Sunday, April 11, 2010

so many numbers

I have officially lost one pound.

I weighed myself this morning and all I could think was "it's about time". I do hope this bodes well for the next few weeks. I need the pay-off.

Tonight I started Week 5 of Couch to 5K and that means three runs of five minutes each. I did it at 4.2 mph, making it tough enough that I had to push myself through the last three minutes of the last run but not so tough that I had to lean on the treadmill just to get through.

Five minutes was definitely much easier to get through this week than last. That kind of improvement has been my general experience all along and it relieves my mind of some anxiety regarding my diet. I've worried that I'm not getting enough protein (I've averaged 70g/day this week, for example) or that I'm not eating enough (to lose a pound a week I'm supposed to consume 1506 calories per day, but I'm 1,743 calories under budget since Monday), but I'm definitely gaining endurance and strength, so I'll relax a little on those things.

The data I've mentioned, by the way, comes courtesy of Lose It!, a great little iPhone app that's really helped me see my food more clearly. Once I got used to some of the nutritional values and adjusted my intake of certain foods, I found that I was even able to afford a treat every few days.

I'm not going crazy with that, mind you. I'm just having the occasional small piece of cake (Happy 71st Birthday, Dotty!) or a medium dub-dub from Tim's.

The other app I rely on for this program is Get Running (Couch to 5K). It remains my favorite overall but I've begun to notice a few minor glitches. I know the developer occasionally reads my entries so I'll take advantage of that to mention them.

The voice-over for Get Running made a slight boo-boo during the intro to each Week 4 session: instead of explaining there would be two runs of three minutes each, she said they'd be two-and-a-half minutes long. That pleased me as I'd been dreading the thought of three-minute runs coupled with five-minute runs, and I can assure you the pleasure was mashed into a bloody pulp with each step I took during the last 30 seconds of those runs.

Next, I've been under the impression that the pause/stop/forward/reverse tools at the bottom of the main screen are for managing whatever tunes I've got playing during the session. They didn't work on Sunday, however, when I decided to skip a song from my playlist; instead, I had to open the iPod controls to do it.

Like I said, neither issue is a big one. I can live with them, in fact. I just know the developer wants a perfect product and I'd like to help with that if I can.

I'm also finding - and this isn't the app's fault - is that I need more visual stimulation to distract me while I run. I'm obsessing over the time each running period takes and I'm sure that makes them feel longer than they are. I'd love to watch something on my iPhone and still get the audio cues from the app, but it's probably better if I just bring a magazine to the treadmill from now on.

Hell, I've got two-plus years of unread Vanity Fair magazines sitting in our spare room. If I weren't such a doofus I'd have realized before now I could kill two birds with one stone.

Oh, well. I'm slow, but I get there eventually.


  1. Congrats on the running! And the official pound loss. :)

    I'm just some random person on Twitter where I came across your tweet with the #c25k hashtag. I'm hoping to start this week (when I get over this cold), so it has been encouraging to see all these other people out there doing it successfully. :)

    So congrats, and keep up the good work! :)

    From some random dude on the internet (who is also Canadian)

  2. Hi,

    Well done on loosing the weight, that's great news! I guess I should warn you that weight is a tricky thing and goes down and up, even by a pound, depending on loads of factors that aren't anything to do with body fat. It's also worth remembering that muscle weighs more than fat, so it's perfectly possible to exercise and loose fat while getting heavier! If you can, you might get good vibes from tracking your body weight fat ratio. If you're at a gym, they might have a way to measure that. You can get home scales that do it too.

    It's not what we're told by the media, but if you can, get your buzz from your increased energy; the fact that you can run for five minutes at a time now, and for a total time that's twice what you started on; and from knowing you're putting better things in your mouth. Your body will follow that as you go along, I promise! (I was just talking to a friend who's just finished c25k with Get Running, and has lost a stone and a half from when he started. Duno if that's just the running, or other changes too, but it's pretty great!)

    Thanks for the bug report and suggestion. I've just had new samples recorded for this, and also for one other audio error. I patched them in this morning, and also fixed some other audio problems that manifest if you only have activity changes playing (the turn around cues are missing, and the finish cooling down message is missing).

    I'll hopefully have the update in review today or tomorrow. I also want to make a visual improvement to the run clock. It probably wont be enough to keep you entertained in your long runs though, sorry :-} If you can, try running outside? :-) There's stuff to look at, which keeps things interesting, and being off the tread mill means your body can adjust it's pace as it wants to: that might mean you go faster sometimes, as well as slower at other times.

    Thanks for your blog posts, and I'm really glad it's going well!

    Happy Running,

  3. Thank you, Gentlemen! It's fantastic to receive encouragement, particularly when it's both domestic and international! Haha!

    I was thinking again today about how well Couch to 5K suits me; I can't believe I hadn't heard of it sooner. I've been talking about it frequently, however, and I've already got one co-worker doing it, too!

    He doesn't have an iPhone, however, so my Get Running! recommendation didn't accomplish much. lol

    Benjohn, I'd noticed the lack of cool-down advice, too, but figured maybe I had it turned off. Good catch!

    As for running outside, I will certainly be doing that. I want to lose more weight first (a girl thing, I'm sure), and I want to be sure I'm not going to injure my joints. I have some back problems that have caused havoc in the past (I tried running about 15 years ago) and with the treadmill working well I don't want to push my luck.

    I love your advice, though, so keep it coming. You've got me examining everything!

    Oh, and best of luck to you, mrstorage! I'll seek you out on Twitter to see how it goes for you. You'd better Tweet your impressions!

  4. :-) It is a shame that more people don't know about Couch to 5k, isn't it? And it's surprising really, that this running is for crazy fit people idea persists. It's probably not just running, there seems to be a generally odd idea that "exercise is for fit people", if you know what I mean? It's not for "me" or "us", because we're normal!

    Another tip for Get Running regarding the music. I'm not sure if I've told you this before (sorry if I have, I tell everyone and hardly anyone knows about it)… In all iPhone applications, it is possible to bring up a mini iPod controller. Provided that you've already got music playing (this is vital, otherwise it wont work), you can double tap on the "home" button, and you'll get a set of simple controls for jumping tracks, pausing, and adjusting the volume. In my opinion, it's just what you need for tune control from Get Running. Hopefully this is useful – let me know if you can't get it to work!

    This is why I've not provided any other music controls, and why the controls in Get Running are for controlling your run. You've got me thinking though, and I should probably some how make it clear that the controls in Get Running aren't for music.

    Anyway – the update will be out soon :-) I'm really glad you're enjoying it, and thanks for your continued support! You should tell your friend that Get Running works fine on an iPod Touch, and is worth the price ;-)

    Happy Running,

  5. I agree, Benjohn, the West is silly about exercise in general. I know I'm silly for not wanting to run outside until I'm thinner. lol

    I definitely do know about the device iPod controls and I have been using them all along. I wasn't sure what the controls at the bottom of the app were for so I played with them; when nothing happened I assumed it was because they were for the music and weren't working.

    Did I jump a few seconds in my workout by using them? Or are they for skipping from one Day/Week to another? If so, it's probably good they don't work while a workout is in session; I might have gone from running five minutes to running 20 and then I would have had to kill someone! Haha!!

    As for Get Running on an iPod Touch, I don't even think my friend has one of those. He's quite a lewz0r.
    (just kidding - he's my manager! :-P)