Thursday, April 24, 2014

New Running Workout

On August 16th, I will be running a 12K on Angel Island.  I can barely run 2 miles right now, let alone 7+, therefore lots of running training will be happening over the next few months.  Since my weight lifting days are MWF, that leaves Tues and Thurs for running at the gym in the mornings, and my choice of a longer run on Sat or Sun.

Because my time at the gym is limited (since I have yet to successfully wake up at 6 a.m. in order to spend 90 minutes at the gym, and I don't intend to start trying any time soon), the running training days there are about intensity rather than duration.

Pattern = 30 seconds jog + 20 seconds run + 10 seconds sprint.  Since I was trying this out for the first time today, my jog was 6.0 mph, run was 6.3, and sprint was 6.6 mph.

Overall workout
0-4 mins: walk @ 4.0 mph
4-9 mins: pattern 5x
9-11 mins: walk @ 4.2 mph
11-16 mins: pattern 5x
16-18 mins: walk @ 4.2 mph
18-23 mins: pattern 5x
23-25 mins: walk @ 4.2 mph
25-30 mins: pattern 5x
30-32 mins: walk @ 4.2 mph
32-35 mins: pattern 3x
35-39 mins: walk @ 4.2 down to 4.0 mph
Then stretching for 5-6 mins.

It wasn't easy, but it wasn't very difficult either, so I think I can crank things up the next time I do this, increasing 0.1 mph for my jog, run, and sprint rates.  I'll need to spend a little time massaging my legs when I get home this evening--I can feel shin splints starting on the right.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Just a normal Wednesday

I learned a valuable lesson last night: running on Sunday + high heels on Monday + morning workout on Tuesday = tired ankles in folklorico class.  Of course, learning this lesson doesn't mean I'm actually going to do anything about it.  Maybe not try to break in new high heeled shoes the day after a run.

Otherwise, folklorico class was great, as usual!  Plus, like most forms of dance, it's a serious workout.  So much of the steps, to be done properly, must be done with bent knees, so one's leg muscles are really working to control all the movements.  Having to constantly hold up one's skirt in the left hand while twiddling a scarf in the other hand takes care of the upper body.

This morning it was time for weights.  I didn't have the mental energy to get too creative, so I went with my old standby routine, The New Spartacus Workout.  Of course, like everything, I modify it whenever I choose.

1A) Plank with alternating leg lift
1B) Alternating sword chop, 15 lbs
1C) Side lunge with downward dumbbells, 20 lbs
2A) Single-leg deadlift, 40 lbs
2B) Curl and shoulder press, 40 lbs
2C) Goblet squat, 35 lbs
3A) Bent-over alternating row, 40 lbs
3B) Assisted pull-up, 45 lbs/60 lbs
3C) Dumbbell deadlift, 50 lbs

I discovered that trying to do pull-ups after bent-over rows was using too many of the same muscles without enough rest in between.  So I either need to a) not substitute in pull-ups or b) figure out a better place in the sequence to do them.  Or c) add a fourth block to the sequence, in which to do pull-ups and, say, farmer's walk.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


I've decided to share another successful recipe with you.  I'm going to give it a fancy title, too!

ABC -- Apple Breakfast Cake

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup water
1/3 cup steel-cut oats
2 eggs
2 small or 1 large apple, grated
2 T honey, maple syrup, or sweetener of choice (optional)
1 T coconut oil (or melted butter or other liquid fat)
1/2 tsp baking soda
dash salt
spices to taste--I used about 1/4 tsp nutmeg, two dashes of cloves, and 3/4 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease a 9" round or 8" square pan.

1) In a medium-large bowl, mix the wheat flour and the yogurt.  Let sit for however long you like to soak your grains.  (1-8 hours will do, or longer in the fridge if you have time.)
2) Bring the water to a boil, then add the oats.  Lower the heat to a simmer and cook as long as the oats need to normally cook.  (I used some fast-cooking steel-cut oats that I have, so it only took about 15 minutes.  Alternately, you can soak the oats first in water for several hours, which will shorten the cooking time.)
3) To the flour and yogurt mixture, add the eggs, honey, coconut oil, baking soda, salt, and spices, and mix well to combine.  (I've discovered that you have to do a lot of mixing to incorporate eggs smoothly into a flour-yogurt mixture, so make sure that you get rid of all the lumps.)
4) Mix in the grated apples and cooked oatmeal.  Pour into the pan and bake until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes.  Let cool slightly before cutting.

This cake comes out incredibly moist because of the apples and oatmeal.  I also figure it's a fabulous nutritious breakfast--and totally compact.  I baked mine in a square pan, and have divided it into 4 servings.  Had one quarter this morning, split, toasted, and with a pat of butter.

~ ^_^ ~

Some of you may notice that, holy cow, there's a blog post here!  I have taken to writing down my workouts, fitness ramblings, and health-related thoughts in a journal, but I'm thinking that I can achieve the same thing by blogging here, and pretending that people aren't actually reading.

Today is a two-fer Tuesday!  That's two workouts in one day.  Since, at long last, the planet has tilted enough that the sun is rising before I do, I can wake up early and hit the gym before work.  As I have dance class on Tuesdays, that means I get to exercise twice.  So this morning I did 35 minutes on the elliptical, plus some stretching, and this evening I will do 90 minutes of folklorico.

