Weigh-In Wednesday April 15th: Random Words

Here at 2 Fat Nerds each Wednesday is a Weigh-In day, where all of the data from the previous week is collected, displayed, and analyzed. If anyone is interested in taking part in weekly tracking, leave a comment!

Weight Loss

team-weight

Anti-Fat Points

Anti-fat points (AFP) is a system designed to give some sort of value to each and every workout, regardless of type. It is based on metabolic-equivalent values out of the compendium of physical activities. Submit a workout, get AFP. Each week we post the totals for each person for the week. In addition, you may see the monthly AFP leader-board on the right-hand sidebar. This is meant to be a fun way to encourage competition to see who can earn the most points!

Weekly Points

afp

The Chain-Game

To put more emphasis on current progress and current streaks, I am now only displaying the current active streak for each player. It is calculated the same as before, minimum three days a week. Each consecutive week you gain a link.

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Sports Nutrition: I Still Can’t Stomach Those Gels

Now that we’re running longer distances, it’s time for us to use energy chews/gels again. I always get really excited when this happens because WE GET TO EAT WHILE RUNNING! I love eating, so this is a win for me. When we start pushing more than an hour of running, we bring along tasty treats. Jon and I will usually decide ahead of time at what mile we’ll eat, so I anxiously await my Garmin ticking over to that mile and then rip open my snack. I even pre-rip the package just a little bit so it’s not a pain in the butt to try to get it open while jogging. (Pro tip!)

I think I found someone else who really likes eating on runs. ;-)
I think I found someone else who really likes eating on runs. ;-)

We’ve settled on two types of chews as our favorites: Gu Chomps and Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews. Basically any flavor of those is OK by us. Because we were out of any kind of gel or chew and were heading into our eight-mile run this past weekend, we headed to our local Fleet Feet store to stock up. (Side note: Fleet Feet is a great store with really helpful staff and great training programs if you’re looking to run your first race, are looking for a community of people to run with, or are looking to push yourself to the next level. Check them out if you haven’t before!)

Apparently it’s been a while since we needed to get any sports nutrition. When we walked into the store, the selection of chews and gels had doubled from what I remembered. Not only were there different flavors of brands I already knew, but there were also whole new lines of energy things I’d never seen before! It hasn’t been that long since our last distance-training program, has it?!

Since when did this become Pokemon and you gotta catch 'em all?
Since when did this become Pokemon and you gotta catch ’em all? And this isn’t even all of the flavors Fleet Feet had on display.

Even though the Gu gels had the most diversity with their flavors, I just can’t stomach them. Though I know plenty of people who have no problem with this product, I used one last fall while on a longer run and it was miserable. I had the blueberry pomegranate flavor, and it just sat in my throat, trickling down like molasses. Granted, I didn’t have water to wash it down, as is suggested, but I’ve taken Gu Chomps without water and have felt fine. They definitely didn’t get stuck in my throat. So unfortunately, Jon and I completely bypassed the shelf of Gu gels.

The friendly Fleet Feet associate pointed us in the direction of Bonk Breakers, which he said he liked to eat post-run. I grabbed two different flavors to try: peanut butter chocolate chip and espresso chip. We also grabbed some Honey Stinger chews; they had some new flavors out, like grapefruit, so I was all about trying that. We left with a few new things that could be hit or miss and with some we were fairly confident we would like.

Results so far: I can speak only for myself, so Jon will have to chime in with his reviews of the products he ate, but overall, my experience was good. The grapefruit Honey Stinger chews were delicious and I would eat them as fruit snacks in my lunches if I could. The first Bonk Breaker tasted like a typical energy bar: kind of cardboard-y and a little lacking in flavor. It had that “peanut butter” flavor that most peanut butter energy bars have. It wasn’t terrible, just typical. But that’s why I saved the espresso chip for last! I had high hopes for this one. Sadly, I couldn’t get over the espresso flavor. Not to discourage anyone from trying this or other Bonk Breaker flavors, but to me, it tasted like the smell of used coffee grounds. The texture was fine; it wasn’t gritty like coffee grounds or anything. And the chocolate chips were good. But the overall, permeating flavor of wet coffee grounds stuck with me. In short, I probably won’t buy that flavor again. It won’t stop me from trying all the other flavors, though! Next up will be key lime!

If I keep eating Honey Stinger grapefruit chews all the time, can I have this killer race shirt?! PLEASE!
If I keep eating Honey Stinger grapefruit chews all the time, can I have this killer race shirt?! PLEASE!

In a nutshell, I am glad we got to try new flavors and brands! As excited as I get for eating on our runs, it’s important for me to try these new flavors so I don’t get bored. I’m not joking when I say that looking forward to eating at mile 8 will be the thing that gets me to mile 8. Pathetic? I don’t think so. We all have our motivations. I think that what motivates me is just taking my mind off of running just for a minute or two while I do something else; it’s my little reprieve. It’s similar to how, when you see family and friends cheering you on, you get a pep in your step and have renewed energy. (See the images below for proof: This is the Buffalo Half Marathon in 2013 and I was SO EXCITED!!! to see my family. Twice. First I was clapping with joy at mile 6, then I was jumping up and down at mile 9. AND! We had eaten at mile 7. This was a good stretch of the race when normally miles 6 through 8 can be really tough for me.)

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Four Week Training Recap

On Saturday we officially wrapped up our fourth week of half marathon training with a fairly successful eight mile run. I would be lying to say it felt great physically, but mentally it was a major step forward.

I’ve been dealing with a respiratory disaster in the form of a pretty severe chest cold for over a week, which affected both of our seven mile and eight mile runs. On top of that, I missed most of the weekday training runs in an effort to recuperate a little bit, which has left me frustrated and feeling completely unprepared for the longer distances. But, with the power of teamwork, we were able to get the distance down for the long runs in a not-overly-embarrassing way.

Here are the four week stats:

  • Four Week Mile Total: 40 miles
  • Longest Run : 8 miles
  • Fastest Mile : 9:42
  • Fastest Pace: 10:15 ( 4 mile run )

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I Went Swimming Again! And It Was Hard. Again.

I have previously written posts about swimming (see also here!), but it’s been a while since Jon or I have hit the pool for some laps. Like . . . I don’t even remember the last time I swam laps at my friendly, neighborhood JCC indoor pool. I knew my endeavor yesterday evening was going to be hard, which is why I was glad I was the only one in the pool. The 9:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. slot is THE BEST for when you (i.e., I) need to make a fool of yourself (i.e., myself) lap swimming. I very rarely have had to share a lane during that time, and when I did in the past, I shared with only Jono. Apparently no one wants to swim that late, or they are *too cool* to feel the need to hide under the cover of darkness and they choose the busiest lap-swim times to show off their mad skillz. But I’m not jealous or anything . . .

I pushed open the door to the pool and accidentally said, “Oh!” when I saw it was just me and the lifeguard, Michelle. (Her name was written on a handy whiteboard so you know whose name to scream when you start to drown.) I have always found this personal-swimming-pool thing a little awkward, as it’s has happened to me in the past: I feel a little bit like I’m putting on a one-woman show for Michelle or whichever lifeguard has the misfortune of watching me gasp for air at each end and adjust my dang earplugs and foggy goggles a hundred times. I’m at the point now where, while I’m swimming, I make up introductory sentences I would say if I ever got the guts to chat with them. “Got any pointers for my freestyle, besides to generally improve everything?” “Is there a trick to keeping these stupid goggles from fogging up during EVERY lap?” “Are you judging me for taking a break after every 25 meters? ‘Cuz this sh!t’s hard.”

Do I really need to adjust them so often, or do I just WANT to adjust them so often?
Do I really need to adjust them so often, or do I just WANT to adjust them so often?

