Friday, February 29, 2008


Yesterday's Total Calorie Intake: 2313
(Exercise Calories: 502)
Total Net Calories: 1811

I normally drink decaf coffee in the morning.

We buy Trader Joe's Italian Roast Decaf coffee beans - and use our Capresso CoffeeTeam-S coffee maker to grind the beans fresh every morning and brew the coffee. Yummmmmm! (BTW, that coffee maker seemed like a splurge two or three years ago, but if you factor in all the $ I have been saving not buying coffee at Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts or 7-11, it has paid for itself many times over)

My mother-in-law just came back from a vacation and brought back some gourmet coffee from Puerto Rico. Caffeinated. I brewed it this morning and it's delicious - however, I feel like I'm going 500 mph this morning at work. Yowsers!

And to think I used to drink this stuff every morning.

So...I'm giving fair warning to anyone who comes in contact with me today: I'm really hyper. I may be jumping to the next subject (or 4 subjects later) before you finish your sentence. It's not's definitely me.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Fueling the Furnace Yesterday and An Easy Run This Morning

Yesterday's Total Calorie Intake: 2810
(Exercise Calories:  916)
Total Net Calories:  1894

I felt like an eating machine yesterday.  Every few hours I was trying to eat to ensure I was getting enough fuel for recovery in an effort to not feel "flat" by the end of the week.  At 3pm, I took a look at my remaining calories and it was still over 1600!  In order to add some additional calories at the end of the day, I ended up having a dark beer (Black and Tan - yummmm), some fig newtons and rice crisp crackers in front of the TV.  Not the model of nutrition there - but at least it was all high-carb and low fat :-)

To put a little perspective on what I ate yesterday, I consumed over 2800 calories - 90% of my calories were from carbs, 11% fats and 9% protein.  Even with those percentages, I ate close to 69 grams of fat - when I went on my diet 4 years ago I was limited to 36 grams of fat per day.  I probably do need to bump the protein up a bit...I don't eat much meat - mainly only for our Shabbat meal on Friday night - so this won't be easy.  Especially since yesterday's foods included peanuts as a snack and yogurt with my dinner and I was still low in the protein department.

I received a comment on the blog regarding how I count calories (thanks to "the other Mike" for reading the blog and leaving a comment!).  I use the software from Calorie King.  I currently use it on my home computer but I also have a copy on my Palm Pilot that I used previously.  If you don't want to spot $45 to purchase the software, you can do a lot of it on your own with the Food Database on - it will just take more effort (you pay for it somewhere, right?).  Here's a previous post on the subject - or you can click on the "losing weight" tag in the "Label Cloud" on the right to get all of the posts that have something to do with losing weight.
Today's run was a 4 miler at an easy pace.  Again it was dark, cold and windy this morning so I went to the gym - although I really longed to be outside.  I know that if today was a long run day I'd be pounding the pavement, but I just couldn't get motivated to bundle up this morning.  To add a little treadmill variety, I used the Cardio setting - basically, you tell the treadmill what your target heart rate is and starting speed, and the treadmill adjusts the incline to keep you around that heart rate.  (I'm able to do this workout since I wear a HRM strap and I don't need to hold on to the heart rate sensors on the treadmill).  I set the heart rate at 147 and the speed at 5.5 mph since that's where my recovery runs were yesterday.  I was able to keep this speed up until the last quarter mile when the treadmill reduced the speed to keep my heart rate from climbing.  The incline was about 3% for the first 1.5 miles, and then it went down to the 1% range for the remainder of the run.  I felt good afterwards...and hungry!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Blazing Speed!

Yesterday's Total Calorie Intake: 1923

This morning was a 7 mile run - and I've been using my mid-week "longer" run to do speedwork. So I did a 7 interval Yasso 800s workout.

I went to the gym since it was dark, cold and windy this morning - I did not want to go to the track in those conditions. There's one problem with doing this workout at the gym - the treadmills there have a 60 minute time limit and this workout was going to be taking me about 10 minutes more than that. Luckily I had thought about this upfront - I thought it would be better to "stop and reset" towards the beginning instead of at the end - so after the first interval I stopped the treadmill and re-started it.

When I started my initial jog, my heart rate was pretty low so I kept on bringing the pace up. I settled in at 5.5 mph - a tad under an 11 min mile - for my recovery jogs. I also found that I had better success today on the intervals - I was running them in the 7.1 to 7.2 mph range (a few weeks ago I was around 6.8) HR did not rise above 170 until midway through the third interval, so I knew I was not overdoing it. I'm wondering if the bump-up in calories over the past few days is part of the reason I ran so comfortably...I'm thinking that my body may not have had enough fuel during the past few weeks.

My 800 splits this morning were: 4:11, 4:11, 4:11, 4:11, 4:12, 4:14, 4:09. I finished off the entire 7 mile workout in 1:07:52 - a 9:52/mile average pace. Wow! 3 years ago I ran a 10Ks race at this pace (with an average HR of 181) and now it's my pace for a mid-week speed workout (average HR 158)!

Now I have a big predicament today: since I burned around 900 calories with this run, I have close to 3,000 calories to eat to stay fueled up. How can I do that without adding too much junk food or "empty calories". It's very ironic - I started out the year trying to limit my net calorie intake to 1600 per day and today I have to eat twice that amount (OK...I'll only net 400 calories more, but still - that's a lot of food!) This should be interesting...

This morning I listened to a bunch of music from the past decade (or so...a few albums are a little more than 10 years old) a lot if it "alternative" type music including The Plain White Ts, Fastball, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Train, KT Tunstall, Green Day, Oasis and Daughtry.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Rest Day - I Need It!

Yesterday's Total Calorie Intake: 2277
(Exercise Calories: 389)
Total Net Calories: 1888

Thank goodness it's a rest day. First of all, I'm tired - didn't go to bed until after midnight last night and both kids were up in the middle of the night (OK...I admit I did not hear our 2 year old - my wife informed me this morning that he was up in the night as well).

Second of all, I'm having trouble keeping up with the calorie intake on the days I run. I never thought I would utter the following "I can't seem to eat enough food". I'm sure I'll adjust - I mean, the reason I had gained 10 pounds during the second half of last year was due to the amount of food I was eating, however, that was in an uncontrolled manner. Trying to control what types of (healthier) food you put into your system yet eat at a level more than you are accustomed to will be a bit more difficult.

