March 3, 2016

February 2016 Review

by pyrad
Categories: General Running and/or Fitness
Tags:
Comments: 10 Comments

February was one day extra-long this year, but still a short month. It was a pretty good month for me personally with LOTS of experiences, but not too great from a fitness point of view.

Continuing this feature I started last month here’s this month’s monthly summary at a glance:

February 2016 at a glance
Starting Current Change To Go
Weight (lbs.) 194.0 193.8 -0.2
Fat (lbs.) 47.9 46.9 -1.0 11.9
Goal This Month Annual Average
Hours Sleep 8.00 7.67 7.30
Starting Current Change To Go
PMP PDUs 48.5 50 1.5 5
This Month Year to Date
Running KM’s 89 km 231 km

 

The month started a little rough with an ouchie at the gym. Upon recommendation of my trainer, I got compression knee sleeves to help with my form and injury prevention during squats. I felt so great during the sets, but on the last rep my body failed under fatigue and I fell awkwardly. It was fortunate that the safety’s of the Squat rack saved me from being crushed, but my left arm and shoulder got strained protecting myself during the fall.

Rocking my new Rehband compression knee sleeves. However, in this particular picture they were more like shin guards to protect my legs from deadlift scrapes
Rocking my new Rehband compression knee sleeves. However, in this particular picture they were more like shin guards to protect my legs from deadlift scrapes

 

A great monthly highlight: Curling! A running friend organized a chance to go curling at her club. I hadn’t been curling in years and years, so it was a nice experience. I never quite got the touch to throw the rock with the correct weight, but I did have a lot fun sweeping.

Rocking it!
Rocking it!

Curling rink selfie!
Curling rink selfie!

 

The weather was weird this month. It was well above zero for the first week. Then the deep-freeze in the middle of the month, close to -25ºC before windchill. Then pouring rain! What a month of crazy weather! But I’ll be honest, if I wasn’t leading this clinic, I may have retreated to a treadmill, or not run at all.

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Group picture after a rainy run
Group picture after a rainy run

Group #runfie during an unseasonably warm February run
Group #runfie during an unseasonably warm February run

After a run where it was -24ºC!
After a run where it was -24ºC!

Group #runfie during a snow storm
Group #runfie during a snow storm

 

Lent started this month, so I took that as a good moment to rededicate to healthy habits. Some only lasted a few hours like staying off of Social Media and walking more. Others seem to be having a little movement like making time for daily prayer and dedicating some time to paint models. But the big one was getting serious about tracking my food again with MyFitnessPal. I had fallen off the bandwagon for quite some time. I just recorded for the first week, and was pleasantly surprised that I wasn’t doing too badly in general. I suppose just knowing that I’m recording helps keep me honest. Since Lent ends around the end of March, I imagine the March review will be a good time to see how this went for myFitnessPal tracking and progress.

I also started experimenting with Glutamine this month. In general, it seems to be helping, but I’ll give it a few more weeks before I make any final judgments.

Posing by the fireside at Hart House
Posing by the fireside at Hart House

Dancing at the "Moment" event
Dancing at the “Moment” event

 

But, I did have a very memorable Valentine’s Weekend with Sharise. We danced waltz and swing at an event at Hart House at the UofT Campus called Moment. The event was organized by engineering students at the University of Toronto and featured live music. This event has been held for years, but this is the first time I attended, mostly because I knew Sharise would quite enjoy it too.

And on the 14th we had dinner at the much celebrated restaurant O. Noir. You really are dining in absolute darkness and it’s quite an experience. I was adventurous and picked the “3-course surprise”. To my chagrin, I was not able to identify any of the dishes correctly (for the record, they were a salad with strawberries, duck with polenta, and chocolate cheesecake).

 

Around the middle of the month, the accumulation of hard training, doses of brutally cold temperatures, and not enough sleep manifest in a cold that knocked me right on my butt. I wound up with a rather debilitating cold. Boo! I guess I really do need to acknowledge I am human after all and that I can’t do everything. However, I’d like to think my symptoms weren’t too bad and I bounced back quickly. I’ll thank improved health for that.

 

Because of scheduling miscommunications and my trainer’s vacation, we missed a lot of sessions this month. But, it kinda worked out since I was sick for over a week. And, it gave me the opportunity to try some fitness classes like Cardio Combat and Yoga.

 

Towards the end of the month I tried something else new: Going to a Korean Spa/Sauna. It was actually really nice, like Hot Yoga without having to do the exercises, and no time limit. The place we went to is called Seoul Jjimjilbang Korean Sauna and it may become a regular part of my post-race routine for recovery.

Sharise and I rocking traditional Korean Sauna Head Towels at Seoul Jjimmjibang Korean Sauna
Sharise and I rocking traditional Korean Sauna Head Towels at Seoul Jjimjibang Korean Sauna

 

QUANTITATIVE GOALS:

 

Goal: Reduce Body Fat to 35 pounds by the end of 2016
Status: Right track

Date Weight (pounds) Body Fat % Body Fat (pounds)
December 31, 2015 194.4 24.9% 48.4
February 2, 2016 194.0 26.9% 47.9
March 1, 2016 193.8 24.4% 46.9

Well. progress in the body fat, but very minimal progress overall. At least things aren’t getting worse.

