Logging Some Miles

Early spring in Lehigh Parkway

Early spring in Lehigh Parkway

Lehigh Parkway is a true runner’s haven. Gorgeous scenery, crushed gravel trails, and six+ miles of peace and quiet. On the weekends the trails are littered with runners, it’s a true social scene in all senses of the phrase. I took this photo (above) on Friday during my run of one of my favorite spots along the bridle path. I have always wanted to climb out on that tree hanging over the creek and soak everything in. I’m not sure why I have never actually done so.

Friday’s run was exactly what I needed. I’d planned to run 3.5 miles but was feeling so good I ended up going a little longer, finishing just shy of 5 miles. I headed out again this morning for a 3.5 mile loop. My goal over the next month is to run three times per week and work out to the X3 videos four times per week.

One of the most important lessons I have learned in the years of my marathon training is that when something isn’t working you need to switch things up. When you hit a plateau it’s best to make some changes to your routine. In fact, generally speaking, I think it is a wise move to vary your workouts and activities. This is the plan … for now.

P90X3 is History

I’ve been going back and forth about whether or not to continue with the P90X3 Classic training program. With two weeks remaining until I finish the 90 days I’m on the verge of giving up.

Here are the positives:

  • I’ve gained strength and flexibility
  • My daily energy has improved
  • I’m sleeping better

Here are the negatives:

  • I have not lost an ounce of weight
  • My waist, hip, leg and arm measurements have not changed (I know I posted a while back that they had but I think I was measuring wrong because all measurements since then have remained the same as when I started)
  • I’m no longer feeling challenged

Things I want to change:

  • More running each week, beginning with three runs per week
  • Add two to three strength days and two stretching days per week

I don’t include eating habits, nutrition and diet in any of the above lists because I have been eating well all along. I track my food, focus on the correct ratios of carbs:fat:protein, take in the correct amount of calories per day, etc. I do not keep junk food in the house much to my family’s dismay, instead snacking on fruits and vegetables or cereals.

I’m pretty certain I won’t finish out the program. Instead, I plan to start running more and see what happens.

Oh, almost forgot. I signed up for a trail race series starting next month. The series includes three 10K trail races in Pottstown, PA which take place on May 18, June 15 and July 27.



Diet Fail

I have had a diet fail for the past two days. The truth is I got lazy and just didn’t try too hard to eat well. It’s not that I was eating junk food. Instead, I didn’t get three square meals and three healthy snacks each day. Today that changes.

I noticed last Friday that I was starving all day long as a result of Thursday’s trail run. That was neat to experience because it meant my body worked hard and needed to replenish it’s nutrients. By Saturday everything went back to normal and I wasn’t as hungry, so I didn’t fuel it with as much nutrition. By Sunday I felt a little tired as a result. It really is important to be consistent with how and what we eat.

As I get stronger and feel more like the old me, I’m beginning to feel that urge to compete again. Not necessarily against others, although that is fun, but mostly against myself and my old finish times. For now I need to get back out on the trails more consistently, but I am thinking ahead to potential 2015 races. I’d like to return to HAT 50K and it seems like a good possibility as it’s a year away. I’m also considering some mid-distance trail races within the 10-25 mile range and am open to some travel. I’ll have to toss those ideas around and see what I can come up with. A relay trail race sounds fun, too.

Hopefully, by June I can get back to Trexler Nature Preserve for some runs.



Feeling Refreshed After a Morning Run on My Favorite Trail

I know that I’ve been making progress because when I bend forward to reach for a glass of water on the table I can feel my abdominal muscles firing. It feels so good to engage the proper muscles while doing menial tasks throughout the day, and NOTICE it. Not only that, it makes me happy to not need to overcompensate with the wrong muscles during said tasks because of muscle weakness.

This morning I headed up to South Mountain Preserve with my co-worker for what I’m calling a morning business meeting. We actually hash out a lot of work stuff while out on the trail and it’s one of the few times that I have actual human contact beyond emails and phone calls for work.

This was my first run out on the trails since my trio of tumbles last fall when I was tired, hungry and the trail was littered with fallen leaves. I was a little worried the run would be a suffer-fest but I felt strong and the run went really well, aside from getting turned around a couple of times. Seems a combination of much of the undergrowth being cleaned out and no leaves on the bushes and trees really threw me off, despite how well the trails are marked.

I know my legs will be sore later tonight and tomorrow but a good stretching session should help with that. I’m already looking forward to getting out again, maybe this weekend.

March Run - SMP

Keep Your Eye on the Goal

It’s really hard to describe how I am feeling right now. Conflicted is the first word which comes to mind but I’m not sure if that is right way to explain this angst and frustration that is exploding from my insides, trying to get out. Egh. Maybe it’s the perfect word to describe how I’m feeling.

I’ve completed 8 weeks of P90X3 and am now working my way through the third and final phase of the program. Every time Tony Horton flashes a photo up during the workouts of some of the people in the videos I get pissed off. The photos show a Day 1 and a Day 90 image. Are you kidding me? I don’t feel like I am anywhere near those “after” pictures which makes me question what else are these people doing outside of the X3 program? The thing is, I wasn’t too far gone to begin with.

I count my calories and make sure I get the correct amounts of food and calories each and every day.

I drink at least 60 ounces of water or more a day.

I have only skipped two days in the last 58 days, and those were days that gave you the option to rest.

I have started adding a couple of runs per week as well as gone on a vitamin regimen.

All of this and I can tell you that I find it very difficult to believe that I will be anywhere near those 90-day photos. Okay, so I do feel stronger and I can definitely complete the exercises way better than I could during the first couple of weeks. So, I’ve got that going for me. And the whole point of doing the X3 program was to build muscle and strength in order to start running again, avoiding injury along the way. I guess that’s a positive, too, since that seems to be working.

I guess the big question is, why do I buy into this stuff? Why did I allow myself to get reined into the P90X3=weight-loss mentality? Flashing Day 1/Day 90 photos up on a video screen isn’t the incentive I was looking for, but the consistency of this act seems to have worked it’s way into my subconscious and I’ve mistakenly latched onto it. And now I’m feeling frustrated. But, I keep going with my new routine, monitoring my diet and avoiding alcohol completely.

Here is my incentive:

Jacobsburg State Park

Transition Week

I’m looking forward to this week as I transition from Block 2 to Block 3. These past three weeks really flew by and I am truly loving the consistency of having a routine. I’m not going to lie, though. I really miss my running. I want to run in addition to this P90X3 program but my main focus right now is to improve my strength and I feel like I need to stay focused on that. I’m toying with several different scenarios for how to approach my fitness once my 90 days is up with X3.

Scenario 1: 90-day block of P90X3 Lean program

Scenario 2: 90-day block of P90X3 Doubles program

Scenario 3: 90-day block of P90X3 Classic program (same one I’m currently following) with addition of running

Scenario 4: 90-day block of running with two days a week of P90X3 strength workouts plus weekend yoga and stretching workouts

Right now I’m leaning towards scenario 2 and when that’s done, scenario 4. Depending on how I’m feeling I could add a couple of runs in per week.

P90X3 Six-Week Progress Report

I have officially hit the half-way mark in the P90X3 program so here is my mid-way progress report.

Weight: up two pounds
Inches lost: 1 inch on waist, 3 inches in hips
Energy levels: very high
Sore muscles: every single day
Eating habits: excellent
Summary: I’ve got some seriously stubborn fat cells!

All joking aside, I feel like a million bucks. Well, more like a hundred but who’s counting. I think I’m losing weight from my extremities and inward. I am beginning to notice definition to my legs and the muscles are starting to pop out. That right there is enough to keep me going for the next couple of weeks. Yippee! At least something is working.

Last week I extended my workouts to an hour for four days. I have decided that in my next pass through this program I’m either going to start adding runs or follow the Doubles plan. I love the fact that my muscle strength and flexibility is improving, I’m really honing in on my hips – in particular my left hip which seems weaker than the right – and in six-weeks time I have not only been unrelentingly dedicated to the plan, I truly look forward to it every single day.

It begs the question: Why have I not done this sooner?!