The Diminishing Vegan

Veganism and Weight Loss

Category: Fitbit

Great Scottish Run 10k 2017 – Completed

 

I thought I should do an update about the Great Scottish Run 10k 2017, now the day itself has passed. The morning of Sunday the 1st of October was, as we say in Scotland dreich. I had been keeping an eye on the weather on the BBC website and it had went from sunny, to heavy rain to light rain the night before. Great Scottish Run 10k 2017 - Train

I was in the pink wave (the slowest) and my start time was 10.05. This was my first official race so I didn’t really know what to expect. My husband and kids were coming along to support me so we drove to Paisley and parked there, knowing the main streets of Glasgow were shut for the race we decided to get the train in. A lot of other people also had this idea and the train was completely packed, standing room only and not much at that.

We arrivGreat Scottish Run 10k 2017 - Start Lineed before any of the 10k runners went and I watched as the white wave and professional runners took off. Then I went off on my own to find my start place. Although I knew the numbers of people that took part, I’m not sure I really appreciated how many people that is, afterwards I found out nearly 9000 people took part in the 10k over three waves. This was my view from the start line, I was around 2/3 of the way back, as you can see from the picture there is a lot of people waiting to go!

My runner friend who was supposed to be taking part with me unfortunately had to drop out due to a badly timed health issue so I was there at the start on my own.

The official start time was 10.05 but according to my timing chip I didn’t cross the start line until 10.12.

I had been warned about the long, pretty hard hill at the start and had decided that there would be no walking in this 10k, I had trained enough to run it and would have been disappointed to have walked at any point, in fact this was my only aim for the whole event, I didn’t mind how long it took, I just wanted to keep running. I was also mindful of taking off at a pace that was far outwith my own comfortable pace and when I started running I was overtaken…a lot! I thought I would feel embarrassed about this but I didn’t care at all. I also overtook a lot of people, and as soon as we hit that hill a lot of people started walking, I was surprised at the amount of people walking so early. I dragged myself up it, huffing and puffing, but the relief when I reached the top and started the descent was great, and that was almost 1k in.

According to my Strava I was going at a faster pace than I usually did so I slowed myself down a little and just kept going. It was actually a pretty easy run for me, I had done 10k twice already so knew I could do it. Being surrounded by so many people really carries you on too. Once the initial embarrassment was out of the way I really enjoyed the whole thing. I occasionally took my headphones out to hear the music along the way but really my playlist is so ingrained in with running I needed it.

 

 

By the time I hit the 5k and halfway mark I was going at a slightly faster than normal comfortable pace and I felt sure I was going to finish without stopping so relaxed a little.

At 7k there was an absolutely huge downpour, so much rain I couldn’t even see briefly. While this sounds awful, I was roasting so I didn’t mind that much. Along the way I had seen my friend who had dropped out (and high fived him) and my husband and children twice.

I did have some GPS issues, I started the run before the start line then paused it, restarting closer to the line. Not being down with the ways of Strava I didn’t consider that it would start GPS and timing straight away, giving me a very slow 1st km, then adding more on at the end.

Great Scottish Run 10k 2017 Strava

My heart rate was pretty steady throughout the whole run. You can see the starting hill with the elevation changes, there was another very steep little hill about a third of the way through.

Great Scottish Run 10k 2017 Fitbit

My finish time was 1 hour 23 minutes 53 seconds, which is also my fastest ever 10k time by around 4 minutes, not bad! I did it! I ticked “Running a 10k Race” off of my New Years Resolution list. I still have a few things left on there but that was the big one for me this year. Never did I think it was possible. Not only was it possible, it was enjoyable.

Great Scottish Run 10k 2017 - Completed

Great Scottish Run 10k 2017 Medal

I may be a glutton for punishment but I think I’ve decided to try the half marathon next year. That gives me plenty of time to lose more weight and increase my distance. Anyone else out there made the jump from 10k to half marathon have any advice?

Remember you can find me on InstagramFacebookTwitterMy Fitness Pal and Fitbit. You can also now find my on Strava to follow my slow (hopefully getting faster) runs. Add me on any or all, I love new friends on all social media for support 🙂

 

Fitbit | Weight Loss Apps

The second app I’m speaking about really is more a tool and an app, it’s fitbit and their associated application and website. I currently own a charge 2, have previously owned a charge HR, one, and a zip. This has been over a number of years, since 2011 also, and at one point I kept accidentally washing them!

The fitbit’s first and foremost capability is that of a pedometer, for the charge 2 you wear it on your wrist and it tracks your steps. On top of that it also tracks stairs climbed (although I find this pretty inaccurate, especially on windy days), active minutes (where you are moving more than just a gentle walk) and it prompts you to do 250 steps per hour to remain active throughout the day.

