Thursday, January 29, 2009

Back on the bandwagon.

OK, so last week sucked, but I'm determined to make some real "strides" this week. So far, I'm staying focused. On Monday, I decided, on a whim, to return to our on-site after work pilates class. It's so convenient, and it'll be nice to switch up training activity a little. I had gone to this same pilates class in the past (actually, I went for about a year and a half before quitting last year when I joined the gym), and it became really clear to me early on in the class how little I've worked certain muscles since the last time I was there. Among all 18 of the women there, I think I was the only one really huffing and puffing. BUT! There was an upside: in my entire year and a half of attending the pilates class--wait, make that my entire life--I have never been able to do a single push-up. Through dance, through gymnastics, through yoga, through good fitness and bad, I've only been able to do those wussie bent knee push-ups. OK, not to knock anyone who can only do those, but when you witness everyone in a pilates class improve over time and move up and on to bigger, better, tough-girl REAL push-ups, it can get a little discouraging. (My point is coming, hang on). Point: I can do them now. Despite not really working my arms these last several months, my body, overall, is getting a heckuva lot stronger. Just from running, I was strong enough to do FIVE real push-ups on the first day of class (I hear some snickers from you, but seriously, this is a mammoth accomplishment for me). Now if I can just get the rest of my pilates muscles in shape ASAP so that the next class isn't as hellish...

No running Monday (or the 8 days before that...), but I did get to the gym after work on both Tuesday and Wednesday (and I plan to go tonight as well). After many days of not running, I think I'd already started to lose muscle mass, and I definitely felt it. I pushed through to 4 miles on Tuesday and 5 on Wednesday, but it was a real struggle. My goal is to do another 4 or 5 tonight and shoot for a longer run on Sunday. We'll see how that goes. I'm kicking myself for slacking off last week, but I've still got 13 weeks to go before the race, so I'm not too worried.

Update: Mom is out. Lil' sister's graduation is the same day as the race, so she can't come. Maybe I can convince her to do another race, like, say, the one in Brooklyn on May 30th--her birthday. Wouldn't YOU like to spend your birthday running 13 miles? Yeah, me too. EE is in though, I think. Who knows about Vaz.
Sheepishly, and without explanation:

Week 8 totals: 0 miles, 1.5 hours of Bikram yoga, 6 rest days

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Yes, I'm avoiding you.

Last week was...rough. Rough in that I could barely get up enough energy to get out of bed, let alone run. I ate a lot. I slept a lot (through lunch hours at work!). I drank a little more wine than necessary. It was cold and snowy, and I had Monday off. Exercise was not on the agenda.

Because it was cold, the only time I managed to get a run in were the two days I dragged myself to the gym after work. But luckily, on those days, I was DETERMINED. On Wednesday, I ran a tough 5 miles on the treadmill, and then on Sunday...get ready for it...I ran 8 miles on the treadmill! Woo! New record! And over half way to the 13.1! I feel like I have to grudgingly admit that it wasn't actually a straight 8 miles since I'd been drinking water all morning (I'd planned to do Bikram but decided on a run instead)--I ran 2 miles, had to run to the bathroom, and then did another 6. I felt GREAT! This was really the first time I've experienced the "runner's high" I've heard so much about, and I felt like I could've kept going and going and going. I actually stopped so that I could make it to Bikram in time (my adrenaline tricked me into thinking I could really do both!).

Alas, the train didn't come in time and I didn't make the yoga class, but it was probably a good thing, considering that by the time I got home, my knees and hips were so stiff I could barely hobble up the stairs to my apartment. Seriously, I'm still kind of limping. I was planning on running yesterday after work, but my hip was still in enough pain to make that goal unrealistic. The hip's a little better today, though, so I'm determined to get some running in--I'll just have to take it a little easier for a couple of days. Still, it's amazing to know I can finally do 8 (or 10, or 12...), even if it means feeling like a cripple afterward.

This week, I'm going to focus on doing shorter runs and Fartlek, but running more often than just 2 days.

Week 7 totals (almost as bad as last week): 13 miles, 5 rest days

Monday, January 12, 2009

Lazy weekend and totals.

