February 27, 2014

My pear tree

I can't believe just how much better I feel after yesterday's Weight Watchers meeting. It's a like a huge burden has been lifted from my shoulders, and it's so nice! Weighing in at WW on Monday has helped me tremendously to stay on track this week. So many times, I thought, "Screw tracking! It's just one snack..." but knowing that I have to weigh in once a week at WW has made me track everything and not go overboard.

Today was another ridiculously cold day. The windchill temp this morning was -15, and I was dreading getting the call from the kids' school saying that school was canceled. But it never came, so they actually had school today. Usually, I walk them to the bus stop in the mornings, but I couldn't bear the thought of going out in the wind like that, so I ended up driving the kids to school.

When I got home, I made breakfast, and I talked to my sister on the phone. She's running her longest-ever run tomorrow! The most she's ever run was a half-marathon, and she's marathon training right now, so she has 15 miles on the schedule tomorrow. I remember my first 15-miler very well, which I ran with Jessica, and it was a fantastic run! Anyway, Jeanie was wondering how she should fuel for the run, so I chatted with her about that for a little while this morning. I'm really curious to see how it goes tomorrow.

Today, on the new running schedule, was a 30-35 minute easy run with strides at the end. Written out, it ended up looking like this:

-Run at 70-75% maximum heart rate for 27 minutes.
-Repeat the following six times:
     -Run 20 seconds at 1-mile race pace
     -Jog 60 seconds recovery

There was no way I was running outside today, so I did it on the treadmill. I wasn't sure what speed I'd need to do to achieve 70-75% max heart rate, so I started with 6.5 mph. My heart rate was too low even after a couple of minutes, so I had to bump it up to 6.7-6.8 mph, and then it was right in the zone. One of the things I like about this heart rate training is that I don't have to maintain a steady pace. If my heart rate gets too high, I lower the speed, and if my heart rate is too low, I increase the speed. It's not as boring that way ;)

Once I reached 27 minutes, I did a 20-second sprint at 9.0 mph, and then recovered at 6.0 (for the first sprint; after that, I recovered at 5.0). I always like seeing the pace and heart rate graphs after a run like today's:

I liked doing the strides at the end; it made the first 27 minutes go by really quickly, because they felt like a prelude to the strides.

A few people have asked me what my heart rate was like when I first started exercising. The earliest heart rate data I can find is from April/May 2011, which was after I'd been running for a year, so it doesn't offer much insight. But my average heart rate then was 160, and currently, it's 145. So as I got in better shape, my heart naturally became more efficient.

I remember my first time using the heart rate monitor with my Garmin, and I was shocked at just how slow I had to go to keep my heart rate in the correct zone. It kept skyrocketing, so I stopped wearing the HR monitor for nearly a year, and then I tried again (which was April 2011). It's hard to get my heart rate to 160 now--I just tried that a couple of days ago, and I had to run a 7:40-8:10 pace to keep my heart rate that high. But I was running a 10:00-11:00/mi pace in 2011 with the same heart rate.

It's kind of frustrating for someone just starting out exercising, when they see really high heart rate numbers. Sometimes a very slow walk will get your heart rate in the right aerobic zone. But as you get in better shape, and your heart gets more conditioned, you'll have to work harder and harder to reach that zone.

I will be so glad to get in my 10,000 steps tomorrow and cross this February goal of my list. Getting in 10,000 steps a day, every day, this month has been really hard! I'd like to come up with another goal for March--something easily defined and measurable, like the 10,000 steps per day goal. I was thinking of making it a point to get in my Good Health Guidelines for Weight Watchers every day, but that would be another really tough goal, and I'm not sure I want to commit to that ;)

Maybe I'll just aim for one of the Good Health Guidelines, like getting five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. I've been getting in a lot more vegetables lately, and I actually used up all that I bought before they went bad. I was really surprised that Eli loved zucchini and summer squash (I just sautéed it in a little olive oil). My kids usually complain about eating vegetables, but Eli really loved the squash.

I "treated" myself to a couple of Asian pears when I went grocery shopping a couple of days ago. They're really expensive, so I don't buy them often, but I absolutely love Asian pears! It's kind of funny that I consider them a treat ;)  Speaking of Asian pears, I forgot to post a picture of the Asian pear tree that my mom bought for me to plant. I've been trying to grow a fruit tree in my yard ever since we moved here 10 years ago, and it's been one problem after another. But I'm hoping this will work out!

I laughed so hard when I saw the "tree", because it looks like it's just a stick pushed into the ground...

I'm not even joking; that's my Asian pear tree. It had roots, so let's hope they held up through this awful winter!


  1. I hope your pear tree makes it! I've been trying to grow blueberry and raspberry bushes for years with no luck.
    I have been eating red pears lately, they are so good.

  2. School's never cancelled here no matter how harsh it is. That's Montana for you I guess. I planted a honeycrisp apple tree. I'm hoping it makes it.

  3. Hey there :) I have a Garmin HM and it's too big for me even on the tightest setting, so it slips down, have you had this issue? I was wondering if I could alter it somehow as Garmin have refused to refund me and they say there isn't a smaller size available in the UK.

  4. How are your knees with all of the treadmill running?

  5. I totally agree with you on the heart rate. When I first started running 3 years ago, my heart rate would get so high even though I was running 12-minute miles and shorter distances. If I ran hills, my heart rate was REALLY high - looking back, it was probably on the verge of unsafe. But after three years of fairly consistent conditioning it has gotten much more efficient, as you said.

  6. For fruit/flowering bushes and trees that are young and still a little sensitive, I really recommend wrapping them in plastic after putting a nice moung of mulch at the base. My mom loves fruit and magnolia trees which don't prefer the cold snaps that the midwest (central IN) has, so for about 5 years every winter she would mulch em up to help insulate the root ball and wrap them to help protect from the elements. Ever since she's done that all her more delicate trees survive and thrive the winters!

  7. For most fruit trees.. dont you need two fruit trees to get a fruit from it? I'm not sure, as I don't have any yet, but i think i remember reading that somewhere?

  8. I was wondering how you know what your heart rate should be while exercising? i have a garmin with a heart rate monitor but i have never used the heart rate monitor so i have no idea how to or where my heart rate should be.

  9. I LOVE Asian pears too! We have a tree that we planted three years ago and it started giving fruit last year! I was told at the nursery that you should have another fruit tree so they can cross polinate - we have an apple and cherry tree in our yard as well, so I think that helped. I hope you get lots of yummy pears! Those suckers are expensive!!


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