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Monday, January 31, 2011

The Warm Glow

This semester I've been enjoying teaching a sports literature class I designed and promoted. We covered football during January, reading Friday Night Lights and some short stories. One short story, "The Eighty Yard Run" by Shaw, the class didn't get at all. They just couldn't see how the story could be classified as a sports story. I spent the period walking the students through the story, pointing out the various literary elements as well as the connections between sport and everyday life. The other short story, "A Quarterback Speaks to His God" by Wilner, the class loved, and this astonished me. I had prepared myself before class for an even tougher second round of "I don't get this." Every single student, though, surprised me by eagerly and maturely offering his/her opinion about different aspects of the story. One talked about comparing the main characters from the two stories and seeing how in some ways they were alike but in other ways they were very different. Another student talked about returning to the Shaw piece and re-reading it to get a better grasp on what had been discussed last week, and to be able to apply it to Wilner. Another student understood Wilner's piece because of his own illness and the limitations placed on him because of the illness. I closed the door and locked the room at the end of the period with that warm glow that happens when a class goes much better than expected.

Now that January is over, the class is moving on to the subject of running. I'm excited about this since I have been running for almost two years now and am still struggling with it. I asked the class today if any of them run, and all replied with a laugh followed by an emphatic, "No!" I'm curious to see how not being runners will affect the way they read and understand the selections. One certainly doesn't have to participate in the sport to be able to discuss it, but having experience from actually participating does perhaps offer one a different way of talking about it.

To begin our adventure with running fiction, the class will start with Sillitoe's The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner and Maitland's "The Loveliness of the Long Distance Runner." The titles alone suggest the psychology attached to the sport, an aspect I'm very interested in addressing thoroughly. Given the response to the question of anyone in the class being a runner, I'd say it's not going to be difficult at all to bring in the psychology of the sport. I'm just hoping one class during this section sends me home with that warm glow feeling.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Enjoying the Journey

I've come to realize I truly love working out. I also am finding the whole calories in/calories out equation fascinating. My mission now is to pay close attention to what I eat while ramping up the intensity of my workouts in hopes that my sprint tri performance improves this year. And really, my performance should only improve. I've only completed one sprint tri to date, and if I do worse the next go 'round, that'll be quite disappointing to say the least.

One other mission I have is to get my one-pack abs looking just a tad more like a two-pack. I keep thinking back to last summer and the chat I had with an expert in sports fitness. When I was lamenting over my slow running, how I'd been trying to become faster but not really seeing any improvement, he told me a solid core is the key to increasing speed, to bettering my performance overall. To see if this is true, I've added core work every other day: planks, Russian twists, bicycles, machine crunches, machine twists, leg raises, supermans, etc. I know this is going to be a tough area to really tighten up, but if I keep with it, maybe by the first sprint tri in April I'll be able to tell a difference.

I am seeing improvement in my endurance and pushing through my mind's wanting to stop. Three months ago I would stop if my mind started whining. Now, I actually reach out and up the speed on the treadmill or go to the next level on the stairclimber. This is my childish "take that" response to the whining baby inside my head. To show that baby who's boss even further, towards the end of my sixty minutes of cardio, I've started treating the last five minutes like the ending of an event where I can see the finish line. I increase the intensity, pretending someone is just in front of me and I can catch up to her. Pretty lame, I know, but it gets my mind away from the fatigue and that snot-nosed brat trying to convince me to stop. The feeling of accomplishment is much, much sweeter, too, when I squish the impulse to slow down, to stop.
 
I'm not looking to win any medals this year. I just want to see me finally realize I can improve myself physically and mentally. I know I have a ways to go, and that's okay. It's the journey that counts, right?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Searching

"The path to transfomation involves many small steps. Experience each one as meaningful." Ruth Lauer-Manenti

I'm all about taking many small steps. And I truly try to be mindful with each step taken, but I'm not really seeing any meaningfulness happening with most of the steps I'm taking right now.