Of course what we actually said to each other was “Have a nice night!” after I thanked her for watching over me so diligently. I ended up doing 500 meters over the course of twenty-five minutes. I would say I did about fifteen to twenty minutes of solid swimming and about five minutes of catching my breath. I was able to fall back into bilateral breathing pretty easily, and I swallowed water only once! And it was just a little bit! I managed to do freestyle for the most part. I probably logged about 75 or 100 meters of breaststroke, including my first lap because, honestly, I was afraid I’d lost so much technique and would end up inhaling water and sputtering all over. Instead, I got halfway into my first 25 meters before my left earplug started to fall out. I need my earplugs to be locked in tight or my ears will hate me for days, so I had to stand up right at the ramp leading into the deep end and fix it. (I even had to back up to before the ramp because when it says “five feet deep,” it means my mouth and nose are not above water at that depth. Lol.) Eventually, after a few more laps and adjustments, my earplugs were no longer a problem. The one accessory that did not give me any troubles was my swim cap! Finally! Turns out it’s way easier to get a swim cap over a pixie cut than it is over a soggy horse tail. Whodathunkit?

ALLA DAT is NOT going quietly into a swim cap. No, ma'am.
Alla dat is NOT going quietly into a swim cap. No, ma’am.

As I paused at the ends of the pool, I would check my pulse just for funsies. My heart was pounding. And probably mad at me for pushing it so hard so soon after eating delicious peanut butter M&Ms. (Yes, I logged it into MFP so it truly exists, and I am still trying to get my sugar down! I had a coupon, so sue me!) My skin was turning red from the intensity of the workout, something I haven’t experienced in a while. It felt kind of nice to really feel my body working. The added bonus was that, with my skin so warm, the best way to feel cooler was to do another lap! The water felt great on my skin, especially my beet-red face.

Move over, duck face. It's fish face now! These are the types of lovely, flattering #gymselfies I send Jono. You're welcome, babe.
Move over, duck face. It’s fish face now! These are the types of lovely, flattering #gymselfies I send Jono. You’re welcome, babe.

As I drove home from the gym, I thought about how excited I am to swim again. I had been so afraid to get back into it. Jon and I had talked about it many different times, but neither of us acted on it. I know I have been afraid of a couple of things: (1) as I mentioned before, not being able to do it very well anymore and (2) looking ridiculous in my swimsuit, if it even fit.

I don’t know why I decided to swim today, though some of it might have been the peanut butter M&Ms and me thinking I needed a higher-intensity workout to burn them off. Regardless, I am SO glad I did. I am fired up about adding in swimming as a cross-training option while we get ready for the Buffalo Half Marathon in May. My hopes are to not go on hiatus from swimming like we did before (swimming year round!!) and to improve my stroke and overall distance. One thing I do know is that my triceps will be plenty sore tomorrow!

Weigh-In Wednesday April 8th 2015: April Showers

Here at 2 Fat Nerds each Wednesday is a Weigh-In day, where all of the data from the previous week is collected, displayed, and analyzed. If anyone is interested in taking part in weekly tracking, leave a comment!

Weight Loss

team-weight

Anti-Fat Points

Anti-fat points (AFP) is a system designed to give some sort of value to each and every workout, regardless of type. It is based on metabolic-equivalent values out of the compendium of physical activities. Submit a workout, get AFP. Each week we post the totals for each person for the week. In addition, you may see the monthly AFP leader-board on the right-hand sidebar. This is meant to be a fun way to encourage competition to see who can earn the most points!

Weekly Points

afp

The Chain-Game

To put more emphasis on current progress and current streaks, I am now only displaying the current active streak for each player. It is calculated the same as before, minimum three days a week. Each consecutive week you gain a link.

Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 3.15.30 PM

Be proud of yourself

Yesterday during my first six-mile run since last June, a middle-aged woman stopped me as I passed her driveway and wouldn’t let me leave until she gave me a bottle of water. I had just reached mile 5 and was definitely feeling it, so when I finally agreed to take the water I said something along the lines of, “I just ran 5 miles,” and she responded by embracing me in a big hug, despite my sweat and probable stench.

Now, there are two possible reasons this woman was compelled to give me water. 1. She is a kind mid-westerner with a hydration obsession, or 2. I looked like Hercules swimming to Hades. My guess is the later, because I was moving pretty slowly at that point.

I am a slow jogger, averaging 13+ minutes per mile, and I’m sure a lot of people would be discouraged by this, and sometimes I am too. I have been running for a few years now, to differing degrees of seriousness. Last summer leading up to my October Half Marathon that I ended up enjoying from the sidelines with my foot in a walking boot, I was very discouraged that I wasn’t getting any faster. I was trying interval training on the treadmill, and I figured with the sheer volume of running that I was doing, I should have been getting faster. It was frustrating, and I was constantly comparing myself to other people’s running speeds. With everyone else shooting for an 8 or 9-minute pace on longer runs, I was hoping to god I could get mine up to 12. It was tough because with all of my running, I felt I still couldn’t be taken seriously as a runner.

Now that I am training for a Half once again, I am consciously making an effort to keep my thoughts from going to this dark and unproductive place. It’s hard to remember that the only person you should be comparing yourself to is yourself. When I look back to where I was two years ago, that girl would have thought running 6 miles was virtually impossible. She couldn’t run 3 miles, and she usually gave up without trying. I might be slow now but I’m in so much better shape than I was when I graduated high school 30 pounds heavier than I am right now, and when I graduated college, unable to run a mile. Comparing myself to anyone other than myself is a waste of time. Wherever you are now, you should be proud of yourself, especially if you are making an honest effort to become healthier, or stronger, or happier.

Revisiting Our Running Playlist

Last week, Jon posted on the anatomy of a good running playlist. As a follow-up to that, I decided to explore my go-to playlist to see what makes up its backbone. I found that I’m nearly ready to put some tracks on the back burner for the time being. Don’t get me wrong; I still love these songs, but maybe they’re overplayed for me or don’t match the pace I need right now. But I’m excited to experience new beats and discover interesting lyrics in the coming race season, so it’s all good! in my playlist exploration, I also found that there are songs I simply don’t tire of because they are so effective.

When Jon and I are running together, often neither of us has music. At some point I developed a tolerance for it. Maybe knowing we were both without music made it more bearable? Now I can happily admit to enjoying our runs sans music. However, when I run alone, I usually take music and when we have longer training runs together, I usually take music. I typically use my phone with the Spotify app. (I am too cheap to upgrade to Spotify Premium, so I deal with the advertisements every so often.) It’s served me extremely well so far, though I much prefer an iPod on actual race day. Ain’t nobody got time for ads on race day.

A couple of years ago, Jon and I were getting ready for the B.A.A. 5K, so we created a running playlist. We knew we weren’t going to run the race together, and both of us were hoping to set PRs, which meant he’d peace out at the starting gun and haul a$$ the whole way. I didn’t plan on hauling anything, but I was still going to run as fast as I could for as much of the 3.1 miles as possible. So we needed pretty solid music to get us those personal bests. And thus was born “Run Mix 2013.”

Much of our 2FNs family after finishing the 2013 B.A.A. 5K.
Much of our 2FNs family after finishing the 2013 B.A.A. 5K.

Our running mix has evolved over time (though the name stays the same): a weird instrumental came and went, all of Kesha’s Warrior album got narrowed down to our top two choices, and too-slow songs were replaced with upbeat ones. It’s been a little while since we’ve used it for a race, so I imagine both Jon and I will be hacking away at it again before our first race of summer 2015. Some songs, however, will definitely be staying. To me, there are a handful of tracks whose beats, lyrics, or melodies just work. They push me to increase my pace or remind me why I’m running, and I wanted to share some of those tracks with you all.

Singing to EMF's "Unbelievable," Kimmy Schmidt has a rockin' playlist . . . and an amazing running outfit.
Singing to EMF’s “Unbelievable,” Kimmy Schmidt has a rockin’ playlist . . . and an amazing running outfit.

(1) “Work B**ch” by Britney Spears: Say what you will about Britney, I’m definitely a fan. If I’ve taken a walking break, this song will give me the kick in the butt to start running again, mostly because Britney Spears is telling me to work, b**ch. So I’m gonna work. With lyrics like “You want a hot body? You want a Bugatti? You want a Maserati? You better work bitch. You want a Lamborghini? Sippin’ martinis? Look hot in a bikini? You better work bitch.” Um, yes, Britney. I DO want to look hot in a bikini. I will absolutely keep running then. No arguments here. Added bonus: the beat is awesome.

(2) “Invincible” by MGK (Machine Gun Kelly) and Ester Dean: I first heard this song while watching The Biggest Loser a few seasons ago. it was a montage of the contestants busting out that last workout before they had to weigh in. The beginning starts out a little slow, but it’s totally worth it. What caught my ear was the chorus, which I feel would inspire anyone, especially if you see it on The Biggest Loser, watching the contestants work SO HARD with these lyrics in the background: “I hear voices in the air, I hear ’em loud and clear, Tellin’ me to listen. Whispers in my ear; Nothing can compare; I just want to listen. Telling me I’m invincible. Telling me I’m invincible. I am.” It literally makes me feel invincible and pushes me to keep going if not pick up the pace.

(3) “Battle Scars” by Lupe Fiasco and Guy Sebastian: Technically, as suggested by most of the lyrics, I think this is a song about love and heartbreak, but it works for what I need it to. “These battle scars don’t look like they’re fading, don’t look like they’re ever going away, they ain’t never gonna change . . .” For some reason, this song reminds me of my aunt who passed away from breast cancer in April 2013. I had heard it somewhere and added it to our playlist as we were training that spring, then after I found out her health was declining quickly, the song took on new meaning for me. I thought of all the people out there with battle scars, be they mental, emotional, or physical, who still kept fighting, including my aunt. The lyrics “Never let a wound ruin me” really hit home, reminding me to keep pushing myself and that I shouldn’t let anything stand in the way of my goals. On one run, this song came on and I started to cry. I told Jon that we needed to keep running as long as we are able because I felt it was something I could do to honor those whose bodies no longer allowed them to run or walk or do the things they loved doing. This song makes me want to keep exercising throughout my life and be the best possible version of myself. Added bonus: the Saving Private Ryan reference of “With no Tom Hanks to bring you home.” I love hidden gems like that.

(4) “Hall of Fame” by The Script and will.i.am: Initially I did not like this song. I’m not sure why, but when Jon added it to the playlist, I skipped it every time it came on. Maybe it felt too slow? I hadn’t really liked it when I heard it on the radio, so maybe that carried over into running, too. Eventually, though, I listened to it all the way through . . . and, with a flair for the dramatic, let’s say it was life changing. Mostly for the lyrics “You could go the distance, you could run the mile.” When I hear this line, I think to myself, “Dang it, you’re right, Danny O’Donoghue! I can run the mile! And the next mile!” After really listening to this song for the past few months, it’s also helped me cope with my life choices of quitting my job(s), trying to prioritize my health, and other major decisions that have affected me recently (the line “Don’t wait for luck” definitely struck me a little while ago). This song has become a winner in my book.

These guys knew I could run the mile before I did. If their predictions are correct, I'll find myself sittin' in the hall of fame someday.
These guys knew I could run the mile before I did. If their predictions are correct, I’ll find myself sittin’ in the hall of fame someday.

So what are some of your favorite tracks to listen to while running or exercising and why? If you don’t listen to music, how do you pass the time (meditation, listening to books on tape, reading/watching television at the gym)? Do you have a mantra that keeps you going? Please share!