Saturday, October 30, 2010

Running Without a Purpose

Running without a purpose is what I'm pretty much doing right now. I find it odd that I feel that way, but I've been training for a race since December of last year (until the half a few weeks ago), so it feels like my running has no purpose. When I sit and think about that, it almost sounds depressing, but I actually look at it as a challenge. I've used races and schedules to keep me focused on my workouts for well over a year now. It's time to use myself to stay focused. I think it's going to be an interesting journey...

I was on business travel for the past week in Denver and I managed to get in a few workouts. The first day, I did 20 minutes on the elliptical and I could definitely feel the difference in oxygen level. I did 20-30 minutes of strength as well with the resistance band I brought with me. On Wednesday, I jogged for 25 minutes on the treadmill and I was pretty impressed with how easy it felt. Either I was used to the elevation already or it just didn't affect me too much. I finished out the week with more strength training. Workouts on the road are tough because there isn't much time. I managed to get in cardio twice and a full body of strength throughout the week though.

Today was a run around town, which felt great! I did 4 or so miles. It's a beautiful fall day in New England so it was quite nice. Will most likely run some more tomorrow and get in some yoga... it's time to get back to what I thought was going to turn into a weekly yoga habit. Must do it for real this time!!!

Hope everyone is having a wonderfully healthy weekend!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Crazy Contest at the Gym

I mentioned the contest at the gym in a post last week... the rules are pretty simple. You can get 15 points per day and different activities have different point levels. The points are set up in a bit of a screwy way in that 5 miles on the bike equals 6 points while 5 miles on the treadmill is the same... level of effort is definitely different! That's neither here nor there... if anything, I should admit that not everyone is a quant nerd like I am. :)

I have a team of 5 people, and two of them are older than I am... by quite a few years. So last week, these two women KICKED MY BUTT. Like, literally... they each beat me in points. Not by a crazy amount, but they beat the other two women on my team (who are younger than I am) by a TON. I decided that I was going to pull my weight and get my 15 points today.

OMG that was a lot of working out! I was there for an hour and 45 minutes! I did 5 miles on the bike to start, followed by my strength circuit, and then 3 miles on the treadmill. I'm pooped! Tomorrow I'm only going for 12 points I think. I have to workout in the morning, so I'm going to try to do 5 miles on the bike followed by a yoga class. I bet I'll need the yoga after today!

Hope everyone else started their weeks off right!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

New Workout Program

The rest of "recovery week" was really nice! I had one of the trainers at the gym create a circuit for me to do during the 4 week team challenge. I decided I want to focus on my core, so she gave me exercises that also include a balance side to them. It obviously worked because my quads, obliques, and shoulders were feeling it for 2 days! My favorite exercise is a rotating side plank. For some reason, I just love side planks! I feel strong and graceful at the same time. Love it!

I also just got back from a run. I ran a total of 10 miles this week, and they were all great! Today I did a 5 mile loop in my town, which is pretty hilly. I finished it up averaging just under 9 minutes per mile. Hooray! I'm going to make sure I keep up my running so I can maintain that pace.

Time for football... I love Sundays in the fall!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Recovery "Week"

I put week in quotation marks because I'm not quite sure recovery will be a full week. I'm not really planning to kill it this week, but I'm definitely going to work out. I spent much of my weekend lounging around and sleeping, and it was FANTASTIC! Today I went to the gym for a 30 minute elliptical workout and stretch. My legs are still a little sore (and I think I have a toenail falling off!) so I thought warming up and stretching were a good idea. I also scheduled a massage for Wednesday night... I CAN'T WAIT! The woman I'm going to is running a special for finishers... $20 off an hour. YAY!

I'm still trying to figure out what to do for workouts now. I'm definitely focusing on the gym, and I'm thinking of having a trainer right me a program that is full body, but core focused. I think I want to work on my abs! The cool thing is that my gym is running a competition right now that I joined in on. It's a team competition (there are 5 of us) and you gather points based on activities. If you take a group fitness class you get 6 points, etc. We can win training sessions and other loot for getting the most points. Should be fun and it'll keep me focused for the next 4 weeks! Could make an awesome transition!

Thanks for all the support during my training! Have a healthy night!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

1 hour, 58 minutes, 54 seconds...

I did it!!! It hit my goal of less than 2 hours, even with my unconventional Friday evening/Saturday morning! I am so excited!!! This is definitely a big accomplishment for me.

For years, I've told people that I'm not really an athlete. That's because I didn't play sports as a teenager. I was a dancer. I started going to the gym in high school and picked up lifting weights. Since then I've been into working out, off and on of course since there were times when I fell off the wagon. I started running for fun later in high school, and then I ran on a more regular basis in college. But I always told myself, I'm not built to run... so I kept myself at a 10 - 11 minute mile pace.

For years, I've been telling myself I'm too big to run faster. At 5'8" and my size, I felt like it wasn't possible for me to run faster. Now, I've proven myself wrong! I love proving myself wrong! My overall pace was 9 min and 5 seconds. My pace at mile was 9 minutes and 6 seconds. Guess I was pretty consistent!

Now I have to figure out my next project... it will not be a race, at least until 2011. I do believe that part of my improved pace was that I lost some weight (15 pounds). If I want to keep getting faster, I think I should drop a few more. For the next few months, I'm going to maintain my running and focus on strength and flexibility. Not sure what that'll look like, but I'll report back on that. I'm also going to focus more on my food. I've been pretty good, but I spent some time focusing on running that it was sometimes easy to forget the food.

I'm taking today to relax... I deserve it! :)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Twas the Night Before Race Day

Sooo, it has been a busy week! Work was a little hectic, so it worked out well that it was taper week. I did a solid 4 miler in the beginning of the week, a short jog, and also some elliptical. I am so excited for the race! The weather is going to be clear and in the 50s with it potentially hitting 60 by the end. PERFECTION!

I have to admit, this is probably the least organized race week I have ever had. On one hand, I am more prepared for this race than any other that I've run. On the other hand, I AM A MESS! I lost my HRM in May and I still never made it out to get one, so I bought one last night. Now I need to figure it out so I can wear it tomorrow and track my time! I didn't have an armband for my iPod so I got one of those too. Sorry for the die hards who don't run with music... I keep it soft enough so I can hear what's going on. But I seriously need my cheesy pop music when the going gets tough.

On the food topic, I literally was too busy to eat lunch till 3. WHAT!?!? I am so not one of those people who "forgets to eat." So this was quite odd for me today. I made it to a pasta dinner with a friend tonight though, so I think I'm all set for tonight. Just drinking water! Now, breakfast is another story. I ran out of bread!!! I usually eat toast with peanut butter, and I HAVE NONE. WHAT!?!? I am toying with the idea of a Clif bar for breakfast, but we'll see. I'll report back on what craziness I come up with.

Oh, and I also realized my favorite running pants are dirty. Oops. Judge me if you may, but I'm wearing them anyway. Whatever!!!

All of this disorganization could very well make me nervous (or anyone really). Instead, I actually don't care! I'm going to get a good night of sleep and I'm going to be hydrated and I'm going to run my booty off! I'm confident in my training, and I know I can run a strong race. Throughout, I'm going to repeat my favorite mantras:

"Pain is temporary!"

"You can do this!"

"I own this hill! This is nothing!"

And whatever else comes to my mind to keep me going... I'm sure there will be some new ones. Now to figure out my heart rate monitor and to load my iPod! Will report back soon with my time!

Thanks for the support! Have a healthy weekend!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Best run EVER

Seriously! The weather has taken a turn to the cooler side, and the leaves are changing in New England. I have one week till my half marathon, so I'm basically tapering. I used Runner's World's training tool on their website to come up with my training plan. It pretty much falls in line with Hal Higdon's intermediate training. What I like about the Runner's World tool is that it gives me paces to follow for each run... I don't ALWAYS follow them but I definitely do on my interval and tempo runs.

In any case, I decided I'd run 7 miles today and try to go as fast as I could. To hit sub-2 hours I need to maintain my pace around 9 minutes per mile for the whole race. I went over to a reservoir near me that has a 3.4 mile loop with a little extra distance required to get to the beginning of the loop from the parking lot. The loop is actually quite hilly! They have a bike lane, and there are portions where they have warning signs because the grade is steep. I started out fairly easy but I picked it up a notch almost immediately. The temperature helped a ton! It was about 55 degrees out (but sort of windy). It was one of those runs where you bound up the hills and don't dread them... love it! In the end, I finished two loops in just over an hour. Perfect! That was exactly what I needed!

Hope you had a happy and healthy weekend!