Monthly Archives: February 2011

In it to Win It!

Sunday turned into a normal workout day instead of a super-charged one that I had hoped for. I ended up going out for dim sum, followed by a bunch of shopping, and made it back just in time for my hour date with the treadmill and Iron Chef (secret ingredient – Skipjack Tuna). I worked hard, but I still had a lot of fatigue in my muscles, that made me less able to perform.

Question: Does anyone have suggestions for reducing muscle fatigue the next day or two after a hardcore workout (in this case, lots of walking/running the day prior)?

The Two Month Mark
I’m happy to report that today will mark 2 full months of workouts. I think I’ve proven that I’m in it to win it! I’ve still managed to make it 5 days/week every week so far, which is my minimum goal. Yes, I could be doing a little bit more, but you know what, I’m a hell of a lot stronger, more fit, and have much more stamina than when I started!

John is also working out weekly with a friend of ours – early in January they made a spontaneous deal to train for a relay triathlon sprint. So this friend of ours, who manages a bar, works late, and has fallen into the routine of drinking rather heavily and often, is supposed to be training for this. She’s stopped smoking, and has begun drinking less, but she hasn’t worked out as hard or as intensely as she probably should for this goal. Personally, I feel as if she committed to doing the triathlon without much thought, and that’s catching up with her. John and I were talking yesterday about how it’s really uncommon for someone to start up at the gym, go strong from the start, and maintain it, so we’re way ahead of the curve. Yup! That’s us, we’re amazing!

Physical Changes:
One thing I noticed – my basic running speed has increases slightly since I started in January. Then, it was a struggle to run at all. By the end of the month I was able to run at 4.5 for long periods of time. Now, 4.7 is no problem, and I may be able to go faster for extended periods. I get a little winded at 5.0, but I’m getting there! It’s nice to see progress, as I feel so slow compared to where I was in years past. My fitness level and my weight are about the same as then – the only thing that has changed is my age.

Oh, and something else weird. I’ve been trying a lot of jeans on lately and they always get stuck on my calves. I don’t remember this being as much of an issue before. I haven’t measured (as I don’t have a tape to use), but I think my calves have been getting bigger, not smaller!!! At this rate I will never be able to get knee-high boots unless I get them custom made. That’s one of the things I had been looking forward to, actually be able to wear fun footwear occasionally instead of clogs or sneakers.

This Week:

  • Looking forward, I think I may be missing my Tuesday workout – I have to go back in to work at 9 pm (cue overtime opportunity! yeah!), after closing our building late (at 6:30 or so), and there just won’t be time! If that happens, I’m going to have to consider doing a Thursday late night workout.
  • I still haven’t made hummus yet! I have to do it before all my peripheral ingredients go bad (cukes, feta, olives).
  • We’re starting to see a lettuce shortage in supermarkets. It’s been more difficult to get clamshells of spring mix lettuces, one of our staple food items (ie, dinner salads!). There was a big freeze in Mexico recently, and we were warned that this would have a significant impact on supply and probably prices.
  • I am assisting with a big pinhole camera making workshop this weekend, so no outdoor activities or big workouts are planned. I’ll be busy enough as it is as the TA, but that’s ok, it will let me take the workshop for free – something I wanted to take but couldn’t quite afford!
  • Desperately need to make a run to Costco and pickup on dietmaven approved foods. Didn’t manage to make it grocery shopping this weekend at all, so we’re in food crisis mode at home! Not good!

Posted by on February 28, 2011 in Gym


Ambition vs. reality

Exercising is hard, which is why not so many people do it I guess. As I was updating my weekly recap, keeping tabs on  my weekly progress I realized that I needed to step it up in order to keep on top of my weight loss. I’d been taking it easy, as necessary as that was in order to heal up, but I hadn’t had any killer workout days recently. So I planned some big exercising for the weekend, when I have extra time without the time crunch that a job takes.

I decided I would go for a big walk on Saturday morning, right after I got up. There’s a big park, called Lincoln Park, a little ways from my house, and it’s actually less far than I expected. So rather than drive there and walk the park, I decided to walk TO the park, then around it, and back home. Turns out it was 4.75 miles round trip. With a huge elevation gain (I live high up on a bluff over puget sound) going from my house to the park and back, since the park is at sea level. It was fun, even though it was particularly cold, in the mid 20s. I wore alot of layers, but my legs never quite warmed up fully. And when I got back, I got the shivers from cooling down and wearing damp sweaty clothing, and then making a shake wiht frozen berries. I had to get a hot water bottle to warm up after that!

Later on, the plan was to go to the gym after errands and shopping and stuff. I tried. I was sore. I was tired. A kitty wanted to take a nap on me. I did persevere after all, but it was a really difficult workout. I think I showed my mental fortitude, since my body was having none of it. That adage “you’ll never regret a workout” kept going in my head and was one of the motivators I used to keep going on the treadmill. I tried running for a while, had to take a break. I tried fast sprints every other minute, and I needed a lot of mental push to make myself hit that speed increase button after a minute of walking. I did it, and I burned 450 calories, but I was pathetic. I’m not sure I agree with the sentiment of never regretting a workout. But I didn’t allow myself the out, and didn’t think about it, and just did it.

Today my leg muscles feel generally sore and not recovered, but they don’t hurt and there’s nothing specifically wrong with them. Just major fatigue. I’m supposed to repeat yesterday with a big major workout today and I’m not finding the fortitude to do it. I walked/ran about 8 miles yesterday, so I guess that’s like going for a big hike. Who knows what the day will bring. Maybe I’ll feel more energetic after I finish my morning coffee.

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Posted by on February 27, 2011 in Uncategorized


New site layout!

I was bored with the old one. It was very “engineer” and it needed some more bling. So now I’ve chosen the men’s library look. Even though I’m female. Even though I’m not old. Even though I don’t come from money. Stitched leather is in!

Do you like it? Will it make you read it more often? Will it help people visit my site and leave more comments? Or do I need to post more goofy graphics and pictures? What do you think? I see tons of other exercise/weight loss blogs and they all have a gazillion people leaving comments – not that that’s the reason I have this blog.  Does my writing suck? Is it the lack of brightly colored graphics and google docs? Do I need to buy a graphic designed header with a caricature of me?

Anyway, looking for feedback and comments on what to improve. I suppose I should have photos up or something. You’d think for a photographer with a fine art degree I could take good snapshots but I am lazy if I am not dealing with my expensive old manual Hasselblad camera that costs $1.50 per image (that’s when I really make sure that an image counts!). Maybe if I do some really artsy pinhole images of me on the treadmill at the gym…. Ha, that’s be trippy, a 15 minute exposure of me running.

Anyway, I’m really sleepy, and I really want to go take a nap, and it’s almost time for me to go home and go run at the gym. While I want to do that intellectually, right now what I really want is a warm kitten, a blanket, a martini and a good book.

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Posted by on February 25, 2011 in Blog


Recovery & holding steady

I’ve been recovering from the big run I had on Saturday, which may have been overmuch! The top of my quad on my left leg has been sore when I engage it, to get up/sit down, but fine while I walk. It has been the same level of sore since Saturday, with today being the first time it hasn’t been really painful.

So because of that, I took it easy Monday, took Tuesday off to rest it, and reluctantly went to the gym to only do upper body weights and light walking Wednesday. It was a challenge – last night I really wanted to run. I’m starting to think of myself as a runner-in-training, and I couldn’t do jack. But better to take it slow and easy than push and keep injuring something.

Next time I make it in I will try running and see how it goes. I may wait a few days before doing lower body weights however.

I have not been super strict with my eating (particularly dinner choices). I went out one night and had chicken, mashed potato, gravy, and extra veggies. I only ate half (bringing the rest to lunch the next day), but it wasn’t necessarily low-cal, either. I have to maek sure I choose to eat more veggies than John prepared, if he is making dinner. Leave it to him and he will eat 3-4 bites of a veggie, a big plate of roasted potatoes, and a protein. Yet he loves salad, too, wierd. But he never makes enough veggies. I need to take more control of that!

So this will come as no surprise, but I’m learning that doing something half-assed means not doing it properly. My weight is holding steady, maybe a half pound less than the last time I officially posted my weight. I haven’t exercised enough during my period of light workouts nor have I eaten very strickly (which I probably will never do). So basically I need to step up the workouts. I need to be doing more walks, on the weekend, and on days I don’t work out.

That’s it. Nothing much else to report. Just working, and cooking, and looking at the new pretty snow here in Seattle (how unusual!!!!).

Stay warm everyone!