We had the staycation this weekend, so as expected, I didn't get any running in. In fact, I barely got out of bed. I did see two movies and eat a lot of delicious brunch food, though.

Friday morning was the last day I ran, and it was the same un-fun morning run to Fort Greene Park and back. I am starting to REALLY hate that route! I'm starting to really love running in the mornings though, because I tend to be groggy for hours and hours after waking up, and the run gets the day off to a quicker start. I also really love leaving my apartment while it's still dark outside and seeing the sun come up as I run. But man! I really hate that 3 mile route, and need to find a better option. Maybe I should only run in the mornings when I'm at J.'s house and can go up to Prospect Park. I think a big reason I'm struggling with the Fort Greene route so much is that it's just so BUSY. Cars honking, people walking, garbage to leap over. Busy, busy, busy, even at 6am. It's pretty jarring after 3 weeks in quiet little Romeo. Ah, well.

Week 6 totals (disappointing): 11 miles, NO yoga, 4 rest days

This week will be better, I promise!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Back on the old treadmill...

Well, I returned to the gym yesterday despite being totally exhausted just from sitting at my desk all day. I want to go back to my 12 hours a night of sleep coupled with 3 hour mid-day naps. Sigh. It had to end sometime.

I don't have anything very interesting to say about this gym experience. I went there determined to run 5 miles, and was really bummed to realize I'd left my little shuffle at home. It meant a very long-feeling, boring run and a concerted effort to keep watching the news to take my mind off of the seconds crawling by, but I completed my goal. 5 miles in 58 minutes at a 1.0 incline, with speeds ranging from 4.8 to 6.6. I find it harder to keep up my speed on the treadmill--both because I'm bored and because I'm paranoid of falling. I threw a little fartlek in there for a change, but my recovery period was longer than expected, so I think that ended up actually slowing down my overall time as well. Still, it did feel rewarding to be really running and really struggling for 5 minute intervals. I was wiped out after the 5 miles, and barely made it home!

Vaz and I had planned to run together for the first time in Central Park tonight, but she's home sick and it's rainy and disgusting out. I was hoping for 3 miles today...I may head back to the gym if I'm feeling ambitious, but I think I'd be just as happy heading home for a nap after work. I am such a sleepy head all the time! I've gotta fit two more runs in at some point this week, though, and J.'s home (hooray!), so my mind is otherwise occupied. If not tonight, Friday morning.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Back in the city.

Well, I've returned to New York and am trying to get back in the swing of things (read: working all the time) after almost 3 weeks of lounging. As predicted, I wasn't able to get in a run on Sunday, but it wasn't due to work so much as it was because I got home from the coffee shop, had dinner, and then went to bed at 6pm...yep. Had to soak up those last few hours of vacation in style.

I got up early this morning (after only 12 hours of sleep) and did my 3 mile route to Fort Greene Park and back. I feel like no matter how many 5 and 6 milers I work up to, that run will never get any easier. Still, I am picking up speed a little bit. I'm averaging about 10 minute miles now, as opposed to the 12-13 minutes I was at a month ago. Little by little...

I feel pretty good about the totals for last week. I'm going to aim for a little further this week, but we'll see. I no longer have the luxury of peeling myself off the couch whenever I feel like it for a mid-afternoon jog. Aiming for the gym tomorrow and a run in Central Park with Vaz on Wednesday. The weekend is going to be pretty loungy, since J. and I are reuniting for a mini-staycation.

Week 5 totals: 13.2 miles, 11 hours of yoga, 3 rest days (4 no run days)

Sunday, January 04, 2009

More slacking, sort of...

Well, I ended up not running Thursday. Or Friday. Three days in a row of no running for no other reason than I was too lazy and concentrating on soaking up the last few relaxing days of my vacation.

I went to yoga both Friday and today, though--for 2 hours each--so at least I was getting something in. It was rough leaving that yoga class this morning. I'm going to miss Peggy, and I'm really going to miss being able to take advantage of free yoga for multiple hours a day.

After yoga today, Mom and I went for a jog. We tried a new route (actually, I tricked her into a different route that I knew so that she could go a little further and I could stick to the first part of my longer route). Mom is so fit and is already making speedy progress! She went 2.6 miles at a faster pace on a route full of hills. I was very proud of her, and already getting excited about the race that's months and months away. Peggy and her daughter want to come out for the half, too, and I hope that ends up happening. The more the merrier, and the more likely it is that Mom and I won't give up. We're already planning all sorts of pampering rewards for ourselves, should we finish.

