Monday, February 8, 2010

Dangle the Carrot, Do Some Push-Ups, and Quit a Job

First off, if you haven't already seen it on BT or on his blog, Jeff is having a give-away on his blog (http://danglethecarrot.blogspot.com/). By posting a comment, following him on Blogger and/or Twitter, or linking his site on your blog, you can earn up to 4 entries to win a box of Chocolate #9 Agave Energy Gels! I love my gels, and have never tried this line, so of course I wanted to get a few entries into the give-away. Also, I would like to thank Jeff for having this give-away, as it gave me just the push that I needed to get back on here and type up a post :)

Since my last post, I went to a spin class, lost and gained back a few pounds, and got a teaching contract! I started teaching last Tuesday, and have a contract until June. After that, there are no guarantees, but at least I have my foot in the door now. AND, with a contract, I can finally get ready to stop working 2 full-time jobs! For the last few years, I have been studying/teaching all day and working all night, leaving very little time at home with the family. This morning, my 3 year old son asked me, "Daddy, do you have to work 2 jobs again today?" I've definitely had enough. Working both jobs was necessary to pay the bills while I was in school, but it's time to be with my wife and kids again. I plan on toughing it out for the rest of the month, until my teaching cheques are coming in, then I'll make my move. After the schedule I've had for the last few years, working "only" 40-50 hours/week will feel like a vacation! :)

Tonight, I will finish the 6-week 100 push-up program. All that will remain is my final test, of which I will be posting a video on here. I also have another video I want to put on here... the other night, my wife and I decided to have a little sing-along at 2am. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Longest run of the year, and a wet walk to work

Well, I didn't go to the spin class today, BUT I did make up my long run from the weekend. We had a surprisingly warm day today (7C), so I took advantage of it. Imagine, I ran 14.62km in January, wearing shorts and a long-sleeve tech tee! It was a perfect day for running. I had planned on running 15km, but hadn't mapped it out yet (I still don't have a Garmin), so I decided on an 80min run. I figured that would be pretty close to 15km, and I was just about right on.

I kept a pretty even pace most of the way, but slowed considerably on the last 5km, finishing in 1:25:07. Overall, I would say that today's run was a good one for me. I never felt like I needed to walk and I felt comfortable in my pace. I rolled my ankle just a little just after I turned around at 40min, but recovered quickly enough that I didn't feel any damage. I was running on the left side of the street and there wasn't much of a curb, so cars were pretty close. I stepped just off the road to keep out of the way, and came down right where the road meets the mud. One driver turned his blinker on and switched lanes, into the lane closest to me... he looked like he was going to take me out! He didn't, though :)

I'm still not pushing for time just yet, just trying to increase my mileage (kilometrage?) before the 1/2 mary on Valentine's day. Judging by the way I felt after my run, I don't foresee any issues with the V-Day race. I stayed under a 6min/km pace today, and will be looking at about a 7:10min/km pace for the half (2:30 pace bunny). Last year, it was July before I ran anything over 10km, so 14km in January is HUGE for me. If I keep this up, I should have my 2009 running numbers beat in the first quarter of 2010! :)

I got home from my run JUST before it started pouring, which was good timing... I guess. I still had to walk to work in the rain (a little over 1km), which wouldn't have been SO bad if it weren't for the 2-3 cars that needed to drive right next to the curb, through some deep puddles. You can imagine the looks I got when I walked through the doors at work, into a meeting, soaked from head to toe :) Anyway, my co-workers and I had a good laugh, and I'm dry now.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Weekend recap

Confession time. I did not run the 15km this past weekend as I had planned. On Saturday, I went to the gym with my wife and kids. While my son played in a playroom and my wife went to her class, my daughter and I went to talk to one of the sales representatives about getting my 5 day trial set up. Since my wife and I both thought that the (supervised) playroom wasn't open, I didn't bring any workout gear. Later in the day, once the family was all home, I went out to get some use out of my free membership. I started out on the stationary bike, and opted for a "Zone + Interval" program. I have never trained with HR zones before, so I had no idea what to put for my maximum HR (I put 170). The program had me work up to 170 bpm, hold for 3min, then drop down to 138bpm. I only stayed on the bike for 20min, but had a good sweat going. From the bike, I moved directly to the treadmill. I wanted to see how my legs would handle running after 20min of cycling and not much training, and they actually felt good! I ran for about 15min, at about a 7:30/mile pace. From the treadmill, I went to the free weight section of the gym and did some strength exercises.

Today, I went back to the gym and got back on the bike. This time, I let the machine tell me what my max HR should be, based on my age (it said 152). Same workout - 20min, intervals with 152 max HR and 125 min HR. Can anyone out there give me a hand with HR training? What do I need to know? I hear people talk about resting HR and max HR... I really think this would help me, since I almost always tend to find a comfortable pace, and stay there.

I will be going to a spin class at 6:15am tomorrow. I've only done one spin class before, and I'm really looking forward to this one. I want to make sure that I go to the gym often this week so that I can justify a paid membership afterward.

Now, on to something not training-related. This blog is so boring! I know that my rambling must be boring, but that's not what I'm talking about ;) I'm talking about the visual layout of the page. I look at some other blogs that I follow, and see all of the pictures, slide shows, videos, and think to myself how plain my page looks. Well, I am setting a blog-related goal for myself this week. By Saturday night, I will have at least one picture on here. Ideally, I would like to have a cool blog title image, but I'll just be vague and say that I will have at least one picture.

