Saturday, October 29, 2011

Dell Children's Medical Center 5K results!

I ran my second 5K ever this morning and have established a new PR!  The Dell Children's Medical Center 5K this morning was to benefit the Carl Teel Music Therapy Endowment at Dell Children's Medical Center.  My first 5K was the Run With the Heroes on September 11.  You can read about the last run here.  My time in that race was 30:29.  My coach, Alexis Camacho, told me this week that shaving off a minute would be great.  Well, I'm pleased to say that I shaved off 3 minutes in just under 7 weeks!!!  My time today (and my new PR) was 27:19.  Not only that, but this course had some slight hills whereas the last one was totally flat.  I guess the training is working. :)

Today I felt great when I finished, which is nice considering how achy and exhausted I felt last time.  I am going to do a few more 5Ks just to keep an eye on my time, but my next big goal is to run the Capitol 10K in March!

ETA: 4th in my division! Overall 37 out of 162.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Exercise Log

10/20: TotalGym John Carleo 6-day training (Days 1&2), walking 65 minutes
10/21: TotalGym John Carleo 6-day training (Days 3&4)
10/22: Running group (~1.5 miles) + interval training + boxing drills
10/23: 0.  Drove to and from Dallas to attend Texas State Veggie Fest.  Ate oily, salty food at Quickstart Veggie Garden.
10/24: Running group (~3 miles) + drills at TSD
10/25: TotalGym John Carleo 6-day training (Days 5&6), walking 45 minutes
10/26: Running group (~1.5 miles) + small (easy) hill training
10/27: TotalGym John Carleo 6-day training (Days 1&2), walking 45 minutes
10/28: Walking 65 minutes

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ginny Messina blog post on monitoring versus supplementing

This post by Ginny Messina, a vegan RD, is worth reading:

Her recommendations on vegan supplementation are not too different from my own and are certainly worth reading:

I have purchased her book (co-written with Jack Norris, RD) Vegan for Life: Everything You Need to Know to Be Healthy and Fit on a Plant-Based Diet, though I've only skimmed it so far. I have great respect for the nutritional expertise of both authors, so I am really looking forward to reading it.  When I do, I will be certain to post a review.

10/17: Running group (~3 miles) + drills at TSD.  Difficult as always, but I took a bigger water bottle and think that helped. 1200 meters in 7:51.  Last lap in 2:25.

10/18: 65 minutes walking in the neighborhood.  Right knee locked up in the morning and felt excruciating pain for a few minutes any time I tried to stand up.  (Runner's Knee?)  When I was confident that I wouldn't injure myself, I took this walk to help loosen up the tight muscles around my knee.  I haven't experienced the issue again, so I hope this is all it was.

10/19: Running group (~3 miles) + drills on 7th Street hill.  This hill always kicks my ass, but I am noticing that it takes longer to do so each time.  This was my third time, and I noticed significant improvement from the last time.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Back to work

Last Monday, my girlfriend Jessica had her third surgery this year for an injury she sustained in February. I took off all of last week from work so that I could focus on taking care of her, driving her to physical therapy, and just being able to be there for her without any work distractions.  Her surgery went well, despite a complication and some pretty intense bruising.  We are hoping that this is the final surgery and that she regains the full motion and function of her hand soon without any symptoms of RSD (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome), which was something that she dealt with after a previous surgery.  Despite the fact that I work from home and have some flexibility with my schedule, I still believe that working last week would have been difficult to pull off.  I do wish that I could have spent more time outside hiking because the weather was BEAUTIFUL around here.  Oh, well. I still have some time off in November and December coming up.

I'm back at work today and am trying to get back in the groove of things. I've had some issues with our VPN this morning, which makes that a little difficult.  Luckily, that gave me a little extra time to write this post.  For that I am happy.

My exercise regimen was a little less consistent last week.  I actually missed a day of my running group for the first time since I started, and I only used the Total Gym one evening.  Of course, I had a good excuse, and I'm very happy to be back at it.  I still need to incorporate some yoga into my routine, but I just need to find the time to work it into my schedule.

10/6: TotalGym John Carleo 6-day training (Days 3&4)
10/7: ?
10/8: Running group (~3 miles) + interval training
10/9: 0
10/10: 0
10/11: 0
10/12: Running group (~3 miles) + drills on 7th Street hill
10/13: 0
10:14: TotalGym John Carleo 6-day training (Days 5&6)
10/15: Running group (~1.5 miles) + interval training
10/16: 0

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Hill Running/Drills

My running coach Alexis has started to incorporate some pretty extreme hills in our running drills once a week.  While I've never had much trouble walking up hills, it's an entirely different matter to run up them or to do any of the following while going up: sidesteps, over/under foot drills, buttkicks, skips, and high knees.  It doesn't seem like it would be as hard as it is, but it's unbelievably difficult.  First, your legs start to burn in key areas like the quads or calves.  Then, as the pain intensifies, breathing becomes more difficult.  By the time you get to the top, you find yourself practically out of breath and your legs are struggling just to move.  Walking back down isn't even easy.

