How is 2012 treating you so far? As far as my running is concerned, the new year didn’t bring with it a steel-strength will to continue running. I only managed 2 runs this week, both were outdoors so they were considerably short being that the landscape around the place I stay in is hilly and pretty tough for a novice like me.
There are a few runs happening in February. One is the Pacesetter Mizuno Relay 4x3km on Feb 19 and the other one would be the Rotary Club Klang Jogathon on Feb 26. Please go to MYraceonline.com for details. I must add that the Pacesetter one is open ONLY for Pacesetter Athletic Club members (that’s kinda clique-ish, don’t you think?).
It is Week 6 and I have lost 2kg since. It yo-yoed a bit at the start (lost 2kg then gained 1 back, then lost 1kg then gained 1 back) but now I think I have lost the 2kg for good. That sounds good, but remember I have 13 more to go. By normal standards this weight loss is not up to par, if I had been more regular with the running and all I should have lost 3kg i.e. 500g/week. But, I’ll take what I can get. Other updates for this week:
- One bottle to rule all. I have switched the regular 500ml water bottles to a 2 litre BPA-free gigantic water bottle. This is because I find the regular water bottle degrades the taste of water. I wash them every time I refill but after a while I began to detect a mild aftertaste that I didn’t care for. So I rummaged the pantry and there were several water bottles in there, I chose the largest one so that I don’t have to walk in and out of the kitchen for a refill.
- When I run outdoors though, I bring a 500ml water bottle with me because the 2ltr one is a menace to carry around.
- Thank you Mr. Joseph C. Shivers for inventing Spandex. I know some people prefer loose track bottoms, I prefer knee-length or ankle length spandex tights. I wear them with regular running t-shirts, and as mentioned before, underneath the t-shirt I wear a spandex tank top. It could be just my imagination but I feel more streamlined when I have these on. I have not graduated to technical apparel yet. I have been told that wearing the proper technical apparel greatly improves performance, and more importantly, comfort. It is a hefty investment and one that I will partake at some point. Right now I am alright with whatever I have in my closet.
- Water is good. I started to accustom myself to drinking 2ltr of water daily on Week 2. It was a struggle – I was uncomfortable with the increased frequency in peeing and I feel bloated and waterlogged at the end of the day. These days my body automatically craves water and I find myself drinking even close to 3ltr sometimes (of course sometimes I drink less than 2ltr a day so it all works out). Twice I noticed that I had a coughing fit before I go to bed, fits that could only be placated by glugging a lot of water, so I take it that my body has been recalibrated to want water rather than reject it. I have no doubt that my weight loss is aided by my water consumption so I hope I can keep this up for life.
- Dieting is rubbish. I am still careful about what I eat but it is hard to stick to a proper diet (by proper diet I mean the kind of low-cal diet that you need in order to lose weight). Snacking is still a problem but I do eat a lot of vegetables nowadays (which reminds me: I need to go to the grocers and buy some tomorrow). Still not a fruit fan, mostly because I only like certain kinds of fruits and it is hard to stock them fresh at all times, but I have found a way to sneak apples and oranges into my stir fry and sweet and sour chicken so I guess that counts. I am also starting to take a multivitamin (just the one pill) to help supplement whatever that I am lacking. I am on no other supplement or diet plan.
- Allergy attack! Last week while nursing a headache I took an ibuprofen pill. About 5 minutes later my left eye started to swell. This normally happens when I eat shrimp or certain kind of citrus fruits. It’s a mild allergy reaction but still very uncomfortable and very unsightly. It didn’t occur to me that ibuprofen was the culprit until I wrote down what I ate that day and realized it was the first time I took ibuprofen. So now I stay away from ibuprofen and all non-aspirin NSAIDs. Better safe than sorry. I also have anti-histamine pills ever ready in my handbag in case of emergencies.
- Sweets is your saviour. I ran with a buddy last weekend. It was 9am and I haven’t eaten anything since 6pm the night before. At the end of the run, while I was spotting her stretching poses, I felt faint. The world dimmed a little bit and I knew I was a little too low on sugar. My friend rushed to the nearby mall to get me some sweets; I lied down to get some blood into my head and met my friend at her car. We decided to call it a day. After I popped a sweet into my mouth my condition improved dramatically. It was not life threatening or anything but I knew better than running when my sugar reserves are low. So these days, I make sure that I don’t exercise if I have been “fasting” for more than 8 hours – a glass of juice is the difference between blacking out and a great running session.
