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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Long Runs

I figured I was in fairly good shape when I started my half marathon training.  And I think I was kind of right.  I can run 3 miles, no problem.  Four?  Doable, but I'm breathing pretty hard by the end of it.  Five?  Haven't quite made it there yet.

The biggest problem right now?  The heat wave!  It's already approaching 90 degrees before 8 am, and the humidity is insane.  You remember that expression, "it's not the heat, it's the humidity!"  Well, I'm pretty sure that was written about Chicago.  Even though it's rare that the actual temperature will be in the triple digits, the humidity is always like, a million percent.  And that's why running outside in July/August is awful.

So I've been running on the treadmill at the gym.

I hate treadmills.  Always have.

Jules = not so happy.

I would much rather be running outside, but I seriously have no intention of waking up at 4:30 am just so I can run in weather that won't kill me.  And since I hate running on the treadmill, it's been a little harder to make myself run and a little easier to find excuses.  Such as planning my neighbors' going away party.  Or just plain catching up on sleep.

I recently bought a one-piece swimsuit (basically a swim team practice suit), goggles and a swim cap so I can do laps at the gym.  I figure I'll do the 45-minute lunchtime spin class, then rinse off and hit the pool for some laps.

I went on Thursday and swam for 30 mins.  Not bad, considering I'd just done a spin class AND I've never gone to a pool with the intention of swimming laps.  Well, except for one summer on the country club swim team when I was five.  But that doesn't count, it was almost two decades ago.  Yikes.

But I'm looking forward to getting back into the pool and working on my aqua stamina!  I just wish I had someone to sort of coach me on my swimming, you know, observe my form and give me pointers, or straight up work with me to improve my strokes.

If you live around Chicago and want to do that for me, let me know!!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

How To: Combat Chafing

As I said in my last post, chafing is a problem for me.  My dad-- who (in his prime) used to run, row, sail, cross-country ski and more-- suggested I just rub some Vaseline on my skin.  I usually think he's nuts, so I went ahead and bought some compression shorts from Nike.

These are the ones I bought, about $25-$30 but they fit really well

Well I don't feel like washing those 4 times a week, so I thought I'd try the Vaseline trick on my shorter runs and see if it helped at all.

Good ol' fashioned petroleum jelly

Turns out, it does!  I had no problems on my 3-milers later last week and on Tuesday, or on my 4-miler this morning  :)  I'm still going to wear my compression shorts for my longer runs-- and definitely for the half marathon-- but it's nice to know there's another option that requires less laundry!

Friday, July 8, 2011

New Plan: Half Marathon!

So back in March, I was disappointed to learn that registration for the 2011 Chicago Marathon had reached maximum participants.  Last year's 5K was waaaay too fun for me to not run another race, but I knew I had to aim for a longer distance in order to really challenge myself.  After a quick survey of my friends on Facebook, I learned that several people were already registered for the half in September- and I decided to go ahead and register, too!  I found two 10 week HM training programs (one is from Runner's World magazine!) and am almost done with week 1 :)

As an experiment, I decided to see just how bad it really would be to run at lunchtime on Tuesday.  And I learned exactly why you either run early morning or late evening: 86 degrees with a TON of humidity and lots of sun made for a miserable half hour.  Yuck.  Never again.

Yesterday I ran around 8:15am.  It was partly cloudy, about 76 degrees and much less humid.  It was a GREAT run except for one thing: my thighs were chafing something fierce!  I'm slightly knock-kneed, so chafing is pretty much unavoidable.

I'm the one on the left - my thighs touch by default
It's super frustrating, because my knees, ankles and lungs were handling the 3-miler just fine, but my legs were objecting painfully.  I still have a Nike giftcard from Christmas so I'm going to the outlet mall this afternoon to see if I can find some compression/lycra shorts so they'll stay in place even if my running shorts ride up!

I'm also going to see if the Nike outlet has any competition-style swimsuits.  My gym has a pool so I'd love to swim laps or take the "aqua fit" class as part of my cross-training, but the only swimwear I have are bikinis.  We'll see if the Nike outlet has what I need or if I'll have to look elsewhere!

My best motivation for morning runs is to set out my shorts, tank, sports bra and socks before I go to bed- what do you do to get up and go?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bummer

So I just got an email from the Chicago Marathon (since I'm on their list), and I'm so bummed!  Just a month after opening registration, they've hit the max 45,000 participant capacity :(  Since I don't know when I'll be going on the road for work-- and how long I'll be gone-- I didn't want to register and risk missing the marathon.  Looks like I'll have to find a different 2011 race and wait for Chicago 2012!  On a good note, we had our office Biggest Loser weigh-in this morning and I lost 1.2 pounds since last week's weigh-in!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Losing at Losing...