There are two different dashboards depending on whether you are using the mobile app or the website, however they both show the same information. The website dashboard is completely customisable, you can drag around tiles to order the information you want to see, or remove and add things as you like.fitbit mobile dashboard

fitbit website dashboard

 

 

 

 

Additionally, the charge 2 also tracks your heart rate using a little sensor which is against your upper wrist. This keeps track of your resting heart rate, and exercise heart rate. When you are completing exercise that is more than walking, you can set it into exercise mode. There are a number of modes for different types, for example run allows the charge to use your phones gps to track where your run was, there is also elliptical, treadmill, weights etc, that are better set up as opposed to the standard fitbit measurements.

fitbit heart rate

The charge 2 also tracks your sleep, it can sense when you have went to sleep, when you move around, and when you wake up. You set the time goals for this but this is a great feature. You can see your sleep on a weekly basis and also look at individual nights.

fitbit sleepfitbit more sleep

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The integration with my fitness pal is very good as well, your steps are passed over as are your calories burned, although I do find these on the high side. These are added to your diary as a fitbit adjustment, you can also allow negative adjustments so if you’ve had a day you’ve not moved from the couch then fitbit will take away calories.

I actually really like my fitbit and do find that it motivates me to walk more, I park further away from shops, walk to them rather than drive, if I’m close to my active hourly goal I will get up and walk around just to hit it. I like tracking my sleep, as I get up so early I find I often struggle with getting “enough” sleep, but have found with time and monitoring that I function perfectly well on less than the recommended 8 hours, in fact I can’t remember the last time I got anywhere near that, 6 and a half  to seven is sufficient for me, but without the long term tracking I may have worried about this more.

You can add friends to your fitbit friends list, then you can participate in challenges, these could be the workweek challenge, or weekend challenges, or just one day challenges. These are good for motivation, they also added other challenges that take you on a journey through other places, seeing landmarks, having to walk a certain distance. I’ve only tried one of these and it was interesting, but not necessary.

The charge 2 charges by connecting it to a USB cable with special connection which they give you when you purchase it. The battery lasts around 5 days, and it will give you a warning notification on your phone around a day before it needs charged. Charging only takes around an hour which is pretty quick.

There is also a guided breathing exercise on the charge, for 2 minutes and 5. I love meditation but sometimes don’t have the time, this little exercise is good as it vibrates when you breathe in and out, so you can shut your eyes, get comfortable and breathe along with it. It’s a nice little touch.

You can also receive notifications from your phone, for example when I am receiving a call my fitbit vibrates and the number of the caller flashes on the screen. Also when I get a text message the sender name and first bit of the message scrolls across the screen, again, a nice touch.

Overall, whether you get a fitbit or not comes down to whether you like tracking. I absolutely love tracking my life, activity, food, sleep, thoughts, progress. I’m not sure why I love it so much but the fitbit really enables me to do this with lots of information. I can’t really imagine life without my fitbit and imagine I will always have one. There are fancier models than the one I have, they use gps more, look more like watches, however, for me the charge 2 is the perfect level of functionality and price. My fitbit cost £120,  but it really was £120 well spent, some of the more expensive models are up to £160, and you can get a zip (which really is just a pedometer with access to the app/website) for £45. There are other pedometers but the amount of value that is given by the app, integration and the functionality as a whole definitely makes me recommend it.

Weight Loss Apps | Weight Loss Tools

I’m a big fan of technology, and when used in the right way I think technology can be a powerful tool to aid life in general, but especially weight loss, plus I’m a massive fan of tracking, so I’ve decided to do a series of posts on some of my favourite weight loss apps. Some of these apps I have used for years, some newer, but they are great for supporting weight loss efforts.

What is a weight loss app? Well, it is a mobile application usually, something that can be used every day to track behaviour mainly. They can also be used for motivation, sending push notification reminders to exercise/log food etc. Some apps also have an associated website which I like.

Why is tracking good? Tracking allows me to first of all view what my normal behaviour is. As I’m trying to lose weight, my normal behaviour needed to be modified in some way, to become a new, more healthy behaviour. I think sometimes it can be easy to not see where you are going wrong when you aren’t tracking, tracking allows me to see this. Tracking my food continually allows me to see good days and bad, I can look back to when I lost a lot of weight to see what, and how much I was eating. Tracking my weight lets me see my loss on a graph vs time. Steps, my ongoing activity levels.

What do I track? My food intake, my workouts, my step count, my sleep, my feelings in a paper journal, my to-do list and tasks. I track a lot! Which isn’t necessary for everyone, but maybe tracking food or exercise is a good place to start with weight loss.