Lastly, my body is finally telling me to take a rest day. I have been lucky that in my 8 weeks of training I have stayed away from the "two I's" - Ice and Ibuprofen. Well...that streak will end today. My knee has a little pain at times - I've had this before when training for my half marathon, so I don't think it's an injury - just some inflammation that needs to be iced.

So...I'm gladly taking the rest day today. And I'm feeling good that this is a stepback week - only a 10 mile run this weekend!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Inspiration Lake - Nice To See You Again!

For the past 2 1/2 years, one of my favorite runs has been to Inspiration Lake, around the lake twice and then back home. It is about 3 1/4 miles round trip.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to do this run so far during my marathon training. The problem is that I have been running early in the morning - before the sun rises - and a good portion of this route is unlit and adjacent to forest areas where some foxes live (these foxes are not my relatives!). I have chosen alternate 3 mile routes for my pre-dawn runs as I don't want to risk running on this trail in the dark.

An opportunity opened up in my schedule today where I had some time around lunch to go for a short run (telecommuting definitely has its advantages!). There are some things at work today that have been frustrating me a bit and the run would definitely help me blow off some steam. The weather was also cooperating - about 45 degrees and sunny. Inspiration Lake - Here I Come!!!!

I must say, it was nice to not start my run in the darkness. I originally thought I was a little underdressed - I wore a long sleeved tech shirt and running shorts with a baseball cap. I was quite chilly at the beginning of the run and as a result my pace was a little fast (always seems to be my issue), but I warmed up and settled in nicely.

I had a few bird encounters. First, there were a some seagulls flying around the lake and one was approaching me as it was starting to hold its wings to glide in the air. I started to wonder whether he was going to use me for target practice. Needless to say, I watched that bird closely until he was nowhere near me. Next, there are a lot of geese that live on the lakes in this area and they cross the street every so often. As I was running I saw two geese on the side of the road just waiting. All of a sudden, I see a car about to approach and the two geese decide to cross the street. It's almost like they were trying to toy with the humans - "hmmm....I really want to cross the street, but let's wait until someone drives by and make them stop for us... Oh! here comes someone - Game ON!".

I listened to Billy Joel's "Turnstiles". I kinda felt like that "Angry Young Man" earlier today at work. Now I'm a lot more relaxed!

Week 9 Weigh In

With all of my issues with food this week, I wasn't sure what to expect.  Would I lose weight due to the increased training and a few days of not eating enough?  Would I gain weight due to the increase in daily calories I started to consume? ends up that I gained a pound.  The scale read 163.5.  It's still 7.5 pounds down since Jan 1, so I'm not too disappointed.  Also, I believe I need to stop concentrating on losing weight and just concentrate on the marathon training.  I'll monitor my weight to ensure I don't gain too much weight (it will be more difficult to run the long distance while carrying more weight) and I'll monitor my daily calories to ensure I'm eating enough.  However, I have set my daily calories higher to ensure my body gets the fuel it needs right now.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Figuring Out The "Funk"???

A few days ago, I was in a bit of a "funk".  I started to feel a bit the same yesterday evening.

Both of these days had pretty intense workouts in the morning - on Wednesday I had a 6 mile Yasso 800s workout and yesterday was my 13.5 mile long run.  I also had some pretty insane scheduling on both days and I don't think I refueled (food and drink) properly after those workouts.  Especially on Wednesday when my net calories for the day was below 1500.

I'm thinking that since I'm getting to a more intense part of the marathon training that I probably need more calories per day.  I've read that it is not wise to try to lose weight during marathon training and I see why.  I need a lot more food energy than I did before!

So, starting next week I'm going to up my net calorie target to about 2000 calories per day (it's currently in the 1600-1700 range).  Since I have lost most of the weight that I wanted to, I should be fine doing this...I wouldn't be surprised if I'm still losing weight given the amount of miles per week I'm putting in!  And if I'm gaining weight, I can always bump the calories down a bit.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Day of Rest????

Saturday is traditionally the Jewish Sabbath - Shabbat - a day of rest.  Just as the Lord did not work on the seventh day after creation, observant Jews do not work from Friday night sundown until Saturday night sundown.

We are not completely observant, however, we do try to keep Shabbat in our own way.  We normally walk to our synagogue as a family in the morning, spend time together and stay in the neighborhood.  We don't hop in the car to go shopping and I don't log into the office to do work - it's our day for recreation, recuperation and relaxation (as much as you can relax with two boys under 6!)

However, today was a very busy day of rest.  I woke up at 5am so I could get my weekend long run in before we went to synagogue.  We had to be on time at synagogue as I was chanting from the torah this morning.  After synagogue, we had our monthly Lunch Bunch.  And finally, this evening we are going to a Bar Mitzvah.

Given that this is a day of "rest" - I'm afraid to see how the rest of the week will play out!

Today's Long Run

I lucked out.  I was originally worried that it would be really icy for my long run this morning, but the roads and asphalt sidewalks were ice free.  There were a few slick spots on some of the concrete sidewalks that I had to run on, but these spots were few and far between.  It helped that the temperature was just above freezing - 34 degrees is still cold to run in for over two and half hours, but it could be a lot worse!

My run this morning measured 13.5 miles.  After I logged it into my training log, I realized that this was my longest run EVER!  I've run 3 half-marathons - which are 13.1 miles - so today's run was 0.4 mile longer than my previous long runs.  Of course, since run was at an easier pace than a race, my time was a lot longer...but I felt a lot better at the end!

There were a few points where I had some minor aches, but they went away a few minutes later.  Within the first mile, I had a little pain near my Achilles tendon - I believe that I may have stretched it a bit to much before heading out this morning - but I kept running through it and within two minutes the pain went away and never came back.  At the end of my run my legs felt really sore, but I'm sure that's just a product of moving them and the pounding for over two and half hours.

Although the streets and sidewalks were not icy, there was a dusting of snow on the grass and the tree branches were still covered with ice which made the scenery stunning this morning.  I chose to listen to Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker at the beginning of my run which went beautifully with the winter scene I was running through.  I figured out that as The Nutcracker was ending, that the sun would just be rising and I would be running through a few streets that meandered through the forest so I chose Beethoven's 6th Symphony (Pastoral Symphony) next.  Again, the music helped me appreciate the scenery I was running through and since I wasn't focusing on lyrics I found my mind wandering quite a bit.