I am getting some comments from people about how much slimmer I look. Someone who I run with regularly commented that I look like I’m “narrower.” My clinic members in particular noted that I look at lot slimmer than my clinic profile photo. That photo was taken in 2011 when I ran my first marathon. It’s interesting to note that I’m approximately the same weight now as I was then, but I look a lot better and I think I have a lot less body fat right now.

This was exemplified on a cold run early in this month: I got out an old orange jacket and it seemed unusually large. A running friend said Facebook reminded her of a photo exactly one year ago to the date in which I wore the same jacket, but it was loose this year.

 

 

Goal: My average hours of sleep will be at least 8 hours per night in 2016
Status: Average 7.67… Slightly better than January

February 2016 nightly hours of sleep

I figured out the hard way how important sleep is when my body kinda gave up when I got a cold. You can kinda see on the graph when I started really cranking up sleep hours.

I haven’t been including naps in the sleep hours, and I’m not sure if I should. For example, on the 18th, I slept 10 hours, then napped another 3 hours later in the morning. Should I have counted that as 13?

I think I’ve put in place some safeguards to make sure I don’t wind up in such a sleep deficit again. The last half of this month went really well, and I hope March goes well too.

 

Goal: I will earn at least 6.5 more PMP PDU’s by the end of 2016
Status: +1.5!

This was harder than I thought it would be. I had been enjoying my lunch breaks getting little things ready for the holidays, or getting things prepared for my clinic. But month after month time ticks away, and I knew I had to get back on track for this. So I did an online course for “Stakeholder Management”. It was only supposed to take 1.5 hours but I had to spread it over 3 lunch hours. It’s such boring material, but the PDU’s are earned. Just three or so more courses like that and this cycle is over!

 

Goal: Save Money
Status: Some saved.

I spent a little more on Valentines than I expected. But she’s worth it.

After reconciling all my bills, I was well in the black for January. Some of it is invested in mutual funds, so I hope that these investments aren’t just disappearing in the market.

 

 

QUALITATIVE GOALS:

 

Goal: Set a new Half-Marathon PB

The Chilly Half-Marathon is in just a few days, and I’m surprisingly unexcited about it. I guess as my 6th time I’m doing this race it’s lost a bit of its appeal. Then again, maybe there’s something to be said about the familiarity and comfort of doing this race so often. I don’t think I can go for a PB, but maybe that means I’ll just enjoy a Sunday run in temperatures above zero.

Let’s see how I feel by the Mississauga Half-marathon and if a PB is possible.

 

 

Goal: Document More

I am continuing to document things, including photos of my clinic during our runs. I’m especially proud that I published a race report for the Tannenbaum 10k. The race was in December, but February’s not too late. I still have to publish one for the Egg Nog Jog…

 


NEXT STEPS

 

I really need to get more diligent about sleep. It will make weight loss and recovery much more dynamic. I should probably also stretch some more.

I definitely feel like I over-scheduled myself this year: With 3 days a week of weight training and 3 days with the Running Room clinic, I’m really taxing my body. But, the clinic is over at the beginning of May, and my Personal Training contract expires at the end of May. At that point it’s wide open, and I’ll definitely go for a more relaxed schedule and concentrate on overall health.

It kind of concerns me that I haven’t registered for any races after the Mississauga Half-marathon. Have I lost the running bug? Am I just trying to save money? Or perhaps I just need a new dose of motivation.


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10 Comments »

  1. Mark Young says:

    How do you like waltz and swing?

    • I can’t say I know either of them too well because we learned both in a 1-hour lesson.
      My reservations for each are for opposite reasons. Waltz was very simple to learn, but I’m not sure how to dress it up. Even swing’s basic step takes a bit of getting used to, and there’s SO much that can be done to dress it up. Swing music is obviously a little more fun, but feels more frantic.

  2. Mark Young says:

    Re sleep: quality is as important as quantity. Mainly deep sleep is physically restorative, and REM sleep is mentally restorative. If you’re getting additional quality (deep/REM) sleep with your three-hour nap, the nap is worth counting. If it’s just shallow sleep, or if you’re reducing the quality of your night-time sleep, then the nap is probably not worth counting.

  3. macnic says:

    I never count my Go Train naps and for sure some of them are quality as Mark describes above (as in, someone needs to wake me up at the station as I have no idea the train has stopped moving). I understand that you’re likely a bit burnt out from running all the same races all the time. Looks like dancing could potentially take up some of your fitness hours and how fun would it be to have a chance to do couples fitness activities (my main wish!). If you want to run fall races, you can take a large chunk of time “off” over the months from May-July and just play it by ear. Keep your mileage up if you plan on going for a fall PB, or concentrate on shorter distances to get that rush back! I highly recommend the Bread and Honey 5k (or 15k) in Streetsville in early June. I have run it for years and this year, it will be Alasdair’s first 5k race! The other option is trail hiking/running which could be a much welcome change. Trail races are so fun and welcoming and awesome. You could plan to run the 25k or be part of a 50k relay team at Run for the Toad. Don’t stop blogging though, I really enjoy “catching up” with you this way.

    • Thank you SO much Nicole! I really appreciate the comment, sentiment, and support.
      I will definitely keep running at least a little bit. Probably more #5amRunClub once summer hits.
      And I’ll definitely keep updating this blog. It’s a nice way to share with nice people like you!!