What do I use to track? For food I have used the free app and website My Fitness Pal for years. Their database of food is outstanding, even in the UK, I think once once have I not found what I was looking for (so I added it, as it’s very user friendly).

For exercise I use a few things, my fitbit mainly, this synchronises with my fitness pal though which is great as I can see how many steps, and how many extra calories I’m owed from a lot of exercise. My charge 2 also tracks sleep, heart rate (resting and exercise), active minutes and allows for focused breathing. I also use another couple of apps I will review for exercise, not for tracking, although they both do track progress, the first is Zombies Run. Man, I love that app! It’s a game-based running workout, with an ongoing story which you really get invested in! The second is a couch to 5k app, which I’ve only just started using. I also occasionally use an app for yoga (down dog). Additionally, I use the slimming world app to check syns, and on the website you can log exercise to receive awards, log food etc, which I do intermittently. One of my most used apps is a task tracking to-do list, wunderlist. I probably won’t cover this as it’s not specifically about weight loss, but it’s such a great app I needed to get it in there for a special mention.

Over the next couple of weeks I will do a few posts detailing the features of these apps, what I think is good about them, and what is not so good. You can follow me on instagram, facebook and twitter to see more.

Running Aspirations | Exercise

Fairly recently I decided to take a step back towards exercise. My weight loss has been sooo slow, I’m not sure if my body is just reluctant to lose more weight, I have struggled at the three stone mark previously, never really breaking through it. Alongside joining slimming world, I have also signed up for a gym membership at the gym local to me, it’s a small gym but has all of the equipment that is required for me. Although I will eventually be taking on weights, at the moment I am really focusing on burning calories, and cardio. And I have a secret aspiration, I want to take up running, specifically running long distances.

I am slightly confused why running is something I would like to do, I hated running when I was at school, going so far as to stop with my friends and take shortcuts to avoid having to run the whole distance. When me and my now husband first got together we were both rather thinner, and he loved running. We occasionally went out running together, I remember the first time I ran a mile without stopping, I was so happy with myself. At that moment I thought wow, I could be a runner! Sadly, I put on weight massively over the years, and while I have been out for an occasional jog, I’ve never progressed.

Around a year ago I started using the app Zombies Run, I love this, but I was walking it, I have now nearly completed up to season four, all walking my dog. I have dipped my toe in the water with couch to 5k a couple of times but never completed the plan, the embarrassment of running outside and the willpower required to go out no matter the weather is just too much for me. My gym however has lots of treadmills, so this is where I find myself mainly when I go there.

Why do I want to be a runner? I’m not 100% sure, I’ve mentioned before but I listen to podcasts by Rich Roll, and No Meat Athlete and I find both of these highly inspirational. I have dreams of stepping out of the door and being able to run (or jog slowish) for hours. There is something about the freedom of it that just appeals to me.

My problems with running:

  • I’m very overweight – an obvious problem, when you’re lugging around all the extra weight any form of cardio exercise becomes harder. I am trying to help that issue though!
  • The where and when – I’m running at the gym currently, that is good, but it means actually going to the gym. I have limited time to do this but I do try to fit it into my schedule three times a week. I need to go in the mornings which leads onto the next issue…
  • The energy expended – After a run I am often completely wiped out. Running at this weight is tiring. Being wiped out isn’t great for the rest of the day.
  • Mental weakness – I’m not sure if everyone suffers with the same mental weakness when running, it something I really should research into further. Half of the time I’m running I’m thinking don’t stop, the other half I’m thinking stop. I wish I could get that split down a little. I try to focus on how many minutes I have left, constantly repeating that to myself, 35, 35 35, 35…34, 34, 34 etc
  • Speed – I’m really really slow. I am only 5 foot 2 but I’m lucky if I’m jogging at 6 km/h. I would like to build that up.

Currently I can run for around 35 minutes at 6km/h, doing just over 3km. My first aim is to get this up to 5k at around 50 minutes. I have joined a local parkrun but don’t want to go until I know I can run 5k. I try to add 5 minutes on occasionally to my time, every 3 or 4 visits, but man it is a struggle! I need to work on my mental strategy, when you’re telling yourself that this run is killing you it can’t be good for your physical capabilities!

My running plans for the next month :

  • Rather than adding on 5 minutes (which seems like a very long time!) I will add on 2, every visit or two.
  • I will keep going 3 times a week.
  • I will research mental strategies and what is the best thing to think.
  • I will attempt to lengthen my stride. I always feel small and tight when running, and I guess I should really feel the opposite of that,

I will post about this again in a month, 11th January, with the aim of being able to run 5k in just under an hour. I would really like to join the vegan runners club, but feel I’m a bad example at the moment, so once I can do 5k I’m going to do that.

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