Maybe the meaningfulness is right in front of me and I'm just not seeing it for what it really is?

How does one recognize the meaningfulness?

I've been thinking for awhile now the time has come for me to move on from teaching. While I enjoy the students, I don't enjoy the mind-numbing, time-consuming reading and responding to papers. While I enjoy many of my colleagues, I don't enjoy the hashing, rehashing, and even more rehashing of the same old issues.

Now that I'm grappling with this, the idea occurred to me that maybe it's not the meaningfulness I'm failing to see but rather the path itself. I simply do not know where the path is.

How does one find the path?

Monday, January 24, 2011

New Diet = Less Fatigue

The new energy I have is totally blowing me away. For so long, the feeling of a nap coming on in the afternoon happened as if someone had flipped a switch, and I just reconciled myself to having to nod off for twenty or so minutes. Since last Thursday, when I started eating six meals a day rather than the usual 3, I haven't felt the need for a nap, I've been able to stay awake past 10 p.m., I'm awake and ready to start the day when my alarm goes off, and I have accomplished so much more with my workouts the last couple of days than I had been. I'm a convert through and through.

Some time back I made the decision to go vegetarian, and for the most part I follow a vegetarian diet. I rarely eat read meat, choosing instead to go for fruits, veggies, fish, and egg whites. I also made the decision to cut back on white flour products and refined sugar. Yesterday I did have a bison burger, which was good, but I won't have another one for awhile due to the amount of cholesterol one burger contains. While the fat content was low and the protein was through the roof, I just can't justify clogging my arteries no matter how tasty the food was. Due to the egg whites, fish, and protein shakes, my protein intake has increased significantly, and I'm thinking this, along with the frequency of eating, is another reason my energy is higher.

I started reading Racing Weight: How to Get Lean for Peak Performance by Matt Fitzgerald (I know full well I'll never be an elite athlete, but if I can better my performance by taking off a couple more pounds, I'd like to do it), and he offers examples of  how elite athletes eat to make sure they can perform their very best. All of these athletes eat at least six times a day. I kinda feel like I'm eating all the time, which is fun in a way, but the types of foods I'm eating are very healthful and the good calories kind rather than the empty calories kind.

Where I started this semester with dread because of my dreadful schedule and thinking I was going to be worn out all the time because of it, I'm now not worrying about it anymore. As long as I eat, and as long as I make good food choices, the energy will be there.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Back on Track

My little bonk the other day made me re-evaluate a couple of things: my workout schedule and my eating patterns. I thought I had the workout schedule figured out in such a way that it would fit nicely with my work schedule. The working out in the evening followed by a workout early the next morning, though, just isn't the best plan. In addition, I was only eating the usual three meals a day. With the increase in energy expenditure, I need to eat more and more often. I was still going by my 1500 calories a day, which is okay if I'm not doing a whole lot. Most days, however, I'm using around 500 or 600 additional calories, meaning I'm really only getting anywhere from 900-1000 calories a day. My body is saying, "JK, stop being a knucklehead! Eat, damnitall, eat."

I ended up taking Thursday off. I wasn't physically tired after work, but I was sleepy tired. I went to bed early that night to try to make up for recent lost sleep. Thursday was also my first day for eating 6 meals. I ate breakfast, had a mid-morning snack, a smoothie for lunch, a mid-afternoon snack, dinner, then another snack before bed. I'm being very careful with the snacks, trying to make them healthy and made up of foods that will offer an energy boost. Yesterday I worked out in the morning, making sure I ate before, following up with a protein drink right after. I then had my other four meals for the day. I felt really good all day long. Usually I feel tired by 3 or 4 in the afternoon. Yesterday the energy was there the entire day. I'm optimistic.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Fatigued

Late last evening, Hubby and I went for our swim. I swam 1000 yards. This morning, we went to the rec center early, and I tried to run. The fatigue set in at mile 2. I tried to keep going, but my body said no. I stopped the treadmill for a couple of seconds, turned it back up to 6 mph, but within a few steps my body said, please, please stop. I just couldn't go on. This is the first time I've ever bonked like that.

I'm thinking one of two things happened, or maybe it was a combination of the two factors I'm seeing as the culprits for shortening my run. Last evening's swim was one of the best I've had. I'm trying to add a 100 yards to each swim, and I'm trying not to stop and rest after each lap. When I climbed out of the pool, I felt a sense of true accomplishment. And I was tired.

This morning, we went back to the rec center 12 hours after swimming. I didn't eat breakfast before going, and I only had a banana last evening after the swim. My system was low on fuel. Combine that with not enough rest between workouts and the formula for a less than stellar performance was created. I'm happy I was able to get 2 miles in, along with the abs work, but I need to establish a better schedule, for working out and for eating.

One purchase I made recently to help with the eating is the Blender Bottle. It's fantastic. That little wire blender ball mixes the protein powders thoroughly, not leaving any of those awful clumps like spoons do.With my class schedule, sometimes having lunch is difficult. With the Blender Bottle, I can mix up a protein drink and take it to class with me. Now I have no reason to go for six or seven hours without eating. Of all the gizmos I've bought over the years, the Blender Bottle has to be one of the very best. I'm thinking of getting another one so I have one at work and one at home.

Today's bonk made me sit back and take notice. After cruising along for awhile now, not having an injury or feeling overly tired, reality reared its head. I should have known this easy street couldn't last.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Another Rejection

Sigh. I'm not sure reading rejection letters will ever get easier, but today's rejection letter gave me some hope  the editor's final decision to not publish my story was a difficult decision. A couple of lines past the rejection part of the email I received was this: "You should know that there was considerable discussion here at Stymie about the piece, but it just wasn't quite the right fit. I really hope you'll submit again in the future. For my part, I'd be interested in a shorter piece suitable for our web content." The usual sting of rejection didn't hurt quite so much after reading that.

The part about "right fit" I don't totally get. I do know that finding the right target for a story can be terribly difficult. My particular piece is about a boy playing basketball but is told through the eyes of his mother. Stymie is a sports lit magazine, and like many other sports related mags, it gives more space to baseball and golf. In the four issues I've read, I saw two short stories about basketball, so I figured I'd take the chance the editor might go for another basketball piece since the mag hadn't published many at all. The old saying "the smaller the ball the more lit there is about it" seems to still hold true, for Stymie offered way more stories and poetry about golf and baseball than any other sport. Of the stories I read, I would consider them to be "mainstream," pieces that appeal to the masses, and I would consider mine to be mainstream, as well. My story, I think, fit quite well with the types of stories offered in the magazine.

In any case, all I can do is try again. The piece accepted for publication a couple of months ago was rejected once, the editor saying he did enjoy the theme of the story and hoping it found a home for publication. It did the second time around. Maybe the same will happen for the basketball piece.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

First Brick Workout For the Season

I'm floating after a good, hard week of working out. I was able to swim twice, actually doing 900 yards the second swim, feeling strong during and after. I ran, cycled, stairclimbed, and did weights and abs as well. After each workout, I could feel the fatigue, but it wasn't overwhelming and I was able to go into each successive workout rested and ready for it. Today I decided to complete a brick workout to see how I would handle both physically and mentally the cycling followed by running.

I started on the spinner, going with an endurance program. After 32 minutes, I'd gone about 12.5 miles. I'm not sure the spinner is accurate, as that is about a 23 mph pace, but I did keep the cadence in the 90's the entire time. The program was helpful with its cues for when to add resistance, to slow down and speed up, and maintain. I've never used a spinner before starting at the gym, so it's taken some getting used to, but I like how easy it is to add resistance. My heart was pounding hard by the time I was finished.

