Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Strength and gratitude

Today's run was really strong!  It was a 30 minute run and my goal was a 5:1 ratio.  Hubby went with me and we had a really nice time.  The leaves are changing and looking beautiful in our neighborhood, the temperature was perfectly crisp, and we were able to chat some as we ran.  It made the whole thing so pleasant!

Also very pleasant was how strong I felt today!  During last week's 5:1 run, I was struggling after the first 2 running segments.  That was mostly because of leg pain, but I was also a bit winded.  Today I felt strong throughout the whole run, I might could even have done a 6:1.  My goal is to eventually be running 3 miles during all of these 30 minute runs, but I'm not quite there yet.  With about 1:20 to go I was at 2.83 miles, so I pushed and ran really fast for the last little bit, ending up at 2.96.  Sooo close!  But I felt good and strong even at the speedy part, so that put a big smile on my face even if I feel short of the 3 miles :)

Yesterday's Vinyasa class was also wonderful!  At the beginning of the class the instructor told us to think of someone towards whom we felt gratitude, who made it possible for us to be at yoga class.  There was no question in my mind who that was for me - my very sweet husband.  On Sunday I made a big batch of vegetarian chili in the crock pot to take to work for my lunch this week, but I didn't start until 7pm.  I thought it would only take 3 hours, but at 11:30 it still wasn't done.  I have to get up at 5:45am to make the hour's drive to work, so it was already way past my bedtime.  Pete offered to stay up with the chili so I could go to sleep, and he stayed up until it was done at 1am and then put it in five individual containers, one for each day of the week.  That's only the most recent example, but he works so hard for our family and encourages me in both my running and my yoga.  So I dedicated my practice to Pete and focused on sending him all my good feelings and thoughts.  I told him about it when we both got home, and he told me that he actually had one of his best nights at his tennis group.  Guess all those good feelings made it to him!

The pose we worked towards in class was Frog and when we got there, we stayed in it for what felt like forever!  It was really tough, but I made it through the whole thing and it felt amazing afterwards.  My hips felt so open, even throughout the day today!  We also did Mountain Climber, which my teacher said I could do if I let go of the fear of supporting my weight with my arms.  Easier said than done!  I was still feeling good and happy from yoga when I got home and kept practicing a few things, and I ended up achieving Tripod Headstand for the first time!  Yay me :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Back with a vengeance!

Wednesday I decided to skip a run and rest to get over a little cold, and I planned on going to yoga Thursday and Friday and doing my long run on Sunday.  On Wednesday night I took some Nyquil and went to bed at 9pm, but when I woke up for work I still felt very out of it.  At my husband's encouragement, I took the day off of work and canceled my yoga class for the night.  I ended up getting a full 15 hours of sleep, laid on the couch and watched HGTV all day long, and feeling much more prepared for work the next day.  Yoga on Friday night left me feeling very cleaned out and rested, I took another day off on Sunday (although I ended up cooking all day for a family dinner, but that was lots of fun!), and today I was ready to tackle my 4 mile run.

I was very nervous about the run because this is the longest distance I've ever attempted.  My goal was to finish 2 miles without stopping, and then I'd see how I felt for the last 2 miles.  And I achieved that goal!!!  I ran the first 2 miles and then was winded, but not the worst I've been.  I planned my route so I ended up at my house at that point and I took a few sips of water from a bottle I'd stashed on my front porch.  I wanted to run another mile after that, but my legs were feeling leaden and I only made it .25 miles before I had to take a walk break.  My walk breaks are always just .25 miles when I'm doing distance runs.  For my next running segment I had a goal of .75 miles but I ended up going a whole mile.  I was seriously considering pushing through to 1.25, but since I'm still getting over the lingering effects of my cold I didn't want to push too hard.  So I took another walk break and had a few sips of water at my house again, and then I finished the last .75 miles running.  

4 miles of running, 4.75 miles total, total time of 56:30, average pace of 11:53, and another big check mark on my training schedule!!!

I thought a lot this week about my progress.  Sometimes I feel like I'm not making progress because I still can't fit into my favorite jeans, I still can't consistently run 30 minutes without stopping, and I still can't run the scheduled distances without stopping.  But I've been reminding myself a lot lately to notice that I really have improved a lot since starting this blog.  I used to be huffing and puffing and falling over like crazy if I tried to attempt to run a mile!  I still remember the first time I ran the nature trail and I was dying after 10 minutes and .75 miles.  Now I run a mile and I feel great!  It still feels like work, but I definitely don't feel like I need to stop or like I'm going to keel over.  I'm also getting faster, there are times when I can run pretty steadily at a 9:35 pace!  I'm going to make a real effort throughout my training, and beyond, to notice the progress I've made (even if it's small progress) and to be proud of myself for just making the effort to do this!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Under the weather

I made a big decision today.  I decided not to run.  I'm signed up for Vinyasa classes Thursday and Friday night, so tonight would be my last chance to get in my second 30 minute workout for the week.  My cold felt worse today than yesterday, though, so I made the decision to miss the run.  This was difficult because I'm kind of a nut about keeping to the training schedule, but I'm trying to make the right decision and let myself get better in time for the weekend's long run.

I'm going to be sad that there will be a check missing from my training schedule, but I feel that I'm doing the right thing...curling up on the couch by the fire watching Harry Potter movies! :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fight to the finish

Today's run was long and hard.  Sore from the vigorous yoga practice yesterday, my legs felt sluggish and crampy.  Weekly runs never seem to go as well for me as the weekend runs.  I am more tired on weekdays from getting up early for work, but I also hate the timed runs, and all my weekday runs are 30 minutes.  I know eventually that short amount of time will be a welcome break for me, but right now these runs are just plain tough.

I decided to try something different for tonight's run.  I've been feeling sneezy today (mostly due to the fact that our bathroom has been in the process of being retiled for the last 6 weeks and our bedroom has been in a constant haze of tile dust--it's finally getting to my sinuses) and I worried about being able to make it through tonight's run.  When I set out and felt tired after only 3 minutes, I decided to complete this workout at a 5:1 run/walk ratio.  That means I ran for 5 minutes and walked for 1 minute, then repeated until I had spent 30 total minutes running.  I thought this would be easier on me, but it got pretty tough at the end!  I had to take a 2 minute walk break after the fourth running interval.  I finished with a total of 2.88 miles at 36:00...definitely not my fastest, but I've got to give myself a pat on the back for just completing this workout.

Now to figure out what to do for the rest of the week.  I'm definitely planning my long run (4 miles!) for Sunday, because that seems to be the day that works best for me.  I'd like to have at least 2 rest days before my long run, so I need to do my other 30 minute run either tomorrow or Thursday.  I'm planning on another Vinyasa class Friday after work, but I'd really like to squeeze in another yoga class this week as well (while I've got the 1-week unlimited starter pass).  Initially I wanted to do my other run tomorrow and go to another Vinyasa class taught by Emily (instructor from Monday night, she was great!) on Thursday.  Now I'm concerned that my legs might still feel pretty beat down tomorrow and maybe I should go to the Vinyasa Chill class tomorrow night instead.  Decisions, decisions...

It sure feels great checking all these runs off my training schedule, which is hanging on the fridge! :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Exhilarated joy

I went to my first yoga class today at Gotta Yoga University, and it was amazing.  I chose a Vinyasa class because that's what I'm familiar with, but I had no idea if the regular class would be too much or if I needed to do the beginner class, so I was a bit nervous but very excited.  It turned out Vinyasa was perfect  for me!  I loved the class and the teacher and the studio, and can't wait to go back for more.

One problem I noticed that I have is constantly looking around to see what other people are doing.  The most difficult part of yoga for me is shutting down my mind.  I was very worried at how I compared to the others in the class, but I tried very hard to let go of my concerns and focus on myself.  I think I did pretty good, and I even ended up in a picture on Gotta's Facebook page!  Yay me :)

At the end of the class, we were given cold washcloths scented with eucalyptus to place over our foreheads and eyes during savasana.  It was pure bliss.  Afterwards, the instructor told us to take whatever emotion the practice had released in us and carry it to wherever we went next.  I didn't immediately realize what that emotion was in me, but as I got in my car to start the drive home I could not wipe the smile off my face nor could I get rid of the exhilaration rushing through my veins.  I was so happy and so ready for more!  I even had that deep feeling in my chest that I get after a really hard run.  The drive home was relaxing instead of stressful like usual and I arrived home cheerful and hungry.

I can't wait for my next class!  This is definitely going to be a regular part of my routine from now on.  Also, my lululemon crops, tank, and mat were outstanding!!  I don't have enough good things to say about today!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fall is here!

I had a fantastic run today!  It's simply gorgeous here...in the 70s, so a little bit warm, but the leaves are changing and the sunlight has that rich, golden quality that encapsulates fall!  Today was the final run of Princess training week 2, 3 miles.   I had originally planned to do this run yesterday morning, but my legs were so tired and sore during my run on Thursday that I decided to take an extra day off.  This turned out to be exactly what I needed, because my legs felt fresh and strong through the whole run today!  No cramping or seizing up.  They did get tired near the end, but I was really happy with the workout.

