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Finding my level - the funcrunch files


Jan. 28th, 2014 03:45 pm Finding my level

Today I ran more than 3.1 miles / 5 km for the first time since November. I decided en route to go to the Palace of Fine Arts, which I hadn't visited in over a year. The traffic - both vehicular and tourists - had been keeping me away. But I figured it might be less crowded since the Exploratorium relocated. It wasn't, but I did go mid-afternoon which is always a bad idea. Still, it was worth it to see the birds - swans, night herons, great blue herons, ducks, and the ubiquitous seagulls.

This route was about 5.8 miles. I want to get back to running 5-9 miles on a regular basis, as that's the sweet spot for my current level of fitness. Running only three miles feels more like a chore to check off the daily "must-do" list than an enjoyable excursion to see the beautiful city I'm so lucky to live in. Running more than about nine miles, especially when I'm not training for a race, also feels like a chore, with more fatigue and likelihood of soreness, a longer recovery time, and higher possibility of injury. Maybe I'll get back to training for half-marathons and longer races eventually, but for now, running for 1-2 hours continuously is perfect for my fitness needs.

I've been really slacking off on exercise since my long illness in December, not only with running but also with yoga and weights. I'm determined not to gain too much weight from testosterone if I can help it. I'm looking forward to putting on more muscle, but I don't need any more fat. My tape measure is a better tool than my scale in that regard. I've already gained back an inch of belly fat and 4-5 pounds since last spring, which is fine as my weight was pretty low then, and I was in marathon training.

I just need to avoid the trap of letting routine walking count as exercise, because it's simply not intense enough to affect my metabolism at my fitness level. I'd much rather run than walk briskly and continuously enough to raise my heart rate to an aerobic threshold. Walking for me is transportation, and I don't want to be all sweaty and hungry when I reach my destination. It takes me about an hour and ten minutes to walk to weekly chorus rehearsals in the Castro, for example, which is preferable to being at MUNI at rush hour, but that doesn't substitute for a good run.

Fortunately my diet remains mostly on auto-pilot; now coming up on three continuous years of mostly lowfat, starch-centered vegan eating. I did nearly all my own cooking when boyziggy was away for two weeks earlier this month, going out only twice for burritos and being careful not to snarf them. I can no longer eat most burritos or other standard-sized restaurant meals at one sitting without suffering stomach pain. This is a hard-won, built-in check against overeating, but is easily overridden if I have fatty, sugary things like candy and packaged cookies sitting around the house. Ziggy loves to bring me home gourmet chocolate bars and I'm usually pretty good about eating only a couple of squares a day, but they do lead to unconscious eating. It's better when I make a batch of cookies or brownies for a chorus rehearsal or potluck, because then I have more control over the ingredients and have other people to help eat them so they're not sitting around tempting me.

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