Archive for May, 2018

5K Training: Week 4

My week 4 training was interrupted by a work-related trip to San Francisco. I knew I had a butt-crack of dawn flight on Thursday so I managed to squeeze in a speed work run on Tuesday morning and a base-building run on Wednesday after work. Although I brought running clothes for a weekend long-run, I knew that it might not happen. And it didn’t. On the other hand my lowest step-count day in San Francisco was 12,000 steps and I peaked at 21,000 steps. My hotel was about 0.6 miles to the convention center and Rich and I did tons of site-seeing on foot. Highlights included a visit to AT&T Park to watch the SF Giants; a trip to the Presidio to visit the Walt Disney Family Museum, walk part of the Golden Gate Bridge, have lunch near Lucas Films, and visit the Yoda Statue; time with my 2 siblings who live in the Bay Area; and a visit to several local breweries. Not to mention that I taught a 2 hour course, participated in panel discussion, moderated a podium session, and attended various sessions. Overall a successful and enjoyable trip.

My Tuesday run was supposed to be a warm-up mile at 12 min/mile pace, two miles at 10 min/mile pace, and a cool-down mile at 12 min/mile pace. I’m quickly learning that adjusting to running outside is impacting my pace. My first mile was on target but I struggled to hit the 10 min/mile pace for my 2 tempo miles. One was at 10:27 and the second at 10:41. I took it easy on the way home – mostly because it’s a steep uphill. Strangely, my evening run the next night averaged 11 min/mile for 3 miles. Perhaps the treadmill effect… I’m frustrated that I can’t hit those paces right now but I’m hopeful that with increased consistency, I will be able to get there. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

I did have an interesting conversation about speed on my trip. The gist was that, although I didn’t start running until age 38, I graduated high school with 9 varsity letters (4 in gymnastics, 3 in soccer, and 2 in lacrosse). It is perplexing that someone with my athletic background struggles so much with getting faster. Different theories were raised as to why – the fact that I started as an endurance runner (my first race ever was a half marathon) and am only now working my way back to introductory distance may have hurt me, for example. I think it’s probably multifactorial but the inconsistency in sticking to my plan and lack of strength training are probably major factors in my mind. I’d love to hear other ideas about the whys and the hows. Honestly a part of me is ok with just finishing races but another part of me wants to be much faster.

On the weight loss front… My diet bet ended 24 hours after my red eye landed back in NY. Given that the last 5 days of the bet were spent on a trip to San Francisco, I was worried that all of my weight loss would disappear. I’m disappointed to report that I lost my bet and had to pay up. But I’m happy to say that I have lost 27.5% of my body weight in the last 4 weeks. I truly think that losing 4% in 4 weeks – while certainly possible – would have been too much too fast. This is far more sustainable. I have chosen to sit out of my group’s continuing diet bet because my 25th college reunion starts in a little over a week and I don’t want to count calories at a time when I should be enjoying myself. I do think the bet aspect of it, as well as the group support, helped me lose weight. And I plan to continue discussing my journey to healthier eating here.

This week is more of the same. 4 mile run with 2 miles at tempo pace, 3 miles base-building (x2 but I’ll probably only do one of them), and a 6 mile long run this weekend. I’m on call this week which can always wreak havoc with a schedule but I think I should be able to get my minimum training done.

5k Training Week 3

This week I start adding tempo runs and speed work to my 5k training. It’s also the point in my training where I’m starting to have doubts about my ability to achieve my goal.

Last week I finished 3 of my 4 training runs and added a 15 minute walk on a non-running day. My easy 2 miler was at 12:25 min/mile pace and my 4 miler was at 13 min/mile pace. The target pace was 12 min/mile for both of these. On Mother’s Day morning I nailed a 5 miler at 12:04 min/mile. Certainly close enough to my target. For that run I used a combination of run/walk/run and heart rate training. I set my interval timer for 30 sec intervals. At each beep I checked my heart rate zone. If I was still in Zone 2 or lower, I ran another interval. If I was in Zone 3 or higher, I walked the next interval. Except on the steep uphill climb home, I never took an extra walk break. This seemed to work pretty well.

I am worried that I’m having trouble hitting my target paces while staying in Zone 2. These easy runs *should* be easy and they aren’t always. I’ve done some of my runs after being at work all day so I’m sure that has an impact and I also know that the warmer weather will require some acclimation. But it’s still frustrating! This week I need to add some 10 min/mile tempo runs and I’m really worried about hitting those goals.

As of Monday my weight was down by 2.3%. In the same way that I’m doubting my ability to hit my target paces, I’m also worried about hitting my weight loss goal. I have one week left to lose 4% of my starting weight. At this point that means that I have to lose 1.7% of my body weight in one week. To add to the challenge, I’m traveling to San Francisco on Thursday for a work conference. I know there will be many high calorie temptations during this trip. I’m going to try my best to eat healthy and get exercise on the trip so I hit my goals but…I’m not sure.