I don't know why I keep tracking this, but my weight this morning was 149.75 lbs on the gym scale.  There is a certain degree of negative psychological associations with my weight--I'm still a bit stuck on having an emotional response to it.  For instance, today I felt good because I was below 150.  Last week I felt bad because I was above 150, that is, 150.5 lbs or so.  This is crazy, I know, but it's the way my brain, and possibly many of yours, has been trained to work.  I need to either stop weighing myself or stop caring about what the number is.  Even though I know I'm at a very "healthy" weight for my height--as "healthy" can be subjective, since I could still be this weight eating only junk food, never exercising, smoking, and not have any healthy habits--there's still part of me that thinks I should be less, based on the programming I have received from society all my life.  Really, though, I *am* more focused on training for my 7-mile run in August and being able to do five pull-ups.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Duck Eggs!

A surprise awaited me when I picked up my monthly meat shipment from Marin Sun Farms.  A free sample of two duck eggs!  They're trying to lure us into adding on to our usual boxes.  I honestly don't know what to do with a duck egg besides eat it like a normal egg, so I'll keep you posted as to how that goes.

My shipment was a little odd this month, which has me slightly vexed.  Instead of five separate 1 pound packages of ground meat, I was given two large packages of ground beef.  Very curious, and difficult to portion down.  I may have to invite all my friends over for tacos, or make a huge batch of goulash for freezing.  Also received was a large pork loin (excellent--just the thing to roast medieval-style) and a small chunk of lamb leg.

As it was simply a gorgeous, sunny afternoon, I started planting a garden when I arrived home from work.  One small section of cilantro is in the dirt, and a dozen cress seeds have been started inside.  The seed peas are soaking to plant tomorrow.  I'm going to plant in batches, so not everything flourishes at the same time.  There are also some pumpkin seeds in the ground, which I saved from a kabocha.  I have never before planted using saved seeds, and neither have I attempted to grow pumpkin, so it will be interesting to see if anything actually appears.

Green Lantern runs on Saturday!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Gender Stereotyping

Earlier this week, I read a nice blog post over at Fit, Feminist and (almost) Fifty.  Gender Stereotype Reversal in the Gym.  Disclaimer: I have not watched the video referenced in the posting.  I have not had any particular gender-related issues at my gym, probably because it is at my workplace, and the various gym goers see each other as coworkers and (potentially) teammates, rather than along strict gender divides.  I've never had a guy offer any unsolicited comments about my presence in the weight room (and, believe me, there are a few muscle-bound grunting guys in there), but I have encouraged the other women who show up to lift heavy things.  (Note: I've also encouraged the men who show up to lift heavy things, but only the men that I know.)

This morning, the issue of gender stereotyping in the gym was at the forefront of my mind.  Our gym is much longer than it is wide.  At the front is the cardio equipment, then the weight machines, and at the back is the free weight room.  As I strolled in at 7 am, I walked past all the guys working out on the ellipticals, treadmills, and machines, then I stepped into the weight room, where I was the only person.  So this girl got a nice quiet session with the free weights.  My favorite part was grabbing a 45 pound plate off the rack to hold while doing lunges.

Who has two thumbs, likes wine and weight lifting?  This girl.

Giant Trees

[Here's a post that was intended for publication on Tuesday:]

Had an experience yesterday morning that made me think. I was stretching after my regularly-scheduled exercise routine (deadlifts, split squats, lat pull-downs, bicycling intervals, etc.) My position against the wall outside the group exercise class room meant that anyone leaving the room would walk right past me. There had been a new class in there that morning--some kind of high-intensity interval training sort of class--and one lady, an older woman, had stayed afterwards to speak with the instructor about her physical limitations. As she walked past me, she piped up.

"You're welcome to join us," she said, brightly.

"No thanks," I replied, smiling, "I'm good with my weight lifting."

I found it interesting to note that the class had been full of women, and here I was, another woman, being invited into the class. I'm going to make a generalization here: most women like doing things in groups. They get a sense of camaraderie and support. For a woman who's not very partial to exercising, who hasn't yet solidified within herself all the fabulous reasons to exercise, it can be a boon to have group exercise classes.

However, I prefer to exercise alone. Sure, I have been know to do things in teams, but even then I was working on my own while there were teammates around me. We'd call out encouragement at each other and such, and I'd be quietly bemused by the weird exercise routines the guys would come up with. Weight lifting: pumping iron by myself. Running: cruising the trails by myself. Perhaps it's an introvert thing--I like having the quiet time to stay in my own head. (Plus, I don't love it when other people slow me down.)

Which way is best? You and I both know that the best way to exercise for a particular person is under the conditions which encourage them to exercise. You may like best to run with a group, while I prefer to stay quiet and solo. We're both running, though, and that's what really matters.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Don't Be That Guy

Me: "How'd you like to get together for a drink/come over for dinner at my house/take advantage of an opportunity to make out?"

Guy: "Sure, sounds great."

Me: "Friday/next Thursday/pick a date?"

Guy: "Let me check my schedule and get back to you."

. . .

Me, in my brain, 'cause he never got back to me: "Dumbass."

Men, please don't be that guy.  When a woman likes you and asks to spend time with you, there are two options.  Decline gracefully, or make the date.  Girlfriends, same goes for you, too.  I have enough to worry about in my life without stressing over whether you only chose me as a placeholder friend until you could find someone cooler to spend time with.

See?  We'll both get to hold hands and wear fabulous headgear.  Cocktails are in the next room!