From the bike I went to the treadmill. I told myself I was not, under any circumstances, going to allow the mph to go under 5. And I wasn't going to settle into my usual comfort zone of 5 and just stay there. The treadmill I was on had a 5k option, so I entered it and started off at 5. Every 1k I increased the speed and finished strong at 6.2 mph. I've never had a run where I actually increased the speed as I went along. Never. Being able to show myself I can do this was like quieting that negative voice in my head with a right-left knock out punch.

I needed this kind of workout. I constantly doubt myself and think I'm delusional for thinking I can actually be competitive in a sprint tri. Though I'm still not what many would consider fast in the run, I am pretty good on the bike, and after yesterday's swim, I think I can knock out the swim portion of the tri  much better now than I did last year. With these small successes, I'm realizing just how much I look forward to the next workout. Today, several hours after the brick, I smiled as I thought about tomorrow's agenda: upper body, abs, and stairclimbing. Sounds like fun to me.

Friday, January 14, 2011

I've Been Tagged

Two awesomely cool people tagged me with the Stylish Blogger Award. I am very honored and wish to thank Natalia over at Natalia's Running Blog: trying to run and wanting to tri, and Staci over at She Runs in Sandals. Natalia inspired me with her stair climbing, and since I can't cycle right now due to the four or so inches of snow and the wicked thin layer of ice under it, I thought, hey, a stair climbing event would give me something to work towards. I signed up for the 2011 Fight for Air Climb in February (shameless plug time: check out my personal page, and if you have a buck or two you can spare for the cause, that'd be great--end of shameless plug), with the thought of maybe doing another in March just to give me another event to train for while I wait out the winter months to end and I can get my new beauty outside for a long ride. Staci inspires me with her barefoot running. I've read quite a bit on barefoot running and totally get the reason for it, but I just can't bring myself to give it a go myself. I tried once on the treadmill, and truthfully, I know for a fact I ran better than I do in shoes. But then it turned really cold, and the thought of running barefoot in 20 degrees wasn't appealing. Now that I'm in a gym, I'm required to wear shoes. This gym doesn't even allow Vibram-type shoes. Maybe when the weather warms up, I'll try barefoot again on my own treadmill.

Now on to the 7 things about me:

1. I am the 5th child of six, born on the 5th day of the month, to my father who is also the 5th child of six, making my favorite number, you guessed it, 5.

2. I've been teaching composition and literature for 19 years and still don't feel like I do a very good job of it.

3. I took my three children to China six years ago, where I taught for a semester and the four of us learned what culture shock really means.

4. I've been working on my grandma's book for several years now, and just the other day it was released for purchase on Amazon. If you like to read and like memoirs in general, check out Forever Down the River by N. Ruth Phillips Heath.

5. I began riding and showing horses when I was around 6 and continued right up until I was 24. I haven't been on a horse since and don't miss them all that much.

6. My favorite movie of all time is Lost in Translation. I just love the mood of it and how Bill Murray shows how tangled and confusing our feelings for others can get.

7. When I was pregnant with my youngest, I was warned he most likely would be born with Down's. In preparing for his birth, I decided to name him Gabriel after the angel. He was born perfectly healthy and truly is my little angel who brings me more delight than a single person deserves.

So there you have it. Now I must tag a couple of others. The Stylish Blogger Award is hereby handed off to J at Grip the Midnight Microphone and Maureen at Buttoning My Jeans. Check these ladies out and enjoy their blogs.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Ughhhh

Mondays and Wednesdays this semester are going to kick my ass. Like the old saying goes, "nice guys (and gals) finish last." Being the nice person that I am who can't say no, I agreed to trade a class with another colleague. The class I traded for didn't make. Figures! Because of this, the class I ended up with meets from 7:30 to 8:45 p.m. So, I come in for my 12:30 class, have office hours between it and my 3:30 class then have a 2 1/2 hour break until the 7:30 class. Ughhhhh. If I go home, I'll change into my jammies and not want to return to school. If I go anywhere away from campus, I'm likely to forget I have this evening class and not return for it. That would put me on the fast track to forced retirement. Somebody please help me learn how to say that teeny-tiny word NO!

I'm trying to see the positive of this situation, like being able to get papers read while here rather than having to take them home. Right now, I have the first journal entries from today's comp class sitting on my desk. I could be reading them and getting them out of the way, so I don't have to do them over the long, upcoming weekend. I actually still have an hour and a half before class. It's possible unlikely they'll get read.

Another way I could spend my time is writing. I have a 2 1/2 hour block of time twice a week. What more could I ask for? Ummmm, to go home, to put on my jammies, to sit back with a bottle of beer, and to just veggggggggg.

Being as this is only the second day of this sucky schedule, I am willing to keep an open mind. Once everything settles into place, Mondays and Wednesdays might actually be my "like" days. After all, I was able to swim this morning before coming to campus. I've been eager to swim since getting the membership at the new rec center, and this morning's swim went great. Though I haven't been in the water since April of last year, I could tell all the running and cycling definitely improved my endurance. I didn't struggle with fatigue like I did last year at this time, when I first started swimming to get ready for the sprint tri. After swimming, Hubby and I went to breakfast. From there I came to campus and have been here since. So good hours actually do happen on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Plenty of time still remains before class this evening. Read journals or write? Read journals or write?

Monday, January 10, 2011

From a Frosty Garage Gym to Two Beautiful Fitness Facilities

I think I've gone to heaven. Now, not only do I have the fitness facility at work to use, but I also have access to the gorgeous, spanking  new rec center at the university only a couple of blocks from my house. The angels are singing, and to top it all off, the Pearly Gates have opened to reveal a pool where I can swim to get in shape for my first sprint tri scheduled for April. I.Am.Stoked.

Hubby and I went over this morning to get our ID's and to swim, but we were too late for the morning lap swim. We settled for touring the building, taking in all the beautiful machines, weights, and running/walking track. We then hopped on some spinners and put in 15 minutes of cycling. From there we went to the ellipticals where we added 20 more minutes of cardio work. I've not done elliptical training before, so my legs were feeling it and the sweat was dripping. Though I was disappointed not to get a swim in, I was happy with the cardio work for the morning. Tomorrow, I shall swim.

Having access to these two new facilities got me thinking about my goals for the upcoming season. I truly believe there is no reason whatsoever--now--that I should not see some improvement in my running, cycling and swimming. Everything I need to help me reach my goals is at my fingertips. The question is: will my own mind keep me from achieving what I've planned?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Trying Something New

Inspired by Natalia, I searched for a stair climbing event close to home and found one in February that's not too far away. I signed up, my hubby all the while shaking his head and telling me I'm crazy. I'm excited and scared at the same time. Stair climbing is completely new to me; I didn't even know stair climbing events existed until I read about Natalia's participation. Even then, the idea to participate myself didn't occur to me. Yesterday, when I was on the stair climber for the first time, the thought crossed my mind that maybe this is something I could do during these colder months as I wait out the freezing temps, the snow, and the wind for when I can once again get outside on the bike. A quick internet search offered up several choices right in my backyard. I chose the 2011 Fight for Air Climb. Take a look at my page, and if you can donate a dollar or two, that'd be great. If not, a note of support would be just as wonderful.

Now I need to figure out a training program to get in shape for this, and if anyone has any tips to offer, send them my way. Since it is my first climb, I decided to do it non-competitively. I won't have a timing chip, but I am going to do the "see how many times I can climb 30 floors in an hour" option. If I do okay with this event, I might try another in March. Having an event to work towards every month does wonders for my motivation, and right now, I'm sitting here in my workout attire, ready to get to the fitness center to jump on the stair climber for another go.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Fitness Facility Review

Before I was able to walk into the new fitness facility, a colleague regaled me of how beautiful the place was. She'd just been inside, not to work out but just to tour it, and emphasized with arms flailing how wonderful it all was. My excitement increased.

I entered the building and met a student worker at the desk. She asked for my ID, something I've never had in the 11 years of working for the college, but I did have my employee ID number. With that, all I had to do was punch in the numbers on a keypad. Wa-la. I was in.

Without any trouble I found the locker room. A bit on the small side and no benches to sit down on (what's up with that? I kinda wanted to check out the guys' locker room to see if they have benches), but it was clean. In a matter of minutes I was ready to hit the cardio machines.

I started on the stationary bike, choosing a hills program, and cycled for 30 minutes. I definitely need to figure out how to use the bike. I kept trying to up the tension, but for some reason nothing worked. My legs were pumping at a speed I didn't realize I had. The rpm's said 105 most of the time, with a speed between 12 and 16 depending on the tension. I felt like I was going a lot faster than 16 the entire time. I managed to get 7 miles in during the half hour.

From there I went to the treadmill. I didn't push it since I did intervals the day before. I plugged in my headphones, changed the tv channel to Cold Case, and got 2.5 miles in after thirty minutes. I didn't get to see whodunit on Cold Case since I had to leave to pick up the boys from school, but with much happiness I found out Hubby had recorded the program for me. I'm looking forward to watching the ending this afternoon after I get home from work.

In all, the first workout at the new facility went well. The cardio machines are beautiful, and there are enough of them that it shouldn't be an issue getting on one when I am able to get there. The free weight area is roomy, and if I don't choose to do free weights, I can do the circuit. If I don't want to do cardio or weights, I can get a basketball and shoot around in the humongous, new gymnasium. And if I don't want to do any of these, I can simply walk on the track that makes its way around the entire facility. Really, no reason exists for me not to get some kind of workout in everyday. And it's free. How cool is that?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Last Garage Workout?

I ran three miles this evening, followed by two miles of walking at a 3% incline on the treadmill in the garage. The temp was a chilly 38 degrees. I've learned how to dress for the garage, so I usually am completely warmed up after the first half mile, and by the end of my hour workouts, I'm sweating pretty good. Tonight, though, might be my last garage workout for awhile because tomorrow the new fitness facility at work opens for faculty use. I'm all set. I've already pulled out my gym bag, packed it with shorts, shirt, shoes and other assorted workout paraphernalia and am ready to test all the new equipment. It'll be heaven to wear a simple t-shirt with shorts rather than three layers of clothes that end up feeling heavy by the time I'm finished.

The last time I set foot in a gym was three years ago. Hubby and I joined a gym here and went regularly throughout the entire year. We enjoyed the swimming and the use of the cardio machines, but we hated having to spend twenty minutes driving just to use the facility. We decided after our year membership ended that we would just buy our own equipment and workout here. We bought the treadmill and P90X, and that's when we created our own Biggest Loser Challenge. Hubby walked while I did the 90 days of P90X. We tracked our progress with weigh in's and pictures every thirty days. I loved doing P90X, loved seeing the changes in muscle tone over the 90-day period. While I didn't lose a lot of weight, I did muscle up nicely. At the end of the 90 days, I kept going, deciding then I was going to start running.

And that's when the love/hate relationship with running began. I started out slowly, walking then running then walking, etc. By June I was running more regularly and decided to sign up for a 5k. I ran my first 5k in November, with my daughter who was a runner for the high school cross country team. I was so glad she was with me. She's what got me through that first 5k. I've continued with the running ever since, but it's been a struggle. I do think I have a better attitude now, a little more than a year beyond that first 5k. I've come to understand I'm my own worst enemy; if I want to get faster I have to really work at it. I have to become uncomfortable.

I'm looking forward to being uncomfortable tomorrow in the new fitness facility. Who knows, maybe I'll even be able to shoot some hoops in the new gymnasium.

I Got My Widget Back!

Thanks to Natalia, I was able to put the widget back on the blog, and it has all of my miles. Many thanks, Natalia. Having all the accumulated miles there for me to see on a daily basis is so motivating. I'm excited about nearing the 800 mark. I can't imagine what it'll be like to see 1000.

Monday, January 3, 2011

I Lost My Training Widget!

Well, I didn't lose it exactly. For some reason, the widget wasn't updating, and no matter how many times I tried to replace it with the correct information, it just kept giving my training recorded a day during early last week. I decided to just delete it for now. Maybe whatever is ailing the widget will get fixed over the next few days and I can replace it. I kind of liked having it as I could see each day the increasing mileage for the year. Last year, I ended with 748 miles of combined running and cycling. Most of the mileage came from cycling, so this year, one of my goals is to up the running miles, try to end the year with more than the 37 I logged for 2010. I actually did have more than 37. I just didn't start logging my workouts until August. I may have had around 40 given my lack of enthusiasm towards running.

I'm actually doing pretty good with the running. During the lovely three-week break from school, I found myself looking forward to working out, and I think this is due to having two sprint tri's on the calendar, one in April and one in May. I want to better my time from last year's one sprint tri, so I have to up the ante to make this happen. I want to set the tone for the summer: getting stronger and faster with each event. Tonight I cycled on the trainer for an hour. I tried to keep the rpm's up, going faster during the commercials, and I could feel my heart pounding, so tonight was a good night.

Later this week, the new fitness facility opens at work--it'll be heaven running and cycling in warmth. Who knows. Having the opportunity to workout in a warm place just might spur me to put in even more mileage. Maybe that's what the widget is afraid of!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Five Miles to Start the Year

A very slow five miles, but five nonetheless. The first four were walk/jog, averaging a 13 minute pace. The last mile was really, really slow at 3 mph, but I upped the incline to 5%, then 6%, and ended with 7%. I'm happy with this workout and hope to continue increasing the mileage over the next few weeks. With having to report back to work tomorrow, I'm worrying that I'll not follow through with the schedule I've set up for myself. I know I can't let myself become to inflexible, but at the same time, I truly want to up the intensity this year.

I did see this conversion chart the other day and thought it was great. I always walk/jog with a 1.5 % incline. It's helpful to know the incline does affect the speed. I've always been faster outside and didn't really know why. Now I know why; the incline I have the treadmill set at was actually helping me. I'm trying to use the incline even more now, changing things up a bit here and there to not only give myself a bit of a challenge, but to also see if incline work will transfer to faster times once I start running outside again.

So tomorrow will begin the real test for me--returning to work and trying to follow the schedule I've created. These last three weeks have been very restful. I'm excited to see how the next few months actually play out.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

And We're Off

The start of a new year has begun, and with it, the wonder of what the next 12 months will bring. I, for one, have lots of hopes. My primary hope is that my family continues to enjoy good health. My middle child for many years was the one who battled sore throats, allergies, and colds. We teased him about being the sickly one. Thankfully, 2010 was a good year for him. He remained healthy overall, only having one or two colds at most. During the fall semester, in November, it dawned on me that he hadn't been sick during the fall months. This was a first in his life. My secondary hope is that I can continue writing, producing like I did during summer and fall of 2010. I truly believe my time has come for creating good work. When I finish a story, the feeling of accomplishment spurs me to continue. I've never experienced this before. And lastly, for 2011, I hope to fine tune my nutrition and exercise. I have several events lined up, giving me something to work towards, and I'm working on what I eat to make sure the time spent working out isn't for naught. I'm toying with the idea of entering an Olympic tri then a half Ironman, but I'm not convinced I could actually complete either of these. The idea of running farther than a 5k scares me. It's taken me two years to make peace with running a 5k. Running a 10k or a half marathon just seems impossible.

Day one of 2011 is almost over already, and while I didn't do a whole lot, I did enjoy breakfast with my family, a movie with my lovely daughter, and a good book in between. I'd say I'm off to a very good start with the new year.