Monday, May 31, 2010

Increasing The Pace // Losing The Weight

So I have now run for 30 minutes nonstop a handful of times. It's great to be able to do it. The personal fulfillment and sense of accomplishment about that is incredible.

Okay, it's not really running. It might loosely be defined as jogging, but more truthfully, it's a brisk shuffle. But no worries. All year long so far, I have been focusing primarily on just getting off my butt and going out to work out.

The habit is established. It's amazing. I never thought it would happen, but it happened.

The temptation is just to sit back down on my butt and stay where I am. Eventually, this will lead to better overall health and all that jazz, but I don't want to just stay where I am. Part of why I never went out to run in the first place was because I am competitive by nature. I don't like losing. I felt like trying to run would be an entirely losing proposition. So I just didn't bother.

Now, I need to continue moving forward.

So far this year, I've lost between 12-15 pounds. I want to double that by the end of the summer. So my goal by the end of July is to weigh about 10 pounds less than I currently do. My goal will put me down 23.8 pounds from the beginning of the year.

Additionally, I want to increase my running pace. Ideally, I will be running 10 minute miles by the end of the year. I will settle for being able to run 3 miles in 48 minutes by the end of the summer (16:00 pace). I ran 1 mile last Wednesday in 17:32. I had my spring concert on Thursday, and went to Six Flags on Saturday with the band so I took Friday and Saturday off. Sunday night I ran 1 mile in 16:19. Monday morning I walked 34 minutes and then ran 1/2 mile in 7:29.

This confirms that I can do the pace, it's just a matter of keeping it up for 45 minutes. Endurance will come with more time on my feet.

So my plan of attack for this summer: No Strawberry Cheesequake Blizzards until I lose another 10 pounds (Booooooo). And run every day as soon as school lets out, sometimes even running and/or walking twice a day.

Carol: Week 5--Training at Home on Memorial Day

[The following article was first published as Week 5: Training at Home on Memorial Day on Technorati.]

Ah, Memorial weekend. A time to remember and honor those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom. A time for family gatherings, flag flying and barbecues.

Ah, Memorial weekend. A time to travel apparently here, there and everywhere. In fact, AAA projected Memorial Day travel would jump more than 5 percent with 32.1 million Americans taking a trip away from home during the holiday weekend, up from 30.5 million last year, Even the Obamas opted to head out of town, instead of just down the street. (You can decided for yourself whether you agree with that one.)

And me?

Well, I opted to stay right here at home. I've got that training thing going on for Susan G. Komen 3-day for the Cure 60-mile walk.

Even with temperatures soaring into the 90s in the Lone Star state and having to distribute 1,300 yearbooks at my high school, I still managed to log in 12 miles for my Week 5 of training--just one or two miles shy of what my "virtual trainer" says I should have accomplished. But since I don't see Ms. Virtual Trainer bee-bopping out in the hot afternoon sun, I think I'm doing just fine.

And, yes, I've gotten better since my training debacle from Week #1. Now, at at least I'm more mindful of some of those summer safety tips. You know, those important ones like dressing appropriately, staying hydrated and wearing a hat.

I still slather on the sunscreen even after the sky-is-falling-you're-going-to-get-skin cancer report. It said something about some sunscreen products may spread skin cancer because they contain vitamin A. Are you kidding me?

Oh, and let's not forget those red flag warning signs for heat exhaustion: a red face, skin hot to the touch, dizziness, nausea, headaches, blah, blah, blah.

So while I might be a mile or two short for last week, I hope to make that up this next week by walking a bit farther on Memorial Day.

I'm also just a tad short on my fund-raising. I have just $276.10 to go before I raise the required $2,300 in order to participate in the walk. If you want to help me out, you can donate here.

[For those keeping track: Walked 12,2 miles this week &  attended two yoga classes.]

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Carol: Week 4: Random Acts of Kindness

Before I launch into how I'm doing, let's all give Joel a big "Hip, Hip Hooray!" for updating us on his progress. Great job!

[The following article was first published as Week 4: Random Acts of Kindness Erase Cyberspace Disappointment on Technorati.] 

With new shoes, a nifty little hip pack to hold my water and a new resolve, Week four of my training and fund-raising for the 3-day for the Cure started off well despite my disappointment in the lack of cyberspace donations.

I thought my little bit of whining in last week's post would have encouraged someone to cough up a buck or two in my direction. But, no siree, Missy. Still zero, zilch, nadda, and it didn't get any better this week.  I might as well have waited for Mark Cuban to knock on my front door offering his pocket change.

That's OK, though. Something better happened.

Kathy Seago, one of the teachers at my school, gave her classes a 24-hour Random Act of Kindness challenge –- to ask 21 people for a quarter and to donate whatever they raised to me for my walk.

Each class came to my room with their money dropping it into a big jar. When all was said and done, the kiddos had raised $400.90 for me in 24-hours.

With all the recent news about kids bullying other kids, kids sneaking inappropriate content into yearbooks, or posts about other kids slugging it out on videos, too many people often forget about all the good kids out there.

Not me. Thanks to those kids, I'm now at 72 percent of my goal--with just another $641.10 to go.  I think I probably have that 10 cents on the floorboard of my trusty mini-van.

As for the other $641, we'll just have to wait and see what the next week will bring. 

[If you would like to donate so that I may participate in the 3-day for the Cure 60-mile walk, you can do so by going here.]

[For those keeping track: Walked only 8.7 miles this week due to bad weather & storms (visit my other blog for those details). Attended three yoga classes.]

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Joel: I did it

Real quick post here. Carol sent me a message on Facebook noting that I haven't updated this blog in a couple of months. I'm a horrible person. Okay, I'm over it.

I have been running regularly. Currently, my running pace is somewhere around 18:30 per mile or 3.2 miles per hour. Sometimes it gets faster, sometimes slower. Such is the nature of living in Texas and running outside rather than on a treadmill. Sometimes it's hot (it got up to 93 today), sometimes it's windy (I've literally gone running with 60mph gusts), sometimes it rains (I lost about a week of running due to some storms we had), and sometimes it is cold (back in January, I was stopped by 20mph winds and 25 degree temps).

In March, I stopped the fast walking and actually began running. Some might call it jogging. Some might call it shuffling. Some might call it looking like a fool. Whatever, I do it and it just about kills me every time. But I persist.

So this is the 20th week of my journey as a runner and I finally finished week 9 of the Couch To 5K Running Plan this evening.

I've hit some roadbumps along the way and gone back and started over a few times. Sometimes I don't accomplish the day's goal, and a few times I've actually pressed on past the goal and surprised myself.

I walked in a 5K back at the beginning of May and was surprised at how much faster my pace was on the race day.

This is a whole lot of scattered thoughts, but I'm exhausted and need to drive three hours to judge drum major tryouts tomorrow afternoon, and three hours back home afterwards to get ready to host my band's solo & ensemble contest Saturday morning. And I just ran for 30 minutes without stopping, came in and blogged about it.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Carol: Week 3--Social Networking & Fundraising

(The following post first appeared in my column at as Week 3: Failing at Social Networking. Yes, I am walking in the Susan G. Komen 3 day for the Cure walk. If you can find it in your heart to help sponsor me, please click on the 3-day for the Cure logo.)

Week 3 of my training for the 3-day for the Cure ended without much fanfare and with just a sliver of disappointment. OK, make that more of a pie sized wedge of disappointment.

Disappointment--not with my training (although my job this week interfered with that. I only logged 5.5 miles and one yoga class)--but rather disappointment in the marvels of technology. Or, specifically in my case, the lack of marvels for me.

I'm three weeks into this fundraising/trolling for $2,300 so I can participate in the 60 mile walk to help fight breast cancer, and I have yet to receive even a one dollar donation from a stranger in cyberspace. I have raised 37 percent of the required amount.

I'm not sure why I'm such a failure at this. Apparently, I don't know what I'm doing. I came to that little epiphany  after the world went all atwitter about twitter erasing followers to cure a program bug. I think I have like nine followers.

My luck with Facebook is equally abysmal. I was certain my funny chicken photograph on my "Get Richie On Oprah & Save the Chicken!" fan page would generate thousands of fans for my book. Instead, the chicken page hasn't even hit a hundred. So much for counting one's chickens before they hatch.

Others don't seem to have that difficulty.  Even four self-described nerds living off pizza raised $10,000 in donations in 12 days to launch their business endeavor. The Internet is filled with such success stories.  Just not me.

