  Unfortunately, with training in the winter, this is going to be a common occurrence.

I listened to the Eagles "Hotel California" this morning.  I hadn't listened to that album in years!

First Week's Weigh In...

This morning I stepped on the scale (before my run, of course), and it said 167.5.  I lost 3 1/2 pounds this week!

OK...I know that it's week #1 - usually the first week or two of this kind of diet shows better results as the body is adjusting to the new "fuel plan".  I'm assuming that next week I'll also lose in the 2-3 pound range and after that it will slow down to a steady 1-2 pounds per week.

At this pace, I should be back down to 160 in time for Valentine's Day...and I'll be able to enjoy some of those Godiva truffles :-)

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Cross-Training Day

Today's Total Calorie Intake:  2107
(Exercise Calories:  522)
Total Net Calories:  1585

Today was my first cross-training day on the training plan.  I did 30 min on the elliptical machine at the gym.  I also have the Israeli Dance class that I lead on Sunday nights which will be some extra cross training each Sunday!

The weather is scheduled to be beautiful during the next two days, so I'm going to shift my running days to Monday, Tuesday and Thursday this week - instead of Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.

Overall it has been a good week.  I feel great so far!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Book Recommendations?

Today's Total Calorie Intake:  2409
(Today's Exercise Calories:  718)
Total Net Calories:  1691

I've already had one blog reader recommend the book "Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide" by Hal Higdon (thanks Jamie!).

Are there any other books you all recommend for me to prepare?


I ran outside this morning for my long run.  The NOAA site for Gaithersburg said it was 20 degrees at 7am this morning when I ventured outside.  YIKES!

I don't mind running in the cold (as long as it is not windy), however, the first 10-15 minutes of the run are always tough.  I end up running faster than I should to warm myself up.  I noticed it again this morning and tried to slow myself down every few minutes to ensure I was running a good comfortable pace to cover the 6 miles I was scheduled to run.

I enjoyed two classic Israeli albums on my run - HaChalonot HaGvohim (kinda sounds like an Israeli version of the Mamas and the Papas) and BaDeshe Etzel Avigdor.  Both feature Arik Einshtein who has been involved in Israeli popular music for at least 40 years!

I ran a loop course on the main streets surrounding the perimeter of my neighborhood and through and adjacent neighborhood.  Not very scenic, but it does the trick for now.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Frederick Marathon

Today's Total Calorie Intake:  1734

I think I'm pretty committed to train for the Frederick Marathon right now.  It is on May 4, which is 18 weeks away, and this corresponds to the training plan that I have chosen.  I'm motivated right now and with the blog it looks like I'll have a great support team behind me.

I'm not going to sign up just yet.  I want to ensure that I don't get injured or that I find it too difficult to train in the winter months.  Also, the cost of registration doesn't go up until March 31 (I have already missed the early registration Dec 31 cut off) and that would be a few days after my 18 mile long run...if I make it that far!

BTW - have any of you run the Frederick Marathon?  How hilly is it?  Should I make one of my weekly workouts a hill program on the treadmill or try to find a hill in the neighborhood to do a few hill repeats after a weekly run?

Blog "Goes Live"

I sent out a few emails last night and this morning to friends and family announcing my blog and I have received very nice feedback. Thanks for your support!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Spirit of the Marathon

On January 24th, there will be a one-day showing of the movie "Spirit of the Marathon" in theaters across the US.

Does anyone know why the movie is being released for only one night?  Is it solely a marketing ploy?

Are any runners out there going out that night to see it?  (I checked and it is playing at the Germantown 14 and AMC Tyson's Corner)

Counting Calories

Today's Total Calorie Intake:  1805
(Exercise Calories:  441)
Total Net Calories:  1363

In my pursuit to shed the pounds that I've piled on over the past 6 months, I'm back to counting calories.  I'll try to post my calorie intake in the blog with my posts each day (another form of accountability, right?).

It has been four years ago since I lost a significant amount of weight - going from close to 185 lbs down to 160 lbs.  It took me 4 months to lose the weight, and in 4 years I have basically kept it off....with the exception of the past 6 months where I have gained almost half of it back!  However, I know how to affectively lose weight now so in times like these when I see the scale creep up, I have a plan to stop it and get back down to the weight that I want to be at.