Overall I’m proud of my progress even if I’m not sure that I’m going to meet my goals. Having goals that are challenging can be discouraging or motivating. I need to find a way to keep my goals motivating so I don’t give up.

I survived week one of training. I successfully completed 3 of my 4 training runs. My plan called for 2 miles on Tues, 4 miles on Wed, 3 miles on Fri, and 4 miles on Sun. All were supposed to be slow – 12 min/mile pace. I had a light day at work on Tuesday so I started with the 4 miler and then did the 2 miler on Wednesday morning. The weather has warmed up considerably and I struggled with the pace on Tuesday when I ran outdoors mid-morning. The 2 miles were done on a treadmill and I added some extra walking to get my total work-out time up to 30 minutes. I didn’t get up early enough to run on Friday and then I got called into work at midnight Friday night. I got home at 3am which meant my Saturday morning long run involved a lot of walking. While I didn’t hit my pace, I did get the miles done. Sunday we spent an hour walking around Untermeyer Garden in Yonkers. It was beautiful and a good way to get an extra (almost) 2 miles of walking.

(Rich standing in the “Temple of Love and some of the beautiful tulips we saw.)

I did a good job with my eating for most of the week although I may have splurged a bit over the weekend. We were back at Yankee Stadium with Zachary (age 10) on Friday night and being overtired is never good for making healthy choices. At my lowest I was down 2% of my body weight but by Monday morning I was “only” down 1.7%. I’m still happy with that number and *spoiler alert* I’m down more already. For me the most important aspect is consistently making good choices even when tempted to overeat. I’m allowed to indulge but I want to balance that by eating less at other meals. I’m optimistic that I can reach my goal of 4% in 4 weeks.

My goals for this week are to finish at least 3 of the 4 training runs and try to reach my step counts on non-running days. I want to continue my weight loss journey and to make healthy choices over Mother’s Day weekend. I need to work on heat acclimation with my running because my paces have been off and I need to continue base-building so I’m ready to add speed work in the upcoming weeks. I’ve also started an online course called “The Science of Well-Being” and I’m trying to keep up with the weekly exercises. This week’s focus is on savoring and gratitude. Savoring is the act of stepping outside an experience to review and appreciate it. Gratitude is recognizing and appreciating what you have. I’ve been savoring the lovely weather we’re having and I’m grateful that I can get outside and run several days per week!

5k Training Week One

In an effort to increase accountability for both healthy eating and training, I’m trying to update my progress weekly. I have signed up for the SUNY Purchase Corporate Cup Summer Race Series. ( The first event is a 5k on June 27th at 6:30pm which means that this week is my first official training week. The second event is a 5k on August 2nd. There is a third 5k at SUNY Purchase in July that used to be a part of the corporate cup but now is a separate event. I anticipate that I will run that race also.

In the past week I started my diet bet and, as of Monday, I had lost 1.5% of my body weight. My goal is to lose 4% in 4 weeks. I feel that I am on track to achieve this. I have been using My Fitness Pal to track calories. I’m trying to stay between 1400 and 1500 calories per day. I’m pretty proud of how well I’ve done with my eating. Last week we went to a Yankee game and I knew that we wanted to try the Blue Point NY Pinstripe Pilsner – a beer made exclusively for Yankee Stadium. I calculated the calories I thought I’d consume at the game and made sure that my calorie count for the rest of the day was low enough to allow me to indulge. Similarly we saw the new Avengers movie at Alamo Drafthouse on Sunday (the dine-in movie theater). Instead of ordering the high calorie burger that I love so much, I ate a grilled chicken Greek salad that was delicious and much lighter on the calories. I’m trying hard to not under eat as that will certainly cause over-indulgences. I’m pretty happy with the balance that I’m finding, even though it takes forethought and effort.

Training-wise, last week was an easy week. I was recovering from the 5k and I knew that the new training cycle wouldn’t start until this week. I went for a 30 minute walk on Monday and got two easy runs done on Tuesday and Thursday. I took the weekend off from running – which isn’t ideal – but I think I’m back on schedule this week. The weather has finally broken so I was able to exercise outdoors last week. I know it’ll take some time for heat acclimation to occur and I always struggle a bit with the warm weather. I’m more focused on consistency that time goals right now. I think my time goals will come with consistency.

My goals for this week are to start my week 1 training plan. My plan calls for 4 runs per week. I’d like to make sure I finish at least 3 runs per week, every week. I’m also continuing to work on my eating and tracking calories. I’m trying to get my step count up a bit as I have definitely become more sedentary. I do well on the days that I run but often fall way short on my non-exercise days. I’m feeling good about my progress and will continue to work toward my goals.