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Posted by on February 24, 2011 in Excuses


Week 7

This has been a steady week with a lot of subtle progress. I may not have worked as intensely as I would have liked, only 5 days at the gym, and didn’t make it out snowshoeing. But I have begun incorporating more at home exercise to supplement going to the gym, and the gym is becoming more of a habit. I don’t fight going as much as I have been; I just give in and go, even if I don’t want to. I hope I get to the point that I go without even thinking about it, that it becomes so much of a routine that it is an unconscious activity.

I’m consistently pushing to work 600 calories or so each workout, with a total that I’m estimating at about 3100 calories this week. It would have been more, but I had a really extra strong workout day on Saturday and may have overdone it – Sunday was necessarily a very light day (which unfortunately looks to be continuing as I recover).

In food news, did pretty well. I had 2 steaks this week, a little more in size and frequency than I should be eating, but overall, it was a fairly well balanced week. I semi-indulged a little here and there, but not very much (just a scone with marmalade on Saturday, and a large pasta dish with too little veggies on it one evening). I’m noticing that I’m able to handle being hungry a little better than I used to during the day, and I also have noticed that it is more normal for me to stop eating and be satisfied even if I’m not full like I used to be. Not being hungry is often good enough, I no longer need to eat until I’m excessively full. That in itself is a major change and a very positive one! Though I need to be careful to only put what i need on my plate – otherwise I’ll eat everything presented to me and lick the plate clean to boot!

Mon: Did weights, upper and lower body.
Tues: took the day off.
Weds: 1 hour cardio. Can’t remember what. About 600 calories.
Thurs: day off.
Fri: Did an hour cardio on the treadmill, 600 calories.
Sat: 2/19: Did a morning workout and really pushed. Burned 900 calories over an hour and a half. Did a lot of fast running sprints during the last half hour. Tried to stay active the rest of the day so I wouldn’t stiffen up.
Sun: Recovery day – did 1 hour walk in my neighborhood, then 1 hour at the gym on the treadmill, slow walking. Was dealing with an overtaxed quad muscle on one leg and a sore knee on the other. I think the kneecap was tracking poorly and I think I need to start strengthening the inner leg muscle that connects to the knee (this has been an issue in my pre-workout days) to keep the knee cap from pulling to the outside by stronger muscles. Between both walks, I’m guessing 550 calories spent (300 on the treadmill at least).

Pushed hard by the end of the week, and it’s making my next week start off quite slowly – not yet fully recovered. However, I think I’ll bounce back strong, in a few days. I’m also struggling with some wierd dizzy-like symptoms. I don’t know if it’s an issue with my inner ear or a low-grade fever, but things are spinning and I’m having trouble not listing to the side. I think I will take tonight off officially and get a lot of rest as my leg muscles are still not recovered. Just a small glitch on the journey, nothing major.


Posted by on February 22, 2011 in Uncategorized, Weekly recap


Scientific studies on weight loss, my thoughts and ramblings

My friend sent me this cool (though confusing and slighty depressing) link from the NY Times, which discussed how exercise does not lead to weight loss.

It left me confused. So by working out so hard and so intensely (running/cardio that is), I’m not being successful, according to the article. I personally think that to get real results you have to push yourself, the harder you work, the more calories/energy you burn, regardless of where they come from. I think I understand what it’s saying. You expend a higher percentage of calories/energy from your body’s fat stores if you work out in the fat-burning zone (ie, low intensity) than if you work out in the high intensity cardio zone. However, if  you do high intensity and use up your carbohydrate fuel instead, you are still using a higher amount of fat than the low intensity activity, even if the percentage of useage is lower. Does that make sense? Plus, I would think that if you use your ready stores of carb fuel during high intensity activity, that uses it up before your body can convert it to fat, so you will at some point have to use up additional fat since the carb fuel is no longer available (this would be after you completed your physical activity, during the course of the day or night).

Science and studies are funny to read. They look at a microcosm of information through a blinder, and not at the whole process.

If you read this article, I would highly recommend you read through the comments – they are very enlightening, moreso than the article. I also started reading a link that a doctor posted about weight loss:

Along with the comments on this doctor’s blog entry, and all together, they give a much better idea of what to do to be successful. However, that second article is partially depressing me since so many people seem to be having real difficulty losing weight. It’s like wondering if you’re going to get cancer or MS (am I the only person that worries about what debilitating disease I’m going to get as I age?)  – am I going to end up with diabetes or a thyroid problem? Well no, I’m making changes and they *are* working and I am succeeding. But it is a lot of weight-loss horror stories, along with some successes thrown into the mix.

My favorite thing I read was a commend by “Dave” about what he did. He decided rather than buy larger clothes (since he no longer fit in his current clothes), he would lose weight instead. As he lost weight, he set a line in the sand. As he dropped under 200 lbs, 200 lbs would be that line he wouldn’t cross. If he approached it, he would have to increase the intensity and duration of exercise and restrict his eating. As he went down below 190, 190 lbs became that line. I think this is brilliant!

How many of us have lost weight only to gain it back? Losing is hard and takes a lot of effort. Gaining is as easy as can be. I myself have had this happen multiple times. The problem is that it’s hard to start back up again. I think keeping an eye on your weight fluctuations is important so that you don’t reverse the trend and start going in the wrong direction. Stopping that behavior early on is the key to keeping fit and not regaining weight. I never thought of this concept before, but I am going to make sure that if I do get to that point that I slack off, I don’t let it get out of hand, at least not much, and not for very long. Major aha moment here!

Anyway, really focused on thoughts of diet this weekend. I am not going snowshoeing after all today, and I didn’t make it to the weight workout at the gym this morning (thought it was 930 instead of 9!!!!). So that means I am overdue a weight workout. I may try and go in extra early tonight and do it before my 7 pm Iron Chef/treadmill date. I think John wants to do both too.  Oh, and I did that walk last night. I’m guessing I burned 250 calories over the course of 30 minutes. There are some really steep hills in my neighborhood (actually, all of Seattle has ’em!).


Posted by on February 20, 2011 in Uncategorized


A weekend of extra long workouts and lots of cooking!

John wanted to go to 10:30 am yoga this morning, so I (very!) reluctantly got ready to go. I was kinda planning on not going in so early, as I absolutely NEVER work out in the morning. I like it in the evening much better. So off we went, and I knew that I’d be there an hour an a half, an hour for his yoga, and an extra half because he wanted to do weights afterwards. I hopped on the treadmill and did a mishmash of running, walking, and hill climbing, finishing with a 20 minute fast (-er than usual) run (4.7 -4.9 speed) at the end. 610 calories. Cool. But by the end, I felt energized and thought I’d try and do the powerpump class Sunday morning at 9:30 (tomorrow), so didn’t want to do weights 2 days in a row. I elected to keep running/walking. I thought I’d just walk to do something, but felt so good that I decided to do a whole bunch of fast sprints. So I walked then ran, fast, for 1-2 minutes each. Total calorie burn? 900! My shirt was drenched, my face was beet red, and I was dripping all over the gym floor.

And later, going shopping for our big cooking extravaganza day, I really felt the tiredness in my leg muscles. This is the first extra long workout I’ve had since starting up. 90 minutes of hard cardio. I really sweat my ass off, too, but it has to be good to push your body if you physically can. I bet it has gotten used to 60 minutes of cardio at a time, so I probably shocked the heck out of it today!

Now we’re doing a big cooking splurgy day. I am making my lamb shanks with french lentils, which is luscious and delectable and will last for days. Takes 4 hours to cook, and has beer in the broth, for extra yummy flavor. It will be mostly lentils with a small bit of lamb on top. I’ll be soaking my garbanzos and cooking up a batch of hummus tomorrow, but I’m going to prep some quick pickled red onions to go with it today. I have all the other ingredients to make a scrumptious meal of pita, hummus, cucumber, crumbled feta, kalamata olives, and pickled red onions. It should be nice to eat during the week too.

John is doing his part, too. We made heirloom orange marmalade this week, and he wants to have fresh scones with it, so he’s going to make them up this evening, along with a lime drizzle cake with coconut cream cheese frosting. Not diet food, that’s for sure! I’m going to have to whip him into good diet shape! Cakes every other week is NOT dietmaven approved! Well, I will have my slice tonight, or tomorrow, whenever he gets to it. And I will definitely  have a scone with marmalade after I return from a hardcore workout! And lest you think I’m f’ing up with all the eating (which is really not horribly bad, if I keep it in moderation), I’ll be having another double workout tomorrow, since I will either do a weight class in the morning OR go snowshoeing, plus still go to the gym at 7 pm for Iron Chef and an hour of cardio in the evening!

I’m debating whether or not I will go for an evening walk. I’m mega-tired, but after reading how much food I have planned this weekend, I better get my but in gear and do it!

Stay healthy all!

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Posted by on February 19, 2011 in Cooking, Gym