Friday, February 22, 2008

What Will Tomorrow Bring?

There has been freezing rain coming down in the DC area since this morning, so I'm not so sure how tomorrow will play out in terms of my long run. I'm supposed to run 13 miles tomorrow. Given the weekend's schedule, I was planning to wake up early tomorrow morning and run.

If the temps drop too far below freezing tonight, it may be a slippery run. I may just have to slow down, walk when there are slippery patches and stick to the roads as much as I can (since the sidewalks will be icier than the roads) to get it done.

More Spirit of the Marathon Observations

A few other observations from the Spirit of the Marathon movie last night:
  • 5 out of the 6 people they followed did their running with a group or running partners - either all the time or at least for the weekend long runs. The one "loner" was one of the first-time marathoners. Since I have done all of my running on my own, I'm wondering if I'm missing something. Should I look into finding a running group or another person to run with? A few of my concerns on running with other people have been on scheduling (I usually run before work during the week or before the kids wake up on the weekend, so most running groups meet later than I need) and pace (I'm not that fast of a runner and I don't want to slow other people down).
  • The movie was focused on the Chicago Marathon. This marathon has a field of close to 40,000 runners. Chicago is a great city and the marathon goes through a lot of different neighborhoods. I'll be running the Frederick Marathon as my first marathon. This will be much smaller - about 1,500 runners - and in a much smaller town. It will most likely not have the same energy as a big city marathon. Should I have chosen a bigger marathon as my first one? Would the energy of a larger marathon help push me to the finish line??
  • I am now pretty psyched to see the 2008 Beijing Olympic Marathon. I may have to stay up to watch this (or wake up in the middle of the night?) if they show it live. I'm hoping that Ryan Hall can keep up with the Kenyans and Ethiopians and give them a run for the gold!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Spirit of the Marathon - Review

Today's Total Calorie Intake:  2326
(Exercise Calories:  361)
Total Net Calories:  1965

I went to see The Spirit of the Marathon tonight.  The movie follows 6 different people who planned to run the 2005 Chicago Marathon (luckily, they were not filming the 2007 Chicago Marathon which ended up being pretty disastrous).  It followed them through their training and then through the race.  It featured two elite athletes, two first-time marathoners and two repeat marathoners (one trying to qualify for Boston).  Of course, I related to the stories of the first time marathoners the closest (and they both finished the race - with respectable times to boot - which put me a little more at ease for May 4).

The movie was inspiring to me - knowing that all of this training will pay off and I will cross the finish line.  However, there were also one thing that this movie brought to light which I had not thought much about yet - Hitting "The Wall".  Basically, there comes a time in the marathon where you have pretty much used up your stored and available energy and you end up "running on fumes".  This happens to many marathoners somewhere around 20 miles into the race - so if you hit the wall at this point you end up running the last 10K "on fumes".

And it looks painful.

The movie didn't dwell on this much, but as they showed many of the race participants towards the end of the race I could see from their faces that this was a mind-over-matter struggle.  After running for over 3 or 4 hours (I'm talking normal people here - not the elite runners), it looks like your body is in physical pain yet your brain is making your body continue.

I know that I'm currently training myself up to be strong enough physically to run this race.  However, after watching some of the race footage, I'm wondering if there is some way I can train myself mentally to be strong enough to run through the pain?  Is just getting my behind out of bed at before the sun rises four days a week to run enough mind-over-matter training to get through the physical discomfort of miles 20 through 26.2????  I hope so...

I Barely Got My Run In This Morning

After last night's post, I wasn't sure I would get out of bed this morning to run. I went through the motions last night, though - got my gym bag ready, set my alarm, etc.

The alarm went off and I immediately turned it off and stayed in bed. I believe I dozed off a bit because when I finally got my body out of bed, it was already 5:55am. It was almost too late to hit the gym for my workout and get to work at a reasonable time (I knew that I had a 9am conference call that I needed to prepare for a bit)...but I decided to go anyhow.

Luckily it was a short run - 3 miles. I did the hill program on the treadmill, level 5 (yes...I whimped out a bit, but at least I made it to the gym!).

I'm not sure why I suddenly hit this funk last night. However, I believe that it will be short lived as I have the Spirit of the Marathon movie tonight to get me pumped up again! (or scared shitless...we'll see)

I'm progressing through the decades and put some music from the 1990s on my iPod for this morning's run. I don't have much from this decade, but what I have I definitely enjoy. This morning was some Hootie and the Blowfish, Sheryl Crow, Seal and Dave Matthews Band.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

To Run, Or Not To Run...

Today's Total Calorie Intake: 2418
(Exercise Calories: 936)
Total Net Calories: 1482

I'm feeling tired this evening and the thought of waking up at 5:15am to go and run tomorrow is just not resonating well with me. I'm definitely contemplating taking the day off. If I do, I'll still get over 20 miles in for the week (I have over 9 miles in and I have a 13 mile run scheduled for Saturday).

On the flip side, I have something like 5 conference calls tomorrow and I know that running in the morning helps me focus. I just wish there was a way to get more sleep and be able to run in the morning... (oh yeah, it's called going to bed at a reasonable time - which I'm not doing right now).

Making My Runs Fit My Schedule

I had a customer meeting this morning in Columbia, MD.  I also had a 6 mile run scheduled for this morning as well.

For those of you who live in the DC area or have visited here, traffic gets pretty bad the later you hit the road, so hitting the gym at 5:45am here in Gaithersburg and then getting on the road after 7am was not going to be the best plan traffic wise.

I checked to see if there were any Bally Fitness clubs closer to Columbia, MD - or at least on the way - and I found that there was one in Greenbelt,!  I went to that Bally's early this morning and avoided much of the morning volume traffic (there was a fender bender right before getting onto the Beltway which slowed me down considerably...oh well!).

The Bally's in Greenbelt was quite different than the one I go to in Gaithersburg.  First of all, this one has an indoor pool and a boxing ring (pretty cool stuff!).  Also, there was a noticeable difference in the racial makeup of the clientele - in Gaithersburg, the clientele is about 80% white while in Greenbelt it was about 20% white.  The most obvious difference that the racial makeup impacted was the music - in Gaithersburg they blast techno music through the PA system and in Greenbelt it was more Hip-Hop and R&B.  I like the Hip-Hop and R&B better than techno, but I still listened to my iPod on my run (see below).

