willrunforcake.com

When you love to eat, you've got to move.

Posts Tagged ‘exercise’

Exercise & diet – a powerful combination

Posted by pjcloud9 on August 17, 2009

Seriously, she is running for cake.  What could be better?

Seriously, she is running for cake. What could be better?

Dear Time Magazine:

RE:  August 17, 2009 cover story “The Myth Abouth Exercise”

Back in the spring of 2005, my dream was to lose 100 lbs and wear “normal size pants” that I could buy in a store instead of online, while still eating cake and other assorted pastries, of course – as any normal American would strive for.  It took me one year to do it, but I was successful.  And three and a half years later, I have kept it off. At first I just started walking, eating more vegetables and less sugary snacks. Then four months later I started doing the elliptical trainer instead of walking. Then five months after that I started running instead the elliptical. Then a few weeks later I signed up for a triathlon with five months to train – and that was that! Since the summer of 2006, I have finished fifteen triathlons and several other running and duathlon races. I even got third place in my age group/category in the Life Time Fitness Minneapolis Triathlon in 2008 & 2009!

I think is extremely dangerous for a publication of your stature and influence to take a melange of interesting, thought-provoking studies and twist them into an article that purports that exercise is not where it is at to lose weight.  I would contend that if any of us tried hard enough, we could find some study anywhere supporting our point of view, no matter how outlandish.  I am living proof that exercise and diet are a powerful combination.

I am no scholarly expert, but it seems pretty common sense exercising is not something people should be discouraged to do.  It builds physical strength and endurance.  It builds mental toughness.  It enhances cognition.  I am 37 years old and I am in the best shape of my life because I have committed to eating well and exercising regularly.  I accomplished my weight loss while working at a Fortune 100 company’s corporate offices with a forty plus hour per week demanding job, two young children at home, and living the commuter life in the suburbs.  I contend I could not have been so successful at work and at home were it not for the exercise portion of the equation.  Take a look for some studies that support that.

Sincerely,

Pamela

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Don’t Be Intimidated

Posted by pjcloud9 on June 11, 2009

Don’t be intimidated by people you perceive as athletics, athletic, or “in shape”.  They are no different than you.  They have simply prioritized and/or made a commitment to their fitness endeavors.  And if they have been at it awhile, your perception of them may be that they are advanced or partaking in workouts that you could never do.  Think again.  You can do exactly the same thing if that is what you want.  Just do it your own way.  I am guessing you probably have before at some time in your life, if not in fitness than in your education or in music or some other passion of yours.

When it comes to being active, only a small percentage of people have been consistent their entire lives.  Based on what life dishes out, often times people move in and out of a routine.  School changes, work changes, family changes, habits change, environments and access change.  All of these things make life exciting, but they also challenge your ability to be consistent in many things, a big one being physical fitness.  All of us are typically struggling to find the time and/or motivation to be active.  I know I do!  For me, triathlon has been the answer the past few years.

However, I go back and forth about how detailed I should write about triathlon on this blog.  When you hear the word “triathlon”, it probably invokes a specific image for you.  And I am thinking it may have sort of a negative connotation, in that it sounds really hard, thus the reasons I don’t want to write too much about triathon are:

  • Triathlon (swim/bike/run) is a daunting or intimidating exercise for most people
  • The perception could be that I am bragging or think I am somehow better than others because I do triathlon
  • Because of these two previous points, readers may tune out and think “this is not the blog for me”

The reasons I DO want to write about triathlon here are:

  • Triathlon is the personal motivator for me, it is a big part of my life.  I want to help you find the same thing, anything – that activity that catches your attention and keeps you engaged.  When I am in training for triathlon, I get to eat what I want – which I love.  I also have to stay on my training regimen so I don’t look stupid huffing & puffing on the race course – embarrassing!
  • If I can do a triathlon, seriously anyone can.  In the end, it is mental over physical in a tri.  Yes, you have to train your body appropriately to the distance you are looking at, but your mind takes you over the finish line.  This applies to a lot of things in life!
  • I love the community of athletes that participate.  If you ever get a chance to be a spectator at a triathlon, it is exhilarating!  You have weekend warriors, newbies, and at many big races – professionals – all together on the same course on the same day having a shared experience.  I cannot tell you how many strangers, race participants and spectators, have given me words of encouragement during a race that literally kept me from stopping.  I think of these people that I do not know all the time when I am working out on my own.

