Tag Archives: runkeeper

First Strides Starts This Week

In my continued effort to lose weight and get in shape I registered for First Strides which begins all over the Lehigh Valley this week. I’ll be at the Sand Island sessions, which start this Thursday.

Basically First Strides is a running program for women that is sponsored by  Lehigh Valley Hospital, Aardvark Sports Shop (Bethlehem), and The Finish Line Running Store (Emmaus). I participated two years ago and I’m determined to get back into running again so I joined up again this year.

Basically you meet up with a swarm of other women to run, in my case at Sand Island (one of my favorite running spots), each week. After a few weeks you break out into groups that run at a similar pace. Groups have names like Jaguars, Giselle’s, even Jack Rabbits. If there was a turtle group that would have been perfect for me. In all seriousness though it is a great way to meet people with similar goals and challenges.

But in all seriousness this is perfect for first timers and even experienced runners, especially if you need some motivation. You follow a program that gradually builds  in time and speed each week, switching between slow and fast intervals. Each week the fast intervals gets longer and the slow intervals gets longer. For newbies or people like me who are coming off of a hiatus you can walk the slow interval, and run the fast interval. If you are already running or are somewhat in shape you can run both intervals, slow run and fast run. The first week the run intervals are only ONE MINUTE long. Seriously, you can do this. Each week there is also homework, at first two additional runs before the next meeting, eventually three additional runs.  By the end of the 12 week program you are ready to run a 5K. For many in the group this will be a first 5K. It was mine 2 years ago and I survived (barely). And not because they didn’t prepare me, but because I didn’t always keep up with my homework. Now I know better and I WILL keep up with the homework this time.

You can even enter the program intervals into Runkeeper to help you with your homework runs. Hopefully you picked up the pro app when it was free in January. If not, it is worth every penny. The free app is also good, try it first and if you like it get the pro version.

There is still time to register on-line. Go to the First Strides homepage and click on the location you want to sign up for and then go to the registration area. They’ll ask if you want to join Active.com, unless you are really interested, skip that part, it costs extra and is not required for joining First Strides.

I also plan to work in a few P90X routines each week because I did notice running was much easier last summer when I was on the program. I still need to find my motivation again, I’ve been extra lazy in the morning lately, only getting in about 2 P90X workouts a week.

I also tend to think I can eat a lot more (more than burning off with exercise) when I’m active so I’ll also be on the weight watchers program during all of this to keep me in line. I managed to lose 3.2 lbs at my 2nd check-in. Woo-hoo. I’m hoping to earn my first 5 lb gold star this week. Fingers crossed – I was kind of bad this weekend – I’ve burned through my extra weekly points. I must say that I like the points plus program much better – I’m eating lots of fruits and vegetables instead of crappy pre-packaged foods with artificial ingredients just to make point calculations easy and points low.

Shopping updates: Sales and Closings

Haven’t written in a while…have a couple of ideas for posts but one of them requires me to take some pictures so I’m waiting for the weekend, about the only time I have access to daylight these days!

Also, there haven’t been a whole lot of new sales that I’ve been excited about…at least not enough to share.

But today I did see that Cleo’s on 3rd St., South Bethlehem is having a 25% off the entire store this week (Jan 13-22). This is a nice shop with jewelery, gifts and home decor. If you have had your eye on something or haven’t checked this place out yet, now would be the time.

Also, don’t forget that RunKeeper Pro is still available on iTunes for free until the end of this mont! It’s usually $9.99 so its a great deal. Even if you don’t run you should consider getting this app. It also tracks walks, biking, skiing, wheelchair, skating, and rowing.  No swimming, at least not until they make a waterproof iPhone. If you aren’t doing any of these things…you really should be….why not track your activity and see your progress over time?

Also, I’ve been reading about the legal troubles of Richard Leidich, who was the proprietor of Bergy’s, that is until he was charged with embezzling $99,000 from the Blue Mountain Community Library in Pen Argyl. So, Bergy’s  is closed. What the heck is Bergy’s you ask? It’s an old country store in the Wassergass. Wassergass? That is a section of Lower Saucon east of Hellertown, that connects to Bucks county to the south.

I write about Bergy’s basically because of childhood memories. When I had pet rabbits (which was during much of my childhood) I remember going to Bergy’s for their feed, and I always felt I was stepping back in history, like the store looked the same in then as it did when it opened (back in 1903). I also had friends in Wassergass growing up and we’d occasionally stop in. It’s one of those places you always hope to see make it. This isn’t the first time it has closed, I hope to see it come back again.

If anyone has any Bergy’s memories or history to share I’d love to read about it in the comments.

P90X, Runkeeper, Weight Watchers, On Target Living and what the hell…some Chinese Bee Pollen

I’m throwing it all in the ring.

I was trying to decide what my next post was going to be and narrowed it down to a list of Lehigh Valley attractions or events I’ve never been to and want to visit in 2011 or my need to really get back on some type of exercise/diet program. I think my choice is clear. I was inspired by two things  1) my friend Silagh’s blog post last night and 2) when putting on my “big” pants this morning  I had to suck in my gut (OMG just a few weeks ago they were loose!!!).


And that’s how quickly it happens. I was on the P90X program from the end of July to early November, and then vacation happened…then thanksgiving…then Christmas…then New Years… Truth is there is ALWAYS an excuse…it’s too cold… it’s dark…Groundhog Day…the super bowl …Valentine’s Day…Daylight Savings…St. Patrick’s Day…Easter…Chilifest…Cinco de Mayo…and before you know it…it’s time for shorts, short sleeves and *gasp* bathing suits.

So what now? I’m just going to throw everything at it. If I have learned anything about losing weight it’s that no one thing works for me, I can’t just diet and I can’t just exercise-exercising makes me hungry and dieting makes me lazy. Then there is the boredom.

P90X is pretty intense; a different exercise everyday…until the next week and then it’s still the same old thing all over again. But it is definitely a serious workout. My chiropractor noticed the results after just a couple of weeks and I still feel better in that regard even though I have not completed a workout since November. I don’t expect that to last to much longer however…

Running can be interesting as long as you don’t fall into a pattern of the same old route (unless that’s what you like) but damn it’s cold out there…that is until it gets hot. I use the Runkeeper Pro app on my iPhone, which is excellent and by the way…is FREE ($9.99 normally) until January 31. It is tracks your routes, calories, pace, and there is this nice British lady who tells you how long you’ve been torturing yourse…er running.  If you want to try Couch to 5K or First Strides it allows you to program intervals that match these programs or any interval you come up with on your own. You can even shout out your progress on Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and post pictures along your route.  It definitely helps with motivation when you start seeing your average pace improve and if you get support from friends on Twitter and Facebook.

Then I have this gym membership at Steel Fitness and a Wii Fit…neither of which I use anymore and were merely failed attempts to throw money at a problem without following through.  But I’m giving my membership one more try. If I don’t spend at least 6 hours there this month I’m canceling. And what the heck…I’m going to set up the Wii again and maybe try out the Wii Zumba Fitness workout. A friend has been raving about it on Facebook. Maybe all this workout diversity will keep me interested.

And then there is the food…The P90X nutrition plan and Weight Watchers both encourage keeping track of food intake, although P90X is more specific (read: more of a pain in the ass) as to how many carbs, proteins, etc. you can have. On the other hand with Weight Watchers I can eat 15 1pt carrot cake snacks and still be within my daily points (not that I ever did that…OK well maybe once). On Target Living: Nutrition is an interesting book by Chris Johnson, he encourages natural organic foods and uses just a food target illustration to determine the best food choices. Most or all of your foods should be in the center of the target. He says to keep portions in check and is rather vague in this regard… I found that I just ate A LOT of healthy food and didn’t lose any weight. So I’m thinking about combining, somehow, someway, the proper proportions of the P90X nutrition plan, the ease of the weightwatchers point system with the food choices in the center of the On Target Living target. If I come up with something that works…I’ll sell it to you.

In addition to the boredom there is the habit thing. In order for any program to be successful it needs to become second nature yet fun. Is this possible? Maybe that means scheduling the same hour everyday for exercise, but then just change up what I’m doing in that hour (running, P90Xing, class/treadmill at gym, Wii).

…And for good measure I may just stop by Kim’s on the Southside for that Bee Pollen everyone has been raving about…because a cure in a bottle is just sooooo much easier.

In all seriousness, has anyone tried it? I’ve heard it has some harmless…yet inconvenient side effects. Basically from what I understand from a friend’s Facebook updates…it makes you poop. A lot.

Please share your workout & dieting woes/hints/inspiration or any new year’s resolution challenges in the comments.

Stating the obvious: I am not a medical professional. No one in their right mind should take any diet, exercise or nutrition advise from me of all people. Seriously…don’t do it.