Sunday, March 29, 2009

Do these studies scare you from participating?

I've read several articles online and in magazines about how marathons can be dangerous for some. Usually these people at risk are male with a history of heart disease, but many of these people have a congenital heart defect that is not detected until they're on the autopsy table. Now I've come across this article about how triathlons are even more dangerous than marathons, particularly during the swimming portion of the race. I don't know about anyone else, but I'd almost rather not see these kinds of studies. I would hate to think that people are not exercising as much as they could be because they're scared. Just go visit your doctor before engaging in a training program for something as strenuous as a marathon, and take his/her advice! All you have to do is mention that you want to train for whatever event you have in mind and ask if you are at risk for anything. They'll take a look at your records and you and let you know if you're okay. More than likely you are. Sometimes they might suggest that you ease into training if you're overweight or really really out of shape. Either way, at least you'll go into training well prepared.

Training breakthrough!!

I don't know about anyone else, but I tend to be really skeptical of advice that seems too easy or too good to be true...especially where it concerns working out. I've always had a problem with shinsplints and super tight calves. Sometimes my calves are okay, sometimes they're so tight my foot gets a little numb. I always thought it was because I wasn't stretching enough. I came across this little tidbit in April's Runner's World about how this annoyance can become a serious condition called medial tibial stress syndrome. I followed the advice to perform a couple sets of heel raises a few times a week. Voila! No more tightness, no more shin pain, nothing!! I even added some distance today, and the only issue I had was a runny nose and my hip flexors yelling at me by the end of the run. If you want to see how the heel raise is performed, follow this link (there's an annoying commercial before the clip, but it's a good video).

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Photoshopped celebrities

Ever wonder how anyone can aspire to look like the celebrities in Hollywood? Well, so do they. Check out this article about Kim Kardashian and see why holding yourself to the media's standard just isn't realistic.

I'm kinda sore...

So I decided to get back into doing my push ups according to the schedule found on (thanks Si!!) since I hadn't been very good at keeping my end of the bargain to help Rex get in shape. After my sets last night, I felt really good. All day today however my abs have been sore. I'm actually glad that they hurt though. It means I got a good workout for my core last night. Yay!! I may not be able to complete 100 push ups by the end of 6 weeks, but I'll be doing a lot more than I was before, which was nothing.

I also decided to sign up for the Atlanta Track Club's training sessions to get ready for the Peachtree Road Race. They start late April and take me all the way to the race. It's supposed to be good for beginners and novices, so I hope I get a lot out of it. It will at least get me running decent distances at least once a week, while I try to squeeze in my maintainence runs during the rest of the week.

While at the park tonight walking with Rex (still working with him on getting up to running, but he needs new shoes too), I decided to see if I could do one pull up at the pull up bar. Nope!! But I could bend my elbow a bit, which is more than I thought I could do. I'd like to be able to complete 5 as my short term goal, with 20 being my ultimate goal. I will have to stop by the gym and use some of their weight machines to make this happen, but I think it's a realistic goal. Now that I'm in decent shape I feel like I can really conquer a lot physically. I'd say that's real progress!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

OMG I have this!!!

For a long time now I've known that I am extremely sensitive to alcohol due to my Asian background (the funny thing is I'm only half dad is of British Isles descent). It doesn't matter how often I drink, my tolerance is only one drink max (and it has to be with food). For about two years I just didn't drink because I hated the way it made me feel. Turns out there's not only a very good reason for this, but I also have the extreme version! Check out this article that explains this severe deficiency and how it affects people. There's also been an increased link to esophageal cancer because of this. Good thing I usually stay away from alcohol!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Great eating tips

I've come across this article a couple times, and each time I read it I agree with it more and more. I have tried food diaries, counting calories, figuring out "serving sizes", etc. All that did was make me crazy. And guilty. It's just not a good place to be. I've just tried to eat better overall with room for splurges. Stop worrying so much about the technicalities with your diet and just eat more fruit, veggies, fiber, and whole foods and skip the processed junk. You'll feel better, lose some weight, and be a little saner for it.

Speaking of sanity, if you're wondering why most of my posts are coming around the weekend it's because school is keeping my extraordinarily busy. I'm trying to make all As which means I have to be way on top of all my work. This time I am graduating with honors damn it!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Super foods or super bust?

I found this great article on about the top 8 "super foods" and if they're all they're cracked up to be. Most are touted as having weight loss properties, and many are also on the expensive side of the spectrum. I like articles like this because we get facts - not some claim that a company or distributor is making to get you to buy more stuff.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

My socks are in!

So my dry-wick socks finally arrived, and they're awesome! I haven't worked out with them yet because school and work have been crazy, but just wearing them around the house is great. I'll be able to give a better review after Saturday, when I plan on a run at the park. Now that the weather is warming up and the sun is staying out later, I've been taking advantage of running outdoors more often. Woohoo!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Johns Creek Go Green Be Green 5k

So one month after the accident that wreaked so much havoc in my life I finally run a race. I went to one two weeks ago, but I was concerned about slipping since I was only two weeks out from getting concussed so I skipped it. This time I ran even though it was raining pretty hard, and I'm so glad I did. My time was 35:13 - pretty good! A couple things about this race....

1. Lifetime Fitness in Johns Creek was a major sponsor. That's not the part that bothered me. In order to pick up my race swag and number, I had to sign a liability form. Technically, since I didn't want to sign away my rights since I didn't even want to put up with Lifetime showing off its facilities (I run outdoors to avoid the gym membership trap), signing that form was under duress. Basically makes that form void. Second part to this debacle....if they tried to prevent me from getting my race number, I think it's technically theft by collusion. They can't keep what's rightfully mine away from me like that. It was a good race, but I think they need to revisit allowing such a large corporate entity like Lifetime to use it as one giant commercial. The need to sign additional liability forms on top of the race liability waiver was not communicated when I registered. I think if I knew that I would have been much more pleasant to deal with.

2. Running in the rain really presents some interesting challenges. First, I have been committing a runner's sin for quite some time now. I run in cotton socks. For those that don't know, you should be using socks that are made of a dry-wick material. Since my feet got wet, they never dried. And boy was that cold! In a longer race that could have created bigger problems like blisters. I actually have some on the way that I ordered online, they just haven't gotten here yet. I avoided this purchase for so long because I'm cheap.

Second, I didn't bring the appropriate jacket. I just wore one that was cute and lightweight. It was also made of cotton, and didn't dry after the race. This made me cold once I quit running. You live and learn!

So all in all (aside from making the staff at Lifetime think I was some kind of crazy bitch because I didn't think it was okay to sign away my rights) this race was good. From now on, I will be kicking it into high gear to get ready for the Peachtree. It will be the largest race I've ever been in (I think it's the largest in the US) and the longest distance to date (10k).

Some things I will be considering as I train...

- Hydration on the go. How will I carry a sports drink with me as I train on these longer distances? This is especially important because Georgia summers are super hot and humid.

- To purchase special sunglasses or to not? That is a question for the old wallet, which is feeling a bit light these days.

- Keep using my 5k running pack (fancy word for a fanny pack that's pretty streamlined)? I think I'll have to so I can have my cell phone at the Peachtree. With 55,000 runners running through downtown Atlanta it will be too easy to lose my running buddy.

***I thought of something after I made this post. This race was put on by a local high school's student council. I think they got railroaded by the grown ups, so I definitely don't blame them. I just can't believe it was okay to sign away my right to sue just to get a race number that I already signed a liability waiver for.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

What I've learned so far

I was running this afternoon, enjoying the amazing weather the Atlanta area had today, when I realized that I had come a really long way since I began running last year. I was able to run all three miles of my loop around the park - hills included (and there's a couple doozies!) Here's a few things I've learned, and maybe you can learn from my mistakes:

- Speed isn't the end all be all of running. I used to be really concerned about how fast I was running. I still look at time, but my main goal is endurance and distance. If it takes me a few minutes longer to run 3 miles than the next guy or gal, then that's okay. We can't all be star athletes.

- The right gear matters. I used to try to run in whatever I was okay sweating in. Turns out that a little investment in the right clothing and shoes make all the difference. I've found great clothing at Target, Dick's Sporting Goods, and from a variety of brands. Under Armour is good, Nike is also good (and sometimes you have to look at both brands and buy the cheaper of the's the same quality), and Champion at Target is a great bargain.

- No matter what anyone says, the best way to improve performance is to pound the pavement. There's no substitute for just getting out there and running. The most successful runners make their running commitments, not make excuses and wonder why their runs aren't going well.

- Have fun with it. Set reasonable goals and take all the advantages that running gives you. I feel better, lost weight, and now have a whole new passion that enriches my life. Plus it's pretty cheap!

I hope to bring a more in-depth post right after the Peachtree Road Race this July. I'm counting that as my 1 year racing anniversary, and it's going to be my second 10k ever. I never thought I'd be okay with running, much less trying to run 6 miles or more in a single day. Woohoo!!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I'm back in the saddle again

I thought the Aerosmith song was appropriate here since tonight I just finished my first run in three weeks. It's also the first run since the accident. My main concern was aggravating my concussion, but it looks like everything is completely healed. I decided to keep this run short (only 2 miles), and I was feeling it. I feel incredible now that I'm done, but I really wanted to stop and just walk while I was on the treadmill. I have a race next weekend, so I better be back in 5k shape soon. I think since I handled 2 miles just fine 3.1 should be okay.

Monday, March 2, 2009 risk or annoying?

I bring this up because I am currently experiencing a migraine that is kicking my butt. I took some Imitrex, but it can take a while to kick in. I'm not sure what triggered this one. It began shortly after lunch, and it's been getting worse all day. Here's an interesting article about how migraines with auras (the kind I typically experience) doubles a person's risk of stroke. Hooray! I'm screwed! Sometimes I wonder if I should give up and just begin gorging on all the foods I love to eat. Then I wake up and realize that I would feel so sick that it wouldn't be worth it. *sigh* Does it sometimes feel like the world is working against you?

On another note, I began my graduate classes today. I hope to graduate in the next 18 months with my MBA with a concentration in project management. We'll have to see how well I stick to my training, especially where it concerns ramping up my mileage for the Peachtree Roadrace this July.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

What is your ideal weight?

I was surfing the web and noticed Yahoo! had an interesting article on finding out what a woman's ideal weight should be. It includes a calculator to help you determine what your ideal weight should be based on factors like age, whether or not you've had children, and how often you exercise.

Based on what I entered I should weigh just under 120 pounds. Unfortunately I weigh just under 140. My BMI is just under overweight, so I know that I have some room to lose. I just don't like seeing that kind of number being suggested to me. I know I will continue to lose weight as I train for longer distances, but some days it seems so hard. My goal isn't to lose weight, but getting fit will inevitably help me lose weight. Plus if I get all obsessive about this I won't be able to enjoy food like I do now. I could probably cut back a little in terms of sweets, portions, etc, but damn it food is awesome!

I do kind of feel better knowing about where I should be. Remember folks, women's weight is actually a range - not a fixed in stone number (typically a 5 pound range). Take everything with a grain of salt and work on your fitness goals for yourself. Don't sweat it if your body isn't Hollywood perfect. The people in Hollywood don't even have those kinds of bodies.