March Personal Challenge

Since February went so well I figured I would keep up, at least for a while, doing monthly challenges to myself. I’ll still keep on with the fitness but not be quite as strict with myself as I was last month. 

For March I’m going to focus on reading and personal organization / productivity. Recently I’ve taken on a number of tasks, all of which I’m excited about, but a lot of them outside my comfort zone. For example there are two upcoming talks I’m doing. I’ve also volunteered to help organize our team meetup as well as run the project we are going to work on while there. There are also other tasks at work I’m doing, all of which I need to get organized so I can get them done. 

With all that there are some books that will help me in both the planning and executing these things. So that is the main goal to read and use these books and other resources to help make me a more productive person and be able to complete these projects. 

Three of the books I have already and another one is on its way to me. I think I’m going to start with the top one in the picture so it can help me figure out how I can get to the rest 🙂

Getting Things Done, Managing Humans, Game Storming

My main goal is to read at least 5 hours a week as a minimum. Hopefully even more than that, but I’ll aim there. 

Fitbit Observations

So far I’ve been wearing my Fitbit for almost three weeks and have come up with a few interesting observations about it. For the most part I really enjoy tracking everything and having a record, but at the same time there have been parts which have been depressing.

My water intake is really good, I drink plenty each day without even trying. I get more sleep than I thought I did, but I’m not confident in the awake restless times it tracks. It could be something that is built into me from all those years of pretending I was still asleep in the morning so I could get five more minutes before school. Now I’m so good at it Fitbit can’t tell I’m really awake.

There have been a few instances where the GPS when tracking runs has been off by a bit, but nothing enough or frequently enough that will stop me from going to it only for tracking my runs soon.

The biggest observation which I’ve make that is depressing is the lack of movement I do in the run of a day if I don’t specifically force myself to do something extra. Most days I’ll go for a run. A 5k run typically takes me about 30 minutes and I get about 5000 steps in during that time. The rest of the day combined, especially on days I’m working, I struggle to get that other half by the end of the day. If I don’t run it is almost impossible.  The other thing is it is far to easy for me to go grab something extra to eat that I don’t really need.

If I don’t watch myself every single day and be extra vigilant it is now very easy to see why my weight can go up so quickly. Since starting to track I haven’t really lost any weight, but I haven’t gone up either. To get down to where I want to be I’m going to have to cut out the snacks all together and focus on moving even more. It’s probably about time Jillian Michaels and I get reacquainted again.

Fitbit vs Runkeeper

For the past few days when I’m out running I’ve been tracking my runs with both Runkeeper and my new Fitbit Surge. Even if I was extremely happy with Fitbit’s tracking I would still be doubling up with Runkeeper at least until the end of the year when my goal is reached.

The first day I ran with the Fitbit I was impatient and didn’t wait for it to find GPS and hit quick start. It seemed to be taking a really long time to find and I just wanted to go. Since then I’ve waited for it to connect to GPS before starting out though. Today I started both Runkeeper and the Fitbit within seconds of each other and the results were pretty off. It looks like Fitbit didn’t really have a good GPS signal after the first km it seemed to catch up and track things properly.

You can see the difference between the maps above, Runkeeper on the right is pretty much bang on what I ran. Fitbit on the left should have started the same place as the ending is marked.

Has anyone else had issues with the GPS in their Surge? It’s not a really big deal, but I’d like to be able to depend on one and so far I love everything else about the Surge so I would like it to be it.

New Running Goal

It was in mid July when I guess I started running again this year after taking a long detrimental break. After the 10K race for the Valley Harvest Marathon in October of last year I basically stopped running.

Getting started again was hard but it’s come along well. This year after the race I decided that I wasn’t going to fall into the same funk I fell into last fall/winter and I was going to continue on with the running. Looking through my Runkeeper stats I found that I had ran just over 300km since July this year. My best month was September leading up to me training for the race at a little over 100km that month. If I could do that for the next two months I’d be over 500km for the year in running.

That is my new goal. This time not to lose weight, but hopefully that will happen as well, but just to run 500km by the end of the year. That means I will need to do about 25km a week which is really achievable if I don’t slack off and let weather get me down.

My last goal setting didn’t end up in me meeting my goal, so I’m going to have to work extra hard on this one and maybe it will even help me reach my last goal as well.

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Week Eight Summary

The end has come of my eight week session. The results weren’t as good as I wanted when it came to the weight loss part, but I can live with the results. In mid July I started at 225lbs, which is very disappointing because last summer I was basically where I wanted to be for weight but then fell back into old habits and gained a bunch of it back.

July was when I decided to get back on track and lose the weight again. I made it down to 216lbs on August 16th, and that’s when I decided to start this eight week plan. There were a couple weeks where even though I worked hard I saw no results and that caused me to get discouraged and slip, but in the end I kept going.

This week I didn’t expect to see huge weight loss as I held back the running so that I could have a couple of rest days before the 10k race I ran today. There were also birthday celebrations again as well as two thanksgiving day dinners. Didn’t always do well with eating right.

The week started off with a few fast 5k runs and I was worried because early on into each of the runs I wasn’t sure if I was going to finish. My energy level was very low and they took a lot out of me. Luckily after a couple of rest days I was ready for the race today.

It was pretty cold this morning, but it was mostly my hands that were bothered. After a bit into it though I warmed up and in all reality I probably didn’t push it hard enough. The pace I had in my head was faster than any 10k I had done in training, but I don’t think I set the goal high enough. Most of the race felt really comfortable and like a relaxing run. When 7k came around I pushed it harder and speed it up for the last 3k. I ended with an official time of 58:14 and a pace of 5:50 min/km. Both not as good as last year, but I’m happy with it.

Tomorrow I jump on a plane to go to a company meetup. A big part of my motivation for this was to be in decent shape so that I looked good again when I meet these people and so I can participate in some of the fitness activities without killing myself. Feeling good about how I look will help me to be less self conscious and therefore be able to get concentrate on making relationships more fully. I feel good about meeting them with where I am today.

Running not only help get me to this point of better self confidence it has also helped me clear my head when the stress for planning for this trip was getting a little much. The two rest days I took, even though they were good for the race, didn’t do well for my head. I wanted to go run so much those days to help relieve the stress. The run today made me feel much better though and I’m all set to jump on the plane.

Results:

Last week: 195lbs
Now: 194lbs
Lost: 1lb

While I didn’t make it to my goal of 185lbs in this time frame, I’m still doing well and I know I’ll get there. As of right now I have basically 20 more pounds that I want to lose to be my end goal weight. If I can make it to 175 and stay there I’ll be a happy guy.

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Week Seven Summary

This past week has been birthday central for us. We’ve celebrated so many birthday’s it’s crazy. I believe there has been 7 birthday celebrations I’ve been a part of. Some of those are duplicates for people where we had a small get together and then an actual party, but it still caused me to give in and eat more treats than I normally would have.

This week I didn’t track my eating either. It started right at the beginning of the week with the snacks, so I though I would feel better not tracking it. For the most part I stayed good though and when I did snack only had small portions. Besides the extra treats I still did good with the rest of my eating. My runs also went really well.

Five days of running with one day being short but fast, then a few quick 5k days. Saturday I did my last long run before the Valley Harvest 10k which is next weekend. Figured I would push it for distance instead of speed, but keep the pace at what I want to do for the race. 11k was pretty manageable but I figured that was far enough. I’m glad I stopped because my legs were pretty sore later on.

Results:

Last week: 197lbs
Now: 195lbs
Lost: 2lbs

Even with my treat eating I was still able to drop a bit of weight which is great news. I’m 10lbs from the original goal I set for myself but I still have one last week before the race to lost as much as I can. I’m going to try to eat as well as I can but for running I plan to only do probably three 5k runs. Then take a couple days off before the race.

We’ll see where I end the eight weeks in terms of weight. Even after these eight weeks are over I’ll still keep working because my true ideal weight I’d like to be at is 175lbs. That’s 20 more than where I am right now.

