“Positive” Splits

In running, the term “negative splits” refers to running each mile (or whatever measurement your “split” is, i.e. 400m) faster than the previous mile. It isn’t necessarily a “good” or  “bad” thing to do this – it’s just one workout method.

Lately, however, I haven’t felt very “positive” about my splits – I start out great, at a pace I am more used to running, especially now that it is fall, and then apparently I just can’t keep it up.

These are screenshots of the splits from some of my 3-5 mile runs over the last 2 weeks. As you can see, I start out great, sometimes running less than 9:00/mile for the first mile…and then I apparently just can’t keep up the pace. I just get slower and slower and slower (or, I go fast then slow then fast then slow). I know that I’m not really THAT slow, but in comparison to my running abilities at this time last year, it is difficult to see that going out at an 8:45/mile pace is “too fast” – I’ve run entire half marathons at a faster pace!!!

I’m really trying to figure out why it is that I am struggling so much with running lately. I’ve been working out 5 days a week, even making sure to get 12,000 steps on rest days. I haven’t lost weight but I also haven’t gained weight, so I think I am eating an appropriate amount. The only thing I can really think of is that I am running after work, and am therefore worn out by the time I go running. I *might* be switching to morning runs for the fall/winter, though, so we will have to see if that helps.


In an attempt to stay positive despite my apparently declining running abilities, here are a some positive things that have happened over the last week:

  • Yesterday, Kris and I went to bike around Gettysburg. We went at the beginning of the summer, and at that time, we had to stop and walk up several hills and completely skipped little round top (it is a very hilly route compared to anything else we ride). Yesterday, we rode up not just little round top, but also big round top (one right after the other). I am happy to report that we walked up none of the hills, in fact!

Side note: The fitbit thinks hills are stairs. It thinks I climbed over 80 flights of stairs yesterday, and that I climbed 25 of them in 15 minutes.

  • PUMPKIN!! It’s everywhere. I am so happy. I might have bought both pumpkin M&M’s and pumpkin bagels today.
  • Pants! I found some pants! That fit over my thighs! I got a pair of skinny ankle length dress pants at JCP, and a pair of normal pants on clearance at Banana Republic. Now I won’t freeze (as much). Still haven’t found fleece lined tights, though…
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5K “PR”

Today was a day that started out somewhat poorly, but then improved.

First, I woke up a bit later than planned. I’ve been really tired ever since I moved back out to Indiana. I think it’s because of the addition of bike commuting to my daily routine on top of half marathon training. So I planned on getting up around 7, but didn’t get up until 9. It didn’t really matter that much, I guess, because I didn’t really have anything planned. I just really dislike waking up late because it makes me feel like I’m wasting the day.

Then, when I finally decided to go be productive, I set out the following plan:

  • Go to gym for 5K run
  • Go to carwash to sweep and wash gross car
  • Return home to eat leftovers for lunch
  • Clean bathroom
  • Maybe clean kitchen floor while in cleaning mode
  • Finally relax by continuing to agonize over minutiae shop for purses and shoes online

I left at about 11 am to go to the gym. When I arrived, however, I discovered that it was not opening until 1 pm for some inexplicable reason. This seemed really weird to me, as all of the students are back, and all of them were trying to go to the gym. Like, 5 people walked up and yelled at the door at the same time as me. This is not normal for a Sunday (campus is usually blissfully dead), but it was normal for the first week of classes, so I was confused. Oh well, I decided, I’ll just grab some lunch (I had a bagel for breakfast and they are among the least filling things in the world) and go clean the car.

This went ok. I had a lackluster lunch at Subway and then attempted to clean my car. I think I need an industrial sized lint roller to get out all of the white dog fur, though, because 3 full vacuumings did basically nothing (well, it got out other dirt, but exactly zero hairs).  I also still need to wipe down the inside of the car, because by the time I finished sweeping, I was too lazy to buy Armor All packets out of the vending machine to wipe it down. They will be cheaper at a regular store anyway. And, speaking of regular stores, I discovered that I probably need new floor mats and seat covers. The velvety stuff on my seatcovers (to be fair, I bought these when I was 16) is coming off and I have apparently worn a hole in the floor mat where my foot sits while I drive. Lovely.  I might keep this car for a longish time, though, so buying new stuff should be worth it.

After cleaning the car, I finally returned to the gym. I was still about 15-20 minutes early, so I just sat in my car and browsed the internet to kill time. I really should have gone and waited at the doors apparently, though, because after I walked over there at about 12:55, I discovered there was a line to check in that stretched the whole way to the door! Luckily, these people were not runners (I assume) and I did not have to wait in line to use a treadmill. I’m guessing a large part of the line was people signing up for lockers now that they are in town.

So, why exactly was I wasting my time using a treadmill on a lovely Sunday morning/afternoon? After discovering that the gym was closed until 1, I did consider running outside, but then I remembered that my shoes were locked up inside of the gym, so that was not actually an option. Additionally, I planned on running at the gym because according to my training plan, I was supposed to run a 5K race today, but I couldn’t find any races. The next best thing I could think of was to run a race pace 5K, and I figured doing it on a treadmill would ensure I actually met that pace and didn’t just jog around enjoying the scenery.

After I FINALLY got into the gym, my plan payed off! I set the treadmill to 8 minutes per mile and figured I’d speed up near the end. This would put me on track for a 25 minute 5K, which I have been trying to achieve for quite awhile. I sort of achieved this goal at a 5K during the spring, but I wasn’t 100% sure whether that was real or a GPS inaccuracy. Today, I proved to myself that I could do it, running 3.1 miles in 24:47! Yay! I still need to do it in a race to feel official about it, but now I at least know that I can. It was especially rewarding to realize that I could do it after my crappy paces all summer.

Then, the day continued to go well! I came home and finished all of those chores, and I even found a purse. Well, I’m considering the purse a good thing for now. I’ve been looking for a small crossbody bag that I can put into my backpack as all of my other purses are GIANT totes or are backpacks themselves, but I am EXTREMELY picky. I drug my poor roomie/friend all around yesterday afternoon basically whining about how the purses at Macy’s weren’t perfect enough and I would have to go and look at them online again. Then, once I went online, I kept changing my mind. I could save a lot of money if I went with nylon, but I really prefer leather; I could get a really cute pink kate spade purse, but I really wanted brown or black (which cost more). You get the picture. I finally started browsing around on Ebay, where I rarely buy things despite my thrifty nature. Luckily, I came across a Coach purse that had no bids (I’m guessing because they mispelled Coach). If it arrives in terrible condition next week, you all can laugh at me, but I did some mini-research and it appears to be real (it at least has a realistic serial number). Even if it is fake, I’ll probably like it. I actually have a fake Coach (purchased for $5 at a yard sale) that is almost exactly like it that I really really like but almost never carry because it has this stupid cell phone thing on the outside that is the wrong shape for my phone. I really hate that it has this completely dysfunctional pocket that messes up the clean lines of the outside so I don’t carry it. Despite being fake, it is made of nice, durable, leather, so I actually really feel like it was a steal.  I still haven’t found shoes yet, though, because I’m the pickiest person in the world.

Also, now that I’ve been so productive (I ran 3 miles and cleaned 2 whole things!), I’m super bored. I should enjoy it while it lasts, because once the semester starts tomorrow, I won’t be bored for 15 more weeks. Maybe I’ll agonize about finding perfect floor mats for my car.

 

Oops!

Whenever I get back to school, I have a hard time keeping track of days of the week because honestly, they barely matter in grad school. Yesterday was Friday, which I sort of knew, because I knew I was going to a party on Friday, but I kept forgetting all day that I would be busy at a party in the evening and be unable to put up my foods on Fridays post that day. Oops!

Well, I sort of want to pretend it is ok, because I only really had one food thing to talk about anyway, but I know that isn’t really an excuse. It is basically my one planned post of the week, so I should really stay on top of it. Apologies.

So, what was I going to talk about on “Foods on  Fridays Saturdays,” anyway?