Another goal - write a profile! I'll take care of this one right now.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Sleep Talkin' Man

I just heard about this blog on the radio today. If you haven't checked it out yet, you definitely should.

www.sleeptalkinman.blogspot.com

It's pronounced "Keen-Wa"!

Today concludes Week 4 of the "Hundred Push-Ups" program. 29 + 33 + 29 + 29 + 50... I just did 170 push-ups! I am really starting to feel like 100 (consecutive) is not so far off. On to Week 5 next week. Wish me luck!

I was at the Bulk Barn today with the family and picked up a new tea, Moroccan Mint Green Tea. It smells good, and I'm hoping the flavour lives up to the smell. The main reason we went to the Bulk Barn today was to get some quinoa, which I have recently learned is pronounced "keen-wa" (I had been pronouncing in "kin-o-a" for over a year). We just tried some the other day, and I have to say I'm a fan. From what I've heard/read, it's supposed to be pretty good for you, so the fact that I like the taste is just icing on the cake (more like "all-natural peanut butter on the whole grain bread" these days)!

Last week, my wife joined a gym. As a result, they are going to give me a 5-day pass to try to entice (trick) me into joining as well. I've thought about joining anyway, so I'll take the 5 days to see how realistic it would be to fit enough gym time into my schedule to make it worth the money. One good thing is that I should be able to get in a couple of spin classes this week, which would be good since I haven't been in the saddle since August!

Second semester starts in a little over a week, so I hope to know in the next week or so if I have a teaching job or not. Have I mentioned yet that I'm a teacher? Well, I'm trying to be. So far, I'm a supply teacher, but I'm looking to take the "supply" out of my title. It will be so nice when I get a permanent teaching job and can go home after work, instead of going to work after work. Some day.

And, ladies and gentlemen, that will do it for this evening's less-than-focused blog entry. Goodnight.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Drop and give me 100!

I am currently working my way through a push-up program that will hopefully have me doing 100 consecutive push-ups in a few weeks (I will definitely post a video when that happens), and I am in week 4 of 6. This is my second attempt at week 4, since I was struggling at the end of the week last week. I also repeated week 3, and felt MUCH better, so I'm hoping for the same result this week. I just finished day 2 (it's a 3 day/week program), and did 14 more push-ups in my final set than I did on this day last week!

In other news, I am drinking some green tea with ginger right now, and it's great. As of the first of the year, my wife and I seriously changed the way we eat, and the way we live. When we got married, almost 5 years ago, we ate healthy food, we worked out regularly, and we just took better care of ourselves. Since then, a move and two kids later, we had fallen into a routine of eating fast food and not exercising nearly enough. The healthy food and exercise were fairly easy to re-adopt, but one change that I made that I wasn't sure would be so easy was virtually eliminating coffee and pop. We agreed that we would only drink coffee or pop if we were at a restaurant or at the movies. I have since become much more interested in teas, experimenting with different varieties of loose-leaf and bag teas. I would have to say that I am more impressed with the loose-leaf variety than I thought I would be. I had no idea how many choices there were! Does anyone out there have a personal favourite that I just have to try? Please, let me know.

Another two-job, 16-hour day is just about in the books, and I have an 8:45am dentist appointment to look forward to. Apparently, if you don't visit your dentist in over 2 years, they call and threaten to remove you from their patient list unless you book a cleaning... the nerve! :)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A cold run, a nice swim, and a plan for next week

In less than a month, I will be running a 1/2 marathon. Since I know that I will be running at a 2:30 1/2 mary pace, I feel pretty good about it. The only thing that concerns me right now is how cold it will be. Today, I went for a 10k run, and kept it nice and easy. I was well-layered; tri shorts, long johns, track pants; long-sleeve technical tee, 2nd long-sleeve shirt, track jacket, thick socks, gloves, and my toque. I was ready to go :) When I run 10k, I usually follow the same 5k out-and -back route, and that's what I did today. It's a pretty flat route through town, with a digital display that shows the time and temperature on the way, which is nice. Today, it was -8 Celsius (18 Fahrenheit) on the way out, but it warmed up to a balmy -7 Celsius (20 Fahrenheit) on the way back... I almost had to take off my jacket ;)

Like I said, I kept it nice and easy, and it was encouraging to see that I still came in just under an hour (59:31), which would have been a fast time for me two years ago and which is still faster than I will be running for the half. I was definitely a little cold as I began my run, mostly my hands (I was just wearing thin cotton gloves), and I didn't know if I was dressed warm enough. In the end, I definitely was, and I would probably even skip the long johns next time unless it got much colder. I read somewhere that if you're not cold when you start running, you've dressed too warmly. I was close to that today.

About 20 minutes after my run, I went swimming with the family. My first brick of the year, though I'm not sure it counts, since I was just bouncing around in the water with my wife and two kids (1 and 3) :) I have been good about getting at least one run in each of the last two weekends, but I definitely need to step it up. Next week, I'll shoot for 15km. I would hate to hit the wall after 17-18km in the half marathon... imagine how bad it would look if a pace bunny had to drop out!