So we had our weekly weigh-ins, and both last week and this week I gained half a pound!  Over the last two weeks, I've gained a pound back.  I know that doesn't sound like much, and everybody says your weight fluctuates, but our weigh-ins are at the same time each week and I wear basically the same thing each week to be consistent.

How did I gain it back?  The answer is simple.

  1. I spent the entire Sunday two weeks ago (aka Bears-Packers playoff championship game) at a bar with girlfriends watching football.  That involved a burger, french fries, a mozzarella stick or two, and several "souvenir mugs" of Miller Lite.  Looking back, I should've stuck to a beer I actually like and NOT gotten the sweet Bears mug that's now taking up space on my closet shelf.
  2. Monday through Thursday last week I sat in on training for one of our street teams.  Lunch was catered every day (so no Lean Cuisines) and there was a big bowl of "fun-size" candy in the middle of the conference table..... I probably ate more candy last week than I did around Halloween.
  3. Snowpocalypse 2011 hit Chicagoland, preventing my daily gym trips.  I'm so glad I didn't even try-- the Prudential Fast Track bus, Union Station, and every train were ridiculous on Tuesday and Thursday.  The closest I came to a workout was romping around in the snow.  There was a 10-foot mountain of snow in front of my neighbor's house that my 20-year-old brother and I were climbing (and throwing each other off), and I deliberately.... umm, swam?..... through the deepest snow each time I traveled between our house and The Mountain.
So it's pretty obvious to me how I managed not only to not lose weight but to put some back on.  I've decided I'm going to lose the most weight by our next weigh-in.  The only downside to that goal is that I'm going to Indiana to see Josh this weekend.

I'm pretty sure I gain about 20 pounds every time I make that trip.  We tend to eat in restaurants, go to bars with friends, and not workout at all.  Granted, this makes for very fun weekends, but not very healthy ones.  My plan is to enjoy myself this weekend without overindulging.  We'll see how it goes!

How do you manage to eat right and even squeeze in exercise when you're on a mini vacation??

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Biggest Loser?

So I dropped 14 pounds (yay!) in the process of training for the 5K and taking weekly classes at the gym... But I've gained a good chunk of it back in the past couple weeks =/  I've had an eye infection lately, so I've been confined to my glasses, which means no gym time-- I'm self-conscious enough at the gym as it is, I can't imagine being able to focus on anything but people's judgment of me if I showed up in my glasses.

Thus, between the Holiday food and drinks, and zero workouts in the last 2-3 weeks, I am no longer able to see my defined abs or slim thighs.  I hate how quickly I gain it all back!!!  But luckily, my body is pretty used to being fit, so I hope to lose it again in a couple weeks :)

Anyway, our office has an annual "Biggest Loser" competition, so I've decided to participate as extra motivation.  It's $30 to join; the weekly winner gets $5 and the overall winner gets the whole pot at the end of 16 weeks-- but for every pound you gain each week, you have to put $1 into the pot!  My goal is to reach 120 pounds (I'm around 140, probably) by the final weigh-in, on April 28.  This seems reasonable, it's 5 pounds a month, nothing crazy!

Beyond just our office competition, two of my New Year's resolutions involve running.  First, I will run the Rock & Roll Chicago Half Marathon in less than 1:31 (so under 10-minutes per mile).  Second, I will finish the 2011 Chicago Marathon.  Yep, those are my goals.  I don't think they're too ambitious, and I plan to do a 10K and maybe another 5K this spring to cover all my bases :)

I'm excited for a fit and fabulous 2011- happy new year, everyone!

Monday, September 27, 2010

We Did It!

Two weeks ago, my friend Liz and I ran the 5K at the Chicago Half Marathon.  It was our first race- for both of us- so we weren't running it for time or anything, just to get a feel for what a race is like :)  It was so much fun!  I wish I had more money; the change in scenery, number of people, benefit to self & others, and swag definitely make runs fly by!

More than anything, I'm proud of how far I've come.  I started out about 150 pounds and unable to run more than a quarter of a mile without feeling like my lungs were collapsing.  Now I'm around 139 pounds and still trying to shrink.  We did 3.1 miles with zero problem (actually, we felt awesome afterwards!) and each week I've been increasing my run by a quarter of a mile.

Now I've joined LA Fitness and take morning classes 4-5 days a week.  I'm still running, aiming for twice a week- although, sadly, now it's on a treadmill- but this week will be 3.75 miles.  I'm really excited- I love my workouts and finally fit into clothes I haven't worn in 3 years.

I still have a long way to go, though.  For Liz and me, our next goal is the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon in Chicago next August- and I hope to run the 2012 Chicago Marathon.  I hope to lose at least 15 more pounds in the coming months and shrink a few more inches, but for now I'm quite pleased with my progress and my ability to finally stick with it!