I once again did a Yasso 800s interval run.  My 6 800 splits were:  4:18, 17, 20, 19, 21, 20.  I ran the intervals faster this morning than I did last week and my heart rate showed it.  My heart rate hit the 170s towards the end of the second interval (I think I didn't get there until the 5th interval last week), however, I was controlled enough to not get into the 180s.

As for music, I stayed with the 80s - this time listening to albums instead of a random mix.  I started with The Talking Heads "Little Creatures" and then listened to Styx "Paradise Theater" (link is to Amazon...for some reason this is not in iTunes).  "Paradise Theater" was actually the first CD I ever purchased!  It was most likely in 1987 or so - I had owned a cassette of "Paradise Theater" and listened to it so much that I wore it out, so it went to the top of my list of CDs to purchase once I bought a CD player.  Interesting that back then there was some planning involved in purchasing thought about what you were going to purchase and then had to go to a record store to purchase it (remember Kemp Mill Records and Waxie Maxies?).  Or even better, you could avoid the store and order the music through the BMG or Columbia House mail-in "clubs".  Now there's iTunes.  You can purchase singles songs (no B-sides), listen to a sample of the music before buying it and get them instantly.  Amazing how much of a transformation has occurred in this business over the past 5 years...

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Champions For Life

Today's Total Calorie Intake:  2064
(Exercise Calories:  421)
Total Net Calories: 1643

I received a letter from the American Red Cross - Greater Chesapeake & Potomac region - that I have earned membership into their Champions For Life program since I donated blood 4 times last year.  I get priority appointments and usually get to go to the front of the line when I go to give blood.  Not such a bad thing as I have been going to give blood by taking an extended lunch break - now it will be a little less extended.

I'm coming up on being eligible to give blood again in a few weeks, however, since it has impacted my running performance earlier on in my training, I'm going to postpone giving blood again until after the marathon.  I still should be able to get 4 blood donations in this year though...

Running with Better Control

For those of you who have been reading my blog regularly, you probably have heard that when it is cold outside I tend to start out too fast.  I believe I'm trying to get warmed up quicker, or the cold makes me tense up so I run faster, etc.

I'm proud to report that on this morning's run - as well as this past weekend's long run - I ran with much better control at the beginning of the run and my heart rate stayed in the 140s for at least the first mile.  Today's run there was a pretty long uphill for about 1/2 mile after the first mile, so my HR went into the 150s then...but it was for a hill!

It was a nice run - another sub-11 min mile pace 3.4 mile easy run with average HR at 150.  It's a bit hard to believe that these are my recovery runs when this used to be the meat of my running workout!

This past weekend I listened to a bunch of 70s rock, so this morning I threw some 80s pop in my iPod.  George Michael, Billy Joel, Journey, The Police, Bryan Adams and Madonna all had songs played (there were a few other albums that did not have songs play during my run since it was a short run...).  If I keep this progression, I would need to listen to 90s music next, however, I'm afraid I don't have too much from this decade.  Perhaps from the early 90s, but after I graduated from college, I stopped following popular/new music as closely.  We'll see what I can come up with!

Monday, February 18, 2008

No Looking Back Now...

Today's Total Calorie Intake:  1868

I did it and there's no looking back now.  I'm officially signed up for the Frederick Marathon on May 4.

I was originally not going to sign up until after I had a 15 mile run behind me, however, I had a change of heart this evening...  I was going to sign up to run a half marathon in two weeks - the Annapolis Marathon/Half Marathon - and when I finally went to the site today to sign up, I saw the following message - "REGISTRATION IS CLOSED AS FIELD LIMIT HAS BEEN REACHED".  GRRRRR....

I didn't want that to happen to me for the Frederick Marathon, so I decided it was time for me to sign up!

Week 7 Weigh In

Yesterday's Total Calorie Intake:  2295
(Exercise Calories:  664)
Total Net Calories:  1631

Monday morning - weigh in day.  Again, I wasn't sure what to expect - this week I was on a business trip and so there were 2 days where I ate way more than my target calories.  However, it was also the week with the most running mileage - and thus the most calories burned.

I guess that burning calories won out this week!

The scale said 162.5 - that's 1.5 pounds lost this week and 8.5 pounds lost in the seven weeks since January 1.  Only 2.5 more pounds to go until my initial goal...and 7.5 pounds left until my "stretch goal" of 155 pounds.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Cross-Training Day

Yesterday's Total Calorie Intake: 2944
(Exercise Calories: 1574)
Total Net Calories: 1370

Sundays are my cross-training day. I actually get exercise twice - once in the morning at the gym and then again in the evening during Israeli Dancing. At the gym I tried a different elliptical trainer this morning - a machine that works arms along with legs. It gave me a good workout, but I'm not sure that it worked the muscles in my legs as well as the Precor machine did. Also, my knees hit the axle that the arm handles were attached to a few times during the workout - that was kind of annoying.

All in all, I feel good today. Not much soreness from yesterday's long run which is a good thing. Next week's long run is 13 miles - the distance of a half marathon which is the longest I have run to date. Unfortunately, there are no half marathons in the area next weekend so I can't run a race for my workout.   Actually, due to scheduling next weekend, there is no way I'll be able to go to a race - we're pretty much jam packed!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

HIghest Milage Week EVER

Yesterday's Total Calorie Intake:  2276

This morning was my long run - and my longest run so far in the training plan - 12 miles.  I had never done a 12 mile training run...the only time I have run further than this was for the 3 half marathons that I have done.  Actually, I had never run as much during one week as I have this week - 24.9 miles in total.  My biggest weeks before were 20 miles - each of the weeks prior to my half marathons and the week of the half marathons (taper down at the beginning of the week with a 4 mile and 3 mile run and then the 13.1 mile race on the weekend).

I didn't have a particular route that I had done in the past for this distance so yesterday I did some research.  I went on to the USA Track and Field website and search their running route database and found an 11 mile loop route that went about a mile from my house.  I changed the route a bit to start in my neighborhood and - voila! I had a 12.25 mile loop (see below).

I was a bit worried how the run would go this morning.  I had been exhausted after my business trip and I had eaten a ton this week.  I got to bed at 9:30pm last night - which definitely helped! - but of course last night was our weekly Shabbat (sabbath) dinner so I ate a good amount and even had a glass of wine.  I know that I haven't gained back the weight that I've lost, but I felt heavier for some reason.  Lucky for me, the week where I have eaten the most was also the week that I have run the most!
One thing I'm starting to experiment with on my long runs is eating beforehand.  Since I'm not going to be able to complete 26.2 miles - and running for about 5 hours - on nothing but GU and Gatorade, I need to figure out what foods I can eat before running.  Last night, I brought a chewy granola bar upstairs and put it with my running clothes.  I ate this about 30 minutes before I started my run and it didn't cause me any discomfort during the run.  Hooray!
After I put my clothes on this morning I just sat quietly on the floor for a minute, relaxing.  I looked at my HRM to see what my resting heart rate was...54 bpm.  That was definitely a good sign.
At the beginning of my run, I was rocking!  I felt great, kept a good pace (I did not remember where the miles marked off on the route, so I could not judge my actual pace, but it felt like I was moving along nicely) and my heart rate was in the 140s.  The path I was running on was asphalt which is easier on my legs than concrete.  It was still dark, about 31 degrees with some wind (I did not realize the wind part...I really need to start looking at the wind chill before I leave the house!) and I was pretty much the only one out on the road.  What a great feeling!

I opened up my first GU about 1 hour into my run.  I was still feeling good, but I could tell that my energy was starting to deplete.  The GU did the trick.  However, at about this time, my heart rate started to creep up into the low 150s at the same pace I was at earlier.

I was listening to some great music from the 1970s.  No - not disco (although I do have ABBA Gold in my iTunes collection).  I had thrown a bunch of 70s albums by Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Jim Croce, Joe Jackson, John Denver, Jackson Browne, Elton John and Jethro Tull on my iPod and shuffled them.  Great music definitely keeps me moving!

Somewhere around 1:45 into my run, I started to feel not as good.  My heart rate was in the 160s and I forced myself to slow down.  I didn't have any sharp pains, and I didn't feel like I couldn't go on; however, my muscles started to feel a bit achey - like all of the pounding during this run and during this week was starting to pile up.  Then the doubts started to roll in - "if I'm feeling achey on a 12 mile run, how the heck am I going to finish 26.2?" and "perhaps the half marathon is a better distance for you...who are you kidding running a full marathon?".  As I went further, though, I started thinking back to when I ran my first 10K - I would start getting a pain in my knee at around 5 miles and now 5 miles is a walk in the park.  I convinced myself that if I can keep training within myself and log the miles, I should be able to finish the full marathon.

I finished my 12.25 miles in 2:17:28 - an 11:13/mile pace with an average heart rate of 153 bpm.  It is exactly the same pace as last week's 7.33 mile long run and a lower average heart rate.  All in all I'd say it was a great run!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Getting Back On Track

Yesterday's Total Calorie Intake - ???
(Exercise Calories:  404)
Total Net Calories - ???

I'm back from my business trip - which means I can get back into more of a routine when it comes to food.  I kind of threw caution to the wind the past few days when it came to calories.  I did make conscientious choices - yesterday I really wanted to have a blueberry muffin from the breakfast tray so I cut one in half (after a eating a full bagel with cream cheese and some apple slices...I know I really did not need that muffin!), and for lunch I got a black bean and rice burrito at the airport and I chose not to have cheese or sour cream thrown in.  However, I know that while at home I never would have had that muffin, and I would have only eaten half of that Chipotle-style burrito and saved the rest for lunch the next day.

I got home on an earlier flight so I was able to have a Valentine's Day dinner with Sherry.  I picked up sushi for us and hit the liquor store beforehand and got a bottle of sake...more easily avoided calories (Valentine's Day comes once a year...right?).

So...yesterday I ended up eating 3 pretty large meals.  That would have been fine after this weekend's 12 mile run - but yesterday was a 3.5 miler at an easy pace.

It's time to get back on track and count them calories!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Acid Reflux = Payback :-(

Yesterday's Total Calorie Intake: ???? (definitely too much!)

I'm on a business trip and I let my calorie counting slide yesterday. First of all, one day off will not ruin my progress - as long as I have the discipline to get back to counting calories either today or tomorrow. Second of all, I did make some choices to eat a better/healthier/lower caloric alternative in many cases...I started the day off with a packet of oatmeal at the hotel's continental breakfast instead of a danish, muffin or eggs; at lunch I chose a veggie sandwich over a fresh mozzarella and tomato sandwich (although that mozzarella sandwich still sounds good!). However, I did hit the sweets harder than normal since there was a cookie tray in the meeting room. I also had a few cups of coffee (very acidic and has given me reflux in the past). And we had a really large dinner at a restaurant in downtown Nashville - complete with appetizers and a few beers (no dessert as we all loaded up on the cookie tray earlier!).

This morning was payback time...

I started to get an acid reflux type of burning in my esophagus and stomach during my run this morning. Yowsers! Today I'll try to be more careful - at least on the acidic food side of things.

My run was decent. I'm not staying in a pretty part of Nashville. It's a pretty industrial area near the airport, so I was running past warehouses...there was a sidewalk for about half of my run, but then I was running on the side of the road (which was not very well kept). I'm glad I brought my reflector vest.

I had contemplated skipping the run this morning, however, I have a 12 miler coming up on Saturday. I wanted to have a rest day tomorrow leading up to the 12 miler, but I did not want to have 3 rest days leading up to that long run because I did not want to feel sluggish. That thought got me out of bed and in my running clothes.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A Few Airport Sprints

Yesterday's Total Calorie Intake: 2450
(Exercise Calories: 743)
Total Net Calories: 1707

I have meetings in Nashville today and tomorrow, so I was scheduled to fly out last night. My original flight was scheduled to depart BWI Airport at 9:20pm, however, there was a 7:40pm flight beforehand so if I was really lucky, I was hoping to get onto that flight. I could not leave until 6:30pm since Sherry was tutoring, so in order to make the earlier flight I'd need to make it to the airport with no traffic, fly through security (I was not checking a bag this time) and hope for a close gate and a small delay on the departure of the earlier flight. I knew it was asking a lot.