So there you have it, a little glimpse into why I do triathlon and a little encouragement to find what works for you.  I in no way think I am better than anyone else or have some need to intimidate others with what I do.  For me, triathlon is what works right now.  And I do not kid myself to think it will work forever.  It motivates me and gives me a quality of life I love.  I hope that you can find the same thing, and I am committed to helping you in that quest!

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‘Tis the Season: Part 2

Posted by pjcloud9 on June 9, 2009

‘Tis the season of triathlon training.  I am now 19 days out from the first test of my current endurance: the Hy-Vee Triathlon, Sunday, June 28, West Des Moines, IA.

I have participated and finished the Hy-Vee tri the last two years.  The problem with the race is this is the third year of it and the third version of the course.  This makes it hard to gauge personal progress year over year and is annoying because of the adjustments that have to be made.

The first year it was in downtown Des Moines, swim in Gray’s Lake, with a finish line at the Iowa State Capitol.  Pretty flat, except the bike hill on Grand Ave. and the run up to the capitol at the end.  Year two, 2008, there was flooding in Iowa and Gray’s Lake was not in condition to swim in (read: bacteria infested), so they moved the venue to West Des Moines.  For several days last year, we thought it would be a “dry tri” or duathlon, with no swim leg.  We would instead run – bike – run.  But because the race was an Olympic qualifying event, not for me of course, race organizers were very eager to get the swim in.  They decided on Raccoon River Park with a finish line at Valley Freshman High School, thus two transition areas – very cumbersome, and a hilly run in comparison to the year prior.  Plus mental gymnastics in the 10 days prior trying to track all the changes and keep training.

This year, we are back at Raccoon River Park for the swim, but the bike and run courses have changed again.  We will be starting and finishing at the park, which is great, one transition area.  The issue with this third course for the Hy-Vee Tri?  This year we are running up a huge hill we biked up last year and running up a hill that we finished on last year.  UGH!

How to deal?  Train on hills and mentally prep.  I ran the actual big hill – dubbed “the Neil hill” by my family – in WDM this weekend to get the mental picture going on it.  Back at home, I have decided to train hills in Bloomington in the Hyland Park/Mt. Normandale Lake area.  For the next 19 days, the running portion of my training will happen there.  I am pretty comfortable with this plan.  The missing piece here in Minnesota is heat.  It is inevitable that by the last weekend in June in Des Moines it will be in the high 80s/low 90s.  If anyone can please order some heat for the Twin Cities (or a cool weekend in June for WDM), please call that favor in.

The good news in all of this is the Life Time Triathlon at Lake Nokomis on July 11 will be a piece of cake with all of its glorious flatness.  And a trip to The Cheesecake Factory will follow, of course!

Posted in triathlon | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Want to run a 5K?

Posted by pjcloud9 on April 14, 2009

This past week, I had a friend ask me if I had any advice or a plan for running a 5K in the next 6 weeks or so. I could probably put together a program based on my experience, but instead, I went out and did some research online. I learned pretty quickly that any 5k training program I authored would likely be a bit aggressive, primarily driven because of my love for eating. Sweets.

According to the training plans I found out there, this is pretty doable quite quickly. The best ones I found:

Take a look, give one a try, and let me know how it goes.
As far as advice goes, here is what I can offer:
  • Be sure to rest. Resting allows your body to heal and helps prevent injury.
  • Listen to your body. If you are sucking wind during a workout one day and it feels impossible, listen to your body and ease up. Tomorrow is another day.
  • Don’t get discouraged. Focus on the positive stuff you are accomplishing. The tough stuff? It is just there to remind us that we are human.
  • Reward yourself. Set up milestones for yourself and pick some rewards along the way. And it doesn’t just have to be cake (which is my reward of choice), but you could allow yourself some time to watch some TiVo that’s been sitting there or take a night off of work e-mail. Be creative.
Please let me know about your experience, how it’s going, where you need more help, etc.
Write me:
pamela@willrunforcake.com

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Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness

Posted by pjcloud9 on April 6, 2009

One issue that people have when facing the daunting task of losing weight and getting in shape is thinking that there is a quick fix, a miracle of some kind that they can pursue, rather than putting in the hard work. I am here to tell you – SORRY – that is simply not the case!

