Speed work is tough! And it's not fun while I'm doing it. However, it's almost a guarantee that I'll feel awesome once I'm done. And I know it's good for my training, so I do it, even though I could come up with a thousand excuses not to. Today, I had to do 3 x 1 mile with 660 yards recovery. The 660 "yards" threw me off; I don't know a single runner who measures distances in yards! But I got this workout here, as part of the Hansons' training. I used Google to find out that 660 yards equals 0.375 miles.
I chose to do the run on the treadmill, because it's much easier to choose a pace and stick with it. I set the incline on 1.5%, to make it feel more like outdoor running. I ran at an easy pace for a mile to warm-up, and then started my first interval at 7.8 mph (according to the speed work chart, I should run my mile intervals between 7:40-7:50/mi). At first, I thought, "Oh, this isn't so bad!" but after about a half-mile, I was already wishing the interval would be over. I really started doubting whether I could even finish the workout.
But, like always, I pushed myself to get it done. I watched episode six of Orange is the New Black, which was pretty entertaining. For the last interval, I told myself I could lower the incline by 0.5% every quarter mile, just to "reward" myself for pushing through ;) Once the incline got to 0.5%, though, it felt weird on my knees. I always run with a minimum 1% incline, so the 0.5% felt like I was running downhill. I increased it back to 1% for the finish.
And I did it!
|I love how uniform these look!|
When I posted about the cookies/brownie a couple of days ago, a few people asked me what I meant by how I calculated PointsPlus by weighing the goods. It's not very scientific ;) Obviously, those were bigger than "normal" cookies/brownies, so I weighed them to determine the serving size when I looked up cookies/brownies in the Weight Watchers e-Tools.
For example, I weighed the chocolate chip cookie, and it was exactly 4 ounces. So then I looked up "chocolate chip cookies" in the database on WW e-tools (this could be done on calorie counting sites, also, if you count calories instead of PP). Then, where the default serving size is, I switched it to 4 ounces. That listed the PointsPlus value at 14.
Of course, that's not going to be 100% accurate; everybody makes their cookies differently! But because I don't have the recipe that was used for these cookies, I just do the best I can with what I have. It's a good estimate, and since I only eat them at most once a week, it's not going to be a problem when I count my PointsPlus.
I do something similar when I go out to eat at a restaurant where I don't know the PP values of the food. For example, when I go to La Pita, I might have the chicken kabob with rice pilaf, hummus, garlic sauce, and pita bread. I just look up chicken (boneless, skinless) and estimate the portion size (I'm good at estimating, from all the years of calorie/points counting). I look up "rice pilaf" and "hummus" and estimate those as well. The garlic sauce is very similar to mayonnaise, so I just count it as mayonnaise.
For more complex meals at restaurants, with a lot of ingredients, I look up a similar dish at a chain restaurant. For example, if I were to order chicken marsala at a local Italian restaurant, I would just look up chicken marsala at, say, Olive Garden. Again, it's not 100% accurate, but it'll do in a pinch.
Another question I've been asked recently is how I manually calculate my activity PointsPlus earned. At first, I just plugged the exercise into e-Tools, and used the number it gave me. But my heart rate (and calorie burn) was sometimes very different for the same amount of distance or time. For example, one day I might have run three miles, burning 280 calories, and the next day, run three miles, burning just 210 calories. But e-Tools would give me the same amount of PP for each of those, which didn't make sense to me.
I can't, for the life of me, remember where I read this, but I read that to calculate activity PP, you can just take the calories burned and divide by 80. That made much more sense to me, so that's is what I do. I divide my calories burned (based on my heart rate monitor) by 80, and then round UP to the next round number. During today's run, I burned 449 calories; divide that by 80, and it's 5.61. I rounded that up to 6, and counted 6 activity PP. So, I hope that makes sense :) If you don't use a heart rate monitor, there is nothing wrong with using the e-Tools calculator, however!
I almost forgot about Taste Test Tuesday again this week! I didn't find anything too exciting at the grocery store this time, but I did see this cereal on Manager's Special, so I picked it up to give it a try:
I'm a little obsessed with Cascadian Farm Cinnamon Raisin Granola. It has a million calories per miniscule serving, so I don't buy it very often. But this cereal looked like Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and has just 110 calories per serving, so I thought it'd be worth giving it a try.
It's pretty good! It's not as sweet as Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and it's a little denser. But the flavor is a nice cinnamon-sugar flavor. It's not exactly a "health food", but if you're looking for a healthier alternative to the Cinnamon Toast Crunch, this will definitely do the trick. Sometimes I like to have a lower calorie cereal like this (with milk) for an afternoon snack. This one was good!