I ran the first 1.75 miles without stopping.  I have been getting a little bored with my usual route through the neighborhood, so I thought I'd spice it up a little today and take a trip down the nature trail.  It was really nice and shady back there, but then a bug flew in my mouth and I spent a couple minutes coughing and hacking and feeling generally grossed out (I can't stand bugs).  But I got over it, kept running, and got my 1.75 miles in under 20 minutes!  The nature trail comes out at the end of my street and then there's a pretty steep hill leading up to my house.  I walked up the hill and took a short break at the house, my sweet hubby brought me a much needed drink of water!  After my little hydration break, I walked a little longer for a total of .25 miles of walking, and then started running again.  As soon as I started running my legs felt tired and my breathing was a tiny bit labored.  I set out with a goal of running .75 miles before my next walk break, but I started feeling like I was barely going to be able to make it to .5.  Somehow, though, I pushed past .5 and then even harder past .75 to make it for a whole mile without taking a walk break!  I took another .25 mile walk break and finished the run with a last .25 mile run.  The last run was good, and I steadily increased my speed at the end--it was really nice looking at the graph of Toby's data and seeing that line steadily incline at the end!

So I finished 3.5 miles (.5 of that was walk breaks) in 40:22!  Even though it was really hard work during the last leg, I really enjoyed this run!  If the weather had been just a tiny bit cooler, it would have been an absolutely perfect fall running day.

Tomorrow I'm trying my first yoga class at Gotta Yoga University!  I'm excited and nervous...I hope I can keep up with the pace of the class and I haven't signed up for one that's too hard!  I suppose if it does turn out to be too much for me I can scale back to the beginner's class, but I'm ready for a challenge!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Fast out of the gate

Today it was cooler than it's been in awhile, it hovered around 57-61 degrees all day.  It also misted the entire day--sometimes actual raindrops fell, but it was mostly mist that floated around and made everything damp.  During my short affair with running a couple of years ago, I always seemed to have my best runs on chilly, misty days like this, so I was excited all day long about running today.

My hubby discouraged me from running tonight because he was worried I would get sick from being out in the cold and the wet.  It was tempting to latch on to this ready-made excuse and just cuddle up on the couch by the fire, but I kept my focus and headed out there!

I was so excited about the run that I started off very fast at about a 9:30 pace, and ended up running the first mile in 10 minutes.  This is faster than I've ever completed a mile before, so that was exciting!  But it was too much for my legs, and they bothered me for the rest of the run.  I made it through, though, and I actually really enjoyed it.  So now I'm enjoying cuddling up on the couch by the fire, but with the satisfaction that I completed the first workout of training week 2! :)

And now for a little rant, because this is my blog and I can say what I want...

I saw something on Facebook today that both irritated and inspired me.  A friend of my aunt's posted the story about Amber Miller running/walking the Chicago Marathon and giving birth later that day.  She made the comment that it was ridiculous, and why would anyone want to do that 39 weeks pregnant or ever.  My aunt expressed similar sentiments.  It bothers me when people try to make fit individuals feel bad or crazy for pushing their limits, breaking barriers, and making huge achievements.  I think that Amber Miller is awe-inspiring and I only hope to maintain that level of fitness when I'm pregnant.  Judging from the fact that she gave birth to a healthy little girl, completing the marathon was a perfectly safe choice for her.  She stated that she had support from her doctor as well as the marathon officials.  I say more power to her, and thank her for being such a positive role model and example for women and athletes everywhere.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Goal update

I've decided to take a day off from working out today because I am just plain exhausted, and after the fiasco with the Zensah sleeves yesterday I want to give my legs another day of rest before I run again.  But we had some downtime at work today and I found myself thinking a lot about my goals and what I want out of life.  Following lululemon's advice, I'm trying to think about where I want to be in 10 years and work backwards from there.

10-year working goals

  • I work at home/own my own business (ideally, a photography business)
  • I have 3 children
  • I am a dedicated distance runner and have run the following races at least once each:
    • Disney's Princess Half Marathon
    • Big Sur Half Marathon
    • Big Sur Marathon
    • New York Marathon
    • City of Oaks Marathon
    • Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon
  • Yoga is a regular part of my workout routine
I think a lot of those goals can be incorporated in the 5-year category, so I'm going to skip that one for now and focus on some more immediate goals.