The weather was bad - freezing rain started falling around 3pm in the Washington, DC area - so traffic was going to be horrendous. I also checked the departure times for both flights - the early one was now scheduled to leave at 7:50pm and my flight had been pushed out until 10:30pm. OK, I thought to myself, "at least I'll be able to make my flight..."

I left my house around 6:45pm. Traffic was moving pretty well despite the sleet, until I got to I-495 (the Capitol Beltway). I had to be on this road for at least 15 miles before picking up either I-95 North or the Balt-Wash Parkway. I don't think my car went more than 20 mph the entire time I was on the Beltway. At this point, I figured there was no way I was getting to get on the earlier flight.

I decided to take the Balt-Wash parkway and traffic was moving at a normal pace...Hooray! I made it to BWI Airport and parked at 8:20pm. I called Southwest for the status of both planes - the early one was showing an 8:20pm departure and my flight was still showing 10:30pm. "Oh well", I thought. When the parking shuttle bus dropped me off at the terminal it was completely empty so I was able to fly through security (as much as taking one's shoes, belt, coat and watch off, taking out your laptop computer and ziplock baggie full of toiletry items to put in separate bins and then reassembling everything on the other side will allow you to fly!).

I took a look at the flight board - the earlier flight had "Boarding" listed next to it - hooray! I still have a chance! Gate B11 (no...It couldn't have been B1 or B4 or something closer). I started walking towards the B concourse and I hear an announcement calling 2 or 3 travelers for the flight to Nashville. I start to pick up my pace a bit. I get to the B concourse and there's another announcement calling all last passengers to Nashville. At this point I cradle my duffle bag in my arms and start to sprint down the B concourse.

I made it to the gate panting (I'm used to running long distances - but not at a sprinting pace!). I went to the gate agent and showed my boarding pass and asked "I'm on the later Nashville flight which is delayed...can I get on this one?". Her response surprised me, "No, I'm sorry you can't. The gate door is closed." We were both standing next to the open gate door. "It looks like the gate door is open to me," I said. "Well, it shouldn't be" was her reply and then she went onto the jetbridge and closed the door. I could not believe that just happened!!!!

I walked away from the gate and checked the gate of my flight - A3. I started to walk back through the B concourse. I got about half way through when I heard over the loudspeaker "Those passengers trying to get onto flight 1107 to Nashville, please return to gate B11". I turned around and sprinted again to the gate waving my boarding pass as I got near. It ends up that I was not the only one who had asked to do this, and the gate agents finally had a bit of compassion for us (I think that since the plane had to be de-iced again and was not about to take off made their decision a bit easier).

That's how I got a few more sprints in today :-) I don't recommend this workout to anyone....

FWIW, I'm very glad that they did let me on that flight. When I finally arrived in Nashville - around 10:20pm local time - I asked the gate agent there if my original flight had left Baltimore yet. "No, it is currently scheduled to depart at 12:50am - if it gets out at all. The plane itself has not left Providence, RI yet". Boy, did I luck out!!!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Running On Fumes??

Yesterday's Total Calorie Intake:  2117
(Exercise Calories:  391)
Total Net Calories:  1726

This morning was my mid-week long run which I have been using for my speedwork.  I planned to do Yasso 800s again - 6 intervals as part of a 6 mile workout.

I went to the gym not knowing what to expect since I did not get much sleep last night.  First, I went to bed later than I wanted to - after putting the kids to bed I had to pack for my business trip to Nashville (leaving this evening) and then log back into work to get some things done for the meeting.  At around 2:30am my 2 year old started crying and woke me up...I went into his room and calmed him down and we all eventually fell back asleep....for a little while longer, as my alarm went off at 5;10am so I could hit the gym and get my 6 miles in before getting back to work.  (I later on had a realization that since I'll be in the Central time zone later today, I really woke up at 4:10am...)

I was not expecting much from my workout so I started off slowly...and I KICKED BUTT!  Amazing!!!!  My half mile splits were 4:24, 4:24, 4:21, 4:22, 4:16 and 4:17.  My heart rate did not go above 170 until mid-way through the 5th interval and I recovered fully to below 150 bpm on each of my 1/4 mile post-interval recoveries.

It just goes to show you that you never know how you're going to do until you go out and do it!

I threw a random mix of songs into my iPod this morning.  One really appropriate song for running on the treadmill was the Talking Heads "Road To Nowhere".  I can't wait until it gets warmer outside and lighter earlier so I can enjoy the road instead of the treadmill...

Monday, February 11, 2008

Weigh In and Hill Workout

This morning was my 6 week weigh in. The scale showed 164.0 once again. I'm not too discouraged, however, since I'm still down 7 pounds in six weeks. Plus, I had some big eating days this past week...I'm thankful I didn't gain any weight!

I hit the gym this morning (it's really cold outside today - wind chills in the single digits) and I did a hill workout on the treadmill. I didn't go all out - this is still supposed to be one of my "easy" workouts of the week - and I did a good job recovering on the 0% incline portions of the run which followed the 1 min hills. My average heart rate was 146 bpm - that's lower than some of my "normal" runs!

I listened to Alabina - they're like the Gypsy Kings with Arabic thrown in. I know a bunch of these songs from Israeli Dancing, however, I originally listened to them in Hebrew - not Spanish and Arabic!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Perhaps Another Race To Run???

Today's Total Calorie Intake:  2138
(Exercise Calories:  664)
Total Net Calories:  1474

A few days ago, I blogged that I perhaps should look into a race to run in the next few weeks in order to judge how my training is going (vs. my performance in previous races).  The issue is that most races are on the weekend and my weekend runs are long the race would either need to be a 10 miler or half marathon...or I'd have to run the race and then run extra miles to get up to what I should be running on that day.

I checked the local running calendars and found that Annapolis has a Marathon/Half Marathon on March 2.  I have until February 25 to sign up...I'll see what the weather is supposed to look like on the final day to sign up and keep my fingers crossed :-)

Funny I mention weather - tonight's low temperature will be 11 degrees and gusty winds.  Guess where I'll be running my 3 miles tomorrow morning ( won't be outside!).