- Running outdoors is interesting but damn tiring. I have started a little running club. Right now it is only me and my old college buddy Yeen, we’ve committed to run outdoors together once a week. The rest of the time, I’d stick to the treadmill. I haven’t ran outdoors for a while, the last one was the run I did during fasting month. I actually found the run around Taman Tasik Shah Alam a bit of a struggle. We were using the 7 3 2 routine (as of today I am on the 10 3 2 routine when I run outdoors and the same 20min x 2 weight loss routine which is a combo of brisk walking and running on the treadmill). Anyway, I read up further about running outdoors and came across this article called How to Transition from the Treadmill to the Road at Fitsugar.com (read the full article here). The salient points:
- Ease into it. The body works harder when it is running outdoors. So don’t replace all your treadmill workout with outdoor runs, replace it gradually. The article suggests that if you run 4x a week, it will take a month to be able to transition to outdoor running fully.
- Slow and easy. You will feel slower due to road conditions, wind resistance and the challenge of propelling yourself to run forward from solid ground. I overcome this by reminding myself to take “small steps”. I more or less can tell what is my speed when I am running outdoors and it does frustrate me as it is much slower than my usual speed on the treadmill. In order not to overexert myself, when I feel like I am hitting the out-of-breath stage, instead of slowing down, I decrease the distance between steps i.e take smaller strides (so I don’t lift my thigh very high, it is similar to brisk walking I guess, but only in a jogging pace). I try to set goals – ok 20 metres more then I can take a walk break – but I am careful about it, if my breathing becomes labored I would switch immediately. Having goals is nice but I don’t want to break this old body of mine just because.
- Go for soft landing. Unfortunately, the postcode where I live now does not posses this luxury. I used to run at the PJ Astaka in front of Amcorp Mall – it is a proper spongy running track (400m per round). The surface is uneven in a few spots but overall it is an excellent place to run outdoors – well lit, lots of people, a relatively flat surface. Here I have to run on asphalt and the running track around Taman Tasik Shah Alam is just cement pavement – which I found less desirable than asphalt.
- Move against traffic flow. This is conterintuitive but can save your life. I used to run on the left side of the road, so traffic would be coming from behind me. The really bad thing about this is I cannot see and react to the traffic, if a car behind me swerves to avoid a cat for instance, I would not have time to jump away. So nowadays I run on the right side of the road, facing oncoming traffic. It is a bit scary, I don’t like seeing cars coming at me (luckily this is a residential road so I don’t have to contend with lorries or other heavy vehicles). But it will reduce the probability of being mowed down by a car so that’s good.
- The funny thing is, when I started running a year ago, I started with running outdoors. I loved it! But the local weather condition and the terrible traffic made it necessary to switch to the treadmill, which was a very difficult switch to do. It took me months to accustom myself to the treadmill. These days it is the opposite – I find running outdoors a struggle and I very much like to regain my love for it. So I will continue to run outdoors once a week, hopefully when my stamina is up I can increase this to 2 outdoor runs and 3 treadmill runs every week. This is an ambitious goal since I am having trouble keeping to 5 treadmill runs a week as it is! But, you need something to achieve right?
- Sleep needs work. I am getting about 7-8 hours of sleep every day but it is at odd times. Since I work on my own now, I’d sleep from 4am all the way til noon, which is not great coz I’d wake up hungry and it’s already lunch! This is partly because I like doing my writing work at night when it is quieter (though I blare rock music in the background but that’s the kind of noise I need to be productive), less hot and the internet is much faster. I know this is bad and I am working on trying to sleep at midnight or thereabouts and waking up early morning like I used to do.
If you’d like to join me for my weekly outdoor run, send me an email at email@example.com so that I can hit you up on facebook and let you know the schedule.
I end this post with this important question: have you seen Sherlock, the BBC One series? If your answer is no, then you should! Just google it and see for yourself. In meantime, here’s a clip from Season 1: