Friday, June 7, 2013

Ran My First 5K Today

Today I ran my first 5K. It was the RadioU 5K at Sharon Woods Metro Park. Apparently they have two 5K trails: one paved and pretty flat and the other that follows a nature trail out just over 1.5 miles and then comes back. Guess which one the race was?

Everyone I talked to before the race (five or six folks) said it was their first 5K ever. And most of them had been training by just running around the sidewalks in their neighborhood.

I started out listening to my Andy Hunter music but then decided I wanted something even more upbeat and flipped over to my Chipzel music. I really don't know at this point if that helped or hurt as I would try to run in time to the music which wore me out a bit, so I would stop running and speed walk.

I kept passing people or being passed by them as I flipped between running and walking at brisk pace. Right after the last big hill on the way back, the person who I later found out got the reward for 2nd place female runner came back to get her friend who seemed impressed that I could fast walk about the same speed as she could slow run.

Not long after that, I heard the guy announcing times and assumed the finish line was right around the corner. I decided I was NOT going to let anyone else pass me. Unfortunately it turned out the guy announcing the finisher's times had a really good PA system as I kept running and running and eventually crossed the line.

Official times have not been posted yet. I saw 34:15 on the clock and then ran over to grab some water and snacks. I feel bad for anyone allergic to bananas since the only refreshments available were water, I think Gatorade, bananas, and banana bread from Bob Evans.

Take-aways from the race: running with someone is motivation to run faster, do better, and push yourself more than you would think. Hills make for a harder, better workout than running on flat surfaces. Also I need something to put my keys and cell phone in besides the pockets in my shorts. They started jabbing my legs as soon as I started running and there was not room in my iPod case for my keys or cell phone so I just had to hold them in one hand as I ran.

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Right Workout Music Can Make All the Difference

Tonight I was doing a run and just picked my video game soundtrack playlist and put it on shuffle mode and let it pick a random album. It played a couple songs from the Shatter soundtrack which is decent upbeat but kind of ambient music that put me in a bit of a zone. Unfortunately I skipped a couple songs that I heard way too much when playing the game which meant I was quickly onto the next album on the playlist.

Which turned out to be Thomas Was Alone. Fantastic game, great soundtrack but unfortunately for me and my run, the sound track is more of a mellow, laid-back vibe to it. Wonderful for thinking, writing, coding, etc. Awful for a fast-paced workout.

Every time I started to get up a good pace, it would settle into a more mellow part of the soundtrack and I just could not keep a good pace to save my life. Which is a huge problem when you're running from zombies. See previous post.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Run When You Are Being Chased

One of my previous coworkers often said the only way he would run is if something/someone was chasing him. I seem to have found the perfect workout program for that line of thinking and it is quite fun.

Enter Zombies Run! There are two versions of it: the 5K trainer which has you doing 8 weeks of training up to being able to run a 5K. It alternates between whatever music playlist you have selected end the story line while you are working out and it is walk/run intervals.

The main app, which I have not tried yet, sends you out on missions to grab supplies and build up your base. Kind of a mini-Sim City type thing but you need to run to grab the supplies.

I'm planning on working my way through the Zombies 5K and then buy the whole thing at some point soon after that.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Lose It now!

I've been trying to lose weight on and off for a few years now. I've decided it's finally time to share some experiences since I've finally stumbled across some things that are actually working. I've lost about 10 pounds total since I started really trying to lose weight in late December 2010. Before that, it took me two years to lose 14 pounds.

LoseIt app

The big game changer for me has been the free app LoseIt! on my iPod Touch. It is also available on the iPhone and iPad of course plus there is a free website for those who don't want to give any money to Steve Jobs. The idea of the app is simple: if you burn more calories than you take in, you'll lose weight. So you enter your height, weight, age, gender and a few other pieces of info. Then you enter how much weight you want to lose - 1, 1.5, or 2 pounds a week. It gives you a "budget" of how many calories you can eat and still lose your target amount of weight.

Then start tracking what you eat & how much exercise you get. Getting a little close to red-lining - going over your calorie budget - do some cardio or go for a walk. You're 300 calories under? Go ahead and have a cookie or something yummy.

That's the power of this. It's not grapefruit and soup broth diet. You can eat ANYTHING you want as long as you stay under your calorie budget.

I got a big push to using LoseIt earlier this year. I checked the book out from the library and was reading it in a doctor's office. It turned out the doctor in his very busy work schedule was also taking care of 3 kids (two of them twins) and on top of that training for a triathlon. His method of tracking his fitness and nutrition was LoseIt. I figured if it works for him, it would work for me.

Motivation To Move nuggets

LoseIt definitely helped, but I still needed some motivation to get going. I started looking for health & fitness podcasts and stumbled across one called "Motivation To Move." It's a daily podcast with 9 minutes of motivational material and then 9 minutes of fitness info. There is something in every episode that helps out. I've found two VERY powerful concepts that have changed everything for me.

The first one is this... Before you do anything ask yourself

"How do I want to feel?"

Then think about your answer and does what you're about to do support that? Looking at a piece of cheesecake and ask the question. If the answer is "healthy and energetic!" pass on the cheesecake and have some fresh fruit. If the answer is "Like I just had something super-yummy and bad for me" and you really mean it, make sure it's what you want and then have the cheesecake.

The second thing is what Scott Smith (the creator of this podcast) calls

"The 12 Hour Diet."

Before you run off thinking Scott is a snake-oil salesman, listen to what the 12 hour diet is.

He has this theory that everyone can have the discipline to stick with anything for a limited amount of time. Apparently in the case of healthy eating, the limit is right around 12 hours. Anyone can have a healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But get too far beyond dinner and you try to decide what to eat, you're going to be looking into the freeze and eating a bowl full of ice cream the size of your head.

So rather than risk eating junk as a midnight snack, set a cut-off and just don't eat after the cut-off. His suggestion for when to have the cut-off is 12 hours after you eat for the first time in the day. Eat breakfast at 7 AM? No snacks after 7 PM.

It's what works for YOU

In summary, I don't think any one of these things would give me the results I want. But combining the three and sticking with it really does seem to be working for me.