This news can be a tough pill to swallow when we are surrounded by media talking of bailouts and stimulus packages. Bottom line is that in order to effect you personal well-being, you have to sign up to do the hard work yourself. The good news is, it can be done. IT IS POSSIBLE!
For those of you who have not met me, have no idea what I really look like (better photo on the blog coming soon!), you are probably thinking who is this chick? She is probably some size 4 wearing, 5′ 10″, high-metabolism, runner who eats whatever she wants. Easy for her to say.
I have to let you know, that is not the case.
I am, in fact, a 5′ 8″, over 150 lbs. (OK, over 160 lbs.!), meaty, “athletic build” (HA!), tree trunk-thickness leg-toting, size 10-12 (depends) women who has to constantly weigh the questions: What did I do today to burn calories? What can I eat?
April is the month that I celebrate my weight loss success. I lost 100 lbs. in one year, meeting that goal in April 2006. I started out by simply power walking at least 3 days per week in 1 hour doses and watching what I ate. I limited myself to one Diet Coke and one 100 calorie sweet treat per day. I simply did what I could to address my heftiness & lack of fitness by coming up with my own “plan” after reading a ton of magazine and seeing a ton of weight loss ads and talk show topics on TV while I was on maternity leave with my daughter spring of 2005.
You know what you need to do, don’t you? You at least have a slight idea of how to start. So why not? Why not make today that day and start? It will not be easy. There will be bumps in the road. But would you rather face a few of those bumps them the ones facing you in the mirror today?
I dedicate this point of view to this amazing country we live in, the greatest country in the world – The United States of America. We are free. Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness are ours for the taking! Start to find your happiness today in how you feel and how you look. You will be amazed at what you can do if you put your mind to it. And please come back here, because I am dedicated to supporting you!

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A Slight Complaint for Ms. Jen Lancaster

Posted by pjcloud9 on February 8, 2009

(Editor’s note: This letter was originally composed last summer yet was never sent to the intended recipient in fear of being a pain in the ass. After meeting Ms. Lancaster at Blissdom ’09 this weekend, I feel compelled to share it. Let’s just say she signed my copy of “Such a Pretty Fat” with the following quip: “Pamela – I will not run for cake. XO, Jen Lancaster”)

August 24, 2008

Dear Ms. Lancaster-

I wanted to write you a quick note to let you know how much I am enjoying your latest memoir, “Such a Pretty Fat”. It is engaging, entertaining, and has completely captured my attention.

In fact, on my return flight today from a week working in Boston, I picked up the paperback and voraciously took it in, just as I did a cream puff (or two) from Mike’s Pastry in the North End in the days prior. From reading to sleeping, sleeping to reading, it was a delightful sequence of activity to pass the afternoon. (Could anyone get me an éclair, please?)

So, allow me to cut to the chase, here is the issue at hand. I had done quite well in controlling my appetite during a long stress-filled week of work in a city of unfamiliar cuisine. As I mentioned, I did have a pastry here and there, however I happily ate salads and seafood throughout the week as I dined on New England fare (READ: small, reasonable portions). Upon my return to the Midwest plus reading Chapter Seven of your latest book, I suddenly was overcome (like a crack addict) with an incredible urge to devour ribs slathered in barbeque sauce – sweet and sassy – meaty and more meaty. By the time my flight landed nearly two hours late in the Twin Cities, I was indexing all of the establishments that I could coerce my exhausted husband and son into stopping at on the way home, as I knew there were no ribs for me there. I even started to add meat items to the list, such as brisket and wings.

Why such the loss of self-control? Perhaps the stress got the best of me. The exhaustion, maybe. But, honestly my slight complaint is regarding the manner in which you juxtaposed romaine to ribs that put me over the edge. I am sorry, but I must blame you for my personal gluttony of the day. And the ribs, the brisket, the cornbread (with butter), the baked beans, the fries, and the pecan pie. Not to mention the romaine lettuce salad I ordered out of pure logic (and hardly touched) that simply made everything look so much more delicious.

We arrived at Famous Dave’s less than 15 minutes after getting loaded into our vehicle in airport parking. Due to my inability to pull myself together in these critical 15 minutes, I now have at least 60 minutes of cardio staring me in the face tomorrow morning. No thanks to you.

Sincerely,
Pamela

Posted in exercise, food | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »