Thursday, June 18, 2009


Day 17, the treadmill - After almost killing myself last night, I decided to do some sprints and walking on the treadmill. Nothing special, just 2.5 miles mixed jogging, walking and 300 m sprints. This time though, I increased the speed of my walks from 3 mph to 4 mph, which already makes a significant difference. The sweat was running faster than I could imagine.
The tip from yesterday about the shin splints was great. Stretching out my shins before running did the trick. But tying my shoes too tight was a disaster. Try it.. it can ruin one's running day.

Distance: 2.5 miles
Time: 24 minutes
Strategy: Sprints-walk-jog-sprints...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The drizzle!

Day 16, on the road... in the rain - Today, I needed to get myself running on the road again, but I needed a longer route and running in circles is just not doing it for me. I found an awesome way to figure out nice walking/running routes without leaving the comfort of my couch. The keyword here is google maps. Open up google maps at and find your starting point. On the left pane, switch the traveling method to walking and go back to the map. In little steps, a right-click will allow you to set up a new destination flag, and you can add as many as you want. After placing the last flag, google maps will give you the exact distance (and of course traveling time for walking).
And here we go. After figuring out that my iPod touch has a built in stopwatch - yes, it took me 16 days to figure it out - I started running. 5 minutes into the run it started drizzling all the way through. Wet shoes are not fun and fogged up glasses are great, but hey, you can't have everything... the cool rain is not bad either.
I tried to redo my accomplishment from yesterday, but without walking. I did it! But stupid enough, google maps does NOT show you any hills on their maps. Have fun figuring out for yourself. The only problem I still have to figure out is to avoid the shin splints effectively. According to Jess from, the best way to do id to flex the foot against a wall so the splints stretch out. What do you think?

Distance: 3 miles
Time: 27 miles
Strategy: Just running on the road... up the hills and down the hills...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The run after two days of being sick

Day 15, the treadmill again - This morning was great. I woke up and my nose was just running, but no sneezing, no headache, but still a sore throat. I decided to take it easy today, but to set a new distance goal. 3 miles shouldn't be so hard after being so consistent with the 2 miles on the road and the treadmill. Running with allergies is not fun at all. I need some good tips to survive the run through nature.
What have I learned today? First of all, my goals are not high enough. I seem to wait setting up goals until I am certain that I can approach them. Secondly, watching TV is a much better distraction than listening to music while running, even though Montel Williams was trying to sell me his healthy lifestyle fruit and vegetable purifier, which is the same thing as a common blender, but has a weirdly shaped pitcher on top.

Distance: 3 miles
Time: 35 minutes
Strategy: 15/3 - treadmill

Here is another tip for after exercises. If you are tired of just doing push-ups and sit-ups then mix up the excitement with a deck of cards. Shuffle the cards well and place them face down in front of you. Draw a card. Black cards are push-ups, red cards are considered sit-ups. Obviously, the numbers on the cards count for the amount of push-ups/sit-ups. Jack, Queen, and Kings are worth 15, and Ace are worth 20. Have fun with it and see how far you get.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Recipe of the day - Bibim Bap

Bibim Bap is a Korean rice bowl dish with beef and vegetables. You can find many recipes like this online.
But here is my favorite version of this dish, which is easier to make then the one posted above.

Cooking Time: 20 minutes
  • Rice (white or brown, brown is healthier though)
  • 4 vegetables of your choice: spinach, broccoli, mushrooms, cucumber (in the picture, they used carrots, mushrooms, onions, and cabbage)
  • meat of your choice: beef, chicken, shrimps, or tofu.
  • 1 egg
  • some oil
  • salt and pepper
  • gochujang (a Korean cooking paste, you can replace this with anything else you like.)
  • Boil the rice depending on the instructions on the bag
  • Cut the meat in little pieces and fry it to your preference. Use little oil only to watch calories.
  • Brown the mushrooms and boil the broccoli, spice with salt and pepper
  • The spinach can be browned with some oil or you can add it to the finished dish raw.
  • Make the egg to your preference, I love sunny side up in the Bibim Bap.
  • Put the rice in a bowl and add the beef to it, cut the cucumbers in slices and add them on the rice, add some broccoli and the spinach on top, and find a nice place for your egg.
  • Then you can either add some gochujang paste or any other Korean dressing that you might find in your grocery stores ethnic section. Be careful though, gochujang is spicy.
Enjoy !

Running tips

Day 12, on the road again. Jess' best friend Mike from Louisiana was up here in Michigan this weekend and volunteered to run with me. Mike played Rugby for Louisiana Tech, and I hoped that he could give me some hints for running and fighting the tension when sleepiness sets in. Today, we ran at Jess' parents' neighborhood. A nice and quiet run through a suburban area with trees and some riding stables. The loop we ran was two miles long and I was surprised that after the day of rest yesterday, I could handle these two miles without any problems and could have gone for another mile, but that was the plan for the next day. Here are some tips I got out from Mike:
  • Try to land on the middle part of your foot, do not land on your heel. Landing on the heel forces a back push and makes it more difficult to move forward. The best way to land on your foot is to aim for the front bulge of your heel
  • As soon as you get tired, muscles tend to become stiff and tense. The moving motion of the arms slow down, which should be avoided by any means. Drop your shoulders and try to step like you are walking on eggshells. Relax is a key point here.
  • Get rid off access spit, by releasing it on the side of the road. I found the mouth motion and the loss of the spit is relaxing. The mouth muscles tend to become tense if one keep too much fluid in the mouth, which can result in whole body muscle tension.
  • How to get a change of scenery without leaving the usual path. It is as simple as just running the route backwards. Never thought about it that way. Also, if you put your iPod, or MP3 Player of your choice, on random music choices and close your eyes for a little bit. Do not think about the distance (This is solely my own experience)
Please let me know if you have anything to add to it. I am looking for some simple tips on how to make longer runs more pleasant.

Time: 20 minutes
Distance: 2 miles
Strategy: Just running

Day 13 & 14 Days of rest unfortunately. Due to my allergies, I cannot stick to my workout schedule. Since today is Day 14, I will have to see how well I will be doing tonight. I might update this day depending on what's going on with Mother Nature.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Day 8 - 10

Day 8, on the road - Today is the day! Can I really run the whole 2 miles without having to take a walking break? In my mind, I didn't really focus on my goal. I thought, it does not matter if I can't do it. I am a beginner, right? How about I am doing 5/5 (5 minutes running / 5 minutes walking). I got my iPod ready, plugged in my headphones and started running with the focus on my breathing. The songs were playing loud and the bass was hard on my ear drums pumping my motivation to run constantly with the beat. A couple songs later, I realized that I can go further. After a mile, I realized that I can do it, I might be able to actually pull this off. I closed my eyes to avoid seeing the long and extremely straight street in front of me. I did not want to end up wishing for the street to finally end, I just wanted to focus on my breathing and told myself: YOU CAN DO IT! A honk... a loud honk by a car. Why is that idiot honking at me? I opened my eyes and realized I reached the end of the road and almost killed myself by jumping in front of a car. The time flew by, and it was only a couple more yards back to my apartment. When I reached the front lawn, it was like a blur. My legs were aching harder than I ever could imagine, my heart was on full power, my lungs were filled with air. I decided to do the stretches outside in front of my building before I even attempted to go inside and fell in temptation of falling on the couch and pass out in this rush of adrenaline. I did it, which was the only thing on my mind. I did it!

Time: 22 minutes
Distance: 2 very proud miles
Strategy: Just running - on the road

Day 9, on the road - Today, I decided I needed to take it a little bit slower, but with a new challenge. I ended up doing a 4/4, but a longer distance was necessary to get the right exercise. My 2 mile route has a turning point at exactly 1 mile (the sidewalk ends at that point). I decided to cross the street and get into the business park which offers me plenty of opportunities. Mapquest actually was very helpful here afterwards in order to find longer routes to run. As of right now, I am at 2.5 miles, which didn't exhaust me as much as the previous running days. It was a nice run in a cool morning breeze, but I am getting bored of my neighborhood. I need a change of scenery...

Time: 32 minutes
Distance: 2.5 miles
Strategy: 4/4 - on the road

Day 10, the treadmill - Today, I was watching the kids at Jess' parents house. Rachel is Jess' mom and needed me to watch Jess' siblings who are the cutest little buggers I know. I refused to take a day of rest today, so I decided to get back on the treadmill and see if I can do my Day 8 challenge again. I was happy to figure out that I still have it, and I also could have run longer, but was interrupted by two little things: My headphones were falling out of my ear (I didn't have mine with me, so I borrowed some from the family) AND the kids wanted to play with me.
The after workout slowly shows off. My push ups are finally kicking in and my crunches are not as pathetic as they used to be when I started more than a week ago. My flabby belly is getting flatter, which I can feel when I run already.

Time: 24 minutes
Distance: 2.2 miles
Strategy: Just running - treadmill

Day 11 - Day of rest.

The first week

Hell on Earth. What have I gotten into. I needed some guidance before I started my first run on June 2, 2009. Rachel is an accomplished runner who has several half marathons and one full marathon under her belt. She was therefore the perfect coach for my project and has been a great consultant so far.

Day 1, the treadmill - I was instructed to take it easy, don't kill yourself was pretty much what everybody told me so far. The first challenge therefore was to have a mix of running and walking - 3 minutes each for 24 minutes in total. Pain, so much pain. My breathing technique was totally out of control, which caused my lungs to burn after a little while. To distract me from the torture, I had the TV running. After a while, I checked the clock on the treadmill to see if I can finally relax my burning legs and and my aching lung... ... ... You have no idea how brutal reality can be, especially the honesty and brutal truth of time. The clock just flipped over to minute 1. I decided that treadmills are boring. After 24 minutes, I almost fell off the treadmill and was sucking the water out of the bathroom faucet, it couldn't come fast enough! At least stretching after the run was a relieve. I need to work on my endurance.

Time: 24 minutes
Distance: 1.8 miles
Strategy: 3 min. running /3 minutes walking - Treadmill (for future references: 3/3 format will be used)

Day 2 & 3, on the road - Jess and I drove with the car to find a comfortable running route in the neighborhood, especially distance was a key here. Then I could just get up in the morning and start running leaving the my apartment door and don't worry about finding a nice way away from busy streets where people could look at and laugh at me. I am not chubby, but I think that there is definitely hilarity ensued when I finished my first attempts in the public. We ended up finding a route that was exactly two miles long and had a couple of inclines and descends in the route. The Alden Run has quite some hills.
Running outside makes quite a difference. The play list on my iPod was selected to support the switches of running and walking. After a couple minutes of warm up stretches, I was on my way. I wanted to take it easy the first couple days, but my ego wouldn't let me. On both days, when I arrived back at home, I was breathing like a steam powered machine after caulking the exhaust pipes with concrete! I chugged the water like it was my salvation. I hate water... I hate it sooo much.

Time: 26 minutes
Distance: 2 miles
Strategy: 3/3 - on the road

After Day 3, I decided that my goal was to run the whole two miles without having a walking break on Day 8.

Day 4
- Day of rest
While taking a break of running and resting my sore legs, I started googling breathing techniques. I needed to change something about the steam machine inside me...

Day 5 & 6, on the road. - Adapting the new breathing techniques that I found online seemed to be quite a challenge. I am running the same route, but I was now able to switch to a 4/4 strategy.
A cute story on the side: I was wearing the Air Force t-shirt JP sent me a while ago. An older couple stopped me halfway through the run to ask me if I served. I told them that I was wearing the t-shirt for my best friend who serves in the Air Force and is currently in training. The older couple found it to be an extremely nice idea and told me to let JP now how thankful they were for serving their country. (I am German, so it is not my country... technically).
After I was done with my run, these were some really humid days, I started to include crunches and push ups into my after workout. I already start to feel better, and my belly is not so wobbly any more. This slight sign of progress already motivated me to go on with my every day doings. I also discovered that I am not so sore any more and that my legs are not burning after finishing the workouts.

Time: 20 minutes
Distance: 2 miles
Strategy: 4/4 - on the road.

Day 7 - Day of rest

This week was the worst week of my life. I never experienced this extreme of sweat and pain. But it is good pain. Pain that makes me stronger. I feel alive. Still, I feel like I want to die, and how would I possibly accomplish my goal for Day 8? Jess told me on Day 3 that it would be a great accomplishment and great progress if I could really pull it off. We will see what tomorrow brings.