A Little Ache-y, Cross-Training and This Week's Plan

The past few days I've been a bit ache-y in my muscles.  I'm not in real pain - luckily I have not had any injuries so far and I haven't even needed to ice my knees or feet yet - but I believe it's just the pounding of 100 miles in 6 weeks taking its toll.  I believe my body will get used to it.  If not, I can always take one of the weekly "easy" runs out of the plan and substitute it with an extra rest day.
Today was a cross-training day - I hit the elliptical machine at the gym this morning for 45 minutes and listened to Led Zeppelin's "Physical Graffiti".  I love the song Kashmir - much more than Led Zeppelin's classic Stairway To Heaven.

Cross-training at the gym was the easy part of my day.  Schlepping kids to birthday parties - Doron, my 5 year old had two of them today.  One of them was 45 minutes away at about the time that Matan, my 2 year old, naps.  Since Sherry tutors at that time, I offered to take them and have Matan nap in the car...and since I was going anyway, I offered to take two other Kindergartners who were at the first party to the second one.  There I was - driving a mini-van with 4 kids in car-seats in the car!  Luckily, I was able to drop the kids off at the party and then drive my 2 year old around so he could nap...a little peace and quiet amongst the commotion.
This week I'll be going on a business trip leaving late on Tuesday night, so I'm going to switch my running days around.  I'll run on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday - taking my rest day on Wednesday instead of Monday.  My mid-week long run is 6 miles this week and my long run this weekend is 12 miles.  I'm getting tired just thinking about that 12 mile run...

Saturday, February 9, 2008

A "Short" Long Run

Yesterday's Total Calorie Intake:  2191

This is the end of my second "stepback" week, so my long run was shorter - this week only 7 miles.  I used the same route I ran 3 weeks ago, I was :04/mile slower today, however, my average heart rate was also lower by 3 bpm - which is much better for the long runs.  But my heart rate was still a bit high for a long run (156 bpm) so I'll have to slow it down as the mileage ramps up.  Next week's long run is 12 miles...yikes!

I threw in Simon and Garfunkel's Collected Works on my iPod for the run.  I forget how wonderful many of their songs are - and how perfect they are for a run.  So many of their songs tell stories - like "Save The Life of My Child", "Most Peculiar Man" and "He Was My Brother" - you can just get lost in the lyrics while running.

Friday, February 8, 2008

100 Miles!

Yesterday's Total Calorie Intake: 2443
(Exercise Calories: 697)
Total Net Calories: 1746

During yesterday's run I hit 100 miles in my marathon training program! (I started with a 3 mile run on December 31, so that's why my yearly mileage shows 98 miles).

I'm at the end of my 6th week of the plan. It's another "stepback" week, so this week's long run is shorter - only 7 miles (look at me know...ONLY 7 miles!). When I trained for my half-marathons, my training plans were only 6 weeks long and I ran three times a week instead of four. As a result, I should be in better shape now - but I'm not too sure yet. Perhaps I'll try to run a half marathon in a few weeks and see??? I'll have to check the race calendar.

If everything goes to plan I'll hit 200 miles in 4 weeks. 300 miles 3 weeks later. Yes, my mileage is about to ramp up considerably.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Cholesterol Results In - WOW!

On Monday morning when I went to get my cholesterol checked, the doctor told me I could call in on Thursday afternoon to get the results (she also mails them to me, but I like to get them sooner rather than later!).

I had my lowest Total Cholesterol level EVER! 146. My Cholesterol Ratio is 3.3

Exactly four years ago, my Total Cholesterol level was 263. My Cholesterol Ratio was 6.0

When I received my cholesterol numbers in four years ago, I weighed 184 pounds. My doctor put me on a strict diet - limiting my calories to lose weight and limiting my fat intake to 20% of my calories. Three months later, I had lost 24 pounds and my Total Cholesterol was 163 (cholesterol ratio of 4.3).

Since that time I have continued to get my cholesterol checked every 6 months to ensure my levels are good. My LDL (or "bad" cholesterol) continued to slowly creep up for a year following the initial drop in Jan 2004, so I was put on a low dosage of Zocor in mid-'05.

Of course, running has also helped elevate my HDL (or "good" cholesterol).

Windy Morning

Yesterday's Total Calorie Intake: (??) 1934
(Exercise Calories: 722)
Total Net Calories: 1512

Last night, I was excited for this morning's run. The low temperature overnight was supposed to be 47 degrees which meant it should have been close to 50 degrees when I left the house. I threw on a short sleeve running shirt, shorts and baseball cap and stepped out side. Yikes! BRRRRR! It was COLD out there. After my run I checked the temperature - it was 46 degrees with a 39 degree wind chill. It felt colder to me.

I came back in the house and put on a long sleeve shirt instead. That was a little better, but the wind when right through. And...oops! when I went in to change my shirt I forgot to put my reflector vest back on. I didn't notice until I was already a 1/4 mile into my 3.5 mile run and I didn't feel like going back (and spending more time in the cold wind). Tough morning.

As for the run, due to the cold and the wind I ended up running faster than I should have on an "easy" run. My average heart rate was 158 - about 10 bpm higher than it should be for an easy run - and my pace was 10:23/mile, which is about :40/mile faster than I should be right now for an easy run. I just couldn't get my body to calm down and run easy this morning.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Tempo Run This Morning

Yesterday's Total Calorie Intake:  2064
(Exercise Calories:  425)
Total Net Caloires:  1639

It's my midweek longer run and I had decided that this would be my speedwork session.  I had been doing Yasso 800s on the treadmill most of the time, however, it was going to be a glorious morning for February - 63 degrees when I stepped out the door (the only issue was that there was a pretty strong wind...but who's complaining!).  I decided I needed to run outside, so I opted for a tempo run.  I would have considered the track if my HRM watch had a backlight, but since it's going to be dark in the morning for a few more weeks, I'll have to wait.

I ran a total of 5.5 miles this morning.  I did an easy jog for the first mile, then sped up (averaging about 170 bpm on my HRM) for the next 4 miles and jogged for the final half mile.  I came in at a 10:05/mile pace altogether.  Not too shabby for me so far.

This morning I listened to Shalom Chanoch's "Or Yisraeli".  Yesterday I received an email that Shalom Chanoch - a famous Israeli rock singer whose career has spanned from the 1960s to today - will be coming to the DC area for a concert on March his music has been in my head.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

February "Heat Wave"!