1-year working goals
  • Practice yoga at least twice a week
  • Run 10 miles without stopping
  • Make new like-minded friends
  • Get a promotion at work
  • Practice the piano at least 3 times a week
  • Cook at least 2 meals on the weekend
That's a lot of progress from the last time I posted about goals!  It feels good to feel like I have something to accomplish, even if they are small things, instead of like I'm just killing time until the next big life event (babies).  I'm always happier when I have a plan!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Zensah sleeves = disappointment

Well, the Zensah sleeves really let me down.  I was so excited for my run today!  As soon as I got home from work I stretched for a couple of minutes and then slid on the sleeves, ready to go.  I thought they felt good, very snug and warm on my legs.  Once I got out there, though, my legs started hurting almost immediately.  I don't know if the odd feeling of my legs being compressed caused me to run with bad form, or there is the possibility my legs were just too fatigued from the run earlier in the week to make it today, but it was very uncomfortable.  I had to stop and walk after only 3 minutes of running, and then I just ran back home to take them off.  I tried to stretch out the muscle cramps on my front steps after taking off the sleeves, and then I set back out to hopefully run for another 20 minutes so I could check off the next workout on my training schedule.  But my legs hurt so badly, I had to walk for the majority of the time and at 25 minutes I was back home and decided to just give up.  Even my knee and ankle joints were starting to hurt and the pain wasn't lessening much with walking, so I came inside and did my usual post-run icing.  I'm hoping that by resting tonight I'll be able to make it through the whole 30 minutes of running tomorrow...needless to say, I'll be running SANS Zensah sleeves.  I'm seriously thinking about just returning them and getting $40 in my pocket.

Not finishing my workout is so disappointing!  I've been working out so much lately and it feels so good, I'm actually sitting here on the couch feeling sad that I don't have the burning feeling in my chest that lets me know I've just had a great run.  But tomorrow is another day, and I'm determined not to let this slight bump derail my motivation and the pride I've felt this week.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Small victories

If last night's run gave me a thrill of accomplishment, it was nothing compared to this morning as I was getting ready for work.  I couldn't decide what to wear--I've been pretty limited recently because all of my clothes have gotten too small, especially my pants, and it's starting to get a bit colder here.  I debated in my closet for awhile, and finally decided to try a pair of gray Loft pants.  I knew they wouldn't fit because just 2 weeks ago I couldn't button them at all, but I decided to try anyway.  To my complete and utter astonishment, they slid right on, buttoned right up, and fit very comfortably!  I was stunned.  I immediately ran to the bed and woke up my husband to tell him, even though it was 6:30am.  The fact that I was wearing those pants kept me upbeat the whole day long!

I've been working out consistently for over a month now, but this is the first time I've seen real results.  The feeling is unbelievable and gives me motivation like nothing else.  Tonight when I was doing yoga I felt more graceful, flexible, and lithe than I have in a very long time.  I still don't fit into my favorite jeans, but I know I will get there.

In other news, my Zensah sleeves finally arrived today!  Can't wait to try them out on my run tomorrow!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Princess Half Training Day #1

This week marks the start of my official training for the Princess Half Marathon in February.  And today was my first workout!  I'm following Jeff Galloway's Run Disney training program, which is designed specifically for the Princess Half.  So the goal for today was to run/walk for 30 minutes...

AND I RAN FOR 30 MINUTES!!!!  I'm so excited!  This is the point I've been trying to get to for the last several weeks!  And even better than the fact that I ran the whole time...MY LEGS DIDN'T HURT!!!!  They did start to hurt during the last 3 minutes of my run, but I think that's because I was tired and my form was slipping.  I was actually glad they started hurting because it showed me that they hurt because of bad form.  The trouble is I don't know what about my form was different this time!  But I've also noticed that they hurt more when I run slower, so something is wrong with my form when I'm moving slowly.

At first I was discouraged about my run, because I ordered some Zensah compression sleeves over a week ago, and I really thought they would be here today.  I've rushed home every day for the past week thinking they would have arrived, and every day I've been disappointed.  Today was the biggest disappointment of all, however, because the online tracking information told me that they arrived at my local post office on Saturday!  Hopefully they'll be here in time for my next run on Wednesday.

But one of my new items of running gear did arrive today!  I ordered 2 Bondi Bands last Friday and was super excited to wear one on my run today!

It's the first day when it's actually been cool during my run - 50/60 degree temps.  The Bondi Band was great!  It's also my first piece of gear that I'll definitely be wearing in the Princess Half.  When I opened the package, I thought the Bondi Bands felt very thin and flimsy and I was a little skeptical.  But it was fabulous!  It kept my ears warm, held my bangs back, and kept the sweat from dripping down my face.  I think there will be a large collection of Bondi Bands in varied colors/sayings in my future!

So happy and proud of my accomplishment today.  It's so encouraging, and I really hope I can keep up the good work on my next run!

(this includes my short little cool down, but the first 30 minutes was all running)