As Mom turned left up the hill to finish off her 2.5, I turned right and continued on to reach my 6 mile goal for the break! I was ready to give up at about 4, but I'm really glad I kept on going. That was the main thing I wanted to accomplish over this holiday (well, that and lots of work, but I totally failed on that end so I feel pretty good about the 6 miles). My knees are old and rickety from the loads and loads of dance and gymnastics I did when I was younger, and they tend to hurt a whole lot on stairs and lunges, but they don't really hurt when I run at all. However, about half an hour after I finished the 6 miler this afternoon, both knees were throbbing in pain. It eased up after about 20 minutes, but they still feel a little shaky. I'll have to keep an eye on that going forward.

I have to go back to work at the coffee shop in about 6 hours, and then the rest of tomorrow will be dedicated to an edit letter and a nap. I'm not optimistic about fitting a run in, but I'll hold off on the totals for now.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Run, yoga, run.

I've really tried to get back on track this week. So far so good. I've still been doing a ton of yoga, but I've been getting some good long runs in, too.

On Saturday, Mom and I got up early for a vinyassa/yin yoga class with Peggy. Then, feeling all zen and warmed up, we set out for Mom's first run. It was incredibly foggy out and we could only see about 25 feet in front of us before the wall of fog blocked everything out. It was a little disorienting, but we did a steady 2 miles in no time--a full mile further than Mom thought she could go! As I said, she's already in pretty great shape, so it was no surprise to me. And, since she said if she could do 2 miles by January she'd be in, we are now both officially training for the half. All of her friends heard about our plans and decided they wanted to run a half with their daughters too, so she's got some great support for training in Michigan while I train in New York.

I was feeling pretty good later that day, and felt like I needed to get some more mileage in since I'd done close to nothing last week, so I ended up running another 4 miles for kicks (43 minutes). After that, I was good and tired.

Sunday was Christmas with Dad's fam, so was a rest day for me. I did get in a vinyassa class in the morning, though. I'm becoming a yoga addict.

Week 4 totals: 5.6 miles, 9 hours of yoga, 2 rest days (4 no run days)

On Monday, I did gentle flow yoga in the morning. Later, it was the ideal temperature for running--brisk enough so I didn't overheat, but warm enough that I wasn't at all cold--so I set out with a longer goal in mind. It was, however, really, really windy, and I struggled a bit because of it. BUT I still managed to break a new barrier--5 miles! I'm started to realize that it never gets any harder (it doesn't really get easier though, either). Your body just keeps adjusting and when you go further, it begins to feel exactly the same as running a mile less. Same tiredness in the legs, same slight shortness of breath, but it just took a little longer. Regardless, I was really proud of myself. I also ran it in 53 minutes, so I'm getting a bit faster, too. Hooray!

I think part of the speed and mileage increase is due to my little ipod shuffle, which I love. I got it for Christmas, put 125 fast-paced songs on it, and it's really changed the way I run. I know that according to trainers, you're not supposed to run with music because it takes the focus away from your body and your breath and the cars coming at you, but honestly, it's really helped me out. When I focus on my body and the struggle, I want to quit when I've barely started. But singing along to songs I know helps the time pass, and the quick beats get me going a bit faster than I'm used to. Praise the shuffle!

On Tuesday, Mom and I ran the same 2 miles we did before, but picked up the pace a bit this time. Mom found it a little harder this time (probably because she'd been on her feet at work for 12 hours the night before!), but still finished like a champ. She's already planning ahead to use my routes when I'm back in NYC.

The rest of the day was dedicated to yoga. I can't stop! When yoga is free, I want to get as much in as possible. I went in at 4:45...and emerged ultra-relaxed and flexible 5 HOURS later. Yeah...I don't know what I'm going to do when I can't keep up this vacation lifestyle next week in the city.

Yesterday I did absolutely nothing, exercise-wise, and it was kind of great.

Today the yoga studio is closed, but I'm aiming for another 4-miler, if I can ever get out of bed.