The secret is in a little formula:  Net Calories In  is less than  Net Calories Out

The hard part is having the discipline to watch your intake calories.  There are great tools out there - Calorie King's Diet Diary (now Nutrition & Exercise Manager) is my tool of choice.  It has a vast database of foods and their calorie/fat/carbs/protein/fiber content and for foods that are not in their database, you can add them based on what's on the label.  Still, you need to determine which foods to eat and watch the portion size to ensure you eat within your limits.

There's a pretty good rule of thumb for determining the target number of calories a day.  For someone with a desk job (not too much moving or standing around during the day) take your weight and multiply it by 10 to get the number of calories you should eat in a day to lose weight, take your weight and multiply it by 12 to get the number of calories you should eat to maintain your weight.  To get a bit more aggressive with weight loss, take your target weight and multiply that by 10 to get your daily calories.  (Note - this is Net if you exercise, you get to add the calories you burned)

For example, four years ago my doctor wanted me to get to 160 lbs.  I went on a 1600 calorie a day diet.  I lost 1-2 pounds a week for about 15 weeks.  I then brought my calorie intake to about 1900 calories a day and maintained my weight.

I'm hoping to keep with the plan again and get back to my goal weight by the end of February!

There Will Be Slow Days...

I wear a Polar S120 heart rate monitor (HRM for short) when I run.  It helps me set the right pace for how my body is feeling - and most importantly prevents me from overtraining.

This morning my HRM was telling me to slow down, but my brain was telling me to go faster.  It was a constant struggle during this morning's run :-(

I ran at the gym on the treadmill (I know...I whimped out again - I'll be running outside this weekend for sure) so I knew how fast (or in this case how slow) I was running along with my current heart rate.  Every time I got over 5.1 mph (about a 11:45/mile pace) my heart rate was over 155 bpm.  "I know I can run faster than a 12 minute mile" my brain was telling me, but my HRM was telling me "today, you should not!".

Perhaps my body is fighting something (both Sherry and Matan are sick), perhaps I didn't get enough sleep last night or perhaps it's because I ate less food yesterday than I have over the past few months (another post on that soon...).  However, my heart was telling me to slow down or you'll over do it.

On the bright side, I listened to a fave album of mine - REM's Green.  I have great memories listening to this on the tour bus during my first trip to Israel when I was in High School.  It's hard to believe that this summer it will be 20 year ago!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Time To Slim Down

Since July I have watched my weight creep up - slowly and steadily. In mid-July I went to the doctor for a bi-annual cholesterol check and I believe I weighed in on the home scale at 162 (the doctor's scale was 164...I like using the home scale's numbers!). This week I weighed in (at home - not at the doctors) at 171. YIKES!

Much of this is due to overeating while out of my normal routine/home environment. Since the first week of August, my weekly schedule has been:
Week of My Birthday / Family Vacation to Michigan / My Anniversary / Business Trip to Nashville / Business Trip to RTP / "normal week" / Rosh Hashanah / Business Trip to RTP / Yom Kippor and Sukkot / "normal week" / Matan's Birthday weekend / Halloween / "normal week" / Business Trip to Dallas / Thanksgiving / Family Trip to Michigan for a Bar Mitzvah / Channukah / "normal week" / Family Trip to Baltimore during Winter Break

I did run two races in that span - the Parks Half Marathon and the Bethesda Turkey Chase. I think the training that I did during this span kept me from gaining more weight than I actually did!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

No Rest Day???

For the past few years in my running, I have rarely run on two consecutive days.  I've been running 3 days a week which allows me to have rest days in between all of my runs.  I believe that I have avoided injuries by resting between runs (and there is research stating that rest days are important for muscles to regenerate and get stronger...).

However, most marathon training programs schedule 4 or 5 runs per week (the program that I'm thinking of using schedules 4 runs per week).  So I ran again today (I ran yesterday too) and I'll see how I'm feeling tomorrow.  I'll try to run again on Thursday and then a long run on the weekend.

I may also start blogging about some of the music that I'm listening to on my runs.  I'm in a phase of running to mellower music - for some reason this relaxes me a bit and allows me to "get lost" in my running.   Today, I threw a few Guster albums in my iPod shuffle before hitting the gym (OK...I whimped out on going outside today - I'll definitely get out in the elements from my long runs)

Michigan 41, Florida 35

I was expecting Michigan to be completely blown out by Heisman winner Tim Tebow and the 12th ranked Florida Gators.  However, Lloyd Carr coached a great game and went out a winner!  It definitely helped that Chad Henne and Mike Hart were both healthy for today's game.