Sunday, June 24, 2012

Coasting or Climbing

I went for a jog today along a route that I've been frequenting for the past few months. It's 2.6 miles and has some hills. In the beginning I didn't even do the whole route, and I only walked ending up with blisters on my feet and an aching pain in the ball of my foot. Eventually, as the pounds fell away my feet gave me fewer problems.

I downloaded one of those couch to 5K workout plans from the internet and began running in intervals. I began by running a minute, walking five minutes and repeating the interval for 30 minutes. As the weeks progressed so did the length of time running versus walking. Eventually, I was able to run the entire way without stopping. Now, I am by no means fast. Honestly, I should really categorize what I'm doing as a jog. Nonetheless, it is raising my heart rate, and I am burning calories. Running, jogging and walking seem to be helping me reach a better fitness level and lose weight.

Today, I ran in the middle of the day, and it's 95 degrees. I made it about a quarter mile and had to walk a majority of the route. Disappointed, I vowed to finish at least the last mile jogging. Why couldn't I push through the heat and exhaustion and just do it? All I know is that I still managed to burn 350 calories and get some exercise. Some days are harder than others. That's the way it is with my diet, too. What matters is how it all averages out. If there are more good days than bad I know I'll succeed.

I want to mention a couple gadgets I've been using in addition to the iPhone app Calorie Counter PRO by MyNetDiary. I absolutely love the iPhone app Cyclemeter by Abvio. I use it when I run, walk, hike and bike. One of the greatest features is the ability to program intervals. I selected a polite Englishwoman to cut into my music instructing me to "run" and "walk." The app also allows you to program routes, track times and enters it all onto a calendar. It's fun to see the improvement from one month to the next.

The other device I use is a Garmin Forerunner 305. It's a GPS receiver with a wireless heart rate monitor. I usually defer to the Garmin for my actually calories burned since it's actively monitoring my heart rate. I can upload my workout data to my computer and review my stats during the course. I specifically like to see how much I'm pushing my heart rate.

After my walk/jog today I decided to take a bike ride thinking it might make me feel a little better about my poor performance. There is a different route I follow for biking that goes along two different lakes has some long climbs with a couple sections that are great for coasting. As I was slowly climbing a hill, a pack of racers whooshed past me in their skin tight shirts and fancy touring bikes. Here I was listening to music, enjoying the cool breeze coming off the lake, eyeing my speedometer as it hit a whooping six miles per hour, pushing on my pedals with all my might and these guys passed me by so effortlessly. My chest was thundering, knees aching, thighs burning yet by the time I hit the top of the hill those racers had seemingly evaporated. I don't know if I'll ever be able to reach their fitness level. I'm not even sure if my bike will go that fast. I biked 11 miles this afternoon, and I burned 731 calories in an hour.

The exercise today gives me few "extra" calories in my eating plan. So, I plan to reward myself with a small Dairy Queen chocolate dipped cone. In my book, that's a pretty awesome prospect. Even though I'm far from an Olympic athlete I was out there climbing, pushing my body and reaping the rewards. I still prefer the coasting, but I know that in order to make my weight and get fit I need to find the balance.

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