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Needed a Win

I’ve been struggling this week and today I just needed a win. About a month ago I set a goal on Runkeeper to be able to run 10k again by October 1st. That would give me almost two weeks to better my time. Today was my planned day to go for a long run and I picked my route hoping I could make it 10k. The route had a bail point at about 7k where I could stop or take another route and make it shorter or continue on for the 10k.

There are a couple hills on this route with one major one that is quite long and steep. This is a route I used last year when I was getting ready for the Valley Harvest 10k and the hill was always painful. The first number of times I ended up walking it or at least parts of it. Not today though!

The hill was certainly the slowest part of my run but I did it without stopping and was able to do the full 10k. In fact I was feeling so good at the last bit that I really pushed it for the last 1.5k and had by far my fastest times then.

I’m very happy with this and hoping it was the win I needed to get me back focused on my goals. Now that I know I can do 10k again I have almost a month to work on my pace.

10k-run-goal

Week Three Summary

This week I maid much closer attention to how much food I was eating. Even though I’ve been eating and snacking on pretty good and healthy food I’m pretty sure I was still eating to much of it. Meals were OK but I was eating a lot of fruit especially in between meals as snacks. As a result I’ve been much happier with my results this week.

Due to some scheduling things, just generally being sore, and not feeling overly well this week I only put in four runs. Even though they were only four I was still pretty happy with my progress. The two 5k’s this week were at a pace I was happy with, and I put in two longer runs this week working my way towards my 10k goal. I did a 6k earlier in the week and a 7k this morning. Evenings worked out better and I was able to get my six workouts in this week. 

Now for the results:

Last week: 206lbs
Now: 201lbs
Lost: 5lbs

Now that’s more like it. A total of 15lbs lost since I started documenting this for formally. Puts me back on a good track to be at my end goal after 8 weeks.

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Week Two Summary

It is a good thing that I started out with a good week because this past week didn’t see the results I was hoping for. I still did pretty well, but if I keep having weeks like this I won’t hit my goal when I want to.

My workouts and running have been on track, I ran five mornings out of the week. Three of them were shorter runs but I went at a faster pace than I had been going. Just this morning I came very close to hitting my goal of a 5k run in under 30 minutes. Not quite there, but very close. For my evening workouts I put in six, so just the one rest day.

Even for my eating I’ve been making healthy choices. We had a family BBQ this week and instead of the hamburgers and sausages others were eating, I made myself some pork kabobs instead. Last night we had hamburgers here at the house and I made myself a chicken breast instead. The only thing that I figure is I’m still snacking to much. My snacks are now fruit or vegetables but I really if I’m eating to many it’s still to many calories. I didn’t want to get into counting calories this time but maybe I’m going to need to.

Now for the results:

Last week: 209lbs
Now: 206lbs
Lost: 3lbs

Although I’m not overly happy with the weight loss I’ve seen, my running is progressing well and yesterday when we were spending time in the water I was able to wear a pair of swimming shorts we bought last summer. I wasn’t able to fit into them at the beginning of the summer, but now they are good!

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Week One Summary

It always seems easiest to take off weight in the very beginning when you start working I find. This week seems to be no exception. I’ve been working hard and making sure I eat right, except for a couple small lapses, but even those were minor really.

This week I put in five 5k morning runs. I’m finally starting to feel like I can do it again. The majority of these were without taking any walking breaks just going for it. Yesterday morning I did take some walking breaks though as I tried to push it early on and did really good for the first 2.5k but after that I  was pretty much done. The way back was slow and painful. The humidity we’ve been having doesn’t help either. It’s been so warm even first thing in the morning when I go out.

During this week I’ve also done five evening workouts. These are tough and wear me out, but they’re getting better for sure. I’m already feeling stronger and that I can put more into them.

Now for the results:

Last week: 216lbs
Now: 209lbs
Lost: 7lbs

This has me very excited. It’s nice to see results when you were working hard. I know weeks won’t continue like this, but it will give me a little bit of wiggle room over the next few weeks in case there is a time where I don’t hit the 3.8lbs per week that I’ve set out. Hopefully I still do though.

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