Thursday, 30 April 2009


I have proved once again that planning at the dining room table doesn’t ensure I’ll get it right on the run. Nevertheless, I am pleased by my 2x800. I put it in the middle of a 5k run. My assignment was to run two 800 meter laps in five minutes each.

My walk break between laps was supposed to be three minutes. I took a 1 ½ minute break – mistaking my turn-around time with the length of the whole break!

Odie spoiled one of the last 100m segments by lunging at another dog. Getting his attention and running around the other dog added about 10 seconds. I felt really angry at him at first, and then reconsidered. He's a dog, doing dog things. I can teach him how to run with me and when to ignore other dogs. My anger faded. Oh well, I told myself.

I ran too soon after eating lunch. I ended up feeling like I had been punched in the stomach after I finished the run.

WARM, CLEAR 85 degrees (too hot for how I dressed)

12 minute warm up to the course (1:1)
1 36.0
2 35.9
3 37.4
4 34.6
5 48.1 (includes 30 sec walk break)
6 35.0
7 35.2
8 34.2
800m total 296.4 sec 4:56 min

1:35 walk break between laps

1 36.3
2 36.8
3 37.5
4 32.6
5 52.0 (includes 30 sec walk break)
6 38.1
7 47.4 (includes my dog lunging at another dog)
8 41.8
800m total 322.5 sec 5.:22

Looking at this month in review, I am really pleased overall. I've started running longer distances than I ever thought I could. I've lost nine pounds. I've learned a lot about nutrition and portion sizes. I feel healthy and happy. Everything's right in my corner of the world. I'm wondering though where to buy a face mask for everyone I know.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Enough is enough

I have been thinking today about what's sustainable. What's the point? Where am I headed? Am I enjoying the ride? I have been reading The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl. From 350lb., she battled the bulge and (if I am recalling correctly) stopped at ~ 175 lbs., where she maintains her weight in the equivalent of a US size 12. This is five pounds more than I weigh now and the size I wear (and increasingly, a size 10, if I can find them in the back of my closet somewhere). The irony has to be obvious. Here I am trying to shrink myself, and she's happy enough to live in the very land I am trying to leave. What’s up with that?

I think, we each live in our own skin. I have to decide for myself. I wonder what self-acceptance means. Can I look in the mirror and really love deeply the person who I am. Even that roll of fat which used to spill over the waistband of my too-tight jeans? I shrank that part of me - burned away the fat, and I don't miss it. I am glad to see in the mirror that the jeans aren't so tight anymore and when they're zipped, I haven't squished myself up and out like sausage in a casing. I think, I honor myself with more reverence when I feed myself very well, regularly with high-quality nutrition.

I think, I honor myself more deeply when I move my body regularly - strengthen my heart muscles, circulate my blood, increase my lung capacity, and make stronger arms and legs and abs.

I practice deep self-acceptance when I accept that anyone swimming in my gene pool has a predisposition for diabetes. And in acceptance of that risk, I change how and what I eat and I exercise regularly - and these actions allow my blood sugar levels to return to normal fasting levels.

It’s not just for vanity that I am reducing the fat I carry. It’s not just for ego that I’ve set some sports goals for myself. And I am willing to work harder during the renovation phase of this construction project. It’s not a sustainable pace – I eat less than my maintenance level, in order to reduce fat. I can say, though, it’s sustainable in the sense that I am willing to work harder than usual to get to the maintenance phase of the project. Actually, it’s a new “usual” that I am trying to create. I am trying to bring within an internal awareness of what’s enough – how to plan and prepare food that nourishes me. This work will bring me to a place where I can stop cringing at the camera or at who I see in my vacation pictures. And even if my weight didn’t change, I now feel more compassion for the person in those pictures. So, I can stop cringing now. I don’t have to wait until later. This is a gift of Grace that is in my life right now.

And I am having a wonderful time working out – in everything I do, I am having fun. I love the endorphin buzz. I love the feeling of competence, of strength, of capacity. I can. I am. I am enough.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

I felt great running today. I rested Friday. My 5k on Thursday was slow and heavy-legged. I think I was still tired from swimming Tuesday and a HIIT on the erg Wednesday. 10 minutes of intense intervals wiped me out!

The 1 minute run/1 minute walk for the long run turned out to be very pleasant. I brought my sports tablets with me. I felt really strong during the last third of the run, and picked up my pace a bit.

1. Distance assigned: 13k Distance actually run: 14k
2. Pace assigned: n/a Pace actually run: Pace 09:06 (avg) Speed: 6.47 (km/hr) (avg)
3. Walk break ratio assigned: 1:1 Walk break ratio used: 1:1
4. Speed-work done: During the last third of the run, I picked up my pace slightly during the run portions. Felt very good.
5. Any aches/pains? No. Minor soreness in my knees develops after 30 min. I felt tired when I ran Thursday 5k at 1:1. I rested on Friday.
6. Questions? The Paris race has a huge elevation gain in the middle. What should I do to prepare for it? (pictured)
7. Weekend workout planned for the following week: May 3--2 x 800

Saturday, 18 April 2009

My first Magic 1600 meters

Here's what it looks like:

400m 2:08.0
800m 2:45.5
1200m 2:50.5
1600m 3:00 (estimated)

~30 sec after each lap; sometimes during too. Last 200m featured a lot of walking.

I had fun and challenged myself. I realized afterwards I didn't hit the lap button when I finished. I thought I had, but I did capture when my friend, who ran a 2k loop, finished. So I could make a reasonable estimate.

During the week, I scouted the Dunes and found a portion of a running trail marked by 100m increments. I ran out 800m, and turned around. However, I couldn't see the finish line, which was only a faded triangle. Next time I will mark it with some coloured chalk. I walked quite a bit of the last 200 meters. I don't think I triggered my lap button properly when I finished the last segment.

I concentrated on figuring out how to run the segments on the marked trail. Consequently, I overlooked the instruction to run the 10-minute warm up at 1:1. I didn't take walk breaks during the warm up. I will remember this for next MM.

I stayed up too late the night before and went to bed at 11:30 PM, which is unusually late for me. I woke at 5:45 AM and finally got up at 6:30, not feeling sufficiently rested. I guess I was nervous, since I also didn't feel like eating. So I ate just a banana along with my usual espresso.

I am having trouble adapting my schedule to rest on Fridays. I really like to go to the gym Friday after work. I did a short high intensity interval row. I cut the planned duration in half to save some of my legs for the run on Saturday. I did only upper body weights and core work (plank). No squats or lunges.

I could switch my weekend run to Sundays, but would have to give up running with a buddy, which I don't want to do. And I wouldn't rest on Saturdays either, since it's fun to bike ride, etc. And occasionally on Sundays I have sailing class commitment for my son. Perhaps I will do the cardio in the morning on Fridays so I have 24 rather than only 12 hours rest.

Weight is down 1 pound for the week. I ate really good food during the week, but I think I ought to eat more to keep up with my exercise level. I will look at increasing my net calories to get and stay above 1200 per diem.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Run-Walk-Run 1:1 Fun

I went for a short run yesterday over the lunch hour and learned some things. Three points: dress for success, check your gadgets first, and walk breaks work.

Dress for success: Ankle socks keep more sand out of my shoes than “peds”. I tried my thin wool Patagonia socks that I use cycling. They worked well. But I was overdressed for the conditions. I need to adapt to the change of seasons.

Afraid of being cold, I immediately had to shed some clothes. I ended up carrying my jacket for nearly the entire run. The seasons are changing. To avoid being cold, I have been layering a lot of clothes to run comfortably, generally in the mornings or evenings when it’s cool, wet and dark. This time, I was running in the middle of a sunny, warm day. The temperature above 20C when I started. I didn’t need my long tights or my jacket. What I did need was a hat to shade my face, sunglasses, some sunscreen and a water bottle.

Before heading out, check your gadgets: I wanted to try running with a GPS to mark my distances. I got about 10 minutes into my run to a place I wanted to mark. When I pulled the GPS out of the pouch, I saw an error code that required a response before it would start logging my trail. So I didn’t capture the whole run.

Plus, I wanted to practice 1:1 run-walk intervals. So before heading out, I reprogrammed my heart rate monitor for one-minute intervals, hoping for an audible reminder of when to switch my pace. Turns out, I set up one-hour intervals. Not quite what I had expected. Instead of fussing with the watch, I simply ran, using the lap button and the second-hand. I felt distracted to check the watch every 15-30 seconds for the 40 minutes I ran. But I got better at estimating my time.

Walk breaks work: I think these will help me build speed, endurance for distance. I was skeptical about a 1:1 run-walk-run ratio. But I tried it anyway. I ran a faster pace than I usually run continuously and used the walk breaks to recover. Above is the graph from the heart rate monitor.

I took advantage of the only elevation gains around to build some strength. Several times, I ran up and down some stairs and the ramp to the beach. Odie thought it was a little silly to keep changing directions, but he stayed with me.

I felt a little concerned when I began to notice some soreness in my knees at about 35 minutes. My knees didn’t bother me the rest of the day, however, and they feel fine when I am walking around or taking the stairs today. To reduce the inflammation, I took a larger (one tbsp.) of ultra-refined fish oil last night and this morning.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

new coaching instructions

Mr Galloway has added some faster running to my non-long-run weekends. He says, "Do these on a track if you can. This will help you improve speed for the 16K and the Amsterdam Half. The 800 meter repeats can be run in 5 minutes. Walk for 3 minutes between each. It helps to pace yourself so that you are running the first 400 in 2:20, walk for 30 seconds and run the second lap. Keep the watch running."

**But on the long runs, Please run them using a run-walk-run ratio of (run one minute/walk one minute). This should eliminate the aches and fatigue you had on your 13K run this past weekend. RUNNING 1-1 IS VERY IMPORTANT AS YOU INCREASE DISTANCE.

Yes it would help to use your GPS or a measured course. The GPS gives you freedom to run where you want.

On the short runs during the week, you should do 1-1 for the first 10 minutes. Then, you can run at whatever pace you wish. I have added some magic miles into the schedule. Please read the original letter for instructions about how to do this. On the first one, don't run as fast as you can--just run to get a time. From that point, you want to try to run faster on each successive MM.

revised schedule

Apr 19--run for 10 minutes (1-1), then run a magic mile (1600 meters) timing yourself, then run easily for 10 minutes
Apr 26--13K
May 3--2 x 800
May 10--13K
May 17--Magic Mile (MM) same as April 19--but faster
May 24--13K
May 31--4 x 800
June 7--13K
June 14--Magic Mile (MM) same as May 17--but faster
June 21--14K
June 28--7 x 800
July 5--15K
July 12--8 x 800
July 19--16K
July 26--MM--same as June 14--but faster
Aug 2--17K
Aug 9--9 x 800
Aug 16--18K
Aug 23--10 x 800
Aug 30--20K
Sep 6--5K with MM
Sep 13--22K
Sep 20--5K with MM
Sep 27--16K Race
Oct 4--24K
Oct 11--5K
Oct 18--Amsterdam Half Marathon

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Set the Right Pace for Long Runs

To prepare for my race, the long ones will increase gradually up to 20K. Coach says, "The pace of these long runs should be slow enough so that you are not huffing and puffing at any time--even at the end. I recommend a pace no faster than 9:30 per kilometer, at a temperature of 14C (or cooler). It is always OK to go slower."
"The best run-walk-run ratio is 20/40 (run 20 seconds and walk for 40 seconds). The slower the long run pace, and the more liberal walk breaks, the better chance you have of avoiding aches, pains and excess fatigue. Even a pace that is 3-4 min/mi slower than goal pace will give you all of the endurance. Remember to watch the temperature and slow down by 20 sec per km for every 2 degrees above 14C."
Mr Galloway says, "On hot days, start early enough so that you can finish before the sun gets above the horizon, being aware of safety issues." Makes me wonder if he has any idea how early the summer sun rises this far north.
I realise I have no knowledge of how to set a pace for myself. So this was one of my first questions.
On the shorter long run weekends, Mr Galloway suggests running at any pace I wish, using any run-walk-run ratio I wish. In the race his initial suggestion would be to use 1-1 for the first 10K and either 2-1 or 1-1 for the last 6K. On these shorter weekends, Mr Galloway suggests practicing 1-1 and 2-1. We will discuss this more as I get closer to the race date. I have been trying a 4-1 ratio and it feels too easy. But my pace resembles a tortoise.
On long ones, whether walking or running, Mr Galloway suggests keeping a short stride, with feet low to the ground--as in a shuffle. Mr Galloway doesn't recommend power walk or race walk. It is OK to walk fast by using quicker turnover with a short stride through practice.
Eating a snack of 200-300 calories within 30 min of finishing a long one has helped his runners recover faster. Mr Galloway's website offers links to the specific products he recommends to promote recovery & fluid replacement on the day before and day after long runs.
Mr Galloway recommends taking a day of rest from exercise on the day before long runs. If you want, you can do non-pounding cross training on the other non running days (water running, cycling, swimming, elliptical, etc).
On the Tues/Thurs runs (30 minutes each), Mr Galloway suggests running at any pace and using any run-walk-run ratio that I wish. I will try the 1-1 and 2-1 on these short runs. I may also try the 30/30 on the short days.

Blood Sugar Intake

Blood Sugar intake: Mr Galloway suggests that for most of the exercisers he has worked with, the gel products have worked best. The most successful formula on long runs, for the largest number of people, is the following: 30-40 calories every 1-2 miles. He suggests trying a variety of foods: gels, energy bars, gummi bears, sugar mints, etc., to find the one that works best for me.

If you use gels, a successful method is to squirt several packets of your favorite product (Mr Galloway recommends trying Accelgel) into a plastic bottle with a pop-top (he says Fuel Belt makes a great product). Starting between 4-7 mi, start taking 2-3 squirts of the gel, with 3-4 sips of water, every mile or two. His website has more information on these products. But whatever blood sugar fuel you choose to use, he says to practice it on your long runs before using it on raceday.

The most important time to reload your important glycogen energy stores is within 30 min of finishing exercise--particularly a long one -- take 200-300 calories of a fuel that has 80% carbohydrate and 20% protein.

I have used some gels that tasted disgusting. I found some dextrose tablets that I like. No sticky teeth.

Prevention is the Cure

Medical Issues: Coach's advice is given as one exerciser to another. For medical questions, ask your doctor.

*Speak up if you have any aches or pains that could be the beginnings of an injury. If you stay below the threshold of irritation of the "weak link", with liberal walking, etc., you can train through most. You don't want to push through pain, swelling, or loss of function in the foot or leg during a run--as this produces a lot of damage quickly. When in doubt, stop the workout.

* Don't stretch the achilles or the calf or the hamstring. Mr Galloway says, "In general, I don't recommend stretching. I also recommend against lower body strength work, as this can increase leg muscle recovery time. If you have found stretches that help you, and don't hurt, continue to do them." I enjoy yoga.

* To monitor nutrient intake, Mr Galloway recommends using fitday. I subscribe to MyFoodDiary. Lance Armstrong's website also offers a free nutrition calculator. I highly recommend Tom Venuto's new book, The Body Fat Solution.

Fluid Intake on Long Runs

Fluid Intake on long runs: Generally, Mr Galloway recommends drinking water only during a long one because it reduces the chance of nausea, and is absorbed quicker. Marathon Medicial Directors recommend no more than 27 oz (850ml) of fluid an hour during marathons--and long runs. The day before long ones, and the day after, Mr Galloway recommends a sports drink --about 6-8 oz (@200ml), every 2-3 hours, with other fluids as needed.

What's a Magic Mile?

According to Mr Galloway, the "Magic Mile" time trials (MM) are reality checks on your goal. These should be done on the weeks noted on the schedule. The MM has been the best predictor of current potential and helps us set a realistic training pace. With this information, you can decide how hard to run during various situations. (If you have any injuries you should not do the MM)

Warm up for a Magic Mile with about 10 minutes of very easy running with liberal walk breaks
Do 4-6 accelerations. No sprinting, just gradually pick up the pace of each 40 to 50 meter segment to about what you want to run in the MM.

Run around a track if at all possible (or a very accurately measured segment)

Time yourself for 4 laps (1600meters). Start the watch at the beginning, and keep it running until you cross the finish of the 4th lap.

On the first MM, don't run all-out: run at a pace that is only slightly faster than your current pace.

Only one MM is done on each day it is assigned

On each successive MM (usually 3 weeks later), your mission is to beat the previous best time.
Don't ever push so much that you hurt your feet, knees, etc.

Jog slowly for the rest of the distance assigned on that day taking as many walk breaks as you wish.

After you have run 3 of these (not at one time--on different weekends) you'll see progress and will run them hard enough so that you are huffing and puffing during the second half. For prediction purposes, you want to finish, feeling like you couldn't go much further at that pace.

Try walking for about 10-15 seconds after each lap during the MM. Some runners record a faster time when taking short breaks, and some go faster when running continuously. Do what works for you on the MM.

Get Ready For the Half-Marathon

The weekend workouts will prepare me for my goal of completing the half marathon. Mr Galloway says, "Be sure to use the liberal walk breaks and the pacing guidelines. The minimum necessary for maintaining the improved conditioning you are gaining on the long ones is two 30 minute workouts (usually on Tues and Thurs). These can be run at any pace you choose, using any ratio of run-walk-run you wish."

Mr Galloway says, "Weather influences finish times more than anything else. Every degree above 14C will generate a slower finish time. The pace of long runs and the race itself should be slowed by 20 sec per kilometer for every 2C degrees above 14C. The bottom line is that you must slow the pace of long runs and races, from the beginning, on a day that is hotter than 14C. Many of my [Galloway's] runners bring a thermometer with them to make the adjustments as needed. "

Mr Galloway says, "My main goals for you are to stay injury free, and blend the best of body, mind and spirit through running. These are the themes in e-coaching. ... The "Magic Mile" time trials (MM) are reality checks on your goal. These should be done on the weeks noted on the schedule. The MM has been the best predictor of current potential and helps us set a realistic training pace. With this information, you can decide how hard to run during various situations. (If you have any injuries you should not do the MM)."

The e-coaching includes one of Mr Galloway's books. I chose Galloway Training. I am looking forward to a good read.

Ready Set Run

To prepare for my Saturday long runs (which start at 8:15 when my buddy shows up at the front door), I make sure I drink all my 80 oz of water in the day before ~ no point trying to catch up the next day & slosh around while running.

I get up early (by 7 am) and eat Low Glycemic ~300 calorie balanced breakfast (30F-40C-30P) - usually a raspberry & strawberry fruit smoothie with whey protein powder and fish oil (can't taste it - I swear) - even though some say to avoid the fiber. I have a wand mixer that makes this very easy.

I also have two espresso's with a little milk - even though some say don't eat dairy before a run....I like the caffeine.

I drink 8-10 oz of water as soon as I am standing in front of the stove to make the coffee.

Getting up early gives my body time for its morning "toilet" routine, so I don't feel the call of nature on the run.

I bring sports dextrose tablets with me on the run - they're like lemon sugar wafers. I eat one about every half hour. They're about 15 cal each. More frequently towards the end of the run, if I'm feeling a little low. They dissolve. They're not sticky - not gummy bears or hard candy (blech...). This helps me avoid bonking.

I keep myself on a low-glycemic, moderate protein (~80 grams a day), No-White-Food (skip the wheat & white rice, mainly), calorie-deficit diet (trying to burn excess fat...). So I consider the tablets to help me guard against low blood sugar and make up for glycogen depletion while running. This could be pseudo-science on my part, but it works for me.

My running buddy carries these little water bottles on an elastic strap. I have some somewhere in a box I haven't unpacked yet.... But at the mid-point of my run, I'll drink about 6 oz - or what I'm thirsty for.

When I finish the run, I go to the kitchen and refuel within 30 minutes ~ a good carb selection with some protein - usually fresh grapefruit fruit juice and cheese sticks or a boiled egg, deli meat, whatever I can rummage in the fridge. There you go.

Monday, 13 April 2009

First Long Training Run 11 April 2009

I ran 13 or 14k Saturday. It was fun. Only thing was I ran 5k on Friday since my mid-week runs got off by a day - so my knees were still a little sore even this morning - just going up the stairs. They were fine when I took a spin with a friend who hadn't been on her bike since Oct. Easy 27k. Earn those chocolates! Odie slept a lot today. He ran both Fri & Saturday and was, well, dog-tired.

Weekend Workout Assigned: 10k
Actual: ~13.5k
Time 1:47 HRM 148 average; 168 max
Pace: ~ 10k/60 min. I took walk breaks when I felt like it. First one after about 15 minutes. More frequent after the first hour. I stopped to chat with my husband and son, who had camped on the beach overnight to get a good storage spot for the Hobie Cat at the sailing club. Stopped at the end to chat goodbye to running buddy. I subtracted chatting time to arrive at the estimate, using a pace of 10k/60min (my last race pace - probably a bit generous); actual time minus ~20 minutes standing around talking. A lot of walking towards the very end.

I estimated the distance because I ran on the beach, without obvious landmarks. I based my estimate on a comparable pace on other runs where I know the distance. I realized Saturday morning that the GPS I wanted to carry lacked fresh batteries. I commit to better prep & planning for next week.

Weather & Temperature: clear and sunny; 20C - probably cooler when I started out.

Aches & Pains? My knees were a little sore immediately afterwards. They were tender climbing stairs on Sunday morning. Took 200mg advil & extra dose of fish oil. Felt fine during & after my bike ride on Sunday. My mid-week training schedule was off by a day due to family committments. So I ended up running my second mid-week run on Friday morning, rather than on Thursday. Next week I won't run the day before the weekend run.

Questions for the Coach:
1. I do not know how to pace myself using a time/distance metric. I have always trained with a heart rate monitor and by adapting to my current physical condition - perception of effort, breathing, fatigue, etc. Do I need to carry a GPS? Run somewhere else on a pre-measured route?

2. I want to increase my pace. The woman I am running with on Saturdays can run faster, but has been satisfied with my pace so far. I'd like to try to speed up. When/how do I work on this? Once a week on my mid-week run, I have been adding high intensity intervals - short sprints followed by walk recovery.

3. The Paris race features a huge hill. How should I prepare for it, considering I live in "the low country"? I have been running up a hill near my house and running up a long flight of stairs in the Dunes. Is this enough? Add in treadmill with incline?

Next Week's Planned Workouts

Sunday - 26K bike ride (done)
Monday - easy row - weights (when I get done with this post!) (DONE - skipped the weights)
Tuesday - 30 - 45 minute run (at least 5 K) HIIT - Swim laps
Wednesday - easy row & weights
Thursday - 30 - 45 minute run (at least 5 K)
Friday - easy row & sauna (rest before run)
Saturday - assigned training run - 5k

Begin with the end in mind

I've decided to run my first half-marathon. I had so much fun running my first 10k in March, the City-Pier-City in The Hague, that I immediately started looking for my next goal. A half-marathon seemed impossible. So I picked a 16 K race, La Grande Classique in Paris in September. Then some of my colleagues at work talked up the Amsterdam Half-Marathon. So I set a new goal and will use the Paris race as a training tool.

I am using these goals to help me achieve my ideal body weight. I will use this blog to share my training plans, my progress, and my trip across the finish line. To help me meet my goals, I've enrolled in e-coaching with Jeff Galloway.