Apparently though, I'm not the only one disappointed with the Internet.

My Sunday newspaper — yep, I still love the printed version of my news--carried a big opinion piece with a screaming headline, "The Internet's False Promises." (And they weren't talkin' about Al Gore either.) I'd include the link here, but my newspaper, like me, apparently isn't technologically savvy enough to get all its posts online.

I guess I'll have to keep at it the old fashioned way.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Carol: Week 2--Bliss Me Not

(The following post first appeared in my column at Yes, I am walking in the Susan G. Komen 3 day for the Cure walk. If you can find it in your heart to help sponsor me, please click on the 3-day for the Cure logo on the right or simply click here.)

Part of the training for the 3-day for the Cure walk includes the catch-all "cross training" category. Lucky for me, the nifty little Walker's Manual considers yoga as cross training.
My yoga, however, isn't anything like the yoga mentioned in a recent article in The New York Times where people plunk down a couple of hundred dollars just for the correct attire or  take a Yoga Caribbean vacation for six thousand smackeroos. (Geewillikers, I have to practice my deep calming breath just thinking about it.)

I'm more like the "Yoga to the People" featured in the article where "this yoga is for everyone" (good), where "there will be no correct clothes" (even better) or where it seems to be OK for "the mighty and the meek, bones that creak" (best).

On May 15, yoga hits the Washington mall, marking the fifth anniversary of DC Yoga Week.  I wonder how many creaky bones will show up for that.

Although the NY Times article noted that the number of people taking yoga has dropped from 16.5 million in 2004 to 15.8 million, spending on yoga classes and yoga stuff has almost doubled from $2.95 billion to $5.7 billion.

Even without all the designer yoga frills, I know I've thrown money into that billion dollar pool on a yoga mat ($15),  pants ($20) and top ($18). (Of course, that pool probably doesn't include the billions spent on pedicures for pretty yoga toes. But if it did, I'd have to confess to another 40 buckeroos for pink toes with daisies.

And speaking of pink, let's do a ferret's on crack speedy quick update on my Pink Me Out progress for the cure…For Week 2, I walked 11.3 miles, just a tad under the suggested 12-mile goal, and for my cross training, I attended an hour power yoga session. So far, I've raised $408 of the required $2,300. If you're feeling generous, you can donate here.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Carol: Week 1--The Training Begins

(The following post first appeared in my column “On the Outside Looking In” at Yes, I am walking in the Susan G. Komen 3 day for the Cure walk. If you can find it in your heart to help sponsor me, please click on the 3-day for the Cure logo on the right or simply click here.) 

Seven percent.

So far that's all I've raised on my journey for the required $2,300 sponsorship necessary to participate in the Susan G. Komen 3-day for the Cure, 60-mile walk.

Of course, it's only been three days since I started this, but patience and me fit together about as well as me and a pair of purple spandex pants. 

Like most things that I do, I went full steam into this becoming a participant thing. I created my fund raising page, emailed everyone in my address book and downloaded and read all 58 pages of my "Walker Handbook." 

That's when I discovered on page 43 that I'll be "camping out."

As in a tent. Now, my idea of "camping out" pretty much has been booking a hotel room with those nifty soft Egyptian cotton sheets. The closest I've ever gotten to camping out was spending the night in an RV at the Cotton Bowl for a Rolling Stones concert.

Page 56 of the manual really got my attention because not only will I be sleeping in a tent, I have to set up the tent. I shared this little piece of information with my husband, and let's just say that if he were a rolling-your-eyes-kind-of-guy, well, his eyes would be permanently stuck up inside his head. 

Undaunted by the camping news, I official kicked off Week 1 of my training with a 2.2 mile walk to the gas station to buy a lottery ticket. It will be a tough week to get all the recommended training in if I don't win the lottery because I have several teaching commitments that will interfere. 

Still, I will not be a Negative Nancy. Naysayer or Ninnyhammer like one person was.  Someone actually posted a comment that they didn't "understand why anyone wants to fund raise money to fight against cancer… These sorts of charity events seem to be designed to make the participants feel better, but what do they really do about the disease? Almost nothing."

Jeez Louise. I guess tell that to the almost 200,000 women who will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year and let's see what they think about such events. 

And if participating in an event makes me feel better, well, what in the Sam Hill is wrong with that?