Running in Chicago vs. Seattle

Yesterday I probably walked over 5 miles – it was wonderful, especially considering the amount of fried food I ate yesterday was more than the past month combined. Today I went for a light, long run – it’s a break week, so I only did about 45 minutes for the run. My pace ended up just under 11 min for the entire run, and I ended up doing just over 4 miles. The biggest treat was going along the lake in the bright summer sun. It was a bit breezy and, of course, hot – but it was wonderful. Running in Chicago makes me feel like I could run forever. It’s amazing what running up and down hills in Seattle will do for your perception of effort. My heart rate was pretty low for a run (around 120-140 a good part of the time) due to a lack of effort needed. It was a fun vacation run, to say the least.

Today was also my first run in myVibram Five Fingers Bikila . They are definitely an improvement over the Sprints – and I’m glad to once again be running a minimalist shoe. My knees ache so much less after a run. The only problem I seem to be having is that my big toe on my left foot gets a little unhappy – similar to the problem I had first with the Treks. At least I’m relatively certain these are the right size. Not too big, not too small. It will take a few more runs before I’m certain – but I think the Bikilas are likely the winner.

Now – back to my break!

Yesterday’s Run and My Weightloss Journey

Yesterday’s race was such a triumph for me. I never thought I would be a runner, let alone, run in a race, even a fun race. I took the challenge to try to run faster than 30 minutes for a 5K, not really believing I could do it. It looks completely possible after yesterday, even this morning with my achy calves.

For those wondering, I raced in the FiveFingers Sprints, which got me at least one question before the race. As far as I could tell, I was the only person there running in minimalist shoes. I definitely think they make me look rather odd, having seen my race-day picture, but I’m definitely loving them. I look forward to next weekend when I run the 5K.

One of the main reasons my running is so amazing to me is because I have lost 100+lbs, and I’m in the best shape I’ve been my entire life. I’m still not near goal, but when I take a step back and look at where I’ve come from, and where I’m headed, it’s a bit amazing to me.

Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist, I’ve just been trying to lose weight for more than 20 years (I’m in my 30s!). I’ve been on multiple diet plans, read books, seen nutritionists and read a lot of the current news/research on weight loss and obesity and have formulated my own ideas on the subject. Always consult a nutritionist, MD or ND before making radical changes to your life/lifestyle. Seriously. I may even disagree with some of their beliefs, but this is what has worked for me.

Just for the heck of it, I used the Tools at Calorie Count to get an idea of where I’ve come from, and where I’m going. To be honest, I don’t use Calorie Count (I use Weight Watchers, which does the same basic thing, but offers meetings and a handy formula to simplify tracking) for my day-to-day tracking, but it is an excellent, free, weightloss resource. There are other similar resources available – Livestrong, Daily Plate, Spark People – just to name a few. The basic idea is to figure out what your normal calorie burn is for your usual day, this is your Base Metabolic Rate. Next is to figure out how many calories you should reduce (and/or how much exercise you should add) to lose up to 2 lbs per week.

Personal facts and Weight Loss Stuff:

  • At my heaviest, my BMR was around 2750 calories per day.
  • My current BMR (to maintain current weight) is 1700 calories.
  • The BMR of the weight I’m shooting for is 1580 calories.

1 lb = 3500 calories, to lose 1 lb/wk, that’s a reduction of 500 calories per day.

I usually exercise daily, in the form of walking or running, and for a burn of between 100 – 400 extra calories per day. On those days, I might eat more.

I eat roughly 1200-1400 calories per day, which means that I’ve gradually reduced my daily caloric intake almost by half over the past few years. It should be noted, though, I started by reducing my daily intake gradually (about 500 cals/day). The biggest change in the past 25 lbs is having to incorporate more whole foods in my diet to keep me from getting hungry. I could eat my daily calories in doughnuts (that’s about 3 doughnuts in a day). Or I could eat an abundant variety of food all through the day for the same calories. Doughnuts give me a nasty simple-carb hangover. Whole wheat pasta and homemade spaghetti sauce does not. In a way, I actually eat MORE food – but it’s the variety that I eat that makes the difference, and where I choose to say “No.” Scone at a coffee shop for breakfast = “No.” A cupcake at Cupcake Royale = an occasional after-dinner decadence worth waiting for.

And for the record, I don’t deny myself occasional beer, mixed drinks, chocolate, ice cream, bacon, cheese, burgers, french fries, pizza, etc. I just don’t eat them all in one day. I eat real food with real ingredients (hopefully, the fewer required to make the food tasty, the better).

It’s been a long road. I still have a ways to go.

New Blisters and Minimalist Running

Yesterday I went diving with my husband, a coworker of his, and that coworker’s significant other. Despite various traumatic events while diving (bull kelp ate one of my Apollo Bio-Fins!) I returned from the trip with a renewed gusto to try running my long run in my Vibram Five Fingers Sprints. Thanks to my husband’s coworker, I learned a new (to me) term: minimalist running. He actually was wearing another crazy model of minimalist shoes – though I can’t remember which ones they were for the life of me! It seems that there are people who barefoot run – really barefoot, and those who just run in the FiveFingers – and then others that run in other minimalist footwear.

It’s a whole, crazy world of running out there, let me tell you.

So that brings me to today’s run. I was achey, with my lungs still tired from all the hard work I did struggling against the bull kelp (IT’S ALIVE!), and I put off my run until the afternoon when I believed there to be a chance of sun. I further enticed myself by saying I would go without my regular cushy, supportive shoes, and go for my FiveFingers for my LONGEST RUN EVER without cushioning. My 40 minute run got me a lot of sweat and it looks like at least a couple of blisters. My legs felt all wobbly at the end of my run, my knees felt warm, and my big toes felt the worst of all of it. My trusty Garmin Forerunner 405CX gives me the following stats (among others):

  • Time: 40:15
  • Distance: 3.50 mi
  • Avg Pace: 11:30 min/mi
  • Avg HR: 141 bpm

Not bad, if I do say so myself. I started feeling the friction on my big toe about 20 minutes in, so the fact that I did that well is impressive (to me.)

I also have to state, for the record, that I have yet to really train on a flat surface. I end up doing small, but notable hills on every run. I can only hope this will make me a stronger runner come the LIVESTRONG Challenge.