I tried something new this week! I was at Walmart buying supplies to aid in my computer catastrophe when I realized I had nothing to eat for breakfast the  next day. I went to purchase some bagels and neufchatel cheese, which I prefer over low-fat cream cheese, when I discovered that they only had fat-free or full-fat cream cheese. Like, they didn’t even have low-fat cream cheese, let alone neufchatel. Ugh, this is why I dislike Walmart (I knew their external hard drives and printers would be cheapest, though). They did, however, have cream cheese + greek yogurt which had similar nutrition stats to low fat cream cheese. I’ve been eating  it all week, and I have to say it is a tolerable substitute. I still very much prefer neufchatel cheese, because this greek yogurt cream cheese still has a hint of that weird fake sweet taste that low and fat-free cream cheese have,  but I would eat this over low-fat cream cheese any day. because it is still creamy.

I also had a coupon for Larabars (I got them for like 65 cents each!!) so I bought a few flavors of the ALT variety to try. These seem to be their high protein version of their bars (over 10g each). I bought lemon, peanut butter cookie, and pumpkin pie to try. I fully intended to try at least one and review them for you, but I didn’t run into a situation where I needed to eat a protein bar. I am sure that during the first week of the semester I will end up in a frazzled enough position to try one, though. They sound good, at least. Hopefully they aren’t a weird texture like Quest bars. I’m still not sure how anyone likes those (and yes, I’ve tried the microwaved cookie dough flavor).  Hopefully I will find something other than Clif bars that I can eat!

Oh, and this has nothing to do with food, per se, but today I ran to the thrift store to see if I could find a “new” purse.  I didn’t find a purse, but I did find 2 brand new pairs of Levi’s for $7 each! Just a PSA to check thrift stores first! Now off to the mall to find an actual brand new purse!

Friend Makin’ Mondays

Today is day one of my training program for my half marathon on October 19! I should really get around to getting signed up for that….

Anyway, it doesn’t really feel like day one because Mondays are stretch and strength days basically meant for long run recovery. Once I’m doing long runs, I am sure they will be welcome, but right now I’m just bored. Also, I don’t really have any strength equipment here.

So, what is my plan for today? For the stretch portion, I plan to do some of these yoga moves I found on Pinterest. I’m not a big yoga person but with how tight my hips tend to get these might be beneficial. Some of these even remind me of stretches recommended for IT band problems. for the strength portion, I plan on resorting to a core workout that requires no equipment.


Today is also Friend Makin’ Monday! I didn’t do it last week because it was about TV and I don’t really watch TV (To be fair, I do have Netflix so I could have probably rambled on about old TV shows or any of their original series. By the way everyone who wants to see something that is actually different, original, and awesome go watch Orange is the New Black right now. You will thank me). This week’s topic is easier for me, though, so I’m jumping back in!

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: www.alltheweigh.com so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

Ten Things that Make me Happy

  1. Being in Pennsylvania. I enjoy my time at school, but miss my husband and our little doggy Belle when I am there. I also like the area where we live. We live downtown in a small city, which I highly prefer over the rural area I grew up in because there are always things to do, even if it i just going to the park (where I grew up, you had to drive like 10 miles to get to the closest public park!). Also, when I am in PA, I am usually working on my own projects and spending time enjoying my own hobbies rather than dealing with the stresses of grad school.
  2. Various foodstuffs. I really like to savor and enjoy a good latte, alcoholic beverage, flavor of ice cream, or pastry. And of course, pizza in all its forms.  Because I am in weight loss maintenance, this can be a real struggle. Luckily for me, it is more of an “ice cream increases my current mood” than “I am sad must eat ice cream” feeling, so I can MOSTLY control it.
  3. Pampering myself with beauty products. If I am in a bad mood, taking a nice shower with a nice smelling soap, then getting out and putting on lots of lotion and doing slight grooming (like shaping my eyebrows) and putting on my fancy makeup can make a world of difference.
  4. A closely related one is wearing put-together outfits. I am not a person who can stay in my pajamas all day – I’ll just feel depressed because not getting dressed makes me feel like I didn’t even do anything all day but lay around (even if I am wearing those pajamas while working on a major project from home or something). This means even lazy days at home usually involve at least wearing real pants rather than yoga pants or workout shorts. Even if I’m just going out to run errands, I try to make sure I am wearing a somewhat nice (though usually still casual) outfit, as I just feel so much more happy and confident.
  5. Running. I am a very anxious person and running really helps to reduce that. I joke that I am expending so much energy on running that my brain cannot divert any of it to worrying anymore. In all seriousness, I think it helps because it gives me a peaceful, solitary time where I am alone with my thoughts and I can focus on them and sort them out rather than trying to worry about them while simultaneously grocery shopping or something.
  6. Being able to be active in general. I love being able to walk my dog, bike with my husband, or do other normal activities that require physical exertion without much thought. I think this one is particularly important to me because it used to be quite difficult. Yes, I still walked the dog a lot, but it felt like a chore and a workout rather than a pleasant, relaxing experience.
  7. “Shopping” for big purchases. I will spend hours online looking at $400 boots and purses that I won’t be able to afford for years. I really over think purchases and will spend hours “agonizing” over them but I shouldn’t really call it agonizing, because I actually sort of enjoy it. I think I spent an hour last week debating between two rear bike racks that held the same amount of weight and cost the same amount of money. Seroiusly. I also love researching things like homes/apartments and vehicles. I have probably been driving poor Kris mad looking at homes in our city this summer that we will not be able to buy for probably at least 2 more years (you know, when we actually live together and I have a real job and we can actually save enough for a down payment). I think I pick this up from my dad – both of us are constantly talking about things that we could probably never buy or are at least unattainable right now and making our significant others think that we are going to run out and buy a $4,000 lawnmower (ok that one might be my dad). At least I come in handy when it is actually time to find a new apartment or whatever!
  8. Wow, this is getting difficult. I think it’s because I am doing such abstract topics. Like, I could have split number 3 into like taking relaxing showers; grooming; and using fancy makeup. Oh well, it’s too late now. Oh! Talking! I love talking. I love rambling on and telling stories and jokes and making people smile. Kris is a very introverted person and I joke that we go well together because I love talking and he hates talking so I get to talk twice as much by talking for him and never needing to listen!
  9. On a closely related note, teaching. I am always a little nervous about teaching a whole class in the abstract, but I’m never nervous about going into the classroom for the day to teach the “kids” (some of them are my age or older) a new lesson. I am lucky in that I work in a college setting where even if the topic is not my main interest I get to focus on what I am passionate about, so I basically just love that my job is to go in everyday and help young people learn about these topics that I love. It is especially rewarding when they come to love them as well. Even if they do not come to love the topics as well, I try as hard as I can to make the topics exciting; share my passion for them; and at least get them to learn something new, and from what they claim about me on teaching evaluations, they at least usually come to understand the information that they have learned and why it is that I am so passionate about the topics and enjoy that I have been able to share that with them.
  10. Finally: warm clothes and blankets. I love being bundled up in about 50 layers of wool. It just makes me feel so safe and comfy. Summer clothes are fun because I love the bright colors and honestly the thin, flowy fabrics are more flattering on my new straight body type because the big boxy sweaters make me look like a box, but I much prefer my literally 100% wool winter wardrobe (ok, a FEW things might be wool blends). what can I say, I get cold very easily.

What a Weekend!

I have returned from a long weekend out of town! Rather than reflect on my poor food choices (pizza! wedding cake! vodka and cranberry juice in mason jars! large size McDonald’s!) let us focus on, well… anything else. In my defense, I asked Kris to order me only a large (diet) soda and leave the fries medium, but he large sized them to make it “easier.” In his defense, he fed the difference between the large and medium size to the dog and apparently expected me to do the same instead of eat them all. BUT HOW COULD I NOT EAT THEM ALL?!

Anyway, on to the story of my weekend!

It was a dark and stormy night…no, seriously, right when we wanted to leave town on Friday, it started to storm. Like, really really really really badly. The first indication was when a tiny branch fell on my car and a larger one fell directly behind it (I may have spent the whole storm watching my car to make sure it did not get crushed after this). Then came the hail. Then the tree fell, blocking one end of our street. Belle was freaking out the whole time, of course, because I had failed to give her one of the sedatives, because the storm didn’t look “that bad” on the radar. Usually I’m not that wrong about storms! Then, when we decided to make a run for it and leave during a lull in the storm, our neighbor was like “hey did you know your back door fell off?” Ugh. Luckily, it was just the screen door, so Kris put it down on the ground where it wouldn’t fall over and break and we were able to leave anyway.

Lots of trees fell in the park, too. This one is cleaned up now, but it wasn’t on Monday, so I wasn’t really able to run…or at least that’s my excuse, ok?

The tree that fell on my street – it is still laying there. At least it was pushed from the road to the sidewalk.

In case you are wondering, here is the sedated Belle during a thunderstorm. The meds worked well for their purpose, but she was still high WAY more than 6 hours later. Like so high she peed the bed. I might halve the recommended dosage (the vet said to adjust as needed).

Then, on Saturday, we went to a wedding. Kris’s roommate (and friend) from college was getting married! I mean, because he lived with Kris, I knew him as well, but he is most accurately described in this manner. We were a little nervous about the wedding because we had a falling out with some of the people in that friend group in like 2009 (when they graduated from college) and we had not seen them since. As soon as we saw them again, though, everything was fine, and it was actually really nice to see all of them! Overall, we had a really nice time at this wedding. It was held on a farm, so it had that Pintersty-rusticy thing going on, but since you know, it was actually on a farm, that worked really well. THERE WAS ALSO A PAIR OF GOLDEN RETRIEVERS WITH PUPPIES. I am now requiring every wedding I attend to include an entire dog family or I will review it negatively.

My immediate seating area captures all of the “rustic” elements. I think because there were few and they fit well it seemed nice rather than Pinteresty. Plus, they had smores. Who could dislike smores!? Oh, and you can also see that I finished my salad, so it was okay to eat a smore, right?

Plus look how smokin’ hot Kris and I are in our pre-wedding hotel room selfie. This didn’t last long. For some inexplicable reason, these clothes are now covered in spilled alcohol.

Sunday was mostly spent driving and resting – first a 2 hour drive from the hotel to my parents’ to get Belle, then a 3.5 hour drive from my parents’ to our house. Yuck! At least Kris was off his pain meds and able to split the driving with me. Then, I was so exhausted on Monday still from basically staying up all night on Saturday that I didn’t feel like working out. This was ok in terms of eating, because I was also so bloated from all of the food that I had no desire to eat anything extra, but when I was finally able to head out for a run today, my body was displeased. Apparently I cannot take more than 2 days off of running without my legs rebelling against me. They were sore the whole time, which made tonight’s short (only 4.5 miles) bike ride I took with Kris to test out whether he is well enough to bike commute again feel terrible (even more sore than normal).

At least I won’t be taking any time off of running for awhile, now – training for the Purdue half marathon on October 19th starts next week!! I am planning out on starting out with the intermediate version of the training plan I did last time (Hal Higdon) and if it is too difficult/time consuming I will fall back to the novice level. It will definitely take some getting used to – I will be incorporating speedwork and tempo runs for the first time! I mean, I used to do these in track like a million years ago but now I will be doing them without a coach and a whistle to guide me. It will help once I am back at school and have treadmills to use, or if I could figure out my GPS watch. I finally figured out how to put it in the right time zone and enter my correct age today! I also sort of figured out how to save activities, but messed up on both my run and my ride, so I only have data from my short walk with Belle. Oh well, I’m sure I’ll figure it out soon. I have a master’s degree, after all, so I must be really smart at these sorts of things, right? (Wrong. I am only smart at things that have nothing to do with technology or physical coordination, which makes GPS watches for running basically a foreign language to me).

Foods on Fridays

Other than on my birthday (yesterday), during which I may have consumed half of an ice cream cake (to be fair I became confused because it had 6 marks on the box indicating where to cut the cake, so I assumed 1/6 of a cake was a 170 calorie serving, so I thought I was eating 3×170 calories…when in fact the listed serving size was 1/11 of the cake, wtf), I have done really well food-wise this week. I’m probably not going to stick to my diet very well this weekend, as I’m going out of town to go to a wedding, but honestly I’m not that worried because my weight is still ultra low (122 yesterday :/) and the dress I’m planning on wearing is just a teensy bit too big.

The unhealthy cake and Mexican that I had for lunch is balanced by this healthy sushi dinner, right?

I also tried 2 new recipes this week in an attempt to use up the buttermilk that is still sitting in my fridge from when I made the cheesecake.

The chicken recipe I found by googling something to the effect of “healthy buttermilk recipes.” I used chicken breast tenderloins to make them more like chicken tenders and left out the egg – the breadcrumbs (I didn’t have panko, only whole wheat bread crumbs) stuck to the chicken just fine as it had been marinating in buttermilk for hours. I would highly recommend this – it is incredibly easy (marinate in buttermilk and spices; roll in breadcrumbs; bake) and it was sooooo good that I made it TWICE! You might have to adjust the amount of breadcrumbs you use and baking time based on how much/what type of chicken you use. I used like half of the recommended breadcrumbs and baked for 20 minutes instead of 30, for example (to make 2-3 chicken tenders each, depending on tender size).

The coffee cake was also incredible – I cut it into 8 pieces but we ended up eating 2 pieces each at a time, so I really should have only cut it into 4 pieces (that would have been just over 300 calories per serving as I made it). I did alter a few things in the recipe – for example, I used Greek yogurt instead of butter in order to use up my yogurt, and I used a lemon glaze instead of a butter-vanilla glaze (can you tell I am almost out of butter?). I also used sugar substitute instead of real sugar. Note: I also had to adjust baking time on this recipe, though I can’t remember how much. I just remember I checked it and it was brown on the edges and the center was set so I pulled it out.

The only problem with this cake?

Expectation:

Click Image for Source

Reality:

All of the glaze like…soaked in?

It looks slightly better on a plate.

 

Oh, and unfortunately no updates on how well the GPS watch is working. I’m still having trouble saving my activities – I think I keep deleting them accidentally instead 😦

 

Remember Your Sunscreen!

Just a short post today – I went out for a “long” run this morning and came home having completely “only” 6 miles. I haven’t run too much since my half so I thought I’d shoot for 6 and depending on how I felt at the turnaround spot I’d got a little longer (usually this method works for running longer distances). Today, however was incredibly unpleasant.

I forgot to stretch yesterday after running, which was a huge mistake considering that I was super sore from falling over already. Thus, my legs were sore and stiff when I started out and they never really loosened up. Instead, specific places on them started to have pain. At least I wasn’t in that bad of pain – I ran past some other runner who was making a face like every step forward was about to kill her. I know some people applaud those who run through major pain and injuries for their commitment, but in most cases, I think the decision to run while injured is foolish, because in the long run, you might hurt yourself very badly to the point that instead of taking 1-2 days off of running, you are taking off weeks to heal, and that sounds worse to me!

In addition to being stiff and sore, I felt like I was running through a bowl of soup. It was only in the mid 70s, but the humidity was really high and I run along a river which means bugs everywhere! There was also almost no wind. I think the worst part of the humidity is that it slows me down soooo much. I could barely keep under a 10 minute pace today. I hate it when my pace is affected like that – I KNOW it is because of the humidity, but I still have negative thoughts and beat myself up fearing it might be because I’m a horrible, lazy, terrible runner. Logically, I know that isn’t true, but I always feel like I’ve done something wrong and will never recover after a slow run like that, and it happens A LOT in the summer.

I also was not very comfortable with my getup. I tried to wear as little clothing as possible due to the heat, humidity, and lack of clouds in the sky. My shirt, a tank with a (real) built in bra was great, but my running skirt was not. When I first got these I thought they would be great because they would let me wear those super tight super short shorts without revealing my floppy extra thigh skin too badly, with the plus of being super cute. Instead, the little shorts inside are just super uncomfortable because they keep riding up! Perhaps it is because I bought super cheap ones – I did, after all, buy Target brand running skirts at Goodwill (at least they were still new with tags). Any recommendations on running skirt brands?

In addition to all of this, I forgot to wear sunscreen. Kris assures me that it isn’t that noticeable, but all I could see when I got home to shower was the shape of my racerback tanktop on my back 😦 I am also developing a line around my ankles from wearing socks. Ugh. I guess I’d get these even if I wore sunscreen, as on my whiter than white skin nothing can keep out the rays of the sun, but at least my tan lines would not be as dramatic. Also, I’m really paranoid about skin cancer and the aging effects of sun, so I typically wear it all day every day no matter what I am doing – forgetting it today was an artifact of cleaning the bathroom yesterday and moving it, messing up my routine (it wasn’t directly beside my lotion and deodorant).

Oh well, the day won’t be too depressing at least – pizza and board games later!