Yesterday's Total Calorie Intake: 1615

Today the temperatures are supposed to climb into the low 60s. It was still a bit nippy this morning - 37 degrees for my run - but it was much warmer than it has been. I ran in running shorts and a long sleeve t-shirt (not my Breath Thermo one) and a baseball cap - no windbreaker, no gloves and no winter hat. It was so nice to not have all of those layers!

This morning I listened to Ben Folds. I put a bunch of Ben Folds and Ben Folds Five albums in my iPod Shuffle and set it to random shuffle.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Spirit of the Marathon Movie - I Bought My Ticket!

There is an encore showing of "The Spirit of the Marathon" on Thursday, February 21. Since I missed the initial screening due to tickets being sold out, I decided that I should purchase my ticket early this time!

If anyone wants to join me at the Regal Germantown Stadium 14 on February 21, please let me know!

Week 5 Weigh In - Another Pound Down!

Yesterday's Total Calorie Intake: 2511
(Exercise Calories: 611)
Total Net Calories: 1900

Another pound down! This morning the scale said 164.0 - even after the Super Bowl chow-down! That's seven pounds down since Jan 1! I'm now only four pounds off of my initial goal of 160 pounds (there's most likely a "stretch goal" in there once I hit 160 in a few weeks).

Talking about the chow-down last night, I did eat a significant amount of calories - over 1400! - however, if I wasn't as careful I would have consumed way more. I only ate one piece of lasagna and did not have any cake or dessert; I had some chips and kettle corn but did not eat too many of these and alternated with carrot sticks and broccoli. My two weaknesses were beer (three bottles - 2 of Sam Adams Light and 1 of Saranac Black and Tan which was YUMMY!) and a spinach and artichoke pastry appetizer which I had way too many of.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Avoiding the Super Bowl Binge...

Yesterday's Total Calorie Intake:  2655
(Exercise Calories:  1258)
Total Net Calories:  1397

Tonight is the Super Bowl.  We have an annual tradition to get together with two other families (the three of us were friends at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor), and we always serve lasagna and one of the families brings a cake that is frosted like a football field.  Of course there is always chips, beer and other goodies as well.

I will most likely not count my calories so strictly today (i.e. tonight).  I've had a good week so far - especially yesterday with the 10.7 mile run!  I also will have my normal Sunday cross-training routine of the elliptical machine in the morning and two hours of Israeli Dancing (I'm holding the group in the afternoon today so that it does not conflict with the Super Bowl).   So I'm not too concerned about the weigh in tomorrow.

The one thing I AM concerned with is the fact that I am having my cholesterol checked tomorrow.  I go to have my cholesterol checked every 6 months to monitor since I had very elevated cholesterol for my age and a family history of high cholesterol and heart disease (more about this in a later post...).  As a result, I will keep to one serving of lasagna and I'll try to stay away from any other foods that are high in fat.  Worse comes to worse I'll have to consume more low-fat items - like beer - to fill up.  Woe is me...

BTW - for those of you who are trying to lose weight as well and have a choice of soda or beer during the game, choose either diet soda (no calories) or light beer (normally 100-150 calories per bottle...Amstel Light is only 95 calories per bottle).  One 20 ounce bottle of regular soda has about 240 calories (that's equivalent to 2 1/2 bottles of Amstel Light!).

Saturday, February 2, 2008

More Thoughts on Rockville Millennium Trail

Here's a few of my thoughts/comments on the Rockville Millennium Trail:
  • I liked that the path had markers every half mile.  I normally do not run on a marked path (except for the treadmill, right?) and it was pretty cool to see my progress.  Next time I run there I may hit my lap button on my HRM watch and get mile splits.
  • Most of the trail was on the side of the road and I chose to run against traffic (runners should run against traffic).  However, the mile markers decreased in this direction.  Then I remembered that it was originally built to be a bike path and bicycles should ride with traffic!
  • There were barely any trash cans along the path (I think I remember two of them at bus stops).  At one point I was carrying an empty GU packet in my hands for a little over a mile until I finally threw it on the ground.  I hate littering, but two trash cans for a 10 mile path???
  • I chose to start running on Shady Grove Road just outside the Fallsgrove neighborhood.  The trail goes through the woods inside the Fallsgrove neighborhood and there have been coyote sightings there over the past three or four years.  Since it was dark outside when I first started my run, I did not want to risk meeting up with a coyote - although I believe the Road Runner always beat the Coyote before, so I shouldn't have been too worried about that!  ;-)

10+ Mile Run - My Longest Yet

I ran the Rockville Millennium Trail this morning.  It's a 10.7 mile trail that goes around Rockville - it was planned to be within 2 miles of all City of Rockville residents so that they could use it as a "bike beltway" around the city.  It's a great idea, however, where were the bikers?  On this morning's run, the runners outnumbered the bikers 4 to 1.  OK...there probably are not many bikers who want to ride from 6am to 8am on a 30 degree February morning...

When I came back from my run I figured out that I get an additional 1250 calories today - that's close to  double my allotted calories on my weight loss plan.  However, I still need to watch the amount of fat I eat as I'm getting my cholesterol levels checked on Monday.

I listened to some musicals on my run this morning.  I started with Godspell (a little spirituality on Shabbat, right?) and then Rent.  Showtunes are great for long runs - the tunes are catchy and they tell a story.

Friday, February 1, 2008

No Yoga - Stretching Instead

Today's Total Calorie Intake:  1842

I never got around to doing the yoga video and I'm stuffed now after Shabbat dinner.  Instead, I did some stretching while watching the Washington Wizards game.

I have my water belt ready to go for tomorrow's run.  I'm going to wake up early and hit Rockville's Millennium Trail which is about 10.7 miles.  I've run on parts of the trail before - it's paved asphalt and it is marked at each 1/2 mile - however, I've never done the entire trail.

Friday Rest Day - Yoga Day?

Yesterday's Total Calorie Intake: 2034 
(Exercise Calories:  416)
Total Net Calories:  1618

Fridays is a rest day on my training plan.  No running, no cross-training.  However, I may use it as a day for stretching or try out yoga.

Why yoga?  Well...this past week I was watching the show "The Biggest Loser" with Sherry.  Right before one of the commercial breaks, one of the trainers showed the downward dog yoga pose.  I tried it and couldn't get my heels on the ground.  YIKES!  I think it is time for me to work on my flexibility if I'm going to avoid injury.  I'll see if I can do one of Sherry's yoga videos tonight after the kids go to sleep.