Last week, we ran from RunTex through the trail alongside Town Lake (Lady Bird Lake), up Robert E. Lee (alongside Zilker Park), and turned on a couple of streets until we got to Norris Drive.  Just getting there was difficult, as Robert E. Lee is pretty steep.  I pushed through and then we arrived at Norris.  The hill was pretty brutal, but I worked through the drills.  I do think that Alexis gave me a little bit of a break on the last couple of drills and let me do them halfway because I was severely dehydrated and in pain.  We found some water at Zilker and ran back.  Up until yesterday, this was the most difficult workout I'd had since joining the group.

Yesterday, we ran from RunTex to West 7th Street (at Blanco).  The run there wasn't as intense and the hill up 7th didn't look that bad.  When we started doing the drills, it quickly became apparent that the hill was worse than the one at Norris Drive.  The first third or so is not too bad, but then the incline gets really steep.  By the time I would get to the halfway mark during each drill, I'd be breathing heavily and struggling to maintain the exercise.  It was so difficult that after finishing my third or fourth drill, I had to sit for a minute because I was a little dizzy.  Alexis reminded me that he'd found himself needing to crawl that hill once before.  Laura, another group member present for the torture, said she loved the hill because it truly was an equalizer - everyone struggles regardless of fitness level.  As much as I struggled, I finished all of my drills, and after a recovery walk I was able to run back to the store.

I have a love/hate relationship with these hills.  I hate doing them in the moment, but I love having done them. This is where it's really great to have a coach.  There's no way in hell that I would have pushed myself to keep going up those hills.  It hurt too much.  But because I had a coach who did push me, I did more than I thought I could do and that means more growth.  And I think the consequence of surpassing these self-imposed limitations will be that I will learn to push myself more and believe in my power and strength to succeed.

10/4: 60 minutes walking
10/5: TotalGym John Carleo 6-day training (Days 1&2), Running class (~3 miles) + drills on 7th Street hill

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Now that I am in my 11th week of running at least three times a week for my cardio and now that I am using the TotalGym for resistance training, I've decided that it makes sense to add yoga to the mix to work on my flexibility.  I'm going to be looking at different types of yoga and will probably try out some introductory packages to save money and to experiment with different teachers and schools.  Eventually it would be nice to find a yoga that I can stick with, but for now I will experiment.  Of course, if something just knocks my socks off and nothing else compares, then I will reserve the right to go back to it and stick with it.

I have done yoga in the past, though not many times. I am, however, very familiar with at least some yogic philosophy. (Much of the spiritual/philosophical side I believe comes originally from Jain teachings, though I would guess that many Hindu yogic practitioners would disagree.)  What I am seeking right now, though, is less of the spiritual side of yoga and more of the physical side.  While I am someone who deeply values spirituality, I believe that spiritual practice is very personal and there are many "spiritual" people out there with agendas and products and gurus to sell.  Don't get me wrong.  I will listen and be open to those whose teachings seem genuine to me, but I will also feel free to reject those things that don't make sense.  

The idea to do this arose from not only my need to become more flexible and remain injury free; it also was inspired by a really good movie called Enlighten Up, where the director takes an unemployed skeptic and has him go to different yoga schools to try them out.  The director who is into yoga wants a certain outcome, but the experimenting student doesn't always follow the path that she wants him to.  He does score a trip to Hawaii and India, where he meets some yoga gurus and stays at some cool Ashrams.  I may not get to go where he did, but I will definitely try some schools in Austin and post my thoughts here.  Hell, maybe, I'll even try some classes in Houston or Dallas.  We'll see where this leads me.

10/3: 45 minutes walking, Running class (~4 miles) + drills

Sunday, October 2, 2011

My 21st Veganniversary

This weekend marked 21 years of being vegan for me.  It's interesting to think back about all the changes in my life over those years. Some changes I expected and others I didn't, but I knew from the start that for me being vegan was a lifetime commitment.

When I started out as a vegan in 1990, I knew no other vegans personally, but I was ready to make a break from animal exploitation and so I did.  I know that some people assumed that it was just rebellion, but it was something I felt very strongly about.  Today my feelings about commodifying animals are as strong as ever.  I've learned a lot of new information over the years, and I am amazed and heartened by how the vegan movement has expanded.  Still, I think that we still have a long way to go.  We are still just a very small percentage of the population, and being vegan is easier than it's ever been before.  If you're vegan, share a vegan meal with someone who isn't vegan.  If you aren't vegan, please consider going vegan.   It's easy, healthy, and delicious.  There are many amazing vegan cookbooks and more and more vegan restaurants are popping up all over.  I am glad to help if you have any questions.

9/30: TotalGym John Carleo 6-day training (Day 5)
10/1: Running Class (~3 miles) + circuit training drills
10/2: TotalGym John Carleo 6-day training (Day 6)